11 111~1 1 1 11111
The Bald Vdh Librar)
DAUGHTER OF JOSEPHINE, QUEEN OF HOLLAND,
MOTHER OF NAPOLEON III.
BY JOHN S. C. ABBOTT,
"THE FRENCH REVOLUTION," HISTORY OF NAPOLEON BONA-
PARTE," &c., Ac.
WITH ENGRA VINGS.
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
S8 7 0.
Entered, according to Act of Congressein the year I87o, by
HARPER & BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.
T HE French Revolution was perhaps as im-
Sportant an event as has occurred in the
history of nations. It was a drama in three
acts. *The first was the Revolution itself, prop-
erly so called, with its awful scenes of terror
and of blood-the exasperated millions strug-
iing against the accumulated oppression of
L- The second act in the drama was the over-
throw of the Directory by Napoleon, and the
introduction of the Consulate and the Empire;
the tremendous struggle against the combined
dynasties of Europe; the demolition of the
Empire, and the renewed crushing of the peo-
ple by the triumph of the nobles and the kings.
Then came the third act in the drama-per-
haps the last, perhaps not-in which the French
people again drove out the Bourbons, re-estab-
lished the Republican Empire, with its princi-
ple of equal rights for all, and placed upon the
throne the heir of the great Emperor.
No man can- understand the career of Napo-
leon I. without being acquainted with those
scenes of anarchy and terror which preceded
his reign. No man can understand the career
of Napoleon III. unless familiar with the strug-
gle of the people against the despots in the
Revolution, their triumph in the Empire, their
defeat in its overthrow, and their renewed tri-
umph in its restoration.
Hortense was intimately associated with
these scenes. Her father fell beneath the slide
of the guillotine; her mother was imprisoned
and doomed to die; and she and her broth-
er were turned penniless into the streets. By
the marriage of her mother with Napoleon, she
became the daughter of the Emperor, and one
of the most brilliant and illustrious ladies of
the imperial court. The triumph of the Allies
sent her into exile, where her influence and
her instruction prepared her son to contribute
powerfully to the restoration of the Empire,
and to reign with ability which is admired by
his friends and acknowledged by his foes.
The mother of Napoleon III. never allowed
her royally-endowed son to forget, even in the
gloomiest, days of exile and of sorrow, that it
might yet be his privilege to re-establish the
Republican Empire, and to restore the dynasty
of the people trom its overthrow by the des-
In this brief record of the life of one who
experienced far more than the usual vicissi-
tudes of humanity, whose career was one of
the saddest upon record, and who ever exhib-
ited virtues which won the enthusiastic love of
all who knew her, the writer has admitted
nothing which can not be sustained by incon-
trovertible evidence, and has suppressed noth-
ing sustained by any testimony worthy of a
moment's respect. This history will show that
Hortense had her faults. Who is without
them? There are not many, however, who
will read these pages without profound admi-
ration for the character of one of the noblest
of women, and without finding the eye often
dimmed, in view of her heart-rending griefs.
This volume will soon be followed by the
History of Louis Philippe.
I. PARENT.A-E. AND BIRTH ................................. 15
II. MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE AND GENERAL BONA-
PARTE ............................................. 49
III. HORTENE AND DUROC.................................. 80
IV. THE M.RRIAGE OF HORTENSE......................... 110
V. TBE BLRTH OF LOUIS NAPOLEON AND THE DIVORCE
OF JO.SEPHINE ......................................... 148
VI. TRE LE.ATR OF JOSEPHINE .......................... 179
II. THE SORR(WS OF EXILE............................... 211
VIII. PEACEFUL DAYS, YET SAD.............................. 239
IL LIFE Ar ARENEMBERG ................................ 293
s. LETTER FROM LOUIS NAPOLEON TO HIS MOTHER 322
VI. DEAMB OF HORTENSE, AND THE ENTHRONEMENT
OF H SON ............................................ 358
HOR ENSE....... ....................... F..... rontispiece.
JOSEPHINE TAKING LLAVE OF HER CHILDREN.......... 38
THE RECONCLIATION ............. ....... .. .................. 76
THE LOVE-LEPTM ...................... ................. 104
THE LITTLE PBLNCE NPOLEuN.............................. 129
THE DIVORCE ANNO NCED... ............................... 165
THE DEATH OF ALLIDAME. BRR.t .............................. 194
HORTENSE AND FHER CHILDREN.................. ......... 218
HORTENSE AT ARENEMBERG ................................. 248
irTEBRVW IN THE COLIEUM i.............................. 271
't SiTUnDY OF LOUIS NAPOLEON.................. ...... 307
TH ARR r................ ............ .................8. 336
PARENTAGE AND BIRTH.
i-,mpaine's voyage to France.
IN the year 1776 a very beautiful young lady,
by the name of Josephine Rose Tascher,
was crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the island
of Martinique to France. She was but fifteen
ars of age; and, having been left an orphan
iin fancy, had been tenderly reared by an un-
Saunt, who were wealthy, being propri-
bf one of the finest plantations upon the
and. Josephine was accompanied upon the
voyage by her uncle. She was the betrothed
of a young French nobleman by the name of
Viscount Alexander de Beauharnais, who had'
recently visited Martinique, and who owned
several large estates adjoining the property
L which Josephine would probably inherit.
It was with great reluctance that Josephine
Yielded to the importunities of her friends and
Viscount de Beaubarnais
accepted the proffered hand of the viscount.
Her affections had long been fixed upon a play-
mate of her childhood by the name of William,
and her love was passionately returned. Wil-
liam was then absent in France, pursuing his
education. De Beauhfrnais was what would
usually be called a very splendid man. He
was of high rank, young, rich, intelligent, and
fascinating in his manners. The marriage of
Josephine with the viscount would unite the
properties.. Her friends, in their desire to ac-
complish the union, cruelly deceived Josephine.
They intercepted the letters of William, and
withheld her letters to him, and represented to
her that William, amidst the gayeties of Paris,
had proved a false lover, and had entirely for-
gotten her. De Beauharnais, attracted by the
grace and beauty of Josephine, had ardently
offered her his hand. Under these circum-
stances the inexperienced maiden had consent-
ed to the union, and was now crossing the At-
lantic with her uncle for the consummation of
the nuptials in France.
Upon her arrival she was conducted to Fon-
tainebleau, where De Beauharnais hastened to
meet her. Proud of her attractions, he took
great pleasure in introducing her to his high-
1776.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 17
born friends, and lavished upon her every at
tension. Josephine was grateful, but sad, for
her heart still yearned for William. Soon Wil-
liam, hearing of her arrival, and not knowing
of her engagement, anxiously repaired to Fon-
tainebleau. The interview was agonizing. Wil-
liam still loved her with the utmost devotion.
They both found that they had been the vic-
tims of a conspiracy, though one of which De
Beauharnais had no knowledge.
Josephine,- young, inexperienced, far from
home, and surrounded by the wealthy and pow-
S erful friends of her betrothed, had gone too far
in the arrangements for the marriage to recede.
Her anguish, however, was so great that she
was thrown into a violent fever. She had no
friend to whom she could confide her emotions.
But in most affecting tones she entreated that
her marriage might be delayed for a few months
until she should regain her health. Her friends
consented, and she took refuge for a time in
r the Convent of Panthemont, under the tender
care of the sisters.
It is not probable that De Beauharnais was
at all aware of the real state of Josephine's feel-
ings. He was proud of her, and loved her as
truly as a fashionable man of the world could
18 HORTENSE. [1781.
Marriage. Birth of Eugene.
love. It is also to be remembered that at that
time in France it was not customary for young
ladies to have much influence in the choice of
their husbands. It was supposed that their
parents could much more- judiciously arrange
these matters than the young ladies themselves.
Josephine was sixteen years of age at the
time of her marriage. Her attractions were so
remarkable that she immediately became a
great favorite at the French court, to which the
rank of her husband introduced her. Marie
Antoinette was then the youthful bride of
Louis XVI. She was charmed with Josephine,
and lavished upon her the most flattering at-
tentions. Two children were born of this mar-
riage, both of whom attained world-wide re-
nown. The first was a son, Eugene. He was
born in September, 1781. His career was very
elevated, and he occupied with distinguished
honor all the lofty positions to which he was
raised. He became duke of Leuchtenberg,
prince of Eichstedt, viceroy of Italy. He mar-
ried the Princess Augusta, daughter of the King
"Prince Eugene, under a simple exterior,
concealed a noble character and great talents.
Honor, integrity, humanity, and love of order
1783.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 19
Birth of Hortense.
and justice were the principal traits of his char-
acter. Wise in the council, undaunted in the
field, and moderate in the exercise of power,
he never appeared greater than in the midst
of reverses, as the events of 1813 and 1814
~ye. ,He was inaccessible to the spirit of
pHy, benevolent and beneficent, and more de-
voted to the good of others than his own."*
The second child was a daughter, Hortense,
the subject of this brief memoir. She was born
on the 10th of January, 1783. In the opening
scenes of that most sublime of earthly trage-
dies, the French Revolution, M. de Beauhar-
nais espoused the popular cause, though of no-
ble blood, and though his elder brother, the
Marquis de Beauharnais, earnestly advocated
the cause of the king and the court.
:: The entire renunciation of the Christian re-
ligion was then popular in France. Alexander
de Beauharnais, like most of his young pleasure-
loving companions, was an infidel. His con-
duct soon became such that the heart of poor
Josephine was quite broken. Her twochildren,
Eugene and Hortense, both inherited the affec-
tionate and gentle traits of their mother, and
were her only solace. In her anguish she un-
Separation from Beauharnais.
guardedly wrote to her friends in Martinique,
who had almost forced her into her connection
"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
Viscount Beauharnais chanced to see this let-
ter. It roused his jealofisy fearfully. A sense
of "honor" would allow him to lavish his at-
tentions upon guilty favorites, while that same
sense of "honor" would urge him to wreak
vengeance upon his unhappy, injured wife, be-
cause, in her neglect and anguish, with no false,
but only a true affection, her memory turned
to the loved companion of her childhood. Ac-
cording to the standard of the fashionable world,
Beauharnais was a very honorable man. Ac-
cording to the standard of Christianity, he was
a sinner in the sight of God, and was to answer
for this conduct at the final judgment.
He reproached his wife in the severest lan-
guage of denunciation. He took from her her
son Eugene. He applied to the courts for a
divorce, demanding hisldaughter Hortense also.
1786.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 21
Return to Martinique.
Josephine pleaded with him in vain, for the sake
of their children, not to proclaim their disagree-
ment to the world. Grief-stricken, poor Jose-
phine retired to a convent to await the trial.
The, verdict was triumphantly in her favor.
But her heart-was broken. She was separated
from her husband, though the legal tie was not
Her friends in Martinique, informed of these
events, wrote, urging her to return to them.
She decided to accept the invitation. Hortense
was with her mother. M. de Beauharnais had
sent Eugene, whom he had taken from her, to
a boarding-school. Before sailing for Marti-
nique she obtained an interview with M. de
Beauharnais, and with tears entreated that she
might take Eugene with her also. He was un-
relenting; Josephine, with a crushed and world-
weary heart, folded Hortense to her bosom, then
an infant but three years of age, and returned
to her tropical home, which she had sadly left
but a few years before. Here, on the retired
plantation, soothed by the sympathy of her
friends, she strove to conceal her anguish.
