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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Monday, December 16, 2013

josephine's fortune, a pug

From the writer Joseph Turquan, here's a story about Josephine de Beauharnais before she became Napoleon's Empress.  She and her husband were imprisoned during the Terror in France; he was executed, but she came through alive.  Her pug dog Fortune played a certain part in her deliverance:
* * *
We must not blame Josephine for liking dogs; on the contrary, it was one of her good points: and in caring for Fortune, she was only fulfilling her duty, as we shall now see.  And then this little four-legged personage occupies so important a part in history that he is worthy of being introduced to my readers.
The poet Arnault, who had the honor to enjoy his acquaintance and to belong to the Academic Frangaise, will now introduce him to us. "Fortune," said he, "was neither handsome, good-natured nor nice. He was short-legged ; his body was long, his color was more red than fawn-colored; this pug-dog, with a nose like a weasel, only resembles his distant relations by his black muzzle and corkscrew tail. In his infancy he had promised to be handsome, but as he grew up these promises came to naught; nevertheless, Josephine and her children were very fond of him, when a sad event made him still dearer to them.  Josephine, who had been arrested at the same time as her husband, was lying in prison suffering tortures of anxiety; she knew not of what was going on outside the walls of her prison. Her children, together with their governess, were allowed to see her at the wicket-gate. But how could they speak to her in private? The concierge was always present at these interviews.
"As Fortune was also present and as he was allowed to go in and out of the prison, the governess contrived a plan by which she hid a paper containing all the news which she did not dare to impart to her mistress under a new collar which she then fastened to Fortune's neck. Josephine, who was not wanting in shrewdness, guessed what she had done. The same messenger carried her reply. Thus she and her friends kept up an active correspondence under the very eye of the gaoler, and by this means she was able to learn of her friends' efforts to save her and so she kept up her courage. The family was as grateful to the dog for his useful services as if he had known what he was doing, and he became, both to the children and their mother, the object of a veneration which the general was obliged to tolerate whether he liked it or not."

-- Turquan, in Shriner, Charles A. 1853-1945. Wit, Wisdom And Foibles of the Great, Together With Numerous Anecdotes Illustrative of the Characters of People And Their Rulers. (New York and London: Funk & Wagnalls company, 1918), pp. 313-4.

1 comment:

parlance said...

What an interesting story.