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Cassell and Company: London, Paris, New York & Melbourne
The Publisher's Syndicate of Ontario (Limited): Toronto (c. 1900)


by D.H. Parry

THE great Imperial Eagle of France had been caught and caged at Elba, and after close on twenty-five years of storm and tumult, Europe was at peace.

  The armies which had driven the Eagle out of France had marched home again, robbing the Eagle's nest of many ill-gotten trophies and leaving in his place a horde of vultures who claimed the nest as theirs.

  As is the manner of vultures, there was much gorging: Louis XVIII., the man "who had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing," brought back in his train a host of hungry folk, princes of the blood royal, dukes, and noble dames; and France soon found that it would be made to suffer for its Revolution and its Republic, and that the victories of its Emperor were like to cost it dear. Royalists filled the high places in Church and State. Shameless rapacity and mean reprisals were seen on every side; and in the army the most scandalous injustices were unblushingly practised.

  People began to look with regret towards the Mediterranean isle where the Eagle plumed his ruffled feathers moodily.

  There were mysterious nods and glances, and allusions to a certain flower which a certain "little corporal" was known to have loved.

  "He will return again with the violet," they said in whispers.

  Ladies affected violet-coloured silks, and rings of the same hue became fashionable, bearing the motto "It will re-appear in Spring."

  Nor were they wrong, for on the 1st March, 1815, at five o'clock in the afternoon, Napoleon the Great, with a hundred dismounted Lancers of the Guard, some veteran Grenadiers and a few officers, landed in the Gulf of San Juan, and began that triumphal progress which ended at WATERLOO.

  His advance is curiously recorded in the papers of the day: I quote from the Moniteur:--

  "The cannibal has left his den."

  "The Corsican wolf has landed in the Bay of San Juan."

  "The tiger has arrived at Gay."

  "The wretch spent the night at Grenoble."

  "The tyrant has arrived at Lyons."

  "The usurper has been seen within fifty miles, of Paris."

  "Bonaparte is advancing with great rapidity, but he will not set his foot inside the walls of, Paris."

  "To-morrow Napoleon will be at our gates!

  "The Emperor has arrived at Fontainebleau."

  "His Imperial Majesty Napoleon entered Paris yesterday, surrounded by his loyal subjects."

  At midnight on the 19th March, Louis the Gross got into his carriage by torchlight, and was driven off to Lille; the Comte d'Artois and the Court followed an hour later, and the good citizens found when they rose next morning, two notices fastened to the railings of the Place Carrousel--

  "Palace to let, well furnished, except the kitchen utensils, which have been carried away by the late proprietor."

  And the other--

  "A large fat hog to be sold for one Napoleon."

  At eight o'clock that evening the Emperor was carried up the grand staircase of the Tuileries on the shoulders of his officers, and from that moment until the 12th June the master-mind was wrestling with a task vast enough to have discouraged twenty brains!

  Out of chaos he produced order; a new Government was formed a new army created; five days after his entry the Allied Sovereigns declared him an outlaw; on the 1st June he distributed Eagles to his troops, and took oath of allegiance to the new Constitution. But Europe had meanwhile flown to arms, and 300,000 Austrians were to enter France by Switzerland and the Rhine; 200,000 Russians were marching on Alsace; Prussia had 236,000, half of whom were ready for action, so that, including our English 80,000, the Netherland contingent and the minor States of Germany, he had to face the onslaught of more than 1,000,000 men, with only 214,000 at his immediate command. England and Prussia were the first to arrive; it would be July before the others could reach the frontier, so, Napoleon, leaving armies of observation at various points, marched against Belgium, hoping to defeat Wellington and Blücher in time to turn about and face the storm clouds gathering in the east.

* * * * * * *

  It was the month of June, and the weather was intensely warm. An army under Wellington, some 100,000 strong, including British King's German Legion, Hanoverian, Brunswick, Dutch, Belgian, and Nassau troops, was distributed in cantonments from the Scheldt to the Charleroi chaussée.

  It was a heterogeneous force, hastily got together, and a large proportion of it by no means to be depended upon.

  Of the British regiments, many were formed of weak second and third battalions which had never been under fire, and nearly 800 militiamen fought in the ranks of the 3rd Guards and 42nd Highlanders, those in the Guards actually wearing their Surrey jackets.

  Blücher's force, seasoned veterans for the most part, lay in four separate corps on the frontier south of Brussels, and so masterly were Napoleon's that until the lights of his bivouac fires were suddenly seen glowing redly in the darkness beyond Charleroi, no one knew an exactly where he was.

* * * * * * *

  Brussels swarmed with fashionable folk, and the families of officers who were with the army.

  The Duchess of Richmond gave a ball on the night of the 15th June, the list of invited guests being curious, and not a little melancholy. Among the two hundred odd names we read those of Wellington, Uxbridge, and Hussey Vivian: two Ponsonbys, one of whom was to die three days later; Hay, the handsome lad who had won a sweepstake at Grammont the Tuesday before, and whose young life ebbed out on the Friday at Quatre Bras; Cameron, of Fassifern, who also fell there Dick of the 42nd, killed at Sobraon in '46; and aide-de-camp Cathcart, who lived till Inkerman, where a ball and three bayonet thrusts closed his strange career. These and many others of more or less note danced in the long, low-roofed, barn-like room which His Grace of Richmond had hired for the occasion from his neighbour, Van Asch, the coachbuilder.