There was never a more loving heart than
that with which Josephine was endowed. She
clung to Hortense with tenderness which has
rarely been equalled. They were always to-
gether. During the day Hortense was ever by
her side, and at night she nestled in her moth-
er's bosom. Living amidst the scenes of trop-
ical luxuriance and beauty, endeared to her by
the memories of childhood, Josephine could al-
most have been happy but for the thoughts of
her absent Eugene. Grief for her lost child
preyed ever upon her heart.
Her alienated husband, relieved from all re-
straint, plunged anew into those scenes of fash-
ionable dissipation for which Paris was then
renowned. But sickness, sorrows, and misfor-
tunes came. In those dark hours he found
that no earthly friend can supply the place of
a virtuous and loving wife. He wrote to her,
expressing bitter regret for his conduct, and im-
ploring her to return. The wounds which Jo-
sephine had received were too deep to be easi-
ly healed. Forgiving as she was by nature,
she said to her friends that the memory of the
past was so painful that, were it not for Eugene,
she should very much prefer not to return to
France again, but to spend the remainder of
her days in the seclusion of her native island.
Her friends did every thing in their power to
dissuade her from returning. But a mother's
1789.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 23
The jewel caskets.
love for her son triumphed, and with Hortense
she took ship for France.
An event occurred upon this voyage which
is as instructive as it is interesting. Many
yparo afterwards, when Josephine was Empress
ofxFrance, and the wealth of the world was al-
most literally at her feet, on one occasion some
young ladies who were visiting the court re-
quested Josephine to show them her diamonds.
These jewels were almost of priceless value,
and were kept in a vault, the keys of which
were confided to th most trusty persons. Jo-
sephine, who seldom wore jewels, very amiably
complied with their request. A large table
was brought into the saloon. Her maids in
waiting brought in a great number of caskets,
Qfevery size and form, containing the precious
, As these caskets were opened, they were
dazzled with the brilliancy, the size, and the
number of these ornaments. The different sets
composed probably by far the most brilliant
collection in Europe. In Napoleon's conquer-
ing career, the cities which he had entered lav-
ished their gifts upon Josephine. The most
remarkable of these jewels consisted of large
white diamonds. There were others in the
The jewel caskets.
shape of pears formed of pearls of the richest
colors. There were opals, rubies, sapphires,
and emeralds of such marvellous value that
the large diamonds, that encircled them were
considered as mere mountings not regarded
in the estimation made of the value of the jew-
As the ladies gazed upon the splendor of
this collection, they were lost in wonder and
admiration. Josephine, after enjoying: for a
while their expressions of delight, and having
allowed them to examineathe beautiful gems
thoroughly, said to them kindly:
I had no other motive, In ordering my jew-
els to be opened before you, than to spoil your
fancy for such ornaments. After having seen
such splendid sets, you can never feel a wish
for inferior ones; the less so when you reflect
how unhappy I have been, although with so
rare a collection at my command. During the
first dawn of my extraordinary elevation, I de-
lighted in these trifles, many of which were
presented to me in Italy. I grew by degrees
so tired of them that I no longer wear any, ex-
cept when I am in some respects compelled to
do so by my new rank in the world. A thou-
sand accidents may, besides, contribute to de-
1 : .] PARENTAGE AND BI R T i 25
The ,..Id pair .4.I h..
prive me of these brilliant, though useless ob-
Sjets. Do I not possess the pendants of Queen
SMarie Antoinette? And yet arn I quite sure
-.retaining them? Trust to me, ladies, and
envy a splendor which does not consti-
a. I shall not fail to surprise you
relate that I once felt more pleasure at
reeiring an old pair of shoes than at being
presented with all the diamonds which are now
spread before you."
The young ladies could not help smiling at
this observation, persuaded as they were that
Josephine was not in earnest. But she repeat-
ed her assertions in'so serious a manner that
they felt the utmost curiosity to hear the story
o. Sis.wonderful pair of' slcs.
.^ repeat it, ladies," said her majesty, it is
s0iqSti-ue, that the present which, of all oth-
er, has afforded me most pleasure was a pair
of old shoes of the coarsest leather; and you
will readily believe it when you have heard
"I had set sail from Martinique, with Hor-
tense, on board a ship in which we received
such marked attentions that they are indelibly
impressed on my memory. Being separated
from my first husband, my pecuniary resi-urc'e
The old pair of shoes.
were not very flourishing. The expense of
my return to France, which the state of my af-
fairs rendered necessary, had nearly drained
me of every thing, and I found great difficulty
in making the purchases which were indispen-
sably requisite for the voyage. Hortense, who
was a smart, lively child, sang negro songs, and
performed negro dances with admirable accu-
racy. She was the delight of the sailors, and,
in return for their fondness, she made them her
favorite company. I no sooner fell asleep than
she slipped upon deck and rehearsed her vari-
ous little exercises, to the renewed delight and
admiration of all on board.
"An old mate was particularly fond of her,
and whenever he found a moment's leisure from
his daily occupations, he devoted it to his little
friend, who was also exceedingly attached to
him. My daughter's shoes were soon worn
out with her constant dancing and skipping.
Knowing as she did that I had no other pair
for her, and fearing lest I should prevent her
going upon deck if I should discover the plight
of those she was fast wearing away, she con-
cealed the trifling accident from my knowledge.
I saw her once returning with bleeding feet,
and asked her, in the utmost alarm, if she had
1789.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 27
The old pair of shoes.
hurt herself; 'No, mamma.' 'But your feet
.are bleeding.' 'It really is nothing.' I insist-
ed upon ascertaining what ailed her, and found
that her shoes were all'in tatters, and her flesh
dreadfully torn by a nail.
. 'We had as yet only performed half the
voyage; a long time would necessarily elapse
before I could procure a fresh pair of shoes; I
was mortified at the bare anticipation of the
distress my poor Hortense would feel at being
compelled to remain confined in my wretched
little cabin, and of the injury her health might
experience from the want of exercise. At the
moment when I was wrapped up in sorrow, and
giving free vent to my tears, our friend the
mate made his appearance, and inquired, with
his host, bluntness, the cause of our whimper-
igs, Hortense replied, in a sobbing voice, that
she could no longer go upon deck because she
had torn her shoes, and I had no others to give
"' Is that all ?' said the sailor. 'I have an
old pair in my trunk; let me go for them.
You, madame, will cut them up, and I shall
sew them over again to the best of my power;
every thing on board ship shall be turned to
account; this is not the place for being too nice
28 HORTENSE. [1789.
Commencement of the Reign of Terror.
or particular; we have our most important
wants gratified when we have the needful.'
He did not wait for our reply, but went in
quest of his old shoes, which he brought to us
with an air of exultation, and offered them to
Hortense, who received the gift with every dem-
onstration of delight.
We set to work with the greatest alacrity,
and my daughter was enabled, towards the close
of the day, to enjoy the pleasure of again amus-
ing the ship's company. I repeat it, that no
present was ever received by me with more
sincere gratitude. I greatly reproach myself
for having neglected to make inquiries after
the worthy seaman, who was only known on
board by the name of James. I should have
felt a sincere satisfaction in rendering him some
service, since it was afterwards in my power
to do so."
Josephine had spent three years in Marti-
nique. Consequently, upon her return to
France, Hortense was six years of age. Soon
after her arrival the Reign of Terror com-
menced. The guillotine was erected, and its
knife was busy beheading those who were sus-
pected of not being in full sympathy with the
reformers whom revolution had brought into
1783.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 29
Arrest of Beauharnais.
power.. Though Viscount Beauharnais had
earnestly espoused the popular cause; though
he had been president of the. National Assem-
bly, and afterwards general of the Army of the
Rhine, still he was of noble birth, and his older
Sb.iother was an aristocrat, and an emigrant.
le was consequently suspected, and arrested.
.Having conducted him to prison, a committee
of the Convention called at the residence of
Josephine to examine the children, hoping to
extort from them some evidence against their
father. Josephine, in a letter to her aunt, thus
describes this singular scene:
You would hardly believe, dear aunt, that
my children have just undergone a long and,
minute examination. That wicked old man,
the member of the committee whom I have al-
feady mentioned to you, called upon me, and,
affecting to feel uneasy in regard to my hus-
band, and to converse with me respecting him,
opened a conversation with my children. I
acknowledge that I at first fell into the snare.
What surprised me, however, was the sudden
affability of the man. But he soon betrayed
himself by the malignity and even bitterness
which he displayed when the children replied
in such a manner as to give him no advantage
30 HORTENSE- [1783.
over their unhappy parents. I soon penetra-
ted his artful intentions.
When he found me on my guard, he threw
off the mask, and admitted that he was desired
to procure information from my children, which,
he said, might be more relied on, as it would
bear the stamp of candor. He then entered
into a formal examination. At that moment
I felt an indescribable emotion; and. the con-
flicting effects of fear, anger, and indignation
alternately agitated me. I was even upon the
point of openly giving vent to my feelings
against the hoary revolutionist, when I reflect-
ed that I might, by so doing, materially injure
M. de Beauharnais, against whom that atro-
cious villain appeared to have vowed perpetual
enmity. I accordingly checked my angry pas-
sions. He desired me to leave him alone with
my children; I attempted to resist, but his fe-
rocious glance compelled me to give way.
"He confined Hortense in the closet, and
began to put questions to her brother. My
daughter's turn came next. As for this child,
in whom he discovered a premature quickness
and penetration-far above her age, he kept
questioning her for a great length of time.
After having sounded them respecting our com-
178.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 81
Beauharnais in prison.
morn topics of conversation, our opinions, the
visits and letters we were in the habit of receiv-
ing, but more particularly the occurrences they
might have witnessed, he came to the main
paint-I mean, to the expressions used by Al-
Sja.der. My children gave very proper re-
4-h i such, in fact, as were suited to their re-
spective dispositions. And notwithstanding
the artfulness of a mischievous man whose ob-
ject is to discover guilt, the frankness of my
-son and the quick penetration of my daughter
disconcerted his low cunning, and even defeat-
ed the object he had in view."
i- discountt Beauharnais, when arrested, was
conveyed to the palace of the Luxembourg,
where he was imprisoned with many other cap-
tives. To spare the feelings of the children,
itla fa&tof his imprisonment was concealed from
them by Josephine, and they were given to
understand that their father, not being very
well, had placed himself under the care of a
celebrated physician, who had recommended
him to take up his residence at the Luxem-
bourg, where there was much vacant space, and
consequently purer air. The imprisoned father
was very anxious to see his wife and children.
The authorities consented, allowing the chil-
dren to go in first under the care of an attend-
ant, and afterwards their mother.
Hortense, child as she was, was bewildered
by the scene, and her suspicions were evident-
ly excited. As she came out, she said to her
mother, "I think papa's apartments are very
small, and the patients are very numerous."
After the children had left, Josephine was in-
troduced. She knew that her husband'slife was
in immineift peril. Rlis penitence and grate-
ful love had produced entire reconciliation, and
had won back Josephine's heart. She was not
willing that the children should witness the
tender and affecting interview which, under
such circumstances, must take place.
