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Chapter 17

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Empress Josephine

Ernest John Knapton

published by
Harvard University Press,
New York, 1963

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Chapter 19

 p270  Chapter 18
On Being an Empress

As empress, Josephine found herself subject to a life of ritual, the product of much conscious planning and some improvisation. Superb as an organizer, Napoleon saw no reason why in her official appearances Josephine's every move should not be guided by an etiquette as elaborate as any that the queens of France had accepted in the past. Whatever private life she could still claim for herself had to be fitted within the inexorable limits of this imposing imperial structure. Josephine did not always find it easy to conform.

The stage setting was provided by the palaces of the Tuileries, Saint-Cloud, and Fontainebleau, as well as by Malmaison and, less frequently, the Élysée, and Rambouillet. Travelling abroad, Josephine held court at Strasbourg where the ancient episcopal palace, magnificently reconstructed in the eighteenth century by the Rohan family, had now been taken over as an imperial residence and refurbished at a cost of 178,000 francs by the architect Fontaine. She also held court at Mainz, and she appeared as an honoured guest and relative through marriage in Baden, Württemberg, and the Italian kingdom. On occasion she still found happy seclusion at Plombières. Since funds for all her purposes came from the public treasury, she managed with no difficulty to run her expenditures far beyond the amounts stipulated for any given year. While complaints and even expressions of anger came at regular intervals from her indignant husband, he none the less paid the ever-recurring bills for the dresses, shawls, hats, and shoes, the silks, the feathers, the jewels, the perfumes, and the bric-à‑brac Josephine could never long resist buying. The members of her elaborate retinue, from the bejewelled ladies of her court circles to the humblest menials of her kitchen, were  p271 subject to a far more effective control. They were appointed, instructed, classified, and paid by means of the administrative machinery that Napoleon devised and regularly scrutinized.

Some parts of the imperial ritual had taken shape during the awkward days of the Consulate when Bonaparte and Josephine held their receptions and soirées at the Luxembourg and the Tuileries. Their duties were made easier by the savoir-faire of those former nobles who turned in growing numbers to the new master in France. Talleyrand, despite his unfortunate wife, brought back much of the elegance of a past age. Josephine surrounded herself with ladies who, like her, had been members of the society of the ancien régime. Most of her responsibilities were, to be sure, conventional for her position: the receptions for ambassadors, the reviews of troops, the attendance at commemorative Masses, the state dinners, the galas at the Opéra — these were the polite rituals with which every court in Europe was familiar.

All such social activities, however much indebted to tradition, bore the peculiar flavour of the Napoleonic court. Even on the most formal occasions, the Emperor himself was capable of a savage bluntness, not to say rudeness, of manner. Many of his most distinguished marshals were men who had risen from the ranks; superbly self-assured, they saw no reason in their splendid new surroundings to divorce themselves from the rough, barracks atmosphere of their past. Napoleon also carried the burden of the Bonaparte family, for whom elegance was a relatively new concept and whose repeated and outrageous squabbles and scandals amply fitted the description, 'a veritable dog‑kennel', once applied to them.

It was Napoleon's nature to leave little to chance or to the result of informal growth. Hence, as a result of laborious studies made by a special commission, a substantial quarto, Étiquette du Palais impérial, was prepared. The studies took final shape only after Napoleon had plunged actively in the discussions and had converted the general proposals into precise rules. These rules stipulated in characteristic Napoleonic detail the arrangement and use of the various rooms in the imperial residences, the number and precise  p272 duties of the imperial dignitaries and attendants together with the exact spots where they were to be stationed, the rights of entrée applying to all categories of guests, the rituals for all occasions — in short, a prescription for every minute detail of the imperial day whether Napoleon and Josephine were in residence at Paris or travelling abroad. Chapter II, for example, which is headed, 'On the arrangement of Apartments and on the Rights of Entry into Each One of Them', has forty-eight precisely detailed paragraphs. Chapter V, 'On the Meals of Their Majesties', has forty-three paragraphs. Chapter XII, 'Court Mourning', covers every detail and every contingency. It says much for Josephine that she was able somehow to accept and care out these stifling routines with skill, sympathy, invariable elegance, and at least outward pleasure.

