But Talleyrand now ... the fellow, once in Church orders, in the government of Louis XVI, run to American self-exile from the Revolution that had turned to the Terror, returned to France when the Directoire to become France's Foreign Minister, surfed successfully all the waves between that, the Consulate and throught the zenith of Napoleón's imperium, then falling out and again in exile, this time in England, to return again triumphantly as one of the four major players at the Congress of Vienna -- now that is a fascinating human being. Perhaps not a good one or an admirable one, but fascinating -- and more than a survivor, a success, until the end of his days.
And by all accounts, excellent company, which by most accounts, for any length of time, Napoleón most certainly was not. Charismatic he was for long periods, but not good company: he lacked manners and courtesy, he was cruel and impatient, and loved hurting people by pinching them violently for extended minutes, leaving bruises and on occasion, blood -- even when not angry.
Talleyrand was a remarkably clear-sighted pragmatic realist. An egoist too, no doubt, but he wasn't a megalomaniac. In the end, he was more successful than Napoleón, whose second coming transformed to defeat and ended his not that many more days in prison-exile.
|One of Andrew Jackson's duels historically imagined. This one was about a horse race.|
People like speculating how Jackson the military leader would have stepped to Wellington's game (another egoist! -- whose manners with women were anything but good), but what would have been more likely if San Domingue's revolution had not put a decided end to Napoleón's plans for the New World, is how Napoleón would have stepped to Jackson's, facing off as they'd have done in the Floridas and Louisiana territories.
Run-ons, are us today, as getting ready for a Harvard visit takes most of my attention!