When Napoleon Met and Married Josephine de Beauharnais

Napoleon. Public Domain.

Napoleon would marry twice, but his first marriage was to Josephine de Beauharnais. Josephine was born Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie in Les Trois-Îlets, Martinique, to a wealthy white Creole family that owned a sugarcane plantation. She met Napoleon in late 1795 and within weeks she was his mistress.

Napoleon was quickly intoxicated by her charms and his love letters to her were filled with passion. They contained such lines as “Your letters … make up my daily pleasure,” “The love with which you have inspired me has bereft me of reason,” or “Without appetite, without sleep, without care for my friends, for glory, for fatherland, you, you alone — the rest of the world exists no more for me than if it were annihilated.”[1] Moreover, although Napoleon may have sometimes worried about Josephine’s love for him, he once remarked that she always accompanied him on his journeys and that neither fatigue nor privation deterred her: Continue reading

A Curious Love in 1804

Love is often consider inexplicable, and one story of curious love involved two people who fell in love in 1804. However, this story is not your typical love story. The story begins in Toulouse, France, when a tribunal was held on 18 November, and the following was printed by one newspaper about a month later:

A young peasant, of the name of LA FAY, of the department of Arriege, fell in love with MARIA ARIGNI, in the parish of Cassaigne. She was a young girl of property, and LA FAY possessed nothing: he dared, therefore, not pay his addresses to her or demand her in the usual manner. Love, however, inspired him with a fraud to make her his wife, both without her own and her relations consent. Continue reading

Love Affair between Lafayette and Diane of Simiane

Love affair between Lafayette and Diane of Simiane
Marquis de Lafayette and Diane, Public Domain

The love affair between Marquis de Lafayette and Diane of Simiane began after Diane married Charles-Francois of Simiane, Marquis of Miremont. Charles-Francois was the son of François Louis Hector of Simiane and Marie Esther Emilie of Seveyrac. He had served in the American Revolutionary War with the famous French nobleman and general, the Count of Rochambeau, who had played a major role in helping the thirteen colonies win independence during the American Revolution. Continue reading

Abelard and Heloise: Their Forever Love

Abelard and Heloise
Abelard and Heloise, Public Domain

One famous and tragic love story from medieval times captured the imagination of people in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The story involved Peter Abelard who was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician and Heloise d’Argenteuil, a French nun, writer, scholar, and abbess.

Abelard has been described as a fascinating man who was twenty years older than Heloise. Yet, when he met Heloise, he was intrigued by her wit, intelligence, and remarkable knowledge of classical letters in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.

Heloise was under the care of her uncle named Fulbert, and because of Abelard’s interest in Heloise, Abelard obtained work at her uncle’s house in 1115 or 1116. Abelard then pursued Heloise and did so to the point it interfered with his career and ended his celibacy. Moreover, once Fulbert found out about Abelard’s interest in his niece, he separated the pair, but their relationship was so intense and passionate, they could not resist one another and continued to met in secret. Continue reading

A Parisian Wedding Crasher in the 19th Century

Parisian wedding crasher
Parisian Bridal Couple in 1826, Author’s Collection

You may think wedding crashing didn’t originate until the twenty-first century, but I found this story from 1826 about a Parisian wedding crasher.

Among the wedding guests was a “gentleman dressed in black, whose countenance and manner displayed a kind of affected affability, which was not, however, obtrusive or disagreeable.” Upon entering the church, the gentleman offered his hand to the venerable grand-aunt of the bride. Of course, she was immediately charmed by the gentleman’s politeness.

After the wedding, a celebratory feast was held in a well-known tavern, and guests were transported by carriage. On entering the carriages to repair to the feast, the gentleman suddenly reappeared and once again bestowed his attentions on the bride’s grand-aunt, helping her into the carriage. Then, at the feast, the gentleman seated himself next to her and stayed by her side during the entire banquet. Continue reading

Love, Murder, and Suicide in the 19th Century

Site of Love, Murder, and Suicide in Lunéville in France, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Location of Lunéville in France, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Lunéville, France, is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in France and is situated on the Meurthe River. In Lunéville, a 25-year-old man belonging to the 2nd regiment of dragoons, named Louis Darbois, fell for a Mademoiselle Marie-Catherine Bermin in 1830. Unfortunately, 19-year-old Bermin did not fall for Darbois, and she decided to leave France and live in Vienna, the place of her father’s birth.

Darbois did not want her to go. He tried everything to deter her from leaving, but his efforts were “in vain.” The more Darbois thought about Catherine leaving, the more desperate he became until he was at last so distraught he avoided his companions and “his imagination became disturbed.” Continue reading