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Title: Josephine - Makers of History
Author: Abbott, John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot), 1805-1877
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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 Makers of History





 Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand
 eight hundred and fifty-one, by


 in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District
 of New York.

 Copyright, 1879, by SUSAN ABBOTT MEAD.

[Illustration: JOSEPHINE.]


Maria Antoinette, Madame Roland, and Josephine are the three most
prominent heroines of the French Revolution. The history of their lives
necessarily records all the most interesting events of that most fearful
tragedy which man has ever enacted. Maria Antoinette beheld the morning
dawn of the Revolution; its lurid mid-day sun glared upon Madame Roland;
and Josephine beheld the portentous phenomenon fade away. Each of these
heroines displayed traits of character worthy of all imitation. No
one can read the history of their lives without being ennobled by the
contemplation of the fortitude and grandeur of spirit they evinced. To
the young ladies of our land we especially commend the Heroines of the
French Revolution.


 Chapter                                                    Page

    I. LIFE IN MARTINIQUE                                    13

   II. MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE                                 31


   IV. SCENES IN PRISON                                      68

    V. THE RELEASE FROM PRISON                               81

   VI. JOSEPHINE IN ITALY                                   105

  VII. JOSEPHINE AT MALMAISON                               130


   IX. DEVELOPMENTS OF CHARACTER                            171

    X. THE CORONATION                                       198

   XI. JOSEPHINE AN EMPRESS                                 232

  XII. THE DIVORCE AND LAST DAYS                            282



 THE SIBYL                                                   24

 THE WARNING                                                 58

 THE PANTOMIME                                               85

 ISOLA BELLA                                                109

 THE INTERVIEW                                              156

 THE CORONATION                                             224




A.D. 1760-A.D. 1775

Martinique.--Its varied beauties.--Birth of Josephine.--Her parents'
death.--M. Renaudin.--His kind treatment of his slaves.--Gratitude
of the slaves.--Josephine a universal favorite.--Hospitality of M.
Renaudin.--Society at his house.--Early education of Josephine.--Her
accomplishments.--Euphemie.--She becomes Josephine's bosom companion.
--Popularity of Josephine.--Childhood enjoyment.--Characteristic traits.
--The fortune-teller.--Predictions of the sibyl.--Credulity.--More
predictions.--Their fulfillment.--Explanations of the predictions.--
How fulfilled.--Falsity of the prediction.--Contemplated match.--
Attachment between Josephine and William.--Their separation.--Rousseau
throwing stones.--Josephine's superstition.--Mutual fidelity.--Deception
of friends.

The island of Martinique emerges in tropical luxuriance from the bosom
of the Caribbean Sea. A meridian sun causes the whole land to smile in
perennial verdure, and all the gorgeous flowers and luscious fruits
of the torrid zone adorn upland and prairie in boundless profusion.
Mountains, densely wooded, rear their summits sublimely to the skies,
and valleys charm the eye with pictures more beautiful than imagination
can create. Ocean breezes ever sweep these hills and vales, and temper
the heat of a vertical sun. Slaves, whose dusky limbs are scarcely
veiled by the lightest clothing, till the soil, while the white
inhabitants, supported by the indolent labor of these unpaid menials,
loiter away life in listless leisure and in rustic luxury. Far removed
from the dissipating influences of European and American opulence, they
dwell in their secluded island in a state of almost patriarchal

About the year 1760, a young French officer, Captain Joseph Gaspard
Tascher, accompanied his regiment of horse to this island. While here on
professional duty, he became attached to a young lady from France, whose
parents, formerly opulent, in consequence of the loss of property, had
moved to the West Indies to retrieve their fortunes. But little is known
respecting Mademoiselle de Sanois, this young lady, who was soon married
to M. Tascher. Josephine was the only child born of this union. In
consequence of the early death of her mother, she was, while an infant,
intrusted to the care of her aunt. Her father soon after died, and the
little orphan appears never to have known a father's or a mother's love.

Madame Renaudin, the kind aunt, who now, with maternal affection, took
charge of the helpless infant, was a lady of wealth, and of great
benevolence of character. Her husband was the owner of several estates,
and lived surrounded by all that plain and rustic profusion which
characterizes the abode of the wealthy planter. His large possessions,
and his energy of character, gave him a wide influence over the island.
He was remarkable for his humane treatment of his slaves, and for the
successful manner with which he conducted the affairs of his

The general condition of the slaves of Martinique at this time was very
deplorable; but on the plantations of M. Renaudin there was as perfect
a state of contentment and of happiness as is consistent with the
deplorable institution of slavery. The slaves, many of them but recently
torn from their homes in Africa, were necessarily ignorant, degraded,
and superstitious. They knew nothing of those more elevated and refined
enjoyments which the cultivated mind so highly appreciates, but which
are so often also connected with the most exquisite suffering.
Josephine, in subsequent life, gave a very vivid description of the
wretchedness of the slaves in general, and also of the peace and harmony
which, in striking contrast, cheered the estates of her uncle. When the
days' tasks were done, the negroes, constitutionally light-hearted and
merry, gathered around their cabins with songs and dances, often
prolonged late into the hours of the night. They had never known any
thing better than their present lot. They compared their condition with
that of the slaves on the adjoining plantations, and exulted in view of
their own enjoyments. M. and Madame Renaudin often visited their cabins,
spoke words of kindness to them in their hours of sickness and sorrow,
encouraged the formation of pure attachments and honorable marriage
among the young, and took a lively interest in their sports. The slaves
loved their kind master and mistress most sincerely, and manifested
their affection in a thousand simple ways which touched the heart.

Josephine imbibed from infancy the spirit of her uncle and aunt. She
always spoke to the slaves in tones of kindness, and became a universal
favorite with all upon the plantations. She had no playmates but the
little negroes and she united with them freely in all their sports.
Still, these little ebon children of bondage evidently looked up to
Josephine as to a superior being. She was the queen around whom they
circled in affectionate homage. The instinctive faculty, which Josephine
displayed through life, of winning the most ardent love of all who
met her, while, at the same time, she was protected from any undue
familiarity, she seems to have possessed even at that early day. The
children, who were her companions in all the sports of childhood, were
also dutiful subjects ever ready to be obedient to her will.

The social position of M. Renaudin, as one of the most opulent and
influential gentlemen of Martinique, necessarily attracted to his
hospitable residence much refined and cultivated society. Strangers from
Europe visiting the island, planters of intellectual tastes, and ladies
of polished manners, met a cordial welcome beneath the spacious roof of
this abode, where all abundance was to be found. Madame Renaudin had
passed her early years in Paris, and her manners were embellished with
that elegance and refinement which have given to Parisian society such a
world-wide celebrity. There was, at that period, much more intercourse
between the mother country and the colonies than at the present day.
Thus Josephine, though reared in a provincial home, was accustomed, from
infancy, to associate with gentlemen and ladies who were familiar with
the etiquette of the highest rank in society, and whose conversation was
intellectual and improving.

It at first view seems difficult to account for the high degree of
mental culture which Josephine displayed, when, seated by the side of
Napoleon, she was the Empress of France. Her remarks, her letters, her
conversational elegance, gave indication of a mind thoroughly furnished
with information and trained by severe discipline. And yet, from all the
glimpses we can catch of her early education, it would seem that, with
the exception of the accomplishments of music, dancing, and drawing, she
was left very much to the guidance of her own instinctive tastes.
But, like Madame Roland, she was blessed with that peculiar mental
constitution, which led her, of her own accord, to treasure up all
knowledge which books or conversation brought within her reach. From
childhood until the hour of her death, she was ever improving her mind
by careful observation and studious reading. She played upon the harp
with great skill, and sang with a voice of exquisite melody. She also
read with a correctness of elocution and a fervor of feeling which ever
attracted admiration. The morning of her childhood was indeed bright and
sunny, and her gladdened heart became so habituated to joyousness, that
her cheerful spirit seldom failed her even in the darkest days of her
calamity. Her passionate love for flowers had interested her deeply in
the study of botany, and she also became very skillful in embroidery,
that accomplishment which was once deemed an essential part of the
education of every lady.

Under such influences Josephine became a child of such grace, beauty,
and loveliness of character as to attract the attention and the
admiration of all who saw her. There was an affectionateness,
simplicity, and frankness in her manners which won all hearts. Her most
intimate companion in these early years was a young mulatto girl, the
daughter of a slave, and report said, with how much truth it is
impossible to know, that she was also the daughter of Captain Tascher
before his marriage. Her name was Euphemie. She was a year or two older
than Josephine, but she attached herself with deathless affection to her
patroness; and, though Josephine made her a companion and a confidante,
she gradually passed, even in these early years, into the position of a
maid of honor, and clung devotedly to her mistress through all the
changes of subsequent life. Josephine, at this time secluded from all
companionship with young ladies of her own rank and age, made this
humble but active-minded and intelligent girl her bosom companion. They
rambled together, the youthful mistress and her maid, in perfect
harmony. From Josephine's more highly-cultivated mind the lowly-born
child derived intellectual stimulus, and thus each day became a more
worthy and congenial associate. As years passed on, and Josephine
ascended into higher regions of splendor, her humble attendant gradually
retired into more obscure positions, though she was ever regarded by her
true-hearted mistress with great kindness.

Josephine was a universal favorite with all the little negro girls of
the plantation. They looked up to her as to a protectress whom they
loved, and to whom they owed entire homage. She would frequently collect
a group of them under the shade of the luxuriant trees of that tropical
island, and teach them the dances which she had learned, and also join
with them as a partner. She loved to assemble them around her, and
listen to those simple negro melodies which penetrate every heart which
can feel the power of music. Again, all their voices, in sweet harmony,
blended with hers as she taught them the more scientific songs of
Europe. She would listen with unaffected interest to their tales of
sorrow, and weep with them. Often she interposed in their behalf that
their tasks might be lightened, or that a play-day might be allowed
them. Thus she was as much beloved and admired in the cabin of the
poor negro as she was in her uncle's parlor, where intelligence and
refinement were assembled. This same character she displayed through the
whole of her career. Josephine upon the plantation and Josephine upon
the throne--Josephine surrounded by the sable maidens of Martinique, and
Josephine moving in queenly splendor in the palaces of Versailles, with
all the courtiers of Europe revolving around her, displayed the same
traits of character, and by her unaffected kindness won the hearts alike
of the lowly and of the exalted.

About this time an occurrence took place which has attracted far more
attention than it deserves. Josephine was one day walking under the
shade of the trees of the plantation, when she saw a number of negro
children gathered around an aged and withered negress, who had great
reputation among the slaves as a fortune-teller. Curiosity induced
Josephine to draw near the group to hear what the sorceress had to say.
The old sibyl, with the cunning which is characteristic of her craft, as
soon as she saw Josephine approach, whom she knew perfectly, assumed an
air of great agitation, and, seizing her hand violently, gazed with most
earnest attention upon the lines traced upon the palm. The little
negresses were perfectly awe-stricken by this oracular display.
Josephine, however, was only amused, and smiling, said,

"So you discover something very extraordinary in my destiny?"

"Yes!" replied the negress, with an air of great solemnity.

"Is happiness or misfortune to be my lot?" Josephine inquired.

The negress again gazed upon her hand, and then replied, "Misfortune;"
but, after a moment's pause, she added, "and happiness too."

"You must be careful, my good woman," Josephine rejoined, "not to commit
yourself. Your predictions are not very intelligible."

The negress, raising her eyes with an expression of deep mystery to
heaven, rejoined, "I am not permitted to render my revelations more

In every human heart there is a vein of credulity. The pretended
prophetess had now succeeded in fairly arousing the curiosity of
Josephine, who eagerly inquired, "What do you read respecting me in
futurity? Tell me exactly."

[Illustration: THE SIBYL.]

Again the negress, assuming an air of profound solemnity, said, "You
will not believe me if I reveal to you your strange destiny."

"Yes, indeed, I assure you that I will," Josephine thoughtlessly
replied. "Come, good mother, do tell me what I have to hope and what to

"On your own head be it, then. Listen. You will soon be married. That
union will not be happy. You will become a widow, and then you will be
Queen of France. Some happy years will be yours, but afterward you will
die in a hospital, amid civil commotions."

The old woman then hurried away. Josephine talked a few moments with the
young negroes upon the folly of this pretended fortune-telling, and
leaving them, the affair passed from her mind. In subsequent years, when
toiling through the vicissitudes of her most eventful life, she recalled
the singular coincidence between her destiny and the prediction, and
seemed to consider that the negress, with prophetic vision, had traced
out her wonderful career.

But what is there so extraordinary in this narrative? What maiden ever
consulted a fortune-teller without receiving the agreeable announcement
that she was to wed beauty, and wealth, and rank? It was known
universally, and it was a constant subject of plantation gossip, that
the guardians of Josephine were contemplating a match for her with the
son of a neighboring planter. The negroes did not think him half worthy
of their adored and queenly Josephine. They supposed, however, that the
match was settled. The artful woman was therefore compelled to allow
Josephine to marry _at first_ the undistinguished son of the planter,
with whom she could not be happy. She, however, very considerately lets
the unworthy husband in a short time die, and then Josephine becomes
a queen. This is the old story, which has been repeated to half the
maidens in Christendom. It is not very surprising that in this one case
it should have happened to prove true.

But, unfortunately, our prophetess went a little farther, and predicted
that Josephine would die in a hospital--implying poverty and
abandonment. This part of the prediction proved to be utterly untrue.
Josephine, instead of dying in a hospital, died in the beautiful palace
of Malmaison. Instead of dying in poverty, she was one of the richest
ladies in Europe, receiving an income of some six hundred thousand
dollars a year. The grounds around her palace were embellished with all
the attractions, and her apartments furnished with every luxury which
opulence could provide. Instead of dying in friendlessness and neglect,
the Emperor Alexander of Russia stood at her bed-side; the most
illustrious kings and nobles of Europe crowded her court and did her
homage. And though she was separated from her husband, she still
retained the title of Empress, and was the object of his most sincere
affection and esteem.

Thus this prediction, upon which so much stress has been laid, seems to
vanish in the air. It surely is not a supernatural event that a young
lady, who was told by an aged negress that she would be a queen,
happened actually to become one.

We have alluded to a contemplated match between Josephine and the son of
a neighboring planter. An English family, who had lost property and rank
in the convulsions of those times, had sought a retreat in the island of
Martinique, and were cultivating an adjoining plantation. In this family
there was a very pleasant lad, a son, of nearly the same age with
Josephine. The plantations being near to each other, they were often
companions and playmates. A strong attachment grew up between them. The
parents of William, and the uncle and aunt of Josephine, approved
cordially of this attachment; and were desirous that these youthful
hearts should be united, as soon as the parties should arrive at mature
age. Josephine, in the ingenuous artlessness of her nature, disguised
not in the least her strong affection for William. And his attachment to
her was deep and enduring. The solitude of their lives peculiarly tended
to promote fervor of character.

Matters were in this state, when the father of William received an
intimation from England that, by returning to his own country, he might,
perhaps, regain his lost estates. He immediately prepared to leave the
island with his family. The separation was a severe blow to these
youthful lovers. They wept, and vowed eternal fidelity.

It is not surprising that Josephine should have been in some degree
superstitious. The peculiarity of her life upon the plantation--her
constant converse with the negroes, whose minds were imbued with all the
superstitious notions which they had brought from Africa, united with
those which they had found upon the island, tended to foster those
feelings. Rousseau, the most popular and universally-read French writer
of that day, in his celebrated "Confessions," records with perfect
composure that he was one day sitting in a grove, meditating whether his
soul would probably be saved or lost. He felt that the question was of
the utmost importance. How could he escape from the uncertainty! A
supernatural voice seemed to suggest an appeal to a singular kind of
augury. "I will," said he, "throw this stone at that tree. If I hit the
tree, it shall be a sign that my soul is to be saved. If I miss it, it
shall indicate that I am to be lost." He selected a large tree, took the
precaution of getting very near to it, and threw his stone plump against
the trunk. "After that," says the philosopher, "I never again had a
doubt respecting my salvation."

Josephine resorted to the same kind of augury to ascertain if William,
who had become a student in the University at Oxford, still remained
faithful to her. She not unfrequently attempted to beguile a weary hour
in throwing pebbles at the trees, that she might divine whether William
were then thinking of her. Months, however, passed away, and she
received no tidings from him. Though she had often written, her letters
remained unanswered. Her feelings were the more deeply wounded, since
there were other friends upon the island with whom he kept up a
correspondence; but Josephine never received even a message through

One day, as she was pensively rambling in a grove, where she had often
walked with her absent lover, she found carved upon a tree the names of
William and Josephine. She knew well by whose hand they had been cut,
and, entirely overcome with emotion, she sat down and wept bitterly.
With the point of a knife, and with a trembling hand, she inscribed in
the bark these words, peculiarly characteristic of her depth of feeling,
and of the gentleness of her spirit: "Unhappy William! thou hast
forgotten me!"

William, however, had not forgotten her. Again and again he had written
in terms of the most ardent affection. But the friends of Josephine,
meeting with an opportunity for a match for her which they deemed far
more advantageous, had destroyed these communications, and also had
prevented any of her letters from reaching the hand of William. Thus
each, while cherishing the truest affection, deemed the other faithless.



A.D. 1775-A.D. 1785

Alexander de Beauharnais.--His character.--A new suitor.--Motives
for the marriage.--The announcement.--Feelings of Josephine.--Zeal
of M. Beauharnais.--The engagement.--Departure from Martinique.--
Parting scenes.--Josephine's arrival in France.--Her interview with
William.--Explanation of William.--Distress of Josephine.--Josephine
retires to a convent.--She marries the Viscount Beauharnais.--
Fashionable life.--Josephine is introduced at court.--Maria Antoinette
and Josephine.--French philosophy.--Infidelity of Beauharnais.--Birth
of a daughter.--Birth of a son.--An arch deceiver.--Josephine betrayed.
--Application for a divorce.--Josephine triumphant.--Visit to
Versailles.--Interview with Maria Antoinette.--Kindness of the
queen.--Josephine embarks for Martinique.--Hours of despondency.--
Josephine arrives at Martinique.--Her kind reception.

Josephine was about fourteen years of age when she was separated from
William. A year passed away, during which she received not a line from
her absent friend. About this time a gentleman from France visited
her uncle upon business of great importance. Viscount Alexander de
Beauharnais was a fashionable and gallant young man, about thirty years
of age, possessing much conversational ease and grace of manner, and
accustomed to the most polished society of the French metropolis. He
held a commission in the army, and had already signalized himself by
several acts of bravery. His sympathies had been strongly aroused by the
struggle of the American colonists with the mother country, and he had
already aided the colonists both with his sword and his purse.

Several large and valuable estates in Martinique, adjoining the
plantation of M. Renaudin, had fallen by inheritance to this young
officer and his brother, the Marquis of Beauharnais. He visited
Martinique to secure the proof of his title to these estates. M.
Renaudin held some of these plantations on lease. In the transaction
of this business, Beauharnais spent much time at the mansion of M.
Renaudin. He, of course, saw much of the beautiful Josephine, and was
fascinated with her grace, and her mental and physical loveliness.

The uncle and aunt of Josephine were delighted to perceive the interest
which their niece had awakened in the bosom of the interesting stranger.
His graceful figure, his accomplished person, his military celebrity,
his social rank, and his large fortune, all conspired to dazzle their
eyes, and to lead them to do every thing in their power to promote a
match apparently so eligible. The ambition of M. Renaudin was moved at
the thought of conferring upon his niece, the prospective heiress of
his own fortune, an estate so magnificent as the united inheritance.
Josephine, however, had not yet forgotten William, and, though
interested in her uncle's guest, for some time allowed no emotion of
love to flow out toward him.

One morning Josephine was sitting in the library in pensive musings,
when her uncle came into the room to open to her the subject of her
contemplated marriage with M. Beauharnais. Josephine was thunderstruck
at the communication, for, according to the invariable custom of the
times, she knew that she could have but little voice in the choice of
a partner for life. For a short time she listened in silence to his
proposals, and then said, with tears in her eyes,

"Dear uncle, I implore you to remember that my affections are fixed upon
William. I have been solemnly promised to him."

"That is utterly impossible, my child," her uncle replied.
"Circumstances are changed. All our hopes are centered in you. You must
obey our wishes."

"And why," said she, "have you changed your intentions in reference to

Her uncle replied: "You will receive by inheritance all my estate. M.
Beauharnais possesses the rich estates adjoining. Your union unites the
property. M. Beauharnais is every thing which can be desired in a
husband. Besides, William appears to have forgotten you."

To this last remark Josephine could make no reply. She looked sadly upon
the floor and was silent. It is said that her uncle had then in his
possession several letters which William had written her, replete with
the most earnest spirit of constancy and affection.

Josephine, but fifteen years of age, could not, under these
circumstances, resist the influences now brought to bear upon her.
M. Beauharnais was a gentleman of fascinating accomplishments. The
reluctance of Josephine to become his bride but stimulated his zeal to
obtain her. In the seclusion of the plantation, and far removed from
other society, she was necessarily with him nearly at all hours. They
read together, rode on horseback side by side, rambled in the groves in
pleasant companionship. They floated by moonlight upon the water,
breathing the balmy air of that delicious clime, and uniting their
voices in song, the measure being timed with the dipping of the oars by
the negroes. The friends of Josephine were importunate for the match. At
last, reluctantly she gave her consent. Having done this, she allowed
her affections, unrestrained, to repose upon her betrothed. Though her
heart still clung to William, she thought that he had found other
friends in England, in whose pleasant companionship he had lost all
remembrance of the island maiden who had won his early love.

Alexander Beauharnais, soon after his engagement to Josephine, embarked
for France. Arrangements had been made for Josephine, in the course of a
few months, to follow him, upon a visit to a relative in Paris, and
there the nuptials were to be consummated. Josephine was now fifteen
years of age. She was attached to Beauharnais, but not with that fervor
of feeling which had previously agitated her heart. She often thought of
William and spoke of him, and at times had misgivings lest there might
be some explanation of his silence. But months had passed on, and she
had received no letter or message from him.

At length the hour for her departure from the island arrived. With
tearful eyes and a saddened heart she left the land of her birth, and
the scenes endeared to her by all the recollections of childhood. Groups
of negroes, from the tottering infant to the aged man of gray hairs,
surrounded her with weeping and loud lamentation. Josephine hastened
on board, the ship got under way, and soon the island of Martinique
disappeared beneath the watery horizon. Josephine sat upon the deck in
perfect silence, watching the dim outline of her beloved home till it
was lost to sight. Her young heart was full of anxiety, of tenderness,
and of regrets. Little, however, could she imagine the career of
strange vicissitudes upon which she was about to enter.

The voyage was long and tempestuous. Storms pursued them all the way. At
one time the ship was dismasted and came near foundering. At length the
welcome cry of "Land" was heard, and Josephine, an unknown orphan child
of fifteen, placed her feet upon the shores of France, that country over
which she was soon to reign the most renowned empress. She hastened to
Fontainebleau, and was there met by Alexander Beauharnais. He received
her with great fondness, and was assiduous in bestowing upon her the
most flattering attentions. But Josephine had hardly arrived at
Fontainebleau before she heard that William and his father were also
residing at that place. Her whole frame trembled like an aspen leaf, and
her heart sunk within her as she received the intelligence. All her
long-cherished affection for the companion of her childhood was revived,
and still she knew not but that William was faithless. He, however,
immediately called, with his father, to see her. The interview was most
embarrassing, for each loved the other intensely, and each had reason to
believe that the other had proved untrue. The next day William called
alone; Josephine, the betrothed bride of Beauharnais, prudently declined
seeing him. He then wrote her a letter, which he bribed a servant to
place in her hands, full of protestations of love, stating how he had
written to her, and passionately inquiring why she turned so coldly from

Josephine read the letter with a bursting heart. She now saw how she had
been deceived. She now was convinced that William had proved faithful to
her, notwithstanding he had so much reason to believe that she had been
untrue to him. But what could she do? She was but fifteen years of age.
She was surrounded only by those who were determined that she should
marry Alexander Beauharnais. She was told that the friends of William
had decided unalterably that he should marry an English heiress, and
that the fortunes of his father's family were dependent upon that
alliance. The servant who had been the bearer of William's epistle was
dismissed, and the other servants were commanded not to allow him to
enter the house.

The agitation of Josephine's heart was such that for some time she was
unable to leave her bed. She entreated her friends to allow her for a
few months to retire to a convent, that she might, in solitary thought
and prayer, regain composure. Her friends consented to this arrangement,
and she took refuge in the convent at Panthemont. Here she spent a few
months in inexpressible gloom. William made many unavailing efforts to
obtain an interview, and at last, in despair, reluctantly received the
wealthy bride, through whom he secured an immense inheritance, and with
whom he passed an unloving life.

The Viscount Beauharnais often called to see her, and was permitted to
converse with her at the gate of her window. In the simplicity of her
heart, she told her friends at the convent of her attachment for
William; how they had been reared together, and how they had loved from
childhood. She felt that it was a cruel fate which separated them, but a
fate before which each must inevitably bow. At last she calmly made up
her mind to comply with the wishes of her friends, and to surrender
herself to the Viscount Beauharnais. There was much in the person and
character of Beauharnais to render him very attractive, and she soon
became sincerely, though never passionately, attached to him.

Josephine was sixteen years of age when she was married. Her social
position was in the midst of the most expensive and fashionable society
of Paris. She was immediately involved in all the excitements of
parties, and balls, and gorgeous entertainments. Her beauty, her grace,
her amiability, and her peculiarly musical voice, which fell like a
charm upon every ear, excited great admiration and not a little envy.
It was a dangerous scene into which to introduce the artless and
inexperienced Creole girl, and she was not a little dazzled by the
splendor with which she was surrounded. Every thing that could minister
to convenience, or that could gratify taste, was lavished profusely
around her. For a time she was bewildered by the novelty of her
situation. But soon she became weary of the heartless pageantry of
fashionable life, and sighed for the tranquil enjoyments of her island

Her husband, proud of her beauty and accomplishments, introduced her at
court. Maria Antoinette, who had then just ascended the throne, and was
in the brilliance of her youth, and beauty, and early popularity, was
charmed with the West Indian bride, and received her without the
formality of a public presentation. When these two young brides met in
the regal palace of Versailles--the one a daughter of Maria Theresa and
a descendant of the Cæsars, who had come from the court of Austria to
be not only the queen, but the brightest ornament of the court of
France--the other the child of a planter, born upon an obscure island,
reared in the midst of negresses, as almost her only companions--little
did they imagine that Maria Antoinette was to go down, down, down to the
lowest state of ignominy and woe, while Josephine was to ascend to more
and more exalted stations, until she should sit upon a throne more
glorious than the Cæsars ever knew.

French philosophy had at this time undermined the religion of Jesus
Christ. All that is sacred in the domestic relations was withering
beneath the blight of infidelity. Beauharnais, a man of fashion and of
the world, had imbibed, to the full, the sentiments which disgraced the
age. Marriage was deemed a partnership, to be formed or dissolved at
pleasure. Fidelity to the nuptial tie was the jest of philosophers
and witlings. Josephine had soon the mortification of seeing a
proud, beautiful, and artful woman taking her place, and openly and
triumphantly claiming the attentions and the affections of her husband.
This woman, high in rank, loved to torture her poor victim. "Your dear
Alexander," she said to Josephine, "daily lavishes upon others the
tribute of attachment which you think he reserves solely for you." She
could not bear to see the beautiful and virtuous Josephine happy, as the
honored wife of her guilty lover, and she resolved, if possible, to sow
the seeds of jealousy so effectually between them as to secure a

In the year 1780 Josephine gave birth to her daughter Hortense. This
event seemed for a time to draw back the wandering affections of
Beauharnais. He was really proud of his wife. He admired her beauty and
her grace. He doted upon his infant daughter. But he was an infidel. He
recognized no law of God, commanding purity of heart and life, and he
contended that Josephine had no right to complain, as long as he treated
her kindly, if he did indulge in the waywardness of passion.

The path of Josephine was now, indeed, shrouded in gloom, and each day
seemed to grow darker and darker. Hortense became her idol and her only
comfort. Her husband lavished upon her those luxuries which his wealth
enabled him to grant. He was kind to her in words and in all the
ordinary courtesies of intercourse. But Josephine's heart was well-nigh
broken. A few years of conflict passed slowly away, when she gave birth,
in the year 1783, to her son Eugene. In the society of her children the
unhappy mother found now her only solace.

While the Viscount Beauharnais was ready to defend his own conduct, he
was by no means willing that his wife should govern herself by the same
principles of fashionable philosophy. The code infidel is got up for the
especial benefit of dissolute _men_; their _wives_ must be governed
by another code. The artful woman, who was the prime agent in these
difficulties, affected great sympathy with Josephine in her sorrows,
protested her own entire innocence, but assured her that M. Beauharnais
was an ingrate, entirely unworthy of her affections. She deceived
Josephine, hoarded up the confidence of her stricken heart, and
conversed with her about _William_, the memory of whose faithful love
now came with new freshness to the disconsolate wife.

Josephine, lured by her, wrote a letter to her friends in Martinique,
in which she imprudently said, "Were it not for my children, I should
without a pang, renounce France forever. My duty requires me to forget
William; and yet if _we_ had been united together, I should not to-day
have been troubling you with my griefs."

The woman who instigated her to write this letter was infamous enough
to obtain it by stealth and show it to Beauharnais. His jealousy and
indignation were immediately aroused to the highest pitch. He was led by
this malicious deceiver to believe that Josephine had obtained secret
interviews with William, and the notoriously unfaithful husband was
exasperated to the highest degree at the very suspicion of the want of
fidelity in his wife. He reproached her in language of the utmost
severity, took Eugene from her, and resolved to endeavor, by legal
process, to obtain an entire divorce. She implored him, for the sake of
her children, not to proclaim their difficulties to the world. He,
however, reckless of consequences, made application to the courts for
the annulment of the matrimonial bond. Josephine was now compelled
to defend her own character. She again retired with Hortense to the
convent, and there, through dreary months of solitude, and silence, and
dejection, awaited the result of the trial upon which her reputation as
a virtuous woman was staked. The decree of the court was triumphantly
in her favor, and Josephine returned to her friends to receive their
congratulations, but impressed with the conviction that earth had no
longer a joy in store for her. Her friends did all in their power to
cheer her desponding spirit; but the wound she had received was too deep
to be speedily healed. One day her friends, to divert her mind from
brooding over irreparable sorrows, took her, almost by violence, to
Versailles. They passed over the enchanting grounds, and through the
gorgeously-furnished apartments of the Great and Little Trianon, the
favorite haunts of Maria Antoinette. Here the beautiful Queen of France
was accustomed to lay aside the pageantry of royalty, and to enjoy,
without restraint, the society of those who were dear to her. Days of
darkness and trouble had already begun to darken around her path. As
Josephine was looking at some of the works of art, she was greatly
surprised at the entrance of the queen, surrounded by several ladies
of her court. Maria Antoinette immediately recognized Josephine, and
with that air of affability and kindness which ever characterized her
conduct, she approached her, and, with one of her winning smiles, said,
"Madame Beauharnais, I am very happy to see you at the two Trianons. You
well know how to appreciate their beauties. I should be much pleased to
learn what objects you consider most interesting. I shall always receive
you with pleasure."

These words from the queen were an unspeakable solace to Josephine. Her
afflicted heart needed the consolation. The queen was acquainted with
her trials, and thus nobly assured her of her sympathy and her
confidence. In a few days Maria Antoinette invited Josephine to a
private interview. She addressed her in words of the utmost kindness,
promised to watch over the interests of her son, and at the same time,
as a mark of her especial regard, she took from her neck an antique
ornament of precious stones, and passed it over the neck of Josephine.
The king also himself came in at the interview, for his heart had been
softened by sorrow, and addressed words of consolation to the injured
and discarded wife.

Josephine now received letters from Martinique earnestly entreating her
to return, with her children, to the home of her childhood. World-weary,
she immediately resolved to accept the invitation. But the thought of
crossing the wide ocean, and leaving her son Eugene behind, was a
severe pang to a mother's heart. Eugene had been taken from her and sent
to a boarding-school. Josephine felt so deeply the pang of separation
from her beloved child, that she obtained an interview with M.
Beauharnais, and implored him to allow her to take Eugene with her. He
gave a cold and positive refusal.

A few days after this, Josephine, cruelly separated from her husband and
bereaved of her son, embarked with Hortense for Martinique. She strove
to maintain that aspect of cheerfulness and of dignity which an injured
but innocent woman is entitled to exhibit. When dark hours of
despondency overshadowed her, she tried to console herself with the
beautiful thought of Plautus: "If we support adversity with courage, we
shall have a keener relish for returning prosperity." It does not appear
that she had any refuge in the consolations of religion. She had a vague
and general idea of the goodness of a superintending Providence, but she
was apparently a stranger to those warm and glowing revelations of
Christianity which introduce us to a sympathizing Savior, a guiding and
consoling Spirit, a loving and forgiving Father. Could she then, by
faith, have reposed her aching head upon the bosom of her heavenly
Father, she might have found a solace such as nothing else could confer.
But at this time nearly every mind in France was more or less darkened
by the glooms of infidelity.

The winds soon drove her frail bark across the Atlantic, and Josephine,
pale and sorrow-stricken, was clasped in the arms and folded to the
hearts of those who truly loved her. The affectionate negroes gathered
around her, with loud demonstrations of their sympathy and their joy in
again meeting their mistress. Here, amid the quiet scenes endeared to
her by the recollections of childhood, she found a temporary respite
from those storms by which she had been so severely tossed upon life's
wild and tempestuous ocean.



A.D. 1786-A.D. 1793

Sadness of Josephine.--Dissipation of Beauharnais.--Repentance of
Beauharnais.--Josephine returns to France.--The jewels.--Anecdote of the
old shoes.--Hortense without shoes.--The kind old sailor.--The shoes
made.--Eventful life of Hortense.--Marriage of Hortense.--Queen of
Holland.--Death of Hortense.--Meeting of Josephine and Beauharnais.--
Influential character of Beauharnais.--Jacobins and Girondists.--The
Jacobins triumphant.--Fearful commotions.--The warning.--Alarm of
Josephine.--Beauharnais proudly refuses to attempt an escape.--
Entreaties of Josephine.--Arrest of Beauharnais.--Beneficence of
Josephine.--The children deceived.--Indiscretions.--Arrest of
Josephine.--Josephine takes leave of her sleeping children.--A mother's
tears.--Brutality of the soldiers.--Josephine dragged to the
Carmelites.--Forlorn condition of the children.--They find a
protector.--Gloomy forebodings of Beauharnais and Josephine.

Josephine remained in Martinique three years. She passed her time in
tranquil sadness, engaged in reading, in educating Hortense, and in
unwearied acts of kindness to those around her. Like all noble minds,
she had a great fondness for the beauties of nature. The luxuriant
groves of the tropics, the serene skies which overarched her head, the
gentle zephyrs which breathed through orange groves, all were congenial
with her pensive spirit. The thought of Eugene, her beautiful boy, so
far from her, preyed deeply upon her heart. Often she retired alone to
some of those lonely walks which she loved so well, and wept over her
alienated husband and her lost child.

M. Beauharnais surrendered himself for a time, without restraint, to
every indulgence. He tried, in the society of sin and shame, to forget
his wife and his absent daughter. He, however, soon found that no friend
can take the place of a virtuous and an affectionate wife. The memory
of Josephine's gentleness, and tenderness, and love came flooding back
upon his heart. He became fully convinced of his injustice to her, and
earnestly desired to have her restored again to him and to his home. He
sent communications to Josephine, expressive of his deep regret for the
past, promising amendment for the future, assuring her of his high
appreciation of her elevated and honorable character, and imploring her
to return with Hortense, thus to reunite the divided and sorrow-stricken
household. It was indeed a gratification to Josephine to receive from
her husband the acknowledgment that she had never ceased to deserve his
confidence. The thought of again pressing Eugene to her bosom filled a
mother's heart with rapture. Still, the griefs which had weighed upon
her were so heavy, that she confessed to her friends that, were it not
for the love which she bore Eugene, she would greatly prefer to spend
the remnant of her days upon her favorite island. Her friends did every
thing in their power to dissuade her from leaving Martinique. But a
mother's undying love triumphed, and again she embarked for France.

In subsequent years, when surrounded by all the splendors of royalty,
she related to some of the ladies of her court, with that unaffected
simplicity which ever marked her character, the following incident,
which occurred during this voyage. The ladies were admiring some
brilliant jewels which were spread out before them. Josephine said to
them, "My young friends, believe me, splendor does not constitute
happiness. I at one time received greater enjoyment from the gift of a
pair of old shoes than all these diamonds have ever afforded me." The
curiosity of her auditors was, of course, greatly excited, and they
entreated her to explain her meaning.

"Yes, young ladies," Josephine continued, "of all the presents I ever
received, the one which gave me the greatest pleasure was _a pair of old
shoes, and those, too, of coarse leather_. When I last returned to
France from Martinique, having separated from my first husband, I was
far from rich. The passage-money exhausted my resources, and it was not
without difficulty that I obtained the indispensable requisites for our
voyage. Hortense, obliging and lively, performing with much agility
the dances of the negroes, and singing their songs with surprising
correctness, greatly amused the sailors, who, from being her constant
play-fellows, had become her favorite society. An old sailor became
particularly attached to the child, and she doted upon the old man. What
with running, leaping, and walking, my daughter's slight shoes were
fairly worn out. Knowing that she had not another pair, and fearing I
would forbid her going upon deck, should this defect in her attire be
discovered, Hortense carefully concealed the disaster. One day I
experienced the distress of seeing her return from the deck leaving
every foot-mark in blood. When examining how matters stood, I found her
shoes literally in tatters, and her feet dreadfully torn by a nail. We
were as yet not more than half way across the ocean, and it seemed
impossible to procure another pair of shoes. I felt quite overcome at
the idea of the sorrow my poor Hortense would suffer, as also at the
danger to which her health might be exposed by confinement in my
miserable little cabin. At this moment our good friend, the old sailor,
entered and inquired the cause of our distress. Hortense, sobbing all
the while, eagerly informed him that she could no more go upon deck,
for her shoes were worn out, and mamma had no others to give her.
'Nonsense,' said the worthy seaman, 'is that all? I have an old pair
somewhere in my chest; I will go and seek them. You, madam, can cut
them to shape, and I will splice them up as well as need be.' Without
waiting for a reply, away hastened the kind sailor in search of his old
shoes; these he soon after brought to us with a triumphant air, and they
were received by Hortense with demonstrations of the most lively joy. We
set to work with all zeal, and before the day closed my daughter could
resume her delightful duties of supplying their evening's diversion
to the crew. I again repeat, never was present received with greater
thankfulness. It has since often been matter of self-reproach that I did
not particularly inquire into the name and history of our benefactor. It
would have been gratifying for me to have done something for him when
afterward means were in my power."

