The Corner

Alas, the Poor Duke

C’est pire qu’un crime, c’est une faute, was, of course, the comment of Talleyrand on learning that Napoleon had insisted on the execution of the hapless Duc d’Enghien. Or so I used to believe until a friend corrected me, attributing the bitter but gorgeous witticism not to Talleyrand but to Fouche, whose many dark achievements included the direction of Napoleon’s secret police. Googling around just now to double-check the spelling, I discovered that it wasn’t Fouche, after all–or so at least one learned Frenchman avers–but Boulay.

No subject too recherche for the Corner. No sirree.


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