There is a measure of dispute about Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson's last words, spoken in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar, during which he fell to a French sniper's bullet.

The most official--and noble--opinion holds thusly:

"Thank God I have done my duty..."

Very upstanding stuff.

The long standing joke, however--which might very well have been the truth, as his words actually went unrecorded and are entirely a matter of hearsay--is that they were "Kiss me, Hardy,"a request (an order, I guess, he was the Lord Admiral) directed to his flag officer, Thomas Hardy. Legend has it the officer kissed Nelson on the forehead as the latter died.

Others, however, have surmised that this was well outside of Nelson's character, and an unlikely thing for an officer--even one in the Navy--to say. They in turn assume that the words were in fact "Kismet, Hardy," kismet deriving, as Webby will tell you, from the Persian qismat, meaning Fate or Destiny.

That does seem a clever thing for a dying man to say. We'll never know the truth. Go with your fancy.