Poor Hortense! most wonderful were the vicissitudes of her checkered
and joyless life. We here meet her, almost an infant, in poverty and
obscurity. The mother and child arrive in Paris on the morning of that
Reign of Terror, the story of which has made the ear of humanity to
tingle. Hortense is deprived of both her parents, and is left in
friendlessness and beggary in the streets of Paris. A charitable
neighbor cherished and fed her. Her mother is liberated, and married to
Napoleon; and Hortense, as daughter of the emperor, is surrounded with
dazzling splendor, such as earth has seldom witnessed. We now meet
Hortense, radiant in youthful beauty, one of the most admired and
courted in the midst of the glittering throng, which, like a fairy
vision, dazzles all eyes in the gorgeous apartments of Versailles and
St. Cloud. Her person is adorned with the most costly fabrics and the
most brilliant gems which Europe can afford. The nobles and princes of
the proudest courts vie with each other for the honor of her hand. She
is led to her sumptuous bridals by Louis Bonaparte, brother of the
emperor; becomes the spouse of a king, and takes her seat upon the
throne of Holland. But in the midst of all this external splendor she
is wretched at heart. Not one congenial feeling unites her with
the companion to whom she is bound. Louis, weary of regal pomp and
constraint, abdicates the throne, and Hortense becomes unendurably weary
of her pensive and unambitious spouse. They agree to separate; each to
journey along, unattended by the other, the remainder of life's
pilgrimage. Hortense seeks a joyless refuge in a secluded castle, in
one of the most retired valleys of Switzerland. The tornado of
counter-revolution sweeps over Europe, and all her exalted friends and
towering hopes are prostrated in the dust. Lingering years of
disappointment and sadness pass over her, and old age, with its
infirmities, places her upon a dying bed. One only child, Louis
Napoleon, since President of the French Republic, the victim of
corroding ambition and ceaselessly-gnawing discontent, stands at her
bed-side to close her eyes, and to follow her, a solitary and lonely
mourner, to the grave. The dream of life has passed. The shadow has
vanished away. Who can fathom the mystery of the creation of such a

Josephine arrived in France. She was received most cordially by her
husband. Sorrowful experience had taught him the value of a home, and
the worth of a pure and a sanctified love. Josephine again folded her
idolized Eugene in her arms, and the anguish of past years was forgotten
in the blissful enjoyments of a reunited family. These bright and happy
days were, however, soon again clouded. The French Revolution was now in
full career. The king and queen were in prison. All law was prostrate.
M. Beauharnais, at the commencement of the Revolution, had most
cordially espoused the cause of popular liberty. He stood by the side
of La Fayette a companion and a supporter. His commanding character
gave him great influence. He was elected a deputy to the Constituent
Assembly, and took an active part in its proceedings. Upon the
dissolution of this Assembly, or States-General, as it was also called,
as by vote none of its members were immediately re-eligible, he retired
again to the army; but when the second or Legislative Assembly was
dissolved and the National Convention was formed, he was returned as a
member, and at two successive sessions was elected its president.

The people, having obtained an entire victory over monarchy and
aristocracy, beheaded the king and queen, and drove the nobles from the
realm. France was now divided into two great parties. The Jacobins were
so called from an old cloister in which they at first held their
meetings. All of the lowest, most vicious, and the reckless of the
nation belonged to this party. They seemed disposed to overthrow
all law, human and divine. Marat, Danton, and Robespierre were the
blood-stained leaders of this wild and furious faction. The Girondists,
their opponents, were so called from the department of the Gironde,
from which most of the leaders of this party came. They wished for a
republic like that of the United States, where there should be the
protection of life, and property, and liberty, with healthy laws
sacredly enforced.

The conflict between the two parties was long and terrible. The Jacobins
gained the victory, and the Girondists were led to the guillotine. M.
Beauharnais was an active member of the Girondist party, of which Madame
Roland was the soul, and he perished with them. Many of the Girondists
sought safety in concealment and retreat. M. Beauharnais, conscious of
his political integrity, proudly refused to save his life by turning his
back upon his foes.

One morning Josephine was sitting in her parlor, in a state of great
anxiety in reference to the fearful commotion of the times, when a
servant announced that some one wished to speak to her. A young man of
very gentle and prepossessing appearance was introduced, with a bag in
his hand, in which were several pairs of shoes.

"Citizen," said the man to Josephine, "I understand that you want socks
of plum gray."

[Illustration: THE WARNING.]

Josephine looked up in surprise, hardly comprehending his meaning,
when he approached nearer to her, and, in an under tone, whispered,
"I have something to impart to you, madame."

"Explain yourself," she eagerly replied, much alarmed; "my servant is

"Ah!" he exclaimed, "my life is at stake in this matter."

"Go, Victorine," said Josephine to her servant, "and call my husband."

As soon as they were alone, the young man said, "There is not a moment
to lose if you would save M. Beauharnais. The Revolutionary Committee
last night passed a resolution to have him arrested, and at this very
moment the warrant is making out."

"How know you this?" she demanded, trembling violently.

"I am one of the committee," was the reply, "and, being a shoemaker, I
thought these shoes would afford me a reasonable pretext for advertising
you, madame."

At this moment M. Beauharnais entered the room, and Josephine, weeping,
threw herself into his arms. "You see my husband," she said to the

"I have the honor of knowing him," was the reply.

M. Beauharnais wished to reward the young man on the spot for his
magnanimous and perilous deed of kindness. The offer was respectfully
but decisively declined. To the earnest entreaties of Josephine and the
young man that he should immediately secure his safety by his flight or
concealment, he replied,

"I will never flee; with what can they charge me? I love liberty. I have
borne arms for the Revolution."

"But you are a noble," the young man rejoined, "and that, in the eye of
the Revolutionists, is a crime--an unpardonable crime. And, moreover,
they accuse you of having been a member of the Constitutional Assembly."

"That," said M. Beauharnais, "is my most honorable title to glory. Who
would not be proud of having proclaimed the rights of the nation, the
fall of despotism, and the reign of laws?"

"What laws!" exclaimed Josephine. "It is in blood they are written."

"Madame," exclaimed the philanthropic young Jacobin, with a tone of
severity, "when the tree of liberty is planted in an unfriendly soil,
it must be watered with the blood of its enemies." Then, turning to M.
Beauharnais, he said, "Within an hour it will no longer be possible to
escape. I wished to save you, because I believe you innocent. Such was
my duty to humanity. But if I am commanded to arrest you--pardon me--I
shall do my duty; and you will acknowledge the patriot."

The young shoemaker withdrew, and Josephine in vain entreated her
husband to attempt his escape. "Whither shall I flee?" he answered. "Is
there a vault, a garret, a hiding-place into which the eye of the tyrant
Robespierre does not penetrate? We must yield. If I am condemned, how
can I escape? If I am not condemned, I have nothing to fear."

About two hours elapsed when three members of the Revolutionary
Committee, accompanied by a band of armed men, broke into the house. The
young shoemaker was one of this committee, and with firmness, but with
much urbanity, he arrested M. Beauharnais. Josephine, as her husband was
led to prison, was left in her desolated home. And she found herself
indeed deserted and alone. No one could then manifest any sympathy with
the proscribed without periling life. Josephine's friends, one by one,
all abandoned her. The young shoemaker alone, who had arrested her
husband, continued secretly to call with words of sympathy.

Josephine made great exertions to obtain the release of her husband, and
was also unwearied in her benefactions to multitudes around her who, in
those days of lawlessness and of anguish, were deprived of property, of
friends, and of home. The only solace she found in her own grief was in
ministering to the consolation of others. Josephine, from the kindest of
motives, but very injudiciously, deceived her children in reference to
their father's arrest, and led them to suppose that he was absent from
home in consequence of ill health. When at last she obtained permission
to visit, with her children, her husband in prison, they detected the
deceit. After returning from the prison after their first interview,
Hortense remarked to her mother that she thought her father's apartment
very small, and the patients very numerous. She appeared for a time very
thoughtful, and then inquired of Eugene, with an anxious expression of

"Do _you_ believe that papa is ill? If he is, it certainly is not the
sickness which the doctors cure."

"What do you mean, my dear child?" asked Josephine. "Can you suppose
that papa and I would contrive between us to deceive you?"

"Pardon me, mamma, but I do think so."

"Why, sister," exclaimed Eugene, "how can you say so?"

"Good parents," she replied, "are unquestionably permitted to deceive
their children when they wish to spare them uneasiness. Is it not so,

Josephine was not a little embarrassed by this detection, and was
compelled to acknowledge that which it was no longer possible to

In the interview which M. Beauharnais held with his wife and his
children, he spoke with some freedom to his children of the injustice of
his imprisonment. This sealed his doom. Listeners, who were placed in an
adjoining room to note down his words, reported the conversation, and
magnified it into a conspiracy for the overthrow of the republic. M.
Beauharnais was immediately placed in close confinement. Josephine
herself was arrested and plunged into prison, and even the terrified
children were rigidly examined by a brutal committee, who, by promises
and by threats, did what they could to extort from them some confession
which would lead to the conviction of their parents.

Josephine, the morning of her arrest, received an anonymous letter,
warning her of her danger. It was at an early hour, and her children
were asleep in their beds. But how could she escape? Where could she go?
Should she leave her children behind her--a mother abandon her children!
Should she take them with her, and thus prevent the possibility of
eluding arrest? Would not her attempt at flight be construed into a
confession of guilt, and thus compromise the safety of her husband?
While distracted with these thoughts, she heard a loud knocking and
clamor at the outer door of the house. She understood too well the
significance of those sounds. With a great effort to retain a tranquil
spirit, she passed into the room where her children were sleeping. As
she fixed her eyes upon them, so sweetly lost in slumber, and thought of
the utter abandonment to which they were doomed, her heart throbbed with
anguish, and tears, of such bitterness as are seldom shed upon earth,
filled her eyes. She bent over her daughter, and imprinted a mother's
farewell kiss upon her forehead. The affectionate child, though asleep,
clasped her arms around her mother's neck, and, speaking the thoughts of
the dream passing through her mind, said "Come to bed. Fear nothing.
They shall not take you away this night. I have prayed to God for you."

The tumult in the outer hall continually increasing, Josephine, fearful
of awaking Hortense and Eugene, cast a last lingering look of love upon
them, and, withdrawing from the chamber, closed the door and entered her
parlor. There she found a band of armed men, headed by the brutal wretch
who had so unfeelingly examined her children. The soldiers were hardened
against every appeal of humanity, and performed their unfeeling office
without any emotion, save that of hatred for one whom they deemed to be
an aristocrat. They seized Josephine rudely, and took possession of all
the property in the house in the name of the Republic. They dragged
their victim to the convent of the Carmelites, and she was immured in
that prison, where, but a few months before, more than eight thousand
had been massacred by the mob of Paris. Even the blackest annals of
religious fanaticism can record no outrages more horrible than those
which rampant infidelity perpetrated in these days of its temporary

When Eugene and Hortense awoke, they found themselves indeed alone in
the wide world. They were informed by a servant of the arrest and the
imprisonment of their mother. The times had long been so troubled, and
the children were so familiar with the recital of such scenes of
violence, that they were prepared to meet these fearful perplexities
with no little degree of discretion. After a few tears, they tried to
summon resolution to act worthily of their father and mother. Hortense,
with that energy of character which she manifested through her whole
life, advised that they should go to the Luxembourg, where their father
was confined, and demand admission to share his imprisonment. Eugene,
with that caution which characterized him when one of the leaders in the
army of Napoleon, and when viceroy of Italy, apprehensive lest thus they
might in some way compromise the safety of their father, recalled to
mind an aged great-aunt, who was residing in much retirement in the
vicinity of Versailles, and suggested the propriety of seeking a refuge
with her. An humble female friend conducted the children to Versailles,
where they were most kindly received.

When the gloom of the ensuing night darkened the city, M. Beauharnais in
his cheerless cell, and Josephine in her prison still stained with the
blood of massacre, wept over the desolation of their home and their
hopes. They knew not the fate of their children, and their minds were
oppressed with the most gloomy forebodings. On the ensuing day,
Josephine's heart was cheered with the tidings of their safety. Such was
the second terrific storm which Josephine encountered on life's dark



A.D. 1794

Convent of the Carmelites.--Quality of the prisoners.--Cheerfulness
of Josephine.--Reading the daily journal.--Scenes from the prison
windows.--Anecdote of Hortense.--Letter from Josephine to Hortense.--
Mitigation of severity.--Josephine appeals to the Committee.--She is
summoned to trial.--The unexpected interview.--Feeling manifested
by Beauharnais.--Trial of M. Beauharnais and Josephine.--Hopes
cherished.--Beauharnais's last letter to Josephine.--Brutality of
the executioners.--Removal of the guillotine.--Execution of M.
Beauharnais.--Josephine becomes informed thereof.--Her grief.--Her
despair.--Preparations for the execution of Josephine.--She becomes
cheerful.--Credulity of Josephine.--The unexpected deliverance.--A
miraculous change.--Deliverance to the captives.

The Convent of the Carmelites, in which Josephine was imprisoned, had
acquired a fearful celebrity during the Reign of Terror. It was a vast
and gloomy pile, so capacious in its halls, its chapel, its cells, and
its subterranean dungeons, that at one time nearly ten thousand
prisoners were immured within its frowning walls. In every part of the
building the floors were still deeply stained with the blood of the
recent massacres. The infuriated men and women, intoxicated with rum and
rage, who had broken into the prison, dragged multitudes of their
victims, many of whom were priests, into the chapel, that they might, in
derision of religion, poniard them before the altar. About three hundred
thousand innocent victims of the Revolution now crowded the prisons of
France. These unhappy captives, awaiting the hour of their execution,
were not the ignorant, the debased, the degraded, but the noblest, the
purest, the most refined of the citizens of the republic. Josephine was
placed in the chapel of the convent, where she found one hundred and
sixty men and women as the sharers of her captivity.

The natural buoyancy of her disposition led her to take as cheerful a
view as possible of the calamity in which the family was involved. Being
confident that no serious charge could be brought against her husband,
she clung to the hope that they both would soon be liberated, and that
happy days were again to dawn upon her reunited household. She wrote
cheering letters to her husband and to her children. Her smiling
countenance and words of kindness animated with new courage the
grief-stricken and the despairing who surrounded her. She immediately
became a universal favorite with the inmates of the prison. Her
instinctive tact enabled her to approach all acceptably, whatever their
rank or character. She soon became prominent in influence among the
prisoners, and reigned there, as every where else, over the hearts of
willing subjects. Her composure, her cheerfulness, her clear and
melodious voice, caused her to be selected to read, each day, to the
ladies, the journal of the preceding day. From their windows they could
see, each morning, the carts bearing through the streets their burden
of unhappy victims who were to perish on the scaffold. Not unfrequently
a wife would catch a glimpse of her husband, or a mother of her son,
borne past the grated windows in the cart of the condemned. Who can tell
the fear and anguish with which the catalogue of the guillotined was
read, when each trembling heart apprehended that the next word might
announce that some loved one had perished? Not unfrequently a piercing
shriek, and a fainting form falling lifeless upon the floor, revealed
upon whose heart the blow had fallen.

Hortense, impetuous and unreflecting, was so impatient to see her
mother, that one morning she secretly left her aunt's house, and, in a
market cart, traveled thirty miles to Paris. She found her mother's
maid, Victorine, at the family mansion, where all the property was
sealed up by the revolutionary functionaries. After making unavailing
efforts to obtain an interview with her parents, she returned the next
day to Fontainebleau. Josephine was informed of this imprudent act of
ardent affection, and wrote to her child the following admirable letter:

     "I should be entirely satisfied with the good heart of my
     Hortense were I not displeased with her bad head. How is it,
     my daughter, that, without permission from your aunt, you
     have come to Paris? This was very wrong! But it was to see
     me, you will say. You ought to be aware that no one can see
     me without an order, to obtain which requires both means and
     precautions. And, besides, you got upon M. Dorcet's cart, at
     the risk of incommoding him and retarding the conveyance
     of his merchandise. In all this you have been very
     inconsiderate. My child! observe, it is not sufficient to do
     good; you must also do good properly. At your age, the first
     of all virtues is confidence and docility toward your
     relations. I am therefore obliged to tell you that I prefer
     your tranquil attachment to your misplaced warmth. This,
     however, does not prevent me from embracing you, but less
     tenderly than I shall do when I learn that you have returned
     to your aunt."

There was at this time, for some unknown reason, a little mitigation in
the severity with which the prisoners were treated, and Josephine was
very sanguine in the belief that the hour of their release was at hand.
Emboldened by this hope, she wrote a very earnest appeal to the
Committee of Public Safety, before whom the accusations against M.
Beauharnais would be brought. The sincerity and frankness of the
eloquent address so touched the feelings of the president of the
committee, that he resolved to secure for Josephine and her husband the
indulgence of an interview. The greatest caution was necessary in doing
this, for he periled his own life by the manifestation of any sympathy
for the accused.

The only way in which he could accomplish his benevolent project was to
have them both brought together for trial. Neither of them knew of this
design. One morning Josephine, while dreaming of liberty and of her
children, was startled by the unexpected summons to appear before the
Revolutionary tribunal. She knew that justice had no voice which could
be heard before that merciless and sanguinary court. She knew that the
mockery of a trial was but the precursor of the sentence, which was
immediately followed by the execution. From her high hopes this summons
caused a fearful fall. Thoughts of her husband and her children rushed
in upon her overflowing heart, and the tenderness of the woman for a few
moments triumphed over the heroine. Soon, however, regaining in some
degree her composure, she prepared herself, with as much calmness as
possible, to meet her doom. She was led from her prison to the hall
where the blood-stained tribunal held its session, and, with many
others, was placed in an ante-room, to await her turn for an examination
of a few minutes, upon the issues of which life or death was suspended.
While Josephine was sitting here, in the anguish of suspense, an
opposite door was opened, and some armed soldiers led in a group of
victims from another prison. As Josephine's eye vacantly wandered over
their features, she was startled by the entrance of one whose wan and
haggard features strikingly reminded her of her husband. She looked
again, their eyes met, and husband and wife were instantly locked in
each other's embrace. At this interview, the stoicism of M. Beauharnais
was entirely subdued--the thoughts of the past, of his unworthiness, of
the faithful and generous love of Josephine, rushed in a resistless
flood upon his soul. He leaned his aching head upon the forgiving bosom
of Josephine, and surrendered himself to love, and penitence, and tears.

This brief and painful interview was their last. They never met again.
They were allowed but a few moments together ere the officers came and
dragged M. Beauharnais before the judges. His examination lasted but a
few minutes, when he was remanded back to prison. Nothing was proved
against him. No serious accusation even was laid to his charge. But he
was a noble. He had descended from illustrious ancestors, and therefore,
as an aristocrat, he was doomed to die. Josephine was also conducted
into the presence of this sanguinary tribunal. She was the wife of a
nobleman. She was the friend of Marie Antoinette. She had even received
distinguished attentions at court. These crimes consigned her also to
the guillotine. Josephine was conducted back to her prison, unconscious
of the sentence which had been pronounced against her husband and
herself. She even cherished the sanguine hope that they would soon be
liberated, for she could not think it possible that they could be doomed
to death without even the accusation of crime.

Each evening there was brought into the prison a list of the names of
those who were to be led to the guillotine on the ensuing morning. A
few days after the trial, on the evening of the 24th of July, 1794,
M. Beauharnais found his name with the proscribed who were to be led
to the scaffold with the light of the next day. Love for his wife and
his children rendered life too precious to him to be surrendered
without anguish. But sorrow had subdued his heart, and led him with
prayerfulness to look to God for strength to meet the trial. The native
dignity of his character also nerved him to meet his fate with

He sat down calmly in his cell, and wrote a long, affectionate, and
touching letter to his wife. He assured her of his most heartfelt
appreciation of the purity and nobleness of her character, and of her
priceless worth as a wife and a mother. He thanked her again and again
for the generous spirit with which she forgave his offenses, when, weary
and contrite, he returned from his guilty wanderings, and anew sought
her love. He implored her to cherish in the hearts of his children the
memory of their father, that, though dead, he might still live in their
affections. While he was writing, the executioners came in to cut off
his long hair, that the ax might do its work unimpeded. Picking up a
small lock from the floor, he wished to transmit it to his wife as his
last legacy. The brutal executioners forbade him the privilege. He,
however, succeeded in purchasing from them a few hairs, which he
inclosed in his letter, and which she subsequently received.

In the early dawn of the morning, the cart of the condemned was at the
prison door. The Parisians were beginning to be weary of the abundant
flow of blood, and Robespierre had therefore caused the guillotine to
be removed from the Place de la Revolution to an obscure spot in the
Faubourg St. Antoine. A large number of victims were doomed to die that
morning. The carts, as they rolled along the pavements, groaned with
their burdens, and the persons in the streets looked on in sullen
silence. M. Beauharnais, with firmness, ascended the scaffold. The slide
of the guillotine fell, and the brief drama of his stormy life was

While the mutilated form of M. Beauharnais was borne to an ignoble
burial, Josephine, entirely unconscious of the calamity which had
befallen her, was cheering her heart with the hope of a speedy union
with her husband and her children in their own loved home. The morning
after the execution, the daily journal, containing the names of those
who had perished on the preceding day, was brought, as usual, to the
prison. Some of the ladies in the prison had received the intimation
that M. Beauharnais had fallen. They watched, therefore, the arrival of
the journal, and, finding their fears established, they tried, for a
time, to conceal the dreadful intelligence from the unconscious widow.
But Josephine was eagerly inquiring for the paper, and at last obtaining
it, she ran her eye hastily over the record of executions, and found the
name of her husband in the fatal list. She fell senseless upon the
floor. For a long time she remained in a swoon. When consciousness
returned, and with it a sense of the misery into which she was plunged,
in the delirium of her anguish she exclaimed, "Oh God! let me die! let
me die! There is no peace for me but in the grave."

Her friends gathered around her. They implored her to think of her
children, and for their sake to prize a life she could no longer prize
for her own. The poignancy of her grief gradually subsided into the calm
of despair. A sleepless night lingered slowly away. The darkness and
the gloom of a prison settled down upon her soul. The morning dawned
drearily. A band of rough and merciless agents from the Revolutionary
Assembly came to her with the almost welcome intelligence that in two
days she was to be led to the Conciergerie, and from thence to her
execution. These tidings would have been joyful to Josephine were it
not for her children. A mother's love clung to the orphans, and it was
with pain inexpressible that she thought of leaving them alone in this
tempestuous world--a world made so stormy, so woeful, by man's
inhumanity to his fellow-man.

The day preceding the one assigned for her execution arrived. The
numerous friends of Josephine in the prison hung around her with tears.
The heartless jailer came and took away her mattress, saying, with a
sneer, that she would need it no longer, as her head was soon to repose
upon the soft pillow of the guillotine. It is reported that, as the hour
of execution drew nearer, Josephine became not only perfectly calm, but
even cheerful in spirit. She looked affectionately upon the weeping
group gathered around her, and, recalling at the moment the prediction
of the aged negress, gently smiling, said, "We have no cause for alarm
my friends; I am not to be executed. It is written in the decrees of
Fate that I am yet to be Queen of France." Some of her friends thought
that the suppressed anguish of her heart had driven her to delirium, and
they wept more bitterly. But one of the ladies, Madame d'Aiguillon, was
a little irritated at pleasantry which she deemed so ill timed. With
something like resentment, she asked, "Why, then, madame, do you not
appoint your household?" "Ah! that is true," Josephine replied. "I had
forgotten. Well, you, my dear, shall be my maid of honor. I promise you
the situation." They both lived to witness the strange fulfillment of
this promise. Josephine, however, who, from the circumstances of her
early life, was inclined to credulity, afterward declared that at the
time her mind reposed in the full confidence that in some way her life
would be saved, and that the prediction of the negress would be
virtually realized.

The shades of night settled down around the gloomy convent, enveloping
in their folds the despairing hearts which thronged this abode of woe.
Suddenly the most exultant shout of joy burst from every lip, and echoed
along through corridors, and dungeons, and grated cells. There was
weeping and fainting for rapture inexpressible. The prisoners leaped
into each other's arms, and, frantic with happiness, clung together in
that long and heartfelt embrace which none can appreciate but those who
have been companions in woe. Into the blackness of their midnight there
had suddenly burst the blaze of noonday. What caused this apparently
miraculous change? The iron-hearted jailer had passed along, announcing,
in coarsest phrase, THAT ROBESPIERRE WAS GUILLOTINED. There had been a
new revolution. The tyrant had fallen. The prisons which he had filled
with victims were to be emptied of their captives.



A.D. 1794-A.D. 1795

Robespierre.--M. Tallien.--Madame de Fontenay.--A lover's device.--
Execution of Robespierre decreed.--He is guillotined.--Singular mode
of conveying information.--Pantomimic representation of Robespierre's
fall.--Universal joy caused by the death of the tyrant.--Josephine
released from captivity.--Gloomy prospect.--Heartlessness of Marat.
--Eugene apprenticed to an artisan.--Kindness of Josephine's
friends.--She recovers her property.--A domestic scene.--A new order
of knighthood.--The Order of _Filial Love_.--Inauguration.--Decorations
of the room.--The oath.--New organisation of social society.--The
"Ball of the Victims."--Fashionable style of hair-dressing.--A new
insurrection.--The little Corsican.--Napoleon's authority established.
--The Tuilleries fortified.--Advance of the insurgents.--Napoleon
opens his batteries.--Defeat of the insurgents.--Rising fame of
Napoleon.--His first interview with Josephine.--His "seal."--Napoleon
disarms the populace.--The sword of Beauharnais.--Napoleon regards
Josephine with interest.--Her opinion of him.--Letter to a friend.--
Foresight of Napoleon.--His confidence.--His ambition unbounded.--His
moral principles.--Napoleon's estimate of the female sex.--Strength
of his attachment.

The overthrow of Robespierre, and the consequent escape of Josephine
from the doom impending over her, was in the following manner most
strangely accomplished. The tyranny of Robespierre had become nearly
insupportable. Conspiracies were beginning to be formed to attempt his
overthrow. A lady of great beauty and celebrity, Madame de Fontenay, was
imprisoned with Josephine. M. Tallien, a man of much influence with a
new party then rising into power, had conceived a strong attachment for
this lady, and, though he could not safely indulge himself in interviews
with her in prison, he was in the habit of coming daily to the Convent
of the Carmelites that he might have the satisfaction of catching a
glimpse of the one he loved through her grated window.

Madame de Fontenay had received secret intelligence that she was soon
to be led before the Convention for trial. This she knew to be but the
prelude of her execution. That evening M. Tallien appeared as usual
before the guarded casement of the Carmelites. Madame de Fontenay and
Josephine, arm in arm, leaned against the bars of the window, as if to
breathe the fresh evening air, and made a sign to arrest M. Tallien's
particular attention. They then dropped from the window a piece of
cabbage-leaf, in which Madame de Fontenay had inclosed the following

     "My trial is decreed--the result is certain. If you love me
     as you say, urge every means to save France and me."

With intense interest, they watched the motions of M. Tallien until they
saw him take the cabbage-leaf from the ground. Roused by the billet to
the consciousness of the necessity of immediate action, he proceeded to
the Convention, and, with the impassioned energy which love for Madame
de Fontenay and hatred of Robespierre inspired, made an energetic and
fearless assault upon the tyrant. Robespierre, pale and trembling, saw
that his hour had come. A decree of accusation was preferred against
him, and the head of the merciless despot fell upon that guillotine
where he had already caused so many thousands to perish. The day before
Josephine was to have been executed, he was led, mangled and bleeding,
to the scaffold. He had attempted to commit suicide. The ball missed its
aim, but shattered his jaw. The wretched man ascended the ladder, and
stood upon the platform of the guillotine. The executioners tore the
bandage from his mangled face, that the linen might not impede the blow
of the ax. Their rude treatment of the inflamed wound extorted a cry of
agony, which thrilled upon the ear of the assembled crowd, and produced
a silence as of the grave. The next moment the slide fell, and the
mutilated head was severed from the body. Then the very heavens seemed
rent by one long, loud, exulting shout, which proclaimed that
Robespierre was no more!

The death of Robespierre arrested the ax which was just about to fall
upon the head of Josephine. The first intimation of his overthrow was
communicated to her in the following singular manner. Madame d'Aiguillon
was weeping bitterly, and sinking down with faintness in view of the
bloody death to which her friend was to be led on the morrow. Josephine,
whose fortitude had not forsaken her, drew her almost senseless
companion to the window, that she might be revived by the fresh air.
Her attention was arrested by a woman of the lower orders in the street,
who was continually looking up to the window, beckoning to Josephine,
and making many very singular gestures. She seemed to desire to call
her attention particularly to the _robe_ which she wore, holding it
up, and pointing to it again and again. Josephine, through the iron
grating, cried out _Robe_. The woman eagerly gave signs of assent, and
immediately took up a stone, which in French is _Pierre_. Josephine
again cried out _pierre_. The woman appeared overjoyed on perceiving
that her pantomime began to be understood. She then put the two
together, pointing alternately to the one and to the other. Josephine
cried out _Robespierre_. The woman then began to dance and shout with
delight, and made signs of cutting off a head.

[Illustration: THE PANTOMIME.]

This pantomime excited emotions in the bosom of Josephine which cannot
be described. She hardly dared to believe that the tyrant had actually
fallen, and yet she knew not how else to account for the singular
conduct of the woman. But a few moments elapsed before a great noise
was heard in the corridor of the prison. The turnkey, in loud and
fearless tones, cried out to his dog, "Get out, you cursed brute of
a Robespierre!" This emphatic phraseology convinced them that the
sanguinary monster before whom all France had trembled was no longer to
be feared. In a few moments the glad tidings were resounding through the
prison, and many were in an instant raised from the abyss of despair to
almost a delirium of bliss. Josephine's bed was restored to her, and she
placed her head upon her pillow that night, and sank down to the most
calm and delightful repose.

No language can describe the transports excited throughout all France by
the tidings of the fall of Robespierre. Three hundred thousand captives
were then lingering in the prisons of Paris awaiting death. As the
glittering steel severed the head of the tyrant from his body, their
prison doors burst open, and France was filled with hearts throbbing
with ecstasy, and with eyes overflowing with tears of rapture. Five
hundred thousand fugitives were trembling in their retreats,
apprehensive of arrest. They issued from their hiding-places frantic
with joy, and every village witnessed their tears and embraces.

The new party which now came into power with Tallien at its head,
immediately liberated those who had been condemned by their opponents,
and the prison doors of Josephine were thrown open to her. But from the
gloom of her cell she returned to a world still dark and clouded. Her
husband had been beheaded, and all his property confiscated. She found
herself a widow and penniless. Nearly all of her friends had perished in
the storms which had swept over France. The Reign of Terror had passed
away, but gaunt famine was staring the nation in the face. They were
moments of ecstasy when Josephine, again free, pressed Eugene and
Hortense to her heart. But the most serious embarrassments immediately
crowded upon her. Poverty, stern and apparently remediless, was her lot.
She had no friends upon whom she had any right to call for aid. There
was no employment open before her by which she could obtain her
subsistence; and it appeared that she and her children were to be
reduced to absolute beggary. These were among the darkest hours of her
earthly career. It was from this abyss of obscurity and want that she
was to be raised to a position of splendor and of power such as the
wildest dreams of earthly ambition could hardly have conceived.

Though Robespierre was dead, the strife of rancorous parties raged with
unabated violence, and blood flowed freely. The reign of the mob still
continued, and it was a mark of patriotism demanded by the clamors of
haggard want and degradation to persecute all of noble blood. Young
girls from the boarding-schools, and boys just emerging from the period
of childhood, were beheaded by the guillotine. "We must exterminate,"
said Marat, "all the _whelps_ of aristocracy." Josephine trembled for
her children. Poverty, and the desire of concealing Eugene among
the mass of the people, induced her to apprentice her son to a
house-carpenter. For several months Eugene cheerfully and laboriously
toiled in this humble occupation. But the sentiments he had imbibed
from both father and mother ennobled him, and every day produced new
developments of a lofty character, which no circumstances could long

Let such a woman as Josephine, with her cheerful, magnanimous,
self-sacrificing, and generous spirit, be left destitute in any place
where human beings are congregated, and she will soon inevitably meet
with those who will feel honored in securing her friendship and in
offering her a home. Every fireside has a welcome for a noble heart.
Madame Dumoulin, a lady of great elevation of character, whose large
fortune had by some chance escaped the general wreck, invited Josephine
to her house, and freely supplied her wants. Madame Fontenay, also,
who was a woman of great beauty and accomplishments, soon after her
liberation was married to M. Tallien, to whom she had tossed the note,
inclosed in a cabbage-leaf, from her prison window. It was this note
which had so suddenly secured the overthrow of the tyrant, and had
rescued so many from the guillotine. They both became the firm friends
of Josephine. Others, also, soon became strongly attracted to her by the
loveliness of her character, and were ambitious to supply all her wants.

Through M. Tallien, she urged her claim upon the National Convention for
the restoration of her confiscated property. After a long and tedious
process, she succeeded in regaining such a portion of her estate as to
provide her amply with all the comforts of life. Again she had her own
peaceful home, with Eugene and Hortense by her side. Her natural
buoyancy of spirits rose superior to the storms which had swept so
mercilessly over her, and in the love of her idolized children, and
surrounded by the sympathies of appreciative friends, days of serenity,
and even of joy, began to shine upon her.

A domestic scene occurred in the dwelling of Josephine on the
anniversary of the death of M. Beauharnais peculiarly characteristic of
the times and of the French people. Josephine called Eugene to her room,
and presented to him a portrait of his father. "Carry it to your
chamber, my son," she said, "and often let it be the object of your
contemplations. Above all, let him whose image it presents be your
constant model. He was the most amiable of men; he would have been the
best of fathers."

Eugene was a young man of that enthusiastic genius which is the almost
invariable accompaniment of a noble character. His emotions were deeply
excited. With the characteristic ardor of his countrymen, he covered the
portrait with kisses, and wept freely. Josephine folded her noble boy in
her embrace, and they mingled their tears together.

In the evening, as Josephine was sitting alone in her parlor, her son
entered, accompanied by six young men, his companions, each decorated
with a copy of the portrait of M. Beauharnais suspended from the neck by
a black and white ribbon. "You see," said Eugene to his mother, "the
founders of a new order of knighthood. Behold our tutelary saint,"
pointing to the portrait of his father. "And these are the first
members." He then introduced his youthful companions to his mother.

"Ours," he continued, "is named the Order of _Filial Love_; and, if you
would witness the first inauguration, pass with these gentlemen into the
small drawing-room."

Josephine entered the drawing-room with the youthful group, and found it
very tastefully ornamented with garlands of ivy, roses, and laurels.
Inscriptions, taken from the printed discourses or remarkable sayings of
M. Beauharnais, were suspended upon the walls. Girandoles, with lighted
tapers, brilliantly illuminated the room. An altar was erected, hung
with festoons of flowers, and upon this altar was placed the full-length
portrait of M. Beauharnais. Three crowns of white and red roses were
suspended from the picture-frame, and in front were placed two vases
with perfumes.

The young gentlemen ranged themselves about the altar in perfect
silence, and, at a concerted signal, eagerly unsheathed the swords
which they wore at their sides, and, clasping hands, solemnly took the
oath, "_To love their parents, succor each other, and to defend their
country_." At this moment, Eugene, unfurling and waving a small banner,
with its folds shaded the head of his father. "We then embraced each
other," says Josephine, "mingling tears with smiles, and the most
amiable disorder succeeded to the ceremonial of inauguration."

The fascination of Josephine's person and address drew multitudes of
friends around her, and her society was ever coveted. As time softened
the poignancy of her past sorrows, she mingled more and more in the
social circles of that metropolis where pleasure and gayety ever reign.
The terrible convulsions of the times had thrown the whole fabric of
society into confusion. Great efforts were now made to revive the
festivities of former days. Two centers of society were naturally
established. The first included that in which Josephine moved. It was
composed of the remains of the ancient nobility, who had returned to
Paris with the fragments of their families and their shattered fortunes.
Rigid economy was necessary to keep up any appearance of elegance.
But that polish of manners which almost invariably descends from an
illustrious ancestry marked all their intercourse. The humiliations
through which the nobles had passed had not diminished the exclusiveness
of their tastes. The other circle was composed of merchants and bankers
who had acquired opulence in the midst of the confiscations and storms
of revolution. The passion for display was prominent in all their
assemblies, as is necessarily the case with those whose passport to
distinction is wealth.

At the theaters and all the places of public festivity, there were
presented studied memorials of the scenes of horror through which
all had recently passed. One of the most fashionable and brilliant
assemblies then known in Paris was called _The Ball of the Victims_. No
one was admitted to this assembly who had not lost some near relative by
the guillotine. The most fashionable style of dressing the hair was
jocosely called "à la guillotine." The hair was arranged in the manner
in which it had been adjusted by the executioner for the unimpeded
operation of the ax. And thus, with songs, and dances, and
laughter-moving jokes, they commemorated the bloody death of their

A new insurrection by the populace of Paris was at this time planned
against the Convention. The exasperated people were again to march upon
the Tuilleries. The members were in extreme consternation. The mob could
bring tens of thousands against them, well armed with muskets and heavy
artillery. There were but five hundred regular troops with which to
resist the onset. Menou, the officer in command, acknowledged his
inability to meet the crisis, and surrendered his power to Barras. This
general immediately, as by a sudden thought, exclaimed, "I know the man
who can defend us! He is a little Corsican, who dares do any thing, and
is perfectly reckless of consequences!"

The little Corsican, Napoleon Bonaparte, the day-star of whose fame was
just beginning to rise over the smouldering ruins of Toulon, was invited
to meet the Convention. His fragile form was almost feminine in its
proportions, but an eagle eye calmly reposed in his pallid and emaciate
countenance. He had been severely sick, and the Convention looked with
amazement and incredulity upon this feeble youth, as the one presented
to rescue them from their impending peril.