Beauharnais had but little hope that he
should escape the guillotine. As Josephine,
bathed in tears, rushed into his arms, all his
fortitude forsook him. His emotion was so
great that his wife, struggling against her own
anguish, used her utmost endeavors to calm
and console him.
In the midst of this heart-rending scene, to
their consternation, the children, by some mis-
understanding, were again led into the apart-
ment. The father and mother struggled to
disguise from them the cause of that emotion
1783.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 33
which-they could not conceal. For a time the
children were silent and bewildered; then Hor-
tense, though with evident misgivings, attempt-
ed to console her parents. The events of her
saddened life had rendered her unusually pre-'
4,ious. Turning to her mother, she begged
Sher not to give way to so much sorrow, assur-
ing her that she could not think that her father
was dangerously ill. Then addressing Eugene,
she said, in a peculiar tone which her parents
felt as a reproach,
"I do not think, brother, that papa is very
sick. At any rate, it is not such a sickness as
doctors can cure." Josephine felt the reproach,
and conscious that it was in some degree de-
-.What do you mean, my child? Do you
think your father and Ihave combined to de-
"Pardon me, mamma, but I do think so."
Oh, sister," exclaimed Eugene, ." how can
you speak so strangely ?"
"On the contrary," Hortense replied, "it is
very plain and natural. Surely affectionate
parents may be allowed to deceive their chil-
dren when they wish to spare their feelings."
Josephine was seated in the lap of her hus-
34 HORTENSE. [1783.
band. Hortense sprang into her mother's arms,
and encircled the neck of both father and moth-
er in a loving embrace. Eugene caught the
contagion, and by his tears and affecting ca-
resses added to this domestic scene of love and
It is the universal testimony that Eugene
and Hortense were so lovely in person and in
character that they instantly won the affection
of all who saw them. The father was conscious
that he was soon to die. He knew that all his
property would be confiscated. It was proba-
ble that Josephine would also be led to her ex-
ecution. The guillotine spared neither sex
who haid incurred the suspicions of enthroned
democracy. Both parents forgot themselves,
in their anxiety for their children. The exe-
cution of Beauharnais would undoubtedly lead
to the arrest and execution of Josephine. The
property of the condemned was invariably con-
fiscated. There was thus danger that the chil-
dren would be turned in beggary into the
streets. It is difficult to conceive the anguish
which must have rent the hearts of affectionate
parents in hours of woe so awful.
The prisons were crowded with victims.
Brief as were the trials, and rapid as was the
179L] PARENTAGE AND BIRTK. 35
Scene in prison.
execution of the guillotine, there was some con-
siderable delay before Beauharnais was led be-
fore the revolutionary tribunal. In the mean
time Josephine made several calls, with her chil-
dren, upon her imprisoned husband. Little
-H H tense, whose suspicions were strongly ex-
cited, watched every word, and soon became so
convinced that her father was a prisoner that
it became impossible for her parents any long-
er to conceal the fact.
"What has papa done," inquired Hortense,
"that they will not let him come home ?"
"He has done nothing wrong," said Jose-
phine, timidly, for she knew not what spies
might be listening. "He is only accused of
being unfriendly to the Government."
Holding the hand of Eugene, Hortense ex-
-laimed impetuously, Oh, we will punish your
accusers as soon as we are strong enough."
"Be silent, my child," said her father anx-
iously. "If you are overheard I am lost.
Both your mother and I may be-made to suf-
fer for any imprudent remark which you may
"But, papa, have you not often told us,"
said Eugene, "that it was proper to resist an
act of oppression ?"
36 HORTENSE. [1794.
Trial of Beauharnais.
'Yes," said the father proudly, though con-
scoous that his words might be reported and
misrepresented to his merciless judges.. "And
I repeat it. Our conduct, however, must be
guided by rules of prudence; and whoever at-
tempts to defeat the views of tyranny must
beware of awaking it from its slumbers."
No philosophy has yet been able to explain
the delicate mechanism of the human soul; its
fleeting and varying emotions of joy and sad-
ness, its gleams of hope and shades of despair
come and go, controlled by influences which
entirely elude human scrutiny. In these days
of gloom, rays of hope occasionally penetrated
the cell of Beauharnais.
At last the hour of dread came. Beauhar-
nais was led before the terrible tribunal. He
was falsely accused of having promoted the
surrender of Mentz to the Allies. He was
doomed to death, and was sent to the Concierge-
rie, whence he was to be conducted to his exe-
cution. This wasin July, 1794. Beauharnais
was then thirty-four years of age.
It seems that the conversation which we have
reported as having taken place in the cell of
Beauharnais had been overheard by listening
ears, and reported to the committee as a con-
JOSEPHINE TAKING LEXVE OF HER CHILDREN.
1794.] PA-RENTAGE AND BIRTH. 39
Anguish of Josephine.
spiracy .for the overthrow of the Republic.
The arrest of Josephine was ordered. A warn-
ing letter from some friend reached her a few
moments before the officers arrived, urging her
to fly. It was an early hour in the morning.
There was little sleep for Josephine amidst
tLhje scenes of terror, and she was watching
by the side of her slumbering children. What
could she do? Should she abandon her chil-
dren, and seek to save her own life by flight?
A mother's love rendered that impossible.
Should she take.them with her in her flight?
That would render her arrest certain; and the
fact of her attempting to escape would be urged
as evidence of her guilt.
:,While distracted with these thoughts, the
clatter pf armed men was heard at her door.
With anguish which none but a mother can
comprehend, she*bent over her children and
'imprinted, as she supposed, a last kiss upon
their cheeks. The affectionate little Hortense,
though asleep, was evidently agitated by troub-
led dreams. As she felt the imprint of her
mother's lips, she threw her arms around her
-neck and exclaimed, "Come to bed, dear mam-
ma; they shall not take you away to-night, I
have prayed to God for you."
Josephine, to avoid waking the children,
40 HORTENSE. [1794.
S Arrest of Josephine.
stepped softly from the room, closed the door,
and entered her parlor. Here she was rudely
seized by the soldiers, who regarded her as a
hated aristocrat. They took possession of the
house and all its furniture in the name of the
Republic, left the children to suffer or to die
as fate might decide, and dragged the mother
to imprisonment in the Convent of the Carme-
When the children awoke in the morning,
they found themselves alone and friendless in
the heart of Paris. The wonderful events of
their lives thus far had rendered them bgth
unusually precocious. Eugene in particular
seemed to be endowed with all the thought-
fulness and wisdom of a full-grown man. Af-
ter a few moments of anguish and tears, in
view of their dreadful situation, they sat down
to deliberate upon the course to be pursued.
Hortense suggested that they should repair to
the Luxembourg and seek the protection of
their father in his imprisonment there. But
Eugene, apprehensive that such a step might
in some way compromise the safety of their
father, recalled to mind that they had a great-
aunt, far advanced in life, who was residing at -
Versailles in deep retirement. He proposed
1784.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 41
Impulsiveness of Hortense.
that they should seek refuge with her. Find-
ing a former domestic of the family, she kind-
ly led them to their aunt, where the desolate
children were tenderly received.
Beauharnais was now in the Conciergerie,
d~sied to die, and awaiting his execution.
'3iLphine was in the prison of the Carmelites,
expecting hourly to be led to the tribunal to
receive also her doom of death.
Hortense, an affectionate child, ardent and
unreflecting in her impatience to see her moth-
er, one morning left her aunt's house at Fon-
tainebleau, to which place her aunt had re-
moved, and in a market-cart travelled thirty
miles to Paris. Here the energetic child, im-
pelled by grief and love, succeeded in finding
her mother's maid, Victorine. It was however
impossible for them to obtain access to the pris-
on, and Hortense the next day returned to
Fontainebleau. Josephine, upon being inform-
ed of this imprudent act, to which affection
had impelled her child, wrote to her the fol-
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
42 HORTENSE. [1794.
Letter from Josephine.
have cdme to Paris ? 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. Dorset'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
towards your relations. I am therefore obliged
to tell you that I prefer your tranquil attach-
ment to your misplaced warmth. This, how-
ever, does not prevent me from embracing you,
but less tenderly than I shall do when I learn
that you have returned to your aunt."
On the evening of the 24th of July M. de
Beauharnais received the announcement in his
cell, that with the dawn of the next morning
he was to be led to the guillotine. Under
these circumstances he wrote the following
farewell letter to his wife:
"I have yet a few minutes to devote to af-
fection, tears, and regret, and then I must whol-
ly give myself up to the glory of my fate and
to thoughts of immortality. When you re-
ceive this letter, my dear Josephine, your hus-
1794.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. -43
Letter from Beanharnais.
band will have ceased to live, and will be tast-
ing true existence in the bosom of his Creator.
Do not weep for him. The wicked and sense-
less beings who survive him are more worthy
of your tears, for they are doing mischief which
1hey can never repair. But let us not cloud
~te present moments by any thoughts of their .
ghilt. I wish, on jhe contrary, to brighten
these hours by the reflection that I have enjoy-
ed the affection of a lovely woman, and that
our union would have been an uninterrupted
course of happiness, but for errors which I was
too late to acknowledge and atone for. This
thought wrings tears from my eyes, though
your generous heart pardons me. But this is
no time to revive the recollection of my errors
and of your wrongs. What thanks I owe to
,Providence, who will reward you.
That Providence disposes of me before my
time. This is another blessing, for which I am
grateful. Can a virtuous man live happy when
he sees the whole world a prey to the wicked?
I should rejoice in being taken away, were it
not for the thought of leaving those I love be-
hind me. But if the thoughts of the dying are
presentiments, something in my heart tells me
that these horrible butcheries are drawing to a
close; that the executioners will, in their turn,
Letter from Beauharnals.
become victims; that the arts and sciences will
again flourish in France; that wise and mode-
rate laws will take the place of cruel sacrifices,
and that you will at length enjoy the happiness
which you have deserved. Our children will
discharge the debt for their father.
"I resume these incoherent and almost il-
legible lines, which were interrupted by the en-
trance of my jailer. I have submitted to a
cruel ceremony, which, under any other cir-
cumstances, I would have resisted at the sacri-
fice of my life. Yet why should we rebel
against necessity? Reason tells us to make
the best of it we can. My hair has been cut
off. I had some idea of buying a part of it, in
order to leave to my wife and children an un-
equivocal pledge of my last recollection of them.
Alas! my heart breaks at the very thought,
and my tears bedew the paper on which I am
writing. Adieu, all that I love. Think of
me, and do not forget that to die the victim of
tyrants and the martyrs of liberty sheds lustre
on the scaffold."
Josephine did not receive this letter until
after her husband's execution. The next af-
ternoon one of the daily papers was brought
1794.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 45
S. Execution of Beauharnais.
into the prison of the Carmelites. Josephine
anxiously ran her eye over the record of the
executions, and found the name of her hus-
band in the fatal list. She fell senseless to the
floor in a long-continued swoon. When con-
sciousness returned, she exclaimed at first, in
Sthe delirium of her anguish, O God, let me
die let me die! There is no peace for me
but in the grave." And then again a mother's
love, as she thought of her orphan children,
led her tb cling to the misery of existence for
their sake. Soon, however, the unpitying
agents of the revolutionary tribunal came to
her with the announcement that in two days
she was to be led to the Conciergerie, and
thence to her execution.
