A short distance from Saint-Cloud lies Rueil, once the home of Cardinal Richelieu, but even more interesting as being the burial place of the Empress Josephine, whose veiled statue may be seen kneeling in the church. Two miles off is Malmaison, the house she bought and beautified, and in which she consoled herself in her usual extravagant fashion, while her husband was in Eygpt. Poor Napoleon, how he loved this beautiful Creole, how often he forgave her infidelities. ” Magloire! ” he cried, after hearing some fresh story of her baseness, ” je ne sais ce que je donnerais pour que ce que Junot m’a dit ne fut pas vrai, tant j’aime cette femme! ” And he continued to forgive and forgive.
Bourrienne. gives a fine picture of him at Malmaison, in the room ” shaped like a tent, leading to the library.” He had summoned his old friend and secretary, and at the end of a momentous interview, involving the future of Europe, turned to him and, in. pathetic terms, begged him, almost his only friend, to watch over Josephine while he was away, and to try and restrain her extravagances. But Bourrienne was no match for Josephine.
” They bring me all kinds of beautiful things,” said she, “and I buy them. They never ask me for money till they hear I have none, and then they claim payment just when I have nothing to give them. What am I to do?”