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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Jean Bart

  • [A French naval commander, born 1651; distinguished himself as a privateersman; appointed by Louis XIV. chief of squadron, 1697; died 1702.]
  • I learned to smoke in the king’s service: he will not take offence at it.

  • His reply to the courtiers, who expressed their surprise at seeing him light his pipe in the waiting-room at Versailles.
  • When the king told him of his appointment to the command of the fleet, he exclaimed, “Well done, your majesty!” (Vous avez bien fait, votre majesté!) To show his contempt of their comments upon the sailor’s uncouth manners, the king said to his courtiers, “No doubt Jean Bart does not talk like you, but who of you could act like Jean Bart?”