.. :In:the following letter Josephine informed
her. children of the death of their father, and
of her own approaching execution. It is a
letter highly characteristic of this wonderful
Woman in the attempt, by the assumption of
calmness, to avoid as far as possible lacerating
the feelings of Eugene and Hortense.
"The hand which will deliver this to you
is faithful and sure. You will receive it from
a friend who knows and has shared my sor-
rows. I know not by what accident she has
.. Josephine to her children.
hitherto been spared. I call this accident for-
tunate; she regards it as a calamity. 'Is it
not disgraceful to live,' said she yesterday,
'when all who are good have the honor of
dying?' May. Heaven, as the reward of her
courage, refuse her the fatal honor she desires.
As to me, I am qualified for that honor,
and I am preparing myself for receiving it.
Why has disease spared me so long? But I
must not murmur. As a wife, I ought to fol-
low the fate of my husband, and can there now
be any fate more glorious than to ascend the
scaffold? It is a patent of immortality, pur-
chased by a prompt and pleasing death.
My children, your father is dead, and your
mother is about to follow him. But as before
that final stroke the assassins leave me a few
moments to myself, I wish to employ them
in writing to you. Socrates, when condemned,
philosophized with his disciples. A mother,
on the point of undergoing a similar fate, may
discourse with her children.
My last sigh will be for you, and I wish
to make my last words a lasting lesson. Time
was, when I gave you lessons in a more pleas-
ing way. But the present will not be the less
useful, that it is given at so serious a moment.
S T4.] PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 47
Josephine to her children.
I have the weakness to water it with my tears.
I shall soon have the courage to seal it with
Hitherto it was impossible to be happier
than I have been. While to my union with
JA ftw &bher I owed my felicity, I may ven-
fS~it e think and to say that to my'character
I~' as indebted for that union. I found in my
heart the means of winning the affection of my
husband's relations. Patience and gentleness
always succeed in gaining the good-will of
others. You also, my dear children, possess
natural advantages which cost little, and are
of great value. But you must learn how to
employ them, and that is what I still feel a
pleasure in teaching you by my example.
9" Here I must record the gratitude I owe to
my excellent brother-in-law, who has, under
various circumstances, given me prosfs of the
most sincere friendship, though he was of quite
a different opinion from your father, who em-
braced the new ideas with all the enthusiasm
of a lively imagination. He fancied liberty
was to be secured by obtaining concessions
from the king, whom he venerated. But all
was lost, and nothing gained but anarchy.
Josephine to her children.
-Who will arrest the torrent? 0 God! unless
thy powerful hand control and restrain it, we
"For my part, my children, I am about to
die, as your father died, a victim of the fury he
always opposed, but to which he fell a sacri-
fice. I leave life without hatred of France
and its assassins, whom I despise. But I am
penetrated with sorrow for the misfortunes of
my country. Honor my memory in sharing
my sentiments. I leave for your inheritance
the glory of your father and the name of your
mother, whom some who have been unfortu-
nate will bear in remembrance."
1794.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 49
Release of Josephine.
SL_ CHAPTER II.
THe MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE AND
THE day before Josephine was to be led
to her execution there was a new revolu-
tion in Paris. Robespierre and the party then
in power were overthrown. From condemn-
ing others, they were condemned themselves.
They bad sent hundreds, in the cart of the ex-
ecutioner, to the guillotine. Now it was their
turn to take that fatal ride, to ascend the steps
of the scaffold, and to have -their own heads
severed by the keen edge of the knife. Those
whom they had imprisoned were set at liberty.
As Josephine emerged from the gloom of
her prison into the streets of Paris, she found
herself a widow, homeless, almost friendless,
and in the extreme of penury. But for her
children, life woqld have been a burden from
which she would have been glad to be relieved
by the executioner's axe. The storms of rev-
olution had dispersed all her friends, and ter-
50 HORTENSE. [1794.
Apprenticeship of Eugene and Hortense.
ror reigned in Paris. Her children were liv-
ing upon the charity of others. It was neces-
sary to conceal their birth as the children of a
noble, for the brutal threat of Marat ever rang
in her ears, "We must exterminate all the
whelps of aristocracy."
Hoping to conceal the illustrious lineage of
Eugene and Hortense, and probably also im-
pelled by the necessities of poverty, Josephine
apprenticed her son to a house carpenter, and
her daughter was placed, with other girls of
more lowly birth, in the shop of a milliner.
But Josephine's beauty of person, grace of
manners, and culture of mind could not leave
her long in obscurity. Every one who met
her was charmed with her unaffected loveli-
ness. New friends were created, among them
some who were in power. Through their inter-
position, a portion of her husband's confiscated
estates was restored to her. She was thus pro-
vided with means of a frugal support for her-
self and her children. Engaging humble
apartments, she devoted herself entirely to
their education. Both of the children were
richly endowed; inheriting from their mother
Sand their father talents, personal loveliness,
and an instinctive power of attraction. Thus
S179.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPIINE. 51
S Napoleon Bonaparte.
4bere came a brief lull in those dreadful storms
of life by which'Josephine had been so long
But suddenly, like the transformations of
the kaleidoscope, there came another and a
marvellous change. 'All are familiar with the
ciremstances of her marriage to the young
and rising general, Napoleon Bonaparte. This
remarkable young man, enjoying the renown of
having captured Toulon, and of having quell-
eda very formidable insurrection in the streets
of Paris, was ordered by the then existing Gov-
ernment to disarm the whole Parisian popula-
tion, that there might be no further attempt at
insurrection. The officers who were sent, in
performance of this duty, from house to house,
toekifromn Josephine the sword of her husband,
whidt she had :preserved as a sacred relic.
The next day Eugene repaired to the head-
quarters of General Bonaparte to implore that
fhe sword of his father might be restored to
him. The young general was so much im-
pressed with the grace and beauty of the boy,
and with his artless and touching eloquence,
that he made many inquiries respecting his
parentage, treated him with marked tender-
ness, and promptly restored the sword. Jo-
Josephine and Napoleon.
sephine was so grateful for the kindness of-
General Bonaparte to Eugene, that the next
day she drove to his quarters to express a
mother's thanks. General Bonaparte was even
more deeply impressed with the grace and
loveliness of the mother than he had been
with the child. He sought her acquaintance;
this led to intimacy, to love, and to the proffer
* In the following letter to a friend Josephine
expressed her views in reference to her mar-
riage with General Bonaparte:
"I am-urged, my dear, to marry again by
the advice of all my friends, and I may almost
say, by the commands of my aunt and the
prayers of my children. Why are you not
here to help me by your advice, and to tell me
whether I ought or not to consent to a union
whiclf certainly seems calculated to relieve me
from the discomforts of my present situation?
Your friendship would render you clear-sighted'
to my interests, and a word from you would
suffice to bring me to a decision.
Among my visitors you have seen General
Bonaparte. He is the man who wishes to be-
come a father to the orphans of Alexander de
Beauharnais, and husband to his widow.
4I:M.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 53
Josephine to her aunt.
i;- "',Do you love him?' is naturally your first
Sfquestion. My answer is perhaps 'no.' 'Do
qyou dislike him ?' 'No,' again. But the sen-
timents I entertain towards him are of that
lukewarm kind which true devotees think worst
-6all, in matters of religion. Now love being
a-sort of religion, my feelings ought to be very
,different from what they really are. This is
the point on which I want your advice, which
would fix the wavering of my irresolute dispo-
sition. To come to a decision has always been
2too much for my Creole inertness, and I find
it easier to obey the wishes of others.
*." I admire the general's courage, the extent
of his information on every subject on which
she converses; his shrewd intelligence, which
enables him to understand the thoughts of oth-
erir before they are expressed. But I confess
*ata;I am somewhat fearful of that control
*which he seems anxious to exercise over all
-about him. There is something in his scruti-
nizing glance that can not be described. It
awes even our Directors. Therefore it may
: iell be supposed to intimidate a woman. He
Stalks of his passion for me with a degree of
i)arnestness which renders it impossible to
.'doubt his sincerity. Yet this very circum-
54 HORTENSE. [1795.
Josephine to her aunt.
stance, which you would suppose likely to
please me, is precisely that which has withheld
me from giving the consent which I have often
been upon the point of uttering.
My spring of life is past. Can I then hope
to preserve for any length of time that ardor
of affection which in the general amounts al-
most to madness? If his love should cool, as
it certainly will after our marriage, will he not
reproach me for having prevented him from
forming a more advantageous connection?
What, then, shall I say? What shall I do? I
may shut myself up and weep. Fine consola-
tion truly, methinks I hear you say. But una-
vailing as I know it is, weeping is, I assure you,
my only consolation whenever my poor heart
receives a wound. Write to me quickly, and
pray scold me if you think me wrong. You
know every thing is welcome that comes from
Barras* assures me that if I marry the gen-
eral, he will get him appointed commander-in-
chief of the Army of Italy. This favor, though
not yet granted, ocasions some murmuring
among Bonaparte's brother officers. When
Barras, a leading member of the Directory, and a strong
friend of General Bonaparte.
S 705.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 55
J.-ephine to her aunt.
Speaking to me on the subject yesterday, Gen-
eral Bonaparte said:
., "'Do they think that I can not get forward
without their patronage? One day or other
S.tey ,will all be too happy if I grant them
ge I o have a good sword by my side, which
.ll earmy me on.'
What do you think of this self-confidence?
Does it not savor of excessive vanity? A
general of brigade to talk of patronizing the
chiefs of Government? It is very ridiculous.
.Yet I know not how it happens, his ambitious-
spirit sometimes wins upon me so far that I
am almost tempted to believe in the practica-
hility of any project he takes into his head;
and who can foresee what he may attempt?
-.. Madame Tallien desires me to present her
love to you. She is still fair and good as ever.
She employs her immense influence only for
the benefit of the unfortunate. And when she
performs a favor, she appears as pleased and
satisfied as though she herself were the obliged
party. Her friendship for me is most affec-
tionate and sincere. And of my regard for her
I need only say that it is equal to that which I
entertain for you.
Hortense grows more and more interesting
Marriage of Josephine.
every day. Her pretty figure is fully devel-
oped, and, if I were so inclined, I should have
ample reason to rail at Time, who confers
charms on the daughter at the expense of the
mother. But truly I have other things to
think of. I try to banish gloomy thoughts,
and look forward to a more propitious future,
for we shall soon meet, never to part again.
"But for this marriage, which harasses and
unsettles me, I could be cheerful in spite of
every thing. Were it once over, happen what
might, I could resign myself to my fate. I am
inured to suffering, and, if I be destined to taste
fresh sorrow, I can support it, provided my
children, my aunt, and you remain to comfort
"You know we have agreed to dispense
with all formal terminations to our letters. So
adieu, my friend,
In March, 1796, Josephine became the bride
of Napoleon Bonaparte, then the most promis-
ing young general in France, and destined to
become, in achievements and renown, the fore-
most man in all the world. Eugene was imme-
diately taken into the service of his stepfather.
