French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte met his wife Josephine in 1795. At that time Napoleon was 26 and Josephine 32. Soon they figured out that they had already fallen in love and marriage was solemnized next year. Their love was jealous yet passionate and Napoleon would often write to his wife during his campaigns.
Marmirolo, July 17, 1796
I got your letter, my beloved; it has filled my heart with joy. I am grateful to you for the trouble you have taken to send me news; your health should be better to-day – I am sure you are cured. I urge your strongly to ride, which cannot fail to do your good.
Ever since I left you, I have been sad. I am only happy when by your side. Ceaselessly I recall your kisses, your tears, your enchanting jealousy; and the charms of the incomparable Joséphine keep constantly alight a bright and burning flame in my heart and senses. When, free from every worry, from all business, shall I spend all my moments by your side, to have nothing to do but to love you, and to prove it to you? I shall send your horse, but I am hoping that you will soon be able to rejoin me. I thought I loved you some days ago; but, since I saw you, I feel that I love you even a thousand times more. Ever since I have known you, I worship you more every day; which proves who false is the maxim of La Bruyère that “Love comes all at once.” Everything in nature has a regular course, and different degrees of growth.
Ah! pray let me see some of your faults; be less beautiful, less gracious, less tender, and, especially less kind; above all never be jealous, never weep; your tears madden me, fire my blood. Be sure that it is no longer possible for me to have a thought except for you, or an idea of which you shall not be the judge.
Have a good rest. Haste to get well. Come and join me, so that, at least, before dying, we could say – “We were happy for so many days!!”
Millions of kisses, and even to Fortuné, in spite of his naughtiness.
This letter was translated by translated by Henry Fuljambe Hall in 1901 from the original French. Some of the letters Napoleon sent would be sexually explicit in nature. Josephine was crowned by Napoleon in 1804 as the Empress of France. She died in 1814. The Epitaph on her Grave reads ”
France, l’armée, tête d’armée, Joséphine”.
France, the army, the head of the army, Joséphine.