Tuesday, 5 July 2005

Napoleon and Josephine


The story of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais has got to be one of the most passionate and stormy love affairs in history.

Josephine's husband had been executed at the guillotine during the Terror in Paris in 1794. As a widow however, she did not remain idle for long and became mistress to several prominent politicians of the time. In 1795 she started a relationship with Napoleon, who was 6 years younger than her and married him in March of the following year after an intense an all-consuming love affair. In 1810, after years of failing ot produce an heir for him they both agreed to divorce.

The intensity of their relationship comes across very strongly in Napoleon's letters to her, an example of which is the below:

"Dec. 29, 1795

I awake all filled with you. Your image and the intoxicating pleasures of last night, allow my senses no rest.
Sweet and matchless Josephine, how strangely you work upon my heart.
Are you angry with me? Are you unhappy? Are you upset?
My soul is broken with grief and my love for you forbids repose. But how can I rest any more, when I yield to the feeling that masters my inmost self, when I quaff from your lips and from your heart a scorching flame?
Yes! One night has taught me how far your portrait falls short of yourself!
You start at midday: in three hours I shall see you again.
Till then, a thousand kisses, mio dolce amor! but give me none back for they set my blood on fire. "


Daldianus said...

So emperors have the same human feelings as we mere mortals! :)

Good to know, hehe.

Alterior said...

Apparently so! ;-))

Nick said...

I believe he also wrote to her - I'll be back in three days' time. Don't wash.
I'm not sure it's good to know that Emperors have personal hygiene fetishes . . .

ResoluteReader said...

And people actually DID use the word "quaff"! Previously only heard of when describing the drinking of ale in fantasy novels.

Alterior said...

Who would have thought Napoleon was pervy...heh heh! ;-) Well, actually he was a very strange person. Amongst his peculiarities was his terrible fear of the dark. He could not sleep in the dark and required that there were several candles burning all throughout the night in his bedroom. Apparently this really annoyed his women no end as they had trouble getting to sleep with so much light.

Peter said...

He was also terrified of cats.

Alterior said...

"Greatness" comes with a price!