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  • Pretending not to see.

    I found this cryptic remark, attributed to Napoleon, "On déjoue beaucoup de choses en feignant de ne pas les voir." -- "One can avoid a lot of things by pretending not to see." -- here: http://marie-antoinette.forumactif.o...rice-gueniffey.

    The author of the thread says that the meaning of the phrase depends on the context, I agree. I don't even know whether Napoleon was in favor or against "pretending not to see."

    Does anyone know the source and content of this remark?

    Cheers,
    Phil
    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them.

    Rest easy.

  • #2
    I wonder if he nicked the concept from a certain famous half blind sailor?
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MarkV View Post
      I wonder if he nicked the concept from a certain famous half blind sailor?
      Ahh, at Copenhagen Nelson's response to Parker's order to retreat is classic:

      "You know, Foley, I only have one eye — I have the right to be blind sometimes," and then, holding his telescope to his blind eye, said "I really do not see the signal!"

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MarkV View Post
        I wonder if he nicked the concept from a certain famous half blind sailor?
        Or Blind Mellon Chittlin'?
        Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
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        • #5
          Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
          Or Blind Mellon Chittlin'?
          Who he?
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

          Comment


          • #6
            The first question is did Napoleon actually say it?

            The second question is in what context?

            This seems to be in the line of Napoleon's alleged nickname of 'The Little Corporal' (he was neither short and never a corporal) which over the many years I've studied Napoleon I've never seen it attributed to the soldiers of the Grande Armee who definitely did have nicknames for Napoleon, such as:

            -Le Tondu (the Shorn One, used after he cut his hair a la Titus).

            -John of the Sword.

            -Father Violet.
            We are not now that strength which in old days
            Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
            Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
            To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Massena View Post
              The first question is did Napoleon actually say it?

              The second question is in what context?

              This seems to be in the line of Napoleon's alleged nickname of 'The Little Corporal' (he was neither short and never a corporal) which over the many years I've studied Napoleon I've never seen it attributed to the soldiers of the Grande Armee who definitely did have nicknames for Napoleon, such as:

              -Le Tondu (the Shorn One, used after he cut his hair a la Titus).

              -John of the Sword.

              -Father Violet.
              Was not the Little Corporal a nickname from the Army of Italy rather than the GA ?

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              • #8
                le petit caporal, because this rank was supposedly the most difficult to obtain, and only after an act of bravery. It was a compliment and a sign of confidence from his men.

                I guess the "petit" term was refering to his young age.
                "To hell wars Grudges and parties ! As our fathers Sing in real friends, The clink of glasses Roses and lilies. The clink of glasses Roses and lilies."

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                • #9
                  Le Petit Caporal was the title of a short story about Napoleon apparently written in Victorian times and possibly by an English author. In it Napoleon dresses in a corporal's uniform and performs a night's sentry duty in order to determine short comings in the uniform that needed correcting. I remember reading it in an old book at my grandparents' house back in the early 50s. It purported to show his great care for his troops.
                  I suspect that, like the Bowmen of Ypres short story that gave rise to the Angel of Mons myth, this is a case of fiction becoming part of folk lore.
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by History fan View Post
                    Was not the Little Corporal a nickname from the Army of Italy rather than the GA ?
                    I don't think so...I have not seen anything that would support that idea.
                    We are not now that strength which in old days
                    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                    Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                    To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      After the victory at Lodi, he is nicknamed 'le petit caporal' (= the Little Corporal)







                      "To hell wars Grudges and parties ! As our fathers Sing in real friends, The clink of glasses Roses and lilies. The clink of glasses Roses and lilies."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by VieuxChat View Post
                        After the victory at Lodi, he is nicknamed 'le petit caporal' (= the Little Corporal)
                        Nice illustrations but do you have any contemporary evidence?
                        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                          Nice illustrations but do you have any contemporary evidence?
                          There is no evidence.
                          "To hell wars Grudges and parties ! As our fathers Sing in real friends, The clink of glasses Roses and lilies. The clink of glasses Roses and lilies."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by VieuxChat View Post
                            After the victory at Lodi, he is nicknamed 'le petit caporal' (= the Little Corporal)

                            I heard he got during the Siege of Toulon when Napoleon personally set and aimed the first battery of siege guns.

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                            • #15
                              But is there evidence for it?

                              That's the issue.
                              We are not now that strength which in old days
                              Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                              Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                              To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                              Comment

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