Napoleon may have marched to victory over most of Europe, but prior to Waterloo he met with his first defeat in Josephine`s bed on his wedding night.
They married on the 9th of March 1796 following a small civil ceremony. Later that night as they returned to her apartment, Napoleon noticed Josephine`s pampered dog, an ugly pug called Fortune, sitting right in the middle of the bed. Antoine Vincent Arnault, a confidante of Napoleon recounts in his Souvenirs (1833) that the Little Corporal
…wanted to boot him off; a hopeless wish. He was told that he must resolve to sleep elsewhere or agree to share. That annoyed him quite a bit, but it was “take it or leave it”. So he resigned himself to it….
Napoleon and Josephine then went about their bedroom business, when suddenly the future Emperor of France let out a cry. Was it a cry of passion? Unfortunately not, Fortune had sunk his teeth into Napoleon’s leg.
The story is taken up by M. de Ravine`s memoirs which are quoted in Guy Breton`s Napoleon and His Ladies (1965)
“All night the disappointed Josephine had to put compresses on her invalid`s wound. He huddled in the bed and loudly moaned that he was dying of rabies”.