“Alexandre Berthier, one of Napoleon’s Marshals and the great organizer of the marches of the Army-Corps, tried his hand at organizing a shoot in order to please Napoleon. Every detail for the day’s sport was worked out with the same meticulous accuracy with which the Grande Armée had been swept from Boulogne to Austerlitz.
The carriages arrived on the stroke at the Tuileries, the beaters were ready, the keepers in their best clothes, a beautiful lunch waiting to be eaten, and a thousand rabbits, brought the night before and dumped in the park, waiting to be shot. But poor, ugly little Berthier made one trivial mistake. Instead of buying wild rabbits, he bought tame ones and did not know that they were accustomed to be fed twice a day.
When the Emperor took his gun in hand and advanced into the park, the rabbits, all thousand of them, mistook him for the man who provided their daily lettuce, and leapt to their feet and charged towards him. Berthier and his staff beat them off with horse-whips, but the rabbits, who were more expert in the Napoleonic warfare than some of the Marshals, wheeled round on both flanks and actually reached the Emperor’s carriage before the Emperor could mount and drive off back to Paris.”
Just one of the 300 interesting snippets from the history of the everfascinating man and his career...
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Illustrations: 32 b/w illustrations