Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,044 pages of information about Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete.

During this time of waiting, the Emperor employed himself in visiting the new apartments that had been added to the chateau.  The building in the court of the Cheval-Blanc, which had been formerly used as a military school, had been restored, enlarged, and decorated with extraordinary magnificence, and had been turned entirely into apartments of honor, in order, as his Majesty said, to give employment to the manufacturers of Lyons, whom the war deprived of any, outside market.  After repeated promenades in all directions, the Emperor seated himself with every mark of extreme impatience, asking every moment what time it was, or looking at his watch; and at last ordered me to prepare writing materials, and took his seat all alone at a little table, doubtless swearing internally at his secretaries, who had not arrived.

At five o’clock a carriage came from Saint-Cloud; and as the Emperor heard it roll into the court he descended the stairs rapidly, and while a footman was opening the door and lowering the steps, he said to the persons inside:  “Where is the Empress?” The answer was given that her Majesty the Empress would arrive in a quarter of an hour at most.  “That is well,” said the Emperor; and turning his back, quickly remounted the stairs and entered a little study, where he prepared himself for work.

At last the Empress arrived, exactly at six o’clock.  It was now dark.  The Emperor this time did not go down; but listening until he learned that it was her Majesty, continued to write, without interrupting himself to go and meet her.  It was the first time he had acted in this manner.  The Empress found him seated in the cabinet.  “Ah!” said his Majesty, “have you arrived, Madame?  It is well, for I was about to set out for Saint-Cloud.”  And the Emperor, who had simply lifted his eyes from his work to glance at her Majesty, lowered them again, and resumed his writing.  This harsh greeting, distressed Josephine exceedingly, and she attempted to excuse herself; but his Majesty replied in such a manner as to bring tears to her eyes, though he afterwards repented of this, and begged pardon of the Empress, acknowledging that he had been wrong.


It is not, as has been stated in some Memoirs, because and as a result of the slight disagreement which I have related above, that the first idea of a divorce came to his Majesty.  The Emperor thought it necessary for the welfare of France that he should have an heir of his own line; and as it was now certain that the Empress would never bear him one, he was compelled to think of a divorce.  But it was by most gentle means, and with every mark of tender consideration, that he strove to bring the Empress to this painful sacrifice.  He had no recourse, as has been said, to either threats or menaces, for it was to his wife’s reason that he appealed; and her consent was entirely voluntary.  I repeat that there was no violence

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