1796.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 57
Letter to Eugene.
In the following letter to Eugene we have a
pleasing revelation of the character of Hor-
tense at that time, and of the affectionate rela-
tions existing between the mother and her
S"I learn with pleasure, my dear Eugene,
.tha your conduct is worthy of the name you
bear, and of the protector under whom it is so
easy to learn to become a great captain. Bo-
naparte has written to me that you are every
thing that he can wish. As he is no flatterer,
my heart is proud to read your eulogy sketch-
ed by a hand which is usually far from being
lavish in praise. You well know that I never
doubted your capability to undertake great
things, or the brilliant courage which you in-
herit. But you, alas know how much I dis-
like your removal from me, fearing that your
natural impetuosity might carry you too far,
and that it might prevent you from submitting
to the numerous petty details of discipline
which must be very disagreeable when the
rank is only subaltern.
"Judge, then, of my joy on learning that
Syou remember my advice, and that you are as
obedient to your superiors in command as you
are kind and humane to those beneath you.
Letter to Eugene.
This conduct, my child, makes me quite happy,
and these words, I know, will reward you more
than all the favors you can receive. Read them
often, and repeat to yourself that your mother,
though far from you, complains not of her lot,
since she knows that yours will be brilliant,
and will deserve so.to be.
Your sister shares all my feelings, and will
tell you so herself. But that of which I am
sure she will not speak, and which is therefore
my duty to tell, is her attention to me and her
aunt. Love her, my son, for to me she brings
consolation, and she overflows with affection
for you. She prosecutes her studies with un-
common success, but music, I think, will be the
art she will carry to the highest perfection.
With her sweet voice, which is now well culti-
vated, she sings romances in a manner that
would surprise you. I have just bought her a
new piano from the best maker, Erard, which
redoubles her passion for that charming art
which you prefer to every other. That per-
haps accounts for your sister applying to it
with so much assiduity.
"Were you here, you would be telling me
a thousand times a day to beware of the men
who pay particular attention to Hortense.
1796.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 59
Rising greatness of Napoleon.
Some there are who do so whom you do not
like, and whom you seem to fear she may pre-
fer. Set your mind at rest. She is a bit of a
coquette, is pleased with her success, and tor-
ments her victims, but her heart is free. I am
the confidante of all her thoughts and feelings,
which:have hitherto been just what they ought
to be. She now knows that when she thinks
of marrying, it is not my consent alone she has
to seek, and that my will is subordinate to that
of the man to whom we owe every thing. The
knowledge of this fact must prevent her from
fixing her choice in a way that may not meet
the approval of Bonaparte, and the latter will
not give your sister in marriage to any one to
whom you can object."
There was now an end to poverty and ob-
scurity. The rise of Napoleon was so brilliant
and rapid that Josephine was speedily placed
at the head of society in Paris, and vast crowds
were eager to do her homage. Never before
did man move with strides so rapid. The
lapse of a few months transformed her from al-
most a homeless, friendless, impoverished wid-
ow, to be the bride of one whose advancing
greatness seemed to outvie the wildest creations
of fiction. The unsurpassed splendor of Napo-
Expedition to Egypt.
leon's achievements crowded the saloons of
Josephine with statesmen, philosophers, gener-
als, and all who ever hasten to the shrine of
After the campaign of Italy, which gave Na-
poleon not only a French but a European rep-
utation for military genius and diplomatic skill,
he took command of the Army of Egypt. Jo-
sephine accompanied him to Toulon. Stand-
ing upon a balcony, she with tearful eyes
watched the receding fleet which bore her
husband to that far-distant land, until it disap-
peared beneath the horizon of the blue Medi-
terranean. Eugene accompanied his father.
Hortense remained with her mother, who took
up her residence most of the time during her
husband's absence at Plombibres, a celebrated
Josephine, anxious in every possible way to
promote the popularity of her absent husband,
and thus to secure his advancement, received
with cordiality all who came to her with their
congratulations. She was endowed with mar-
vellous power of pleasing. Every one who
saw her was charmed with her. Hortense was
bewitchingly beautiful and attractive.
Josephine had ample means to indulge her
1797.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 61
Letter to Bonaparte.
taste in entertainments, and was qualified emi-
nently to shine in such scenes. The conse-
S quence was that her saloons were the constant
resort of rank and wealth and fashion. Some
enemy wrote to Napoleon, and roused his jeal-
i 4ytoD a very high degree, by representing
Josephine as forgetting her husband, immersed
inpleasure, and coquetting with all the world.
-Napoleon was exceedingly disturbed, and
wrote Josephine a very severe letter. The fol-
lowing extract from her reply fully explains
the nature of this momentary estrangement:
"Is it possible, general, that the letter I have
just received comes from you ? I can scarcely
credit it when I compare that letter with others
to :which your love imparts so many charms.
My eyes, indeed, would persuade me that your
hands traced these lines, but my heart refuses
to believe that a letter from you could ever
have caused the mortal anguish I experience
on perusing these expressions of your displeas-
ure, which afflict me the more when I consider
how much pain they must have caused you.
I know not what I have done to provoke
some malignant enemy to destroy my peace
by disturbing yours. But certainly a power-
ful motive must influence some one in continu-
Letter to Bonaparte.
ally renewing calumnies against me, and giv-
ing them a sufficient appearance of probability
to impose on the man who has hitherto judged
me worthy of his affection and confidence.
These two sentiments are necessary to my hap-
piness. And if they are to be so soon with-
drawn from me, I can only regret that I was
ever blest in possessing them or knowing you.
"On my first acquaintance with you, the af-
fliction with which I was overwhelmed led me
to believe that my heart must ever remain a
stranger to any sentiment resembling love.
The sanguinary scenes of which I had been a
witness and a victim constantly haunted my
thoughts. I therefore apprehended no danger
to myself from the frequent enjoyment of your
society. Still less did I imagine that I could
for a single moment fix your choice.
I, like every one else, admired your talents
and acquirements. And better than any one
else I foresaw your future glory. But still I
loved you only for the services you rendered
to my country. Why did you seek to convert
admiration into a more tender sentiment, by
availing yourself of all those powers of pleas-
ing with which you are so eminently gifted,
since, so shortly after having united your des-
1797.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 63
Letter to Bonaparte.
tiny with mine, you regret the felicity you
have conferred upon me?
Do you think I can ever forget the love
with which you once cherished me? Can I
ever become. indifferent to the man who has
blest me with the most enthusiastic and ardent
passion? Can I ever efface from my memory
your paternal affection for Hortense, the advice
and example you have given Eugene? If all
this appears impossible, how can you, for a mo-
ment, suspect me of bestowing a thought upon
any but yourself?
"Instead of listening to traducers, who, for
reasons which I can not explain, seek to disturb
our happiness, why do you not silence them by
enumerating the benefits you have bestowed
on"a woman whose heart could never be reach-
ed with:ingratitude? The knowledge of what
you have done for my children would check
the malignity of these calumniators; for they
would then see that the strongest link of my
attachment for you depends on my character
as a mother. Your subsequent conduct, which
has claimed the admiration of all Europe, could
have no other effect than to make me adore
the husband who gave me his hand when I
was poor and unfortunate. Every step you
Letter to Bonaparte.
take adds to the glory of the name I bear.
Yet this is the moment which has been selected
for persuading you that I no longer love you!
Surely nothing can be more wicked and absurd
than the conduct of those who are about you,
and are jealous of your marked superiority.
"Yes, I still love you, and no less tenderly
than ever. Those who allege the contrary
kAow that they speak falsely. To those very
persons I have frequently written to inquire
about you, and to recommend them to console
you, by their friendship, for the absence of her
who is your best and truest friend.
I acknowledge that I see a great deal of
company; for every one is eager to compli-
ment me on your success, and I confess that I
have not resolution to close my door against
those who speak of you. I also confess that a
great portion of my visitors are gentlemen.
Men understand your bold projects better than
women; and they speak with enthusiasm of
your glorious achievements, while my female
friends only complain of you for having carried
away their husbands, brothers, or fathers.
I take no pleasure in their society if they
do not praise you. Yet there are some among
them whose hearts and understandings claim
1-88,].MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 65
Letter to Bonaparte.
my highest regard,because they entertain sin-
cere friendship for you. In this number I
may mention ladies Arquillon, Tallien, and my
aunt. They are almost constantly with me;
and they can tell you, ungrateful as you are,
whether I have been coquetting with every body.
These are your words. And they would be
hateful to me were I not certain that you had
disavowed them, and are sorry for having writ-
"I sometimes receive honors here which
cause me no small degree of embarrassment
I am not accustomed to this sort of homage.
And I see that it is displeasing to our authori-
ties, who are always suspicious and fearful of
losing their newly-gotten power. If they are
enviousnow, what will they be when you return
crowned with fresh laurels? Heaven knows to
what lengths their malignity will then carry
them. But you will be here, and then noth-
ing can vex me.
But f will say no more of them, nor of
your suspicions, which I do not refute one by
one, because they are all equally devoid of
probability. And to make amends for the un-
pleasant commencement of this letter, I will tell
you something which I know will please you.
66 HORTENSE. [1798.
Letter to Bonaparte.
"Hortense, in her efforts to console me, en-
deavors as far as possible to conceal her anxie-
ty for you and her brother. And she exerts
all her ingenuity to banish that melancholy,
the existence of which you doubt, but which I
assure you never forsakes me. If by her live-
ly conversation and interesting talents she
sometimes succeeds in drawing a smile, she
joyfully exclaims,' Dear mamma, that will be
known at Cairo.' The fatal word immediately
calls to my mind the distance which separates
me from you and my son, and restores the mel-
ancholy which it was intended to divert. I am
obliged to make great efforts to conceal my
grief from my daughter, who, by a word or a
look, transports me to the very place which she
would wish to banish from my thoughts.
"Hortense's figure is daily becoming more
and more graceful. She dresses with great
taste; and though not quite so handsome as
your sisters, she may certainly be thought
agreeable when even they are present.
"Heaven knows when or where you may
receive this letter. May it restore you to that
confidence which you ought never to have lost,
and convince you, more than ever, that, long
as I, live, I shall love you as dearly as I did.
1798.]" MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 67
on the day of our separation. Adieu. Believe
me, love me, and receive a thousand kisses.
There was at that. time a very celebrated
S female school at St. Germain, under the care
S ofMadame Campan. This illustrious lady was
S familiar with all the etiquette of the court, and
was also endowed with a superior mind high-
ly cultivated. At the early age of fifteen she
had been appointed reader to the daughter of
Louis XV. Maria Antoinette took a strong
fancy to her, and made her a friend and com-
panion. The crumbling of the throne of the
Bourbons and the dispersion of the court. left
SMadame Campan without a home, and caused
-what the world would call her ruin.
S'ut in the view of true intelligence this re-
verse of fortune only elevated. her to a far
higher position of responsibility, usefulness,
and power. Impelled by necessity, she open-
ed a boarding-school for young ladies at St.
Germain. The school soon acquired celebrity.
Almost every illustrious family in France
sought to place their daughters under her care.
