Picturegoer, 1938
"Napoleon's Greatest Romance" cont'd
  She took his mind from the ardours of   negotiating treaties and reviewing troops.

(below) Marie, faithful to the last,
  arrives at Elba to share the
  exile of the fallen
  Emperor.


(above) Napoleon's mother (Dame May Whitty) is present at the christening of Alexandre, son of Napoleon and Marie Walewska.

 

Greatcoat thrown across his shoulders, he moved out onto the terrace. Marie, in the doorway, saw her shadow cast onto the snow and below, the soldiers' campfires pierced the darkness.
He turned, and with a groan, "I love you, Marie," took her in his arms.
"Against my will I love you," she whispered. "I believe in you."

On his wont to confide in her, on her implicit trust of him, their relationship was founded during the ensuing months. When he spoke of putting a crown on the fair head he loved to caress, Marie refused. The independence of Poland, guaranteed by Napoleon's signature, was all she would accept from the man she loved.
Content to follow him from headquarters to headquarters, to come to his suite, she found happiness. She took his mind from the ardours of ruling the world by teaching him to dance.

In Paris, she considered it a privilege to meet the Emperor's mother, Laetitia Bonaparte. She went straight to the heart of Marie, whose gentle charm was equally captivating to her guest.
"You and I seem to be the only ones who ask nothing of my Napoleon but his happiness," Madame Bonaparte said before leaving.

Since Napoleon's intention to divorce the Empress Josephine was already common gossip, since Count Walewska had successfully petitioned for his annulment, Marie would not have been human had her hopes remained entirely modest. Knowledge that she was going to have a child heightened her excitement.

Napoleon, having brought Austria to its knees, was occupying the Hapsburg Palace at Shoenbrunn. In celebration of his fortieth birthday, fireworks fell in coloured stars in the Palace gardens, and over the pavilion, topped by a giant letter "N."
Marie followed her lover through the gorgeous rooms which it obviously delighted him to show her. But, though she felt the pressure of his arms, the long kiss for which she had hoped, she was aware of a confidence in store which would prove upsetting. While she knelt by him, it came.
"Marie, my darling, I am determined to found a dynasty. I must have an heir. I have decided to marry a princess of one of the royal houses of Europe -- of this house, in fact -- so that I, whom the Austrians hate as an upstart, an adventurer, can mingle my blood with theirs."                                                                          
continue

 

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