  About midnight Wellington, having already learned that the outposts had been engaged, went to the ball, where he found the Prince of Orange. Now, the Prince of Orange, who seemed fated to cause the useless sacrifice of valuable life, ought to have been at his post at Binche, and thither the duke promptly sent him, after first inquiring if there were any news.

  "No, nothing, but that the French have crossed the Sambre, and had a brush with the Prussians!" Müffling had previously brought the intelligence, which should have arrived much sooner, the duke afterwards saying to Napier: "I cannot tell the world that Blücher picked the fattest man in his army to ride with an express to me, and that he took thirty hours to go thirty miles."

  Far from being surprised (as some writers have it), the duke's orders were despatched before he went to that now historic entertainment, and the dancing continued long after he and his officers had left.

  At two o'clock, while it was yet dark, strange sounds were heard under the trees -- the shuffling of men's feet, the ringing of musket-butts on the ground, short words of command, and the running ripple of the roll-call along the ranks.

  People opened their windows and looked out carriages returning from the ball drew up and waited: it was Picton's Division off to the front.

  At four o'clock Pack's Highlanders, in kilt and feather bonnet, swung across the Place Royale and passed through the Namur Gate -- the rising sun glinting on their accoutrements, their bagpipes waking the sleeping streets. "Come to me and I will give you flesh," was the weird pibroch of the Black Watch, and many a Highland laddie heard it that morning for the last time.

  Some of the officers marched in silk stockings and dancing-pumps. Lingering too long at the ball, they had not had time -- or perhaps, as the night was warm, they had not troubled -- to change them; and there were not a few who never found time again.

  Out in the early morning along the great highway they went, past lonely farms and clustering villages, through the grey-green gloom of the beech woods of Soigne to Mont St. Jean, where they halted for breakfast, and where about eight the duke passed them with his staff, leaving strict orders to keep the road clear, and at noon the troops were on the march again for Quatre Bras, which was the fiery prelude to the greatest battle fought in modern times.

  The heat was so intense that one man of the 95th Rifles went mad, and fell dead in the road; but the others pushed on, and were soon afterwards under fire.

  If you take a map of Belgium, placing your finger on Brussels, and pass it down the great road running south, you will find, some twelve miles from the capital, the village of Mont St. Jean; a little beyond which place a cross-road from Wavre intersects the chaussée, and at that point move your finger at right angles, right and left, for a mile or so each way, and you have, roughly, the English position on the 18th June.

  Continuing again, still southward, you will pass La Belle Alliance and Genappe, and nine miles from the cross-roads before Mont St. Jean is Quatre Bras.

  Rolling ridges of waving grain, some woods in all their summer beauty, a gabled farmhouse, and a few cottages where four ways meet -- that is one's impression of Quatre Bras, which Ney had orders to take, and drive out Perponcher's Dutch Belgians posted there; but we arrived to their assistance, corps after corps, at intervals, and forming up in line and square, repulsed the Cuirassiers and Lancers who charged through the tall rye.

  The crops were so high that the gallant French cavalry had to resort to a curious device in singling out our regiments. A horseman would dash forward, find out the position, plant a lance in the ground, and disappear; then, in a few moments, guided by the fluttering pennon, his comrades would burst upon us -- invisible until within a few horse-lengths.

  Waterloo has put Quatre Bras into the shade, but few conflicts have been more brilliant.

  Our 69th -- thanks to Orange, who interfered with its formation just as the 8th Cuirassiers came through the corn -- lost its only colour, taken by Trooper Lami, although Volunteer Clarke received twenty-three wounds and lost the use of an arm in its defence.

  The 69th's other colour had beep captured at Bergen-op-Zoom, and was hung in the Invalides.

  By four o'clock the 44th had upwards of 16 officers and 200 men killed and wounded.

  A grey-headed French lancer drove his point into Ensign Christie's left eye, down through his face, piercing his tongue and entering the jaw but in that shocking condition he still stuck manfully to the colour-pole, until, finding himself overpowered, he threw the colour down and lay upon it, and some privates of the regiment closing round the Frenchman, lifted him out of his saddle on their bayonet points!

  The 92nd Highlanders -- the old Gordons of Peninsular fame -- were the last of Picton's men to reach the field, and were formed up in line.

  "Ninety-second, don't fire till I tell you!" cried Wellington, as a mass of Cuirassiers charged them in his presence; and the word was not given until the dashing horsemen were within twenty yards.

  A little later, the duke said again: "Now, 92nd, you must charge these two columns of infantry"; and charge they did, over a ditch, driving the French before them, but their beloved colonel, Cameron, received a death-wound from the upper windows of a house.

