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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pauline Borghese Part 2

Female detractors aside, Pauline soon had, to no one's surprise,a collection of male admirers.

So soon thereafter the incident at the ball, Leclerc was posted abroad & Pauline promptly began having affairs with 3 different men at the same time. They were:General Moreau, the former French Army leader in Germany; the Governor of Versailles, General Etienne-Jacques MacDonald; & finally the man who would become Marquis de Beurnonville, general Pierre de Ruel. Now all three men knew each other & were good friends, yet they all claimed to be ignorant of Pauline seeing all of them at once.That is until she started spreading nasty comment that one of her lovers had made about another. So with this happening the 3 generals met together & compared notes & found out the truth. So in turn they dumped Pauline.

  In 1800, after Napoleon's bloodless coup of France, Leclerc & Pauline, both who were ambitious about his career, were sent to Dijon.  The following year as Lieutenant General of the Army of the Observation of the Gironde, headed for Spain, resulting in little glory. Which did not sit well with Pauline for her sister who was two years younger, Caroline, her husband another one of Napoleon's aides was accelerating while Victor Leclerc's was stalled.

  In 1801 Napoleon recalled Leclerc from his post at Gironde & sent him, Pauline went as well, to Haiti to put down the rebellion that was led by Toussaint L'Ouverture. Once Leclerc regained control of the island he stayed on to govern on France's behalf. Now the gossip about Pauline was going full tilt in Paris. Everything from her promiscuity, including a three way with two other women& lovers of all colors & gender, to interest in the occult. Many of these allegations was part of a smear campaign by the British against napoleon & his family.

    Unfortunately Leclerc's  glory was short lived. For he contracted yellow fever in October of 1802 & even with a short rally he died 10 days later at the age of thirty. At age 22 Pauline was a widowed mother of a 4 year old son.

  Under the Napoleonic Civil Code a woman had to remain in mourning for 10 months. As usual this was not a concern for Pauline because she had a long line of suitors for her hand & admirers. She was also able to connive from her brother, though she inherited  70,000 francs from her husbands will, 300,00 francs in exchange for an elaborate carriage she had previously wanted in order to compete with Caroline. Still young & restless Pauline chaffed at the rules of widowhood & longed to get back into society.


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