Monday, January 24, 2011

Napoleon muttering about whose fault it was

Ever wonder if people in hell will meet celebrities and other famous people? The topic is briefly explored by Lewis in The Great Divorce.

‘The nearest of those old ones is Napoleon. We know that because two chaps made the journey to see him. They’d started long before I came, of course, but I was there when they came back.’ …napoleon-bw.
     ‘But they got there?’
    ‘That’s right. He’d built himself a huge house all in the Empire style—rows of windows flaming with light….’
    ‘Did they see Napoleon?’
    ‘That’s right. They went up and looked through one of the windows. Napoleon was there all right.’
    ‘What was he doing?’
    ‘Walking up and down—up and down all the time— left-right, left-right—never stopping for a moment. The two chaps watched him for about a year and he never rested. And muttering to himself all the time. “It was Soult’s fault. It was Ney’s fault. It was Josephine’s fault. It was the fault of the Russians. It was the fault of the English.” Like that all the time. Never stopped for a moment. A little, fat man and he looked kind of tired. But he didn’t seem able to stop it.’

C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (1946, Harper Collins edition 2001) 11-12.

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