Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Maybe this is why she doesn't write to you.

Napoleon and Josephine have one of the more interesting romantic relationships in the Amateur Historian's chosen period. This is partly due to the fact that Napoleon has some really... odd letters. Aside from the famous, perhaps apocryphal note "I am coming-- do not bathe" he rails against Josephine for the strangest reasons.

Take, for example, this... I suppose we ought to call it a love letter:

"I don't love you, not at all; on the contrary, I detest you. You're a naught, gawky, foolish Cinderella.

You never write me; you don't love your own husband; you know what pleasures your letters give him, and yet you haven't written him six lines, dashed off so casually!

 What do you do all day, Madam? What is the affair so important as to leave you no time to write to your devoted lover?

What affection stifles and puts to one side the love, the tender constant love you promised him?

Of what sort can be that marvellous being, that new lover that tyrannises over your days, and prevents your giving any attention to your husband?

Josephine, take care! Some fine night, the doors will be broken open and there I'll be.

Indeed, I am very uneasy, my love, at receiving no news of you; write me quickly for pages, pages full of agreeable things which shall fill my heart with the pleasantest feelings.

I hope before long to crush you in my arms and cover you with a million kisses as though beneath the equator.

Napoleon Bonaparte"

After that letter, I'd say the dear Emperor is going to have to wait a long time before crushing Josephine in his arms, even if he does decide that breaking and entering is truly the way into a woman's heart.


  1. Wow! Private life of an emperor?! I had no idea about these. Thanks for the post, am looking forward to reading up on him/ his letters a bit more now ;)

  2. If there is any interest, I would be happy to dig up more of Napoleon's strange adventures in romantic prose.