“Caen, the 3rd Floreal (May 24), 1796.
“My brother will hand you this letter. I cherish for him the most intimate friendship. I trust he will also gain your affection. He deserves it. Nature has gifted him with a tender and inexhaustibly good character; he is full of rare qualities. I write to Barras to have him appointed consul to some Italian port. He desires to live with his little wife away from the world’s great stream of events. I recommend him to you.
“I have received your letters of the 16th and of the 21st. You have indeed for many days forgotten to write. What, then, are you doing? Yes, my dear friend, I am not exactly jealous, but I am sometimes uneasy. Hasten, then, for I tell you beforehand that if you delay I shall be sick. So great exertion, combined with your absence, is too much.
“Your letters are the joys of my days, and my happy days are not too many. Junot takes to Paris twenty-two standards. You will come back with him, will you not? .... Misery without remedy, sorrow without comfort, unmitigated anguish, will be my portion if it is my misfortune to see him come back alone, my own adored wife! He will see you, he will breathe at your shrine, and perhaps you will even grant him the special and unsurpassed privilege of kissing your cheeks, and I, I will be far, far away! You will come here, at my side, to my heart, in my arms! Take wings, come, come! Yet, journey slowly; the road is long, bad, fatiguing! If your carriage were to upset, if some calamity were to happen, if the exertion. ... Set out at once, my beloved one, but travel slowly!
“I have received a letter from Hortense, a very acceptable one indeed. I am going to answer it. I love her much, and will soon send her the perfumes she desires. N. B.”
But Josephine could not meet at once the ardent wishes of her husband. She had, on the receipt of his letter, made with Joseph all the necessary preparations for the journey; but the ailment which had so long troubled her, broke out, and a violent illness prostrated her.
Bonaparte’s suffering and anger at this news were unbounded; a terrible restlessness and anxiety took possession of him, and, to obtain speedy and reliable news from Josephine, he sent from Milan to Paris a special courier, whose only business it was to carry a letter to Josephine.
The general had nothing to communicate to the Directory; it was only the lover writing to his beloved! What fire, what energy of passion, penetrated him, is evident from the following letter:
“TORTONA, at noon, the 27th Prairial,
“In the Year iv. of the Republic (15th June, 1796).