The president fixed his eye upon him doubtingly, and said, "Are you
willing to undertake our defense?"

"Yes!" was the calm, laconic, and almost indifferent reply.

"But are you aware of the magnitude of the undertaking?"

"Fully!" said Napoleon, fixing his piercing eye upon the president; "and
I am in the habit of accomplishing that which I undertake."

From that moment his authority was established. Every member of the
Convention felt the mysterious fascination of his master mind. Barras
surrendered the whole command into his hands. He instantly called into
the city all the national forces which were around Paris, and disposed
fifty pieces of heavy artillery, under the command of Murat, so as to
rake all the avenues to the Convention. His calm and almost superhuman
energy sought no repose that night. The delay of but a few moments would
have placed this very park of artillery, which secured his victory, in
the hands of the insurgents. When the morning dawned, the Tuilleries, as
if by magic, had assumed the aspect of a fortified camp. The little
Corsican was silently and calmly awaiting the onset, as secure of
triumph as if the victory were already achieved.

But in every quarter of Paris, during the night, the insurgents had
been mustering their forces, and the mutterings of the approaching storm
were dismally echoed through the streets of the metropolis. Above thirty
thousand men, all well armed with musketry and artillery, in regular
military array, and under experienced generals, came pouring down upon
the feeble band which surrounded the Convention.

Will the little Corsican dare to fire upon the people? Will this pale
and slender youth, who had hardly yet entered upon the period of
manhood, dare to deluge the pavements of Paris with the blood of her own
citizens? Will he venture upon a conflict so unequal, when failure is
his certain death?

Napoleon, with his colorless cheek, his flashing eye, and his air of
mysterious melancholy, stood in silence, as the gathering thousands
crowded down upon him. He offered no parley; he uttered not a word of
warning; he condescended to no threats. The insurgents, believing that
he would not dare to fire upon them, advanced within fifty yards of
his masked battery, when he opened his columns, and, in the roar of
artillery shotted to the muzzle, the voice of Napoleon was for the first
time heard in the streets of Paris. The thunder of his tones was
preceded by the lightning's bolt. The merciless storm of grape-shot,
sweeping the streets, covered the ground with the dead and the dying. No
mortal could withstand such a conflict. The advancing foe wavered for an
instant, and then, in the utmost consternation, took to flight. Napoleon
commanded immediately the most rapid discharge of blank cartridges. Peal
upon peal, their loud reverberations deafened the city, and added wings
to the flight of the terror-stricken crowd. But a few moments elapsed
ere not even a straggler could be seen in the deserted streets. The
little Corsican, pale and calm, stood, with folded arms, as unperturbed
as if no event of any moment had occurred. During the whole day,
however, the conflict continued in different parts of the city, but
before nightfall the insurgents were every where entirely discomfited.

Paris was now filled with the name of Napoleon. Some regarded him as
a savior, protecting the Convention; others considered him a demon,
deluging the capital with blood. One evening, Josephine was visiting at
the house of a friend, and sitting by a window examining some beautiful
violets, when _Bonaparte_ was announced. Josephine had never yet met
him, though, of course, she had heard much of one whose rising fame
filled the metropolis.

She says that she trembled violently at the announcement of his name.
His entrance seemed to excite general interest, and all eyes were turned
toward him, though most of the company regarded him in silence. He
approached Josephine, and the subject of the recent conflict in the
streets of Paris was introduced.

"It seems to me," said Josephine, "that it is only with regret that we
should think of the consternation you have spread through the capital.
It is a frightful service you have performed."

"It is very possible," he replied. "The military are only automata, to
which the government gives such motions as it pleases. They have no duty
but to obey. Besides, I wished to teach the Parisians a little lesson.
_This is my seal which I have set upon France._"

This he said in such calm, quiet, imperturbable tones, so expressive of
his perfect confidence in himself, and of his indifference to the
opinions of others, that Josephine was quite piqued, and replied
politely, but yet in a manner which indicated her displeasure.

"These light skirmishes," the young general rejoined, "are but the
first coruscations of my glory."

"If you are to acquire glory at such a price," Josephine answered, "I
would much rather count you among the victims."

Such was the first interview between Josephine and Napoleon. It was
merely a casual meeting in an evening party between a widow, graceful
and beautiful, and a young man of boundless ambition. Though Josephine
was not pleased with Napoleon, he produced a very profound impression
upon her mind. Napoleon, being now in command of the troops in Paris, by
order of the Convention, executed the very unpopular office of disarming
the populace. In the performance of this order, the sword of M.
Beauharnais was taken. The next day, Eugene, who was then a boy twelve
years of age, of exceedingly prepossessing appearance, presented himself
before Napoleon, and implored the return of the sword which had belonged
to his father. Napoleon was deeply interested in the frankness and the
fervor of emotion manifested by the lad, and immediately complied with
his request. Josephine called upon him the next day to thank him for his
kindness to her son. He was at this interview as deeply impressed by
the fascinations of the mother as he had previously been struck by
the noble bearing of the child. After this they frequently met, and
Josephine could not be blind to the interest with which she was regarded
by Napoleon. Situated as he then was, it was social elevation to him to
be united with Madame de Beauharnais, and her rank, and influence, and
troops of friends would greatly aid him in his ambitious plans. It is
also unquestionably true that Napoleon formed a very strong attachment
for Josephine. Indeed, she was the only person whom he ever truly loved.
That he did love her at times most passionately there can be no doubt.

Josephine, however, had many misgivings respecting the expediency of the
union. She stated to her friends that he was the most fascinating man
that she had ever met; that she admired his courage, the quickness of
his judgment, the extent of his information. She, however, confessed
that she did not really love him--that she stood in awe of him. "His
searching glance," she says, "mysterious and inexplicable, imposes even
upon our Directors--judge if it may not intimidate a woman."

     "Being now past the heyday of youth," she writes in a letter
     to a friend, "can I hope long to preserve that ardor of
     attachment which, in the general, resembles a fit of
     delirium? If, after our union, he should cease to love me,
     will he not reproach me with what he will have sacrificed
     for my sake? Will he not regret a more brilliant marriage
     which he might have contracted? What shall I then reply?
     What shall I do? I shall weep. Excellent resource! you will
     say. Alas! I know that all this can serve no end; but it has
     ever been thus; tears are the only resource left me when
     this poor heart, so easily chilled, has suffered. Write
     quickly, and do not fear to scold me, should you judge that
     I am wrong. You know that whatever comes from your pen will
     be taken in good part.

     "Barras gives assurance that if I marry the general, he will
     so contrive as to have him appointed to the command of the
     army of Italy. Yesterday, Bonaparte, speaking of this favor,
     which already excites murmuring among his fellow-soldiers,
     though it be as yet only a promise, said to me, 'Think they,
     then, I have need of their protection to arrive at power?
     Egregious mistake! They will all be but too happy one day
     should I grant them mine. My sword is by my side, and with
     it I will go far.'

     "What say you to this security of success? Is it not a proof
     of confidence springing from an excess of vanity? A general
     of brigade protect the heads of government! that, truly, is
     an event highly probable! I know not how it is, but
     sometimes this waywardness gains upon me to such a degree
     that almost I believe possible whatever this singular man
     may take it in his head to attempt; and, with his
     imagination, who can calculate what he will not undertake?"

It was now winter. The storm of Revolution had partially subsided. The
times were, however, full of agitation and peril. Europe was in arms
against France. There was no stable government and no respected laws.
The ambitious young general consecrated his days with sleepless energy
to his public duties, but each evening he devoted to Josephine. Napoleon
never manifested any taste for those dissipating pleasures which attract
and ruin so many young men. He had no moral principles which pronounced
such indulgences wrong, but the grandeur of his ambition absorbed all
his energies. He was, even at that time, a hard student. He was never
more happy than when alone with Josephine, engaged in conversation or
reading. His attachment for Josephine became very ardent and passionate.
The female character at this time, in France, was far from high.
Napoleon had but little respect for ladies in general. The circumstances
of his life had led him to form a low estimate of the sex. He often said
that all the rest of the sex were nothing compared with Josephine. He
frequently gave public breakfasts to his friends, at which Josephine
universally presided, though other ladies were invited.

In the pleasant mansion of Josephine, Napoleon was in the habit of
meeting a small circle of select friends, who were strongly attached to
Josephine, and who were able, and for her sake were willing to promote
his interests. Napoleon was a man of strong affections, but of stronger
ambition. Josephine was entirely satisfied with the singleness and the
ardor of his love. She sometimes trembled in view of its violence.
She often remarked to her friends that he was incomparably the most
fascinating man she had ever met. All have equally attested Napoleon's
unrivaled powers of pleasing, whenever it suited his purpose to make the
effort. The winter thus rapidly and pleasantly passed away.



A.D. 1796-A.D. 1797

Marriage of Josephine and Napoleon.--The army of Italy.--Proclamation
of Napoleon.--He is called an ignoramus.--Josephine at Montebello.--
Her popularity.--Pleasure excursions.--Isola Bella.--Anecdote.--Ambition
of Napoleon.--His achievements.--Fears of the Directory.--Description of
Napoleon.--His reserve.--Remark of Josephine.--Secret plans of Napoleon.
--Napoleon's love for Josephine.--Her influence over him.--A young
aid-de-camp.--Affection of the Italians for Napoleon.--Josephine an
ally.--She is at home in every situation.--Unembarrassed air of
Josephine.--She becomes the queen of etiquette.--Josephine an object
of homage.--Her powers of fascination.--Popular enthusiasm.--Affected
seclusion of Napoleon.--He becomes studious.--His laudable emulation.--
His noble ambition.--Napoleon the idol of the army.--Napoleon mounts
guard.--The "Little Corporal."--Triumphal fête.--Song of the soldiers.
--Speech of Barras.--Remarkable contrast.--Josephine the center of
attraction.--Josephine the "Star of Napoleon."--She is a ministering
angel.--Jealousy of Napoleon.--Arts of her enemies to encourage it.--The
"pear" not yet ripe.--Napoleon resolves to go to Egypt.--Magnificence of
his plans.

On the 9th of March, 1796, Josephine was married to Napoleon. The
Revolution had swept away every thing that was sacred in human and
divine institutions, and the attempt had been made to degrade marriage
into a mere partnership, which any persons might contract or dissolve at
pleasure. According to the Revolutionary form, Josephine and Napoleon
presented themselves before a magistrate, and simply announced their
union. A few friends attended as witnesses of the ceremony.

Napoleon had, in the mean time, been appointed commander of the French
forces in Italy. In twelve days after his nuptials, he left his bride
and hastened to the army, then in the lowest state of poverty and
suffering. The veteran generals, when they first saw the pale-faced
youth who was placed over them all, were disposed to treat him with
contempt. Hardly an hour elapsed after his arrival ere they felt and
admitted that he was their master. He seemed insensible to mental
exhaustion, or fatigue, or hunger, or want of sleep. He was upon
horseback night and day. Almost supernatural activity was infused into
the army. It fell like an avalanche upon the Austrians. In fifteen days
after he took command, he proclaimed to his exulting and victorious

"Soldiers! you have gained in fifteen days six victories, taken
one-and-twenty standards, fifty-five pieces of cannon, many strong
places, and conquered the richest part of Piedmont; you have made
fifteen thousand prisoners, and killed or wounded ten thousand men."

Paris was perfectly intoxicated with the announcement, day after day, of
these brilliant achievements. The name of Napoleon was upon every lip,
and all France resounded with his praises. "This young commander," said
one of the discomfited veteran generals of the Austrian army, "knows
nothing whatever about the art of war. He is a perfect ignoramus. He
sets at defiance all the established rules of military tactics. There is
no doing any thing with him."

Napoleon, after a series of terrible conflicts and most signal triumphs,
drove the Austrians out of Italy, pursued them into their own country,
and at Leoben, almost within sight of the steeples of Vienna, dictated
a peace, which crowned him, in the estimation of his countrymen, with
the highest glory. Josephine now went from Paris to Italy to meet her
triumphant husband. They took up their residence at the Castle of
Montebello, a most delightful country seat in the vicinity of Milan.

And here Josephine passed a few months of almost unalloyed happiness.
The dark and tempestuous days through which she had recently been led,
had prepared her to enjoy most exquisitely the calm which ensued. She
had been in the deepest penury. She was now in the enjoyment of all that
wealth could confer. She had been widowed and homeless. She was now the
wife of a victorious general whose fame was reverberating through
Europe, and her home combined almost every conceivable attraction. She
had been a prisoner doomed to die, and her very jailer feared to speak
to her in tones of kindness. Now she was caressed by nobles and princes;
all the splendors of a court surrounded her, and every heart did her
homage. Josephine presided at all her receptions and entertainments with
an elegance of manner so winning as perfectly to fascinate the Milanese.
"I conquer provinces," said Napoleon of her at that time, "but
Josephine wins hearts." The vicinity of Montebello combines perhaps as
much of the beautiful and the sublime in scenery as can be found at any
other spot on the surface of the globe. Napoleon sympathized most
cordially with Josephine in her appreciation of the beautiful and the
romantic; and though he devoted the energies of his mind, with
unsleeping diligence, to the ambitious plans which engrossed him, he
found time for many delightful excursions with his fascinating bride.
There is not, perhaps, in Italy a more lovely drive than that from
Milan, along the crystal waters of Lake Como to Lake Maggiore. This
romantic lake, embosomed among the mountains, with its densely wooded
islands and picturesque shores, was a favorite resort for excursions of
pleasure. Here, in gay parties, they floated in boats, with well-trained
rowers, and silken awnings, and streaming pennants, and ravishing music.
The island of Isola Bella, or _Beautiful Island_, with its arcades, its
hanging gardens, and its palace of monkish gloom, was Napoleon's
favorite landing-place. Here they often partook of refreshments, and
engaged with all vivacity in rural festivities. It is stated that, while
enjoying one of these excursions, Josephine, with one or two other
ladies, was standing under a beautiful orange-tree, loaded with fruit,
with the attention of the party all absorbed in admiring the beauties of
the distant landscape. Napoleon, unperceived, crept up the tree, and by
a sudden shake brought down quite a shower of the golden fruit upon the
ladies. The companions of Josephine screamed with affright and ran from
the tree. She, however, accustomed to such pleasantries, suspected the
source, and remained unmoved. "Why, Josephine!" exclaimed Napoleon, "you
stand fire like one of my veterans." "And why should I not?" she
promptly replied, "am I not the wife of their commander?"

[Illustration: ISOLA BELLA.]

Napoleon, during these scenes of apparent relaxation, had but one
thought--ambition. His capacious mind was ever restless, ever excited,
not exactly with the desire of personal aggrandizement, but of mighty
enterprise, of magnificent achievement. Josephine, with her boundless
popularity and her arts of persuasion, though she often trembled in view
of the limitless aspirations of her husband, was extremely influential
in winning to him the powerful friends by whom they were surrounded.

The achievements which Napoleon accomplished during the short Italian
campaign are perhaps unparalleled in ancient or modern warfare.

With a number of men under his command ever inferior to the forces of
the Austrians, he maneuvered always to secure, at any one point, an
array superior to that of his antagonists. He cut up four several armies
which were sent from Austria to oppose him, took one hundred and fifteen
thousand prisoners, one hundred and seventy standards, eleven hundred
and forty pieces of battering cannon and field artillery, and drove the
Austrians from the frontiers of France to the walls of Vienna. He was
every where hailed as the liberator of Italy; and, encircled with the
pomp and the power of a monarch, he received such adulation as monarchs
rarely enjoy.

The Directory in Paris began to tremble in view of the gigantic strides
which this ambitious general was making. They surrounded him with spies
to garner up his words, to watch his actions, and, if possible, to
detect his plans. But the marble face of this incomprehensible youth
told no secrets. Even to Josephine he revealed not his intentions; and
no mortal scrutiny could explore the thoughts fermenting in his deep and
capacious mind. His personal appearance at this time is thus described
by an observer of his triumphal entrance into Milan:

     "I beheld with deep interest and extreme attention that
     extraordinary man who has performed such great deeds, and
     about whom there is something which seems to indicate that
     his career is not yet terminated. I found him very like his
     portrait, small in stature, thin, pale, with the air of
     fatigue, but not in ill health. He appeared to me to listen
     with more abstraction than interest, as if occupied rather
     with what he was thinking of than with what was said to him.
     There is great intelligence in his countenance, along with
     an expression of habitual meditation, which reveals nothing
     of what is passing within. In that thinking head, in that
     daring mind, it is impossible not to suppose that some
     designs are engendering which shall have their influence
     upon the destinies of Europe."

Napoleon was fully confident of the jealousy he had aroused, and of
the vigilance with which he was watched. His caution often wounded
Josephine, as he was as impenetrable to her in reference to all his
political plans as to any one else. While she at times loved him almost
to adoration, she ever felt in awe of the unexplored recesses of his
mind. He appeared frequently lost in thought, and, perfectly regardless
of the pomp and the pageantry with which he was surrounded, he gave
unmistakable indications that he regarded the achievements he had
already accomplished as very trivial--merely the commencement of his
career. She once remarked to a friend, "During the many years we have
now passed together, I never once beheld Bonaparte for a moment at
ease--not even with myself. He is constantly on the alert. If at any
time he appears to show a little confidence, it is merely a feint to
throw the person with whom he is conversing off his guard, and to draw
forth his real sentiments, but never does he himself disclose his own

Napoleon now deemed it expedient to visit Paris; for he despised the
weakness and the inefficiency of those who, amid the surges of the
Revolution, had been elevated there to the supreme power, and already he
secretly contemplated the overthrow of the government, as soon as an
opportunity promising success should be presented. Josephine, with her
children, remained in Milan, that she might continue to dazzle the eyes
of the Milanese with the splendor of the establishment of the Liberator
of Italy, and that she might watch over the interests of her
illustrious spouse.

She gave splendid entertainments. Her saloons were ever thronged with
courtiers, and the inimitable grace she possessed enabled her, with ease
and self-enjoyment, to preside with queenly dignity over every scene of
gayety. She was often weary of this incessant grandeur and display, but
the wishes of her husband and her peculiar position seemed to afford her
no choice. Napoleon unquestionably loved Josephine as ardently as he
was capable of loving any one. He kept up a constant, almost a daily
correspondence with her. Near the close of his life, he declared that he
was indebted to her for every moment of happiness he had known on earth.
Ambition was, however, with Napoleon a far more powerful passion than
love. He was fully conscious that he needed the assistance of his most
accomplished wife to raise him to that elevation he was resolved to
attain. Self-reliant as he was, regardless as he ever appeared to be of
the opinions or the advice of others, the counsel of Josephine had more
influence over him than perhaps that of all other persons combined. Her
expostulations not unfrequently modified his plans, though his high
spirit could not brook the acknowledgment. Hortense and Eugene were
with Josephine at Milan. Eugene, though but seventeen years of age, had
joined Napoleon in the field as one of his aids, and had signalized
himself by many acts of bravery.

In this arrangement we see an indication of the plans of boundless
ambition which were already maturing in the mind of Bonaparte. The
Italians hated their proud and domineering masters, the Austrians. They
almost adored Napoleon as their deliverer. He had established the
Cisalpine Republic, and conferred upon them a degree of liberty which
for ages they had not enjoyed. Napoleon had but to unfurl his banner,
and the Italians, in countless thousands, were ready to rally around it.
The army in Italy regarded the Little Corporal with sentiments of
veneration and affection, for which we may search history in vain for a
parallel. Italy consequently became the base of Napoleon's operations.
There he was strongly intrenched. In case of failure in any of his
operations in Paris, he could retire behind the Alps, and bid defiance
to his foes.

Josephine was exactly the partner he needed to protect these
all-important interests during his absence. Her strong and active
intelligence, her sincerity, her unrivaled powers of fascinating all who
approached her, and her entire devotion to Napoleon, rendered her an
ally of exceeding efficiency. Powerful as was the arm of Napoleon, he
never could have risen to the greatness he attained without the aid of
Josephine. She, at Milan, kept up the splendor of a royal court. The
pleasure-loving Italians ever thronged her saloons. The most illustrious
nobles were emulous to win her favor, that they might obtain eminence in
the service of her renowned spouse. At the fêtes and entertainments she
gave to the rejoicing Milanese she obtained access to almost every mind
it was desirable to influence. No one could approach Josephine without
becoming her friend, and a friend once gained was never lost. A weak
woman, under these circumstances, which so severely tested the
character, would have been often extremely embarrassed, and would
have made many mistakes. It was remarkable in Josephine, that,
notwithstanding the seclusion of her childhood and early youth, she ever
appeared self-possessed, graceful, and at home in every situation in
which she was placed. She moved through the dazzling scenes of her court
at Milan, scenes of unaccustomed brilliance which had so suddenly burst
upon her, with an air as entirely natural and unembarrassed as if her
whole life had been passed in the saloons of monarchs. She conversed
with the most distinguished generals of armies, with nobles of the
highest rank, with statesmen and scholars of wide-spread renown, with a
fluency, an appropriateness, and an inimitable tact which would seem to
indicate that she had been cradled in the lap of princes, and nurtured
in the society of courts. It seemed never to be necessary for her to
study the rules of etiquette. She was never accustomed to look to
others to ascertain what conduct was proper under any circumstances.
Instinctive delicacy was her unerring teacher, and from her bearing
others compiled their code of politeness. She became the queen of
etiquette, not the subject.

Thus, while Napoleon, in Paris, was cautiously scrutinizing the state of
public affairs, and endeavoring to gain a position there, Josephine,
with the entire concentration of all her energies to his interests,
was gaining for him in Milan vast accessions of power. She had no
conception, indeed, of the greatness he was destined to attain. But she
loved her husband. She was proud of his rising renown, and it was her
sole ambition to increase, in every way in her power, the luster of his
name. Aristocracy circled around her in delighted homage, while poverty,
charmed by her sympathy and her beneficence, ever greeted her with
acclamations. The exploits of Napoleon dazzled the world, and the
unthinking world has attributed his greatness to his own unaided arm.
But the gentleness of Josephine was one of the essential elements in the
promotion of his greatness. In co-operation with her, he rose. As soon
as he abandoned her, he fell.

Josephine soon rejoined her husband in Paris, where she very essentially
aided, by her fascinating powers of persuasion, in disarming the
hostility of those who were jealous of his rising fame, and in attaching
to him such adherents as could promote his interests. In the saloons of
Josephine, many of the most heroic youths of France were led to ally
their fortunes with those of the young general, whose fame had so
suddenly burst upon the world. She had the rare faculty of diffusing
animation and cheerfulness wherever she appeared. "It is," she once
beautifully remarked, "a necessity of my heart to love others, and to be
loved by them in return." "There is only one occasion," she again said,
"in which I would voluntarily use the words _I will_, namely, when I
would say, '_I will_ that all around me be happy.'"

Napoleon singularly displayed his knowledge of human nature in the
course he pursued upon his return to Paris. He assumed none of the pride
of a conqueror. He studiously avoided every thing like ostentatious
display. Day after day his lieutenants arrived, bringing the standards
taken from the Austrians. Pictures, and statues, and other works of art
extorted from the conquered, were daily making their appearance, keeping
the metropolis in a state of the most intense excitement. The Parisians
were never weary of reading and re-reading those extraordinary
proclamations of Napoleon, which, in such glowing language, described
his almost miraculous victories. The enthusiasm of the people was thus
raised to the highest pitch. The anxiety of the public to see this young
and mysterious victor was intense beyond description. But he knew enough
of the human heart to be conscious that, by avoiding the gratification
of these wishes, he did but enhance their intensity. Modestly retiring
to an unostentatious mansion in the Rue Chantereine, which, in
compliment to him, had received the name of Rue de la Victoire, he
secluded himself from the public gaze. He devoted his time most
assiduously to study, and to conversation with learned men. He laid
aside his military garb, and assumed the plain dress of a member of the
Institute. When he walked the streets, he was seldom recognized by the
people. Though his society was courted in the highest circles of Paris,
his ambition was too lofty to be gratified with shining among the stars
of fashion. Though he had as yet reached but the twenty-sixth year of
his age, he had already gained the reputation of being the first of
generals. He was emulous not only of appearing to be, but also of
actually being, an accomplished scholar. "I well knew," said he, "that
the lowest drummer in the army would respect me more for being a scholar
as well as a soldier."

Napoleon might have enriched himself beyond all bounds in his Italian
campaign had he been disposed to do so. Josephine, at times,
remonstrated against his personal habits of economy, while he was
conferring millions added to millions upon France. But the ambition of
her husband, inordinate as it was, was as sublime an ambition as any one
could feel in view of merely worldly interests. He wished to acquire
the renown of benefiting mankind by the performance of the noblest
exploits. His ultimate end was his own fame. But he knew that the
durability of that fame could only be secured by the accomplishment of
noble ends.

The effeminate figure of Napoleon in these early days had caused the
soldiers to blend with their amazed admiration of his military genius a
kind of fondness of affection for which no parallel can be found in
ancient or modern story. The soldiers were ever rehearsing to one
another, by their night-fires and in their long marches, anecdotes of
his perfect fearlessness, his brilliant sayings, his imperious bearing,
by which he overawed the haughtiness of aristocratic power, and his
magnanimous acts toward the poor and the lowly.

One night, when the army in Italy was in great peril, worn out with the
fatigue of sleeplessness and of battle, and surrounded by Austrians,
Napoleon was taking the round of his posts in disguise, to ascertain
the vigilance of his sentinels. He found one poor soldier, in perfect
exhaustion, asleep at his post. Napoleon shouldered his musket, and
stood sentry for him for half an hour. When the man awoke and
recognized the countenance of his general, he sank back upon the ground
in terror and despair. He knew that death was the doom for such a crime.
"Here, comrade," said Napoleon, kindly, "here is your musket. You have
fought hard and marched long, and your sleep is excusable. But a
moment's inattention might at present ruin the army. I happened to be
awake, and have guarded your post for you. You will be more careful
another time."

At the "terrible passage of the bridge of Lodi," Napoleon stood at one
of the guns, in the very hottest of the fire, directing it with his own
hand. The soldiers, delighted at this very unusual exhibition of the
readiness of their general to share all the toils and perils of the
humblest private in the ranks, gave him the honorary and affectionate
nickname of "The Little Corporal." By this appellation he was afterward
universally known in the army. The enthusiasm of the soldiers invested
him with supernatural endowments, and every one was ready at any moment
to peril life for the Little Corporal.

The government at Paris, rapidly waning in popularity, notwithstanding
their extreme jealousy of the wide-spreading influence of this
victorious general, was compelled, by the spontaneous acclamations of
the people, to give him a public triumph, when the famous treaty which
Napoleon had effected in Italy was to be formally presented to the
Directory. The magnificent court of the Luxembourg was embellished with
the flags of the armies which he had conquered, and the youthful hero of
Lodi, of Arcola, and of Rivoli made his first triumphant appearance in
the streets of Paris. The enthusiasm of the vast concourse of excitable
Parisians overleaped all bounds. The soldiers of the proud army of Italy
sang at their encampments, in enthusiastic chorus, a song in which they
declared that it was high time to eject the lawyers from the government,
and make the Little Corporal the ruler of France. Barras, the friend of
Josephine, who had selected Napoleon to quell the insurrection in Paris,
and who had secured to him the command of the army of Italy, declared in
a eulogistic speech on this occasion that "Nature had exhausted all her
powers in the creation of a Bonaparte." This sentiment was received with
the most deafening peals of applause.

But how like the phantasmagoria of magic has this change burst upon the
bewildered Josephine. But a few months before, her husband, wan and
wasted with imprisonment and woe, had been led from the subterranean
dungeons of this very palace, with the execrations of the populace
torturing his ear, to bleed upon the scaffold. She, also, was then
herself a prisoner, without even a pillow for her weary head, awaiting
the dawn of the morning which was to conduct her steps to a frightful
death. Her children, Hortense and Eugene, had been rescued from
homelessness, friendlessness, and beggary only by the hand of charity,
and were dependent upon that charity for shelter and for daily bread.
Now the weeds of widowhood have given place to the robes of the
rejoicing bride, and that palace is gorgeously decorated in honor of the
world-renowned companion upon whose arm she proudly leans. The
acclamations resounding to his praise reverberate over mountain and
valley, through every city and village of France. Princes, embassadors,
and courtiers obsequiously crowd the saloons of Josephine. Eugene, an
officer in the army, high in rank and honor, is lured along life's
perilous pathway by the most brilliant prospects. Hortense in dazzling
beauty, and surrounded by admirers, is intoxicated with the splendor,
which, like Oriental enchantment, has burst upon her view.

Josephine, so beautifully called "the Star of Napoleon," was more than
the harbinger of his rising. She gave additional luster to his
brilliance, and was as the gentle zephyr, which sweeps away the mists
and vapors, and presents a transparent sky through which the undimmed
luminary may shine. Her persuasive influence was unweariedly and most
successfully exerted in winning friends and in disarming adversaries.
The admiration which was excited for the stern warrior in his solitary,
silent, unapproachable grandeur, whose garments had been dyed in blood,
whose fearful path had been signalized by conflagrations, and shrieks,
and the wailings of the dying, was humanized and softened by the gentle
loveliness of his companion, who was ever a ministering angel, breathing
words of kindness, and diffusing around her the spirit of harmony and
love. Napoleon ever freely acknowledged his indebtedness to Josephine
for her aid in these morning hours of his greatness.

But unalloyed happiness is never allotted to mortals. Josephine's very
loveliness of person and of character was to her the occasion of many
hours of heaviness. No one could be insensible to the power of her
attractions. The music of her voice, the sweetness of her smile, the
grace of her manners, excited so much admiration, invested her with a
popularity so universal and enthusiastic, that Napoleon was, at times,
not a little disturbed by jealousy. Her appearance was ever the signal
for crowds to gather around her. The most distinguished and the most
gallant men in France vied with each other in doing her homage. Some of
the relatives of Napoleon, envious of the influence she exerted over her
illustrious spouse, and anxious, by undermining her power, to subserve
their own interests, were untiring in their endeavors to foster all
these jealousies. Josephine was exceedingly pained by the occasional
indications of her husband's distrust. A word from his lips, a glance
from his eye, often sent her to her chamber with weeping eyes and an
aching heart. An interview with her husband, however, invariably removed
his suspicions, and he gave her renewed assurances of his confidence and
his love.

The plans of Napoleon in reference to his future operations were still
in a state of great uncertainty. His restless spirit could not brook
inactivity. He saw clearly that the time had not yet come in which he
could, with the prospect of success, undertake to overthrow the
Revolutionary government and grasp the reins of power himself. To use
his own expressive language, "The pear was not yet ripe." To one of his
intimate friends he remarked, "They do not long preserve at Paris the
remembrance of any thing. If I remain any length of time unemployed, I
am undone. The renown of one, in this great Babylon, speedily supplants
that of another. If I am seen three times at the opera, I shall no
longer be an object of curiosity. You need not talk of the desire of the
citizens to see me. Crowds, at least as great, would go to see me led
out to the scaffold. I am determined not to remain in Paris. There is
nothing here to be done. Every thing here passes away. My glory is
already declining. This little corner of Europe is too small to supply
it. We must go to the East. All the great men of the world have there
acquired their celebrity. We will go to Egypt."

Such was the grandeur of the dreams of a young man who had not yet
passed his twenty-sixth year. And these were not the musings of a wild
and visionary brain, but the deeply laid and cautiously guarded plans
of a mind which had meditated profoundly upon all probable emergencies,
and which had carefully weighed all the means which could be furnished
for the accomplishment of an enterprise so arduous and so majestic.



A.D. 1796-A.D. 1799

Contemplated invasion of England.--Expedition to Egypt.--Hopes of the
Directory.--Napoleon's dislike of the Revolution.--Napoleon a Royalist.
--Sailing of the expedition.--A corps of _savants_.--Josephine in
Toulon.--Plan of Napoleon.--No obstacle insurmountable.--Loneliness
of Josephine.--Residence at Plombières.--Josephine sends for her
daughter.--Letter to Madame Campan.--Napoleon sends a frigate for
Josephine.--Serious accident.--Capture of the Pomona frigate.--Purchase
of Malmaison.--Josephine removes thither.--Espionage of Napoleon.--
Playfulness of Hortense.--Carrat.--The apparition.--Hortense a
tormentor.--A shower-bath in embryo.--Fruits of loving darkness rather
than light.--Murder! fire!--Josephine's seal for her husband.--Letter
to an emigrant.--Remarks of Barras.--Good advice offered.--
Correspondence intercepted.--False charges against Josephine.--
Napoleon's confidence impaired.--Employments of Josephine.--She visits
the poor.--She comforts the afflicted.--Benevolence of Josephine's

The Directory in Paris became daily more and more alarmed, in view of
the vast and ever-increasing popularity of the conqueror of Italy. A
plan had been formed for the invasion of England, and this was deemed a
good opportunity for sending from France their dangerous rival. Napoleon
was appointed commander-in-chief of the army of England. He visited the
coast, and devoted ten days and nights, with his extraordinary rapidity
of apprehension, in investigating the prospects of success. He returned
to Paris, saying, "It is too doubtful a chance. I will not hazard on
such a throw the fate of France." All his energies were then turned to
his Egyptian expedition. He hoped to gain reputation and power in Egypt,
pass through into India, raise an army of natives, headed by European
officers and energized by an infusion of European soldiers, and thus
drive the English out of India. It was a bold plan. The very grandeur of
the enterprise roused the enthusiasm of France. The Directory, secretly
rejoicing at the prospect of sending Napoleon so far away, and hoping
that he would perish on the sands of Africa, without much reluctance
agreed to his proposal.

Napoleon never loved the Revolution, and he most thoroughly detested the
infamous and sanguinary despotism which had risen upon the ruins of the
altar and the throne. He chanced to be in Paris when the drunken and
ragged mob, like an inundation, broke into the Tuilleries, and heaped
upon the humiliated Louis XVI. and Maria Antoinette the most infamous
outrages. He saw the monarch standing at the window of his palace, with
the dirty red cap of Jacobinism thrust upon that brow which had worn the
crown of Charlemagne. At the sight, the blood boiled in the veins of the
youthful Napoleon. He could not endure the spectacle. Turning upon his
heel, he indignantly exclaimed, "The wretches! had they mown down four
or five hundred with grape-shot, the rest would speedily have taken to

He often expressed his dislike of the violent revolutionary course which
the Directory were pursuing, and stated freely to his friends, "For my
part, I declare, that if I had only the option between royalty and the
system of these gentlemen, I would not hesitate for one moment to
declare for a king." Just before Napoleon embarked for the East,
Bourrienne asked him if he was really determined to risk his fate on the
perilous expedition to Egypt. "Yes!" he replied. "If I should remain
here, it would be necessary to overturn this miserable government, and
make myself king. But we must not think of that yet. The nobles will not
consent to it. I have sounded, but I find the time for that has not yet
arrived. I must first dazzle these gentlemen by my exploits."

On the morning of the 19th of May, 1798, the fleet set sail from the
harbor of Toulon. It was a morning of surpassing loveliness, and seldom,
if ever, has the unclouded sun shone upon a more brilliant scene. The
magnificent armament extended over a semicircle of not less than
eighteen miles. The fleet consisted of thirteen ships of the line,
fourteen frigates, and four hundred transports. They carried forty
thousand picked soldiers, and officers of the highest celebrity. For the
first time in the world, a corps of scientific gentlemen was attached to
a military expedition. One hundred eminent artists and connoisseurs
Napoleon had collected to gather the antiquarian treasures of Egypt,
and to extend the boundaries of science by the observation of the
phenomena of nature. They formed a part of the staff of the invading

Josephine accompanied her husband to Toulon, and remained with him until
his embarkation. She was extremely anxious to go with him to Egypt, and
with tears plead that he would allow her to share his hardships and his
perils. Napoleon, however, deemed the hazards to which they would be
exposed, and the fatigues and sufferings they must necessarily endure,
as quite too formidable for Josephine to encounter. But in the anguish
of their parting, which is described as most tender, she wrung from him
a promise to allow her to follow as soon as affairs in the East should
render it prudent for her to do so. It can hardly be possible, however,
that Napoleon ever expected to see her in Egypt. He himself has thus
described the objects he had in view in this vast enterprise: "1. To
establish on the banks of the Nile a French colony, which could exist
without slaves, and supply the place of Saint Domingo. 2. To open a
market for the manufactures of France in Africa, Arabia, and Syria, and
to obtain for the productions of his countrymen the productions of those
countries. 3. To set out from Egypt, with an army of sixty thousand men,
for the Indus, rouse the Mahrattas to a revolt, and excite against the
English the population of those vast countries. Sixty thousand men, half
Europeans, half natives, transported on fifty thousand camels and ten
thousand horses, carrying with them provisions for fifty days, water for
six, with one hundred and fifty pieces of cannon and double ammunition,
would arrive in four months in India. The ocean ceased to be an obstacle
when vessels were constructed. The desert becomes passable the moment
you have camels and dromedaries in abundance."

As the fleet got under way, Josephine stood upon a balcony, with tearful
eyes, gazing upon the scene, so imposing, and yet so sorrowful to her.
The Orient, a ship of enormous magnitude, contained her husband and her
son. They were going into the midst of dangers from whence it was
doubtful whether they would ever return. She fixed her eyes upon the
ship as its lessening sails grew fainter and fainter in the distance,
until the hardly discernible speck disappeared beneath the horizon,
which the blue waves of the Mediterranean outlined. She retired to her
room with those feelings of loneliness and desolation which the
circumstances were so peculiarly calculated to inspire.

It was arranged that Josephine should take up her residence,
until Napoleon should send for her, at Plombières, a celebrated
watering-place, whose medicinal springs were supposed to be very
efficacious in restoring maternity. She sent for Hortense, at that time
fifteen years of age, and who was then in the boarding-school of the
distinguished Madame Campan. Josephine wished for her daughter to be her
companion during the weary hours of her absence from her husband. She
was expecting that, as soon as a landing should be effected in Egypt, a
frigate would be dispatched to convey her to the banks of the Nile. She
found solace during the lingering weeks of expectation in devoting
herself to the instruction of her daughter. Her comprehensive and
excellent views on the subject of education are developed in a letter
which she at this time wrote to Madame Campan, to accompany a niece who
was to return to her school:

     "MY DEAR MADAME CAMPAN,--With my niece, whom I return to
     your charge, receive also my thanks and my reproof. The
     former are due for the great care and brilliant education
     which you have bestowed upon the child; the latter, for the
     faults which your sagacity must have discovered, but which
     your indulgence has tolerated. The girl is gentle, but shy;
     well informed, but haughty; talented, but thoughtless. She
     does not please, and takes no pains to render herself
     agreeable. She conceives that the reputation of her uncle
     and the bravery of her father are every thing. Teach her,
     and that by the most effectual means, how absolutely
     unavailing are those qualities which are not personal. We
     live in an age where each is the author of his own fortunes;
     and if those who serve the state in the first ranks ought to
     have some advantages and enjoy some privileges, they should,
     on that account, strive only to render themselves more
     beloved and more useful. It is solely by acting thus that
     they can have some chance of excusing their good fortune in
     the eyes of envy. Of these things, my dear Madame Campan,
     you must not allow my niece to remain ignorant; and such are
     the instructions which, in my name, you should repeat to her
     constantly. It is my pleasure that she treat as equals every
     one of her companions, most of whom are better or as good
     as herself, their only inferiority consisting in not having
     relations so able or so fortunate."

