HORTENSE de BEAUHARNAIS

DAUGHTER OF AN EMPRESS
QUEEN OF HOLLAND
MOTHER OF AN EMPEROR

woensdag 11 februari 2015

The house of Madame de Beauharnais had an air of luxury while the most essential things were lacking. Chicken, game, rare fruits, filled the kitchen, while they came to our humble abode to borrow the kitchen utensils, plates and glasses which they lacked."

DIVORCED.
There is no doubt, however, that during these twelve months Josephine was in great financial difficulties. She had on her hands the lease both of her Paris apartment and the house at Croissy. Her father had left his affairs in great confusion, and the difficulty of getting money from Martinique was further increased by the war with England. In February 1794 the English had taken possession of the island, and the Tascher estate was in the hands of the enemy. In France the property of her husband had been confiscated by the Government.

The expenses of Josephine's household at this time were quite heavy. She had three domestics: the nurse, Marie Lanoy; the maid, Agathe Rible; and the valet (officieux), Gontier. She not only paid them, no wages, however, but even borrowed their little savings. Her principal resource was a M. Emmery, a banker at Dunkerque, who for many years had had business relations with the Taschers.

From these few details it is possible to judge how precarious was the life of Josephine during the greater part of this year. But with the small remittances she received from Martinique, with money which she borrowed on every side, with bills which she contracted everywhere, she somehow managed to exist; and her life was far from being devoid of luxury. She was not a woman to walk, and must have a carriage, which she hired by the month.

In August 1795, when her affairs were still in the same precarious condition, Josephine leased from Julie Carreau, the wife of the actor Talma, from whom she was separated, a little hotel entre cour et jardin at Number 6, Rue Chantereine.

BARRAS.
"We had Madame de Beauharnais for a neighbour," writes Pasquier. " Her house adjoined our
own. She only came there occasionally, once a week, to meet Barras with the many persons who followed in his suite. ... As is not rare with Creoles, the house of Madame de Beauharnais had an air of luxury while the most essential things were lacking. Chicken, game, rare fruits, filled the kitchen, while they came to our humble abode to borrow the kitchen utensils, plates and glasses which they lacked."

NAPOLEON.
The marriage contract was one of the most remarkable ever drawn up in France: no details of the bride's property were given; all that she possessed was to belong to the communautb which existed between her and the late M. de Beauharnais. For his part, Bonaparte did not hesitate to admit his lack of fortune. He stated that he had nothing except his wardrobe and his war equipment, upon which he placed a merely nominal value.  napoleonandjosephine

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