I could not undertake to describe all the care and attentions which the Emperor lavished upon her. He had her brought to Paris, accompanied by her brother, a very distinguished officer, and her maid, and gave the grand marshal orders to purchase for her a pretty residence in the Chaussee-d’Antin. Madame Valevska was very happy, and often said to me, “All my thoughts, all my inspirations, come from him, and return to him; he is all my happiness, my future, my life!” She never left her house except to come to the private apartments at the Tuileries, and when this happiness could not be granted, went neither to the theater, the promenade, nor in society, but remained at home, seeing only very few persons, and writing to the Emperor every day. At length she gave birth to a son, [Count Walewski, born 1810; minister to England, 1852; minister of foreign affairs, 1855-1860; died 1868.] who bore a striking resemblance to the Emperor, to whom this event was a source of great joy; and he hastened to her as soon as it was possible to escape from the chateau, and taking the child in his arms, and caressing him, as he had just caressed the mother, said to him, “I make you a count.” Later we shall see this son receiving at Fontainebleau a final proof of affection.
Madame Valevska reared her son at her residence, never leaving him, and carried him often to the chateau, where I admitted them by the dark staircase, and when either was sick the Emperor sent to them Monsieur Corvisart. This skillful physician had on one occasion the happiness of saving the life of the young count in a dangerous illness.
Madame Valevska had a gold ring made for the Emperor, around which she twined her beautiful blonde hair, and on the inside of the ring were engraved these words:
“When you cease to love me, do not forget that I love you.”
The Emperor gave her no other name but Marie.
I have perhaps devoted too much space to this liaison of the Emperor: but Madame Valevska was entirely different from the other women whose favor his Majesty obtained; and she was worthy to be named the La Valliere of the Emperor, who, however, did not show himself ungrateful towards her, as did Louis XIV. towards the only woman by whom he was beloved. Those who had, like myself, the happiness of knowing and seeing her intimately must have preserved memories of her which will enable them to comprehend why in my opinion there exists so great a distance between Madame Valevska, the tender and modest woman, rearing in retirement the son she bore to the Emperor, and the favorites of the conqueror of Austerlitz.