On state occasions Josephine was attended by the same grand officers of the crown as was her husband: the grand almoner, the grand marshal of the palace, the grand hunter, the grand equerry, the grand chamberlain, and the grand master of ceremonies. Talleyrand, for example, as grand chamberlain still made the presentations to Josephine at the imperial receptions, even as he had done under the Consulate. Within her own section of the palace a particular arrangement of rooms and an elaborately organized staff was provided. The apartments of the Empress were divided into two groups. The first, the Apartment of Honour, served the more public purposes. It comprised an antechamber, a first salon, a second salon, a salon of the Empress, a dining-room, and a concert room. The second suite, the Interior Apartment, comprised the bedroom, the library, the dressing-room, the boudoir, and the bathroom of the Empress. While these arrangements applied most closely to the Tuileries, they were also carried out with modifications at other imperial palaces. A guest at Malmaison, for example, on entering the main foyer would find to his left a suite of rooms primarily serving the Emperor, and to his right he would enter the two salons and then the music room of the Empress.

At the Tuileries a first and second salon were needed within Josephine's Apartment of Honour so that careful distinction  p273 could be made concerning the social claims of the guests. Princesses of the imperial family and those ladies attached to their service, ladies of honour, ladies of the wardrobe, ladies of the palace, and wives of the grand officers of the Empire were all given the precious right of first entry and conducted within. So likewise were their male counterparts, the imperial princes, the grand officers of the Empire, and Napoleon's principal gentlemen of service.

The list of those who were to attend the Empress was substantial. Her almoner, a priest-confessor, was Ferdinand de Rohan, a bishop and member of one of the greatest families of France.​a Her principal lady of honour was the former Duchess de La Rochefoucauld — a distant relative of her first husband. Her first lady of the wardrobe was Madame Lavalette, a Beauharnais and Josephine's niece. The roster included seventeen ladies of the palace (some of them the wives of Napoleon's marshals), a number of ladies in waiting, various ladies of the wardrobe, ladies of the bedchamber, and a lectrice, or reader-companion. The male list included, in addition to the almoner, a first chamberlain, another whose duty it was to present ambassadors to her, and four 'ordinary' chamberlains. She had three equerries and a private secretary. Lower in the scale were a number of ushers (huissiers) who stood guard with halberds at the entrances to the two salons and decided according to the rank of the visitors whether one or both wings of the door should be flung open. There were four personal valets de chambre, two trusted footmen (one of whom was always present in her antechamber), and two pages, one preceding her and the other carrying Josephine's train whenever she left her apartments. These officials, many of whose duties were largely ornamental, served in addition to the large body of menials necessary for routine operations.

Such numbers tended to grow. By 1807 the number of ladies of the palace had risen from seventeen to thirty. A list for the year 1809 shows six ushers, seven valets de chambre, twenty‑six footmen, three equerries, five minor civil officers, and forty-three men in the stables. These were the people directly serving the Empress; they acted in addition to the large staff necessary  p274 to maintain the grounds and buildings of the various imperial residences.

The rules for conduct within the apartments of the Empress were almost oriental in their rigidity. Entrance to the second salon was, as we have seen, closely restricted. Here, amid magnificent Beauvais tapestries, were chairs for the imperial princesses and, for the lesser ranking ladies of quality, stools with crossed legs. A chamberlain, dressed in red velvet embroidered with gold, did the honours and received the guests. More secluded even than the second salon was the salon of the Empress — furnished with Gobelin tapestries, with armchairs for the Emperor and Empress, and with side chairs and stools for the others. Here are examples of the rules governing this rigidly organized world:

xl. When Her Majesty is present in her Interior Apartment the chamberlain of the day may traverse the Apartment of Honour in order to take his orders; he must scratch lightly on the door of the bedroom, where one of the ladies of Her Majesty must always be in attendance and seek permission to introduce into her presence the chamberlain of the day.
xli. The Empress never receives any man in her Interior Apartment unless he is one who is in her service.
xlii. Hairdressers and tradesmen must be introduced through a back corridor into the Interior Apartment of Her Majesty; they cannot go through the Apartment of Honour.
xliii. When Her Majesty has risen, the ladies in attendance will admit the valets de chambre through the back corridors or passages in order to make her bed, and the scrub‑men in order to clean the bedchamber in their presence.