Notwithstanding Napoleon's strong disinclination to have Josephine join
him in Egypt, and though in every letter he strongly urged her to
relinquish the plan, she was so importunate in her solicitations that he
sent the Pomona frigate to convey her across the Mediterranean. She was
prevented from embarking by an accident, which she must have deemed a
very serious calamity, but which probably saved her from years of
captivity. She was one morning sitting in her saloon, busy with her
needle, and conversing with several ladies who were her companions and
intimate friends, when a lady who was standing in the balcony called the
attention of the party to a very beautiful dog which was passing in the
street. All the ladies rushed upon the balcony, when, with a fearful
crash, it broke down, and precipitated them upon the pavement. Though no
lives were lost, several of the party were dreadfully injured. Josephine
was so severely bruised as to be utterly helpless, and for some time
she was fed like an infant. It was several months before she was
sufficiently recovered to be able to leave her house. This grievous
disappointment, however, probably saved her from another, which would
have been far more severely felt. The frigate in which she was to have
embarked, had it not been for this accident, was captured by one of the
English cruisers and taken to London.

Napoleon went to Egypt because he thought it the shortest route to the
vacant throne of the Bourbons. He despised the rulers who were degrading
France, and placing a stigma upon popular liberty by their ignorance and
their violence, and he resolved upon their overthrow. Consequently,
while guiding the movements of his army upon the banks of the Nile, his
attention was continually directed to Paris. He wrote to Josephine that
he intended ere long to return, and directed her to purchase a pleasant
country seat somewhere in the vicinity of Paris.

About ten miles from the metropolis and five miles from Versailles there
was a beautiful chateau, most charmingly situated, called Malmaison.
This estate Josephine purchased, greatly enlarging the grounds, at an
expense of about one hundred thousand dollars. This lovely retreat
possessed unfailing rural attraction for a mind formed, like that of
Josephine, for the rich appreciation of all that is lovely in the
aspects of nature. Napoleon was delighted with the purchase, and
expended subsequently incredible sums in repairs and enlargements, and
in embellishments of statues, paintings, and furniture. This was ever
the favorite residence of Napoleon and Josephine.

As the leaves of autumn began to fall, Josephine, who had been slowly
recovering from the effects of the accident, left Plombières and took up
her residence at Malmaison. Napoleon was absent in Egypt about eighteen
months. During the winter and the ensuing summer, Josephine remained
with Hortense, and several other ladies, who composed her most agreeable
household, in this beautiful retreat. The celebrity of Napoleon
surrounded them with friends, and that elegant mansion was the resort of
the most illustrious in rank and intellect. Napoleon, who had ever a
spice of jealousy in his nature, had every thing reported to him which
occurred at Malmaison. He was informed respecting all the guests who
visited the chateau, and of the conversation which passed in every

Hortense was a lively girl of fifteen, and the time hung rather heavily
upon her hands. She amused herself in playing all manner of pranks upon
a very singular valet de chambre, by the name of Carrat, whom her mother
had brought from Italy. This man was very timid and eccentric, but, with
most enthusiastic devotion, attached to the service of Josephine.

One evening Carrat received orders to attend Madame Bonaparte and
several ladies who were with her in their twilight walk through the
magnificent park belonging to the estate. Carrat, ever delighted with
an opportunity to display his attachment to his kind mistress, obeyed
with great alacrity. No ladies in peril could desire a more valiant
knight-errant than the vaunting little Italian assumed to be. They
had not advanced far into the somber shadows of the grove when they
saw, solemnly emerging from the obscurity, a tall specter in its
winding-sheet. The fearful apparition approached the party, when the
valet, terrified beyond all power of self-control, and uttering the most
fearful shrieks, abandoned the ladies to the tender mercies of the
ghost, and fled. The phantom, with its white drapery fluttering in
the wind, pursued him. Soon the steps of the affrighted valet began
to falter, and he dropped upon the ground, insensible, in a fit.
Hortense, who had been perfectly convulsed with laughter in view of the
triumphant success of her experiment, was now correspondingly alarmed.
The ghost was a fellow-servant of Carrat, who had been dressed out under
the superintendence of the mischievous Hortense.

As the poor man recovered without any serious injury and without the
slightest diminution of his excessive vanity, the fun-loving Hortense
could not repress her propensity still to make him the butt of her
practical jokes. It was a defect in her character that she could find
pleasure in this mischievous kind of torment. It is not improbable that
this trait of character, which appears so excusable in a mirthful girl
of fifteen, was the cause of that incessant train of sorrows which
subsequently embittered her whole life. Carrat was perfectly devoted to
Josephine; Hortense was his torment.

The unlucky valet occupied a sleeping-room separated from another only
by a thin deal partition. A hole was made through this, and a pail of
water so suspended in equilibrium over the pillow of the victim, that by
drawing a cord the whole contents would be emptied upon his head. The
supports of the bedstead had also been removed, so that the whole fabric
would fall as soon as any weight was placed upon it. Carrat, among his
other eccentricities, was ever in the habit of going to bed without a
light. Matters being thus prepared, Hortense, who had employed an
attendant to aid her in her plans, stood in an adjoining room to enjoy
the catastrophe.

The poor man entered his room, and threw himself upon his pallet. Down
it came with a crash, and his shriek of fright was for a moment drowned
in the inundation of water. Hortense, knowing the almost delirious fear
which the puerile valet had of reptiles, cried, "Poor man! poor man!
what will he do. The water was full of toads." Carrat, in utter
darkness, drenched with cold water, and overwhelmed in the ruins of
his bed and bedding, shrieked, "Murder! help! fire! drowning!" while
Hortense and her accomplices enjoyed his ludicrous terror. She afterward
made him a handsome present as a compensation. Hortense was not a
malicious girl, but, like many others who are mirthful and thoughtless,
she found a strange pleasure in teasing. Josephine's only happiness was
in making others happy. "It is a necessity of my heart," she said, "to
love those around me, and to be loved by them in return." How much more
noble such a spirit!

Though Josephine was not fully informed respecting the ultimate designs
of Napoleon, and though Napoleon at this time probably had no very
definite plans respecting his future actions, his interests manifestly
required that she should exert all her powers to strengthen the ties of
those who were already his friends, and to gain others to his rising
name. Josephine acquired great influence over many members of the
Directory, and this influence she was continually exerting for the
relief of those who were in distress. Many of the proscribed emigrants
were indebted to her for liberty and the restoration of their forfeited
estates. The following letter from Josephine to an emigrant, whose
fortune, and perhaps life, she had saved, exhibits her intellectual
elevation as well as the amiability of her heart.

     "SIR,--Your petition, which reached Malmaison on the 12th,
     was presented the same evening, and by myself, to Citizen
     Barras. I have the pleasure to announce to you that the
     decision is favorable, and that now, erased from the fatal
     list, you are restored to all the rights of a French
     citizen. But in transmitting a communication not less
     agreeable to me than to yourself, permit me to enhance its
     value by repeating to you the exact words with which it was
     accompanied by the Director. 'I have usually little to deny
     you, madame,' said he, presenting me with a sealed inclosure
     containing the act of restoration, 'and certainly, when
     humanity is concerned, I can have far less objection. But
     pity for misfortune does not exclude justice, and justice is
     inseparable from the love of truth. As unfortunate, M. de
     Sansal merits commiseration. As an emigrant, he has right to
     none. I will say more; had I been disposed to be severe,
     there existed a cause for stern reprisals on the part of a
     government to whose kindness he replies by insults. Although
     I despise those of such a man, I appreciate them. They prove
     an ungrateful heart and a narrow mind. Let him be careful
     about expressing his hatred. All my colleagues are not
     equally indulgent.'

     "Blame only yourself, sir, for the small share of amenity in
     these counsels. They are harsh, perhaps, but useful; and you
     will do well to render them effective. Regard, also, the
     faithfulness with which I transcribe them as a proof of the
     deep interest I take in your welfare, and of my anxiety that
     the interference of your friends may be justified by your
     future conduct."

For some time a very constant correspondence was kept up between
Napoleon and Josephine, but after the destruction of the French fleet by
Lord Nelson in the Bay of Aboukir, and when the Mediterranean had become
completely blocked up by English cruisers, almost every letter was

For political purposes, there were many who wished to destroy the
influence which Josephine had acquired over the mind of her illustrious
husband. In the accomplishment of this plan, they endeavored, in every
way in their power, to excite the jealousy of Napoleon. The very efforts
which Josephine was making to attract the most influential men in Paris
to her saloon were represented to him as indications of levity of
character, and of a spirit of unpardonable coquetry. The enemies of
Josephine had their influential agents in the camp of Napoleon, and with
malice, never weary, they whispered these suspicions into his ear.
The jealousy of his impassioned nature was strongly aroused. In his
indignation, he wrote to Josephine in terms of great severity, accusing
her of "playing the coquette with all the world." She was very deeply
wounded by these unjust suspicions, and wrote to him a letter in reply,
which, for tenderness and delicacy of sentiment, and the expression of
conscious innocence, is hardly surpassed by any thing which has ever
been written. Her letter was intercepted, and Napoleon never saw it. For
many months nearly all communication with the army of Egypt was cut off
by the vigilance of the English. There were flying reports ever reaching
the ear of Josephine of disaster to the army, and even of the death of
Napoleon. Josephine was at times in great distress. She knew not the
fate of her husband or her son. She knew that, by the grossest
deception, her husband's confidence in her had been greatly impaired,
and she feared that, should he return, she might never be able to regain
his affections. Still, she devoted herself with unwearied diligence in
watching over all his interests, and though her heart was often
oppressed with anguish, she did every thing in her power to retain the
aspect of cheerfulness and of sanguine hope. One of her favorite
amusements--the favorite amusement of almost every refined mind--was
found in the cultivation of flowers. She passed a portion of every
pleasant day with Hortense among the flower-beds, with the hoe, and the
watering-pot, and the pruning-knife. Hortense, though she loved the
society of her mother, was not fond of these employments, and in
subsequent life she never turned to them for a solace. With Josephine,
however, this taste remained unchanged through life. She was also very
fond of leaving the aristocratic walks of Malmaison, and sauntering
through the lanes and the rural roads, where she could enter the
cottages of the peasants, and listen to their simple tales of joy and
grief. To many of these dwellings her visit was as the mission of an
angel. Her purse was never closed against the wants of penury. But that
which rendered her still more a ministering spirit to the poor was that
her heart was ever open, with its full flood of sympathy, to share the
grief of their bereavements, and to rejoice in their joy. When she sat
upon the throne of France, and even long after she sank into the repose
of the grave, the region around Malmaison was full of recitals of her
benevolence. Aristocratic pride at times affected to look down with
contempt upon the elevated enjoyments of a noble heart.

Thus occupied in pleading with those in power for those of illustrious
birth who had, by emigration, forfeited both property and life; in
visiting the sick and the sorrowing in the humble cottages around her;
in presiding with queenly dignity over the brilliant soirées in her own
saloons, where talent and rank were ever assembled, and in diffusing the
sunlight of her own cheerful heart throughout the whole household at
Malmaison, Josephine, through weary months, awaited tidings from her
absent husband.



A.D. 1799-A.D. 1800

Deplorable condition of France.--The "pear" now ripe.--Evening
party.--Landing of Napoleon at Frejus.--Josephine hastens to meet
him.--They cross each other's path.--Josephine's enemies succeed in
rousing the anger of Napoleon.--Meeting of Josephine and Eugene.--She
is repulsed by Napoleon.--Josephine's prompt obedience.--Napoleon
relents.--The reconciliation.--Napoleon vanquished.--Reception of
Napoleon on his return to France.--He overthrows the Directory.--He
is sustained by the people.--Painful suspense of Josephine.--Napoleon
relieves it.--His usurping ambition.--Remark of the Abbé Siêyes.--
Josephine secures friends to Napoleon.--Residence at the Luxembourg.
--Marriage of Murat and Caroline.--The Tuilleries refurnished.--Napoleon
and Josephine take up their residence in the Tuilleries.--Apartments
of Josephine.--Her dress.--Her social triumph.--Josephine the Queen of
Hearts.--Her varied accomplishments.--Symmetry of her form.--
Attractiveness of her conversation.--Sweetness of Josephine's voice.--
Attractions of Malmaison.--The dangers of greatness.--Josephine's
anxiety and care.--Remark of Napoleon to Bourrienne.

The winter of 1799 opened upon France in the deepest gloom. The French
were weary of the horrors of the Revolution. All business was at a
stand. The poor had neither employment nor bread. Starvation reigned in
the capital. The Austrians had again entered Italy, and beaten the
French at almost every point. No tidings were received from Bonaparte
and the army in Egypt. Rumors of the death of Napoleon and of a
disastrous state of the enterprise filled the city. The government at
Paris, composed of men who had emerged from obscurity in the storms of
revolution, was imbecile and tyrannical in the extreme. The nation was
weary beyond endurance of the strife of contending factions, and
ardently desired some strong arm to be extended for the restoration
of order, and for the establishment of an efficient and reputable
government. "The pear was ripe."

On the evening of the 9th of November, a large and very brilliant party
was assembled in Paris at the house of M. Gohier, president of the
Directory. The company included all the most distinguished persons then
resident in the metropolis. Josephine, being in Paris at that time, was
one of the guests. About midnight, the gentlemen and ladies were
gathering around a supper table very sumptuously spread, when they were
startled by a telegraphic announcement, communicated to their host, that
Bonaparte had landed that morning at Frejus, a small town upon the
Mediterranean shore. The announcement created the most profound
sensation. All knew that Napoleon had not returned at that critical
moment without an object. Many were pale with apprehension, conscious
that his popularity with the army would enable him to wrest from them
their ill-gotten power. Others were elated with hope. Yet universal
embarrassment prevailed. None dared to express their thoughts. No
efforts could revive the conviviality of the evening, and the party soon

Josephine, with the deepest emotion, hastened home, immediately summoned
her carriage, and, taking with her Hortense and Louis Bonaparte, set
out, without allowing an hour for repose, to meet her husband. She was
very anxious to have an interview with him before her enemies should
have an opportunity to fill his mind with new accusations against her.
The most direct route from Paris to Frejus passes through the city of
Lyons. There is another and more retired route, not frequently traveled,
but which Napoleon, for some unknown reason, took. It was a long journey
of weary, weary leagues, over hills and plains. Josephine alighted not
for refreshment or slumber, but with fresh relays of horses, night and
day, pressed on to meet her spouse. When she arrived at Lyons, to her
utter consternation, she heard that Napoleon had taken the other route,
and, some forty-eight hours before, had passed her on the way to Paris.
No words can describe the anguish which these tidings caused her. Her
husband would arrive in Paris and find her absent. He would immediately
be surrounded by those who would try to feed his jealousy. Two or three
days must elapse ere she could possibly retrace her steps. Napoleon
arrived in Paris the 10th of November. It was not until nearly midnight
of the 13th that Josephine returned. Worn out with the fatigues of
traveling, of anxiety, and of watching, she drove with a heavy heart to
their house in the Rue Chantereine.

The enemies whom Josephine had most to fear were the brothers and the
sisters-in-law of Napoleon. They were entirely dependent upon their
illustrious brother for their own advancement in life, and were
exceedingly jealous of the influence which Josephine had exerted over
his mind. They feared that she would gain an exclusive empire where they
wished also to reign. Taking advantage of Josephine's absence, they had
succeeded in rousing Napoleon's indignation to the highest pitch. They
accused her of levity, of extravagance, of forgetfulness of him, and of
ever playing the coquette with all the debauchees of Paris. Napoleon,
stimulated by that pride which led the Roman emperor to say, "Cæsar's
wife must not be suspected," threatened loudly "divorce--open and public
divorce." Said one maliciously to him, "She will appear before you with
all her fascinations, explain matters; you will forgive all, and
tranquillity will be restored." "Never! never!" exclaimed the irritated
general, striding to and fro through the room. "I forgive! never! You
know me. Were I not sure of my resolution, I would pluck out this heart
and cast it into the fire."

Such was the mood of mind in which Napoleon was prepared to receive
Josephine, after an absence of eighteen months. Josephine and Hortense
alighted in the court-yard, and were immediately enfolded in the
embraces of Eugene, who was anxiously awaiting their arrival. With
trembling steps and a throbbing heart, Josephine, accompanied by her son
and daughter, ascended the stairs to a small circular family room where
they expected to find Napoleon. He was there with his brother Joseph. As
his wife and her children entered the room, Napoleon glanced sternly at
them, and instantly said to Josephine, in a severe and commanding tone,
almost before she had crossed the threshold,

"Madame! it is my wish that you retire immediately to Malmaison."

Josephine came near falling lifeless upon the floor. She was caught in
the arms of Eugene, who, in the most profound grief, had kept near the
side of his revered and beloved mother. He supported her fainting
steps, as, sobbing with anguish, she silently retired to her apartment.
Napoleon, greatly agitated, traversed the room with hasty strides. The
sight of Josephine had rekindled all his love, and he was struggling
with desperate efforts to cherish his sense of wrong, and to fortify
himself against any return of clemency.

[Illustration: THE INTERVIEW.]

In a few moments, Josephine and Hortense, with Eugene, were heard
descending the stairs to leave the house. It was midnight. For a week
Josephine had lived in her carriage almost without food or sleep.
Nothing but intensity of excitement had prevented her from sinking down
in utter weariness and exhaustion. It was a drive of thirty miles to
Malmaison. Napoleon was not prepared for such prompt obedience. Even his
stern heart could not resist its instinctive pleadings for his wife and
her daughter. He hastened from his room, and, though his pride would not
allow him directly to urge _Josephine_ to remain, he insisted upon
Eugene's returning, and urged it in such a way that he came back,
leading with him his mother and his sister. Napoleon, however, addressed
not a word to either of them. Josephine threw herself upon a couch in
her apartment, and Napoleon, in gloomy silence, entered his cabinet.
Two days of wretchedness passed away, during which no intercourse took
place between the estranged parties. But the anger of the husband was
gradually subsiding. Love for Josephine was slowly gaining strength in
his heart. On the third day, his pride and passion were sufficiently
subdued to allow him to enter the apartment where Josephine and Hortense
had kept themselves secluded, awaiting his pleasure. Josephine was
seated at a toilet table, with her face buried in her hands, and
absorbed in the profoundest grief. On the table were exposed the letters
which she had received from Napoleon during his absence, and which she
had evidently been reading. Hortense was standing silently and pensively
in an alcove by the window, half concealed by the curtain. Napoleon
advanced with an irresolute step, hesitated for a moment, and then said,
"Josephine!" She started up at the sound of that well-known voice, and,
her beautiful countenance all suffused with tears, mournfully exclaimed,
"_Mon ami_," in that peculiar tone, so pathetic, so musical, which
ever thrilled upon the heart of Napoleon. "My friend" was the term of
endearment with which she invariably addressed her husband. Napoleon
was vanquished. He extended his hand to his deeply-wronged wife. She
threw herself into his arms, pillowed her aching head upon his bosom,
and in the fullness of blended joy and anguish wept convulsively. An
explanation of several hours ensued. Every shade of suspicion was
obliterated from his mind. He received Josephine again to his entire
confidence, and this confidence was never again interrupted.

When Napoleon landed at Frejus, he was received with the most
enthusiastic demonstration of delight. There was a universal impression
that the hero of Italy, the conqueror of Egypt, had returned thus
unexpectedly to France for the accomplishment of some magnificent
enterprise; yet no one knew what to anticipate. The moment the frigate
dropped anchor in the bay, and it was announced that Napoleon was on
board, thousands surrounded the vessel in boats, and the air was filled
with enthusiastic acclamations. His journey to Paris was one continued
scene of triumph. Crowds gathered around him at every stopping-place,
intoxicated with joy. The bells rang their merriest peals; the booming
of cannon echoed along the hill sides, and brilliant bonfires by night
blazed upon every eminence. Upon his arrival in Paris, the soldiers,
recognizing their leader in so many brilliant victories, greeted him
with indescribable enthusiasm, and cries of "Vive Bonaparte!" resounded
through the metropolis. His saloon, ever thronged with generals and
statesmen, and all who were most illustrious in intellect and rank,
resembled the court of a monarch. Even the most prominent men in the
Directory, disgusted with the progress of measures which they could not
control, urged him to grasp the reins of power, assuring him that there
was no hope for France but in his strong arm. In less than four weeks
from his arrival in Paris, the execrated government was overturned.
Napoleon, Siêyes, and Ducos were appointed consuls, and twenty-five
members were appointed from each of the councils to unite with the
consuls in forming a new Constitution. One unanimous voice of approval
rose from all parts of France in view of this change. No political
movement could take place more strongly confirmed by the popular will.
Napoleon hastened from the scenes of peril and agitation through which
he had passed in the accomplishment of this change, that he might be the
first to announce to Josephine the political victory he had achieved.

During the perilous day, when, in the midst of outcries, daggers, and
drawn swords, he had been contending with the Council of the Five
Hundred, he could find not even one moment to dispatch a note from St.
Cloud to his wife. The previous day he had kept her constantly informed
of the progress of events. Josephine remained throughout the whole of
the 19th of November, from morning until evening, without sight or
tidings of her husband. She knew that, in the fierce strife of parties
in France, there was no safety for life; and when the darkness of night
settled down around her, and still no word from her Napoleon, her
anxiety amounted almost to distraction. The rumbling of every carriage
upon the pavement--every noise in the streets aroused her hopes or her
fears. Worn out with anxiety, at midnight she threw herself upon her
bed, but not to sleep. Several weary hours of suspense lingered slowly
along, when, at four o'clock in the morning, she heard the well-known
footsteps of her husband upon the stairs.

She sprang to meet him. He fondly clasped her in his arms, and assured
her that he had not spoken to a single individual since he had taken the
oaths of office, that the voice of his Josephine might be the first to
congratulate him upon his virtual accession to the empire of France. An
animated conversation ensued, and then Napoleon, throwing himself upon
his couch for a few moments' repose, gayly said, "Good night, my
Josephine! to-morrow we sleep in the Luxembourg."

The next day the three consuls met in Paris. His colleagues, however,
immediately perceived that the towering ambition of Napoleon would brook
no rival. He showed them the absurdity of their plans, and compelled
them to assent to the superior wisdom of his own. The untiring vigor of
his mind, the boldness and energy of his thoughts, and his intuitive and
almost miraculous familiarity with every branch of political science,
overawed his associates, and the whole power passed, with hardly the
slightest resistance, into his own hands. Immediately after their first
interview, the Abbé Siêyes, who combined great weakness with extensive
knowledge, remarked to Talleyrand and others, "Gentlemen, I perceive
that we have got a master. Bonaparte can do and will do every thing
himself. But," he continued, after a pause, "it is better to submit than
to protract dissensions forever."

In this most astonishing revolution, thus suddenly accomplished, and
without the shedding of a drop of blood, Napoleon was much indebted
to the influence which his wife had exerted in his behalf during his
absence in Egypt. The dinners she had given, the guests she had
entertained in her saloons evening after evening, consisting of the most
distinguished scholars, and statesmen, and generals in the metropolis,
had contributed greatly to the popularity of her husband, and had
surrounded him with devoted friends. Napoleon ever acknowledged his
obligations to Josephine for the essential service she had thus rendered

The next morning Napoleon and Josephine removed from their elegant yet
comparatively plebeian residence in the Rue Chantereine to the palace
of the Luxembourg. This, however, was but the stepping-stone to the
Tuilleries, the world-renowned abode of the monarchs of France. They
remained for two months at the Luxembourg. The energies of Napoleon were
employed every moment in promoting changes in the internal affairs of
France, which even his bitterest enemies admit were marked with the most
eminent wisdom and benevolence. During the two months of their residence
at the Luxembourg, no domestic event of importance occurred, except the
marriage of Murat with Caroline, the sister of Napoleon. Caroline was
exceedingly beautiful. Murat was one of the favorite aids of Bonaparte.
Their nuptials were celebrated with great splendor, and the gay
Parisians began again to be amused with something like the glitter of

Each day Napoleon became more popular and his power more firmly
established. Soon all France was prepared to see the first consul take
up his residence in the ancient apartments of the kings of France. The
Tuilleries had been sacked again and again by the mob. The gorgeous
furniture, the rich paintings, and all the voluptuous elegance which the
wealth of Louis XIV. could create, had been thrown into the court-yard
and consumed by the infuriated populace. Royalty itself had been pursued
and insulted in its most sacred retreats.

By slow and cautious advances, Napoleon refurnished these magnificent
saloons. The emblems of Jacobin misrule were silently effaced. Statues
of Brutus and Washington, of Demosthenes, and of others renowned for
illustrious deeds, were placed in the vacant niches, and the Tuilleries
again appeared resplendent as in the days of pristine pride and power.

On the morning of the 19th of February, 1800, all Paris was in commotion
to witness the transfer of the embryo court of the first consul and his
colleagues from the Luxembourg to the Tuilleries. Already the colleagues
of Napoleon had become so entirely eclipsed by the superior brilliance
of their imperious associate that their names were almost forgotten. The
royal apartments were prepared for Napoleon, while those in the Pavilion
of Flora were assigned to the two other consuls. The three consuls
entered a magnificent carriage, drawn by six white horses. A gorgeous
train of officers, with six thousand picked troops in the richest
uniform, surrounded the cortège. Many of the long-abolished usages of
royalty were renewed upon that day. Twenty thousand soldiers, in most
imposing military array, were drawn up before the palace. The moment the
carriage appeared, the very heavens seemed rent with their cries, "Vive
le premier consul!" The two associate consuls were ciphers. They sat at
his side as pages to embellish his triumph. This day placed Napoleon in
reality upon the throne of France, and Josephine that evening moved, a
queen, in the apartments hallowed by the beauty and the sufferings of
Maria Antoinette.

The suite of rooms appropriated to the wife of the first consul
consisted of two magnificent saloons, with private apartments adjoining.
No French monarch ever sauntered through a more dazzling scene than
that which graced the drawing-rooms of Josephine on this occasion.
Embassadors from nearly all the courts of Europe were present. The army
contributed its utmost display of rank and military pomp to embellish
the triumph of its most successful general. And the metropolis
contributed all that it still retained of brilliance in ancestral renown
or in intellectual achievement.

When Josephine entered the gorgeously-illuminated apartments of the
palace, leaning upon the arm of Talleyrand, and dressed in the elegance
of the most perfect simplicity, a murmur of admiration arose from the
whole assembly. She was attired in a robe of white muslin. Her hair
fell in graceful ringlets upon her neck and shoulders. A necklace of
pearls of great value completed her costume. The queenly elegance of
her figure, the inimitable grace of her movements, the peculiar
conversational tact she possessed, and the melody of a voice which, once
heard, never was forgotten, gave to Josephine, on this eventful evening,
a social triumph corresponding with that which Napoleon had received
during the day. She entered the rooms to welcome her guests before her
husband. As she made the tour of the apartments, supported by the
minister, whose commanding figure towered above all the rest, she was
first introduced to the foreign embassadors, and then to others of
distinguished name and note. "Napoleon wins battles, but Josephine wins
hearts." This was the all-appropriate theater for the triumph of
Josephine. Here she was entirely at home. Instinct taught her every
thing that was graceful and pleasing. Etiquette, that stern tyrant so
necessary for the control of common minds, was compelled to bow in
subjection to Josephine, for her actions became a higher law. In the
exuberance of benevolent joy, she floated through this brilliant scene,
wherever she appeared exciting admiration, though she sought only to
diffuse enjoyment.

Josephine was now about thirty-three years of age, and while in
personal charms she retained all the fascination of more youthful
years, her mind, elevated and ennobled by reverses and sufferings most
magnanimously borne, and cultivated by the daily exercise of its rich
endowments, enabled her to pass from the circles of fashion to the
circles of science, from those who thought only of the accomplishments
of the person to those who dwelt in the loftiest regions of the
intellect, and to be equally admired by both.

Her figure appears to have been molded into the absolute perfection of
the female frame, neither too large for the utmost delicacy of feminine
beauty, nor too small for queenly dignity. The exquisite symmetry of her
form and the elasticity of her step gave an etherial aspect to her
movements. Her features, of Grecian outline, were finely modeled, and
through them all the varying emotions of the soul were unceasingly
beaming. No one probably ever possessed in a higher degree this
resistless charm of feminine loveliness. Her eyes were of a deep blue,
and possessed a winning tenderness of expression when reposing upon
those she loved which could not be resisted. Napoleon, even when most
agitated by the conflicts of his stormy life, was speedily subdued by
the tranquilizing power of her looks of love. But the tone and
modulations of her voice in conversation constituted the most remarkable
attraction of this most attractive woman. No one could listen to her
sparkling, flowing, musical words without feeling the fascination of
their strange melody. "The first applauses of the French people," says
Napoleon, "fell upon my ear sweet as the voice of Josephine."

The rural charms of Malmaison, however, exerted a more powerful sway
over both the first consul and his companion than the more splendid
attractions of the Tuilleries. The Revolutionary government had
abolished the Sabbath, and appointed every tenth day for rest and
recreation. Napoleon and Josephine habitually spent this day at
Malmaison. There, in the retirement of green fields and luxuriant
groves, surrounded by those scenes of nature which had peculiar charms
for them both, they found that quiet happiness which is in vain sought
amid the turmoil of the camp or the splendor of the court. Josephine, in
particular, here found her most serene and joyous hours. She regretted
the high ambition of her husband, while, at the same time, she felt a
wife's pride and gratification in view of the honors which were so
profusely heaped upon him. It delighted her to see him here lay aside
the cares of state, and enjoy with her the unostentatious pleasures of
the flower-garden and the farm-yard. And when the hour came for them to
return from their rural villa to their city palace, Napoleon often
said, with a sigh, "Now it is necessary for us to go and put on again
the yoke of misery."

The dangers of greatness soon began to hover around the path of the
first consul. Josephine was continually alarmed with rumors of
conspiracies and plots of assassination. The utter indifference
of Napoleon to all such perils, and his entire disregard of all
precautionary measures, only increased the anxiety of his wife. The road
leading from Paris to Malmaison wound through a wild district, then but
thinly inhabited, and which presented many facilities for deeds of
violence. Whenever Napoleon was about to traverse this road, Josephine
sent the servants of their private establishment to scrutinize all its
lurking-places where any foes might be concealed. Napoleon, though
gratified by this kind care, often amused and good-naturedly teased
Josephine with most ludicrous accounts of the perils and hair-breadth
escapes which he had encountered. She also had large and powerful dogs
trained to guard the grounds of Malmaison from any intrusion by night.

On the evening of the day when Napoleon made his entry into the
Tuilleries, he remarked to Bourrienne, "It is not enough to be in
the Tuilleries, we must take measures to remain there. Who has not
inhabited this palace? It has been the abode of robbers--of the
Convention. There is your brother's house, from which, eight years ago,
we saw the good Louis XVI. besieged in the Tuilleries and carried off
into captivity. But you need not fear a repetition of the scene. _Let
them attempt it with me if they dare._" To all the cautions of his
anxious wife respecting assassination, he ever quietly replied, "My dear
Josephine, they dare not do it."



A.D. 1800-A.D. 1801

Second Italian campaign.--Its brilliant results.--Napoleon's desire to
leave a name.--A faithful correspondent.--Delicate attentions of
Napoleon to Josephine.--Her pastimes.--Retirement at Malmaison.--Private
theatricals.--The game of "Prisoners."--The mode of playing it.--
Napoleon's favorite amusement.--He is no misanthrope.--Josephine's
expansive benevolence.--Josephine's unwearied exertions in behalf of
the emigrants.--The Marquis of Decrest.--Accidental death of his
son.--Josephine arrests the grief of Decrest.--Her tenderness.--The
Infernal Machine.--Its power.--Hortense wounded.--Napoleon proceeds
to the opera.--Narrow escape of Josephine.--Treachery of the
Royalists.--Fouché.--Josephine's letter to the Minister of Police.--She
pleads for lenity in behalf of the guilty.--Character of Louis
Napoleon.--He is disappointed in love.--Napoleon tries to heal the
wound.--Character of Hortense.--She is married to Louis.--An
uncongenial union.--Marriage of Duroc.--Letter from Josephine to
Hortense.--She advises Hortense to be more kind to Louis.--Unhappy
disposition of Louis.--Errors of Hortense.--Happiness to which she
might have attained.--The spirit of Josephine.--Character of
Hortense.--Calumnies against Napoleon.--They fail in their effect.--
Unjust remarks of Hortense.--Josephine's reply.--The love of glory
Napoleon's ruling passion.

During Napoleon's absence in Egypt the Austrians had again invaded
Italy. The French troops had been beaten in many battles, and driven
from vast extents of territory, over which Napoleon had caused the flag
of the Republic to float in triumph. The first consul having, with
almost superhuman energy, arranged the internal affairs of his
government, now turned his thoughts toward the defeated armies of
France, which had been driven back into the fastnesses of the Alps. "I
must go," said he, "my dear Josephine. But I will not forget you, and I
will not be absent long." He bade adieu to his wife at the Tuilleries on
the 7th of May, 1800. At midnight of the 2d of July he returned, having
been absent less than two months. In that brief period he drove the
Austrians from all their strongholds, regained Italy, and by a campaign
more brilliant than any other which history has ever recorded, added
immeasurably to his own moral power. These astonishing victories excited
the Parisians to a delirium of joy. Night after night the streets were
illuminated, and whenever Napoleon appeared, crowds thronged him,
filling the air with their acclamations. These triumphs, however,
instead of satisfying Napoleon, did but add fuel to his all-absorbing
ambition. "A few more great events," said he, "like those of this
campaign, and I may really descend to posterity. But still it is little
enough. I have conquered, it is true, in less than two years, Cairo,
Paris, Milan. But, were I to die to-morrow, half a page of general
history would, after ten centuries, be all that would be devoted to my

During his absence Josephine passed her time at Malmaison. And it surely
is indicative not only of the depth of Napoleon's love for Josephine,
but also of his appreciation of those delicate attentions which could
touch the heart of a loving wife, that in this busiest of campaigns, in
which, by day and by night, he was upon the horse's back, with hardly
one moment allowed for refreshment or repose, rarely did a single day
pass in which he did not transmit some token of affection to Malmaison.
Josephine daily watched, with the most intense interest the arrival of
the courier with the brief and almost illegible note from her husband.
Sometimes the blurred and blotted lines were hastily written upon
horseback, with the pommel of his saddle for his writing-desk. Sometimes
they were written, at his dictation, by his secretary, upon a drum-head,
on the field of carnage, when the mangled bodies of the dying and the
dead were strewed all around him, and the thunders of the retreating
battle were still echoing over the plains. These delicate attentions to
his wife exhibit a noble trait in the character of Napoleon. And she
must have been indeed a noble woman who could have inspired such a mind
with esteem and tenderness so profound.

Josephine employed much of her time in superintending those improvements
which she thought would please her husband on his return; creating for
him pleasant little surprises, as she should guide his steps to the
picturesque walk newly opened, to the rustic bridge spanning the stream,
to the rural pavilion, where, in the evening twilight, they could
commune. She often rode on horseback with Hortense, who was peculiarly
fond of all those pleasures which had the concomitants of graceful

After Napoleon's triumphant return from Italy, the visits to Malmaison
were more frequent than ever before. Napoleon and Josephine often spent
several days there; and in after years they frequently spoke of these
hours as the pleasantest they had passed in life. The agreeable
retirement of Malmaison was, however, changed into enjoyment more public
and social by the crowds of visitors with which its saloons and parks
were filled. Josephine received her guests with republican simplicity,
united with the utmost elegance. Her reception-room was continually
thronged with the most distinguished officers of the government,
renowned generals, and all the men most illustrious for birth and talent
the metropolis contained.

The circle assembled here was, indeed, a happy one. A peculiar bond of
union existed throughout the whole household, for Napoleon, as well as
Josephine, secured the most devoted attachment of all the servants. One
of their favorite amusements was family theatricals. Eugene and Hortense
took an active part in these performances, in which both had talents to

But the favorite and most characteristic amusement at Malmaison was the
game of "Prisoners," a common game among the school-boys of France,
though comparatively little known in this country. The company is
divided into two parties. Those who are appointed leaders choose each
their respective sides. Bounds are assigned to each party, and a
particular point as a fortress. If any one is caught away from the
fortress by one who left his own station after the captive left the
hostile fort, he is a prisoner, and must remain at the appointed
prison until rescued. For instance, Hortense leaves her fortress, and
cautiously invades the territory of the enemy. Josephine darts after
her, and eagerly pursues her over the greensward. Eugene, who remains at
his fortress until after Josephine left hers, bounds after his mother.
It is now her turn to flee. But others of her party, who have remained
under the protection of their fortress, rush to her rescue. Eugene,
however, succeeds in touching his mother before they reach him, and
leads her off in triumph a prisoner. A tree, perhaps, at a little
distance, is her prison. Here she must remain until rescued by a touch
from one of her own party. But if the one who is rushing to her rescue
is touched by one of the other party who left his fortress an instant
later, another captive is taken to stand by her side.

