Hortense complains that Josephine is too lazy to write to her children.

Josephine and Napoleon were an interesting couple because they were so different. Napoleon was a frugal man who could tolerate no disorder. Josephine blew money and couldn’t say no to anyone. Napoleon was one of the world’s most famous workaholics. Josephine couldn’t even lift a pen (regularly) to write a letter. They say opposites attract but that they don’t end up staying together.


Dear Eugene,

Saint-Amand, this Monday 22 Fructidor, year XII, 9 September 1805.

There is a lot of news, my dear Eugene. They say you have under your orders in Italy the Marshals Massena and Jourdan. The Emperor commands at the Inn, having Prince Murat as his lieutenant. All the armies that were on the coasts are commanded in the same way. Except that they go to the Rhine. Write and tell me if this is really true. 

Mom is at Malmaison with the Emperor. They say they will leave soon for Strasbourg. I have to stay another fortnight here, which is very sad, because I'm afraid I will not see mother again in Paris and I have not seen her for a long time.  

One says that the waters have done her good. I write, as you can see, “one says” because she does not write to me any more than she does to you.  


I have inherited a little this laziness but since my dear Eugene is far from me, we can no longer reproach me for this defect.

I have too much need of his answers to not write to him often. Farewell, my dear brother.  If we stay a long time in this ugly country, I'm afraid of getting maladies and fevers because this country is sad and unhealthy.


PS. The Emperor wrote to Louis to say that since he could not go to war because of his health that he should superintend the government of Paris. I do not know what will be the result, for it does not please Louis, and I do not hear any more about it.

Hortense and Josephine Bonaparte’s Letters are available here.

The Memoirs of Queen Hortense are available here.