“She has terribly pointy bones”

In February of 1810, Caroline Murat was in Paris, shortly to depart to meet her soon-to-be sister-in-law Marie-Louise of Austria, and bring her back to France for her upcoming wedding to Napoleon. Meanwhile, Murat remained in Naples, unhappily preparing for his impending return to Paris, to attend that same wedding (which he’d advised against, imploring Napoleon to take a Russian bride instead).

During what was supposed to be a playful evening with the Emperor, Caroline suffered a minor injury. She described the incident to Joachim in the following letter from 24 February 1810.

(Source: Lettres et Documents Pour Servir à l’Histoire de Joachim Murat, Vol 8)


I finally received your news yesterday, your second letter from Rome, which told me of your departure for Naples, but not of your arrival. I hope today to receive the letter that tells me of that and which will probably be from Naples; you will speak to me of our children. I can conceive the joy of those poor little ones and their regret at not seeing me with you. Embrace them for me, their memory brings me to tears and my attachment for the Emperor alone can help me bear such a long absence.

We arrived yesterday evening at Rambouillet. The bad weather we had, interrupted the hunt.

The evening before yesterday, I had an accident that might have become a disaster, but was nothing more than a fright.

We were playing blind man’s buff in the Emperor’s apartments, when the hard and pointy forehead of Mme Duchatel came so unfortunately against my eye that the blow tripped me over. The Emperor supported me in his arms and prevented me from falling. The pain had been so bad that I gave a sharp cry and believed my eye was out of its socket. The Emperor, full of kindness, frightened for my situation, immediately called Ivan, who bathed my eye, put a poultice and a black blindfold on it, and soon I had the air of an invalid in the midst of the salon. The Emperor has showered me with attention, he came to see me, he has been anxious. Today, I have a great contusion, my eye is very black from extravasated blood, but I don’t have any pain. I am aggrieved to have to tell it to you, since you like Mme Duchatel, you find her to your tastes, but she has terribly pointy bones that hurt a lot. Indeed, the poor woman has been desolate to see me in this state by her fault.

Don’t be too worried about my accident. By the time you receive this letter, it won’t be visible anymore.

I share with you sincerely the desire you have to see me again and I hope that it will be soon. The Emperor speaks to me of you always with kindness and often asks me if you still make verses, he counts on seeing you here at the time of the wedding. I cannot repeat enough how kind he has been to me.

Embrace our children very tenderly, how fortunate you are to see them night and day!



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