Translation:Napoleon Bonaparte's Letter to Josephine, Nice, le 10 germinal
- Nice, le 10 germinal
I cannot go a day without loving you; I cannot go a night without holding you in my arms. I cannot have a cup of tea without cursing the glory and the ambition which keep me away from the love of my live.
In the middle of business, at the head of my troops, while patrolling the camps, only my adorable Josephine is in my heart, occupying my spirits, absorbing my thoughts. If I leave you suddenly with the speed of a torrent on the Rhône, it is only so that we can welcome each other back sooner.
If I rise to work in the middle of the night, it is so I can speed along the arrival day of my soft friend, and as such, in the letter of the 23 and 26 Ventose, you treat me to yourself. You yourself! Ah, terrible, how can you write such a letter? It is so cold! And still, from the 23 to the 26, that is four days; what were you doing, since you were not writing to your husband? Ah, my friend, you and these four days make me regret my past indifference.
What misfortune has caused this! It can, for sorrow and suffering, test the faith and evidence (which have thusfar served your friend) which it is making me test!Hell does not have such suffering, with its furies and serpents. You! You! Ah, what will this be like in fifteen days?
My love for you is saddened, my heart is enslaved and my imagination frightens me...you will find consolation in loving me less. One day, you will love me no more, admit it, at least I will know that I have deserved this misfortune. Goodbye woman, tormenter, happiness, hope and love of my life, whom I love, who inspires my tender sentiments which draw me towards nature, and my impetuous actions which are as volcanic as the thunderstorm.
I do not ask you for eternal love, nor faithfulness, but only...truth, unconditional frankness. The day when you say "I love you less" will be the end of my life. If my heart were vile enough to love without return, I would grind it between my teeth. Josephine! Josephine! Remember what I have often told you, nature gave me a passionate and decisive sense of love. She has built you of lace and gossamer.
Have you stopped loving me? Sorry, love of my life, my sense of love is hung on many vast combinations. My heart, entirely occupied with you, has these fears that render me unhappy...I am frustrated at not calling you by name. I wait for you to write me. Good-bye! Oh, if you love me less, then you have never really loved me, then I will be right to complain.
P.S. - The war this year is no longer recognisable. I have had to give meat, bread, horsefeed; my armed cavalry leaves soon. My soldiers have unspoken confidence in me; you are my only grief, only you, the pleasure and the torment of my life. A kiss to your children of whom you do not speak, of course, that would lengthen your letters by half as much again. The visitors, at ten o'clock in the morning, would not be pleased to see you. Woman!