  His horse turned and bolted with him, back along the road, until he came to his master's groom holding a second mount, when, stopping suddenly, the dying man was pitched on his head on to the stone causeway. But he had been terribly avenged; for the kilted Highlandmen burst into the house with a roar and put every soul inside to the bayonet.

  "Where is the rest of the regiment?" asked Picton in the evening. Alas! upwards of half the "gay Gordons" had perished in the fray.

  Through the broiling heat of that summer day our infantry stood firm, growing stronger as regiment after regiment arrived, and fresh batteries unlimbered in the trampled corn, until at night Ney fell back, leaving us in possession; our cavalry came up, jaded by their long marches and we bivouacked on the battlefieid, cooking our suppers in the cuirasses of the slain.

* * * * * * *

  Meanwhile, Napoleon had beaten Blücher a few miles away at Ligny, but had neglected, in most un-Napoleonic fashion, to follow up his advantage, and the wily old hussar -- he was over seventy-three -- slipped off in the dark and retreated on Wavre.

  When Wellington learned this next morning, he said to Captain Bowles: "Old Blücher has had a ---- good licking, and has gone back to Wavre. As he has gone back, we must go too. I suppose in England they will say we have been licked. I can't help that." So back we went, along the Brussels road, our cavalry covering the retreat until we reached the stronger position before Mont St. Jean, where we halted and faced about, and glued ourselves on the ridge across the causeway in such a manner that all the magnificent chivalry of France could never move us.

  During the retreat from Quatre Bras on the 17th, all went well until the middle of the day. The wounded had been collected; the, columns filed off along the road; one of the regiments even found time to halt and flog a marauder: when, the enemy's cavalry pressing our rearguard too closely, some Horse Artillery guns opened fire, and the discharge seemed to burst the heavy rainclouds.

  It poured down in torrents; roads were turned into watercourses. The fields and hollows became swamps; we had a smart brush with some Lancers at Genappe, where our 7th Hussars and 1st Life Guards charged several times; the 10th Hussars had also occasion to dismount some men and line a hedgerow with their carbines; but the main feature of the retreat was a weary tramp in a deluge of rain. The cavalry, had their cloaks, it is true, but the greatcoats of the footsoldiers had been sent back to England. Soaked to the skin, we arrived at the ridge above La Haye Sainte, and prepared to pass the night without covering of any kind. The French advanced almost up to us, and Captain Mercer was giving them a few rounds from his 9-pounders when a man in a shabby old drab overcoat and rusty round hat strolled towards him and began a conversation. Mercer, who thought him one of the numerous amateurs with whom Brussels was swarming, answered curtly enough, and the stranger went away.

  That shabby man was General Picton, who fell next day on the very spot where he received this unmerited snubbing. He fought at Quatre Bras in plain clothes, having joined the army hurriedly in advance of his baggage, and there is good reason to believe that he wore the same dress at Waterloo.

  Now commenced preparations for a dismal bivouac. The French fell back and did not disturb us again, they too suffering from the drenching rain, which beat with a melancholy hissing on the cornfields, the clover, the potato patches and ploughed land which formed both positions.

  Some of our officers found shelter in neighbouring cottages; Lord Uxbridge, afterwards Marquis of Anglesey, crept into a piggery and sipped tea with Waymouth of the 2nd Life Guards; but most of them cowered with their men round wretched fires which here and there were coaxed into burning.

  One of Mercer's lieutenants had an umbrella, which had caused much merriment during the march, but he and his captain found it a haven of refuge under the lee of a hedge that night.

  The cavalry stood to their horses, cloaked, with one flap over the saddle; some few were lucky enough to get a bundle of straw or peasticks to sit down upon, and all looked anxiously for the dawn -- fated to prove the last to thousands of them. With morning the rain gradually declined to a drizzle, which finally ceased; fires sprang up, arms were cleaned, and a buzz of voices rose along the line as tall Lifeguardsmen went down behind La Haye Sainte to dig potatoes, where, a few hours later, they were charging knee to knee, and every one made shift to get what he could -- with most it was only a hard biscuit -- and to dry himself, which was a still more difficult matter.

  Wet to the skin, splashed from head to foot in mud and mire, cold, shivering, unshaven (the foundation laid of acute rheumatism, to which a pension of five pence a day, in some cases ten pence, was applied by a grateful country, to its indelible disgrace), such was the condition of those brave hearts who were about to make the name of "Waterloo-man" a household word for all the ages.

* * * * * * *

  The Brussels road runs across a shallow valley, three-quarters of a mile in width, all green and golden with the ripening grain, dipping sharply into it by the white-walled, blue-roofed farmstead of La Haye Sainte, and rising gently out again at the cabaret of La Belle Alliance on its way to the frontier beyond Charleroi.

  The valley is bounded by two ridges: on the northern one along the cross road which runs nearly the whole length of the position, our army was posted in the form of a thin crescent; on the southern ridge and the slopes leading down into the valley the French forces were afterwards distributed, also, to some extent, in crescent shape.

