Enchanted By Napoleon

Posted by Scarlet Pumpernickel | 2:03 AM | , , , | 8 comments »

Have you ever been fascinated by an historical figure? I have. Since grade school I have held an obsessive interest in Napoleon Bonaparte. I read every book in the school library that even remotely related to Napoleon. I found romance novels set in his time period thrilling. When I started college and decided to become a history major, my fascination with Napoleon was never far from mind. I lapped up all the historical details relating to Napoleon like a cat with a saucer of sweet cream. It wasn't until I had the opportunity to visit Vienna in the early nineties that my obsession took a turn toward the really strange. We flew out in the late afternoon, leaving Atlanta just before a winter storm closed the airport. Our crossing was uneventful, we flew east and into the sunrise. It was a fascinating experience. I remember looking down as dawn was breaking and seeing the white cliffs of Dover and then the English Channel. Somewhere at the back of my mind a tiny voice whispered. "I'm going home at last." I found the thought beyond weird, but pushed it aside as the fanciful imagination of a romance writer. I am an American, born and breed Southern. Until that flight, I had never been out of the States. While in Vienna my two friends and I visited lots of museums, palaces and the various historical sites. It was a thrilling experience. But the event that made the greatest impression on me was my first sight of the portrait of Napoleon that hangs in the Armory. I stood there before the painting and wept! I knew that portrait, remembered it. Somewhere in the hidden, buried depths of my memory, I remembered when it was painted, remembered watching as Napoleon posed for it. Crazy, I told myself, and it probably is, but for a moment, for that instant, I remembered, and the love I felt for the man was very real. In those silent moments, as I stood before his portrait, a little piece of the puzzle clicked into place. Who knows, perhaps in a past life I was struck with an extreme case of hero worship!

8 comments

  1. Arkansas Cyndi // January 28, 2009 at 6:39 AM  

    I CANNOT believe you haven't been to Napoleon's museum/crypt in Paris. Incredible setting. Fresh flowers delivered everyday. The museum with it's uniforms...fascinating.

    AND have you seen Napoleon's death mask?

    Given this "enchantment", you MUST go to Paris and do this. You MUST.

  2. Joanne // January 28, 2009 at 8:46 AM  

    An incredible journey for you, and one you'll always remember. I am completely enamored with Europe, and often say I was born in the wrong country.

  3. Pamela Varnado // January 28, 2009 at 9:43 AM  

    What a fascinating story. I was hooked from the first sentence. Like you, I love history and often feel connected to a specific person or place. Who knows, maybe in a past life WE WERE THERE.

  4. Anonymous // January 28, 2009 at 9:49 AM  

    This isn't weird to me. One of my best friends insists she was Marie Antoinette's dressmaker, and that she was there with her when she was executed.

    Cyndi, I can't believe I've never been to Napoleon's crypt, in four trips to Paris. Next time, definitely.

    Karen in Ohio

  5. Mary Marvella // January 28, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

    Now I understand some things about you, Scarlet. Wonderful post!

  6. Mary Ricksen // January 28, 2009 at 2:13 PM  

    I am a believer in reincarnation. You were! Going home.
    What a thrill for you.

  7. Beth Trissel // January 28, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

    Fascinating post. Truly. I've always felt deeply connected to the past which is largely why I write as I do. This is the theme of my recent release Somewhere My Love.

  8. Scarlet Pumpernickel // January 28, 2009 at 7:45 PM  

    Cyndi, I haven't been to Paris, but rest assured, I will definitely put it on my list of places to visit when I do! I have seen pictures of the death mask. I saw the British Officer's long coat he was forced to wear when they took him across France to the seaport. They were afraid the people would try to rescue him if they saw his uniform.

    Joanne, I too love Europe, we share that common interest!

    Pam, I glad you enjoyed my little story!

    Karen, I'm very glad you didn't find my tale weird!

    MM, what can I say? You know me too well already!

    Mary, it really makes no sense that we would be here for only one brief shinning moment, does it?

    Beth, I am definitely going to buy and read Somewhere My Love. BTW Those are the words to one of my favorite songs. Laura's Theme.

    Glad you gals enjoyed my post!

    Scarlet