Equally elaborate rules applied to travel. When the Empress went abroad in France, even without the presence of her husband, she was to be received with full military honours. In a garrison town the cavalry were to meet her half a league away and escort her with trumpets sounding. Half the garrison was to be paraded, the other half would line the routes. On her arrival the troops would present arms, officers would salute, flags dip, drums beat, and the artillery fire three salvoes. Her residence was to be guarded by a battalion of infantry flying  p275 its standard and commanded by a colonel. A squadron of cavalry, likewise commanded by a colonel, must also be present. Before her door two mounted sentinels were to be constantly on guard with drawn sabres. If, perchance, the Empress should go on board a naval vessel, it must fly the imperial standard, all its guns must be fired and the assembled crew must cheer seven times, 'Vive L'Empereur!' At the boundary of each department the Empress must be met by the prefect; at each district, by the sub‑prefect; at each commune, by the mayor. All town bells were to peal, and if the Empress should pass a church, then the incumbent priest with all his assistant clergy, fully robed, must be at the church door. On great occasions Josephine was to ride in a state coach with eight horses, the servants all wearing the green imperial livery. Returning to Paris from a prolonged trip, she must be greeted with cannon and bells, following which all official bodies must appear in her throne room to present their homage. Such were the magnificent externals of Josephine's life in imperial France.

More intimately, Josephine's daily routine afforded her a large measure of aristocratic indolence interrupted by the recurrent demands of her imperial position. Awakened around eight o'clock by her ladies, she would breakfast leisurely in bed, play with her dogs, and then begin an elaborate toilette lasting from two to three hours. Josephine gave much time to the selection of dresses and appurtenances, and much time also to cosmetics and the bath, for like most creole ladies she was a fanatic for cleanliness. There were daily visits from the coiffeurs — splendid figures in embroidered coats and with swords at their side. There were also fortnightly visits from the court chiropodist, a German Jew named Tobias Koen, far less splendid in his valet costume than the coiffeurs, yet also sporting his ceremonial sword.

These morning hours would be enlivened by the pleasant conversation with the ladies of the bedchamber — all of them selected by Josephine for their charm and affinity of mind. She would on occasion be visited by her doctor, at first Dr Leclerc, a friend of Napoleon's physician, Corvisart, and a member of the medical faculty in Paris. After 1808 she was  p276 attended by Dr Horeau, likewise a friend and pupil of Corvisart. Her health, save for occasional headaches and crises of nerves, seems to have been good.

Luncheon, invariably at eleven, was a formal affair, served in considerable style in the yellow salon at the Tuileries. The Emperor was rarely present, choosing instead like many a modern businessman to take his food quickly at his desk. Josephine, therefore, employed these occasions to entertain the ladies of her service, the wives of distinguished figures in the capital, and those who qualified simply by being her friends. Although men were never invited to such luncheons, the Emperor occasionally would join the guests briefly for coffee.

The afternoons were variously occupied. If Josephine drove in the Bois de Boulogne, at that time a semi-wild hunting preserve, she would be accompanied by her equerry, by an officer, a trumpeter, and fourteen cavalry­men. She could not conveniently walk in the gardens of the Tuileries, for they were open to the public. More commonly, therefore, her afternoons were spent indoors in conversation, mingled with music, cards, and embroidering. Josephine had a librarian, the abbé Nicolas Halna, but few books; his duties actually were more those of a tutor. Josephine's imperial position required to have a sure knowledge of ranks, titles, genealogies, and family history — a knowledge going far beyond that common to the fashionable society of the ancien régime. For such information, which the abbé Halna was admirably equipped to impart, Josephine proved to be an apt student. In striking contrast to the situation more than twenty-five years before, when others had laboured greatly to acquaint the young wife of Alexander de Beauharnais with the elements of literature and Roman history, she now impressed the court with the quickness of her responses.

Josephine wrote many letters and notes. In addition to her family correspondence she was besieged by people asking favours of the always sympathetic Empress. She worked tirelessly for her friends and relatives, seeking posts and pensions for them in a way that today might seem flagrant, but which then was the normal custom. Her letters by the hundreds still  p277 lurk in the archives of the ministries, testifying to her interest in her friends. This interest may sometimes have been less than genuine, as Carnot had discovered when he was minister of war under the Consulate. 'My dear Carnot,' Josephine told him by way of excuse, when he expostulated at the number of her requests, 'don't pay any attention to my recommendations or my notes. People get them from me by pestering me, and I give them indiscriminately to all and sundry.'​1 For this reason, understandably enough, Josephine's epistolary tasks never ended.

