It is a reflection of human nature that for some an easy conquest holds lower value than a difficult one. The power of the coquette is in enticing her victim whilst herself turning away, thus making her prey come to her. She is mistress of arousing insecurity by using her inconsistency, and knows that should her quarry become angry, this is a sign he is under her spell.
"She who would long retain her power must use her lover ill."
"Josephine had to deal with a conqueror and that love resembles war. She did not surrender, she let herself be conquered. Had she been more tender, more attentive, more loving, perhaps Bonaparte would have loved her less."
A vicomtesse, during the French revolution she narrowly escaped execution. Josephine was languorous, exotic and sensuous with a reputation as a loose woman, whilst Napoleon was shy and believed in marriage. She invited Napoleon into her glittering social circle, and although he felt uncomfortable amongst the great writers and wits, she singled him out and thus made him feel special. She wrote him passionate letters, but when he called she seemed cold and reserved…and so the challenge was issued to a man who loved nothing better than a battle.
|Hortense - Josephine's daughter.|
"You are the constant object of my thoughts. My imagination exhausts itself in guessing what you are doing."
But she wrote back infrequently and her letters lacked passion, which drove him to distraction. Napoleon threw this frustration into war against the enemy, whilst his letters to his wife became ever more desperate.
"I work to get near you; I kill myself to reach you."
|A less flattering portrait of Napoleon.|
"Never has a woman been in such complete mastery of another's heart."
Despite rumours of Josephine taking lovers, Napoleon eventually made her empress and on his deathbed, reportedly the last word he uttered was: