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 Samuel Bernard's fictionalised story.

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"... a box full of old letters and documents ..." - p. 475

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.

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

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

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"My dear old fellow student and traveller ..." - p.19

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.

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"... a most particular need of your talents ..." - p. 26

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.

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"... in charge of the Cairo Mint." - p.131

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

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"And to think he had volunteered for this." - p. 421

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

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"My transfer from Annecy to Rochefort ..." - p. 450

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

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"... the script of a practiced hand." - p. 478

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

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"Time to pulp the past."

- p. 153

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 ...

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Six Songs for Bonaparte

J.L.