In this mimicry of war Napoleon always delighted to engage. After
dinner, upon the lawn at Malmaison, the most distinguished gentlemen and
ladies, not of France only, but of all Europe, were often actively and
most mirthfully engaged in this sport. Kings, and queens, and princes of
the blood royal were often seen upon the lawn at Malmaison pursuing and
pursued. Napoleon and Josephine, and most of the friends who surrounded
them, were in the vigor of athletic youth, and, in entire abandonment to
the frolic of the hour, the air resounded with their shouts. It was
observed that Napoleon was ever anxious to choose Josephine as the first
on his side, and he seemed nervously excited, if she was taken prisoner,
until she was rescued. He was a poor runner, and often fell, rolling
over headlong upon the grass, while he and all his associates were
convulsed with laughter. When there was no special engagement demanding
attention, this sport often continued for hours. Napoleon was often
taken captive. But when Josephine was imprisoned, he was incessantly
clapping his hands, and shouting, "A rescue! a rescue!" till she was
released. A gloomy misanthrope, wrapped in self, could not have enjoyed
these scenes of innocent hilarity.

But the life of Josephine was not devoted to amusement. While she
entered with warmth into these sports, being the soul of every festive
party, her heart was consecrated to the promotion of happiness in every
way in her power. When a child, playing with the little negresses of
Martinique, she was adored as their queen. When in penury, crossing the
Atlantic, by kind sympathy manifested for the sick and the sorrowful,
she won the hearts of the seamen. When a prisoner, under sentence of
death, by her cheerfulness, her forgetfulness of self, and her hourly
deeds of delicate attention to others, she became an object of universal
love in those cells of despair. When prosperity again dawned upon her,
and she was in the enjoyment of an ample competence, every cottage in
the vicinity of Malmaison testified to her benevolence. And now, when
placed in a position of power, all her influence was exerted to relieve
the misfortunes of those illustrious men whom the storms of revolution
had driven from their homes and from France. She never forgot the
unfortunate, but devoted a considerable portion of her income to the
relief of the emigrants. She was at times accused of extravagance. Her
nature was generous in the extreme, and the profusion of her
expenditures was an index of her expansive benevolence.

Napoleon, soon after he became first consul, published a decree,
inviting the emigrants to return, and did what he could to restore to
them their confiscated estates. There were, however, necessarily
exceptions from the general act of amnesty. Cases were continually
arising of peculiar perplexity and hardship, where widows and orphans,
reduced from opulence to penury, sought lost property, which, during the
tumult of the times, had become involved in inextricable embarrassments.
All such persons made application to Josephine. She ever found time to
listen to their tales of sorrow, to speak words of sympathy, and, with
great soundness of judgment, to render them all the aid in her power.
"Josephine," said Napoleon, in reference to these her applications for
the unfortunate, "will not take a refusal. But, it must be confessed,
she rarely undertakes a case which has not propriety, at least, on its
side." The Jacobin laws had fallen with fearful severity upon all the
members of the ancient aristocracy and all the friends of royalty. The
cause of these victims of anarchy Josephine was ever ready to espouse.

A noble family by the name of Decrest had been indebted to the
interposition of the wife of the first consul for their permission to
return to France. As nearly all their property had disappeared during
their exile, Josephine continued to befriend them with her influence
and her purse. On the evening of a festival day, a grand display
of fire-works was exhibited on the banks of the Seine. A rocket,
misdirected, struck a son of the marquis on the breast, and instantly
killed him. The young man, who was on the eve of his marriage to the
daughter of an ancient friend, was an officer of great promise, and the
hope of the declining family. His death was a terrible calamity, as well
as a most afflictive bereavement. The father abandoned himself to all
the delirium of inconsolable grief, and was so utterly lost in the
depths of despair, that it was feared his mind would never again recover
its tone. The Duke of Orleans was grand-uncle of the young man who was
killed, and Madame Montesson, the mother of Louis Philippe, sent for her
distressed relatives that she might administer to their consolation. All
her endeavors, however, were entirely unavailing.

In the midst of this afflictive scene, Josephine entered the saloon of
Madame Montesson. Her own heart taught her that in such a grief as this
words were valueless. Silently she took by the hand the eldest daughter,
a beautiful girl, whose loveliness plead loudly for a father's care, and
in the other arm she took their infant child of fifteen months, and,
with her own cheeks bathed in tears, she kneeled before the stricken
mourner. He raised his eyes and saw Josephine, the wife of the first
consul, kneeling before him, and imploringly presenting his two
children. He was at first astonished at the sight. Then, bursting into
tears, he exclaimed, "Yes! I have much for which I am yet bound to live.
These children have claims upon me, and I must no longer yield to
despair." A lady who was present on this occasion says, "I witnessed
this scene, and shall never forget it. The wife of the first consul
expressed, in language which I will not attempt to imitate, all that
tenderness which the maternal bosom alone knows. She was the very image
of a ministering angel, for the touching charm of her voice and look
pertained more to heaven than to earth." Josephine had herself seen days
as dark as could lower over a mortal's path. Love for her children was
then the only tie which bound her to life. In those days of anguish she
learned the only appeal which, under these circumstances, could touch a
despairing father's heart.

Several conspiracies were formed about this time against the life of
the first consul. That of the Infernal Machine was one of the most
desperate, reckless, and atrocious which history has recorded. On the
evening of December 24, 1800, Napoleon was going to the opera. Three
gentlemen were with him in his carriage. Josephine, with Hortense and
one or two others, followed in another carriage. In passing from the
Tuilleries to the theater, it was necessary to pass through the narrow
street St. Nicaire. A cart, apparently by accident overturned,
obstructed the passage. The coachman, however, who was driving his
horses very rapidly, crowded his way by. He had barely passed the cart
when a terrific explosion took place, which was heard all over Paris.
Eight persons were instantly killed and more than sixty wounded. Some of
the houses in the vicinity were nearly blown down. The windows of both
the carriages were shattered, and Hortense was slightly wounded by the
broken glass. Napoleon drove on to the opera, where he found the
audience in the utmost consternation, for the explosion had shaken the
whole city. He entered with a countenance as perfectly calm and
untroubled as if nothing unusual had occurred. Every eye was fixed upon
him. As soon as it was perceived that his person was safe, thunders of
applause shook the walls of the theater. On every side Napoleon was
greeted with the most devoted expressions of attachment. Soon Josephine
came in, pale and trembling, and, after remaining half an hour, they
both retired to the Tuilleries. Napoleon found the palace crowded with
all the public functionaries of Paris, who had assembled to congratulate
him upon his escape.

The life of Josephine was saved on this occasion by apparently the
merest accident. She had recently received a magnificent shawl, a
present from Constantinople, and was preparing to wear it that evening
for the first time. Napoleon, however, in playful criticism, condemned
the shawl, remarking upon its pattern and its color, and commending
one which he deemed far more beautiful. "You are a bold man," said
Josephine, smiling, "in venturing to criticise my toilette. I shall take
my revenge in giving you a lesson how to attack a redoubt. However," she
continued, turning to one of her attendants, "bring me the general's
favorite. I will wear that." A delay of a few moments was caused in
exchanging the shawls. In the mean time, Napoleon, with his friends,
entered his carriage and drove on. Josephine soon followed. She had but
just entered the street when the explosion took place. Had she followed,
as usual, directly behind Napoleon, her death would have been almost

It was subsequently ascertained, greatly to the surprise of Napoleon and
of all Europe, that the Royalists were the agents in this conspiracy.
Napoleon had been their benefactor, and while he knew it to be
impossible to replace the Bourbons upon the throne of France, he did
every thing in his power to mitigate the misfortunes which Jacobin
violence had inflicted upon their friends. The first consul made no
disguise of his utter detestation of the Jacobins, and of their reign of
merciless tyranny. He consequently supposed that they were the authors
of the atrocious crime. The real authors of the conspiracy were however,
soon discovered. Fouché, whom Bonaparte disliked exceedingly for his
inhuman deeds during the Revolution, was the Minister of Police. Upon
him mainly devolved the trial and the punishment of the accused.
Josephine immediately wrote a letter to Fouché, most strikingly
indicative of the benevolence of her noble heart, and of that strength
of mind which could understand that the claims of justice must not pass

     "CITIZEN-MINISTER,--While I yet tremble at the frightful
     event which has just occurred, I am disquieted and
     distressed through fear of the punishment necessarily to be
     inflicted on the guilty, who belong, it is said, to families
     with whom I once lived in habits of intercourse. I shall be
     solicited by mothers, sisters, and disconsolate wives; and
     my heart will be broken through my inability to obtain all
     the mercy for which I would plead.

     "I know that the clemency of the first consul is great, his
     attachment to me extreme; but the crime is too dreadful that
     terrible examples should not be necessary. The chief of
     the government has not been alone exposed; and it is that
     which will render him severe--inflexible. I conjure you,
     therefore, to do all in your power to prevent inquiries
     being pushed too far. Do not detect all those persons who
     may have been accomplices in these odious transactions. Let
     not France, so long overwhelmed in consternation by public
     executions, groan anew beneath such inflictions. It is even
     better to endeavor to soothe the public mind than to
     exasperate men by fresh terrors. In short, when the
     ring-leaders of this nefarious attempt shall have been
     secured, let severity give place to pity for inferior
     agents, seduced as they may have been by dangerous
     falsehoods or exaggerated opinions.

     "When just invested with supreme power, the first consul,
     as seems to me, ought rather to gain hearts than to be
     exhibited as ruling slaves. Soften by your counsels whatever
     may be too violent in his just resentment. Punish--alas!
     that you must certainly do--but pardon still more. Be also
     the support of those unfortunate men who, by frank avowal or
     repentance, shall expiate a portion of their crime.

     "Having myself narrowly escaped perishing in the Revolution,
     you must regard as quite natural my interference on behalf
     of those who can be saved without involving in new danger
     the life of my husband, precious to me and to France. On
     this account, do, I entreat you, make a wide distinction
     between the authors of the crime and those who, through
     weakness or fear, have consented to take a part therein.
     As a woman, a wife, and a mother, I must feel the
     heart-rendings of those who will apply to me. Act, citizen
     minister, in such a manner that the number of these may be
     lessened. This will spare me much grief. Never will I turn
     away from the supplications of misfortune. But in the
     present instance you can do infinitely more than I, and you
     will, on this account, excuse my importunity. Rely on my
     gratitude and esteem."

Hortense was now eighteen years of age. Louis Napoleon, brother of
the first consul, was twenty-four. The plan was formed by Napoleon
and Josephine of uniting them in marriage. Louis was a studious,
imaginative, pensive man, with no taste for the glitter and pomp of
fashion, and with a decided aversion to earth's noisy ambition. He loved
communing with his own thoughts, the falling leaf, the sighing wind--the
fireside with its books, its solitude, its sacred society of one or two
congenial friends. He belonged to that class of men, always imbued with
deep feeling, whose happiness is only found in those hallowed affections
which bind kindred hearts in congenial pursuits and joys. As Napoleon
was riding triumphantly upon his war-horse over the Austrian squadrons
in Italy, achieving those brilliant victories which paved his way to the
throne of France, Louis, then a young man but nineteen years of age, met
in Paris a young lady, the daughter of an emigrant noble, for whom he
formed a strong attachment, and his whole soul became absorbed in the
passion of love. Napoleon was informed of this attachment, and,
apprehensive that the alliance of his brother with one of the old
Royalist families might endanger his own ambitious projects, he sent him
away on a military commission, and with his inflexible will and strong
arm broke off the connection. The young lady was soon afterward married
to another gentleman, and poor Louis was plunged into depths of
disappointment and melancholy, from whence he never emerged. Life was
ever after to him but a cloudy day, till, with a grief-worn spirit, he
sank into the grave.

Napoleon, conscious of the wound he had inflicted upon his sensitive
brother, endeavored, in various ways, to make amends. There was very
much in his gentle, affectionate, and fervent spirit to attract the
tender regard of Napoleon, and he ever after manifested toward him a
disposition of peculiar kindness. It was long before Louis would listen
to the proposition of his marriage with Hortense. His affections still
clung, though hopelessly, yet so tenaciously to the lost object of his
idolatry, that he could not think, without pain, of his union with
another. More uncongenial nuptials could hardly have been imagined.
Hortense was a beautiful, merry, thoughtless girl--amiable, but very
fond of excitement and display. In the ball-room, the theater, and other
places of brilliant entertainment, she found her chief pleasures. In
addition to this incongruity, she was already in love with the handsome
Duroc, the favorite aid of Napoleon. It is not strange that such a
young lady should have seen as little to fancy in the disappointed and
melancholy Louis as he could see attractive in one who lived but for the
pageantry of the passing hour. Thus both parties were equally averse to
the match. The tact of Josephine, however, and the power of Napoleon
combined, soon overcame all obstacles, and the mirth-loving maiden and
the pensive scholar were led to their untoward nuptials. Hortense became
more easily reconciled to the match, as her powerful father promised, in
consequence of this alliance, to introduce her to seats of grandeur
where all her desires should be gratified. Louis, resigning himself to
any lot in a world which had no further joy in store for him, suffered
himself to be conducted submissively to the altar.

At the fête given in honor of this marriage, the splendors of ancient
royalty seemed to be revived. But every eye could see the sadness of the
newly-married bride beneath the profusion of diamonds and flowers with
which she was adorned. Louis Napoleon, the present President of the
French Republic, is the only surviving offspring of this uncongenial

The gay and handsome Duroc, who had been the accepted lover of Hortense,
was soon after married to an heiress, who brought him, with an immense
fortune, a haughty spirit and an irritable temper, which embittered all
his days. The subsequent life of Hortense presents one of the most
memorable illustrations of the insufficiency of human grandeur to
promote happiness. Josephine witnessed with intense solicitude the utter
want of congeniality existing between them, and her heart often bled as
she saw alienation growing stronger and stronger, until it resulted in
an entire separation. Hortense might easily have won and retained the
affections of the pensive but warm-hearted Louis, had she followed the
counsels of her noble mother. Josephine, herself the almost perfect
model of a wife, was well qualified to give advice in such a case. The
following letter, written to Hortense some time before her separation
from Louis, exhibits in a most amiable light the character of

          _To Queen Hortense._

     "What I learned eight days ago gave me the greatest pain.
     What I observe to-day confirms and augments my sorrow. Why
     show to Louis this repugnance? Instead of rendering him more
     ungracious still by caprice, by inequality of character,
     why do you not rather make efforts to surmount your
     indifference? But you will say, he is not amiable! All that
     is relative. If not in your eyes amiable, he may appear so
     to others, and all women do not view him through the medium
     of dislike. As for myself, who am here altogether
     disinterested, I imagine that I behold him as he is, more
     _loving_, doubtless, than _lovable_, but this is a great and
     rare quality. He is generous, beneficent, feeling, and,
     above all, an excellent father. If you so willed, he would
     prove a good husband. His melancholy, his love of study and
     retirement, injure him in your estimation. For these, I ask
     you, is he to blame? Is he obliged to conform his nature to
     circumstances? Who could have predicted to him his fortune?
     But, according to you, he has not even the _courage_ to
     bear that fortune. This, I believe, is an error; but
     he certainly wants the _strength_. With his ascetic
     inclinations, his invincible desire of retirement and study,
     he finds himself misplaced in the elevated rank to which he
     has attained. You desire that he should imitate his brother.
     Give him, first of all, the same temperament. You have not
     failed to remark that almost our entire existence depends
     upon our health, and that upon our digestion. Let poor Louis
     digest better, and you would find him more amiable. But,
     such as he is, there can be no reason for abandoning him, or
     making him feel the unbecoming sentiments with which he
     inspires you. Do you, whom I have seen so kind, continue to
     be so at the moment when it is precisely more than ever
     necessary. Take pity on a man who has to lament that he
     possesses what would constitute another's happiness; and,
     before condemning him, think of others who, like him, have
     groaned beneath the burden of their greatness, and bathed
     with their tears that diadem which they believed had never
     been destined for their brow."

This, surely, was admirable counsel, and, had Hortense followed it, she
would have saved herself many a long year of loneliness and anguish. But
the impetuous and thoughtless bride could not repress the repugnance
with which she regarded the cold exterior and the exacting love of her
husband. Louis demanded from her a singleness and devotedness of
affection which was unreasonable. He wished to engross all her faculties
of loving. He desired that every passion of her soul should be centered
in him, and was jealous of any happiness she found excepting that which
he could give. He was even troubled by the tender regard with which she
cherished her mother and her brother, considering all the love she gave
to them as so much withheld from him. Hortense was passionately fond of
music and of painting. Louis almost forbade her the enjoyment of those
delightful accomplishments, thinking that she pursued them with a
heartfelt devotion inconsistent with that supreme love with which she
ought to regard her husband. Hortense, proud and high-spirited, would
not submit to such tyranny. She resisted and retaliated. She became,
consequently, wretched, and her husband wretched, and discord withered
all the joys of home. At last, the union of such discordant spirits
became utterly insupportable. They separated. The story of their
domestic quarrels vibrated upon the ear of Europe. Louis wandered here
and there, joyless and sad, till, weary of a miserable life, alone and
friendless, he died. Hortense retired, with a restless and suffering
heart, to the mountains of Switzerland, where, in a secluded castle, she
lingered out the remaining years of her sorrowful pilgrimage. It was an
unfortunate match. Having been made, the only possible remedy was in
pursuing the course which Josephine so earnestly recommended. Had
Josephine been married to Louis, she would have followed the course she
counseled her daughter to pursue. She would have leaned fondly upon his
arm in his morning and evening walks. She would have cultivated a lively
interest in his reading, his studies, and all his quiet domestic
pleasures. She would, as far as possible, have relinquished every
pursuit which could by any possibility have caused him pain. Thus she
would have won his love and his admiration. Every day her power over him
would have been increasing. Gradually her influence would have molded
his character to a better model. He would have become proud of his wife.
He would have leaned upon her arm. He would have been supported by her
affection and her intellectual strength. He would have become more
cheerful in character and resolute in purpose. Days of tranquillity and
happiness would have embellished their dwelling. The spirit of
Josephine! It is _noble_ as well as _lovely_. It accomplishes the most
exalted achievements, and diffuses the most ennobling happiness. There
are thousands of unions as uncongenial as that of Hortense and Louis.
From the woes such unions would naturally engender there is but one
refuge, and Josephine has most beautifully shown what that refuge is.
Hortense, proud and high-spirited, resolved that she would not submit to
the exacting demands of her husband. In her sad fate we read the warning
not to imitate her example.

Hortense is invariably described as an unusually fascinating woman. She
had great vivacity of mind, and displayed much brilliance of
conversational powers. Her person was finely formed, and she inherited
much of that graceful demeanor which so signally characterized her
mother. She was naturally amiable, and was richly endowed with all those
accomplishments which enable one to excel in the art of pleasing. Louis,
more than any other of the brothers, most strongly resembled Napoleon.
He was a very handsome man, and possessed far more than ordinary
abilities. Under less untoward circumstances he might have been
eminently happy. Few persons, however, have journeyed along the path of
life under a darker cloud than that which ever shed its gloom upon the
footsteps of Louis and Hortense.

Among the various attempts which had been made to produce alienation
between Napoleon and Josephine, one of the most atrocious was the
whispered insinuation that the strong affection which the first consul
manifested for Hortense was a guilty passion. Napoleon exhibited in
the most amiable manner his qualities as a father, in the frequent
correspondence he carried on with the two children of Josephine, in the
interest he took in their studies, and in the solicitude he manifested
to promote their best welfare. He loved Hortense as if she had been his
own child. Josephine was entirely impregnable against any jealousy to be
introduced from that quarter, and a peaceful smile was her only reply
to all such insinuations. Hortense had also heard, and had utterly
disregarded, these rumors. The marriage of Hortense to a brother of
Napoleon had entirely silenced the calumny, and it was soon forgotten.

Subsequently, when Hortense had become entirely alienated from her
husband, and was resolved upon a separation, Josephine did every thing
in her power to dissuade her from an act so rash, so disgraceful, so
ruinous to her happiness. She wrote to her in terms of the most earnest
entreaty. The self-willed queen, annoyed by these remonstrances, and
unable to reply to them, ventured to intimate to her mother that perhaps
she was not entirely disinterested in her opposition. In most guarded
terms she suggested that her mother had heard the groundless accusation
of Napoleon's undue fondness, and that it was possible that her strong
opposition to the separation of Hortense from her husband might
originate in the fear that Hortense might become, in some degree, her
rival in the affections of Napoleon. Josephine very promptly and
energetically replied,

     "You have misunderstood me entirely, my child. There is
     nothing equivocal in my words, as there can not exist an
     uncandid sentiment in my heart. How could you imagine that
     I could participate in opinions so ridiculous and so
     malicious? No, Hortense, you do not think that I believe you
     to be my rival. We do, indeed, both reign in the same heart,
     though by very different, yet by equally sacred rights. And
     they who, in the affection which my husband manifests for
     you, have pretended to discover other sentiments than those
     of a parent and a friend, know not _his_ soul. His mind is
     too elevated above that of the vulgar to be ever accessible
     to unworthy passions. The passion of glory, if you will,
     engrosses him too entirely for our repose; but glory, at
     least, inspires nothing which is vile. Such is my profession
     of faith respecting Napoleon. I make this confession to you
     in all sincerity, that I may allay your inquietudes. When I
     recommended you to love, or, at least, not to repulse Louis,
     I spoke to you in my character of an experienced wife, an
     attentive mother, and a tender friend, and in this threefold
     relation do I now embrace you."



A.D. 1800-A.D. 1804

Josephine and Napoleon visit Lyons.--Josephine makes new friends.--
Return to Malmaison.--Anecdote of the writing-master.--Tour of the
northern provinces.--Enthusiasm of the people.--Josephine ever
solicitous in behalf of the comfort of others.--Benevolence of
Josephine's heart.--The palace of St. Cloud.--Napoleon's views of
Christianity.--Striking remarks.--Influence of Josephine in the
re-establishment of Christianity.--Religious ceremony at Nôtre
Dame.--Proclamation of Napoleon.--Christian charity recommended.--
Triumph of Christianity.--Madame Tallien disliked by Napoleon.--
Dissipation in Paris.--Incident at a masked ball.--Josephine and
Madame Tallien.--The stolen interview.--Eugene interrupts it.--
Ouvrard.--Rumors.--Apprehensions of Josephine.--Anecdote.--Introduction
of regal state.--Napoleon and Josephine occupy separate apartments.--
Josephine advocates the cause of the Bourbons.--A present.--Napoleon
takes to the whip.--Accident resulting from his unskillfulness.--
Napoleon's views of death.--Subsequent change of opinion.--Remonstrances
of Josephine.--Titled Englishmen in Paris.--Josephine invites them to
Malmaison.--Their reception.--Dissipation in Paris.--Napoleon declared
emperor.--Josephine's fears.--Grand levée.--Josephine's elevated
position.--Preparations for the coronation.--Dress of Josephine.--Dress
of Napoleon.--The imperial carriage.--A splendid pageant.--The throne.
--Napoleon crowns himself and Josephine.--A touching scene.--Pious
emotions of Josephine.--Impatience of Napoleon.--Josephine's forebodings
fulfilled.--Desires to forget her title.--Josephine's regrets.--
Corruption of the court of France.--Napoleon scrupulous in forming his
court.--The Duchess d'Aiguillon.--Letter from Josephine to the Duchess
d'Aiguillon.--Josephine not her own mistress.

Early in the year 1802 Josephine accompanied Napoleon in various
excursions to distant parts of the empire. She went with him to Lyons to
meet the Italian deputies, who had assembled there to confer upon him
the dignity of President of the Cisalpine Republic. The entertainments
in Lyons upon this occasion were arranged with regal magnificence.
Josephine, by her grace and affability, secured universal admiration,
and every tongue was eloquent in her praises. Each succeeding month
seemed now to bring some new honor to Josephine. Her position as wife of
the first consul, her known influence over her husband, and the almost
boundless popularity he had acquired over the minds of his countrymen,
who were ever conducting him by rapid strides to new accessions of
power, surrounded her with multitudes striving in every way to
ingratiate themselves into her favor.

From Lyons they returned to their beloved retreat at Malmaison, where
they passed several weeks. But place and power had already deprived them
of retirement. Napoleon was entirely engrossed with his vast projects
of ambition. The avenue to their rural mansion was unceasingly thronged
with carriages, and the saloon of Josephine was ever filled with the
most illustrious guests.

One day Josephine happened to be in the cabinet with her husband
alone. A man, whose coat was much the worse for wear, and whose whole
appearance presented many indications of the struggle with poverty, was
ushered into the room. He appeared greatly embarrassed, and at length,
with much confusion, introduced himself as the writing-master at Brienne
who had taught the first consul hand-writing. "And a fine penman you
made of me!" exclaimed Napoleon, in affected anger. "Ask my wife there
what she thinks of my writing." The poor man stood trembling in
trepidation, when Josephine looked up with one of her sweetest smiles,
and said, "I assure you, sir, his letters are perfectly delightful."
Napoleon laughed at the well-timed compliment, and settled upon the
writing-master a small annuity for life. It was a noble trait in the
character of the first consul that in his days of power he was ever
mindful of those who were the friends of his early years. All the
instructors of the school he attended at Brienne were thus remembered
by him.

Napoleon and Josephine now made the tour of the northern provinces of
France. They were every where received with unbounded enthusiasm. The
first consul had, indeed, conferred the greatest blessings on his
country. He had effectually curbed the Revolutionary fury. He had
established the reign of law. Thousands of exiles he had restored to
their homes rejoicing. The discomfited armies of France he had led to
new and brilliant victories. Under his administration every branch of
business had revived. From every part of the empire Napoleon received
the most enthusiastic expressions of gratitude and attachment. He now
began more seriously to contemplate ascending the throne of France.
Conscious of his own power, and ambitious of the glory of elevating his
country to the highest pinnacle of earthly greatness, and witnessing the
enthusiasm of admiration which his deeds had excited in the public mind,
he no longer doubted that his countrymen would soon be ready to place
the scepter of empire in his hands. He thought that the pear was now

Josephine ever enjoyed most highly accompanying her husband on these
tours, and she, on such occasions, manifested, in the most attractive
manner, her readiness to sacrifice her own personal comfort to promote
the happiness of others. Napoleon was in the habit of moving with such
rapidity, and of setting out so unexpectedly upon these journeys, and he
was so peremptory in his injunctions as to the places where he intended
to halt, that often no suitable accommodations could be provided for
Josephine and her attendant ladies. No complaint, however, was ever
heard from her lips. No matter how great the embarrassment she
encountered, she ever exhibited the same imperturbable cheerfulness and
good humor. She always manifested much more solicitude in reference to
the accommodation of her attendants than for her own comfort. She would
herself visit their apartments, and issue personal directions to promote
their convenience. One night, just as she was about to retire to rest,
she observed that her waiting-woman had but a single mattress, spread
upon the floor, for her repose. She immediately, with her own hands,
took from the bed destined for herself another mattress, and supplied
the deficiency, that her waiting-woman might sleep more comfortably.
Whenever any of her household were sick, Josephine promptly visited
their bed-side, and with her own hands ministered to their wants. She
would remember them at her own table, and from the luxurious viands
spread out before her, would select delicacies which might excite a
failing appetite. It often happened, in these sudden and hasty journeys,
that, from want of accommodation, some of the party were compelled to
remain in the carriages while Napoleon and Josephine dined. In such
cases they were never forgotten. This was not policy and artifice on the
part of Josephine, but the instinctive dictates of a heart overflowing
with benevolence.

On Napoleon's return from this tour he took possession of the palace of
St. Cloud. This was another step toward the throne of the Bourbons.
This magnificent abode of ancient grandeur had been repaired and most
gorgeously furnished. The versatile French, weary of Republican
simplicity, witnessed with joy the indications of a return of regal
magnificence. A decree also granted to Josephine "four ladies, to assist
her in doing the honors of the palace." No occupant of these splendid
saloons ever embellished them more richly by the display of queenly
graces than did Josephine; and Napoleon, now constituted first consul
for life, reigned with pomp and power which none of his predecessors
had ever surpassed. The few remaining forms of the Republic rapidly
disappeared. Josephine exerted much influence over her husband's mind in
inducing him to re-establish the institutions of the Christian religion.
Napoleon at that time did not profess to have any faith in the divine
origin of Christianity. Infidelity had swept resistlessly over France,
and nearly every man of any note in the camp and in the court was an
unbeliever. He was, consequently, very bitterly opposed in all his
endeavors to reinstate Christianity. One evening he was walking upon the
terrace of his garden at Malmaison, most earnestly conversing with some
influential members of the government upon this subject.

"Religion," said he, "is something which can not be eradicated from the
heart of man. He _must_ believe in a superior being. Who made all that?"
he continued, pointing to the stars brilliantly shining in the evening
sky. "Last Sunday evening I was walking here alone, when the church
bells of the village of Ruel rang at sunset. I was strongly moved, so
vividly did the image of early days come back with that sound. If it be
thus with me, what must it be with others? Let your philosophers answer
that, if they can. It is absolutely indispensable to have a religion for
the people. In re-establishing Christianity, I consult the wishes of a
great majority of the French nation."

Josephine probably had very little religious knowledge. She regarded
Christianity as a sentiment rather than a principle. She felt the poetic
beauty of its revelations and its ordinances. She knew how holy were its
charities, how pure its precepts, how ennobling its influences, even
when encumbered with the grossest superstitions. She had seen, and
dreadfully had she felt, what France was without religion--with marriage
a mockery, conscience a phantom, and death proclaimed to all an eternal
sleep. She therefore most warmly seconded her husband in all endeavors
to restore again to desolated France the religion of Jesus Christ.

The next morning after the issuing of the proclamation announcing the
re-establishment of public worship, a grand religious ceremony took
place in honor of the occasion in the church of Nôtre Dame. Napoleon, to
produce a deep impression upon the public mind, invested the occasion
with all possible pomp. As he was preparing to go to the Cathedral, one
of his colleagues, Cambacèrés, entered the room.

"Well," said the first consul, rubbing his hands in fine spirits, "we go
to church this morning; what say they to that in Paris?"

"Many people," replied Cambacèrés, "propose to attend the first
representation in order to hiss the piece, should they not find it

"If any one takes it into his head to hiss, I shall put him out of the
door by the grenadiers of the consular guard."

"But what if the grenadiers themselves take to hissing like the rest?"

"As to that, I have no fear. My old mustaches will go here to Nôtre Dame
just as at Cairo they would have gone to the mosque. They will remark
how I do, and, seeing their general grave and decent, they will be so
too, passing the watchword to each other, _Decency_!"

In the noble proclamation which the first consul issued upon this great
event, he says, "An insane policy has sought, during the Revolution, to
smother religious dissensions under the ruins of the altar, under the
ashes of religion itself. At its voice all those pious solemnities
ceased in which the citizens called each other by the endearing name of
brothers, and acknowledged their common equality in the sight of Heaven.
The dying, left alone in his agonies, no longer heard that consoling
voice which calls the Christian to a better world. God himself seemed
exiled from the face of nature. Ministers of the religion of peace! let
a complete oblivion veil over your dissensions, your misfortunes, your
faults. Let the religion which unites you bind you by indissoluble cords
to the interests of your country. Citizens of the Protestant faith! the
law has equally extended its solicitude to your interests. Let the
morality, so pure, so holy, so brotherly, which you profess, unite you
all in love to your country and respect for its laws; and, above all,
never permit disputes on doctrinal points to weaken that universal
charity which religion at once inculcates and commands."

This, surely, is a great triumph of Christianity. A man like Napoleon,
even though not at the time a believer in its divine origin, was so
perfectly satisfied of its beneficial influence upon mankind, that, as a
matter of state policy, he felt compelled to reinstate its observances.

Josephine cherished emotions of the deepest gratitude toward all those
who had proved friendly to her in the days of her adversity. Napoleon,
with his strong prejudices, often took a dislike to those whom Josephine
loved. Madame Tallien, the companion of Josephine in her captivity
and her benefactor after her release, was, for some unknown reason,
peculiarly obnoxious to Napoleon. She was extremely beautiful and very
ambitious, and her exclusion from the splendors of the new court, now
daily becoming more brilliant, mortified her exceedingly. Josephine also
was greatly troubled. She could not disregard the will of her husband,
and her heart recoiled from the thought of ingratitude toward one who
had been her friend in adversity. At this time, in Paris, pleasure
seemed to be the universal object of pursuit. All the restraints of
religion had been swept away, and masked balls, gambling, and every
species of dissipation attracted to the metropolis the wealthy and the
dissolute from all parts of Europe. Napoleon never made his appearance
in any of these reckless scenes of revelry. He ever was an inveterate
enemy to gambling in all its forms, and had no relish for luxurious
indulgence. Josephine, however, accompanied by Eugene, occasionally
looked in upon the dancers at the masked balls. On one of these
occasions a noble lady witnessed an incident which she has recorded in
the following words:

     "Chance rendered me witness of a singular scene at one of
     these balls. It was near two o'clock in the morning, the
     crowd immense, and the heat overpowering. I had ascended for
     a few moments to the apartments above, and, refreshed by the
     cool air, was about to descend, when the sound of voices in
     the adjoining room, in earnest conversation, caught my
     attention. Applying my ear to the partition, the name of
     Bonaparte, and the discovery that Josephine and Madame
     Tallien were the speakers, excited a real curiosity. 'I
     assure you, my dear Theresina,' said Josephine, 'that I
     have done all that friendship could dictate, but in vain. No
     later than this morning I made a new effort. Bonaparte would
     hear of nothing. I can not comprehend what can have
     prejudiced him so strongly against you. You are the only
     woman whose name he has effaced from the list of my
     particular friends; and from fear lest he should manifest
     his displeasure directly against us have I now come hither
     alone with my son. At this moment they believe me sound
     asleep in my bed at the Tuilleries; but I determined on
     coming to see, to warn, and to console you and, above all,
     to justify myself.'

     "'My dear Josephine,' Madame Tallien replied, 'I have never
     doubted either the goodness of your heart or the sincerity
     of your affection. Heaven is my witness that the loss of
     your friendship would be to me much more painful than any
     dread of Bonaparte. In these difficult times, I have
     maintained a conduct that might, perhaps, render my visits
     an honor, but I will never importune you to receive me
     without his consent. He was not consul when Tallien followed
     him into Egypt, when I received you both into my house, when
     I shared with you--' Here she burst into tears, and her
     voice became inaudible.

     "'Calm yourself, my dear Theresina,' Josephine rejoined; 'be
     calm, and let the storm pass. I am paving the way for a
     reconciliation, but we must not irritate him more. You know
     that he does not love Ouvrard, and it is said that he often
     sees you.'

     "'What, then,' Madame Tallien replied, 'because he governs
     France, does he expect to tyrannize over our hearts? Must we
     sacrifice to him our private friendships?'

     "At that moment some one knocked at the door, and Eugene
     Beauharnais entered. 'Madame,' said he to his mother, 'you
     have been now more than an hour absent. The council of
     ministers is perhaps over. What will the first consul say,
     should he not find you on his return?' The two ladies then,
     arm in arm, descended the stairs, conversing in earnest
     whispers, followed by Eugene."

This Ouvrard, to whom allusion is made above, was a famous banker in
Paris, of enormous wealth, and engaged in the most wild and extravagant

It now began to be rumored that Napoleon would soon be crowned as king.
Very many of the nation desired it, and though there was as yet no
public declaration, vague hints and floating rumors filled the air.
Josephine was greatly disquieted. It seemed more and more important that
Napoleon should have an heir. There was now no prospect that Josephine
would ever become again a mother. She heard, with irrepressible anguish,
that it had been urged upon her husband that the interests of France
required that he should obtain a divorce and marry again; that alliance
with one of the ancient royal families of Europe, and the birth of a
son, to whom he could transmit his crown, would place his power upon an
impregnable foundation. Josephine could not but perceive the _apparent_
policy of the great wrong. And though she knew that Napoleon truly and
tenderly loved her, she also feared that there was no sacrifice which
he was not ready to make in obedience to the claims of his towering

One day she softly entered the cabinet without being announced.
Bonaparte and Bourrienne were conversing together. The day before, an
article appeared in the Moniteur, evidently preparing the way for the
throne. Josephine gently approached her husband, sat down upon his knee,
affectionately passed her hand through his hair and over his face, and,
with moistened eyes and a burst of tenderness, exclaimed, "I entreat
you, mon ami, do not make yourself a king. It is Lucien who urges you
to it. Do not even listen to him."

Bonaparte, smiling very pleasantly, replied, "Why, my dear Josephine,
you are crazy. You must not listen to these tales of the old dowagers.
But you interrupt us now. I am very busy."

During the earlier period of Napoleon's consulship, like the humblest
citizen, he occupied the same bed-chamber with his spouse. But now that
more of regal ceremony and state was being introduced to the consular
establishment, their domestic intercourse, to the great grief of
Josephine, assumed more of cold formality. Separate apartments were
assigned to Josephine at a considerable distance from those occupied by
her husband, and it was necessary to traverse a long corridor to pass
from one to the other. The chambers of the principal ladies of the court
opened upon this corridor from the right and the left. The splendor with
which Josephine's rooms were furnished was no compensation to her for
the absence of that affectionate familiarity for which her heart ever
yearned. She also suspected, with anguish, that this separation was
but the prelude of the divorce she so fearfully apprehended. Whenever
Napoleon passed the night in the apartment of Josephine, it was known to
the whole household. Josephine, at such times, always appeared at a
later hour in the morning than usual, for they generally passed half the
night in conversation.

"I think I see her still," writes one of the ladies of her household,
"coming in to breakfast, looking quite cheerful, rubbing her little
hands, as she was accustomed to do when peculiarly happy, and
apologizing for having risen so late. On such occasions she was, if
possible, more gracious than usual, refused nobody, and we were sure
of obtaining every thing we asked, as I have myself many times

The Bourbons had been for some time in correspondence with Napoleon,
hoping, through his agency, to regain the throne. He assured them that
their restoration could not possibly be accomplished, even by the
sacrifice of the lives of a million of Frenchmen. Josephine, who had
suffered so much from anarchy, was a decided Royalist, and she exerted
all her powers to induce Napoleon to make the attempt to reinstate the
Bourbons. When her friends congratulated her upon the probability that
she would soon be Empress of France, with heartfelt sincerity she
replied, "To be the wife of the first consul fulfills my highest
ambition. Let me remain so." The Bourbons expressed much gratitude at
the time in view of Josephine's known intercessions in their behalf.