She thus educated very many young ladies
- who subsequently occupied very important
positions in society as the wives and mothers
of distinguished men. Some of her pupils at-
tained to royalty. Thus the boarding-school
of Madame Campan became a great power in
Hortense was sent to this school with Napo-
leon's sister Caroline, who subsequently be-
came Queen of Naples, and with Stephanie
Beauharnais, to whom we shall have occasion
hereafter to refer as Duchess of Baden. Ste-
phanie was a cousin of Hortense, being a
daughter of her father's brother, the Marquis
In this school Hortense formed many very
strong attachments. Her most intimate friend,
however, whom she loved with affection which
never waned, was a niece of Madame Campan,
by the name of Adele Agui6, afterwards Ma-
dame de Broc, whose sad fate, hereafter to be
described, was one of the heaviest blows which
fell upon Hortense. It would seem that Hor-
tense was not at all injured by the flattery lav-
ished upon her in consequence of the renown
of her father. She retained, unchanged, all
her native simplicity of character, which she
had inherited from her mother, and which she
ever saw illustrated in her mother's words and
1799.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 69
Letter from Josephine.
actions. Treating the humblest with the same
.kindness as the most exalted, she won all
hearts, and made herself the friend of every
-one in the school.
SBut her cousin Stephanie was a very differ-
ent character. Her father, the Marquis, had
-&d, from France an emigrant. He was an
aristocrat by birth, and in all his cherished sen-
timents. In his flight with the nobles, from
the terrors of the revolution, he had left his
daughter behind, as the prot6g6e of Josephine.
Inheriting a haughty disposition, and elated
by the grandeur which her uncle was attain-
ing, she assumed consequential airs which ren-
dered her disagreeable to many of her com-
panions. The eagle eye of Josephine detected
hese faults in the character of her niece. As
Stephanie returned to school from one of her
vacations, Josephine sent by her the following
letter to Madame Campan:
"In returning to you my niece, my dear
Madame Campan, I send you both thanks and
reproof:-thanks for the brilliant education
you have given her, and reproof for the faults
which your acuteness must have noticed, but
which your indulgence has passed over. She
is-good-tempered, but cold; well-informed, but
70 HORTENSE. [1799.
Napoleon's return from Egypt.
disdainful; lively, but deficient in judgment.
She pleases no one, and it gives her no pain.
She fancies the renown of her uncle and the
gallantry of her father are every thing. Teach
her, but teach her plainly, without mincing,
that in reality they are nothing.
"We live in an age when every one is the
child of his own deeds. And if they who fill
the highest ranks of public service enjoy any
superior advantage or privilege, it is the op-
portunity to be more useful and more beloved.
It is thus alone that good fortune becomes par-
donable in the eyes of the envious. This is
what I would have you repeat to her constant-
ly. I wish her to treat all her companions as
her equals. Many of them are better, or at
least quite as deserving as she is herself, and
their only inferiority is in not having had re-
lations equally skillful or equally fortunate.
On the 8th of October, 1799, Napoleon land-
ed at Fr6jus, on his return from Egypt. His
mind was still very much disturbed with the
reports which had reached him respecting Jo-
sephine. Frejus was six hundred miles from
Paris-a long journey, when railroads were
1799.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 71
unknown. The intelligence of his arrival was
promptly communicated to the metropolis by
telegraph. Josephine received the news at
midnight. Without an hour's delay she enter-
ed her carriage with Hortense, taking as a pro-
tector Napoleon's younger brother Louis, who
subsequently married Hortense, and set out to
meet her husband. Almost at the same hour
Napoleon left Fr6jus for Paris.
When Josephine reached Lyons, a distance
of two hundred and forty-two miles from Paris,
she learned, to her consternation, that Napoleon
had left the city several hours before her arri-
val, and that they had passed each other by
different roads. Her anguish was dreadful.
For many months she had not received a line
from her husband, as all communication had
been intercepted by the British cruisers. She
knew that her enemies would be busy in poi-
soning the mind of her husband against her.
She had traversed the weary leagues of her
journey without a moment's intermission, and
now, faint, exhausted, and despairing, she was
to retrace her steps, to reach Paris only many
hours after Napoleon would have arrived there.
Probably in all France there was not then a
more unhappy woman than Josephine.
Jealousy of Napoleon.
The mystery of human love and jealousy no
philosophy can explain. Secret wretchedness
was gnawing at the heart of Napoleon. He
loved Josephine with intensest passion, and all
the pride of his nature was roused by the con-
viction that she had trifled with him. With
these conflicting emotions rending his soul, he
entered Paris and drove to his dwelling. Jose-
phine was not there. Even Josephine had
bitter enemies, as all who are in power ever
must have. These enemies took advantage of
her absence to fan the flames of that jealousy
which Napoleon could not conceal. It was
represented to him that Josephine had fled
from her home, afraid to meet the anger of her
injured husband. As he paced the floor in
anguish, which led him to forget all his achieve-
ments in the past and all his hopes for the fu-
ture, an enemy maliciously remarked,
"Josephine will soon appear before you
with all her arts of fascination. She will ex-
plain matters, you will forgive all, and tran-
quillity will be restored."
Napoleon, striding nervously up and down
the floor, replied with pallid cheek and trem-
"Never! never! Were I not sure of my res-
1799.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 78
The meeting in Paris.
solution, I would tear out this heart and cast
it into the fire."
Eugene had returned with Napoleon. He
loved his mother to adoration. Anxiously
he sat -at the window watching, hour after
hatr, for her arrival. At midnight on the
19th the *rattle of her carriage-wheels was
heard, as she entered the courtyard of their
dwelling in the Rue Chantereine. Eugene
rushed to his mother's arms. Napoleon had
ever been the most courteous of husbands.
Whenever Josephine returned, even from an or-
dinary morning drive, he would leave any en-
gagements to greet her as she alighted from her
carriage. But now, after an absence of eight-
een months, he remained sternly in his cham-
ber, the victim of almost unearthly misery.
In a state of terrible agitation, with limbs
tottering and heart throbbing, Josephine, as-
sisted by Eugene-and accompanied by Hor-
tense, ascended the stairs to the parlor where
she had so often received the caresses of her
husband. She opened the door. Napoleon
stood before her, pale, motionless as a marble
statue. Without one kind word of greeting
he said sternly, in words which pierced her
74 HORTENSE. [1799.
The cruel repulse.
"Madame, it is my wish that you retire im-
mediately to Malmaison."
The meek and loving Josephine uttered not
a word. She would have fallen senseless to
the floor, had she not been caught in the arms
of her son. It was midnight. For a week
she had lived in her carriage almost without
sleep. She was in a state of utter exhaustion,
both of body and of mind. It was twelve
miles to Malmaison. Napoleon had no idea
that she would leave the house until the morn-
ing. Much to his surprise, he soon heard the
carriage in the yard, and Josephine, accompan-
ied by Eugene and Hortense, descending the
stairs. The naturally kind heart of Napoleon
could not assent to such cruelty. Immediately
going down into the yard, though his pride
would not permit him to speak to Josephine,
he addressed. Eugene, and requested them all
to return for refreshment and repose.
In silent submission, Eugene and Hortense
conducted their mother to her apartment,
where she threw herself upon her couch in ab-
ject misery. In equally sleepless woe, Napo-
leon retired to his cabinet. Two days of
wretchedness passed away. On the third, the
love for Josephine, which still reigned in the
1799.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 77
heart of Napoleon, so far triumphed that he en-
tered her apartment. Josephine was seated at
a toilette-table, With her head bowed, and her
eyes buried in her handkerchief. The table
was covered with the letters which she had re-
ceived from Napoleon, and which she had evi-
dently been perusing. Hortense, the victim
of grief and despair, was standing in the alcove
of a window.
Apparently Josephine did not hear the ap-
proaching footsteps of her husband. He ad-
vanced softly to her chair, placed his hand
upon it, and said, in tones almost of wonted
kindness, "Josephine." She started at the
sound of that well-known and dearly-loved
voice, and turning towards him her*swollen
and flooded eyes, responded, My dear." The
words of tenderness, the loving voice, brought
back with resistless rush the memory of the
past. Napoleon was vanquished. He extend-
ed his hand to Josephine. She rose, threw her
arms around his neck, rested her throbbing,
aching head upon his bosom, and wept in con-
vulsions of angugh. A long explanation en-
sued. Napoleon again pressed Josephine to
his loving heart, satisfied, perfectly satisfied
that he had deeply wronged her; that she had
Napoleon First Consul.
been the victim of base traducers. The rec-
onciliation was perfect.
Soon after this Napoleon overthrew the Di-
rectory, and established the Consulate. This
was on the ninth of November, 1799, usually
called 18th Brumaire. Napoleon was thirty
years of age, and was now First Consul of
France. After the wonderful achievements of
this day of peril, during which Napoleon had
not been able to send a single line to his wife,
at four o'clock in the morning he alighted from
his carriage at the door of his dwelling at the
Rue Chantereine. Josephine, in a state of
great anxiety, was watching at the window for
his approach. She sprang to meet him. Na-
poleon encircled her in his arms, and briefly
recapitulated the memorable scenes of the day.
He assured her that since he had taken the
oath of office, he had not allowed himself to
speak to a single individual, for he wished the
beloved voice of his Josephine might be the
first to congratulate him upon his virtual ac-
cession to the Empire of France. Throwing
himself upon a couch for afew moments of
repose, he exclaimed gayly, Good-night, my
Josephine. To-morrow we sleep in the palace
of the Luxembourg."
1799.] MARRIAGE OF JOSEPHINE. 79
This renowned palace, with its vast saloons,
its galleries of art, its garden, is one of the
most attractive of residences. Napoleon was
now virtually the monarch of France. Jose-
phine was a queen, Eugene and Hortense prince
and princess. Strange must have been the
emotions of Josephine and her children as, en-
compassed with regal splendor, they took up
their residence in the palace. But a few years
before, Josephine, in poverty, friendlessness,
and intensest anguish of heart, had led her chil-
dren by the hand through those halls to visit
her imprisoned husband. From one of those
apartments the husband and father ha& been
led to his trial, and to the scaffold, and now this
mother enters this palace virtually a queen,
and her children have opening before them the
very highest positions of earthly wealth and
HORTENSE AND DUROC.
IT is a very unamiable trait in human nature,
that many persons are more eager to believe
that which is bad in the character of others than
that which is good. The same voice of calum-
ny, which has so mercilessly assailed Josephine,
has also traduced Hortense. It is painful to
witness the readiness with which even now the
vilest flanders, devoid of all evidence, can be
heaped upon a noble and virtuous woman who
is in her grave.
In the days of Napoleon's power, he himself,
his mother, his wife, his sisters, and his step-
daughter, Hortense, were assailed with the most
envenomed accusations malice could engender.
These infamous assaults, which generally origi-
nated with the British Tory press, still have
lingering echoes throughout the world. There
are those who seem to consider it no crime to
utter the most atrocious accusations, even with-
out a shadow of proof, against those who are
not living. Well do the "Berkeley men" say:
1799.] HORTENSE AND DUROC. 81
Testimony of the Berkeley men.
