Expedient of Conjugal Affection





Napoleon used to relate an anecdote
shewing the conjugal affection of some women who accompanied his troops

when he was at Col de Tende. To enter this mountainous and difficult

country, it was necessary for the soldiers to pass over a narrow bridge,

and, as the enterprise was a hazardous one, Napoleon had given orders that

no women should be permitted to cross it with them. To enforce this order,

two captains were stationed on the bridge with instructions, on pain of

death, not to suffer a woman to pass. The passage was effected, and the

troops continued their march. When some miles beyond the bridge, the

Emperor was greatly astonished at the appearance of a considerable number

of women with the soldiers. He immediately ordered the two captains to be

put under arrest, intending to have them tried for a breach of duty. The

prisoners protested their innocence, and stoutly asserted that no women had

crossed the bridge. Napoleon, on hearing this, commanded that some of the

women should be brought before him, when he interrogated them on the

subject. To his utter surprise they readily acknowledged that the captains

had not betrayed their trust, but that a contrivance of their own had

brought them into their present situation. They informed Napoleon, that

having taken the provisions, which had been prepared for the support of the

army, out of some of the casks, they had concealed themselves in them, and

by this stratagem succeeded in passing the bridge without discovery.





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