In the middle of October they both, after a stormy passage, touched the soil of France and announced to their relatives their safe arrival. Alexandre de Beauharnais, full of impatient longings to see his unknown young bride, hastened to Brest to bid her and her father welcome, and to accompany them to Paris.
The first meeting of the young couple decided their future. Josephine, smiling and blushing, avowed to her father that she was willing and ready to marry M. Alexandre Beanharnais; and, the very first day of his meeting with Josephine, Alexandre wrote to his father that he was enchanted with the choice made, and that he felt strongly convinced that, at the side of so charming, sweet, and lovely a being, he would lead a happy and sunny life.
The love of the children had crowned all the schemes of the parents, and on the 13th of December, 1779, the marriage of the young couple took place. On the 13th of December, Mademoiselle Josephine Tascher de la Pagerie became the Viscountess Josephine de Beauharnais.
The young Bonaparte.
In the same year, 1779, in which Josephine de la Pagerie for the first time left Martinique for Prance, a vessel which had sailed from Corsica brought to France a boy who, not only as regards Josephine’s life, but also as regards all Europe, yea, the whole world, was to be of the highest importance, and who, with the iron step of fatality, was to walk through Europe to subvert thrones and raise up new ones; to tread nations in the dust, and to lift up others from the dust; to break tyranny’s chains in which people languished, so as to impose upon them his own chains.
This boy was Napoleon Bonaparte, the son of the advocate Charles de Bonaparte.
From Ajaccio, the principal town of Corsica, came the ship which brought to France the boy, his father, and his two elder brothers. In Ajaccio the family of the Bonapartes had been settled for more than a century. There also Napoleon had passed the first years of his life, in the family circle with his parents, and in joyous amusements with his five brothers and sisters.
His father, Charles de Bonaparte, belonged to one of the noble families of Corsica, and was one of the most influential men on the island. His mother, Letitia Ramolina, was well known throughout the island for her beauty, and the only woman who could have been her rival, for she was her equal in beauty, youth, and grace, was her dearest friend, the beautiful Panonia de Comnene, afterward the mother of the Duchess d’Abrantes.
The beautiful Letitia Ramolina was married to Charles de Bonaparte the same year that her friend Panonia de Comnene became the wife of M. de Permont, a high French official in Ajaccio. Corsica was then the undisputed property of the kingdom of France, and, however proud the Corsicans were of their island, yet they were satisfied to be called subjects of France, and to have their beautiful island considered as a province of France.