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Waterloo A sequel to The Conscript of 1813   By:

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[Frontispiece: The Emperor had left for Paris.]








NEW YORK :::::::::::::::::::::: 1911


The Emperor had left for Paris . . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece

People were heard shouting, "There it is! there it is!"

A mounted hussar was looking out into the night

The Emperor, his hands behind his back and his head bent forward

He had had the courage to pull up the bucket

Combat of Hougoumont Farm


Often as the campaign of Waterloo has been described by historians and frequently as it has been celebrated in fiction it has rarely been narrated from the stand point of a private soldier participating in it and telling only what he saw. That this limitation, however, does not exclude events of the greatest importance and incidents of the most intensely dramatic interest is abundantly proved by the narrative of the Conscript who makes another campaign in this volume and describes it with his customary painstaking fulness and fidelity. But what renders "Waterloo" still more interesting is the picture it presents of the state of affairs after the first Bourbon restoration, and its description of how gradually but surely the way was prepared by the stupidity of the new régime for that return to power of Napoleon which seems so dramatically sudden and unexpected to a superficial view of the events of the time. In this respect "Waterloo" deserves to rank very high as a chapter of familiar history, or at least of historical commentary.





The joy of the people on the return of Louis XVIII., in 1814, was unbounded. It was in the spring, and the hedges, gardens, and orchards were in full bloom. The people had for years suffered so much misery, and had so many times feared being carried off by the conscription never to return, they were so weary of battles, of the captured cannon, of all the glory and the Te Deums, that they wished for nothing but to live in peace and quiet and to rear their families by honest labor.

Indeed, everybody was content except the old soldiers and the fencing masters.

I well remember how, when on the 3d of May the order came to raise the white flag on the church, the whole town trembled for fear of the soldiers of the garrison, and Nicholas Passauf, the slater, demanded six louis for the bold feat. He was plainly to be seen from every street with the white silk flag with its "fleur de lis," and the soldiers were shooting at him from every window of the two barracks, but Passauf raised his flag in spite of them and came down and hid himself in the barn of the "Trois Maisons," while the marines were searching the town for him to kill him.

That was their feeling, but the laborers and the peasants and the tradespeople with one voice hailed the return of peace and cried, "Down with the conscription and the right of union." Everybody was tired of living like a bird on branch and of risking their lives for matters which did not concern them.

In the midst of all this joy nobody was so happy as I; the others had not had the good luck to escape unharmed from the terrible battles of Weissenfels and Lutzen and Leipzig, and from the horrible typhus. I had made the acquaintance of glory and that gave me a still greater love for peace and horror of conscription.

I had come back to Father Goulden's, and I shall never in my life forget his hearty welcome, or his exclamation as he took me in his arms: "It is Joseph! Ah! my dear child, I thought you were lost!" and we mingled our tears and our embraces together. And then we lived together again like two friends. He would make me go over our battles again and again, and laughingly call me "the old soldier... Continue reading book >>

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