The Boy Life of Napoleon
Part 1 out of 3
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David Widger
and PG Distributed Proofreaders
BOY LIFE OF NAPOLEON
Afterwards Emperor Of The French
_Adapted And Extended For American Boys And Girls From The French Of_
Madame Eugénie Foa
Author Of "Little Princes And Princesses Young Warriors,"
"Little Robinson," Etc.
Illustrated By Vesper L George
The name of Madame Eugenie Foa has been a familiar one in French homes
for more than a generation. Forty years ago she was the most popular
writer of historical stories and sketches, especially designed for the
boys and girls of France. Her tone is pure, her morals are high, her
teachings are direct and effective. She has, besides, historical
accuracy and dramatic action; and her twenty books for children have
found welcome and entrance into the most exclusive of French homes. The
publishers of this American adaptation take pleasure in introducing
Madame Foa's work to American boys and girls, and in this Napoleonic
renaissance are particularly favored in being able to reproduce her
excellent story of the boy Napoleon.
The French original has been adapted and enlarged in the light of recent
research, and all possible sources have been drawn upon to make a
complete and rounded story of Napoleon's boyhood upon the basis
furnished by Madame Foa's sketch. If this glimpse of the boy Napoleon
shall lead young readers to the study of the later career of this
marvellous man, unbiased by partisanship, and swayed neither by hatred
nor hero worship, the publishers will feel that this presentation of the
opening chapters of his life will not have been in vain.
_In Napoleon's Grotto_
_The Canon's Pears_
_Bread and Water_
_A Wrong Righted_
_The Battle with the Shepherd Boys_
_Good-bye to Corsica_
_At the Preparatory School_
_The Lonely School-Boy_
_In Napoleon's Garden_
_Friends and Foes_ CHAPTER TWELVE.
_The Great Snow-tall Fight at Brienne School_
_Recommended for Promotion_
_Napoleon goes to Parts_
_A Trouble over Pocket Money_
_By the Wall of the Soldiers' Home_
_The Little Corporal_
"_Long Live the Emperor!_"
THE BOY LIFE OF NAPOLEON.
IN NAPOLEON'S GROTTO.
On a certain August day, in the year 1776, two little girls were
strolling hand in hand along the pleasant promenade that leads from the
queer little town of Ajaccio out into the open country.
The town of Ajaccio is on the western side of the beautiful island of
Corsica, in the Mediterranean Sea. Back of it rise the great mountains,
white with snowy tops; below it sparkles the Mediterranean, bluest of
blue water. There are trees everywhere; there are flowers all about; the
air is fragrant with the odor of fruit and foliage; and it was through
this scented air, and amid these beautiful flowers, that these two
little girls were wandering idly, picking here and there to add to their
big bouquets, that August day so many years ago.
Every now and then the little girls would stop their flower-picking to
cool off; for, though the August sun was hot, the western breezes came
fresh across the wide Gulf of Ajaccio, down to whose shores ran broad
and beautiful avenues of chestnut-trees, through which one could catch a
glimpse, like a beautiful picture, of the little island of Sanguinarie,
three miles away from shore.
As they came out from the shadow of the chestnut-trees, one of the
little girls suddenly caught her companion's arm, and, pointing at an
opening in a pile of rocks that overlooked the sea, she said,--
"Oh, what is this, Eliza?--an oven?"
"An oven, silly! Why, what do you mean?" Eliza answered. "Who would
build an oven here, tell me?"
"But it opens like an oven," her friend declared. "See, it has a great
mouth, as if to swallow one. Perhaps some of the black elves live there,
that Nurse Camilla told us of. Do you think so, Eliza?"
"What a baby you are, Panoria!" Eliza replied, with the superior air of
one who knows all about things. "That is no oven; nor is it a black
elf's house. It is Napoleon's grotto."
"Napoleon's!" cried Panoria. "And who gave it to him, then? Your great
uncle, the Canon Lucien?"
"No one gave it to him, child," Eliza replied. "Napoleon found it in the
rocks, and teased Uncle Joey Fesch to fix it up for him. Uncle Joey did
so, and Napoleon comes here so often now that we call it Napoleon's
"Does he come here all alone?" asked Panoria.
"Alone? Of course," answered Eliza. "Why should he not? He is big
"No; I mean does he not let any of you come here with him?"
"That he will not!" replied Eliza. "Napoleon is such an odd boy! He will
have no one but Uncle Joey Fesch come into his grotto, and that is only
when he wishes Uncle Joey to teach him the primer. Brother Joseph tried
to come in here one day, and Napoleon beat him and bit him, until Joseph
was glad to run out, and has never since gone into the grotto."
"What if we should go in there, Eliza?" queried Panoria.
"Oh, never think of it!" cried Eliza. "Napoleon would never forgive us,
and his nails are sharp."
"And what does he do in his grotto?" asked the inquisitive Panoria.
"Oh, he talks to himself," Eliza replied.
"My! but that is foolish," cried Panoria; "and stupid too."
"Then, so are you to say so," Eliza retorted. "I tell you what is true.
My brother Napoleon comes here every day. He stays in his grotto for
hours. He talks to himself. I know what I am saying for I have come here
lots and lots of times just to listen. But I do not let him see me, or
he would drive me away."
"Is he in there now?" inquired Panoria with curiosity.
"I suppose so; he always is," replied Eliza.
"Let us hide and listen, then," suggested Panoria. "I should like to
know what he can say when he talks to himself. Boys are bad enough,
anyway; but a boy who just talks to himself must be crazy."
Eliza was hardly ready to agree to her little friend's theory, so she
said, "Wait here, Panoria, and I will go and peep into the grotto to see
if Napoleon is there."
"Yes, do so," assented Panoria; "and I will run down to that garden and
pick more flowers. See, there are many there."
"Oh, no, you must not," Eliza objected; "that is my uncle the Canon
"Well, and is your uncle the canon's garden more sacred than any one
else's garden?" questioned Panoria flippantly.
"What a goosie you are to ask that! Of course it is," declared Eliza.
"But why?" Panoria persisted.
"Why?" echoed Eliza; "just because it is. It is the garden of my great
uncle the Canon Lucien; that is why."
"It is, because it is! That is nothing," Panoria protested. "If I could
not give a better reason"--"It is not my reason, Panoria," Eliza broke
in. "It is Mamma Letitia's; therefore it must be right."
"Well, I don't care," Panoria declared; "even if it is your mamma's, it
is--but how is it your mamma's?" she asked, changing protest to inquiry.
"Why, we hear it whenever we do anything," replied Eliza. "If they
wish to stop our play, they say, 'Stop! you will give your uncle the
headache.' If we handle anything we should not, they say, 'Hands off!
that belongs to your uncle the canon.' If we ask for a peach, they tell
us, 'No! it is from the garden of your uncle the canon.' If they give us
a hug or a kiss, when we have done well, they say, 'Oh, your uncle the
canon will be so pleased with you!' Was I not right? Is not our uncle
the canon beyond all others?"
"Yes; to worry one," declared Panoria rebelliously. "But why? Is it
because he is canon of the cathedral here at Ajaccio that they are all
so afraid of him?"
"Afraid of him!" exclaimed Eliza indignantly. "Who is afraid of him? We
are not. But, you see, Papa Charles is not rich enough to do for us what
he would like. If he could but have the great estates in this island
which are his by right, he would be rich enough to do everything for us.
But some bad people have taken the land; and even though Papa Charles is
a count, he is not rich enough to send us all to school; so our uncle,
the Canon Lucien, teaches us many lessons. He is not cross, let me tell
you, Panoria; but he is--well, a little severe."
"What, then, does he whip you?" asked Panoria.
"No, he does not; but if he says we should be whipped, then Mamma
Letitia hands us over to Nurse Mina Saveria; and she, I promise you,
does not let us off from the whipping."
All this Eliza admitted as if with vivid recollections of the vigor of
Nurse Saveria's arm.
Panoria glanced toward the grotto amid the rocks.
"Does he--Napoleon--ever get whipped?" she asked.
"Indeed he does not," Eliza grumbled; "or not as often as the rest of
us," she added. "And when he is whipped he does not even cry. You should
hear Joseph, though. Joseph is the boy to cry; and so is Lucien. I'd be
ashamed to cry as they do. Why, if you touch those boys just with your
little finger, they go running to Mamma Letitia, crying that we've
scratched the skin off."
Panoria had her idea of such "cry-babies" of boys; but Napoleon
interested her most.
"But, Eliza," she said, "what does he say--Napoleon--when he talks to
himself in his grotto over there?"
"You shall hear," Eliza replied. "Let me go and peep in, to see if he is
there. But no; hush! See, here he comes! Come; we will hide behind the
lilac-bush, and hear what Napoleon says."
"But will not your nurse, Saveria, come to look for us?" asked Panoria,
who had not forgotten Eliza's reference to the nurse's heavy hand.
"Why, no; Saveria will be busy for an hour yet, picking fruit for our
table from my uncle the canon's garden. We have time," Eliza explained.
So the two little girls hid themselves behind the lilac-bushes that
grew beside the rocks in which was the little cave which they called
Napoleon's grotto. The bush concealed them from view; two pairs of
wideopen black eyes peering curiously between the lilac-leaves were
the only signs of the mischievous young eavesdroppers.
The boy who was walking thoughtfully toward the grotto did not notice
the little girls. He was about seven years old. In fact, he was seven
that very day. For he was born in the big, bare house in Ajaccio, which
was his home, on the fifteenth of August, 1776.