"The Bonapartes, especially the women of
that family, have always been too proud and
haughty to degrade themselves. Even had
they lacked what is technically called moral
character, their virtue has been intrenched be-
hind their ancestry, and the achievements of
their own family. Nor was there at any time
an instant when any one of the Bonapartes could
have overstepped, by.a hair's-breadth, the line
of decency, without being fatally exposed.
None of them pursued the noiseless tenor of
their way along the vale of obscurity. They
were walking in the clear sunshine, on the top-
most summits of the earth, and millions of ene-
mies were wAching every step they took. The
highest genius of historians, the bitterest satire
of dramatists, the meanest and most malig-
nant pen of the journalists have assailed them
for half a century. We have written these
words because a Republican is the only man
likely to speak well of the Bonaparte family.
It was, and is, and will be the dynasty of the
people, standing there from 1804, a fearful an-
tagonism against the feudal age and its souve-
nirs of oppression and crime."
Napoleon at St. Helena said: "Of all the
libels and pamphlets with which the English
Remarks of Napoleon at St. Helena.
ministers have inundated Europe, there is not
one which will reach posterity. When there
shall not be a trace of those libels to be found,
the great monuments of utility which I have
reared, and the code of laws which I have
formed, will descend to the remotest ages ; and
future historians will avenge the wrongs done
me by my contemporaries. There was a time
when all crimes seemed to belong to me of
right. Thus I poisoned Hoche, strangled Pi-
chegru in his cell, I caused Kleber to be assassi-
nated in Egypt, I blew out Desaix's brains at
Marengo, I cut the throats of persons who were
confined in prison, I dragged the Pope by the
hair of his head, and a hundred sAlilar abomi-
nations. And yet I have not seen one of those
libels which is worthy of an answer. These are
so contemptible and so absurdly false, that they
do not merit any other notice than to write
false, false, on every page."
It is well known, by every one acquainted
with the past history of our country, that George
Washington was assailed in the severest possi-
ble language of vituperation. He was charged
with military inability, administrative incapac-
ity, mental weakness, and gross personal im-
moraliiy. He was denounced as a murderer,
1799.] HORTENSE AND DUROC. 83
The voice of slander.
and a hoary-headed traitor. This is the doom
of those in power. And thousands of men in
those days believed those charges.
It is seldom 'possible to prove a negative.
But no evidence has ever been brought forward
to substantiate the rumors brought against Hor-
tense., These vile slanderers have even gone
so far as to accuse Napoleon of crimes, in refer-
ence to the daughter of Josephine and the wife
of his brother, which, if true, should consign
him to eternal infamy. The Berkeley men,"
after making the most thorough historic inves-
tigations in writing the life both of Louis Bo-
naparte and Hortense, say:
"Louis was a little over twenty-three years
of age at the time of his marriage. Hortense
was nineteen. In his memoirs Louis treats with
scorn and contempt the absurd libels respecting
his domestic affairs, involving the purity of his
wife's character and the legitimacy of his chil-
dren. Napoleon, also, in his conversations at
St. Helena, thought proper to allude to the sub-
ject, and indignantly to repel the charges which
had been made against Hortense, at the same
time showing the entire improbability of the
stories about her and her offspring. We have
found nothing, in our investigations on this sub-
Testimony of the Duchess of Abrantes.
ject, to justify even a suspicion against the morals
or integrity of Louis or Hortense; and we here
dismiss the subject with the remark that there is
more cause for sympathy with the parties to this
unhappy union than of censure for their con-
The Duchess of Abrantes, who was intimate-
ly acquainted with Hortense from her child-
hood and with the whole Bonaparte family, in
her interesting memoirs writes: "Hortense de
Beauharnais was fresh as a rose; and though
her fair complexion was not relieved by much
color, she had enough to produce that freshness
and bloom which was her chief beauty. A
profusion of light hair played in silky locks
round her soft and penetrating blue eyes. The
delicate roundness of her slender figure was set
off by the elegant carriage of her head. Her
feet were small and pretty, her hands very
white, with pink, well-rounded nails. But
what formed the chief attraction of Hortense
was the grace and suavity of her manners.
She was gay, gentle, amiable. She had wit
which, without the smallest ill-temper, had just
malice enough to be amusing. A polished
education had improved her natural talents.
She drew excellently, sang harmoniously, 'nd
1799.] HORTENSE AND DUROC. 85
Portrait of Hortense.
performed admirably in comedy. In 1800 she
was a charming young girl. She afterwards
became one of the most amiable princesses in
Europe. I have seen many, both in their own
courts and in Paris, but I have never known
one who had any pretensions to equal talents.
Her brother loved her tenderly. The First
Consul looked upon her as his child. And it
is only in that country so fertile in the inven-
tions of scandal, that so foolish an accusation
could have been imagined, as that any feeling
less pure than paternal affection actuated his
conduct towards her. The vile calumny met
the contempt it merited."
The testimony of Bourrienne upon this point
is decisive. Bourrienne had been the private
secretary of Napoleon, had become his enemy,
and had joined the Bourbons. Upon the down-
fall of the Emperor he wrote a very hostile life
of Napoleon, being then in the employment of
the Bourbons. In those envenomed pages,
Bourrienne says that he has written severely
enough against Napoleon, to have his word be-
lieved when he makes any admission in his fa-
vor. He then writes:
"Napoleon never cherished for Hortense
any feeling but a real paternal tenderness. He
Testimony of Bourrienne.
loved her, after his marriage with her mother, as
he would have loved his own child. For three
years at least I was witness to all their most
private actions. I declare that I never saw any
thing which could furnish the least ground for
suspicion or the slightest trace of culpable inti-
macy. This calumny must be classed with
those which malice delights to take with the
character of men who become celebrated; cal-
umnies which are adopted lightly and without
I freely declare that, did I retain the slight-
est doubt with.regard to this odious charge, I
would avow it. But it is not true. Napoleon
is no more. Let his memory be accompanied
only by that, be it good or bad, which really
took place. Let not this complaint be made
against him by the impartial historian. I must
say, in conclusion, on this delicate subject, that
Napoleon's principles were rigid in the extreme;
and that any fault of the nature charged nei-
ther entered his mind, nor was in accordance
with his morals or taste."
Notwithstanding this abundant testimony,
and notwithstanding the fact that no contradic.
tory testimony can be adduced, which any his-
torian could be pardoned for treating with re-
1800.] HORTENSE AND DUROC. 87
Napoleon at the Tuileries.
spect, there are still men to be found who will
repeat those foul slanders, which ought long
since to have died away.
Napoleon remained but two months in the
palace of the Luxembourg. In the mean time
the palace of the Tuileries, which had been sack-
ed by revolutionary -mobs, was re-furnished with
much splendor. In February the Courtbof the
Consuls was transferred to the Tuileries. Na-
poleon had so entirely eclipsed his colleagues
that he alone was thought of by the Parisian
populace. The royal apartments were prepared
for Napoleon. The more humble apartments,
in the Pavilion of Flora, were assigned to the
two other consuls. The transfer from the Lux-
embourg was made with great pomp, in one of
those brilliant parades which ever delight the
eyes of the Parisians. Six thousand picked
soldiers, with a gorgeous train of officers, form-
ed his escort. Twenty thousand troops with
all the concomitants of military parade, lined
the streets. A throng, from city and country,
which could not be numbered, gazed upon the
scene. Napoleon took his seat in a magnificent
carriage drawn by six beautiful white horses.
The suite of rooms assigned to Josephine con-
sisted of two large parlors furnished with regal
Beauty of Josephine.
splendor, and several adjoining private rooms.
Here Hortense, beautiful girlof about eighteen,
found herself at home in the apartments of the
ancient kings of France.
In the evening a brilliant assembly was
gathered in the saloons of Josephine. As she
entered, with queenly grace, leaning upon the
arm of Talleyrand, a murmur .of admiration
rose from the whole fiultitude. She wore a
robe of white muslin. Her hair fell in ringlets
upon her neck and shoulders, through which
gleamed a necklace of priceless pearls. The
festivities were protracted until a late. hour in
the morning. It was said that Josephine gain-
ed a social victory that evening, corresponding
with that which Napoleon had gained in the
pageant of the day.- In these scenes Hortense
shone with great brilliance. She was young,
beautiful, graceful, amiable, witty, and very
highly accomplished. In addition to this, she
was the stepdaughter of the First Consul, who
was ascending in a career of grandeur which
was to terminate no one could tell where.
During Napoleon's absence in Egypt Jose-
phine had purchased the beautiful estate of
Malmaison. This was their favorite home.
The chateau was a very convenient, attractive,
1800.] HORTENSE AND DUROC. 89
but not very spacious rural edifice, surrounded
with extensive grounds, ornamented with lawns,
shrubbery, and forest-trees. With the Tuile-
ries for her city residence, Malmaison for her
rural retreat, Napoleon for her father, Jose-
phine for her mother, Eugene for her brother;
with the richest endowments of person, mind,
and heart, with glowing health, and surrounded
by admirers, Hortense seemed now to be placed
upon the very highest pinnacle of earthly hap-
Josephine and Hortense resided at Malmaison
when Napoleon made his ten months' campaign
into Italy, which was terminated by the victory
of Marengo. They both busily employed their
time in making those improvements on the
place which would create a pleasant surprise for
Napoleon on his return. Here they opened a
new path through the forest; here they spanned
a stream with a beautiful rustic bridge; upon
a gentle eminence a pavilion rose; and new
parterres of flowers gladdened the eye. Every
charm was thrown around the place which the
genius and taste of Josephine and Hortense
could suggest. At midnight, on the second of
July, Napoleon returned to Paris, and immedi-
ately hastened to the arms of his wife and
Remarkable testimony of Napoleon.
daughter at Malmaison. He was so pleased
with its retirement and rural beauty that, for-
getting the splendors of Fontainebleau and
Saint Cloud, he ever after made it his favorite
residence. Fortunate is the tourist who can
obtain permission to saunter through those
lovely walks, where the father, the wife, and
the daughter, for a few brief months, walked
almost daily, arm in arm, in the enjoyment of
nearly all the happiness which they were des-
tined on earth to share. The Emperor, at the
close of his career, said upon his dying bed at
I am indebted for all the little happiness
I have enjoyed on earth to the love of Jose-
Hortense and her mother frequently rode on
horseback, both being very graceful riders, and
very fond of that recreation. At moments
when Napoleon could unbend from the cares .
of state, the family amused themselves, with
such guests as were present, in the game of
"prisoners" on the lawn. For several years
this continued to be the favorite pastifne at
Malmaison. Kings and queens were often
seen among the pursuers and the pursued on
the green sward.
1800.1 HORTENSE AND DUROC. 91
The infernal machine.
It was observed that Napoleon was always
solicitous to have Josephine on his side. And
whenever, in the progress of the game, she was
taken prisoner, he was nervously anxious until
she was. rescued. Napoleon, who had almost
lived upon horseback, was a poor runner, and
would often, in his eagerness, fall, rolling head-
long over the grass, raising shouts of laughter.
Josephine and Hortense were as agile as they
On the 24th of December, 1800, Napoleon,
Josephine, and Hortense were going to the op-
era, to hear Haydn's Oratorio of the Creation.