About this time a serious accident happened to the first consul, which
also exposed Josephine to much danger. The inhabitants of Antwerp had
made Napoleon a present of six magnificent bay horses. With four of
these spirited steeds harnessed to the carriage, Napoleon was one day
taking an airing, with Josephine and Cambacèrés, the second consul, in
the park. Napoleon, taking a fancy to drive four in hand, mounted the
coach-box, and Cæsar, his favorite coachman, was stationed behind. The
horses soon discovered that they had a new and inexperienced driver, and
started off at the top of their speed. Napoleon lost all control over
them, and the frightened animals, perfectly ungovernable, dashed along
the road at a fearful rate. Cæsar kept shouting to Napoleon, "Keep in
the middle!" Cambacèrés, pale with fright, thrust his head out of the
window, and shouted "Whoa! whoa!" Josephine, greatly alarmed, sank back
in her seat, and in silent resignation awaited the issue. As they
approached the avenue to St. Cloud, the imperial driver had not
sufficient skill to guide them safely through the gateway. The coach
struck against one of the pillars, and was overturned with a terrible
crash. Josephine and Cambacèrés were considerably bruised. Napoleon was
thrown from his seat to the distance of eight or ten paces, and was
taken up insensible. He, however, soon recovered. On retiring at night,
they amused themselves in talking over the misadventure. "Mon ami," said
Josephine, laughing, "you must render unto Cæsar the things that be
Cæsar's. Let him keep his whip. Each to his vocation." The conversation
was continued for some time in a tone of pleasantry. Gradually Napoleon
became more serious. He seemed to be reflecting deeply, and said that he
never before came so near to death. "Indeed," said he, "I was for some
moments virtually dead. But what is death? what is death? It is merely a
sleep without dreams."

Such were probably, at this time, the views of Napoleon upon
immortality. He subsequently professed himself a sincere believer in the
divine origin of Christianity, and wished to die within the pale of the
Christian Church. That mind which can contemplate death with levity must
be either exceedingly weak or hopelessly deranged.

While nearly all who surrounded the first consul were contemplating with
the utmost satisfaction his approaching elevation to the throne, the
subject awakened in the bosom of Josephine the most agitating emotions.
She saw in the splendor of the throne peril to her husband, and the risk
of entire downfall to herself. "The real enemies of Bonaparte," said she
to Roederer, "are those who put into his head ideas of hereditary
succession, dynasty, divorce, and marriage." Again she is represented
as saying, "I do not approve the projects of Napoleon. I have often told
him so. He hears me with attention, but I can plainly see that I make no
impression. The flatterers who surround him soon obliterate all that I
have said. The new honors which he will acquire will augment the number
of his enemies. The generals will exclaim that they have not fought so
long merely to substitute the family of the Bonapartes for that of the

The peace ratified by the treaty of Amiens in 1802 threw open the
Continent to travelers from England. There were thousands in that
country who were great admirers of Napoleon. The Tuilleries, St. Cloud,
and Malmaison were consequently ever thronged with illustrious strangers
from the island with which France had so long been engaged in war. The
celebrated statesman, Mr. Fox, with Lord and Lady Holland, Lord Erskine,
and several others of the most distinguished of the English nobility,
were visiting Paris, and one morning were at a breakfast party at Madame
Recamier's. Breakfast was nearly concluded, when the sounds of a
horseman galloping into the court-yard were heard. Eugene Beauharnais
was immediately after announced. After a few words of regret expressed
to the lady of the house for having arrived so late, he turned to Mr.
Fox and said, "I hope, sir, soon to indemnify myself for the loss of
your society which I have this morning sustained. I am commissioned by
my mother to attend you to Malmaison. The carriages will be here in a
few moments which are for the accommodation of you and your friends,
when you can resolve on leaving so many charms as must detain you here.
I shall, with much pleasure, act as your guide."

The carriages of the first consul soon arrived, and the whole party
proceeded to Malmaison. Josephine received her guests with that courtesy
and refined cordiality in which she was unrivaled. Bonaparte, knowing
the powerful influence of the illustrious English statesman, was very
desirous that he should receive a favorable impression from his visit.
It required but little effort on the part of Josephine to excel in the
art of pleasing. She banished all parade, and received her guests as
family friends. The day was spent at Malmaison, and Mr. Fox afterward
stated that he retired from the visit enchanted with the elegance and
grace of all that he saw and heard.

Ten years had passed, during which France had been in a state of
constant warfare. The short peace which succeeded the treaty of
Amiens filled Paris with the best society of Europe. Extravagance
and dissipation reigned in the metropolis. But in those scenes of
dissipation neither Napoleon nor Josephine ever made their appearance.
His mind was ever engrossed with the magnificent plans he was forming
and the deeds he was achieving. Josephine was equally engaged in
watching over the interests of her husband, and in gaining and
confirming friends to his cause.

On the 18th of May, 1804, by a decree of the senate, Napoleon was
declared Emperor of France. The decree was sent out to the various
departments for the action of the people. The result was, that 3,572,329
voted in the affirmative, while but 2569 were in the negative. A more
unanimous expression of a nation's will history never has recorded. The
day after his elevation to the imperial throne, the emperor held a grand
levée at the Tuilleries, and Josephine, with many fears darkening this
hour of exultation, made her first appearance as the Empress of France.
The decree announcing Napoleon Bonaparte to be the emperor of France
also declared that the imperial dignity should be _hereditary_ in his
family. The empress struggled against her fears, but her heart was
heavy, and she found but little joy upon this high pinnacle of power.
She also plainly foresaw that the throne of her husband, apparently so
gorgeous and massive, was erected upon a very frail foundation.

At the grand levée held upon this occasion, the assembly was the most
brilliant and numerous that had ever yet been witnessed in Paris. The
renown of Napoleon now filled the world, and noted men from every land
thronged his saloons. Josephine found herself elevated to the position
of the most illustrious of the queens of Europe. The power of her
husband was superior to that of any of the surrounding monarchs, and she
received the homage of all as occupying an elevation such as no queen
had ever attained before.

The second of December, 1804, was appointed for the ceremony of
coronation. The pageant was to take place in the church of Nôtre Dame.
The pope came from Rome to place the crown upon this lofty, though
plebeian brow. For ten centuries such an honor had not been conferred
upon any monarch. The day was clear and brilliant, but intensely cold.
The venerable walls of Nôtre Dame had never before witnessed such luxury
and such magnificence as was now displayed. Carriages glittering with
gold and purple trappings; horses proudly caparisoned; officers in the
richest uniforms, and in court dresses sumptuously embroidered; servants
in most gorgeous liveries; and a waving sea of ostrich plumes,
bewildered the multitude with the unwonted splendor.

The empress appeared in a robe of white satin, embroidered with gold,
and profusely ornamented with diamonds. A mantle of crimson velvet,
lined with white satin and ermine, floated over her shoulders, and
golden bees were clustered over the dress. The coronation jewels
consisted of a crown, a diadem, and a girdle. The coronation crown
consisted of eight golden branches, four in imitation of palm, and four
of myrtle leaves. The dew-drops glittering upon this foliage were
brilliant diamonds. A golden-corded band surrounded the crown,
embellished with eight very large emeralds. The bandeau inclosing the
head glittered resplendent with amethysts. This was the coronation
crown, which was used only upon state occasions. The diadem, which was
for more ordinary service, was composed of four rows of pearls
interlaced with diamonds. In front were several very large brilliants,
one of which weighed one hundred and forty-nine grains. The ceinture or
girdle was of pure gold, so pure as to be quite elastic, embellished
with thirty-nine rose-colored diamonds.

Napoleon wore a close dress of white velvet, embroidered in gold, with
diamond buttons. His stockings were of white silk. The robe and mantle
were of crimson velvet, richly embroidered in gold and embellished with
diamonds. Napoleon seemed to regret the vast expense attending this
display, while at the same time he was conscious of its importance to
impress the minds of the Parisians. The emperor was profuse in
expenditure to promote the grandeur and glory of the nation, but very
frugal in his personal expenses.

The imperial carriage, constructed expressly for the occasion, was the
most exquisite piece of workmanship Parisian ingenuity could devise. It
was drawn by eight bay horses. The paneling was entirely of glass. As
the emperor and empress entered the carriage, they both, by mistake, sat
down with their backs toward the horses. Josephine, immediately
perceiving the error, lightly changed her seat, at the same time saying
smilingly to her husband, as she pointed to the rich cushion at her
side, "Mon ami! unless you prefer riding vis-à-vis, this is your seat."
Napoleon laughed heartily at the blunder, and changed his seat. Double
files of infantry lined the route of more than a mile and a half,
extending from the Tuilleries to Nôtre Dame. Ten thousand horsemen, in
most gorgeous uniforms, attended the carriages. Half a million of
spectators thronged the way, crowding the windows and balconies,
clustered upon the house-tops, and filling up every space from whence
any view of the cortège could be gained. The air was filled with the
martial strains of a thousand bands, with the thunders of innumerable
pieces of artillery, and with the enthusiastic acclamations of the vast
multitude. A pageant more sublime this world perhaps has never

[Illustration: THE CORONATION.]

The throne, which was hung with crimson velvet, was overarched with a
canopy of the same rich material. It was ascended by twenty-two circular
steps, which were covered with blue cloth, studded with golden bees.
The most illustrious officers of the empire crowded the stairs. Napoleon
and Josephine sat, side by side, upon the throne. The religious
ceremony occupied nearly four hours. It was interspersed with the most
soul-stirring music from martial bands and from more than three hundred
vocal performers. When the pope was about to place the crown upon the
brow of the emperor, Napoleon took it from him, and placed it, with his
own hands, upon his head. He then took it off and crowned the empress,
also with his own hands, fixing his eye proudly, yet most tenderly, upon
her. The heavy crown was soon after laid upon a cushion, while a smaller
diadem was placed upon the head of Josephine. She kneeled before her
illustrious consort as he placed the crown of France upon her brow.
After remaining for a moment in silence in the posture of prayer, with
her hands folded over her bosom, she then gracefully rose, her eyes
swimming in tears, and turned to her husband with a look of gratitude
and of love which the emperor feelingly recognized. It was a touching
scene, and in that moment were clustered the memories of years.

But the day was not without its moments of anguish for Josephine. In the
brief speech which the emperor made upon the occasion, he said, "_My
descendants will long sit upon this throne._" These words were as a
dagger to the heart of the empress. She knew Napoleon's intense desire
for an heir. She knew how strong the desire in France was that he should
have a son to whom to transmit his throne. She knew how much had been
said respecting the necessity of a divorce. The most infamous proposals
had been urged upon her by pretended friends, even by one of the
brothers of Napoleon, that she might, by unfaithfulness to him, obviate
the necessity of Napoleon's seeking another bride. This sentiment,
uttered upon the day of coronation, filled her heart with fear and

The shades of evening had fallen upon the swarming city, and all the
streets of the metropolis and the broad façade of the Tuilleries were
glittering with illuminations when the emperor and empress returned to
the palace. Josephine, overcome with the conflicting emotions which the
day had excited, retired to her apartment, and, falling upon her knees,
with tears implored the guidance of the King of kings. Napoleon hastened
to his room, exclaiming impatiently to an attendant as he entered, "Off,
off with these confounded trappings!" He threw the mantle into one
corner of the room, and the gorgeous robe into another, and, thus
violently disencumbering himself, declared that hours of such mortal
tediousness he had never encountered before.

Josephine, in her remonstrances with Napoleon against assuming the
crown, predicted, with almost prophetic accuracy, the consequences which
would ensue. "Will not your power," she wrote to him, "opposed, as to
a certainty it must be, by the neighboring states, draw you into a
war with them? This will probably end in their ruin. Will not their
neighbors, beholding these effects, combine for your destruction? While
abroad such is the state of things, at home how numerous the envious and
discontented! How many plots to disconcert, and how many conspiracies to

Soon after the coronation, Josephine was one morning in her garden, when
an intimate friend called to see her. She saluted the empress by the
title of Your Majesty. "Ah!" she exclaimed, in tones deeply pathetic, "I
entreat that you will suffer me, at least here, to forget that I am an
empress." It is the unvarying testimony of her friends, that, while she
was receiving with surpassing gracefulness the congratulations of France
and of Europe, her heart was heavy. She clearly foresaw the peril of
their position, and trembled in view of an approaching downfall. The
many formal ceremonies which her station required, and upon which
Napoleon laid great stress, were exceedingly irksome to one whose warm
heart rejoiced in the familiarity of unrestrained friendship. She thus
described her feelings: "The nearer my husband approached the summit of
earthly greatness, the more dim became my last gleams of happiness. It
is true that I enjoyed a magnificent existence. My court was composed
of gentlemen and ladies the most illustrious in rank, all of whom were
emulous of the honor of being presented to me. But my time was no longer
at my command. The emperor was receiving from every part of France
congratulations upon his accession to the throne, while I myself sighed
in contemplating the immense power he had acquired. The more I saw him
loaded with the gifts of Fortune, the more I feared his fall."

The court of France had for ages been the scene of the most voluptuous
and unblushing vice. The whole nation had been corrupted by its
influence. Dissipation had been rendered attractive by the grace with
which it had been robed. The dissolute manners which had prevailed at
Versailles, the Tuilleries, and St. Cloud no pen can describe. Napoleon
determined that, at all hazards, his court should be reputable at least
in outward morality. He was more scrupulous upon this point even than
Josephine herself. Believing that the downfall of the Bourbons was
caused, in no inconsiderable degree, by the dissolute lives of the
nobles and the courtiers, he would give no one an appointment among the
royal retinue whose character was not, in his judgment, above reproach.

The Duchess d'Aiguillon had been a fellow-captive of Josephine, and,
after their liberation from prison, had greatly befriended her. During
the license of those times, in which all the restraints of Christian
morality had been swept away, her character had not remained perfectly
spotless. She and her husband had availed themselves of the facile
liberty of divorce which the laws had encouraged, and had formed other
unions. Josephine felt grateful for the many favors she had received
from the duchess, and wished to testify this gratitude by receiving her
at court. Napoleon peremptorily refused. Josephine wrote to her in the
following terms:

     "MY DEAR FRIEND,--I am deeply afflicted. My former friends,
     supposing that I am able to obtain the fulfillment of all
     my wishes, must suppose that I have forgotten the past.
     Alas! it is not so. I remember it too well, and my thoughts
     dwell upon it more than I would have them. The more I think
     of what my friends did for me, the greater is my sorrow at
     being unable to do now what my heart dictates. The Empress
     of France is but the first slave in the empire, and can not
     pay the debts of Madame de Beauharnais. This constitutes the
     torture of my life, and will explain why you do not occupy a
     place near me. The emperor, indignant at the total disregard
     of morality, and alarmed at the progress it might still
     make, is resolved that the example of a life of regularity
     and of religion shall be presented in the palace where he
     reigns. Desirous of strengthening more and more the Church
     re-established by himself, and unable to change the laws
     appointed by her observances, his intention is, at least, to
     keep at a distance from his court all who may have availed
     themselves of the opportunity for a divorce. Hence the cause
     of his refusing the favor I asked of having you with me. The
     refusal has occasioned me unspeakable regret, but he is too
     absolute to leave even the hope of seeing him retract. I am
     thus constrained to renounce the pleasure I had promised
     myself of being constantly with you, studying to make you
     forget the sovereign in the friend. Pity my lot in being too
     public a personage to follow my own inclination, and cherish
     for me a friendship, the remembrance of which gives me now
     as much pleasure as its reality afforded consolation in
     prison. Often do I regret that small, dark, and dismal
     chamber which we shared together, for there, at least, I
     could pour out my whole heart, and was sincerely beloved in



A.D. 1805

Coronation fêtes.--Ascent of a balloon.--The Italians petition Napoleon
to be their king.--Crossing the Alps.--Happiness of Josephine.--Views
from the Alps.--Splendid fête on the field of Marengo.--A sublime
spectacle.--Triumphal entry into Milan.--The coronation.--Napoleon again
crowns himself and Josephine.--Entertainments at Milan.--Anecdote.--
Reception at Genoa.--A floating garden.--A gorgeous spectacle.--
Josephine's obedience to Napoleon.--Difficult road through the forest
of Ardennes.--Josephine receives a lecture.--Her mind well stored.--Her
kindness to her attendants.--Visits the baths at Aix.--Josephine and
her ladies proceed on foot to visit the model of Paris.--Enthusiasm
of the people.--The party return on foot.--Josephine's candor.--Fond
of breakfasting in the open air.--The presentation.--Josephine's
maternal sensitiveness.--An expensive compliment.--A delightful
excursion.--Personal habits of Napoleon.--He sleeps on the field
of battle.--Napoleon's wonderful mental activity.--Retirement at
Malmaison.--Anecdote.--Instructions to a lady respecting etiquette.
--The court at Cologne.--_En pirouette._--An amusing misunderstanding.
--Josephine accused of extravagance.--Josephine is charged by Napoleon
with indiscretion.--The explanation.--Marriage of Eugene.--Happiness of
Josephine.--Josephine universally beloved.--Her habit of journalizing.
--Beautiful extract from one of her journals.--Ferdinand of Spain.--A
picturesque scene.--Routine of life.--Account thereof by a valet de
chambre.--Morning occupations.--Literary enjoyments.--Confidential
interviews.--The drive.--Dressing for dinner.--Recreations of
Napoleon.--The dinner hour.--Dining in state.--Evening parties.--
Josephine's love of solitude.--Hunting parties.--The protected stag.--
Letter from Josephine to Caroline.--Josephine's desire to accompany
Napoleon.--Anecdote.--Visit to Spain.--Napoleon's star.--Energy of
Napoleon.--The Spanish campaign.--Josephine left at St. Cloud.--
Enthusiastic greeting of Napoleon.--Wonderful success of Napoleon.--
Alliance against him.--His indignation roused.--Austria violates the
treaty.--Promptness of Josephine.--Kindness of Napoleon.--Their route.
--Effects of the conscription.--Napoleon encourages marriages.--The
battle at Ulm.--Napoleon's advice to the Emperor of Austria.--His
march down the Danube.--Anxiety of Josephine.--Arrival of a courier.
--His utter exhaustion.--Battle of Austerlitz.--Moustache the Mameluke.
--Sensitiveness of Napoleon.--His unreasonable anger.--Arrival of
Josephine.--Napoleon's confession.--The reconciliation.--Napoleon's
taste for dress.--The young sailor.--His fearlessness.--Napoleon's

During the whole month succeeding the coronation, Paris was surrendered
to fêtes, illuminations, and all manner of public rejoicing. One morning
the empress found in her apartment, as a present from the municipality
of the capital, a toilet service, with table, ewer, and basin of massive
gold, wrought with most exquisite workmanship. An enormous balloon, in
the form of the imperial crown, brilliantly illuminated, was launched,
the evening of the coronation, from Paris. The vast structure, weighing
five hundred pounds, floated most majestically over the city, for a time
the object of the gaze of a million of eyes, till, borne away by the
wind toward the south, it disappeared. The next evening it fell near the
city of Rome, nine hundred miles from Paris. "Sire," said a courtier,
announcing the fact to Napoleon, "your imperial crown has appeared in
the two great capitals of the world within the space of twenty-four

As soon as Napoleon was crowned Emperor of France, the senators of the
Italian Republic, over which he had been elected president, sent an
earnest petition that he would be crowned their king at Milan. Napoleon
had rescued them from the hated dominion of the Austrians, and they
regarded him as their greatest benefactor. The emperor was in the habit
of setting out on his various tours without any warning. One evening,
when the festivities of the baptism of the second son of Hortense had
been kept up until midnight, Napoleon said quietly, upon retiring,
"Horses at six for Italy." Josephine accompanied her husband upon this
tour. The road bridging the Alps, which Napoleon subsequently
constructed, was then but contemplated. It was only by a rugged and
dangerous foot-path that the ascent of these awful barriers of nature
could be surmounted. Two beautiful sedans had been constructed in Turin
for the emperor and empress. The one for Napoleon was lined with crimson
silk, richly ornamented with gold. Josephine's was trimmed with blue
satin, similarly ornamented with silver. The sedans were, however, but
little used, except in places where walking was dangerous, as the
empress very much preferred leaning upon the arm of her husband, and,
in conversation with him, gazing upon the wild sublimities with which
they were surrounded. This must have been to Josephine, independently of
those inward anxieties which weighed so heavily upon her heart, as
delightful a journey as a mortal can enjoy. All Europe was bowing in
homage before her illustrious husband. He was in the possession of power
such as the proudest of the Cæsars might have envied. Illuminations, and
triumphal arches, and enthusiastic acclamations met them every step of
their way. Josephine was in the possession of every possible acquisition
earth could give to make her happy, save only one--her husband was not a
father. But Josephine forgot her solicitudes in the exultant hours when
her husband, from the pinnacles of the Alps, pointed out to her the
glories of sunny Italy--the scenes of past perils, and conflict, and
renown--the fields in which he had led the armies of France to the most
brilliant victories. Napoleon was in fine spirits, and in these gilded
hours he looked lovingly upon her, and they both were truly happy. It is
difficult for the imagination to conceive any thing more attractive for
a warm-hearted and an enthusiastic woman than to pass over these most
sublime of the barriers of nature, with Napoleon for a guide and a
confiding friend. Pope Pius VII., who had formed a very strong
friendship for Josephine, accompanied them as far as Turin. When
parting, the empress made him a present of a beautiful vase of Sèvres
china, embellished with exquisite paintings of the coronation.

From Turin Napoleon took Josephine to the field of Marengo. He had
assembled upon that great battle plain, which his victory has
immortalized, thirty thousand troops, that Josephine might behold, in
the mimicry of war, the dreadful scenes which had deluged those fields
in blood. It was the fifth of May, and a bright Italian sun shone down
upon the magnificent pageant. A vast elevation was constructed in the
middle of the plain, from which, seated upon a lofty throne, the emperor
and empress overlooked the whole field. Napoleon decorated himself upon
the occasion with the same war-worn garments--the battered hat, the
tempest-torn cloak, the coat of faded blue, and the long cavalry saber
which he had worn amid the carnage and the terror of that awful day.
Many of the veterans who had been engaged in the action were present.
Napoleon and Josephine came upon the ground in a magnificent chariot,
drawn by eight horses. The moment he appeared upon the plain, one
general shout of acclamation from thirty thousand adoring voices rent
the sky. After the mimic battle was ended, the soldiers defiled before
the emperor and empress, while he conferred, upon those who had
signalized themselves in the day of Marengo, the decorations of the
Legion of Honor. The gorgeous uniform of the men, the rich caparisons
and proud bearing of the horses, the clangor of innumerable trumpets and
martial bands, the glitter of gold and steel, the deafening thunders of
artillery and musketry, filling the air with one incessant and terrific
war; the dense volumes of sulphurous smoke rolling heavily over the
plain, shutting out the rays of an unclouded sun, all combined to
produce an effect upon the spectators never to be effaced.

On the eighth of May, 1805, they made their triumphal entry into the
city of Milan. While the whole city was absorbed in those fêtes and
rejoicings which preceded the coronation, the inexhaustible mind of
Napoleon was occupied in planning those splendid public buildings and
those magnificent improvements which still commemorate the almost
superhuman energy of his reign. The iron crown of Charlemagne, which
for a thousand years had pressed no brow, was brought forth from
its mausoleum to add the attraction of deep poetic sentiment to the
coronation. The ceremony took place on the twenty-sixth of May, in the
Cathedral of Milan. The coronation was conducted with magnificence not
even surpassed by the ceremony in Nôtre Dame. The empress first made her
appearance, most gorgeously dressed, and glittering with diamonds. She
was personally loved by the Milanese, and was greeted with the most
enthusiastic acclamations. A moment after, the emperor himself entered,
by another door. He was arrayed in imperial robes of velvet, purple, and
gold, with the diadem upon his brow, and the iron crown and scepter of
Charlemagne in his hands. Napoleon, as in the coronation at Paris,
refused to receive the crown from the hands of another, but placed it
himself upon his head, repeating aloud the historical words, "God has
given it to me; woe to him who touches it." Josephine then knelt upon an
altar at his feet, and was again crowned by her husband.

Josephine remained with the emperor in Milan for nearly a month. He was
busy night and day in commencing improvements of the most majestic
character. The Italians still look back to the reign of Napoleon as the
brightest period in their history. The gay Milanese surrendered
themselves, during his stay, to one continued scene of festivity. One
day Josephine and Napoleon had broken away from courtiers and palaces,
and all the pageantry of state, and had retreated for a few hours to the
retirement and solitude of a beautiful little island in one of the lakes
in that vicinity. They entered the cabin of a poor woman. She had no
idea of the illustrious character of her guests, and, in answer to their
kind inquiries, opened to them the story of her penury, her toils, and
her anxiety to bring up her three children, as the father often could
obtain no work. "Now how much money, my good woman," inquired Napoleon,
"would you like to have to make you perfectly happy?" "Ah! sir," she
replied, "a great deal of money I should want." "But how much should you
desire if you could have your wish." "Oh, sir, I should want as much as
twenty louis (about eighty dollars); but what prospect is there of our
ever having twenty louis?" The emperor poured into her lap three
thousand francs (about six hundred dollars) in glittering gold. For a
few moments she was speechless in bewilderment; at length, trembling
with emotion, she said, "Ah! sir--ah! madam, this is a great deal too
much. And yet you do not look as if you could sport with the feelings of
a poor woman." "No!" Josephine replied, in the most gentle accents. "The
money is all yours. With it you can now rent a piece of ground, purchase
a flock of goats, and I hope you will be able to bring up your children

From Milan the emperor and empress continued their tour to Genoa. The
restless mind of Napoleon was weary even of the swiftest speed of the
horses, and though they drove from post to post with the utmost possible
rapidity, so that it was necessary continually to throw water upon the
glowing axle, he kept calling from his carriage, "On! on! we do not go
fast enough." Their reception at Genoa was unequaled by any thing they
had before witnessed. In the beautiful bay a floating garden of
orange-trees and rare plants and shrubbery was constructed in honor of
Josephine. In the principal church of "Genoa the Superb," the emperor
and empress received the allegiance of the most prominent inhabitants.
The fêtes on this occasion almost surpassed the creations of fancy. The
senses were bewildered by the fairy illusions thrown around the gorgeous
spectacle. The city, with all its picturesque beauty of embattled forts
and craggy shores--the serenity and brilliance of Italian skies in
May--the blue expanse of the Mediterranean--the marble palaces and
glittering domes which embellished the streets--the lovely bay whitened
with sails--all combined to invest the gorgeous spectacle with
attractions such as are rarely witnessed. From Genoa they proceeded to
Paris, every where accompanied by the thunders of artillery and the
blaze of illuminations.

Josephine was not unfrequently under the necessity of taking journeys
unaccompanied by the emperor. On such occasions the tireless mind of
Napoleon arranged every particular with the utmost precision. A
manuscript was placed in her hand, describing the route she was to take,
the places at which she was to stop, the addresses or replies she was to
make to public functionaries, the expenses she was to incur, and even
the presents she was to make. On such excursions, Josephine every
morning most carefully studied her lesson for the day. She took great
pleasure in obeying his directions exactly, exposing herself to great
inconveniences rather than to allow herself to deviate in the slightest
particular from the written directions. She was ever unwilling to
listen to any suggestions for change. A very interesting illustration
of her scrupulous adherence to manuscript instructions occurred in her
journey to Liege.

Napoleon, in the directions given to Josephine, had marked out her route
by a road through the forest of Ardennes. Napoleon had ordered that road
to be constructed, and supposed that it was completed. It was, however,
only partially made, and it was considered quite unsafe to attempt to
pass over it with carriages. She inquired if it were possible to pass.
Being told that it was _possible_, perhaps, but that the attempt would
be attended with great difficulty and danger, she replied, "Very well,
then; we will at least try." Some of the ladies accompanying her
entreated her to take another route. "No," she replied; "Napoleon has
requested me to take this road, and his wishes are my law." Josephine
persevered in the attempt, and accomplished the passage through, though
with very great difficulty. In many places the workmen on the road had
to support the carriages with ropes and poles to prevent an overturn. It
rained during much of the journey. Josephine and her ladies were often
compelled to alight, and to walk for some distance nearly ankle deep
in mud and water. Josephine endured all with the utmost good nature.
She was cheered by the assurance that she was following the wishes
of her husband. Many of her attendants, however, were excessively
annoyed by the hardships they encountered. The carriage of the
first femme-de-chambre was actually overturned, and the irritated
serving-woman could not restrain her expressions of impatience and
displeasure. At last one of the distinguished ladies of the court
took it upon herself to lecture the empress so roundly for her blind
subservience to the directions of Napoleon, that Josephine burst into

Josephine, by conversation, observation, and reading, was continually
storing her mind with valuable information. In the various journeys she
took, she was always accompanied by persons of intelligence, and who
were well acquainted with the country. While traveling, she directed her
conversation almost exclusively upon the scenes through which they were
passing. Every thing of interest was carefully treasured up in her
memory, and if she learned any incident connected with the past fortunes
of any of the families of the ladies who were with her, she never
failed to send a special messenger with the information, and to point
out the places where such incidents occurred. She seemed thus to be
continually studying for opportunities of manifesting kind and delicate
attentions to the ladies of her household. She thus secured a
universality and a fervor of affection such as has rarely been attained.
On these pleasure excursions, the restraints of the court were laid
aside, and there were all the joyous commingling and affectionate
familiarity which prevail among intimate friends.

Napoleon, aware of the vast influence which the pomp of regal state
exerts upon the human mind, was very particular in his court in the
observance of all the etiquette of royalty. Josephine, however, was
always disposed to escape from the exactions of the code ceremonial
whenever she could do so with propriety. A curious instance of this
occurred at Aix la Chapelle, where the empress was passing a few days
for the benefit of the baths. One evening she was sitting, with
her ladies around her, weary of the lassitude of a fashionable
watering-place, when some one suggested that, to while away an hour,
they should visit a celebrated model of Paris, which was then on
exhibition. The chevalier of honor was about to order the imperial
carriages and the cortège, when Josephine, to his utter consternation,
proposed that they should go on foot. She was sure, she said, that the
citizens of Aix la Chapelle were so kindly disposed toward her, that
there could be no possible danger. The chevalier, as far as he dared to
do, urged his remonstrances against such a breach of imperial decorum;
but the ladies of the court were all delighted with the plan of
Josephine, and they set out on foot, a brilliant party of ladies and
gentlemen, to visit the exhibition. As the citizens, of course,
knew nothing about this unexpected movement, there was no crowd
in the streets to impede their way, and they proceeded without any
difficulty, and very pleasantly, to the place of their destination.
But the intelligence of the adventure of the court, so novel and so
unprecedented, was immediately noised throughout the town. From every
section of the city, throngs, allured by curiosity and love for
Josephine, began to pour into the streets through which they were to
pass to see them return. The citizens occupying the dwellings and
the shops which lined the streets, instantly, and as if by magic,
illuminated their windows. A thousand hands were busy in the eager and
love-incited toil. The party spent an hour examining the beautiful model
of the metropolis, and then emerged again into the street. To their
surprise, and not a little to their consternation, they found their path
blazing with illuminations. Their whole route was filled with a dense
throng of men, women, and children, all eager to catch a glimpse of
their beloved empress, and of the brilliant suite which accompanied her.

The ladies recoiled from attempting the passage on foot through such a
crowd, and proposed sending for the carriages and escort. Josephine,
apprehensive that some accident might occur in attempting to drive the
horses through such a dense mass of people, would not listen to the
suggestion. "Were any one to be injured," she said, "of these friends
whom our imprudence has assembled, I never could forgive myself." Taking
the arm of the chevalier, she led the way through the crowd. The ladies
all followed, each supported by the arm of some nobleman of the court.
The populace respectfully opened before them, and closed up behind. The
plumes, and diamonds, and gay attire of the court shone brilliantly
in the blaze of light which was shed upon them from the illuminated
windows. The enthusiastic acclamations of the populace greeted the
empress until she arrived, in perfect safety, at her residence. As soon
as she entered her saloon, with her accustomed frankness she thanked the
chevalier for the advice which he had given, and confessed that, in not
following it, she had been guilty of imprudence, which might have been
attended by very serious consequences.

When traveling unaccompanied by the emperor, she was fond of
breakfasting in the open air, upon some green lawn, beneath the shade of
venerable trees, or upon some eminence, where her eye could feast upon
the sublimities of Nature, which are so attractive to every ennobled
mind. The peasantry, from a respectful distance, would look upon the
dazzling spectacle perfectly bewildered and awe-stricken. The service
of silver and of gold, the luxurious viands, the gorgeous display of
graceful female attire, and uniforms and liveries, all combined to
invest the scene, in their eyes, with a splendor almost more than

On one occasion, a mother's love and pride triumphed over even her
scrupulous obedience to the wishes of Napoleon. Napoleon and Josephine,
accompanied by Eugene and a very magnificent retinue, were at Mayence.
There was to be a grand presentation of the German princes to the
emperor and empress. Eugene, the son of the empress, according to the
laws of court etiquette, should have been included with Napoleon and
Josephine in the presentation. By some oversight, his name was omitted.
As Josephine glanced her eye over the programme, she noticed the
omission, and pointed it out to Napoleon. As the arrangements had all
been made by him, he was not a little piqued in finding himself at fault
as to a point of etiquette, and insisted upon following the programme.
Josephine, ever ready to make any personal sacrifice to meet the wishes
of Napoleon, could not be induced to sacrifice the sensitive feelings of
her son. "I had no desire," she said, "for the honors of coronation;
but, since I have been crowned, my son must be treated as the son of an
empress." Napoleon yielded, not, however, with very good grace.

Two of the princesses of Baden, on this occasion, accompanied Josephine
to the opera. The evening air was chilly, and the empress, observing
that they were very thinly clad, spread over the shoulders of each of
them one of her rich white Cashmere shawls. These shawls were of the
most costly texture, and had been purchased at an expense of several
thousand dollars. The next morning the elder of the princesses sent a
note, full of complimentary terms, to Josephine, expressing their
infinite obligation for her kindness, and stating that they would keep
the shawls in remembrance of one they so greatly admired.

On these journeys Napoleon was full of pleasantry, and very agreeable.
Josephine often spoke of this excursion to Mayence in particular as the
most delightful that she had ever made with the emperor. They were met
at every step on their route with the most enthusiastic testimonials of
a nation's love and gratitude. And Napoleon had at this time conferred
benefits upon France which richly entitled him to all this homage. In
subsequent years, when intoxicated by the almost boundless empire he had
obtained, and when, at a still later period, he was struggling, with the
energies of despair, against Europe, in arms to crush him, he resorted
to acts which very considerably impaired his good name. Josephine, in
her journal during this journey, speaks of the common, but erroneous
impression, that Napoleon could work constantly and habitually with
very few hours devoted to sleep. She says that this was an erroneous
impression. If the emperor rose at a very early hour in the morning, he
would frequently retire at nine o'clock in the evening. And when, on
extraordinary occasions, he passed many nights together in almost
sleepless activity, he had the faculty of catching short naps at
intervals in his carriage, and even on horseback. After many days and
nights of preparation for some great conflict, he has been known even to
fall asleep upon the field of battle, in the midst of all the horrors of
the sanguinary scene. At the battle of Bautzen, for instance, Napoleon
was extremely fatigued by the exertions and sleeplessness of the two
preceding days and nights. He fell asleep several times when seated on
an eminence, overlooking the field of battle, and which was frequently
reached by the cannon balls of the enemy. Napoleon, at St. Helena, when
alluding to this fact, said that Nature had her rights, which could not
be violated with impunity; and that he felt better prepared to issue
fresh orders, or to consider the reports which were brought, when
awaking from these momentary slumbers. Though Napoleon could not set at
defiance the established workings of our mental and physical nature,
words can hardly convey an adequate idea of the indefatigable activity
of his mind, or of his extraordinary powers of enduring mental and
bodily fatigue. Few have ever understood better the art of concentrating
the attention upon one thing at a time. Often, on his campaigns, after
reading the dispatches, and dictating orders to one set of secretaries
during the whole day, he would throw himself, for an hour, upon his
sofa, instantly fall into the soundest sleep, and then, summoning to his
presence a new relay of secretaries, would keep them incessantly
occupied till morning. To keep himself awake on such occasions, he
resorted to strong coffee. It was only under the pressure of great
necessity that he thus overtasked his Herculean powers.

Occasionally, when Napoleon was absent on his campaigns, Josephine would
retire to Malmaison, and become deeply interested in rural occupations.
She had a large and very fine flock of merino sheep, and she took great
pleasure in superintending their culture. A detachment of the imperial
guard was, on such occasions, appointed to do duty at Malmaison. One
evening the empress, sitting up till a later hour than usual, heard the
sound of footsteps passing to and fro beneath her window. She sent for
the officer of the guard, and inquired what it meant. He informed her
that it was the sentry, who was appointed to keep watch beneath her
window all night. "Sir," she replied, "I have no need of a night-guard.
These brave soldiers have enough to suffer from the hardships of war
when they are under the necessity of going to the field of battle. In my
service they must have repose. I wish them here to have no sleepless

It is said that rather a ludicrous occurrence took place in one of the
cities of the Rhine, in reference to a visit which the emperor and
empress were about to make to that place. One of the distinguished
ladies of the city, who was anticipating the honor of a presentation,
wrote to obtain from the master of the ceremonies instructions
respecting the etiquette to be observed. The answer contained very
minute directions, and was couched in terms which conveyed a deep
impression of their importance. Among other things, it was stated that
three courtesies were to be made; one immediately upon entering the
saloon, one in the middle of the room, and a third, _en pirouette_, when
having arrived within a few paces of the emperor and empress. The
familiar signification of _en pirouette_ is whirling the body around
rapidly upon the toes of one foot, the other foot being rather
indecorously raised. The ladies assembled to study these instructions;
and though some of the young, the beautiful, and the graceful were not
unwilling thus to display their lightness of limb, there were others
who read _en pirouette_ with consternation. The vast importance which
Napoleon attached to every form of etiquette was well known. There was
no alternative; the fat and the lean, the tall and the short, the
graceful and the awkward, all were to approach their majesties _en
pirouette_, or to lose the honor of a presentation. "We have a fortnight
for practice," said one of the ladies; "let us prepare ourselves." For
fifteen days all the drawing-rooms of Cologne seemed to be filled with
dancing dervishes. Venerable dowagers were twirling like opera girls,
and not unfrequently measuring their portly length upon the carpet. _En
pirouette_ was the theme of every tongue, and the scene, morning, noon,
and evening, in every ambitious saloon.

On the evening of the arrival of the emperor and empress, the same lady
who had written the letter for instructions called upon one of the
ladies of the court for still more precise directions. She then learned
that, in court phrase, _en pirouette_ simply indicated a slight
inclination of the body toward their majesties, accompanying the
courtesy. The intelligence was immediately disseminated through Cologne,
to the great relief of some, and, probably, not a little to the
disappointment of others. Josephine was exceedingly amused at the
recital of this misunderstanding.