  These crescents had their tips advanced towards each other, and enclosed in the oval thus formed were two important strongholds -- La Haye Sainte, in advance of our left centre and the château of Hougoumont, some distance in front of our right wing; while away to the extreme left, the white buildings of Papelotte partly concealed Ter La Haye farm and the red-tiled hamlet of Smohain, the end of our line in that direction.

  The cross-road which I have mentioned as lying along our position, and which was the celebrated "sunken road of Ohain," runs in some place between banks, at others on the level; it is paved down its centre, like most Belgian roads, with irregular stones, terrible to traverse for any distance, and it undulates gently, as the ridge rises and falls, until it joins the Nivelle chaussée beyond Hougoumont. Hougoumont, surrounded by a quadrangle of tall trees, lies in a hollow in front of our ridge, perhaps halfway between it and the enemy's line. A Flemish château with a garden laid out in the French style, and a smaller garden full of currant bushes; barns and quaint outbuildings clustering round the château, a brick wall about the height of a tall man, built on lower courses of grey stone, enclosing the garden, and at the east end of it a large open orchard; from the north-west corner, an avenue of ancient poplars winding into the Nivelle road with an abattis of tree trunks there, held by a company of the 51st Light Infantry; between the south wall and the French, a beech wood, through which one could see the corn-clad slopes beyond and that was Hougoumont on the day of the battle.

  The beech wood has been cut down, the apple-trees are sparse and scanty now, the château was burned by the French shells, and the garden is a grassy paddock; but the rest remains, loopholed and pockmarked with balls, a monument to the gallantry of two brave nations. The light companies of the Foot Guards occupied it on the 17th, and all night long they, were busy, boring walls, barricading the gateways and erecting platforms from which to pour their fire.


  On the high ground behind Hougoumont on our side the 2nd Brigade of British Guards was posted, having Maitland's Guards on its left; beyond Maitland was Alten's Infantry and Kielmansegge's Hanoverians, flanked in their turn by the gallant King's German Legion, in the pay of England, whose left rested on the Brussels chaussée, behind La Haye Sainte. On the other side of the chaussée was Kempt, then Pack's Highlanders, the Royal Scots, and 44th Regiment, some more Hanoverians, under Best, the 5th Hanoverians of Vincke, Vandeleur's Light Dragoons, and Vivian's Hussar Brigade.

  The 2nd Rifles of the German Legion held La Have Sainte, three companies of our 95th occupying a knoll and sandpit on the other side of the road, and Papelotte was garrisoned by Dutch Belgians, who behaved with the greatest gallantry.

  Along the front of this, our first fighting line, the artillery was posted at intervals, and sufficient justice has not been done to the brave gunners, the duke always being unfairly severe on that arm of the service. Our heavy cavalry stood, in hollows behind the line, right and left of the great road in front of the farm of Mont St. Jean, already full of the Quatre Bras wounded. Other troops were in reserve out of sight of the enemy, behind our ridge, ready to advance and fill up any gaps, and we had a strong force in and about Braine l'Alleud, two miles to our right, in case the French should try to turn us there.

  Crops, as at Quatre Bras, covered the valley and ridges, and the whole plain undulated in every direction. The battlefield to-day is full of surprises. Sudden dips occur where the land seems flat from a little distance; tongues of ground and barley-covered hillocks rise expectedly as you approach them; and it is possible to lose sight of the entire field by a few yards of walking in some directions; so that, flat as Belgium is generally considered, it is not astonishing that the survivors of Waterloo could only speak to events in their own immediate vicinity.

* * * * * * *

  Between nine and ten there was loud cheering, as the Duke of Wellington rode along the line with his Staff. He wore a blue frock coat, white cravat, and buckskin breeches, with tasselled Hessian boots; a short blue cloak with a white lining, and a low cocked hat with the British black cockade, and three smaller ones, for Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands. He was mounted on his favourite chestnut, Copenhagen, a grandson of Eclipse, and carried a long field-telescope drawn out for use.

  At nine o'clock there was a movement on the opposite side of the valley; columns debouched into the fields right and left of the chausée, and took up their positions as orderly as if upon parade; glittering files of armoured Cuirassiers trotted through the corn, and formed behind the infantry, lance-pennons fluttered on each flank, and by half-past ten 61,000 French soldiers were drawn up in battle array, their right opposite Papelotte, their centre at La Belle Alliance, their left wing somewhat beyond Hougoumont.

  The two greatest living commanders were about to measure swords for the first and only time; and as Napoleon galloped along his line, the music of the French bands was distinctly heard; helmets and weapons were brandished in the air, and a shout of "Vive l'Empereur!" rolled across the field.

  Blue-coated infantry formed their first ranks, with batteries of brass cannon dotted here and there; behind stood the heavy cavalry with more guns, supported, on their right, by the gay light horse of the Guard, on the left by the heavy cavalry of the Imperial cohort, and in rear of the centre about the farm of Rossomme, stood the invincible infantry of the Guard, the most renowned body of warriors in Europe.

* * * * * * *

  Napoleon was unwell.

  At two in the morning he had been reconnoitring, and his horses were ordered for seven; at ten he still sat in an upper room in an attitude of bodily and mental suffering.