He was an odd-looking boy. He was almost elf-like in appearance. His
head was big, his body small, his arms and legs were thin and spindling.
His long, dark hair fell about his face; his dress was careless and
disordered; his stockings had tumbled down over his shoes, and he looked
much like an untidy boy. But one scarcely noticed the dress of this boy.
It was his face that held the attention.
It was an Italian face; for this boy's ancestors had come, not so many
generations before, from the Tuscan town of Sarzana, on the Gulf of
Genoa--the very town from which "the brave Lord of Luna," of whom you
may read in Macaulay's splendid poem of "Horatius," came to the sack
of Rome. Save for his odd appearance, with his big head and his little
body, there was nothing to particularly distinguish the boy Napoleon
Bonaparte from other children of his own age.
Now and then, indeed, his face would show all the shifting emotions
of ambition, passion, and determination; and his eyes, though not
beautiful, had in them a piercing and commanding gleam that, with a
glance, could influence and attract his companions.
Whatever happened, these wonderful eyes--even in the boy--never lost the
power of control which they gave to their owner over those about him.
With a look through those eyes, Napoleon would appear to conceal his own
thoughts and learn those of others. They could flash in anger if need
be, or smile in approval; but, before their fixed and piercing glance,
even the boldest and most inquisitive of other eyes lowered their lids.
Of course this eye-power, as we might call it, grew as the boy grew; but
even as a little fellow in his Corsican home, this attraction asserted
itself, as many a playfellow and foeman could testify, from Joey Fesch,
his boy-uncle, to whom he was much attached, to Joseph his older
brother, with whom he was always quarrelling, and Giacommetta, the
little black-eyed girl, about whom the boys of Ajaccio teased him.
The little girls behind the lilac-bush watched the boy curiously.
"Why does he walk like that?" asked Panoria, as she noted Napoleon's
advance. He came slowly, his eyes fixed on the sea, his hands clasped
behind his back.
"Our uncle the canon," whispered Eliza; "he walks just that way, and
Napoleon copies him."
"My, he looks about fifty!" said Panoria. "What do you suppose he is
"Not about us, be sure," Eliza declared.
"I believe he's dreaming," said mischievous Panoria; "let us scream out,
and see if we can frighten him."
"Silly! you can't frighten Napoleon," Eliza asserted, clapping a hand
over her companion's mouth. "But he could frighten you. I have tried
Napoleon stood a moment looking seaward, and tossed back his long hair,
as if to bathe his forehead in the cooling breezes. Then entering the
grotto, he flung himself on its rocky floor, and, leaning his head upon
his hand, seemed as lost in meditation as any gray old hermit of the
hills, all unconscious of the four black eyes which, filled with
curiosity and fun, were watching him from behind the lilac-bush.
[Illustration: _At Napoleon's Grotto_]
"Here, at least," the boy said, speaking aloud, as if he wished the
broad sea to share his thoughts, "here I am master, here I am alone;
here no one can command or control me. I am seven years old to-day.
One is not a man at seven; that I know. But neither is one a child when
he has my desires. Our uncle, the Canon Lucien, tells me that Spartan
boys were taken away from the women when they were seven years old, and
trained by men. I wish I were a Spartan. There are too many here to say
what I may and may not do,--Mamma Letitia, our uncle the canon, Papa
Charles, Nurse Saveria, Nurse Camilla, to say nothing of my boy-uncle
Fesch, my brother Joseph, and sister Eliza; Uncle Joey Fesch is but four
years older than I, my brother Joseph is but a year older, and Eliza is
a year younger! Even little Pauline has her word to put in against me.
Bah! why should they? If now I were but the master at home, as I am
"Well, hermit! and what if you were the master?" cried Eliza from the
The two girls had kept silence as long as they could; and now, to keep
Panoria from speaking out, Eliza had interrupted with her question.
With that, they both ran into the grotto.
Napoleon was silent a moment, as if protesting against this invasion of
his privacy. Then he said,--"If I were the master, Eliza, I would make
you both do penance for listening at doors;" for it especially mortified
this boy to be overheard talking to himself.
"But here are no doors, Napoleon!" cried Eliza, whirling about in the
"So much the worse, then," Napoleon returned hotly. "When there are no
doors, one should be even more careful about intruding."
"Pho! hear the little lord," teased Eliza. "One would think he was the
Emperor what's his name, or the Grand Turk."
Napoleon was about to respond still more sharply, when just then a
shrill voice rang through the grotto.
"Eliza; Panoria! Panoria; Eliza!" the call came. "Where are you,
runaways? Where are you hidden?"
"Here we are, Saveria," Eliza cried in reply, but making no move to
Napoleon would have put the girls out, but the next moment a tall and
stout young woman appeared at the entrance of the grotto. She was
dressed in black, with a black shawl draped over her high hair, and held
by a silver pin. On her arm she carried a large basket filled with
fine fruit,--pears, grapes, and figs. "So here you are, in Napoleon's
grotto!" exclaimed Saveria the nurse, dropping with her basket on the
ground. "Why did you run from me, naughty ones?"
Napoleon noted the basket's luscious contents.
"Oh, a pear! Give me a pear, Saveria!" he cried, springing toward the
nurse, and thrusting a hand into the basket.
But Nurse Saveria hastily drew away the basket.
"Why, child, child! what are you doing?" she exclaimed. "These are your
uncle the canon's."
Napoleon withdrew his hand as sharply as if a bee amid the fruit had
"Ah, is it so?" he cried; but Panoria, not having before her eyes the
fear of the Bonapartes' bugbear, "their uncle the canon," laughed
"What funny people you all are!" she exclaimed. "One needs but to cry,
'Your uncle the canon,' and down you all tumble like a house of cards.
What! is Saveria, too, afraid of him?"
"No more than I am," said Napoleon stoutly.
"No more than you!" laughed Panoria. "Why, Napoleon, you did not dare to
even touch the pears of your uncle the canon."
"Because I did not wish to, Panoria," replied Napoleon.
"Did not dare to," corrected Panoria.
"Did not wish to," insisted Napoleon.
"Well, wish it! I dare you to wish it!" cried Panoria, while Eliza
looked on horrified at her little friend's suggestion.
By this time Saveria had led the children from the grotto, and, walking
on ahead, was returning toward their home. She did not hear Panoria's
"You may dare me," Napoleon replied to the challenge of Panoria; "but if
I do not wish it, you gain nothing by daring me."
"Ho! you are afraid, little boy!" cried Panoria.
"I afraid?" and Napoleon turned his piercing glance upon the little
girl, so that she quailed before it.
But Panoria was an obstinate child, and she returned to the charge.
"But if you did wish it, would you do it, Napoleon?" she asked. "Of
course," the boy replied.
"Oh, it is easy to brag," said Panoria; "but when your great man, your
uncle the canon, is around, you are no braver, I'll be bound, than
little Pauline, or even Eliza here."
By this time Eliza, too, had grown brave; and she said stoutly to her
friend, "What! I am not brave, you say? You shall see."
Then as Saveria, turning, bade them hurry on, Eliza caught Panoria's
hand, and ran toward the nurse; but as she did so, she said to Panoria,
boastingly and rashly,--
"Come into our house! If I do not eat some of those very pears out
of that very basket of our uncle the canon's, then you may call me a
"Would you then dare?" cried Panoria. "I'll not believe it unless I see
Eliza was "in for it" now. "Then you shall see me!" she declared. "Come
to my house. Mamma Letitia is away visiting, and I shall have the best
chance. I promise you; you shall see."
"Hurry, then," said Panoria. "It is better than braving the black elves,
this that you are to do, Eliza. For truly I think your uncle the canon
must be an ogre."
"You shall see," Eliza declared again; and, running after Nurse Saveria,
they were soon in the narrow street in which, standing across the way
from a little park, was the big, bare, yellowish-gray, four-story house
in which lived the Bonaparte family, always hard pushed for money, and
having but few of the fine things which so large a house seemed to call
for. Indeed, they would have had scarcely anything to live on had it not
been for this same important relative, "our uncle, the Canon Lucien,"
who spent much of his yearly salary of fifteen hundred dollars upon this
family of his nephew, "Papa Charles," one of whom was now about to make
a raid upon his picked and particular pears.
THE CANON'S PEARS,
When the little girls had left him, Napoleon remained for some moments
standing in the mouth of his grotto. His hands were clasped behind his
back, his head was bent, his eyes were fixed upon the sea.
This, as I have told you, was a favorite attitude of the little boy,
copied from his uncle the canon; it remained his favorite attitude
through life, as almost any picture of this remarkable man will convince
The boy was always thoughtful. But this day he was especially so. For he
knew that it was his birthday; and while not so much notice was taken of
children's birthdays when Napoleon was a boy as is now the custom, still
a birthday _was_ a birthday.
So the day set the little fellow to thinking; and, young as he was, he
had yet much to remember.
He felt that he ought to be as rich and important as the other boys
whom he knew round about Ajaccio There were Andrew Pozzo and Charles
Abbatucci, for example. They had everything they wished, their fathers
were rich and powerful; and they made fun of him, calling him "little
frowsy head," and "down at the heel," just because his mother could not
always look after his clothes, and keep him neat and clean.
Napoleon could not see why they should be better off than was he. His
father, Charles Bonaparte, was, he had heard them say at home, a count,
but of what good was it to be a count, or a duke, if one had not palaces
and treasure to show for it?
