The Emperor’s Hat


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“That hat alone is worth twenty thousand men,” observed Wellington. True, the site of the Emperor energized the troops. “Here is the legendary thing,” mumbled Metternich, examining Napoleon’s head gear in 1815. He’s been a little disappointed. There was nothing unique about what he held in his hands. Napoleon took four of the same to Saint Helena, and from 1800 till 1813 went through 1200 of them; furthermore, the hat served in the army before, during, and after him. We would not exaggerate by stating that Napoleon was surrounded by the very same hats: everyone, that is everyone who escorted him, had one; and yet he invented the thing, at least by the way he wore it, which was precisely the opposite to the manner everyone else did. We could say that he put his baseball cap backwards, or rather 90°. This created that iconic silhouette, recognized by the army from a great distance; and the moment the soldiers saw their commander on the battle field, they were in a state of euphoria. And the enemy? In the end we are forced to give the provocative idea a little consideration: What if the enemy is right, and Napoleon could send his hat to win the battles?

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About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
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