  A little later he came down the steep ladder, and as his page, Gudin, was helping him into the saddle he lifted the Imperial elbow too suddenly, and Napoleon pitched over on the offside, nearly coming to the ground.

  "Allez," he hissed, "à tous les diables!" and away he started in a great rage.

  The page stood watching the cortée with tearful eyes, but when it had gone some hundred yards the ranks of the Staff opened, and Napoleon came riding back alone.

  With one hand placed tenderly on the lad's shoulder he said, very softly, "My child, when you assist a man of my girth to mount, it is necessary to proceed more carefully." Yet it was of this man that Wellington could say, in after years, "The fellow was no gentleman"!

  The page became a general, and fell in a sortie from Paris during the Franco-Prussian war.

* * * * * * *

  There was a lull before the storm, and the duke went to have a final look at Hougoumont, where, in addition to the Guards, he had posted in the woods and grounds, some Nassauers Hanoverians, and Luneberg riflemen.

  These foreigners were dissatisfied at their position, and as Wellington rode away several bullets came whistling after him! "How can they expect me to win a battle with troops like those?" was his only comment.

  About half-past eleven came the FIRST ATTACK!

  One booming cannon echoed dully in the misty Sabbath morning, and a cloud of dark-blue skirmishers ran forward against Hougoumont, firing briskly into the wood.

  Puffs of white smoke issued from the trees; here and there a bluecoat turned a somersault and lay still; but the cloud increased, and a loud rattle of musketry was kept up on both sides, which lasted, with short intervals, the whole day.

  Our men fell back upon the buildings through open beech-trees, and in twenty minutes the French supporting columns were pouring up the hill towards the château grounds.

  Cleeve's German battery opened on them, and his first shot killed seventeen men, the guns checking the advance and sending the column, broken and bleeding, down the ridge again.

  Our batteries on the right now began; the French artillery replied; Kellermann's horse batteries joined in, and the infernal concert was in full blast.

  The green Lunebergers and the yellow knapsacks of the Hanoverians came helter-skelter back across the orchard, but the Foot Guards went forward at a run and drove the enemy off.

  Bull's howitzers sent a shower of 5½-inch shells over the château into the wood, and as often as the death-dealing globes fell crashing through the branches, so often did the enemy retire in confusion, until Jérôme Bonaparte, ex-king of Westphalia, who was in command at Hougoumont, brought up Foy's Division to help the attack.

  Bravely led by their officers, the tall shakoes and square white coat-facings of the line regiments, the dark-blue and black gaiters of the light infantry, pressed through the wood until they reached a stiff quickset hedge, separated by a thin strip of apple orchard from the long south wall, over which peeped the head-gear of our Guardsmen, and in the confusion of smoke and skirmish the bright-red brickwork was mistaken for a line of British -- you can see to-day where the French balls crumbled that barrier. But soon discovering their error, the brave fellows struggled through the hedge and rushed forward.

  A line of loopholes perforated the wall about three feet from the ground, crossed bayonets protruded viciously from the openings, and a hail of bullets poured forth with such ghastly effect that in half-an-hour there were fifteen hundred of God's creatures dead and dying on the green grass in this orchard, and still the others came on.

  Some got as far as the loopholes, and seized the bayonets; others struck with their gunbutts at the men, who, on platforms behind the wall, fired down over the top, piling up the dead in dreadful heaps -- privates and officers, conscripts and veterans.

  From time to time our Foot Guards charged over the large orchard at the cast end of the enclosed garden, and also at the south-west angle of the farm buildings, where a haystack helped to cover them until the French burned it; and this repulse and attack went on, time and again, until the evening, the enemy gaining no advantage but the beechwood for all their desperate valour.

  The rest of our line had remained passive listeners to the firing, except for a little skirmishing here and there, but a hurricane was brewing and about to burst against our left and centre.

* * * * * * *
La Haye Sainte was a farm, lying like Hougoumont in a hollow; it was on the Brussels road, and was built with barn and stabling round three sides of an oblong yard, the fourth side being a high white wall, with a gate and a piggery alongside the roadway.

  Towards the French position stretched a long orchard, a small garden lay behind the house, and a large double door opened from the yard into the fields on the Hougoumont side, half of which door had been burned for bivouac fires the night previous. The 2nd Rifles of the German Legion, dressed like our own in green with slate-coloured pantaloons, held the post, and held it like the heroes of old, three companies in the orchard, two in the building, and one in the garden, Major Baring, who had two horses shot under him, being in command.

  The post was not as strong as Hougoumont, all the pioneers having been sent to fortify the latter place, and the "Green Germans" had a very insufficient supply of ammunition; Wellington afterwards admitting that he had neglected to make the most of the position there.

  At 1•30 p.m. Marshal Ney had gathered seventy-four guns, mostly 12-pounders, on a ridge very near to La Haye Sainte on the French right of the road, and this was known as the "Great Battery."

  Behind the guns the whole of D'Erlon's Corps, together with Bachelu's Division, was massed in columns for the attack -- twenty regiments, Bachelu being in reserve. Ney sent to the Emperor to tell him all was ready, and with an appalling cannonade on our left and centre, they commenced the SECOND ATTACK.

