To Josephine at Milan


Even those who know little about Napoleon know he was a great general. But without reading further you don't realize that there was a man behind the monarch. I have read many of Napoleon's letters and I am continually amazed at the total devotion he felt for Josephine. A man who was characterized as being so strong seemed so uncertain and vulnerable in his love. The following is the first in many such letters. You can judge for yourself.
Marmirolo, July 17, 1796, 9 o'clock, P.M. I have received your letter, my adorable friend. It has filled my heart with joy. I am grateful to you for the trouble you have taken to send me the news.

Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionate solicitude. The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually a burning and a glowing flame in my heart. When, free from all solicitude, all harassing care, shall I be able to pass all my time with you, having only to love you, and to think only of the happiness of so saying, and of proving it to you? I will send you your horse, but I hope you will soon join me.

I thought that I loved you months ago, but since my separation from you I feel that I love you a thousand fold more. Each day since I knew you, have i adored you yet more and more.

Ah! I entreat you to permit me to see some of your faults. Be less beautiful, less gracious, less affectionate, less good, especially be not over-anxious, and never weep. Your tears rob me of reason, and inflame by blood. Believe me it is not in my power to have a single thought which is not of thee, or a wish which I could not reveal to thee.

Seek repose. Quickly re-establish your health. Come and join me, that at least, before death, we may be able to say, "We were many days happy." A thousand kisses, and one even to Fortuna, not with standing his spitefulness.

{Fortuna was a lap-dog belonging to Josephine}