Josephine was often accused of extravagance. Her expenditures were
undoubtedly very great. She attached no value to money but as a means of
promoting happiness. She was, perhaps, too easily persuaded to purchase
of those who were ever urging upon her the most costly articles, and
appealing powerfully to her sympathies to induce her to buy. It was
difficult for Josephine to turn a deaf ear to a tale of distress.
Napoleon was ever ready to spend millions upon millions in great public
improvements, but he was not willing to have any money wasted. Josephine
gave away most liberally in charity, and the emperor, at times,
complained a little of the large sums which escaped through her hands.
In replying once to a friend, who told her that she was deemed
extravagant, she said, "When I have money, you know how I employ it. I
give it principally to the unfortunate, who solicit my assistance, and
to the poor emigrants. But I will try to be more economical in future.
Tell the emperor so if you see him again. But is it not my duty to
bestow as much charity as I can?"

On one occasion Napoleon was much displeased by hearing that Josephine
had suffered General Lorges, the commandant at Aix la Chapelle, a young
and handsome man, to be guilty of the indiscretion of sitting upon the
same sofa with the empress. He reproached her with much severity for
permitting such indecorum. Josephine explained the circumstances.
Instead of its being General Lorges who had thus violated the rules of
courtly propriety, it was one of the aged and veteran generals of
Napoleon's army, who, inured to the hardships of the camp, was entirely
unacquainted with the politeness of courts. He had been presented to
Josephine, and, without any consciousness of the impropriety of which
he was guilty, immediately seated himself upon the same sofa with
the empress. Josephine was unwilling to wound the feelings of the
honest-hearted old soldier, and permitted him to retain his seat until
he withdrew. Napoleon was perfectly satisfied with the explanation, and,
upon receiving it, manifested renewed indications of the affection and
esteem with which he regarded the empress.

About this time Josephine was informed of the contemplated alliance
between Eugene and the Princess-royal of Bavaria. She was soon summoned
to Munich to attend their nuptials, and there again was united to those
she so dearly loved. The bride of Eugene was in every respect worthy
of him, and Josephine rejoiced over the happiness of her son. The
victorious emperor and empress then returned to Paris, accompanied by a
crowd of princes from the various courts of Germany. Josephine was now
upon the very summit of earthly grandeur. Europe lay prostrate at the
feet of her husband. Hortense was Queen of Holland. Eugene was Viceroy
of Italy, and son-in-law to the King of Bavaria. Napoleon, fixing his
affections upon the eldest child of Hortense, appeared to have
relinquished the plan of the divorce, and to have contemplated the
recognition of this child--the brother of Louis Napoleon, now President
of the French Republic--as the heir of his crown. The embarrassment
which had at times accompanied their interviews had consequently passed
away. Napoleon was proud of Josephine, and often said that there was no
woman in the world to be compared with her. The empress was happy. All
France was filled with stories of her active benevolence and her
sympathy with the sorrowful. Wherever she made her appearance, she was
greeted with the acclamations of the most enthusiastic attachment.

Of the many tours which Josephine took with Napoleon, she frequently
kept a journal, noting down the events of interest which occurred. The
fragments of these journals, which have appeared before the public,
beautifully exhibit the literary taste and the benevolence of heart of
the empress. The following is an extract:

     "About two leagues from Bayonne the emperor was presented
     with a spectacle worthy of him. On the declivity of a
     mountain, gently scooped out in different parts of its
     descent, is pitched one of those camps which the foresight
     of the country has provided for its defenders. It is
     composed of seven handsome barracks, different in form and
     aspect, each isolated, surrounded with an orchard in full
     bearing, a well-stocked poultry-yard, and, at different
     distances, a greater or less quantity of arable land, where
     a diversity of soil yields a variety of produce. One side of
     the mountain is wild, but picturesque, with rocks and
     plants. The other seems covered with rich tapestry, so
     varied and numerous are the plots of highly-cultivated
     ground. The summit is clothed with an ever-verdant forest.
     Down the center, in a deep channel, flows a limpid stream,
     refreshing and fertilizing the whole scene. On this spot,
     the veterans who occupy it gave a fête to the emperor which
     was at once military and rural. The wives, daughters, and
     little children of these brave men formed the most pleasing,
     as they were themselves the noblest ornament of the
     festival. Amid piles of arms were seen beautiful shrubs
     covered with flowers, while the echoes of the mountain
     resounded to the bleating of flocks and the warlike strains
     of a soldiery intoxicated on thus receiving their chief. The
     emperor raised this enthusiasm to the highest pitch by
     sitting down at a table at once quite military and perfectly
     pastoral. I dare not mention the attentions of which I was
     the object. They affected me deeply. I regarded them as
     proofs of that veneration which France has vowed to the

The infamous Ferdinand of Spain, who was then claiming the throne, in a
disgraceful quarrel with his equally infamous father, sent an embassador
to Bayonne to meet the emperor. Ferdinand, with the utmost servility,
was courting the support of Napoleon. The embassador possessed, some
leagues from Bayonne, an extensive farm, on which were bred numerous
flocks of merinoes. "Thither," writes Josephine, "under a plausible
pretext, we were conducted to-day. After a feast of really rustic
magnificence, we made the tour of the possession on foot. At the bottom
of a verdant dell, surrounded on all sides by rocks, covered with moss
and flowers, all of a sudden a picturesque cot appeared, lightly
suspended on a projecting point of rock. Around it were feeding seven or
eight hundred sheep of the most beautiful breed. We could not restrain a
cry of admiration. Upon the emperor addressing some compliments to the
embassador, he declared that these flocks belonged to me. 'The king, my
master,' he added, 'knows the empress's taste for rural occupations, and
as this species of sheep is little known in France, and will constitute
the principal ornament, and, consequently, wealth of a farm, he entreats
her not to deprive herself of an offering at once so useful and so
agreeable.' 'Don Pedro,' replied the emperor, with a tone of severity,
'the empress can not accept a present save from the hand of a king, and
your master is not yet one. Wait, before making your offering, till your
own nation and I have decided.'"

The ordinary routine of life with her, as empress, was as follows.
Constant, the valet de chambre of Napoleon, gives the following account
of the commencement of the day. "I had a regular order to enter the
emperor's apartment at seven o'clock. When the empress passed the
night there, it was a very unusual occurrence not to find the august
spouses awake. The emperor commonly asked for tea or an infusion of
orange-flowers, and rose immediately after. In the course of a few
minutes the empress rose also, and, putting on a loose morning-gown,
either read the journals while the emperor dressed, or retired by a
private access to her own apartments, but never without addressing some
kind and condescending words to myself."

Josephine invariably commenced her morning toilet at nine o'clock. This
occupied an hour, and then she passed into a saloon where she received
those who had obtained the favor of a morning presentation. A great many
petitions were presented her on such occasions, and, with unvarying
kindness, she manifested great firmness in rejecting those which
appeared unworthy of her support. These audiences occupied an hour, and
then she met, at eleven o'clock, the most distinguished ladies of the
court at the breakfast-table. Napoleon, entirely engrossed by those
majestic plans he was ever conceiving and executing, usually breakfasted
alone in his cabinet, very hastily, not allowing more than seven or
eight minutes to be occupied by the meal. After breakfast, Josephine,
with her ladies, took a short walk, if the weather was fair, or for half
an hour played a game of billiards. The remainder of the morning, until
three o'clock, she passed in her apartment, with her chosen female
friends, reading, conversing, and embroidering. Josephine herself was an
admirable reader, and the book they were perusing was passed alternately
from hand to hand. No works were read but those of real value. By common
consent, all novels were banished from the circle, as Napoleon
inveterately abominated every work of that kind. If he happened to
find a novel in the hands of any of the attendants of the palace, he
unhesitatingly tossed it into the fire, and roundly lectured the reader
upon her waste of time. If Josephine had been a novel reader, she never
could have acquired that mental energy which enabled her to fill with
dignity and with honor every position she was called to occupy.

Occasionally Napoleon would leave his cabinet and enter the apartment
of the empress where the ladies were reading. His presence was ever
cordially greeted, and, with great sociability, he would for a few
moments converse with his friends, and then return to his work. Not
unfrequently the emperor wished to confer with Josephine upon some
subject of moment. A gentle tap from his hand at the door of private
communication announced to the empress the summons, which she ever most
joyfully obeyed. Occasionally these interviews were protracted for
several hours, for the emperor had learned to repose great confidence
in many matters upon the sound judgment of Josephine.

At three o'clock the carriages were at the door, and Josephine, with her
ladies, rode out. It was very seldom that Napoleon could find time to
accompany them. On returning from the drive, she dressed for dinner.
Napoleon attached much importance to this grand toilet, for he was fully
aware of the influence of costume upon the public mind, and was very
fond of seeing Josephine dressed with elegance and taste. It is
reported that he not unfrequently recreated himself by entering her
boudoir on such occasions, and suggesting the robe or the jewelry he
would like to have her wear. Her waiting-women were not a little
embarrassed by the manner in which his unskillful hands would throw
about the precious contents of the caskets, and the confusion into which
he would toss all the nameless articles of a lady's wardrobe.

Dinner was appointed at six o'clock. It was, however, served when
Napoleon was ready to receive it. Not unfrequently, when much engrossed
with business, he would postpone the hour until nine, and even ten
o'clock. The cook, during all this time, would be preparing fresh
viands, that a hot dinner might be ready at a moment's warning. A
chicken, for instance, was put upon the spit every fifteen minutes.
Napoleon and Josephine always dined together, sometimes alone, more
frequently with a few invited guests. There was a grand master of
ceremonies, who, on all such occasions, informed the grand marshal of
the necessary arrangements, and of the seat each guest was to occupy.

Occasionally the emperor and empress dined in state. Rich drapery
canopied the table, which was placed upon a platform, slightly elevated,
with two arm-chairs of gorgeous workmanship, one for Napoleon, and the
other, upon his left, for Josephine. Other tables were placed upon the
floor of the same room for illustrious guests. The grand marshal
announced to the emperor when the preparations for them to enter the
room was completed. A gorgeous procession of pages, marshals, equeries,
and chamberlains accompanied the emperor and empress into the hall.
Pages and stewards performed the subordinate parts of the service at the
table, in bringing and removing dishes, while noblemen of the highest
rank felt honored in ministering to the immediate wants of their
majesties. Those who sat at the surrounding tables were served by
servants in livery.

Josephine passed the evening in her apartment almost invariably with a
party either of invited guests, or of distinguished ministers and
officers of the empire, who, having called on business, were awaiting
the pleasure of Napoleon. There were frequent receptions and levees,
which filled the saloons of the palace with a brilliant throng. At
midnight all company retired, and the palace was still. Josephine loved
the silence of these midnight hours, when the turmoil of the day had
passed, and no sounds fell upon her ear but the footfalls of the
sentinel in the court-yard below. She often sat for an hour alone,
surrendering herself to the luxury of solitude and of undisturbed

Such was the general routine of the life of Josephine while empress. She
passed from one to another of the various royal residences, equally at
home in all. At the Tuilleries, St. Cloud, Versailles, Rambouillet, and
Fontainebleau, life was essentially the same. Occasionally, at the
rural palaces, hunting parties were formed for the entertainment of
distinguished guests from abroad. Napoleon himself took but little
personal interest in sports of this kind. On such occasions, the
empress, with her ladies, usually rode in an open calêche, and a pic-nic
was provided, to be spread on the green turf, beneath the boughs of the
forest. Once a terrified, panting stag, exhausted with the long chase,
when the hounds in full bay were just ready to spring upon him, by a
strange instinct sought a retreat beneath the carriage in which the
gentle heart of Josephine was throbbing. The appeal was not in vain.
Josephine plead for the life of the meek-eyed, trembling suppliant.
To mark it as her favorite, and as living under the shield of her
protection, she had a silver collar put around its neck. The stag now
roamed its native glades unharmed. No dog was permitted to molest it,
and no sportsman would injure a protégé of Josephine. Her love was its

The following letter, which at this time she wrote to Caroline, the
sister of Napoleon, who had married Murat, will show the principles, in
the exercise of which Josephine won to herself the love of all hearts.

     "Our glory, the glory of woman, lies in submission; and if
     it be permitted us to reign, our empire rests on gentleness
     and goodness. Your husband, already so great in the opinion
     of the world through his valor and exploits, feels as if he
     beheld all his laurels brought to the dust on appearing in
     your presence. You take a pride in humbling him before your
     pretensions; and the title of being the sister of a hero is,
     with you, reason for believing yourself a heroine. Believe
     me, my sister, _that_ character, with the qualities which it
     supposes, becomes us not. Let us rejoice moderately in the
     glory of our husbands, and find our glory in softening their
     manners, and leading the world to pardon their deeds. Let
     us merit this praise, that the nation, while it applauds the
     bravery of our husbands, may also commend the gentleness
     bestowed by Providence on their wives to temper their

The palace ever seemed desolate when Napoleon was absent, and Josephine
was always solicitous to accompany him upon his tours. Napoleon loved to
gratify this wish, for he prized most highly the companionship of his
only confidential friend. Upon one occasion, when he had promised to
take the empress with him, circumstances arose demanding special speed,
and he resolved to set out secretly without her. He ordered his carriage
at one o'clock in the morning--an hour in which he supposed she would be
most soundly asleep. To his amazement, just as he had stepped into his
carriage, Josephine, in all the dishabille of her night-dress, with some
slight drapery thrown over her person, and without even stockings upon
her feet, threw herself into his arms. Some noise had at the moment
awoke her, she caught an intimation of what was going on, and, without a
moment's thought, sprang from her bed, threw over her a cloak, rushed
down stairs, and burst into the carriage. Napoleon fondly embraced her,
rolled her up warmly in his own capacious traveling pelisse, gave orders
for suitable attendants to follow with the wardrobe of the empress, and
the horses, with lightning speed, darted from the court-yard. "I could
sooner," Napoleon would jocosely say, "transport the whole artillery of
a division of my grand army, than the bandboxes of Josephine's

The visit which Josephine made with Napoleon to Spain gave her such an
insight into the Spanish character, that she looked with much alarm
upon his endeavor to place one of his brothers upon the Spanish throne.
"Napoleon," said she one day to her ladies, "is persuaded that he is to
subjugate all the nations of the earth. He cherishes such a confidence
in his _star_, that should he be abandoned to-morrow by family and
allies, a wanderer, and proscribed, he would support life, convinced
that he should triumph over all obstacles, and accomplish his destiny
by realizing his mighty designs. Happily, we shall never have an
opportunity of ascertaining whether I am right. But of this you may rest
assured, Napoleon is more courageous morally than physically. I know him
better than any one else does. He believes himself predestinated, and
would support reverses with as much calmness as he manifests when
confronting danger on the field of battle."

Little did Josephine imagine, when uttering these sentiments, that her
proud husband, before whose name the world seemed to tremble, was to die
in poverty and imprisonment on the most barren island of the ocean.

The astounding energy of Napoleon was conspicuously displayed about this
time in his Spanish campaign. He had placed Joseph upon the throne of
Spain, and had filled the Peninsula with his armies. The Spaniards had
every where risen against him, and, guided by English councils, and
inspirited by the tremendous energy of English arms, they had driven
Joseph from his capital, had massacred, by the rage of the mob,
thousands of French residents who were dwelling in the Spanish cities,
and were rapidly driving the French army over the Pyrenees. Napoleon had
but just returned from the treaty of Tilsit when he was informed of this
discouraging state of affairs.

He immediately, without a moment allowed for repose, set out for Spain.
Josephine earnestly entreated permission to accompany the emperor. She
assured him that she was fully aware of the difficulties, fatigue, and
peril she must encounter, but that most cheerfully could she bear them
all for the sake of being with him. She said that she should neither
feel hunger nor cold, nor the need of repose, if she could but be by the
side of her husband, and that all the privations of the camp would be
happiness when shared with one who was all the world to her. Napoleon
was deeply moved by this exhibition of her love, but, aware of the
incessant activity with which it would be necessary for him to drive by
night and by day, he firmly but kindly denied her request. Josephine
wept bitterly as they parted.

One morning, early in November, 1808, the glittering cavalcade of the
emperor, at the full gallop, drove into the encampment of the retreating
French at Vittoria. The arrival of an angel, commissioned from heaven to
their aid, could not have inspired the soldiers with more enthusiasm.
The heavens rang with the shouts of the mighty host, as they greeted
their monarch with cries of "Vive l'Empereur!" Not one moment was lost.
Napoleon placed himself at the head of his concentrated army, and
turning them, now inspirited with the utmost confidence, against the
foes before whom they had been retreating, with the resistlessness of
an avalanche overwhelmed the Spanish forces. Wherever he appeared,
resistance melted away before him. In the pride of achievements almost
miraculous, he marched into Madrid, and there, in the capital of Spain,
re-established his fallen throne. But he tarried not there an hour for
indulgence or repose. The solid columns of the English army, under Sir
John Moore, were still in Spain. Napoleon urged his collected forces,
with all the energy which hatred could inspire, upon his English foes,
and the Britons, mangled and bleeding, were driven into their ships. The
conqueror, feeling that he was indeed the man of destiny, looked for a
moment complacently upon Spain, again in subjection at his feet, and
then, with the speed of the whirlwind, returned to Josephine at St.
Cloud, having been absent but little more than two months.

In the mean time, while Napoleon was far away with his army, upon the
other side of the Pyrenees, Russia, Sweden, and Austria thought it a
favorable moment to attack him in his rear. They brought no accusations
against the emperor, they issued no proclamation of war, but secretly
and treacherously conspired to march, with all the strength of their
collected armies, upon the unsuspecting emperor. It was an alliance of
the kings of Europe against Napoleon, because he sat upon the throne,
not by hereditary descent, the only recognized divine right, but by the
popular vote. The indignation of the emperor, and of every patriotic
Frenchman, had been roused by the totally unjustifiable, but bold and
honest avowal of England, that peace could only be obtained by the
wresting of the crown from the brow of Napoleon, and replacing it upon
the head of the rejected Bourbon.

The emperor had been at St. Cloud but a short time, when, early one
spring morning, a courier came dashing into the court-yard of the palace
at his utmost speed, bringing the intelligence to Napoleon that Austria
had treacherously violated the treaty of peace, and, in alliance with
Russia, Sweden, and England, was marching her armies to invade the
territory of France. The emperor, his eye flashing with indignation,
hastily proceeded to the apartment of the empress with the papers
communicating the intelligence in his hand. Josephine was asleep, having
but just retired. He approached her bed, and, awaking her from sound
slumber, requested her to be ready in two hours to accompany him to
Germany. "You have played the part of an empress," said he, playfully,
"long enough. You must now become again the wife of a general. I leave
immediately. Will you accompany me to Strasburg?" This was short notice,
but, with the utmost alacrity, she obeyed the joyful summons.

She was so accustomed to the sudden movements of the emperor that
she was not often taken by surprise. Promptness was one of the most
conspicuous of her manifold virtues. "I have never," she has been heard
to say, "kept any one waiting for me half a minute, when to be punctual
depended upon myself. Punctuality is true politeness, especially in the

The emperor was in glowing spirits. He had no doubt that he should be
entirely victorious, and Josephine was made truly happy by that suavity
and those kind attentions which he in this journey so signally
displayed. Their route conducted them through some of the most beautiful
and fertile valleys of France. Every where around them they saw the
indications of prosperity and happiness. Napoleon was in the height of
glory. The most enthusiastic acclamations of love and homage greeted the
emperor and empress wherever the panting steeds which drew them rested
for a moment. As they stopped for a new relay of horses in one of the
little villages of Lorraine, Josephine beheld a peasant woman kneeling
upon the steps of the village church, with her countenance bathed in
tears. The aspect of grief ever touched the kind heart of the empress.
She sent for the poor woman, and inquired into the cause of her grief.

"My poor grandson, Joseph," said she, "is included in the conscription,
and, notwithstanding all my prayers, he must become a soldier. And more
than this, his sister Julie was to have been married to Michael, a
neighbor's son, and now he refuses to marry her because Joseph is in the
conscription. And should my son purchase a substitute for poor Joseph,
it would take all his money, and he would have no dowry to give Julie.
And her dowry was to have been a hundred and twenty dollars."

"Take that," said the emperor, presenting the woman with a purse. "You
will find enough who will be ready to supply Joseph's place for that
amount. I want soldiers, and, for that purpose, must encourage
marriages." Josephine was so much interested in the adventure, that, as
soon as she arrived at Strasburg, she sent a valuable bridal present to
Julie. The good woman's prayers were answered. From Strasburg Josephine
returned to Paris, while Napoleon pressed on to encounter the combined
armies of Austria and Russia in the renowned campaign of Wagram.

It was in 1805, some years before the events we have just described,
that Napoleon, with his enthusiastic troops, embarked in the celebrated
campaign of Ulm and Austerlitz. At Ulm he surrounded thirty thousand of
his foes, and almost without a skirmish compelled them to lay down their
arms. "Your master," said he to the Austrian generals, as, almost dying
with mortification, they surrendered their swords, "your master wages
against me an unjust war. I say it candidly, I know not for what I am
fighting. I know not what he desires of me. He has wished to remind
me that I was once a soldier. I trust he will find that I have not
forgotten my original avocation. I will, however, give one piece of
advice to my brother, the Emperor of Austria. Let him hasten to make
peace. This is the moment to remember that there are limits to all
empires, however powerful. The idea that the house of Lorraine may come
to an end should inspire him with distrust of fortune. I want nothing
on the Continent. _I desire ships, colonies, and commerce._ Their
acquisition would be as advantageous to you as to me."

From Ulm, Napoleon, with two hundred thousand men, flushed with victory,
rushed like a tempest down the valley of the Danube, driving the
terrified Austrians before him like chaff swept by the whirlwind. Ten
thousand bomb-shells were rained down upon the roofs of Vienna, till the
dwellings and the streets were deluged with the blood of innocence, and
then the gates were thrown open for the entrance of the conqueror.
Alexander, the Emperor of all the Russias, was hastening down from the
North, with his barbarian hordes, to aid the beleaguered city. Napoleon
tarried not at Vienna. Fearlessly pushing on through the sleet and the
hail of a Northern winter, he disappeared in the distance from the eyes
of France. Austria, Sweden, Russia, were assembling their innumerable
legions to crush him. He was far from home, in a hostile country. Rumors
that his rashness had led to his ruin began to circulate throughout

Josephine was almost distracted with anxiety respecting her husband. She
knew that a terrible battle was approaching, in which he was to
encounter fearful odds. The most gloomy forebodings pervaded Paris and
all France. Several days had passed, during which no intelligence
whatever had been received from the distant army. Ominous whispers of
defeat and ruin filled the air. The cold blasts of a December night were
whistling around the towers of St. Cloud, as Josephine and a few of her
friends were assembled in the saloon, anxiously awaiting tidings from
Napoleon. It was no time for hilarity, and no one attempted even to
promote festive enjoyment. The hour of nine o'clock had arrived, and
yet no courier appeared. All hopes of any tidings on that day were
relinquished. Suddenly the clatter of iron hoofs was heard as a single
horseman galloped into the court-yard. Josephine almost fainted with
emotion as she heard the feeble shout, "Victory--Austerlitz!" She rushed
to the window and threw it open. The horse of the courier had fallen
dead upon the pavement, and the exhausted rider, unable to stand,
was half reclining by his side. In the intensity of her impatience,
Josephine rushed down the stairs and into the court-yard, followed by
all her ladies. The faithful messenger was brought to her in the arms of
four men. He presented to the empress a blurred and blotted line, which
the emperor had written amid the thunder and the smoke, the uproar and
the carnage of the dreadful day of Austerlitz. As soon as Napoleon saw
the field covered with the slain, and the routed armies of his foes
flying in dismay before their triumphant pursuers, in the midst of all
the horrors of that most horrible scene, he turned the energies of his
impetuous mind from the hot pursuit to pen a line to his faithful
Josephine, announcing the victory. The empress, with tears almost
blinding her eyes, read the billet where she stood, by the light of a
torch which an attendant had brought her. She immediately drew from her
finger a valuable diamond ring, and presented it to the bearer of the
joyful message. The messenger was Moustache the Mameluke, who had
accompanied Napoleon from Egypt, and who was so celebrated for the
devotion of his attachment to the emperor. He had ridden on horseback
one hundred and fifty miles within twelve hours.

Napoleon was exceedingly sensitive to any apparent want of affection
or attention on the part of Josephine. A remarkable occurrence,
illustrative of this sensitiveness, took place on his return from his
last Austrian campaign. When he arrived at Munich, where he was delayed
for a short time, he dispatched a courier to Josephine, informing her
that he would be at Fontainebleau on the evening of the twenty-seventh,
and expressing a wish that the court should be assembled there to meet
him. He, however, in his eagerness, pressed on with such unanticipated
speed, that he arrived early in the morning of the twenty-sixth,
thirty-six hours earlier than the time he had appointed. He had actually
overtaken his courier, and entered with him the court-yard at
Fontainebleau. Very unreasonably annoyed at finding no one there to
receive him, he said to the exhausted courier, as he was dismounting
from his horse, "You can rest to-morrow; gallop to St. Cloud, and
announce my arrival to the empress." It was a distance of forty miles.
Napoleon was very impatient all the day, and, in the evening, hearing a
carriage enter the court-yard, he eagerly ran down, as was his
invariable custom, to greet Josephine. To his great disappointment, the
carriage contained only some of her ladies. "And where is the empress?"
he exclaimed, in surprise. "We have preceded her by perhaps a quarter of
an hour," they replied. The emperor was now in very ill humor. "A very
happy arrangement," said he, sarcastically; and, turning upon his heel,
he ascended to the little library, where he had been busily employed.

Soon Josephine arrived. Napoleon, hearing the carriage enter the court,
coldly asked who had come. Being informed that it was the empress, he
moved not from his seat, but went on very busily with his writing. The
attendants were greatly surprised, for he never before had been known
to omit meeting the empress at her carriage. Josephine, entirely
unconscious of any fault, and delighted with the thought of again
meeting her husband, and of surprising him in his cabinet, hastened up
stairs and entered the room. Napoleon looked up coldly from his papers,
and addressed her with the chilling salutation, "And so, madame, you
have come at last! It is well. I was just about to set out for St.
Cloud." Josephine burst into tears, and stood silently sobbing before
him. Napoleon was conquered. His own conscience reproved him for his
exceeding injustice. He rose from his seat, exclaiming, "Josephine, I am
wrong; forgive me;" and, throwing his arms around her neck, embraced her
most tenderly. The reconciliation was immediate and perfect, for the
gentle spirit of Josephine could retain no resentment.

Napoleon had a very decided taste in reference to Josephine's style of
dress, and her only ambition was to decorate her person in a manner
which would be agreeable to him. On this occasion she retired very soon
to dress for dinner. In about half an hour she reappeared, dressed with
great elegance, in a robe of white satin, bordered with eider down, and
with a wreath of blue flowers, entwined with silver ears of corn,
adorning her hair. Napoleon rose to meet her, and gazed upon her with an
expression of great fondness. Josephine said, with a smile, "You do not
think that I have occupied too much time at my toilet?" Napoleon pointed
playfully to the clock upon the mantel, which indicated the hour of half
past seven, and, taking the hand of his wife, entered the dining-room.

Though Napoleon often displayed the weaknesses of our fallen nature, he
at times exhibited the noblest traits of humanity. On one occasion, at
Boulogne, he was informed of a young English sailor, a prisoner of war,
who had escaped from his imprisonment in the interior of France, and
had succeeded in reaching the coast near that town. He had secretly
constructed, in an unfrequented spot, a little skiff, of the branches
and bark of trees, in which fabric, almost as fragile as the ark of
bulrushes, he was intending to float out upon the storm-swept channel,
hoping to be picked up by some English cruiser and conveyed home.
Napoleon was struck with admiration in view of the fearlessness of the
project, and, sending for the young man, questioned him very minutely
respecting the motives which could induce him to undertake so perilous
an adventure. The emperor expressed some doubt whether he would really
have ventured to encounter the dangers of the ocean in so frail a skiff.
The young man entreated Napoleon to ascertain whether he was in earnest
by granting him permission to carry his design into execution. "You must
doubtless, then," said the emperor, "have some mistress to revisit,
since you are so desirous to return to your country?" "No!" replied the
sailor, "I wish to see my mother. She is aged and infirm." The heart of
the emperor was touched. "You shall see her," he energetically and
promptly replied. He immediately gave orders that the young man should
be thoroughly furnished with all comforts, and sent in a cruiser, with a
flag of truce, to the first British vessel which could be found. He also
gave the young man a purse for his mother, saying, "She must be no
common parent who can have trained up so affectionate and dutiful a



A.D. 1807-A.D. 1814

Napoleon's prospective heir.--Death of the child.--Grandeur of Napoleon.
--Struggle in his bosom.--Dejection of Napoleon.--His energy.--Grief of
Josephine.--Her forebodings.--Napoleon absents himself from her
society.--Anguish of Napoleon.--Difficulty in selecting a bride.--A
silent dinner at Fontainebleau.--The communication to Josephine.--
Effects thereof.--Agitation of Napoleon.--A night of anguish.--
Anniversary of the victory at Austerlitz.--Eugene summoned from Italy.
--Interview with Napoleon.--He is not without feeling.--The council
assembled.--Address of Napoleon.--He is still the friend of
Josephine.--Her response.--The council again assembled.--Consummation
of the divorce.--Entrance of Josephine.--Emotion of Hortense.--Josephine
signs the divorce.--Anguish of Eugene.--Last private interview between
Josephine and Napoleon.--The final adieu.--Mental anguish of
Napoleon.--Malmaison assigned to Josephine as her future residence.--
Josephine leaves the Tuilleries.--Madame de Rochefoucault.--Josephine
submissive to her lot.--Morning parties.--Social habits.--Daily routine
at Malmaison.--The airing.--The dinner hour.--Mirthful evenings.--
Marriage of Napoleon and Maria Louisa.--Birth of the King of Rome.
--Letter from Josephine.--Josephine's interest in the son of Napoleon.
--Her joy at his birth.--Her desire for information.--A letter from
Napoleon.--Deep emotion of Josephine.--Amiability of Napoleon.--He
presents his son to Josephine.--Generous conduct of Josephine.--Letter
to her superintendent.--Refined taste of Josephine.--Continued grief of
Josephine.--Palace of Navarre.--Letter to Napoleon.--Josephine desires
repose.--Occupations of Josephine at Navarre.--M. Bourlier.--Character
of Josephine's household.--Conversation between Napoleon and Josephine.
--Their last interview.--Napoleon continues his correspondence.--Days
of disaster.--Approach of the allied armies.--Alarm of Josephine.--
Accident.--Josephine at Navarre.--A melancholy incident.--Brutality of
the Cossacks.--Affecting note from Napoleon.--His downfall.--Letter
from Napoleon to Josephine.--False friends.--Josephine resolves not to
abandon Napoleon.--Honor paid to Josephine.--Commendation of Alexander.
--Letter to Napoleon.--Illustrious party at Malmaison.--Illness of
Josephine.--Josephine always desired the happiness of France.--Affecting
prayer.--Death of Josephine.--Tribute to her memory by Alexander.--
Funeral ceremonies.--Monumental inscription.

Allusion has already been made to the strong attachment with which
Napoleon cherished his little grandchild, the son of Hortense and of his
brother Louis. The boy was extremely beautiful, and developed all those
noble and spirited traits of character which peculiarly delighted the
emperor. Napoleon had apparently determined to make the young prince his
heir. This was so generally the understanding, both in France and in
Holland, that Josephine was quite at ease, and serene days dawned again
upon her heart.

Early in the spring of 1807, this child, upon whom such destinies were
depending, then five years of age, was seized suddenly and violently
with the croup, and in a few hours died. The blow fell upon the heart of
Josephine with most appalling power. Deep as was her grief at the loss
of the child, she was overwhelmed with uncontrollable anguish in view of
those fearful consequences which she shuddered to contemplate. She knew
that Napoleon loved her fondly, but she also knew the strength of his
ambition, and that he would make any sacrifice of his affection, which,
in his view, would subserve the interests of his power and his glory.
For three days she shut herself up in her room, and was continually
bathed in tears.

The sad intelligence was conveyed to Napoleon when he was far from home,
in the midst of the Prussian campaign. He had been victorious, almost
miraculously victorious, over his enemies. He had gained accessions of
power such as, in the wildest dreams of youth, he had hardly imagined.
All opposition to his sway was now apparently crushed. Napoleon had
become the creator of kings, and the proudest monarchs of Europe were
constrained to do his bidding. It was in an hour of exultation that the
mournful tidings reached him. He sat down in silence, buried his face in
his hands, and for a long time seemed lost in the most painful musings.
He was heard mournfully and anxiously to repeat to himself again and
again, "To whom shall I leave all this?" The struggle in his mind
between his love for Josephine and his ambitious desire to found a
new dynasty, and to transmit his name and fame to all posterity, was
fearful. It was manifest in his pallid cheek, in his restless eye, in
the loss of appetite and of sleep. But the stern will of Bonaparte was
unrelenting in its purposes. With an energy which the world has never
seen surpassed, he had chosen his part. It was the purpose of his
soul--the purpose before which every thing had to bend--to acquire the
glory of making France the most illustrious, powerful, and happy nation
earth had ever seen. For this he was ready to sacrifice comfort, ease,
and his sense of right. For this he was ready to sunder the strongest
ties of affection.

Josephine knew Napoleon. She was fully aware of his boundless ambition.
With almost insupportable anguish she wept over the death of this
idolized child, and, with a trembling heart, awaited her husband's
return. Mysterious hints began to fill the journals of the contemplated
divorce, and of the alliance of Napoleon with various princesses of
foreign courts.

In October, 1807, Napoleon returned from Vienna. He greeted Josephine
with the greatest kindness, but she soon perceived that his mind was ill
at ease, and that he was pondering the fearful question. He appeared sad
and embarrassed. He had frequent private interviews with his ministers.
A general feeling of constraint pervaded the court. Napoleon scarcely
ventured to look upon his wife, as if apprehensive that the very sight
of one whom he had loved so well might cause him to waver in his firm
purpose. Josephine was in a state of the most feverish solicitude, and
yet was compelled to appear calm and unconstrained. As yet she had only
fearful forebodings of her impending doom. She watched, with most
excited apprehension, every movement of the emperor's eye, every
intonation of his voice, every sentiment he uttered. Each day some new
and trivial indication confirmed her fears. Her husband became more
reserved, absented himself from her society, and the private access
between their apartments was closed. He now seldom entered her room, and
whenever he did so, he invariably knocked. And yet not one word had
passed between him and Josephine upon the fearful subject. Whenever
Josephine heard the sound of his approaching footsteps, the fear that he
was coming with the terrible announcement of separation immediately
caused such violent palpitations of the heart that it was with the
utmost difficulty she could totter across the floor, even when
supporting herself by leaning against the walls, and catching at the
articles of furniture.

The months of October and November passed away, and, while the emperor
was discussing with his cabinet the alliance into which he should enter,
he had not yet summoned courage to break the subject to Josephine. The
evidence is indubitable that he experienced intense anguish in view of
the separation, but this did not influence his iron will to swerve from
its purpose. The grandeur of his fame and the magnitude of his power
were now such, that there was not a royal family in Europe which would
not have felt honored in conferring upon him a bride. It was at first
contemplated that he should marry some princess of the Bourbon family,
and thus add to the stability of his throne by conciliating the
Royalists of France. A princess of Saxony was proposed. Some weighty
considerations urged an alliance with the majestic empire of Russia, and
some advances were made to the court of St. Petersburgh, having in view
a sister of the Emperor Alexander. It was finally decided that proposals
should be made to the court of Vienna for Maria Louisa, daughter of the
Emperor of Austria.

At length the fatal day arrived for the announcement to Josephine. It
was the last day of November, 1809. The emperor and empress dined at
Fontainebleau alone. She seems to have had a presentiment that her doom
was sealed, for all that day she had been in her retired apartment,
weeping bitterly. As the dinner-hour approached, she bathed her swollen
eyes, and tried to regain composure. They sat down at the table in
silence. Napoleon did not speak. Josephine could not trust her voice to
utter a word. Neither ate a mouthful. Course after course was brought in
and removed untouched. A mortal paleness revealed the anguish of each
heart. Napoleon, in his embarrassment, mechanically, and apparently
unconsciously, struck the edge of his glass with his knife, while lost
in thought. A more melancholy meal probably was never witnessed. The
attendants around the table seemed to catch the infection, and moved
softly and silently in the discharge of their duties, as if they were in
the chamber of the dead. At last the ceremony of dinner was over, the
attendants were dismissed, and Napoleon, rising, and closing the door
with his own hand, was left alone with Josephine. Another moment of most
painful silence ensued, when the emperor, pale as death, and trembling
in every nerve, approached the empress. He took her hand, placed it upon
his heart, and in faltering accents said, "Josephine! my own good
Josephine! you know how I have loved you. It is to you alone that I owe
the only few moments of happiness I have known in the world. Josephine!
my destiny is stronger than my will. My dearest affections must yield to
the interests of France."

Josephine's brain reeled; her blood ceased to circulate; she fainted,
and fell lifeless upon the floor. Napoleon, alarmed, threw open the door
of the saloon, and called for help. Attendants from the ante-room
immediately entered. Napoleon took a taper from the mantel, and uttering
not a word, but pale and trembling, motioned to the Count de Beaumont to
take the empress in his arms. She was still unconscious of every thing,
but began to murmur, in tones of anguish, "Oh, no! you can not surely do
it. You would not kill me." The emperor led the way, through a dark
passage, to the private staircase which conducted to the apartment of
the empress. The agitation of Napoleon seemed now to increase. He
uttered some incoherent sentences about a violent nervous attack; and,
finding the stairs too steep and narrow for the Count de Beaumont to
bear the body of the helpless Josephine unassisted, he gave the light to
an attendant, and, supporting her limbs himself, they reached the door
of her bed-room. Napoleon then, dismissing his male attendants, and
laying Josephine upon her bed, rang for her waiting-women. He hung over
her with an expression of the most intense affection and anxiety until
she began to revive. But the moment consciousness seemed returning, he
left the room. Napoleon did not even throw himself upon his bed that
night. He paced the floor until the dawn of the morning. The royal
surgeon, Corvisart, passed the night at the bed-side of the empress.
Every hour the restless yet unrelenting emperor called at her door to
inquire concerning her situation. "On recovering from my swoon," says
Josephine, "I perceived that Corvisart was in attendance, and my poor
daughter, Hortense, weeping over me. No! no! I can not describe the
horror of my situation during that night! Even the interest he affected
to take in my sufferings seemed to me additional cruelty. Oh! how much
reason had I to dread becoming an empress!"

