BERTRAND, Fanny Wife of Count Henri-Gatien Bertrand, with Napoleon at his death.
Autograph Letter Signed in French to an unnamed correspondent, 3 pages 4to, Longwood, 18 April 1819. Charging her correspondent with various domestic tasks, including securing the services of a nursery-maid, stipulating that she be 'une personne ... sans prétensions' and giving family news.
Fanny Bertrand's children were particular favourites of Napoleon, who was missing his own son and who developed a great fondness for all the children of his staff at St Helena. Young Hortense Bertrand was the recipient of a bon-bon box that had belonged to Napoleon's sister Pauline, while her brother Napoleon Bertrand received a drum and her brother Arthur was given the money to buy a pony. The Bertrand family lived about a mile from Longwood, where the deposed emperor lodged, but, as is obvious from this letter, they all spent a great deal of time at Longwood.
Napoleon's exile on St Helena lasted from 1815 until his death in 1821. The present letter therefore dates from the middle of this period.
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