The rest looked very cool, very metropolitan Dolphin Santa hat Christmas tree shirt, but – as I learned later when she, as she chatted amiably in excellent slightly French, accented English with the bar staff – she grew up in the French countryside and was astonished to find a classic of French country cooking that had been a Sunday treat on the menu of a pub practically next door to the profusion of sad tea rooms and miserable pizza places that subsist on the coach parties following the Bronte tourist trail. However, upon releasing the bunnies from all edges of an open field, they swarmed Napoleon. Thousands, most accounts say as many as 3,000, rabbits seemed to rise up in protest of their plight. Napoleon and his men, not knowing what to do, began to panic and started to beat the bunnies with riding crops, sticks and their guns. Napoleon even shot at some of them. The desperate animals began clawing up Napoleon’s pants and onto his jacket. Some of them even jumped into the carriage he was standing next to and the only way to get rid of them was to order his men to jump in the carriage and drive away.
The reality is that Berthier had ordered rabbits for a hunt but was given domesticated rabbits by a breeder. The rabbits, seeing only an open field with humans in it, swarmed them in hopes of being fed. Nowadays I tend to be a bit of a wimp and rarely go out bicycling if the temperature is below 20 or 30°! If chocolate is involved, then that guideline goes flying straight out the window, but hey, what else could you expect? As you may or may not know, February 2nd is known as “Groundhog Day” in North America because there is a popular superstition that, if a groundhog comes out of his hole on February 2nd and sees his shadow because it is sunny, he will go back in his hole and there will be six more weeks of winter, but, if he does not see his shadow because it is too cloudy, he will stay out of his hole and winter will be over soon. Every year, at the site of Gobbler’s Knob in the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a widely-publicized ceremony is held in which a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil is brought forward by members of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club dressed in tuxedos and top hats.