Thursday, December 3, 2009
On the subject of Napoleon and letters, the first year of his Italian Campaign produced some absolute doozies of love letters to Josephine, who was extremely turned off by Napoleon's phonetic spelling, dreadful grammar, abysmal diction and horrible habit of underlining erotic passages so violently that he occasionally scratched through the stationary.
She was therefore extremely disinclined to write back to Napoleon and even less inclined to write to him as he wished her to, i.e. "Make sure you tell me that you are convinced you love me beyond what it is possible to imagine."
Napoleon eventually went somewhat mad at the lack of response, to the point where the Directory began to worry that the Republic's best and most successful general might actually quit his post, abandon Italy and march on Paris. Barras personally sent Josephine to Italy, which at least saved Josephine the indignity of having to answer letters begging her not to bathe.