A fortnight now passed away, during which Napoleon and Josephine saw
but little of each other. During this time there occurred the
anniversary of the coronation, and of the victory of Austerlitz. Paris
was filled with rejoicing. The bells rang their merriest peals. The
metropolis was refulgent with illuminations. In these festivities
Josephine was compelled to appear. She knew that the sovereigns and
princes then assembled in Paris were informed of her approaching
disgrace. In all these sounds of triumph she heard but the knell of her
own doom. And though a careful observer would have detected indications,
in her moistened eye and her pallid cheek, of the secret woe which was
consuming her heart, her habitual affability and grace never, in public,
for one moment forsook her. Hortense, languid and sorrow-stricken, was
with her mother.

Eugene was summoned from Italy. He hastened to Paris, and his first
interview was with his mother. From her saloon he went directly to the
cabinet of Napoleon, and inquired of the emperor if he had decided to
obtain a divorce from the empress. Napoleon, who was very strongly
attached to Eugene, made no reply, but pressed his hand as an expression
that it was so. Eugene immediately dropped the hand of the emperor, and

"Sire, in that case, permit me to withdraw from your service."

"How!" exclaimed Napoleon, looking upon him sadly; "will you, Eugene, my
adopted son, leave me?"

"Yes, sire," Eugene replied, firmly; "the son of her who is no longer
empress can not remain viceroy. I will follow my mother into her
retreat. She must now find her consolation in her children."

Napoleon was not without feelings. Tears filled his eyes. In a mournful
voice, tremulous with emotion, he replied, "Eugene, you know the stern
necessity which compels this measure, and will you forsake me? Who,
then, should I have a son, the object of my desires and preserver of my
interests, who would watch over the child when I am absent? If I die,
who will prove to him a father? Who will bring him up? Who is to make a
man of him?"

Eugene was deeply affected, and, taking Napoleon's arm, they retired and
conversed a long time together. The noble Josephine, ever sacrificing
her own feelings to promote the happiness of others, urged her son to
remain the friend of Napoleon. "The emperor," she said, "is your
benefactor--your more than father, to whom you are indebted for every
thing, and to whom, therefore, you owe a boundless obedience."

The fatal day for the consummation of the divorce at length arrived. It
was the 15th of December, 1809. Napoleon had assembled all the kings,
princes, and princesses who were members of the imperial family, and
also the most illustrious officers of the empire, in the grand saloon
of the Tuilleries. Every individual present was oppressed with the
melancholy grandeur of the occasion. Napoleon thus addressed them:

"The political interests of my monarchy, the wishes of my people, which
have constantly guided my actions, require that I should transmit to an
heir, inheriting my love for the people, the throne on which Providence
has placed me. For many years I have lost all hopes of having children
by my beloved spouse, the Empress Josephine. It is this consideration
which induces me to sacrifice the sweetest affections of my heart, to
consult only the good of my subjects, and to desire the dissolution
of our marriage. Arrived at the age of forty years, I may indulge a
reasonable hope of living long enough to rear, in the spirit of my
own thoughts and disposition, the children with which it may please
Providence to bless me. God knows what such a determination has cost my
heart; but there is no sacrifice which is above my courage, when it is
proved to be for the interests of France. Far from having any cause of
complaint, I have nothing to say but in praise of the attachment and
tenderness of my beloved wife. She has embellished fifteen years of my
life, and the remembrance of them will be forever engraven on my heart.
She was crowned by my hand; she shall retain always the rank and title
of empress. Above all, let her never doubt my feelings, or regard me but
as her best and dearest friend."

Josephine, her eyes filled with tears, with a faltering voice, replied,
"I respond to all the sentiments of the emperor in consenting to the
dissolution of a marriage which henceforth is an obstacle to the
happiness of France, by depriving it of the blessing of being one day
governed by the descendants of that great man who was evidently raised
up by Providence to efface the evils of a terrible revolution, and to
restore the altar, and the throne, and social order. But his marriage
will in no respect change the sentiments of my heart. The emperor will
ever find in me his best friend. I know what this act, commanded by
policy and exalted interests, has cost his heart, but we both glory in
the sacrifices we make for the good of the country. I feel elevated in
giving the greatest proof of attachment and devotion that was ever given
upon earth."

Such were the sentiments which were expressed in public; but in private
Josephine surrendered herself to the unrestrained dominion of her
anguish. No language can depict the intensity of her woe. For six months
she wept so incessantly that her eyes were nearly blinded with grief.
Upon the ensuing day the council were again assembled in the grand
saloon, to witness the legal consummation of the divorce. The emperor
entered the room dressed in the imposing robes of state, but pallid,
careworn, and wretched. Low tones of voice, harmonizing with the
mournful scene, filled the room. Napoleon, apart by himself, leaned
against a pillar, folded his arms upon his breast, and, in perfect
silence, apparently lost in gloomy thought, remained motionless as a
statue. A circular table was placed in the center of the apartment, and
upon this there was a writing apparatus of gold. A vacant arm-chair
stood before the table. Never did a multitude gaze upon the scaffold,
the block, or the guillotine with more awe than the assembled lords and
ladies in this gorgeous saloon contemplated these instruments of a more
dreadful execution.

At length the mournful silence was interrupted by the opening of a
side door and the entrance of Josephine. The pallor of death was upon
her brow, and the submission of despair nerved her into a temporary
calmness. She was leaning upon the arm of Hortense, who, not possessing
the fortitude of her mother, was entirely unable to control her
feelings. The sympathetic daughter, immediately upon entering into the
room, burst into tears, and continued sobbing most convulsively during
the whole remaining scene. The assembly respectfully arose upon the
entrance of Josephine, and all were moved to tears. With that grace
which ever distinguished her movements, she advanced silently to the
seat provided for her. Sitting down, and leaning her forehead upon her
hand, she listened to the reading of the act of separation. Nothing
disturbed the sepulchral silence of the scene but the convulsive
sobbings of Hortense, blending with the mournful tones of the reader's
voice. Eugene, in the mean time, pale and trembling as an aspen leaf,
had taken a position by the side of his mother. Silent tears were
trickling down the cheeks of the empress.

As soon as the reading of the act of separation was finished, Josephine
for a moment pressed her handkerchief to her weeping eyes, and then,
rising, in clear and musical, but tremulous tones, pronounced the oath
of acceptance. She then sat down, took the pen, and affixed her
signature to the deed which sundered the dearest hopes and the fondest
ties which human hearts can feel. Poor Eugene could endure this anguish
no longer. His brain reeled, his heart ceased to beat, and he fell
lifeless upon the floor. Josephine and Hortense retired with the
attendants who bore out the insensible form of the affectionate son and
brother. It was a fitting termination of this mournful but sublime

But the anguish of the day was not yet closed. Josephine, half delirious
with grief, had another scene still more painful to pass through in
taking a final adieu of him who had been her husband. She remained in
her chamber, in heart-rending, speechless grief, until the hour arrived
in which Napoleon usually retired for the night. The emperor, restless
and wretched, had just placed himself in the bed from which he had
ejected his most faithful and devoted wife, and the attendant was on the
point of leaving the room, when the private door of his chamber was
slowly opened, and Josephine tremblingly entered. Her eyes were swollen
with grief, her hair disheveled, and she appeared in all the dishabille
of unutterable anguish. She tottered into the middle of the room, and
approached the bed; then, irresolutely stopping, she buried her face in
her hands, and burst into a flood of tears. A feeling of delicacy seemed
for a moment to have arrested her steps--a consciousness that she had
_now_ no right to enter the chamber of Napoleon; but in another moment
all the pent-up love of her heart burst forth, and, forgetting every
thing in the fullness of her anguish, she threw herself upon the bed,
clasped Napoleon's neck in her arms, and exclaiming, "My husband! my
husband!" sobbed as though her heart were breaking. The imperial spirit
of Napoleon was for the moment entirely vanquished, and he also wept
almost convulsively. He assured Josephine of his love--of his ardent and
undying love. In every way he tried to soothe and comfort her, and for
some time they remained locked in each other's embrace. The attendant
was dismissed, and for an hour they continued together in this last
private interview. Josephine then, in the experience of an intensity of
anguish which few hearts have ever known, parted forever from the
husband whom she had so long, so fondly, and so faithfully loved.

After the empress had retired, with a desolated heart, to her chamber
of unnatural widowhood, the attendant entered the apartment of Napoleon
to remove the lights. He found the emperor so buried beneath the
bed-clothes as to be invisible. Not a word was uttered. The lights were
removed, and the unhappy monarch was left in darkness and silence to
the dreadful companionship of his own thoughts. The next morning the
death-like pallor of his cheek, his sunken eye, and the haggard
expression of his countenance, attested that the emperor had passed
the night in sleeplessness and suffering.

Great as was the wrong which Napoleon thus inflicted upon the noble
Josephine, every one must be sensible of a certain kind of grandeur
which pervades the tragedy. When we contemplate the brutal butcheries of
Henry VIII., as wife after wife was compelled to place her head upon the
block, merely to afford room for the indulgence of his vagrant passions;
when we contemplate George IV., by neglect and inhumanity driving
Caroline to desperation and to crime, and polluting the ear of the world
with the revolting story of sin and shame; when we contemplate the
Bourbons, generation after generation, rioting in voluptuousness, in
utter disregard of all the laws of God and man, while we can not abate
one iota of our condemnation of the great wrong which Napoleon
perpetrated, we feel that it becomes the monarchies of Europe to be
sparing in their condemnation.

The beautiful palace of Malmaison, which Napoleon had embellished with
every possible attraction, and where the emperor and empress had passed
many of their happiest hours, was assigned to Josephine for her future
residence. Napoleon settled upon her a jointure of about six hundred
thousand dollars a year. She was still to retain the title and the rank
of Empress-Queen.

The ensuing day, at eleven o'clock, all the household of the Tuilleries
were assembled upon the grand staircase and in the vestibule, to witness
the departure of their beloved mistress from scenes where she had so
long been the brightest ornament. Josephine descended, veiled from head
to foot. Her emotions were too deep for utterance, and she waved an
adieu to the affectionate and weeping friends who surrounded her. A
close carriage, with six horses, was before the door. She entered it,
sank back upon the cushions, buried her face in her handkerchief, and,
sobbing bitterly, left the Tuilleries forever.

Josephine was still surrounded with all the external splendors of
royalty. She was beloved throughout France, and admired throughout
Europe. Napoleon frequently called upon her, though, from motives of
delicacy, he never saw her alone. He consulted her respecting all his
plans, and most assiduously cherished her friendship. It was soon
manifest that the surest way of securing the favor of Napoleon was
to pay marked attention to Josephine. The palace of Malmaison,
consequently, became the favorite resort of all the members of the court
of Napoleon. Soon after the divorce, Madame de Rochefoucault, formerly
mistress of the robes to Josephine, deserting the forsaken empress,
applied for the same post of honor in the household of Maria Louisa.
Napoleon, when he heard of the application, promptly and indignantly
replied, "She shall neither retain her old situation nor have the new
one. I am accused of ungrateful conduct toward Josephine, but I do not
choose to have any imitators, more especially among those whom she has
honored with her confidence, and overwhelmed with benefits."

Josephine remained for some time at Malmaison. In deeds of kindness to
the poor who surrounded her, in reading, and in receiving, with the
utmost elegance of hospitality, the members of the court of Napoleon,
who were ever crowding her saloons, she gradually regained her
equanimity of spirit, and surrendered herself entirely to a quiet and
pensive submission. Napoleon frequently called to see her, and, taking
her arm, he would walk for hours, most confidentially unfolding to her
all his plans. He seemed to desire to do every thing in his power to
alleviate the intensity of anguish with which he had wrung her heart.
His own affections clung still to Josephine, and her lovely and noble
character commanded, increasingly, his homage. The empress was very
methodical in all her arrangements, allotting to each hour its appointed
duty. The description of the routine of any one day would answer about
equally well for all.

Ten o'clock in the morning was the reception hour. These morning
parties, attended by the most distinguished members of Parisian society,
none appearing except in uniform or in court costume, were always very
brilliant. Some ten or twelve of the visitors were always previously
invited to remain to breakfast. At eleven o'clock they passed from the
saloon to the breakfast-room, the empress leading, followed by her court
according to their rank, she naming those who were to sit on her right
and left. The repast, both at breakfast and dinner, ordinarily consisted
of one course only, every thing excepting the dessert being placed upon
the table at once. The empress had five attendants, who stood behind
her chair; all the guests who sat down with her had one each. Seven
officials of different ranks served at the table. The breakfast usually
occupied three quarters of an hour, when the empress, with her ladies
and guests, adjourned to the gallery, which contained the choicest
specimens of painting and sculpture which the genius of Napoleon could
select. The prospect from the gallery was very commanding, and, in
entire freedom from constraint, all could find pleasant employment. Some
examined with delight the varied works of art; some, in the embrasures
of the windows, looked out upon the lovely scenery, and in subdued tones
of voice engaged in conversation; while the chamberlain in attendance
read aloud from some useful and entertaining volume to Josephine, and
those who wished to listen with her. At two o'clock the arrival of the
carriages at the door was the signal for the visitors to depart. Three
open carriages, when the weather permitted, were always provided, each
drawn by four horses. Madame d'Arberg, the lady of honor, one of the
ladies in waiting, and some distinguished guest, accompanied the
empress. Two hours were spent in riding, visiting improvements, and
conversing freely with the various employées on the estate. The party
then returned to the palace, and all disposed of their time as they
pleased until six o'clock, the hour of dinner. From twelve to fifteen
strangers were always invited to dine. After dinner the evening was
devoted to relaxation, conversation, backgammon, and other games. The
young ladies, of whom there were always many whom Josephine retained
around her, usually, in the course of the evening, withdrew from
the drawing-room to a smaller saloon opening from it, where, with
unrestrained glee, they engaged in mirthful sports, or, animated by the
music of the piano, mingled in the dance. Sometimes, in the buoyancy
of youthful joy, they forgot the demands of etiquette, and somewhat
incommoded, by their merry laughter, the more grave company in the grand
apartment. The lady of honor would, on such occasions, hint at the
necessity of repressing the mirth. Josephine would invariably interpose
in their behalf. "My dear Madame d'Arberg," she would say, "suffer both
them and us to enjoy, while we may, all that innocent happiness which
comes from the heart, and which penetrates the heart." At eleven
o'clock, tea, ices, and sweetmeats were served, and then the visitors
took their leave. Josephine sat up an hour later conversing most freely
and confidentially with those friends who were especially dear to her,
and about midnight retired.

In the month of March, 1810, Maria Louisa arrived in Paris, and her
marriage with Napoleon was celebrated with the utmost splendor at St.
Cloud. All France resounded with rejoicing as Napoleon led his youthful
bride into the Tuilleries, from whence, but three months before,
Josephine had been so cruelly ejected. The booming of the cannon, the
merry pealing of the bells, the acclamations of the populace, fell
heavily upon the heart of Josephine. She tried to conceal her anguish,
but her pallid cheek and swimming eye revealed the severity of her

Napoleon continued, however, the frequency of his correspondence, and,
notwithstanding the jealousy of Maria Louisa, did not at all intermit
his visits. In a little more than a year after his marriage the King of
Rome was born. The evening in which Josephine received the tidings of
his birth, she wrote an affectionate and touching letter to Napoleon,
congratulating him upon the event. This letter reveals so conspicuously
the magnanimity of her principles, and yet the feminine tenderness of
her bleeding heart, that we can not refrain from inserting it. It was
dated at Navarre, at midnight, the 20th of March, 1811.

     "SIRE,--Amid the numerous felicitations which you receive
     from every corner of Europe, from all the cities of France,
     and from each regiment of your army, can the feeble voice of
     a woman reach your ear, and will you deign to listen to her
     who so often consoled your sorrows, and sweetened your
     pains, now that she speaks to you only of that happiness in
     which all your wishes are fulfilled? Having ceased to be
     your wife, dare I felicitate you on becoming a father? Yes,
     sire, without hesitation, for my soul renders justice to
     yours, in like manner as you know mine. I can conceive every
     emotion you must experience, as you divine all that I feel
     at this moment, and, though separated, we are united by that
     sympathy which survives all events.

     "I should have desired to have learned the birth of the King
     of Rome from yourself, and not from the sound of the cannon
     of Evreux, or from the courier of the prefect. I know,
     however, that, in preference to all, your first attentions
     are due to the public authorities of the state, to the
     foreign ministers, to your family, and especially to the
     fortunate princess who has realized your dearest hopes. She
     can not be more tenderly devoted to you than I am. But she
     has been enabled to contribute more toward your happiness
     by securing that of France. She has, then, a right to your
     first feelings, to all your cares, and I who was but your
     companion in times of difficulty--I can not ask more than
     for a place in your affections far removed from that
     occupied by the empress, Maria Louisa. Not till you have
     ceased to watch by her bed--not till you are weary of
     embracing your son, will you take the pen to converse with
     your best friend. I will wait.

     "Meanwhile, it is not possible for me to delay telling you
     that, more than any one in the world, do I rejoice in your
     joy. And you will not doubt my sincerity when I here say
     that, far from feeling an affliction at a sacrifice
     necessary for the repose of all, I congratulate myself on
     having made it, since I now suffer alone. But I am wrong; I
     do not suffer while you are happy, and I have but one
     regret, in not having yet done enough to prove how dear you
     were to me. I have no account of the health of the empress.
     I dare to depend upon you, sire, so far as to hope that I
     shall have circumstantial details of the great event which
     secures the perpetuity of the name you have so nobly
     illustrated. Eugene and Hortense will write me, imparting
     their own satisfaction; but it is _from you_ that I desire
     to know if your child be well, if he resembles you, if I
     shall one day be permitted to see him. In short, I expect
     from you unlimited confidence, and upon such I have some
     claims, in consideration, sire, of the boundless attachment
     I shall cherish for you while life remains."

She had but just dispatched this letter to Napoleon, when the
folding-doors were thrown open with much state, and the announcement,
"From the emperor," ushered in a page, the bearer of a letter. The
fragile and beautiful youth, whom Josephine immediately recognized, had
so carefully secured the emperor's billet, from fear of losing it, that
it took some time for him, in his slight embarrassment, to extricate it.
Josephine was almost nervously excited till she received the note, and
immediately retired with it to her own private apartment. Half an hour
elapsed before she again made her appearance. Her whole countenance
attested the intensity of the conflicting emotions with which her soul
had been agitated. Her eyes were swollen with weeping, and the billet,
which she still held in her hand, was blurred with her tears. She gave
the page a letter to the emperor in reply, and then presented him, as an
acknowledgment of her appreciation of the tidings he had brought, with a
small morocco case, containing a diamond breastpin, and a thousand
dollars in gold.

She then, with a tremulous voice, and smiling through her tears, read
the emperor's note to her friends. The concluding words of the note
were, "This infant, in concert with _our Eugene_, will constitute my
happiness and that of France." As Josephine read these words with
emphasis, she exclaimed, "Is it possible to be more amiable! Could any
thing be better calculated to soothe whatever might be painful in my
thoughts at this moment, did I not so sincerely love the emperor? This
uniting of my son with his own is indeed worthy of him who, when he
wills, is the most delightful of men. This is it which has so much moved

The emperor often afterward called upon her. He soon, notwithstanding
the jealousy of Maria Louisa, arranged a plan by which he presented to
Josephine, in his own arms, the idolized child. These interviews, so
gratifying to Josephine, took place at the Royal Pavilion, near Paris,
Napoleon and Madame Montesquieu, governess to the young prince, being
the only confidants. In one of Josephine's letters to Napoleon, she
says, "The moment I saw you enter, leading the young Napoleon in your
hand, was unquestionably one of the happiest of my life. It effaced, for
a time, the recollection of all that had preceded it, for never have I
received from you a more touching mark of affection."

The apartment at Malmaison which Napoleon had formerly occupied remained
exactly as it was when he last left it. Josephine herself kept the key,
and dusted the room with her own hands. She would not permit a single
article of furniture to be moved. The book he was last reading lay open
upon the table, the map he was consulting, the pen with which he wrote,
the articles of clothing which he had left in his accustomed disorder,
all remained untouched. Josephine's bed-chamber was very simply
furnished with white muslin drapery, the only ornament being the golden
toilet service which she had received from the municipality of Paris,
and which, with characteristic generosity, she refused to consider as
her own private property until Napoleon sent it to her. The following
letter from Josephine, written at this time, pleasingly illustrates her
literary polish and the refinement of her taste. It was addressed to the
superintendent, ordering some alterations at Malmaison.

     "Profit by my absence, dear F., and make haste to dismantel
     the pavilion of the acacias, and to transfer my boudoir into
     that of the orangery. I should wish the first apartment of
     the suite, and which serves for an ante-room, to be painted
     with light green, with a border of lilachs. In the center of
     the panels you will place my fine engravings from Esther,
     and under each of these a portrait of the distinguished
     generals of the Revolution. In the center of the apartment
     there must be a large flower-stand, constantly filled with
     fresh flowers in their season, and in each angle a bust of a
     French philosopher. I particularly mention that of Rousseau,
     which place between the two windows, so that the vines and
     foliage may play around his head. This will be a natural
     crown worthy of the author of Emile. As to my private
     cabinet, let it be colored light blue, with a border of
     ranunculus and polyanthus. Ten large engravings from the
     Gallery of the Musée, and twenty medallions, will fill up
     the panels. Let the casements be painted white and green,
     with double fillets, gilded. My piano, a green sofa, and two
     couches with corresponding covers, a secretaire, a small
     bureau, and a large toilet-glass, are articles you will not
     forget. In the center, place a large table, always covered
     with freshly-gathered flowers, and upon the mantel-shelf a
     simple pendule, two alabaster vases, and double-branched
     girandoles. Unite elegance to variety, but no profusion.
     Nothing is more opposed to good taste. In short, I confide
     to you the care of rendering this cherished spot an
     agreeable retreat, where I may meditate, sleep it may be,
     but oftenest read, which last is sufficient to remind you of
     three hundred volumes of my small edition."

When Josephine first retired to Malmaison, where every thing reminded
her of the emperor, her grief for many months continued unabated.
To divert her attention, Napoleon conferred upon her the palace of
Navarre. This was formerly a royal residence, and was renowned for its
magnificent park. During the Revolution it had become much dilapidated.
The elegant chateau was situated in the midst of the romantic forest of
Evreux. The spacious grounds were embellished by parks, whose venerable
trees had withstood the storms of centuries, and by beautiful streams
and crystal lakes. The emperor gave Josephine nearly three hundred
thousand dollars to repair the buildings and the grounds. The taste of
Josephine soon converted the scene into almost a terrestrial Eden, and
Navarre, being far more retired than Malmaison, became her favorite

Soon after Josephine had taken up her residence at Navarre, she wrote
the following letter to Napoleon, which pleasingly illustrates the
cordiality of friendship which still existed between them.

     "SIRE,--I received this morning the welcome note which was
     written on the eve of your departure for St. Cloud, and
     hasten to reply to its tender and affectionate contents.
     These, indeed, do not in themselves surprise me, but only
     as being received so early as fifteen days after my
     establishment here, so perfectly assured was I that your
     attachment would search out the means of consoling me under
     a separation necessary to the tranquillity of both. The
     thought that your care follows me into my retreat renders it
     almost agreeable.

     "After having known all the rapture of a love that is
     shared, and all the suffering of a love that is shared no
     longer--after having exhausted all the pleasures that
     supreme power can confer, and all the happiness of beholding
     the man whom I loved enthusiastically admired, is there
     aught else, save repose, to be desired? What illusions can
     now remain for me? All such vanished when it became
     necessary to renounce you. Thus the only ties which yet bind
     me to life are my sentiments for you, attachment for my
     children, the possibility of still being able to do some
     good, and, above all, the assurance that you are happy. Do
     not, then, condole with me on my being here, distant from a
     court, which you appear to think I regret. Surrounded by
     those who are attached to me, free to follow my taste for
     the arts, I find myself better at Navarre than any where
     else, for I enjoy more completely the society of the former,
     and form a thousand projects which may prove useful to the
     latter, and which will embellish the scenes I owe to your
     bounty. There is much to be done here, for all around are
     discovered the traces of destruction. These I would efface,
     that there may exist no memorial of those horrible
     inflictions which your genius has taught the nation almost
     to forget. In repairing whatever these ruffians of
     revolution labored to annihilate, I shall diffuse comfort
     around me, and the benedictions of the poor will afford me
     infinitely more pleasure than the feigned adulation of

     "I have already told you what I think of the functionaries
     in this department, but have not spoken sufficiently of the
     respectable bishop, M. Bourlier. Every day I learn some new
     trait which causes me still more highly to esteem the man
     who unites the most enlightened benevolence with the most
     amiable disposition. He shall be intrusted with distributing
     my alms-deeds in Evreux, and, as he visits the indigent
     himself, I shall be assured that my charities are properly

     "I can not sufficiently thank you, sire, for the liberty you
     have permitted me of choosing the members of my household,
     all of whom contribute to the pleasure of a delightful
     society. One circumstance alone gives me pain, namely, the
     etiquette of costume, which becomes a little tiresome in the
     country. You fear that there may be something wanting to the
     rank I have preserved should a slight infraction be allowed
     to the toilet of these gentlemen; but I believe that you are
     wrong in thinking they would for one moment forget the
     respect due to the woman who was once your companion. Their
     respect for yourself, joined to the sincere attachment they
     bear to me, which I can not doubt, secures me from the
     danger of ever being obliged to recall what it is your wish
     that they should remember. My most honorable title is
     derived, not from having been crowned, but assuredly from
     having been chosen by you. None other is of value. That
     alone suffices for my immortality.

     "My circle is at this time somewhat more numerous than
     usual, there being several visitors, besides many of the
     inhabitants of Evreux and the environs, whom I see of
     course. I am pleased with their manners, with their
     admiration of you, a particular in which you know that I am
     not easily satisfied. In short, I find myself perfectly at
     home in the midst of my forest, and entreat you, sire, no
     longer to fancy to yourself that there is no living at a
     distance from court. Besides you, there is nothing there
     which I regret, since I shall have my children with me soon,
     and already enjoy the society of the small number of friends
     who remained faithful to me. Do not forget _your friend_.
     Tell her sometimes that you preserve for her an attachment
     which constitutes the felicity of her life. Often repeat to
     her that you are happy, and be assured that for her the
     future will thus be peaceful, as the past has been stormy,
     and often sad."

Just before Napoleon set out on his fatal campaign to Russia, he called
to see Josephine. Seated upon a circular bench in the garden, before the
windows of the saloon, where they could both be seen but not overheard,
they continued for two hours engaged most earnestly in conversation.
Josephine was apparently endeavoring to dissuade him from the perilous
enterprise. His perfect confidence, however seemed to assure her that
her apprehensions were groundless. At last he arose and kissed her hand.
She accompanied him to his carriage, and bade him adieu. This was their
last interview but one. Soon Napoleon returned, a fugitive from Moscow.
Days of disaster were darkening around his path. All Europe had risen in
arms against him, and were on the march toward his capital. In the midst
of the terror of those dreadful days, he sought a hurried interview with
his most faithful friend. It was their last meeting. As he was taking
his leave of Josephine, at the close of this short and melancholy visit,
he gazed upon her a moment in silence, tenderly and sadly, and then
said, "Josephine! I have been as fortunate as was ever man on the face
of this earth. But, in this hour, when a storm is gathering over my
head, I have not, in this wide world, any one but you upon whom I can

In the fearful conflict which ensued--the most terrible which history
has recorded--Napoleon's thoughts ever reverted to the wife of his
youth. He kept up an almost daily correspondence with her, informing her
of the passing of events. His letters, written in the midst of all the
confusion of the camp, were more affectionate and confiding than ever.
Adversity had softened his heart. In these dark days, when, with most
Herculean power, he was struggling against fearful odds, and his throne
was crumbling beneath his feet, it was observed that a letter from
Josephine was rather torn than broken open, so great was the eagerness
of Napoleon to receive a line from her. Wherever he was, however great
the emergency in which he was placed, the moment a courier brought to
him a letter from Josephine, all other business was laid aside until it
had been read.

The allied armies were every day approaching nearer and nearer to Paris,
and Josephine was overwhelmed with grief in contemplating the disasters
which were falling upon Napoleon. At Malmaison, Josephine and the ladies
of her court were employed in forming bandages and scraping lint for the
innumerable wounded who filled the hospitals. The conflicting armies
approached so near to Malmaison that it became dangerous for Josephine
to remain there, and, in great apprehension, she one morning, at eight
o'clock, took her carriage for Navarre. Two or three times on the road
she was alarmed by the cry, "Cossacks! Cossacks!" When she had proceeded
about thirty miles, the pole of her carriage broke, and at the same time
a troop of horsemen appeared in the distance, riding down upon her.
They were French hussars; but Josephine thought that they were either
Cossacks or Prussians, and, though the rain was falling in torrents, in
her terror she leaped from the carriage, and began to fly across the
fields. She had proceeded some distance before her attendants discovered
the mistake. The carriage being repaired, she proceeded the rest of her
way unmolested. The empress hardly uttered a word during this melancholy
journey, but upon entering the palace she threw herself upon a couch,
exclaiming, "Surely, surely Bonaparte is ignorant of what is passing
within sight of the gates of Paris, or, if he knows, how cruel the
thoughts which must now agitate his breast! Oh! if he had listened to

Josephine remained for some days at Navarre, in a state of most painful
anguish respecting the fate of the emperor. She allowed herself no
relaxation, excepting a solitary ride each morning in the park, and
another short ride after dinner with one of her ladies. The Emperor
Alexander had immediately sent a guard of honor to protect Josephine
from all intrusion. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were swarming
in all directions, and every dwelling was filled with terror and
distraction. One melancholy incident we will record, illustrative of
hundreds which might be narrated. Lord Londonderry, in the midst of a
bloody skirmish, saw a young and beautiful French lady, the wife of a
colonel, in a calêche, seized by three brutal Russian soldiers, who were
carrying off, into the fields, their frantic and shrieking victim. The
gallant Englishman, sword in hand, rushed forward for her deliverance
from his barbarian allies. He succeeded in rescuing her, and, in the
confusion of the battle still raging, ordered a dragoon to take her to
his own quarters till she could be provided with suitable protection.
The dragoon took the lady, half dead with terror, upon his horse behind
him, and was galloping with her to a place of safety, when another
ruffian band of Cossacks surrounded him, pierced his body with their
sabers, and seized again the unhappy victim. She was never heard of
more. The Emperor Alexander was greatly distressed at her fate, and made
the utmost, though unavailing efforts to discover what had become of
her. The revelations of the last day alone can divulge the horrors of
this awful tragedy.

The grief of Josephine in these days of anxiety was intense in the
extreme. She passed her whole time in talking about Napoleon, or
in reading the letters she had lately received from him. He wrote
frequently, as he escaped from place to place, but many of his letters
were intercepted by the bands of soldiers traversing every road. The
last she had received from him was dated at Brienne. It gave an account
of a desperate engagement, in which the little band of Napoleon had been
overwhelmed by numbers, and was concluded with the following affecting
words: "On beholding those scenes where I had passed my boyhood, and
comparing my peaceful condition then with the agitation and terrors
which I now experience, I several times said, in my own mind, I have
sought to meet death in many conflicts; I can no longer fear it. To me
death would now be a blessing. But I would once more see Josephine."

Notwithstanding the desperate state of affairs, Josephine still
cherished the hope that his commanding genius would yet enable him to
retrieve his fortunes. All these hopes were, how ever, dispelled on the
receipt of the following letter:

                         "Fontainebleau, April 16, 1814.

     "DEAR JOSEPHINE,--I wrote to you on the eighth of this
     month, but perhaps you have not received my letter.
     Hostilities still continued, and possibly it may have
     been intercepted. At present the communications must be
     re-established. I have formed my resolution. I have no
     doubt that this billet will reach you. I will not repeat
     what I said to you. Then I lamented my situation, now I
     congratulate myself upon it. My head and spirit are freed
     from an enormous weight. My fall is great, but it may, as
     men say, prove useful. In my retreat I shall substitute the
     pen for the sword. The history of my reign will be curious.
     The world has yet seen me only in profile. I shall show
     myself in full. How many things have I to disclose! how many
     are the men of whom a false estimate is entertained! I have
     heaped benefits upon millions of wretches! What have they
     done in the end for me? They have all betrayed me--yes, all.
     I except from this number the good Eugene, so worthy of you
     and of me. Adieu! my dear Josephine. Be resigned as I am,
     and never forget him who never forgot, and never will forget
     you. Farewell, Josephine.


     "P.S.--I expect to hear from you at Elba. I am not very well."

Upon reading these tidings of so terrible an overthrow, Josephine was
overwhelmed with grief, and for a time wept bitterly. Soon, however,
recovering her self-possession, she exclaimed, "I must not remain here.
My presence is necessary to the emperor. That duty is, indeed, more
Maria Louisa's than mine, but the emperor is alone--forsaken. Well, I at
least will not abandon him. I might be dispensed with while he was
happy; now, I am sure that he expects me." After a pause of a few
moments, in which she seemed absorbed in her own thoughts, she addressed
her chamberlain, saying, "I may, however, interfere with his
arrangements. You will remain here with me till intelligence be received
from the allied sovereigns; they will respect her who was the wife of

She was, indeed, remembered by them. The magnanimity of her conduct
under the deep wrongs of the divorce had filled Europe with admiration.
The allied sovereigns sent her assurances of their most friendly
regards. They entreated her to return to Malmaison, and provided her
with an ample guard for her protection. Her court was ever crowded with
the most illustrious monarchs and nobles, who sought a presentation to
do homage to her virtues. The Emperor Alexander was one of the first to
visit her. He said to her on that occasion, "Madam, I burned with the
desire of beholding you. Since I entered France, I have never heard your
name pronounced but with benedictions. In the cottage and in the palace
I have collected accounts of your angelic goodness, and I do myself a
pleasure in thus presenting to your majesty the universal homage of
which I am the bearer."

Maria Louisa, thinking only of self, declined accompanying Napoleon to
his humble retreat. Josephine, not knowing her decision, wrote to the

     "Now only can I calculate the whole extent of the misfortune
     of having beheld my union with you dissolved by law. Now do
     I indeed lament being no more than your _friend_, who can
     but mourn over a misfortune great as it is unexpected. Ah!
     sire, why can I not fly to you? Why can I not give you the
     assurance that exile has no terrors save for vulgar minds,
     and that, far from diminishing a sincere attachment,
     misfortune imparts to it a new force? I have been upon the
     point of quitting France to follow your footsteps, and to
     consecrate to you the remainder of an existence which you
     so long embellished. A single motive restrained me, and that
     you may divine. If I learn that I am _the only one_ who will
     fulfill her duty, nothing shall detain me, and I will go to
     the only place where, henceforth, there can be happiness for
     me, since I shall be able to console you when you are there
     isolated and unfortunate! Say but the word, and I depart.
     Adieu, sire; whatever I would add would still be too little.
     It is no longer by _words_ that my sentiments for you are to
     be proved, and for _actions_ your consent is necessary."

A few days after this letter was written, the Emperor Alexander, with a
number of illustrious guests, dined with Josephine at Malmaison. In the
evening twilight, the party went out upon the beautiful lawn in front of
the house for recreation. Josephine, whose health had become exceedingly
precarious through care and sorrow, being regardless of herself in
devotion to her friends, took a violent cold. The next day she was
worse. Without any very definite form of disease, she day after day grew
more faint and feeble, until it was evident that her final change was
near at hand. Eugene and Hortense, her most affectionate children, were
with her by day and by night. They communicated to her the judgment of
her physician that death was near. She heard the tidings with perfect
composure, and called for a clergyman to administer to her the last
rites of religion.

Just after this solemnity the Emperor Alexander entered the room. Eugene
and Hortense, bathed in tears, were kneeling at their mother's side.
Josephine beckoned to the emperor to approach her, and said to him and
her children, "I have always desired the happiness of France. I did all
in my power to contribute to it; and I can say with truth, to all of you
now present, at my last moments, that the first wife of Napoleon never
caused a single tear to flow."

She called for the portrait of the emperor; she gazed upon it long and
tenderly; and then, fervently pressing it in her clasped hands to her
bosom, faintly articulated the following prayer:

"O God! watch over Napoleon while he remains in the desert of this
world. Alas! though he hath committed great faults, hath he not expiated
them by great sufferings? Just God, thou hast looked into his heart, and
hast seen by how ardent a desire for useful and durable improvements he
was animated. Deign to approve my last petition. And may this image of
my husband bear me witness that my latest wish and my latest prayer were
for him and my children."

It was the 29th of May, 1814. A tranquil summer's day was fading away
into a cloudless, serene, and beautiful evening. The rays of the setting
sun, struggling through the foliage of the open window, shone cheerfully
upon the bed where the empress was dying. The vesper songs of the birds
which filled the groves of Malmaison floated sweetly upon the ear, and
the gentle spirit of Josephine, lulled to repose by these sweet anthems,
sank into its last sleep. Gazing upon the portrait of the emperor, she
exclaimed, "L'isle d'Elbe--Napoleon!" and died.

Alexander, as he gazed upon her lifeless remains, burst into tears, and
uttered the following affecting yet just tribute of respect to her
memory: "She is no more; that woman whom France named the beneficent,
that angel of goodness, is no more. Those who have known Josephine can
never forget her. She dies regretted by her offspring, her friends, and
her cotemporaries."

For four days her body remained shrouded in state for its burial.
During this time more than twenty thousand of the people of France
visited her beloved remains. On the 2d of June, at mid-day, the funeral
procession moved from Malmaison to Ruel, where the body was deposited in
a tomb of the village church. The funeral services were conducted with
the greatest magnificence, as the sovereigns of the allied armies united
with the French in doing honor to her memory. When all had left the
church but Eugene and Hortense, they knelt beside their mother's grave,
and for a long time mingled their prayers and their tears. A beautiful
monument of white marble, representing the empress kneeling in her
coronation robes, is erected over her burial-place, with this simple but
affecting inscription:




                         THE END.


Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors; otherwise,
every effort has been made to remain true to the author's words and

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