Napoleon knew that the big and bare four-story house in which he lived
was by no means a palace; and so far from having any treasures to spend,
he knew, instead, that if it were not for the help of their uncle, the
Canon Lucien, they would often go hungry in the big house on the little
But there was one consolation. If he was badly off, so, too, were many
other boys and girls in that Mediterranean island. For when Napoleon
Bonaparte was a boy, there was much trouble in Corsica. That rocky,
sea-washed, forest-crowned island of mountains and valleys, queer
customs and brave people, had been in rebellion, against its
masters--first, the republic of Genoa, and then against France.
[Illustration: House In Which Napoleon Was Born]
[Illustration: The Mother of Napoleon]
[Illustration: The Father of Napoleon]
[Illustration: Room In Which Napoleon Was Born]
Napoleon's father, Charles Bonaparte, had been a Corsican politician and
patriot, a follower of the great Corsican leader, Paoli, who had spent
many years of a glorious life in trying to lead his fellow-Corsicans to
liberty and self-government. But the attempt had been a failure; and
three months before the baby Napoleon was born, Charles Bonaparte had,
with other Corsican leaders, given up the struggle. He submitted to the
French power, took the oath of allegiance, and became a French citizen.
And thus it came to pass that little Napoleon Bonaparte, though an
Italian by blood and family, was really by birth a French citizen.
Still, all that did not help him much, if, indeed, he thought anything
about it as he stood in his grotto looking out to sea. He was thinking
of other things,--of how he would like to be great and strong and rich,
so that he could be a leader of other boys, rather than be teased by
them; for little Napoleon Bonaparte did not take kindly to being teased,
but would get very angry at his tormentors, and would bite and scratch
and fight like any little savage. He had, as a child, what is known as
an ungovernable temper, although he was able to keep it under control
until the moment came when he could both say and do to his own
satisfaction. He loved his father and mother; he loved his brothers and
sisters; he loved his uncle, the Canon Lucien; he loved, more than all
his other playmates and companions, his boy-uncle, fat, twelve-year-old
Joey Fesch, who had taught him his letters, and been his admirer and
follower from babyhood.
But though he loved them all, he loved his own way best; and he was
bound to have it, however much his father might talk, his mother chide,
or his uncle the canon correct him. So, as he stood in the grotto,
remembering that on that day he was seven years old, he determined to
let all his family see that he knew what he wished to become and do.
He would show them, he declared, that he was a little boy, a baby, no
longer; they should know that he was a boy who would be a man long
before other boys grew up, and would then show his family that they had
never really understood him.
At last he turned away and walked slowly toward home. The Bonaparte
house was, as I have told you, a big, bare, four-story, yellow-gray
house. It stood on a little narrow street, now called, after Napoleon's
mother, Letitia Place, in the town of Ajaccio. The street was not over
eight or ten feet wide; but opposite to the house was a little park that
allowed the Bonapartes to get both light and air--something that would
otherwise be hard to obtain in a street only ten feet wide.
Tired and thirsty from his walk through the sunshine of the hot August
afternoon, the boy started for the dining-room for a drink of water. As
he opened the door in his quick, impetuous way, he heard a noise as of
some one startled and fleeing. The swinging sash of the long French
window opposite him shut with a bang, and Napoleon had a glimpse of a
bit of white skirt, caught for an instant on the window-fastening.
"Ah, ha! it was not a bird, then, that fluttering," he said. "It was a
girl. One of my sisters. Now, which one, I wonder? and why did she run?
I do not care to catch her. It is no sport playing with girls."
So little curiosity did he have in the matter, that he did not follow on
the track of the fugitive, nor even go to the window to look out; but,
walking up to the sideboard, he opened it to take the water-pitcher and
get a drink.
As he did so, he started. There stood the basket of fruit which Saveria
had filled so carefully with fruit for his uncle the canon. But now the
basket was only half filled. Who had taken the fruit?
He clapped his hands together in surprise; for the fruit of his uncle
the canon was something no one in the house dared to touch. Punishment
swift and sure would descend upon the culprit.
"But, look!" he said half-aloud; "who has dared to touch the fruit of
my uncle the canon? Touch it? My faith! they have taken half of it. Ah,
that skirt! Could it have been--it must have been one of my sisters. But
As he stood thus wondering, his eyes still fixed upon the rifled basket
of fruit, he heard behind him a voice that tried to be harsh and stern,
calling his name.
"Napoleon!" cried the new-comer, "what are you doing at the sideboard?
and why have you opened it? You know we have forbidden you to take
anything to eat before mealtime. What have you done?"
It was the voice of his uncle, the Canon Lucien. Napoleon, turning at
the question, met the glance of his uncle fastened upon him. The Canon
Lucien Bonaparte was a funny looking, fat little man, as bald as he
was good-natured,--and that was _very_ bald,--and with a smooth,
ordinary-appearing face, only remarkable for the same sharp, eagle-like
look that marked his nephew Napoleon when he, too, became a man.
Napoleon looked at his uncle the canon with indignation and denial on
his face. "Why, my uncle, I have taken nothing!" he declared.
Then suddenly he remembered how he had been discovered by his uncle
standing before the half-emptied basket of fruit. Could it be that the
old gentleman suspected him of pilfering? Would he dare accuse him of
At the thought his face flushed red and hot. For you must know, boys and
girls, that sometimes the fear of being suspected of a misdeed, even
when one is absolutely innocent, brings to the face the flush that is
considered a sign of guilt, and thus people are misunderstood and
wrongfully accused. When one is high-spirited this is more liable to
occur. It was so, at this moment, with the little Napoleon. His confused
air, his flushed face, even his look of indignant denial, joined as
evidence against him so strongly that his uncle the canon said sharply,
"Come, you, Napoleon! do not lie to me now."
At that remark all the boy's pride was on fire.
[Illustration: "'I never lie uncle, you know I never lie!' said
"I never lie, uncle; you know I never lie!" he cried hotly.
But Uncle Lucien was so certain of the boy's guilt that he mistook his
pride for impudence. And yet he was such a good-natured old fellow, and
loved his nieces and nephews so dearly, that he tried to soften and
belittle the theft of his precious fruit.
"No harm is done," he said, "if you but tell me what you have done. The
fruit can be replaced, and I will say nothing, though you know you are
forbidden to meddle with my fruit. But I do not love to see you doing
wrong. I will not tolerate a lie. I do not know just what you have done;
but if you will tell me the truth, I will--of course I will--pardon you.
Why did you take my fruit?"
"I took nothing, uncle," the boy declared. "It was"--then he stopped.
Suppose it had been taken by one of his sisters, or by Panoria, their
guest? The flutter of the departing skirt, as he came into the room,
assured him it was one of these. But which one? And why should he accuse
the little girls? It was not manly, and he wished to be a man.
More than this, he was angry to think that he had been suspected,
more angry yet to think he had been accused by good Uncle Lucien, and
furiously angry to think that his word was doubted; so he said nothing
"Ah, so! It was--you, then," the canon said, shaking his head in
"No; I did not say so!" exclaimed Napoleon. "It was not I."
"Take care, take care, my son," the canon said, very nearly losing his
temper over what he considered Napoleon's insincerity. "You cannot
deceive me. See! look at yourself in the glass. Your face betrays you.
It is red with shame."
"Then is my color a liar, uncle; but I am not," Napoleon insisted.
"What were you doing here, all alone?" asked his uncle.
"I was thirsty," replied the nephew. "I did but come for a drink of
"That perhaps is so," said Uncle Lucien. "There is no harm in that. You
came for a drink of water; but, how was it after that,--eh, my friend?"
"That is all, uncle," replied Napoleon.
"And the water? Have you taken a drink of it, yet?"
"No, uncle; not yet."
The canon again shook his head doubtingly.
"See, then," he declared, "you came for a drink of water. You took no
drink; the sideboard stands open; my fruit has disappeared. Napoleon,
this is not right. You have done a wrong. Come, tell me the truth. If it
is not as you say, if you have lied to me, much as I love you, I will
have you punished. It is wicked in you, and I will not be merciful."
As the canon said this with raised voice and warning finger,
Napoleon's father, "Papa Charles," entered the room. With him
came Napoleon's brother Joseph, two years older than he, and his
twelve-year-old uncle-Joey Fesch. Joey was Mamma Letitia's half-brother,
a Swiss-Corsican boy. He was, as I have told you, Napoleon's firm
They looked in surprise at Uncle Lucien and Napoleon, and would have
inquired as to the meaning of the attitude of the two. But the fact was,
Napoleon had so many such moments of rebellion, that they gave it
no immediate thought; and just then Charles Bonaparte had a serious
political question which he wished to refer to the Canon Lucien.
The two men at once began talking; the two boys saw through the open
window something that engaged their attention, and Napoleon was
unnoticed. But still the little boy stood, too proud to move away, too
angry to speak, and so filled with a sense of the injustice that was
done him, that he remained with downcast eyes, almost rooted to the
spot, while still the sideboard stood open, and the tell-tale basket
stood despoiled within it. The door opened again, and Saveria entered
hastily. She went to the sideboard, took out the basket of fruit,
and then you may be sure there was an exclamation that attracted the
attention of all in the room.
"For mercy's sake!" she cried. "Who has taken the canon's fruit?"
"Ah, yes, who?" echoed Uncle Lucien, wheeling about, and laying his hand
upon Napoleon's shoulder. "Behold, Saveria! here is the culprit. He has
taken my fruit."
Napoleon pushed away his uncle's hand.
"It is not so!" he said; but he grew pale as he spoke. "I have not
"But some one has. Hear me, Saveria!" the canon commanded; for in that
house he had quite as much to say as the Father and Mother Bonaparte.
"Call in the other children. We will soon settle this."
All were soon in the room,--the two little girls, Joseph, and Uncle Joey
Fesch, even baby Lucien, who was named for his uncle the canon. The
children made a charming group; but they looked at Napoleon with
curiosity and surprise, wondering into what new trouble he had fallen.
For the solemn manner in which they had been called together, the grave
looks of Papa Charles, of Uncle Lucien, and of Nurse Saveria, led
them all to believe that something really serious had happened in the
"Now, then, children, listen to me, and answer, he who is the guilty
one," Charles Bonaparte said, facing the group of children. "Who is it
that has taken the fruit from the basket of your uncle the canon?"
Each child declared his or her innocence, though one might imagine that
Eliza's voice was not so outspoken as the others.
"And what do you say, Napoleon?" asked Papa Charles, turning toward the
"I have already said, Papa Charles, that it was not I," Napoleon
answered, this time calmly and coolly; for his composure had returned.
"That is a lie, Napoleon!" exclaimed Nurse Saveria, who, as the trusted
servant of the Bonaparte family, spoke just as she wished, and said
precisely what she meant, while no one questioned her freedom. "That is
a lie, Napoleon, and you know it!" The boy sprang toward the nurse in a
rage, and, lifting his hand threateningly, cried, "Saveria! if you were
not a woman, I would"--and he simply shook his little fist at her, too
angry even to complete his threat.
"How now, Napoleon! what would you do?" his father exclaimed.
But Saveria only laughed scornfully. "It must have been you, Napoleon,"
she said. "I have not left the pantry since I placed the basket of fruit
in this sideboard. No one has come in through the door except you and
your uncle the canon. Who else, then, could have taken the fruit? You
will not say"--and here she laughed again--"that it is your uncle the
canon who has stolen his own fruit?"
"Ah, but I wish it had been I," said Uncle Lucien, smiling sadly; for
it sorely disturbed his good-nature to have such a scene, and to be
a witness of what he believed to be Napoleon's obstinacy and
untruthfulness. "I would surely say so, even if I had to go without my
supper for the disobedient act."
"But," suggested Napoleon, in a broken voice, touched with the shame of
appearing to be a tell-tale, "it is possible for some one to come in
here through the window."
"Bah!" cried Saveria. "Do not be a silly too. No one has come through
the window. You are the thief, Napoleon. You have taken the fruit. Come,
I will punish you doubly--first for thieving, and then for lying."
But as she crossed as if to seize the boy, Napoleon sprang toward his
uncle for refuge.
"Uncle Lucien! I did not do it!" he cried. "They must not punish me!"
"Tell the truth, Napoleon," his father said. "That is better than
"Yes, tell the truth, Napoleon," repeated his uncle; "only by confession
can you escape punishment."
"Ah, yes; punishment--how does that sound, Napoleon?" whispered Joseph
in his ear. "You had better tell the truth. Saveria's whip hurts."
"And so does my hand, rascal!" cried Napoleon, enraged at the taunts of
his brother. And he sprang upon Joseph, and beat and bit him so sharply
that the elder boy howled for help, and Uncle Joey Fesch was obliged
to pull the brothers apart. For Joseph and Napoleon were forever
quarrelling; and Uncle Joey Fesch was kept busy separating them, or
smoothing over their squabbles.
As Uncle Joey Fesch drew Napoleon away, he said, "Tell them you took the
fruit, and they will pardon you. Is it not so, Uncle Lucien?" he added,
turning to the canon.
"Assuredly, Joey Fesch," the Canon Lucien replied. "Sin confessed is
But Napoleon only stamped his foot. "Why should I confess?" he cried.
"What should I confess? I should lie if I did so. I will not lie! I tell
you I did not take any of my uncle's fruit!"
"Confess," urged Joseph.
"'Fess," lisped baby Lucien.
"Confess, dear Napoleon," sister Pauline begged.
Only Eliza remained quiet.
"Napoleon," said the Canon Lucien, who, as head of the Bonaparte
family, and who, especially because he was its main support, was given
leadership in all home affairs, "we waste time with you; for you are but
an obstinate boy. At first I felt sorry for you, and would have excused
you, but now I can do so no longer. See, now; I give you five minutes
by my watch in which to confess your wrong-doing. You ask for my
protection. I am certain of your guilt. But I open a door of escape.
It is the door to pardon; it is confession. Profit by it. See,
again,"--here the canon took out his watch,--"it is now five minutes
before seven. If, when the clock strikes seven, you have not confessed,
Saveria shall give you a whipping. Am I right, brother Charles?"
"You are right, Canon," replied Papa Charles. "If within five minutes by
your watch Napoleon has not confessed, Saveria shall give him the whip."
"The whip is for horses and dogs, but not for boys," Napoleon declared,
upon whom this threat of the whip always had an extraordinary effect. "I
am not a beast."
"The whip is for liars, Napoleon," returned Papa Charles; "for liars and
children who disobey."
"Then, you are cruel to lay it over me; you are cruel and unjust,"
declared the boy. "For I am not a liar; I am not disobedient. I will not
As he spoke, the boy's eyes flashed defiance. He crossed his arms on his
breast, lifted his head proudly, planted himself sturdily on his feet,
and flung at them all a look of mingled indignation and determination.
Supper was ready; and the family, all save Napoleon, seated themselves
at the table. The five minutes granted him by the canon had run into a
longer time, when little Pauline, distressed at sight of her brother
standing pale and grave in front of the open sideboard and the despoiled
basket of fruit, rose from her chair; approaching him, she whispered,
"Poor boy! they will give you the whip. I am sure of it. Hear me! While
they are not looking, run away. See! the window is open."
"Run away? Not I!" came Napoleon's answer in an indignant whisper. "I am
"But I am," said Pauline. "I do not wish them to whip you. I shall cry.
Run, Napoleon! run away!"
The perspiration stood in beads on the boy's sallow forehead; but he
said nothing. "Ask Uncle Lucien's pardon, Napoleon; ask Papa Charles's
pardon, if you will not run away," Pauline next whispered; "or let me.
Come! may I not do it for you?"
Napoleon's hand dropped upon Pauline's shoulder, as if to keep her back
from such an action; but he said nothing.
"Pauline, leave your brother," Charles Bonaparte said. "He is a stubborn
and undutiful boy. I forbid you to speak to him."
Then turning to his son, he said, "Napoleon, we have given you more than
the time offered you for reflection. Now, sir, come and ask pardon for
your misdeed, and all will be over."
"Yes, come," said Uncle Lucien.
Napoleon remained silent.
"Do you not hear me, Napoleon?" his father said.
"Yes, papa," replied the boy.
Pauline pushed her brother; but he would not move. "Go! do go!" she
said. Instead, Napoleon drew away from her. Uncle Joey Fesch took
Napoleon by the arm, and sought to draw him toward the table. Even
Joseph rose and beckoned him to come. But the boy made no motion toward
the proffered pardon.
"Stupid boy! Obstinate pig!" cried Joseph; "why do you not ask pardon?"
"Because I have done no evil," replied Napoleon. "You are the stupid
one; you are the pig, I say. Did I not tell you I did not touch the
"Still obstinate!" exclaimed "Papa Charles," turning away from his
son. "He does not wish for pardon. He is wicked. Saveria! take this
headstrong boy to the kitchen, and lay the whip upon him well, do you
hear? He has deserved it."
Napoleon fled to the corner, and stood at bay. Uncle Joey Fesch joined
him, as if to protect and defend him. But when big and strong Nurse
Saveria bore down upon them both, Uncle Joey, after an unsuccessful
attempt to drag Napoleon with him, turned from the enemy, and sprang
through the open window.
Then Saveria flung her arms about the little Napoleon, and, in spite of
his kickings and scratchings, bore him from the room, while all laughed
except Pauline. She stuffed her fingers into her ears to shut out the
sound of her brother's cries. But she had no need to do this. No sound
came from the punishment chamber. For not a sound, not a cry, not even a
sigh, escaped from the boy who was bearing an unmerited punishment.
BREAD AND WATER.
You will, no doubt, wonder what Napoleon's mother was doing while her
little son was undergoing his unjust punishment. Perhaps if she had been
at home things would not have turned out so badly with the boy; for
"Mamma Letitia," as the Bonaparte children called their beautiful
mother, had a way about her that none of them could resist. She had much
more will and spirit, she saw things clearer and better, than did "Papa
Indeed, Napoleon said when he was a man, recalling the days of his
boyhood in Ajaccio, "I had to be quick when I wished to do anything
naughty, for my Mamma Letitia would always restrain my warlike temper;
she would not put up with my defiance and petulance. Her tenderness was
severe, meting out punishment and reward with equal justice,--merit and
demerit, she took both into account."
So, you see, she would probably have understood that Napoleon spoke the
truth, and that it was some one else who had taken the fruit from the
basket of their uncle the canon. But Mamma Letitia was not at home. She
had gone to Melilli, in the country beyond Ajaccio, to visit her mother
and step-father--the father and mother of her half-brother, "Uncle Joey
Fesch," as the Bonaparte children called him. Melilli was in the midst
of fields and forests and luscious vineyards, and it was a great treat
for the children to go there to visit their grandmother.
Sometimes their mother would take one or two of the children with her;
but on this visit she had gone alone. That very evening her husband was
to join her, and there had been great contention among the children as
to which of them should accompany their father.
Before leaving the supper-table "Papa Charles" announced that their
Uncle Santa's carriage would be at the door in half an hour; that Uncle
Joey Fesch would drive; and that Joseph and Lucien and Eliza--"the good
children," as he called them--should go with him to Melilli to visit
their Grandmother Fesch, and bring back Mamma Letitia. Joseph exulted
loudly; Eliza said nothing; and baby Lucien crowed his delight. But
Pauline slipped out into the pantry where Napoleon stood silent and
still defiant. "I am to stay with you, brother," she said. "Will you be
good to me?"
Napoleon slipped his arm about his little sister's neck; but just then
his father came from the dining-room, and the boy drew up again, haughty
"Well, Napoleon," said his father, stopping an instant before the boy,
"I hope you are sorry and subdued. Will you now ask your Uncle Lucien's
[Illustration: _"What! Stubborn still?"_]
Napoleon looked his father full in the face. "I did not take that fruit,
papa," he said.
"What! stubborn still?" his father cried. "See, then; it shall not be
said in my home that an obstinate little fellow like you can rule the
house. Since the whip has not conquered you, we will try what starving
will do. Listen! I am to go to Melilli for Mamma Letitia. Joseph, Eliza,
and Lucien, our three good ones, shall go with me; we shall be gone for
three days. As for you, Napoleon, you shall remain here, and shall have
only bread and water, unless, indeed, before our return you ask pardon
from your uncle the canon."
Pauline looked sadly at Napoleon, and caught his hand. Then she asked
her father, "But he may have a little cheese with his bread, may he not,
"Well--yes"--her father yielded. "But only common cheese, Pauline; not
Now, broccio was the favorite cheese of the Corsican children, and
"Oh, yes, papa! let him have broccio, papa," she said. "Why, broccio is
the best cheese in Corsica!"
"And that is why Napoleon shall not have it," replied her father.
"Broccio is for good boys and girls; and Napoleon is not good."
As he said this he glanced at Napoleon sharply, as if he really hoped
for and expected a word of repentance, a look of entreaty. But Napoleon
said nothing. He looked even more haughty and unyielding than ever; and
his father, with a word of farewell only to Pauline, left the room.
"Poor Napoleon," said Pauline pityingly, as their father closed the
door. "See, I will stay by you. But why will you not ask for pardon?"
"Because pardon is for the guilty, Pauline," Napoleon replied; "and I am
"And will you never ask it?"
"Never," her brother said firmly.
"But, O Napoleon!" cried the little girl, "what if they should always
give you just bread and water and cheese?"
"And if they should, I would not give in," Napoleon answered. "What can
I do? I am not master here."
Pauline gave a great sigh of sympathy. The thought of never having
anything to eat but bread and water and a little cheese was too much for
"I could confess anything, rather," she said. "I would ask pardon three
times a day."
"And I would not," said Napoleon. "But then, I am a man."
Just then the three children who were to accompany their father to
Milelli, passed through the pantry, for they had been to bid Nurse
Saveria good-by. Joseph caught the last word.
"A man, are you!" he cried. "Then, why not be a man, and not a baby?"
"Bah, rascal! and who is the greater baby?" his brother responded. "It
is he who cries the loudest when things go wrong; and I never cry."
Joseph said nothing further except, "Good-by, obstinate one!"
"Good-by," lisped baby Lucien.
But Eliza said nothing. She did not even glance at Napoleon as she
passed him; and he simply looked at her, without a word of accusation or
The three days passed quietly, though hungrily, for Napoleon. Uncle
Lucien said nothing to influence the boy, though he looked sadly, and
sometimes wistfully, at him; and Pauline tried to sweeten the bread and
water and cheese as much as possible by her sympathy and companionship.
Of this last, however, Napoleon did not wish much. He spent much of the
time in his grotto, brooding over his wrongs, and thinking how he would
act if people tried to treat him thus when he became a man.
The second day he dragged his toy cannon to his grotto, and made believe
he was a Corsican patriot, intrenched in his fortifications, and
holding the whole French army at bay; for though Corsica was a French
possession, the people were still smarting under their wrongs, and hated
their French oppressors, as they termed them. Some years after, when he
was a young man, Napoleon, talking about the home of his boyhood and
the troubles of Corsica, said, "I was born while my country was dying.
Thirty thousand French thrown upon our shores, drowning the throne of
liberty in blood--such was the horrid sight that first met my view.
The cries of the dying, the groans of the oppressed, tears of despair,
surrounded my cradle at my birth."
It was not quite as bad as all that. But Napoleon liked to use big words
and dramatic phrases. It had been, in fact, very much like this before
Napoleon was born. He had heard all the stories of French tyranny and
Corsican courage, and, like a true Corsican, was hot with wrath against
the enslavers of his country, as he called the French. So he found an
especial pleasure in bombarding all France with his toy gun from his
grotto; and as he then felt very bitter indeed because of his treatment
at home, you may be sure the French army was horribly butchered in the
boy's make-believe battle before Napoleon's grotto.
Then he went back for his bread and water.
As he approached the house, he found that he was beginning to rebel at
the bread and water diet.
Bread and water alone, with just a little cheese, begin to grow
monotonous to a healthy boy with a good appetite, after two or three
Suddenly Napoleon had a brilliant idea. "The shepherd boys!" he
He hurried to the house, took from Saveria the bread she had put aside
for him, and was speedily out of the house again.
This time he took his way to the grazing-lands, where, upon the slopes
of the grand mountains that wall in the town of Ajaccio, the shepherd
boys were tending their scattered herds.
"Who will exchange chestnut bread for the best town bread in Ajaccio?"
he demanded. "I will give piece for piece."
Those shepherd boys led a lonely sort of life, and welcomed anything
that was novel. Then, too, they were as tired of their bread, made from
pounded chestnuts, as was Napoleon of Saveria's wheat bread.
So Napoleon found a ready response to his offer.
"Here! I'll do it!"--"and I"--"and I"--"and I"--came the answers, in
such numbers that Napoleon saw that his little stock would soon be
exhausted; and, indeed, he was not overfond of chestnut bread.
So he improved on his idea.
"Piece for piece, I will exchange, as I offered," he announced. "But
there are too many of you. See! he who will give me the biggest slice of
broccio shall have first choice for the bread, and the next biggest, the
This put a different face on the transaction, but it added spice to the
operation; and Napoleon actually succeeded in getting for his stale home
bread, goodly sized pieces of fresh chestnut bread, and enough of the
much-loved broccio, and bunches of luscious grapes, "to boot," to
provide him with a generous meal. But the next day the shepherd boys
rebelled; they told Napoleon that his bread was stale, and not good.
They preferred their chestnut bread.
"But if you will look after our sheep while we go into the town," said
one of them, "we will give you some of our bread."
[Illustration: _"He tossed his dry bread to the shepherd boys"_]
This, however, did not suit Napoleon. "I am not one to tend sheep," he
answered. "Keep your bread. It is not so good that one wishes to eat it
twice; and--here, I pity you for having always to eat that stuff. Take
mine!" With that, he tossed his store of dry bread to the shepherd boys,
and, walking back to town, ran in to visit his foster mother; that is,
the woman who had been his nurse when he was a baby.
Nurse Camilla, as he called her, or sometimes "foster-mamma Camilla,"
was now the widow Ilari; but since her husband had been killed in one of
those terrible family quarrels known as a Corsican _vendetta_, she had
lived in a little house on one of the narrow streets of Ajaccio, not far
from the Bonapartes.
She was very fond of her baby, as she called Napoleon; and when he told
her of his disgrace at home, she said,--
"Bah! the sillies! Do they not know a truth-teller when they see one?
And so they would keep you on bread and water? Not if Nurse Camilla can
prevent it. See, now! here is a plenty to eat, and just what my own boy
likes, does he not? Eat, eat, my son, and never mind the stale bread of
that stingy Saveria."
Then she petted and caressed the boy she so adored; she gave him the
best her house afforded, and sent him away to his own home satisfied and
filled, but especially jubilant, I fear, because he had got the best, as
he termed it, of the home tyranny, and shown how he was able to do for
himself even when he was driven to extremities.
It was this ability to use all the conditions of life for his own
benefit, and to turn even privation and defeat into victory, that gave
to Napoleon, when he became a man, that genius of mastery that made this
neglected boy of Corsica the foremost man of all the world.
A WRONG RIGHTED.
It was the third day of the family's absence from the Bonaparte house.
Napoleon had been at his favorite resort,--the grotto that overlooked
the sea. He had been brooding over his fancied wrongs, as well as his
real ones; he had wished he could be a man to do as he pleased. He would
free Corsica from French tyranny, make his father rich, and his mother
free from worry, and, in fact, accomplish all those impossible things
that every boy of spirit and ambition is certain he could do if he might
but have the chance.
As he approached his home, he saw little Panoria swinging on the gate.
She was waiting for her friend Eliza; for she had learned from Pauline
that the absent ones were to return that evening from their visit to
Panoria, as you have learned, was a bright little girl, who spoke her
mind, and had no great awe for the Bonapartes--not even for the mighty
Canon Lucien, the all-powerful Nurse Saveria, nor the masterful little
In fact, Napoleon stood more in awe of Panoria than she did of him. For
the boy was, as boys and girls say today, "sweet on" the little Panoria,
to whom he gave the pet name "La Giacommetta." Many a battle royal he
had fought because of her with the fun-loving boys of Ajaccio, who
found that it enraged Napoleon to tease him about the little girl, and
therefore never let the opportunity slip to tease and torment him.
"Ah, Napoleon, it is you!" cried Panoria, as the boy approached her.
"And what great stories have you been telling yourself today in your
"I tell no great stories to myself, little one," Napoleon replied with
rather a lordly air. "I do but talk truth with myself."
"Then should you talk truth with me, boy," the little lady replied, a
trifle haughty also. "I am not to be called 'little one' by such a mite
as you. See! I am taller than you!"
"Yes; when one stands on a gate, one is taller than he who stands on the
ground," Napoleon admitted. "But when we stand back to back, who then is
the taller? See! Call Pauline! She shall tell us!"
"That shall she not, then," said the little girl, who loved to tease
quite as well as most girls. "It would be better to go and make yourself
look fine, than to stand here saying how big you are. Go look in the
glass. Your stockings are tumbling over your shoes, and your jacket is
all awry. How will your Mamma Letitia like that? Run, then! I hear the
carriage wheels! In with you, little Down-at-the-heel!"
Smarting under the girl's teasing, and all the more because it came from
her, Napoleon sulked into the house.
But Panoria still swung on the gate. When the carriage stopped before
the house, she ran to welcome her friend Eliza, and, with the returned
family, entered the house.
In the doorway the fat little canon, Uncle Lucien, received them.
"Back again, uncle!" cried Mamma Letitia in welcome. "And how do you
all? Where is Napoleon? Where is Pauline?" The woman who spoke was
Madame Letitia Bonaparte, the mother of Napoleon. She was a remarkable
woman--remarkable for beauty, for ability, and for position. Born a
peasant, she became the mother of kings and queens; reared in poverty,
she became the mistress of millions. In her Corsican home she was
house-mother and care-taker; and when, made great by her great son, she
had every comfort and every luxury, she still remained house-mother and
care-taker, looking after her own household, and refusing to spend the
money with which her son provided her, for fear that some day she or her
family might need it. In all the troubles in Corsica she accompanied her
husband to the mountain-retreat and the battle-field, encouraging him by
her bravery, and urging him to patriotic purpose, until the end came,
and Corsica was defeated and conquered. She carried all the worries and
bore all the responsibilities of the Bonaparte household; and it was
only by her management and carefulness that the family was kept from
Her children loved her; but they feared her too, and never thought of
going contrary to her desires or commands. Late in life Napoleon
once told a boy of whom he was fond the consequences of the only time he
ever dared make fun of "Mamma Letitia."
"Pauline and I tried it," he said; "but it was a great mistake on our
part. It was the only time in my life that my mother herself ever
whipped me. I don't believe Pauline ever forgot it. I never did."
So it was Mamma Letitia who first spoke on the arrival at home; and her
first question was as to the children who had remained behind.
"Where is Napoleon? Where is Pauline?" she asked.
Little Pauline sprang from behind her uncle the canon.
"I am here, mamma," she said, and threw herself in her mother's arms.
"But where is Napoleon?"
"He has not been good, mamma," Pauline replied. "See! he is there,
behind the door. He dare not come out. He pouts."
"It is not so, mamma," said Napoleon, coming forward; "I do dare. I am
sad; but I do not pout."
"And is he obstinate still, Uncle Lucien?" Papa Charles asked. "Has he
confessed, or asked your pardon?"
"He has done neither," Uncle Lucien replied. "I have never seen, in any
child, such obstinacy as his."
"Napoleon! Obstinacy!" exclaimed Mamma Letitia. "Why, tell me; what has
the boy done?"
Then Uncle Lucien told the story of the rifled basket of fruit, excusing
the lad as much as he could, although it must be confessed that the kind
of canon was considerably "put out" by the reason of what he called
When, however, he reached the part of his story that described how he
wished Napoleon to confess his misdeed, little Panoria, having, as
I have told you, none of that awe of the Canon Lucien that his grand
nephews and nieces had, burst in upon him,--
"Why, then!" she cried, "I should not think Napoleon would confess. Poor
boy! He did not eat your fruit, Canon Lucien."
"How, child! What do you say?" the canon exclaimed. "He did not? Who
"Why, I did--and Eliza," Panoria replied
"You--and Eliza!"--"Eliza!"--"Why, she said nothing!" These were the
exclamations of surprise and query that came from all present.
"Why, surely!" said Panoria; "and was it wrong? Fruit is free to all
here in Corsica. But Eliza was so afraid of her uncle the canon's fruit
that I dared her to take some; and we did. Napoleon never touched it. He
knew nothing of it."
"My poor boy my good child!" said the Canon Lucien, taking Napoleon in
his arms. "Why did you not tell me this?"
"I thought it might have been Eliza who did it," replied the boy; "but
I am no tattle-tale, uncle. Besides, I would have said nothing on
Panoria's account. She did not lie."
"No more did Eliza," said Joseph.
"Bah, imbecile!" said Napoleon, turning on his brother. "Where, then, is
the difference between telling a lie and acting one by keeping quiet, if
You can readily believe that Napoleon was made much of by all his family
because of his action. "That is the stuff that makes brave soldiers,
leaders, and patriots, my son," his "Mamma Letitia" said. "Would that we
all had more of it!"
For Madame Bonaparte knew that there was but little of the heroic in her
handsome husband, "Papa Charles." He would flame out with wrath, and
tell every one how much he meant to do against tyranny and wrong; he
would even act with courage for a while; but at last his love of ease
and his dislike of trouble would get the better of his valor, and he
would give up the struggle, bow before his opponents, and seek to gain
by subserviency their favor and patronage.
As for Eliza, she received a merited punishment--first, for her
disobedience in taking what she had been told never to touch; next, for
her bravado in daring to act insolently toward her uncle, the canon;
then for her gluttony in eating so much of the fruit; and finally, for
her "bad heart," as her mother called it, for allowing her brother
to suffer in her stead, and be punished for the wrong that she had
As for Napoleon, I fear that this little incident in his life made him
feel more important than ever. He assumed a yet more masterful tone
toward his companions and playmates, lorded it over Joseph, his brother,
and made repeated demands for loyalty upon Uncle Joey Fesch.
But he did feel grateful toward Panoria for her timely word and generous
conduct. He became more fond than ever of "La Giacommeta;" and he
brought her fruit and flowers, told her of all the great things he meant
to do "when he was a man," and even invited her into his much loved and
jealously guarded grotto; and that, you may be sure, was a very great
favor for Napoleon to grant. For his grotto was his own private and
THE BATTLE WITH THE SHEPHERD BOYS.
The relations between Napoleon and the shepherd boys of the Ajaccio
hillsides were not improved by his unsatisfactory food-trade during his
Whenever he took his walks abroad in their direction, the belligerent
shepherd boys made haste to annoy and attack him. They had no special
love for the town boys; there was, in fact, a long-standing rivalry
and quarrel between them, as there often is between boys of different
sections, or between boys of the country and the town.
So you may be sure that Napoleon's solitary tramps along the hillsides
were often disturbed and made unpleasant.
At last he determined upon the punishment or discomfiture of the
shepherd boys. He roused his playmates to action; and one day they
sallied forth in a body, to surprise and attack the shepherd boys. But
there must have been a traitor in the camp of the town boys; for, when
they reached the hill pastures, they not only found the shepherd boys
prepared for them, but they found them arrayed in force. Before the town
boys could rush to the attack, the shepherd boys, eager for the fray,
"took the initiative," as the war records say, and making a dash upon
the town boys, drove them ignominiously from the field.
Napoleon disliked a check. Discomfited and mortified, he turned on big
Andrew Pozzo, the leader of the town boys.
"Why, you are no general!" he cried. "You should have massed us all
together, and held up firm against the shepherds. But, instead, you
scattered us all; and as for you--you ran faster than any of us!"
"Ho! little gamecock! little boaster!" answered Pozzo hotly. "You
know it all, do you not? You'd better try it yourself, Captain
"And I will, then!" cried Napoleon. "Come, boys, try it again! Shall we
be whipped by a lot of shepherd boys, garlic lovers, eaters of chestnut
bread? Never! Follow me!" But the town boys had received all they
wished, for one day. Only a portion of them followed Napoleon's lead;
and they turned about and fled before they even met the shepherd boys,
so formidable seemed the array of those warriors of the hills.
"Why, this will never do!" Napoleon exclaimed. "It must not be said that
we town boys have been whipped into slavery by these miserable ones of
the mountains. At them again! What! You will not? Then let us arrange a
careful plan of attack, and try them another day. Will you do so?"
The boys promised; for it is always easy to agree to do a thing at some
later day. But Napoleon did not intend that the matter should be given
up or postponed. He went to his grotto, and carefully thought out a plan
The next day he gathered his forces about him, and endeavored to fire
their hearts by a little theatrical effect.
"What say you, boys, to a cartel?" he said.
"Yes; a challenge to those miserable ones of the hill, daring them to
"But those hill dwellers cannot read; do you not know that, you silly?"
Andrew Pozzo cried. "How, then, can you send a challenge?"
"How but by word of mouth?" replied Napoleon. "See, here are Uncle Joey
Fesch and big Ilari; they shall go with their sticks, and stand before
those shepherd boys, and shall cry aloud"--
"Shall we, then?" broke in big Ilari. "I will do no crying."
Napoleon said nothing. He simply looked at the big fellow--looked at
him--and went on as if there had been no interruption,--
"And shall cry aloud, 'Holo, miserable ones! holo, rascal shepherds! The
town boys dare you to fight them. Are you cowards, or will you meet them
in battle?' This shall Uncle Joey Fesch cry out. He has a mighty voice."
"And of course they will fight," sneered Andrew Pozzo. "Did you think
they would not? But shall we?"
"Shall we not, then?" answered Napoleon. "And if you will but follow and
obey me, we will conquer those hill boys, as you never could if Pozzo
led you on. For I will show you the trick of mastery. Of mastery, do you
hear? And those miserable boys of the sheep pastures shall never more
play the victor over us boys of the town."
It was worth trying, and the boys of that day and time were accustomed
to give and take hard knocks.
So Uncle Joey Fesch and big Tony Ilari, the bearers of the challenge,
set off for the hill pastures; and while they were gone Napoleon
directed the preparations of his forces.
The heralds returned with an answer of defiance from the hill boys.
"So! they boast, do they?" little Napoleon said. "We will show them
how skill is better than strength. Remember my orders: stones in your
pockets, the stick in your hand. Attention! In order! March!"
In excellent order the little army set out for the hills. In the
pastures where they had met defeat the day before they saw the
straggling forces of the shepherd boys awaiting them.
"Halt!" commanded the Captain Napoleon.
"Let the challengers go forward again," he directed. "Summon them to
surrender, and pass under the yoke. Tell them we will be masters in
The big boy challengers obeyed the little leader's command; and as they
departed on their mission Napoleon ordered his soldiers to quietly drop
the stones they carried in their pockets, in a line where they stood.
Then he planted a stick in the ground as a guide-post.
The challengers came rushing back, followed by the jeers and sticks of
the hill boys.
"So! they will not yield? Then will we conquer them," Napoleon cried.
"In order! Charge!"
And up the slope, brandishing their sticks, charged the town boys.
The hill boys were ready for them. They were bigger and stronger than
the town boys, and they expected to conquer by force.
The two parties met. There was a brief rattle of stick against stick.
But the hill boys were the stronger, and Napoleon gave the order to
Down the hill rushed the town boys. After them, pell-mell, came the hill
boys, flushed with victory and careless of consequences. Suddenly, as
Napoleon reached his guide-post, he shouted in his shrill little voice,
"Halt!" And his army, knowing his intentions, instantly obeyed.
"Stones!" he cried, and they scooped up their supply of ammunition.
"About!" They faced the oncoming foe.
"Fire!" came his final order; and, so fast and furious fell the shower
of stones upon the surprised and unprepared hill boys, that their
victorious columns halted, wavered, turned, broke, and fled.
"Now! upon them! follow them! drive them!" rang out the little Captain
Napoleon's swiftly given orders.
They followed his lead. The hill boys, utterly routed, scattered in
dismay. One-half of them were captured and held as prisoners, until
Napoleon's two big challengers, now acting as commissioners of
conquest, received from the hill boys an unconditional surrender, an
acknowledgment of the superiority of the town boys, and the humble
promise to molest them no more.
This was Napoleon's first taste of victorious war. But ever after he
was an acknowledged leader of the boys of Ajaccio. Andrew Pozzo was
unceremoniously deposed from his self-assumed post of commander in all
street feuds and forays. The old rivalry was a sore point with him,
however; and throughout his life he was the bitter and determined
opponent of his famous fellow-Corsican, Napoleon. But you may be sure
big Tony Ilari and the other boys paid court to the little Bonaparte's
ability; while as for Uncle Joey Fesch, he was prouder than ever of his
nine-year-old nephew and commander.
GOOD-BYE TO CORSICA.
Meantime things were going from bad to worse in the Bonaparte home.
Careless "Papa Charles" made but little money, and saved none; all the
economy and planning of thrifty "Mamma Letitia" did not keep things from
falling behind, and even the help of Uncle Lucien the canon was not
Charles Bonaparte had gained but little by his submission to the French.
The people in power flattered him, and gave him office and titles, but
these brought in no money; and yet, because of his position, he was
forced to entertain and be hospitable to the French officers in Corsica.
Now, this all took money; and there was but little money in the
Bonaparte house to take. So, at last, after much discussion between the
father and mother,--the father urging and the mother objecting,--the
Bonapartes decided to sell a field to raise money; and you can
scarcely understand how bitter a thing this is to a Corsican. To part
with a piece of land is, to him, like cutting off an arm. It hurts.
Napoleon heard all of these discussions, and was sadly aware of the
poverty of his home. He worried over it; he wished he could know how to
help his mother in her struggles; and he looked forward, more earnestly
than ever, to the day when he should be a man, or should at least be
able to do something toward helping out in his home.
At last things took a turn. Old King Louis of France was dead; young
King Louis--the sixteenth of the name--sat on the throne. There was
trouble in the kingdom. There was a struggle between the men who wished
to better things and those who wished things to stay as they were. Among
these latter were the governors of the French provinces or departments.
In order to have things fixed to suit themselves, they selected men to
represent them in the nation's assembly at Paris.
The governor of Corsica was one of these men; and by flattery and
promises he won over to his side Papa Charles Bonaparte, and had him
sent to Paris (or rather to Versailles, where the assembly met, not far
from Paris) as a delegate from the nobility of Corsica. This sounded
very fine; but the truth is, "Papa Charles" was simply nothing more
than "the governor's man," to do as he told him, and to work in his
One result of this, however, was that it made things a little easier for
the Bonapartes; and it gave them the opportunity of giving to the two
older boys, Joseph and Napoleon, an education in France at the expense
of the state.
So when Charles Bonaparte was ready to sail to his duties in France, it
was arranged that he should take with him Joseph, Napoleon, and Uncle
Joey Fesch. Joseph was now eleven years old; Napoleon was nine, and
Uncle Joey was fifteen.
Joseph and Uncle Joey were to be educated as priests; Napoleon was to go
to the military school at Brienne. But, at first, both the brothers were
sent to a sort of preparatory school at Autun.
Napoleon was delighted. He was to go out into the world. He was to be
a man; and yet, when the time came, he hated to leave his home. He was
fond of his family; indeed, his life was largely given up to remembering
and helping his mother and brothers and sisters. He regretted leaving
his dear grotto; he was sorry to say good-by to Panoria--his favorite
"La Giacommetta." But his future had been decided upon by his father
and mother, and he promised to do great things for them when he was old
enough to be a captain in the army--even if it were the army of France.
For, you see, he was still so earnest a Corsican patriot, that he wished
rather to free Corsica than to defend France.
"Who knows?" he boasted one day to Panoria; "perhaps I will become a
colonel, and come back here and be a greater man than Paoli. Perhaps I
may free Corsica. What would you think of that, Panoria?"
"I should think it funny for a boy who went to school in France to come
away and fight France," said practical Panoria.
But Napoleon would not see it in this way. He dreamed of glory, and
believed he would yet be able to strike a blow for the freedom of
Corsica. At last the day of departure arrived. There was a lingering
leave-taking and a sorrowful one. For the first time, the Bonaparte boys
were leaving their mother and their home.
"Be good boys," she said to them; "learn all you can, and try to be
a credit to your family. Upon you we look for help in the future. Be
thrifty, be saving, do not get sick, and remember that, upon your work
now, will depend your success in life."
"Good-bye!" cried Nurse Saveria. "When you come back I will have for you
the biggest basket of fruit we can pick in the garden of your uncle the
"That you shall, boy," said Uncle Lucien, slipping his last piece of
pocket-money into Napoleon's hand. "And take you this, for luck. You
will do your best, I know you will, and you'll come back to us a great
man. Don't forget your Uncle Lucien, you boy, when you are famous, will
Napoleon smiled through his tears, and made a laughing promise in reply
to his uncle's laughing demand. But, for all the fun of the remark,
there was yet a strong groundwork of belief beneath this assertion of
the Canon Lucien Bonaparte; the old man was a shrewd observer. His
friendship for the little Napoleon was strong. And in spite of all
the boy's faults,--his temper, his ambition, his sullenness, his
carelessness, and his selfishness,--Uncle Lucien still recognized in
this nine-year-old nephew an ability that would carry him forward as he
"Napoleon has his faults," he said, in talking over family matters
with Mamma Letitia and Papa Charles the night before the departure for
France; "the boy is not perfect--what child is? But those very faults
will grow into action as he becomes acquainted with the world. I expect
great things of the boy; and mark my words, Letitia and Charles, it is
of no use for you to think on Napoleon's fortune or his future. He will
make them for himself, and you will look to him for assistance, rather
than he to you. Joseph is the eldest son; but, of this I am sure,
Napoleon will be the head of this family. Remember what I say; for,
though I may not live to see it, some of you will--and will profit by
They were all on the dock as the vessel sailed away, bearing Papa
Charles, Uncle Joey Fesch, and the two Bonaparte boys, from Ajaccio to
Mamma Letitia was there, tearful, but smiling, with Eliza, and Pauline,
and Baby Lucien; so were Uncle Lucien the canon, and Aunt Manuccia,
who had been their mother's housekeeper, with Nurse Saveria, and Nurse
Ilaria, whom Napoleon called foster-mother, and even little Panoria, to
whom Napoleon cried "Good-by, Giacommeta mia! I'll come back some day."
Then the vessel moved out into the harbor, and sailed away for Italy,
while the tearful group on the dock and the tearful group on the deck
threw kisses to one another until they could no longer make out faces or
The home tie was broken; and Napoleon Bonaparte, a boy of nine and a
half years, was launched upon life--a life the world was never to
AT THE PREPARATORY SCHOOL.
The Bonaparte boys and their father stopped a while in Florence, so that
Charles Bonaparte could procure the proper papers to prove that he was
of what is called noble birth. For it seems that only the children of
nobles could enter the French military school at Brienne.
He procured these at last, and also a letter of introduction to the
French queen, Marie Antoinette whose sad story you all know so well.
Then they set out for Autun, and reached that quaint old town on the
last day of the year 1778. On New Year's Day, 1779, Napoleon was entered
as a pupil in the preparatory school at Autun.