  When the smoke which hung about the guns had drifted slowly away across the slopes we could see four massive columns, led by the brave Ney, pouring steadily forward straight for our ridge.

  The firing became general as we opened on the advance; men had to shout to be audible to their neighbours; long lanes were ploughed through Picton's Division, and the balls went tearing through our cavalry in reserve, many of them striking the hospital farm, and some even travelling into the village beyond.

  Bylandt's Dutch Belgians, posted in front of the cross-road, forgot their gallantry at Quatre Bras, and bolted, almost running over the Grenadiers of our 28th, who were restrained with difficulty from firing into them. One ball cut a tall tree into half at the hedgerow above the sandpit, bringing the feathery top down and half-smothering two doctors of the 95th, who had stationed themselves beneath it.

  Nearly 24,000 men advanced, with loud cries and the hoarse rolling of drums, in four masses: Durutte against Papelotte, Alix and Marcognet in front of Kempt and Pack, Donzelot upon the devoted Rifles in La Haye Sainte, the shock taking place about two o'clock, and lasting for more than an hour.

  Durutte took Papelotte, but was driven out again; Alix and Marcognet breasted the rise, and gained the ridge under a murderous discharge; the smell of trampled corn mingling with the powder smoke as the Great Battery ceased firing lest it should kill its comrades, and with shouts of "Vive l'Empereur!" the two columns hurled themselves against the steel barrier of bayonets on the hedge-lined bank above them.

  Hand to hand, no quarter asked or given, veteran and conscript came on yelling like mad, Picton's Division meeting them in line.

  Some of Marcognet's fellows crossed the Wavre road and blazed into the 92nd; but our men advanced, after a withering volley, and, jumping into the cross-road, went at them with a will. Cameron Highlanders, 32nd and 28th, Scots Royals, and Black Watch, Gordons and 44th, with colours waving and courage high, over the causeway they rushed, into the wheat and barley.

  "Charge, charge! Hurrah!" cried Picton, his little black eyes sparkling, his florid complexion redder with exciternent -- a ball struck his right temple, he fell dead from his horse, and his men passed over him driving the foe down hill.

  A mounted French officer had his horse shot, and getting to his feet seized the regimental colour of the 32nd, which was nearly new. Belcher, who carried it, grasped the silk and the Frenchman groped for his sabre hilt, but Colour-sergeant Switzer thrust a pike at his breast. "Save the brave fellow!" was the cry, but it came too late; a private, named Lacy, fired point blank into him, and he fell lifeless.

  Ney stood in the road beyond La Haye Sainte watching Donzelot's attack on the farm, where the "Green Germans" were forced, after a struggle, out of the long orchard into the buildings, and simultaneously a mass of Cuirassiers tore past the Hougoumont side and rode at the ridge.

  Our Household Cavalry and Ponsonby's Heavies had walked on foot to the height overlooking the struggle; the trumpets rang out "Mount," and swinging into their saddles they swooped down into the thick of it. With a clatter across the causeway, and the muffled thunder of hoofs on the ground beyond it, the scarlet-coated Life Guards, wearing no armour then, and mounted on black horses, dashed past the Wellington tree into the potato field, with the Blues and King's Dragoon Guards, swinging, slashing, stirrup to stirrup, to meet Kellermann's troopers and Ordoner's Cuirassiers. There was the snort of eager horses, the creaking of leather, the clash of sword on steel cuirass, the yell of passion and the scream of agony; a seething mass of fighting-men and steeds, glinting and gleaming, swaying this way and that way, but always onward, jostling down the hill.

  The 1st Lifes got jammed in the road beyond the farm with a body of Cuirassiers, on the spot where Ney had just before been standing, voltigeurs firing into them, on friend and foe alike!

  Their Colonel, Ferrier, led eleven charges, although badly wounded by sabre and lance.

  The King's Dragoons jumped their horses over a barrier of trees which our Rifles had built across the causeway and went thundering along that way, while the Blues were reaping a harvest of glory in another direction, and the 2nd Life Guards charged to the left for a great distance beyond the sandpit alongside the farm, where Corporal Shaw met his fate after slaying nine of the enemy single-handed.

  After the battle men remembered this mighty swordsman, and told in solemn voices his deeds of derring-do. One cuirassier sat, out of the mêlée coolly loading his carbine and picking off our troopers, and it is believed he gave Shaw his mortal hurt.

  A survivor narrated how, exhausted at nightfall, he had lain down on a dung-heap, when Shaw crawled beside him, bleeding from many wounds. In the morning the life-guardsman was still there, his head resting on his arm as if asleep, but it was the sleep which knows no waking.

  Ponsonby's Union Brigade was meanwhile making its immortal onslaught, more towards Papelotte, the ground they went over being billowy, and the troops before them infantry of the line.

  The Royals gave a ringing cheer; "Scotland for ever!" was the war-cry of the Greys; and the Inniskillings went in with an Irish howl.