It was then to be performed for the first time.
lNpoleon, busily engaged in business, wAnt
reluctantly at the earnest solicitation of Jose-
phine. Three gentlemen rode with Napole-
on in his carriage. Josephine, with Hortense
and other friends, followed in her private car-
.riage. As the carriages were passing through
the narrow street of St. Nicaire, a tremendous
explosion took place, which was heard all over
Paris. An infernal machine, of immense
power, had been conveyed to the spot, con-
cealed beneath a cart, which was intended, at
whatever sacrifice of the lives of others, to ren-
der the assassination of the First Consul certain.
The royalist conspiracy.
Eight persons were instantly killed; more than
sixty were wounded. Several buildings were
nearly demolished. The windows of both car-
riages were dashed in, and the shattered vehi-
cles were tossed to and fro like ships in a storm.
Napoleon almost miraculously escaped unharm-
ed. Hortense was slightly wounded by the
broken glass. Still they all heroically went on
to the opera, where, in view of their providen-
tial escape, they were received with thunders of
It was at first supposed that the Jacobins
were the authors of this infamous plot. It was
afterwards proved to be a conspiracy of the
Royalists. Josephine, whose husband had bled
beneath the slide of the guillotine, and who had
narrowly escaped the axe herself, with charac-
teristic humanity forgot the peril to which she
and her friends had been exposed, in sympathy
for those who were to suffer for the crime. .The
criminals were numerous. They were the no-
bles with whom Josephine had formerly lived
in terms of closest intimacy. She wrote to
Fouch6, the Minister of Police, in behalf of
these families about to be plunged into woe by
the merited punishment of the conspirators.
This letter reflects such light upon the charac-
1800.] HORTENSE AND DUROC. 93
0 Letter from Josephine.
ter of Josephine, which character she transmit-
ted to Hortense, that it claims insertion here.
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 dis-
consolate 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 Con-
sul is great; his attachment to me extreme.
But the crime is too dreadful that a terrible ex-
ample should not be necessary. The chief of
the Government has not been alone exposed.
It is that which will render him severe, inflexi-
ble. 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 conster-
nation 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 ringlead-
Letter from Josephine.
ers of this nefarious attempt shall have been
secured, let severity give place to pity for in-
ferior agents, seduced, as they may have-been,
by dangerous falsehoods or exaggerated opin-
"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 par-
don still more. Be also the support of those
unfortunate men who, by frank avowal or re,
pentance, 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 part therein.
As a woman, a wife, 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
1800.] HORTENSE AND DUROC. 95
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, ex-
cuse my importunity. Rely on my gratitude
:There was a young officer about twenty-nine
years of age, by the name of Michel Duroc,
who was then a frequent visitor at the Tuileries
and Malmaison. He was a great favorite of
Napoleon, and was distinguished alike for
beauty of person and gallantry upon the field
of battle. Born of an ancient family, young
Duroc, having received a thorough military edu-
cation, attached himself, with enthusiastic devo-
tionto the fortunes of Napoleon. He attracted
die attention of General Bonaparte during his
fist Italian campaign, where he was appoint-
ed one of his aids. Following Napoleon to
Egypt, he gained renown in many battles, and
was speedily promoted to the rank of chief of
battalion, and then to general of brigade. At
Jaffa he performed a deed of gallantry, which
was rewarded by the applauding shouts of
nearly the whole army. At Jean d'Acre he
led one of the most bloody and obstinate as-
saults recorded in the military annals of France,
General Duroc at Bautzen.
where he was severely wounded by the burst-
ing of a howitzer. At the battle of Aboukir
he won great applause. Napoleon's attachment
to this young officer was such, that he took him
to Paris on his return to Egypt. In the event-
ful day of the l8th Brumaire, Duroc stood by
the side of Napoleon, and rendered him em-
inent service. The subsequent career of this
very noble young man brilliantly reflects his
worth and character. Rapidly rising, he be-
came grand marshalpf the palace and Duke of
The memorable career of General Duroc was
terminated at the battle of Bautzen, in Germa-
ny, on the 23d of May, 1813. He was struck
by the last ball thrown from the batteries of
the enemy. The affecting scene of his death
was as follows:
"In the early dawn of the morning of the
23d of May, Napoleon was on horseback direct-
ing the movements of his troops against the
routed foe. He soon overtook the rear-guard
of the enemy,'which had strongly posted its
batteries on an eminence to protect the retreat
of the discomfited army. A brief but fierce
conflict ensued, and one of Napoleon's aids was
struck dead at his feet. Duroc was riding by
-1813.] HORTENSE AND DUROC. .,97
Death of Duroc
the side of the Emperor. Napoleon turned to
him and said,' Duroc, fortune is determined to
have one of us to-day.' Hour after hour the in-
cessant battle raged, as the advance-guard of the
Emperor drove before it the rear-guard of
S the Allies. In the afternoon, as the Emperor,
with a portion of the Imperial Guard, four
abreast, was passing through a ravine, envelop-
ed in a blinding cloud of dust and smoke, a
cannon-ball, glancing from a tree, killed one
officer, and mortally wounded Duroc, tearing
out his entrails. The tumult and obscurity
were such that Napoleon did not witness the
casualty. When informed of it, he seemed for
a moment overwhelmed with grief, and then
exclaimed, in faltering accents,
S"Durocl gracious Heaven, my presenti-
ments never deceive me. This is a sad day, a
Immediately alighting from his horse, he
walked to and fro for a short time absorbed in
painful thoughts, while the thunders of the bat-
tle resounded unheeded around him. Then
turning to Caulaincourt, he said,
"Alas! when will fate relent? When will
there be an end of this? My eagles will yet
S triumph, but the happiness which accompanies
98 H IORTENSE. [1813.
Grief of Napoleon.
them is fled. Whither has he been conveyed?
I must see him. Poor, poor Duroc "
The Emperor found tLe dying marshal in a
cottage, still stretched upon the camp litter by
which he had been conveyed from the field.
Pallid as marble from the loss of blood, and
with features distorted with agony, he was
scarcely recognizable. The Emperor approach-
ed the litter, threw his arms around the neck
of the friend he so tenderly loved, and ex-
claimed, in tones of deepest grief, Alas! then
is there no hope ?"
"None whatever," the physicians replied.
The dying man took the hand of Napoleon,
and gazing upon him affectionately, said, Sire,
my whole life has been devoted to your serv-
ice, and now my only regret is that I can no
longer be useful to you." Napoleon, in a voice;
almost inarticulate with emotion, said,
"Duroc, there is another life. There you
will await me."
"Yes, sire," the marshal faintly replied, "but
that will be thirty years hence. You will then
have triumphed over your enemies, and real-
ized the hopes of our country. I have lived
an honest man. I have nothing to reproach
myself with. I have a daughter, to whom
your Majesty will be a father."
1813.] HORTENSE AND DUROC. 99
Napoleon was so deeply affected that he re-
mained for some time in silence, incapable of
uttering a word, but still affectionately holding
the hand of his dying friend.
Duroc was the first to break the silence.
"Sire," he said, this sight pains you. Leave
The Emperor pressed his hand to his lips,
embraced him affectionately, and saying sadly,
"Adieu, my friend," hurried out of the room.
Supported by Marshal Soult and Caulain-
court, Napoleon, overwhelmed with grief, re-
tired to his tent, which had been immediately
pitched in the vicinity of the cottage. "This
is horrible," he exclaimed.. "My excellent,
my dear Duroal Oh, what a loss is this!"
His eyes were flooded with tears, and for the
moment, forgetting every thing but his grief,
he retired to the solitude of his inner tent.
The squares of the Old Guard, sympathizing
in the anguish of their commander and their
sovereign, silently encamped around him. Na-
poleon sat alone in his tent, wrapped in his
gray great-coat, his forehead resting upon his
hand, absorbed in painful musings. For some
time none of his officers were willing to intrude
upon his grief. At length two of the generals
Quotation from J. T. Headley.
ventured to consult him respecting arrange-
ments which it seemed necessary to make for
the following day. Nap6leon shook his head
and replied, Ask me nothing till to-morrow,"
and again covering his eyes with his hand, he
resumed his attitude of meditation. Night
came. One by one the stars came out. The
moon rose brilliantly in the cloudless sky.
The soldiers moved with noiseless footsteps, and
spoke in subdued tones. The rumbling. of
wagons and the occasional boom of a distant
gun alone disturbed the stillness of the scene.
"Those brave soldiers," says J. T. Headley,
"filled with grief to see their beloved chief
bowed down by such sorrows, stood for a long
time silent and tearful. At length, to break
the mournful silence, and to express the sym-
pathy they might not speak, the band struck
up a requiem for the dying marshal. The
melancholy strains arose and fell in prolonged
echoes over the field, and swept in softened
cadences on the ear of the fainting, dying
warrior. But still Napoleon moved not. They
changed the measure to a triumphant strain,
and the thrilling trumpets breathed forth their
most joyful notes till the heavens rang with the
melody. Such bursts of music welcomed Na-
1804. HORTENSE AND DUROC. 101
Death of Duroc.
poleon as he returned, flushed with victory, till
his eye kindled with exultation. But now
they fell on a dull and listless ear. It ceased,
and again the mournful requiem filled all the
air. But nothing could rouse him from his ag-
oriig.reflections. His friend lay dying, and
the heart that he loved more than his life was
throbbing its last pulsations. What a theme
for a painter, and what a eulogy was that
F scene! That noble heart, which the enmity of
the world could not shake, nor the terrors of
the battle-field move from its calm repose, not
even the hatred nor the insults of his at last vic-
torious enemies humble, here sank in the mo-
ment of victory before the tide of affection.
What military chieftain ever mourned thus on
the field of victory, and what soldiers ever
S loved their leader so I"
Before:the dawn of the mooning Duroc ex-
pired. When the event was announced to
Napoleon, he said sadly, "All is over. He is
released from his misery. Well, he is happier
than I." The Emperor ordered a monument
to be reared to his memory, and, when after-
wards dying at St. Helena, left to the daugh-
ter of Duroc one of the largest legacies be-
queathed in his will. That Duroc was worthy
Character of Duroc.
of this warm affection of the Emperor, may be
inferred from the following testimony of Cau-
laincourt, Duke of Vicenza:
"Marshal Duroc was one of those men who
seem too pure and perfect for this world, and
whose excellence helps to reconcile us td hu-
man nature. In the high station to which the
Emperor had wisely raised him, the grand
marshal retained all the qualities of the private
citizen. The splendor of his position had not
power to dazzle or corrupt him. Duroc re-
ained simple, natural, and independent; a
warm and generous friend, a just and honora-
ble man. I pronounce on him this eulogy with-
out fear of contradiction."
It is not strange that Hortense, a beautiful
girl of eighteen, should have fallen deeply in
love with such a young soldier, twenty-nine
years of age. It would seem that Duroc was
equally inspired with love and admiration for
Hortense. Though perhaps not positively en-
gaged, there was such an understanding be-
tween the young lovers that a brisk corre-
spondence was kept up during ohe of Duroc's
embassies to the north.
Bourrienne, at that time the private secreta-
ry of Napoleon, says that this correspondence