The marriage of the Emperor to Marie Louise was the first step in a new career. He flattered himself that it would be as glorious as that he had just brought to a close, but it was to be far otherwise. Before entering on a recital of the events of the year 1810, I shall narrate some recollections, jotted down at random, which, although I can assign them no precise date, were, nevertheless, anterior to the period we have now reached.
The Empress Josephine had long been jealous of the beautiful Madame Gazani, one of her readers, and treated her coldly; and when she complained to the Emperor, he spoke to Josephine on the subject, and requested her to show more consideration for her reader, who deserved it on account of her attachment to the person of the Empress, and added that she was wrong in supposing that there was between Madame Gazani and himself the least liaison. The Empress, without being convinced by this last declaration of the Emperor, had nevertheless become much more cordial to Madame Gazani, when one morning the Emperor, who apparently was afraid the beautiful Genoese might obtain some ascendency over her, suddenly entered the Empress’s apartment, and said to her, “I do not wish to see Madame Gazani here longer; she must return to Italy.” This time it was the good Josephine who defended her reader. There were already rumors of a divorce; and the Empress remarked to his Majesty, “You know well, my friend, that the best means of being rid of Madame Gazani’s presence is to allow her to remain with me. Let me keep her, then. We can weep together; she and I understand each other well.”
From this time the Empress was a firm friend of Madame Gazani, who accompanied her to Malmaison and Navarre. What increased the kind feelings of the Empress for this lady was that she thought her distressed by the Emperor’s inconstancy. For my part, I have always believed that Madame Gazani’s attachment to the Emperor was sincere, and her pride must have suffered when she was dismissed; but she had no difficulty in consoling herself in the midst of the homage and adoration which naturally surrounded such a pretty woman.
The name of the Empress Josephine recalls two anecdotes which the Emperor himself related to me. The outrageous extravagance in the Empress’s household was a continual vexation to him, and he had dismissed several furnishers of whose disposition to abuse Josephine’s ready credulity he had ample proof.