  As they passed the 92nd, many of the Highlanders caught hold of their stirrup-leathers and charged down with them; the very ground seemed trembling under the iron hoofs; Marcognet and Alix were broken and trampled, and in three minutes more than 2,000 prisoners were wending their disconsolate way to the rear.

  "Those beautiful grey horses!" said Napoleon, as he watched the charge.

  Did he see that struggle round the Eagle of his 45th, I wonder -- that famous "Battle for the Standard" which Ansdell has painted so well?

  What says Sergeant Ewart, the hero of the incident? "It was in the charge I took the Eagle from the enemy. He and I had a hard contest for it. He made a thrust at my groin; I parried it off, and cut him down through the head. After this a lancer came at me; I threw the lance off by my right side, and cut him through the chin and upwards through the teeth, Next a foot-soldier fired at me, and then charged me with his bayonet, which I also had the good luck to parry, and then I cut him down through the head. Thus ended the contest."

  Captain Claike and Corporal Styles, of the Royals, took an Eagle from the 105th between them -- a glorious gilded thing, embroidered with the names of Jéna, Eylau, Eckmühl, Essling, and Wagram -- the gallant captain losing the tip of his nose in the struggle.

  A man of the Inniskillings named Penfold claimed to have taken that colour; but his story is vague, and I incline to think that a blue silk camp-colour of the 105th, now at Abbotsford, was the one that Penfold seized and afterwards lost in the fray.

  Sir William Ponsonby led the charge on a restive bay hack, and was killed; while some of the Greys got as far as the Great Battery, disabling many of the guns, and getting slain in the end.

  Part of the 28th lost its head, and charged with the brigade; Lieutenant Deares of that regiment being taken prisoner, stripped of his clothes, rejoining at night in nothing but shirt and trousers.

  Tathwell, of the Blues, tore off a colour, but his horse was shot and he lost it; and the greater part of the two brigades rode along the battery until heavy bodies of Cuirassiers and Lancers came to drive them back.

  Vandeleur charged to their relief with his Light Dragoons -- the 12th with bright yellow lancer facings, the 16th with scarlet, the buff 11th remaining in reserve.

  "Squadrons, right half-wheel! Charge!" and the sabres of our light horsemen were soon busy in the valley below. The ground was very soft, for a month after the battle some of the holes made by horses' feet were measured, and found to be eighteen inches deep, and in speaking of artillery movements it must be remembered that the guns were at times up to the axle in clay.

  The heavy cavalry regained our position; but so much had they suffered that, later in the day, when they were drawn up in line to show a bold front, there were only fifty of them; Somerset, who led the "Households," losing his hat, and wearing the helmet of a life-guardsman, with its red and blue worsted crest, until nightfall.

  The attack had failed, and there was a long pause, broken only by the firing at Hougoumont and some feeble attempts on La Haye Sainte; but it was now the turn of our troops in the centre, from the chaussée to the back of the château; and a terrible time they had!

  A renewal of the cannonade -- a forming of our regiments into squares and oblongs -- and then the grandest cavalry affair in history, as forty squadrons of Cuirassiers and Dragoons crossed from the French right in beautiful order, wheeled up until they almost filled the space from Hougoumont to La Haye Sainte, and, about four o'clock, put spurs to their horses and began the THIRD ATTACK!

  A forest of sword-blades, an undulating sea of helmets, a roar of mighty shouting as they came through the yet untrampled grain.

  Wave after wave, far as the eye could scan, now glinting with thousands of bright points as the sullen sun shone for a moment upon them, now grey and sombre as the clouds closed together again. Nearer! nearer! nearer! Men clutched their muskets tighter and breathed hard; gunners rammed home and hastened to re-load before the smoke had drifted from the cannon.

  Suddenly they left their guns, and ran to the infantry for protection as the sea burst upon us, and our ridge became alive with furious horsemen, surging and foaming round and round the squares. There were many who thought that all was over, but the little clumps of scarlet fringed with steel were impenetrable.

  In vain the moustached troopers cut desperately at the bayonets; in vain they rode up and fired their pistols into the faces of our lads. For three-quarters of an hour they expended their strength in a hopeless task; and when our fresh cavalry from Dörnberg's and Grant's Brigades charged them, they went down the slope again, leaving the ground dotted with dead and dying.

  A moment's respite to re-form in the hollows below, and back they came once more, in the face of a fearful fire from our artillery, whose guns were double-shotted -- some loaded with scattering grape and canister. Lanes, sickening to behold, were torn through the squadrons; but Milhaud's men were not to be daunted, and the same strange scene was repeated many times.

  A small body of cuirassiers that had surrendered was being escorted to the rear by a weak party of the 7th Hussars, when they made a bold dash for liberty along the Nivelle road, stampeding, ventre à terre, until they reached the abattis at the end of the Hougoumont avenue.

  Here they met Ross's company of the 51st, who killed eight men and twelve horses, the rest -- about sixty -- surrendering again.

  One artilleryman was seen under his gun, dodging a French trooper, who tried to reach him with his long sword.

