So I watched The Terminal, for some reason. But let’s not go there.
The thing is, Catherine Zeta-Jones’s air steward character is, inexplicably, fascinated by Napoleon.
She says: “After he lost the Battle of Waterloo, he isolated himself on the island of St Helena.”
Why would she say that? Like he had a choice?
I don’t particularly care that it’s wrong (well, I do, but that’s another matter). I just can’t get my head around the idea that a multi-million dollar film, with a team of script writers, and someone somewhere who has decided there has to be a constant stream of Napoleon references, includes a detail that is wrong. Somebody in that movie team has researched the topic enough to know all sorts of stupid stuff about Napoleon. But they don’t know that he was exiled? It’s like not knowing he was Emperor. So why did they put it in there?
It’s very odd.
This is where I get to tell you [oh what a dashing segue] all about my great-great-great-great-many-greats uncle, Lieutenant Andrew Mott, who commanded the barge which took Napoleon aboard the glorious Bellepheron where he surrendered his sword to Captain Maitland. Napoleon presented Lieutenant Mott with a set of pistols. And if they ever come up for auction, I’m mortgaging the house.
From Maitland’s log:
“At break of day, on the 15th of July 1815, L’Epervier French brig of war was discovered under sail, standing out towards the ship, with a flag of truce up; and at the same time the Superb, bearing Sir Henry Hotham’s flag, was seen in the offing.
By half-past five the ebb-tide failed, the wind was blowing right in, and the brig, which was within a mile of us, made no further progress; while the Superb was advancing with the wind and tide in her favour. Thus situated, and being most anxious to terminate the affair I had brought so near a conclusion, previous to the Admiral’s arrival, I sent off Mr. Mott, the first Lieutenant, in the barge, who returned soon after six o’clock, bringing Napoleon with him. “
See? The poor man had abdicated, surrendered, and given away his pistols to one of my mob. No wonder he decided to isolate himself on a rock in the middle of the ocean.