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Napoleon III

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Few men have had so many nicknames.

Man of December, so called because his coup dʹētat was December 2nd, and he was made emperor December 2nd, 1852.

Man of, Sedan, and, by a pun, M. Sedantaire. It was at Sedan he surrendered his sword to William I., King of Prussia (1870).

Man of Silence, from his great taciturnity.

Comtedʹ Arenenberg, the name and title he assumed when he escaped from the fortress of Ham.

Badinguet, the name of the mason who changed clothes with him when he escaped from Ham. The emperor’s partisans were called Badingueux, those of the empress were Montijoyeaux.

Boustrapa is a compound of Bou[logne]. Stra[sbourg], and Pa[ris], the places of his noted escapade.

Rantipole = harum-scarum. half-fool and half-madman.

Verhuel. A patronymic, which cannot be here explained.

⁂ There are some very curious numerical coincidences connected with Napoleon III. and Eugénie. The last complete year of their reign was 1869. (In 1870 Napoleon was dethroned and exiled.)

Now, if to the year of coronation (1852), you add either the birth of Napoleon, or the birth of Eugénie, or the capitulation of Paris, or the date of marriage, the sum will always be 1869. For example

3

And if to the year of marriage (1853) these dates are added, they will give 1870, the fatal year.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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