Save on state occasions, the Empress commonly dined tête-à‑tête with her husband. Still, dinner could be an elaborate affair, for the Emperor wished his wife to be dressed always in her most elegant style and to be served in full style. The hour of dinner remained uncertain, for the Emperor's work invariably came first. He, and he alone, would decide when to descend from his study or, perhaps, not to descend at all. By long custom, on the other hand, Sunday dinner was a family affair to which all Bonapartes, in semi-bourgeois style, could come. After 1806, when Louis, Jérôme, Joseph, and Murat were installed in their ruling posts throughout the Empire, they and their wives were seldom present, yet the privilege remained. Music, cards, billiards, and conversation — from which the Emperor frequently excused himself — occupied the evenings. From these the occasional visits to the theatre, concerts, and the opera provided, surely, a welcome diversion.

Bonaparte recalled at St Helena that he and Josephine, like good bourgeois folk, shared the same conjugal bed up till 1805, when, as he put it, 'political events obliged me to change my customary ways, for I found I had to work by night as well as by day'.​2 Whether or not he can be a hero, no man can be a stranger to his valet, and so we may read with interest the information recorded by Constant about such intimate matters:

When first Napoleon came to live at Saint-Cloud, he always slept in his wife's bed. Later on etiquette caused him to break this rule, and thus conjugal affection cooled somewhat. Indeed, the First Consul at last occupied apartments at some distance from those of Madame Bonaparte. In order to go to her, he had to walk down a  p278 long servants' passage, with rooms on either side occupied by members of the household, servants and others. When he intended to spend the night with his wife, he first of all undressed in his own rooms, and then went forth in a dressing-gown with a handkerchief tied around his head. Torch in hand, I walked in front.​3

Josephine gave to the court of Napoleonic France a distinctive charm that history still remembers. Conversely, and perhaps ungratefully, history has given her a reputation for reckless, monumental extravagance. Inventories of her personal wardrobe, her jewels, and her bric-à‑brac mount to seemingly enormous totals, and the precise calculation has been made, almost as if by way of epitaph, that Josephine died owing her numerous creditors nearly three million francs. Was Josephine one of the great spendthrifts of history? The answer, like much else in the past, is not to be found in a simple, unqualified affirmative.

Josephine was the product of her times. Her 'simple' childhood in Martinique was to a very large degree a life marked by self-indulgence, a life surrounded on every side by servile flattery and obedience. In the Europe to which she soon went, an ostentatious pattern of expenditures was as characteristic of the eighteenth-century aristocracy as it was to be of the industrial plutocracy of the nineteenth. Extravagance was even more a characteristic of the European monarchies. In comparison with the vast building works of a Louis XIV at Versailles, the dissipations of Louis XV, and the reckless gambling losses of a Marie Antoinette, Josephine's building expenditures at Malmaison seem genuinely modest and her personal expenditures almost forgivable. As to her endless gifts, they reflect, if not a sensible head, without any question a warm heart.

Taine's classic Ancien Régime has familiarized readers with the fantastic extravagances of the French monarchy before the French Revolution. The operation of the royal household of Louis XVI was estimated to have cost at least one‑tenth of the public revenues. If Josephine and Napoleon played their imperial roles on the half-dozen separate stages of the Tuileries, Saint-Cloud, Fontainebleau, Malmaison, the Élysée, and  p279 Rambouillet, we are reminded that Louis XVI was committed to the extravagant support of at sixteen palaces and châteaux, including the hopeless extravagance of Versailles with its endless rooms and its canals extending to the farthest limits of the horizon. Louis paid seven and a half million livres a year for the support of his royal guards; he spent about a million annually on hunting, and half a million for liveries alone. Two millions were spent in 1778 for the purchase of furniture, while in that same year Louis owed 800,000 livres to his wine merchants. Marie Antoinette was notorious for her extravagances: 400,000 livres, Taine says, for one 'fairy evening' at Versailles and gambling debts in one year of 487,000 livres. Madame Du Barry had a diamond collar made for her dog. Such expenditures, it must be said at once, were fantastic and outrageous; they were one clear contribution to the fall of the French monarchy. It would be nonsensical, therefore, to use them in any sense as a valid yardstick against which to measure the extravagance of Josephine. Yet they may help to provide some sense of proportion and to give Josephine her due.

The wife of the Emperor never tired in her love for fine dresses, elegant jewels, soft fabrics, and shawls. She selected these with considerable taste and wore them with rare distinction. History has recorded that she was as generous in pouring gifts upon others as she was in acquiring fine treasures for herself — albeit this generosity was impulsive and indiscriminate. Napoleon, moreover, wished his wife to dazzle his court with her splendour. He instructed Barbé-Marbois, for instance, to select the finest jewels for Josephine when she was to make a tour through the Netherlands, and in 1809 he gave her a jewelled set (diadem, collar, comb, plaque for her belt, earrings, and bracelet) worth more than 100,000 francs.

