Friday, September 21, 2007

Lasalle Writes again, Remains Convinced the Army will be Relieved

From: Copies of original letters from the army of General Bonaparte in Egypt, intercepted by the fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Nelson. With an English translation (London, J. Wright, 1798-1800, 3 vols.), vol. 2, pp. 117-119.


Grand Cairo (20 Therimdor), August 7th.

C. LASALLE, Chief Of brigade, &c. &c. to his JOSEPHINE.

I HAVE not yet heard from you, my much regretted Josephine. Some how or other, the three couriers which had reached Malta in safety, were unfortunately dispatched from thence in the same vessel,--this was taken by the Englishs, and all the letters were thrown into the sea. It has swallowed worlds of wealth; but never yet a treasure that equaled, in my esteem, a single letter of yours!

I am on the eve of setting off with the 7th hussars, and my own regiment. General Bonaparte, who overwhelms me with kindness and attention, has just given me command of them. We are going to meet a caravan which the Mameloucs have seized, and which is very valuable. We shall certainly have a struggle for it; but good fortune, and you, who have hitherto protected me, will assuredly preserve me once more.

You ought to have received three of my letters from Malta, and one from Alexandria: this is now the second from Cairo. I cannot write to you oftener. I am absolutely worn out with constant exertions to organize my new corps, which is in a most wretched state.

Your brother regards me with kindness, because you are not here: would it were the reverse! How is my bantling? What a sweet little fellow he will be when I see him again?—YES, I SHALL SOON RETURN—GENERAL BONAPARTE HAS PROMISED THAT FRESH TROOPS SHALL SPEEDILY ARRIVE FROM FRANCE TO RELIEVE US. But then how ugly shall I be! The heat has turned us all as black as crows; and, to complete my misfortunes, I have lost all my hair.

How do you proceed in your pregnancy?—Good heavens! How distressing it is to live in a state of constant uncertainty respecting all that is dear to me!

The days of happiness are passed, if I cease to exert myself but for a moment, my mind becomes a prey to the most gloomy reflections. I weep, and no one partakes my grief. I have not a single acquaintance in the regiment, nor a friend in the country. Poor Charles! Thou hast lost every thing in losing they Josephine. Do you at least regret me, and I shall not be wholly miserable. I may forget that I have been happy beyond the lot of human nature,--but to forget that you are my best loved, or to think of living without you, is what can never enter into my mind.

Adieu:--my horse is at the door. I send you a thousand kisses.

Your own



[British Translators' Notes]

(1)We ought not to dismiss C. Lasalle without remarking, that his regiment (according to the General’s dispatches) behaved extremely well. Charles himself, Bonaparte adds, “dropped his sword in charging: he alighted to recover it, and was happy enough to regain his seat just as one of the most intrepid of the Mameloucs was about to attack him.” We conclude from this, that he escaped: his regiment, as we have already observed, was cut to pieces.

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