Samuel Bernard's Papers

If you've come to this page, you were either curious, or you've finished reading Six Songs For Bonaparte.

Either way, enjoy browsing through a small selection of the authentic documents that form the inspiration and backbone of Six Songs For Bonaparte, Samuel's fictionalised story.

"... a box full of old letters and documents ..." - p. 381


The novel's inception explained in the Author's Note. On the desk, the two ledgers with copies of Samuel's correspondence spanning the years 1841 to 1849.

"Classrooms are never empty ..." - p. 7

Extract from a letter written by Samuel's widow, suggesting he was responsible for teaching Bonaparte chemistry.

"My dear old fellow student and traveller ..." - p.17

A letter, dated 21 Sept. 1848, from Samuel to Jomard, announcing he's retiring, leaving Paris and selling his copy of the Description de l'Egypte, worth about a year's salary back then, and a small fortune today.

"... a most particular need of your talents ..." - p. 22

The summons for the expedition, stating to "be ready to leave at first orders to go to Bordeaux." And from Bordeaux to...? Only a handful knew; for everyone else it was blind commitment, a step in the dark.

"... in charge of the Cairo Mint." - p.107

Letter of recommendation, signed by Finance Director Poussielgue, praising the young Director of the Mint, Samuel Bernard.

"And to think he had volunteered for this." - p. 338

Letter from the Chief Pharmacist accepting Samuel's voluntary service aboard the hospital ship Le Causse during the siege of Alexandria.

"My transfer from Annecy to Rochefort ..." - p. 360

Samuel's official appointment as Sub-prefect of Rochefort.

"... the script of a practiced hand." - p. 383

Chateaubriand's letter, dated 11 September 1834, apparently seeking financial help from Samuel Bernard. 

"... time to pulp the past." - p. 123


Letter to the cardboard manufacturer Arnoud, dated 13 January 1848, to pulp a large quantity of private papers under Samuel's personal supervision. A second letter to Arnoud appears in the ledger on 4 January 1949. We'll never know what was in those papers ...

... but "... I took the liberty of colouring the blanks with the curiosity of an innocent and carefree child." - p. 383

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