No one would care to say that Napoleon paid his domestic accounts gracefully, for the memories of his mother's frugal household never left him. Milliners and dressmakers affected him as a red rag does a bull. On one occasion at Malmaison when the Emperor found an unknown stout woman waiting in the anteroom to Josephine's apartments, he turned on her  p280 in a fury, 'Who are you?' 'I am called Despeaux.' 'What do you do?' 'I am a milliner, Sire,' Whereupon the Emperor called loudly for his grand marshal, Duroc, and, failing him, for General Savary. The latter had suffered grievously from his own wife's millinery bills, and so on his arrival the astonished stranger found herself escorted unceremoniously and at top speed between two gendarmes down the long avenue of Malmaison.​4 At St Helena, nevertheless, looking back through the gentle haze of the years, the Emperor seems to have had few major complaints on the subject of his wife's reputation for reckless spending.

The general costs of Josephine's household were handled by what was known as the Treasury of the Crown. Her personal expenditures, where the real source of extravagance lay, were provided for under two headings: the Cassette and the Toilette. The former took care of the relatively modest sum of about 120,000 francs a year, provided by the Emperor and disbursed with great accuracy by an expert civil servant, Ballouhey. His accounts were invariably in order. Thus the Cassette made it possible for Josephine to contribute systematically, as an Empress was expected, to numerous good causes seeking her support. It also made possible special gifts to individuals in great need, as it did the provision of an astonishing variety of pensions, large and small.

Josephine's charities were endless. She paid 500 francs to a former nurse of Louis XVI. She found a pension for the mulatto nurse of her childhood. She provided for her relatives. She even provided for the support of that same Madame de Longpré who years before had turned Josephine's first husband against her. She would dribble away small sums to large numbers of people. In the month of September, 1808, a list shows 124 persons being given a total of 4,000 francs — an average of about 30 francs apiece. She gave money to painters, sculptors, and musicians, yet seldom, it seems, to men of letters. On the whole the Cassette was meticulously administered by Ballouhey with never a surplus or deficit at the year's end, and so, if this and this alone had been the point at issue, Napoleon would have had little about which to complain.

 p281  The trouble came with Josephine's personal expenditures and her charities which were somewhat illogically included in the general fund known as the Toilette. Here, between 1804 and 1809, she was allotted 360,000 francs a year. Invariably she spent about double this amount, thereby producing a heavy annual deficit. In addition she had other large debts that had accumulated in the years of the Consulate and had never been paid. The record shows that between 1805 and 1810 Napoleon had to authorize the successive payment of debts that in total came to 3,200,000 francs. And it must be noted that the ever-watchful Emperor, deeply convinced that there was not a tradesman alive who did not cheat Josephine, had insisted upon an average twenty per cent reduction before paying. These debts of Josephine were paid, not by a complaisant husband, but by an emperor whose names has become a legend for hard-driving efficiency and precise economy in all matters, great and small. They were paid by a man who would notice a discrepancy in the accounts of a humble storekeeper at Calais, or who would refuse to pay the incidental costs for coffee drunk by the servants at Malmaison. The spell of Josephine upon him, one cannot doubt, was enormous.

Putting together the sums in Josephine's formal budgets and the somewhat larger amount applied annually to Josephine's debts, one is safe in estimating her annual expenditures at well over a million francs (or by a very rough transposition, dollars). Where did the money go? Much went, we know, to charity. Much went in gifts that by no stretch of the imagination could be called charity. The account books show that in the five years running from September 1804 to December 1809, Josephine gave away nearly 924,000 francs, though some small parts of these 'gifts' were actually payments for services rendered. It may be worth while to attempt a comparison. In the roughly comparable period of four years and eight months from April 1810 to December 1814, Josephine's successor, the Empress Marie Louise, similarly gave away some 565,000 francs — and Marie Louise was a timid, awkward girl, to whom history has denied any significant reputation for extravagance.

 p282  If some of Josephine's expenditures went to maintain what could be called the dignity of the imperial presence, and if some expenditures (for example, the art objects bought for Malmaison) were shared with her husband, much money, we can be sure, Josephine spent directly on herself. There has been preserved an inventory headed, 'Diamonds of the Crown, 15 May 1811.' The total comes to about twelve and a half million francs. Of this amount, the 'Diamond in the use of the Emperor' (including the celebrated Pitt Diamond in his sword pommel) were valued at seven and a half millions; the 'Diamond in the use of the Empress' were valued at about four millions. The remainder — worth over one million francs — seem to be very largely jewels that Josephine had bought. To ask whether the possession of over twelve million francs' worth of precious stones by an emperor and empress is to be defined as extravagance is to raise questions, semantic and otherwise, beyond the scope of a biographer.

Every wardrobe and chest at the Tuileries and Malmaison must have been crammed with Josephine's clothing. An inventory of 1809 shows 673 dresses of velvet or satin, 33 dresses of cashmere, and 202 dresses for the summer. She had acquired 520 pairs of shoes in that year, with 265 pairs carried over from the year before. The list includes 980 pairs of gloves, 252 hats, and 60 cashmere shawls. There are 158 pairs of white silk stockings, 32 of rose-coloured and 18 flesh-coloured pairs. There are 498 chemises and two pairs of flesh-coloured pantaloons for riding. Extravagant in what she bought, Josephine was equally extravagant in what she gave away. She bought boxes, gold chains, perfumes, sweetmeats, pieces of materials, and mechanical toys (a monkey that played the violin, for example, and a flowering tree full of singing birds). It was impossible for her to see a tradesman without buying something from him, and on such occasions prices were rarely mentioned. It is not surprising therefore that Madame de Rémusat should report that Josephine's rooms were always crowded with those who had something to sell. Josephine loved to have her picture painted, so that she could give copies to her friends. She changed her lingerie thrice daily, so Madame de Rémusat  p283 tells us, and she never put on a pair of stockings that she had worn before.

Against this torrent of generosity and self-indulgence, the occasional efforts of the Emperor could do little. At a meeting of the administrative council of the household in February 1806, Napoleon had ruled that no member of the Empress's household was to receive any furniture, paintings, jewels or other goods supplied by merchants or individuals. All were to be sent to the intendant of the palace. If the Emperor had hoped in this way to stop such purchases he hoped, surely, in vain.

The verdict might well be that Josephine was vastly extravagant as a woman, yet not spectacularly so as an empress. Josephine's spending was not in the grand manner that marks the Marquise de Pompadour, Madame Du Barry, or the mad King Ludwig of Bavaria. It was not a gambling or a palace-building mania, but, rather, a kind of bourgeois extravagance to the nth degree — of a sort that leads one to crowd things endlessly into closets, into drawers, and into little boxes. Josephine's extravagances fell far short of being truly sensational. Between 1807 and 1810 the French budget ran between 720 and 750 million francs annually. That for 1811 was fixed at about one billion, that for 1812 was a little larger, and that for 1813 a little larger still. In 1807 the allottment for army and navy came to 427 million francs — well over half the total. Josephine's personal spending of a million francs a year, huge enough in an individual sense, does not place her in the company of those who have helped significantly to bring their country to bankruptcy and disaster.

The widely quoted statement that Josephine died leaving debts of nearly three million francs, while literally true, is not the whole picture and is less than fair to her reputation. Shortly after her death, Eugène and Hortense undertook to divide their inheritance, and for this purpose authorized an elaborate inventory of all Josephine's property, real and personal. In rounded numbers the inventory set the following value upon her possessions: classical antiquities and other sculptures, 230,000 francs; furniture, books, and musical instruments,  p284 140,000 francs; paintings, drawings, and engravings, 990,000 francs; jewels, other precious objects, and real estate, 9,700,000 francs. When debts of nearly three millions were deducted from this total of eleven millions, the balance remaining for Eugène and Hortense amounted to over eight million francs. Few 'spendthrifts' have done better for their children.

The Author's Notes:

1 S. J. Watson, Carnot, 1753‑1823 (London, 1954), p161.

2 To Montholon, quoted in Kemble, Napoleon Immortal, p128.

3 Constant, Mémoires, I.158.

4 Masson, JIR, pp63‑4.

Thayer's Note:

a Ferdinand de Rohan, for whom, as for many younger sons of the nobility under the ancien régime, necessity was the mother of religion: his character, career — ecclesiastical and otherwise — and miscellaneous amorous liaisons are delineated by George Sherburn in Roehenstart A Late Stuart Pretender, pp10‑14; a contemporary portrait of him may also be seen on that page. (Roehenstart, of whom the book is a biography, was one of his illegitimate children, and as would be expected, Rohan appears frequently in it.)

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