Autun has been a school town tor hundreds of years. The old Druids had a
school there, and so did the Romans. It is one of the oldest of French
towns; and you will find it on your map of France, about one hundred and
fifty miles south-east of Paris. It is a picturesque old town, placed
on a sloping hillside, that runs down to the Arroux River. There is
a cathedral in the town over nine hundred years old; and there, too,
Napoleon found a college and a seminary, a museum and a library, with
plenty of ruins, walls, and gateways, and such things, that told of its
great age and old-time grandeur.
It was a fine place in which to go to school, and the Bonaparte boys
must have found it quite a change from their Corsican home. The bishop
of Autun, who had charge of the cathedral and the schools, was the
nephew of a friend of Charles Bonaparte, and he promised to look after
Napoleon did not stay long in the school at Autun. His father went to
Paris to enter upon his duties as delegate to the Assembly, intending,
while there, to make arrangements for getting Napoleon into the military
school at Brienne.
But there was much need of the preparatory work at Autun. For you must
know that, being a Corsican, Napoleon knew scarcely a word of French.
The Corsicans speak Italian, and this would never do for a French
schoolboy. So, for three months, Napoleon was drilled in French.
He did not take kindly to it. But he did his best. For, you see, his
journey from Florence to Marseilles, and on to Autun, had opened his
eyes. He saw, for the first time, cities larger than Ajaccio, and
learned that there were other places in the world besides Corsica.
But he never really lost his Ajaccio tongue, and for most of his life he
talked French with an Italian accent.
It was a queer-looking little Italian boy who was thus studying French
at Autun school. You would scarcely have looked at him twice; for his
figure was small, his appearance insignificant, his face sober and
solemn, his hair stiff and stringy, and his complexion sallow. The boys
made fun of the way in which he talked, as boys are apt to make sport of
those who do not talk as they do.
"What is your name, new boy?" the big boy of Autun school called out to
Napoleon, as on that first day of the new year, which was, as I have
said, his first day at school, the Bonaparte brothers wandered about the
schoolyard, strangers and shy.
"Na-polle-o-nay!" answered the little new-comer, giving the Corsican
pronunciation to his name of Napoleon.
"Oho! so!" cried the big boy, mimicking him. "Na-pailli-au-nez, is it?
See, fellows, see! this is Mr. Straw-Nose!"
For, you see, the way Napoleon pronounced his name sounded very much
like the French words that mean "the nose of straw." That, of course,
gave the boys at the school a rare chance to nickname; and so poor
Napoleon was called "Mr. Straw-Nose" all the time he was at that school.
This was not very long, however; for in three months he had made
sufficient progress in his study of French to permit him to pass into
the military school at Brienne, into which his father was at last able
to procure his admission.
But, while he was at Autun, Napoleon seems to have been a favorite with
his teachers. One of them, the Abbé Chardon, spoke of him as "a sober,
thoughtful child." He wished very much to get into the military school;
so he worked hard, learned quickly, and was proud of what he called his
But when the boys tried to plague him, or to twit him for being a
Corsican, the boy was ready enough to talk back.
The French boys knew but little about Corsica, and had a certain
contempt for the little island which, so they declared, was the home of
robbers, and which France had one day gone across and conquered.
"Bah, Corsican!" one of the big boys called out to the new scholar, "and
what is Corsica? Just an island of cowards. Just see how we Frenchmen
whipped you out of your boots!"
Napoleon clinched his little fist, and turned hotly on his tormentor.
But he was already learning the lesson of self-control.
"And how did you do it, Frenchman?" he replied. "By numbers. If you had
been but four to one against us, you would never have conquered us. But,
behold! you were ten to one! That is too much to struggle against."
"And yet you boast of your general--your leader," said the other boy.
"You say he is a fine commander--this--how do you call him?--this
"I say so; yes, sir," Napoleon replied sadly. Then, as if his ambition
led him on, he added, "I would like to be like him. What could I not do
This feeling of being a Corsican, an outsider at the school, made the
boy quiet and retiring. He kept by himself, just as he had at home when
things did not suit him; he walked out alone, and played with no one. To
be sure, he was more or less with his brother Joseph, who loved his
ease and comfort, did not fire up when the other boys teased him, and
smoothed over many a quarrel between them and his brother.
Napoleon would often find fault with Joseph's lack of spirit, as he
called it; but Joseph, all through life, liked to take things easy, and
hated to face trouble. Most of us do, you know; but it was the readiness
of Napoleon to boldly face danger, and to attempt what appeared to be
the impossible, that made him the self-reliant boy, the successful man,
the conqueror, the emperor, the hero.
THE LONELY SCHOOL-BOY
While Napoleon was at Autun school, studying French, and preparing for
entrance into the military academy, his father, Charles Bonaparte, was
at Versailles, trying to get a little more money from the king, in
return for his services as Corsica's delegate to France.
At the same time he was working to complete the arrangements which
should permit him to enter Napoleon at the military school, at the
expense of the state. This he finally accomplished; and on the
twenty-third of April, in the year 1779, Napoleon entered the royal
military school at Brienne.
There were ten of these military schools in France. They were started
as training-schools for boys who were to become officers in the French
army. The one at Brienne was a bare and ugly-looking lot of buildings
in the midst of trees and gardens, looking down toward the little River
Aube, and near to the fine old chateau, or nobleman's house, built, a
hundred years before Napoleon's day, by the last Count of Brienne.
There were a hundred and fifty boys at Brienne school, although there
was scarcely room enough for a hundred and twenty.
The new-comer was therefore crowded in with the others; and you may be
sure that the old boys did not make life pleasant and easy for the new
Although he had learned to write and speak French during his three
months' schooling at Autun, he could not, of course, speak it very well;
so the boys plagued him for that. And when he told them his name,
they, too, made fun of his pronunciation of Na-po-le-one, and at once
nicknamed him, "straw-nose," just as the Autun boys had done.
Most of the boys who attended Brienne school were the sons of French
noblemen. They had plenty of money to spend; they made a show of it, and
dressed and did things as finely as they could. Napoleon, you know, was
poor. His father had scrimped and begged and borrowed to send his boys
to school. He could not, therefore, give them much for themselves; so
the French boys, with the money to spend and the manners to show, made
no end of fun of the little Corsican, who had neither money nor manners.
At once he got into trouble. He did not like, nor did he understand, the
ways of the French boys; he was alone; he was homesick; and naturally he
became sulky and uncompanionable. When the boys teased him, he tossed
back a wrathful answer; when they made fun of his appearance, he grew
angry and sullen; and when they tried to force him into their society,
he went off by himself, and acted like a little hermit.
But when they twitted him on his nationality, called him "Straw-nose,
the Corsican," and made all manner of fun of that rocky and (as they
called it) savage island, then all the patriotism in the boy's nature
was aroused, and he called his tormentors French cowards, with whom he
would one day get square.
"Bah, Corsican! and what will you do?" asked Peter Bouquet. "I hope some
day to give Corsica her liberty," said Napoleon; "and then all Frenchmen
shall march into the sea."
Upon which all the boys laughed loudly; and Napoleon, walking off in
disgust, went into the school-building, and there vented his wrath upon
a portrait of Choiseul, that hung upon the wall.
"Ah, ha! blackguard, pawnbroker, traitor!" he cried, shaking his fist at
this portrait of a stout and smiling-looking gentleman. "I loathe you! I
despise you! I spit upon you!" And he did.
Now, Monsieur the Count de Choiseul was the French nobleman who was
one of the old King Louis's ministers and advisers. It was he who had
planned the conquest of Corsica, and annexed it to France. You may not
wonder, then, that the little Corsican, homesick for his native island,
and hot with rage toward those who made fun of it, when he came upon
this portrait of the man to whom, as he had been taught, all Corsica's
troubles were due, should have vented his wrath upon it, and heaped
insults upon it.
[Illustration: "_What' you will not ask Monsieur the Count's pardon?"_]
Unfortunately for him, however, the teachers at Brienne did not
appreciate his patriotic wrath; so, when one of the tattle-tales
reported Napoleon's actions, at once he was pounced upon, and ordered to
ask pardon for what he had said and done, standing before the portrait
of Corsica's enslaver.
He approached the portrait so reluctantly and contemptuously, that one
of the teachers scolded him sharply.
"You are not worthy to be a French officer, foolish boy," the teacher
declared; "you are no true son of France, thus to insult so great and
noble a Frenchman as Monsieur the Count de Choiseul."
"I am a son of Corsica," Napoleon replied proudly; "that noble country
which this man ground in the dust."
"As well he might," replied the teacher tauntingly. "He was Corsica's
best friend. He was worth a thousand Paoli's."
"It is not so!" cried Napoleon, hot with patriotic indignation. "You
talk like all Frenchmen. Paoli was a great man. He loved his country.
I admire him. I wish to be like him. I can never forgive my father for
having been willing to desert the cause of Corsica, and agree to its
union with France. He should have followed Paoli's lead, even though it
took him with Paoli, into exile in England."
"Bah! your father!" one of the big boys standing by exclaimed; "and who
is your father, Straw-nose?"
Napoleon turned upon his tormentor; "a better man than you, Frenchman!"
he cried; "a better man than this Choiseul here. My father is a
"A stubborn rebel, this boy," said the teacher, now losing his temper.
"What! you will not ask Monsieur the Count's pardon, as a rebel should?
Then will we tame your spirit. Is a little arrogant Corsican to defy all
France, and Brienne school besides? Go, sir! We will devise some
fine punishment for you, that shall well repay your insolence and
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