“Take time, woman,” that says; “next guess, an’ you’re mine.” An’ that stretched out that’s black hands at her.
Well, she backed a step or two, an’ she looked at it, and then she laughed out, an’ says she, a pointin’ of her finger at it:
“Nimmy, nimmy not,
Yar name’s Tom Tit Tot.”
Well, when that hard her, that shruck awful an’ awa’ that flew into the dark, an’ she niver saw it noo more.
[Footnote 8: An old Suffolk tale, given in the dialect of East Anglia.]
THE PEASANT STORY OF NAPOLEON
[Goguelet, an old soldier
who fought under Napoleon, tells the
story of his wonderful General and Emperor to a group of eager
listeners in the country doctor’s barn.]
You see, my friends, Napoleon was born in Corsica, a French island, warmed by the sun of Italy, where it is like a furnace, and where the people kill each other, from father to son, all about nothing: that’s a way they have. To begin with the marvel of the thing—his mother, who was the handsomest woman of her time, and a knowing one, bethought herself of dedicating him to God, so that he might escape the dangers of his childhood and future life; for she had dreamed that the world was set on fire the day he was born. And, indeed, it was a prophecy! So she asked God to protect him, on condition that Napoleon should restore His holy religion, which was then cast to the ground. Well, that was agreed upon, and we shall see what came of it.
“Follow me closely, and tell me if what you hear is in the nature or man.
“Sure and certain it is that none but a man who conceived the idea of making a compact with God could have passed unhurt through the enemy’s lines, through cannon-balls, and discharges of grape-shot that swept the rest of us off like flies, and always respected his head. I had proof of that—I myself—at Eylau. I see him now, as he rode up a height, took his field-glass, looked at the battle, and said, ‘All goes well.’ One of those plumed busybodies, who plagued him considerably and followed him everywhere, even to his meals, so they said, thought to play the wag, and took the Emperor’s place as he rode away. Ho! in a twinkling, head and plume were off! You must understand that Napoleon had promised to keep the secret of his compact all to himself. That’s why all those who followed him, even his nearest friends, fell like nuts—Duroc, Bessieres, Lannes—all strong as steel bars, though he could bend them as he pleased. Besides—to prove he was the child of God, and made to be the father of soldiers—was he ever known to be lieutenant or captain? No, no; commander-in-chief from the start. He didn’t look to be more than twenty-four years of age when he was an old general at the taking of Toulon, where he first began to show the others that they knew nothing about manoeuvring cannon.