  After some moments the cuirassier's horse was shot, and the gunner, sallying out, hit him over the head with his rammer, and packed him and off to the rear with a parting kick.

  The ridge was once more cleared, and Mercer's battery brought into the front line. The whole field was now littered with corpses and accoutrements. Gaily-dressed trumpeters, and officers on whose breasts hung crosses of the Legion of Honour, lay bleeding in the barley among hundreds of dead and wounded horses. Here a lancer in green and light blue, there a heap of cuirassiers of the 1st Regiment, mown down by grape shot; yonder a chasseur-à-cheval, propped against his charger, while swords and cuirasses were almost as numerous as the stalks of corn.

  All the slope was torn and trampled; flies were busy in the now loathsome hollows; there was constant firing still at Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte, when the trumpets sounded again, seventy-seven squadrons, including the cavalry of the Guard, France returned to the charge. Every arm of the mounted service was represented in this attack, the beauty and brilliancy of the uniforms baffling description. Carabiniers, white-coated, with brass cuirasses and red crested helmets; Lancers, Dragoons, and Chasseurs in green, with facings of every hue; the Red Lancers of the Guard, clad in scarlet from head to heel, and Napoleon's own favourite Chasseurs-à-cheval, with hussar caps and red pelisses, richly braided with orange lace; tall bearskinned Horse Grenadiers, with white facings to their blue coats; the Cuirassiers, dark and sombre looking; the high felt shakoes of the Hussars -- it was as though a flower garden in all its summer dress were moving at a slow trot upon us, heralded by the thunder of hell from the batteries behind it.

  When the thunder stopped, which it always did as the leading files reached the crest of the ridge, our men could hear in the momentary intervals of their own firing the jingling of bits and scabbards, and the heavy breathing of the horses. Mounted skirmishers came close to the batteries and commenced firing at the gunners, who were literally dripping with perspiration from the exertions they made. One fellow took several pot-shots at Captain Mercer, who was coolly walking his horse backwards and forwards along a bank to set an example to his men. He missed each time, and grinned grimly as he reloaded, but as the head of the squadrons closed up the skirmishers vanished and were succeeded by the rush which threatened death to every soul on the plateau. Wellington's orders were to retire into the squares and leave the batteries, but Mercer's men stuck to their gulls, repulsing three charges of the Horse Grenadiers and dealing such slaughter that the position of "G Troop" was known next day by the enormous heap of slain lying before it, visible from a considerable distance.

  The carnage on the slope was shocking -- the oldest soldiers had seen nothing like it men and horses lay piled one on another, five and six in a heap, every fresh discharge adding to the ghastly pyramid. The 1st Cuirassiers numbered 300 of the Legion of Honour in its ranks -- it lost 117, including two lieutenants and the brave Captain Poinsot, page to the Emperor in 1807, wounded at Moscow and Brienne. One officer, finding the fire from a particular gun playing havoc with his men, rode straight at it and was blown to atoms.

  The horses during the battle suffered cruelly, and some of the details are heartrending the charger of a very stout officer with the Duke's staff, probably Müffling, was seen to rear for some time without the rider being able to bring it down -- its front legs had been both shot off. Another trooper's horse was seen next morning sitting on its tail, its hind legs gone; and one poor beast ran for sympathy to six guns in succession, and was driven off from each with exclamations of horror until it reached "G Troop," where they mercifully killed it: the whole of its face below the great brown pleading eyes had been carried away by a round shot!

  After a repulse and a re-attack, the remnant of the seventy-seven squadrons reeled back to their own lines the cavalry of France, magnificent, irresistible, brave as lions, and nobly led, had shattered itself without result, and the third great attempt had failed!

* * * * * * *

  All the afternoon there had been great doings at Hougoumont. About one o'clock Colonel Hepburn had relieved Saltoun in the large orchard with a battalion of the 3rd -- now the Scots Guards -- and the combat on that side became a long succession of advances with the bayonet to the front hedge and retirings into a green dry ditch, which is known to us as the "friendly hollow-way." When our men fell back, a terrific fire from the short east wall would stagger the foe, and the Scots, having formed again, would scramble out of the hollow and clear the orchard of all but the dead.

  Along the terrible south wall a staff-officer, who had been through all the Peninsula battles, afterwards said that the slain lay thicker than he had ever seen them elsewhere.

  The château and barns were now burning furiously, fired by Haxo's howitzers at Napoleon's orders, and many of our wounded perished in the flames; some officers' horses tore out of the barn, galloped madly round the yard, and rushed into the fire again to be destroyed.

  Twice the enemy got in: once by a little door in the west wall, through which they never got out alive; and the second time, when our Guardsmen had sallied out into the lane to drive off a body of infantry, about fifty French entered on their heels through the north gate. Then, by main strength of arm, Colonel Macdonell, Sergeant Graham, and three or four more, shut and barred the wooden gate in the faces of the others, and those inside were all shot down.

  A brave fellow climbed on to the beam that crossed the gateway; but Graham fired, and he dropped with a scream on to the heads of his comrades outside the wall.

  The fire stopped at the door of the château chapel, which was full of wounded, and a wooden figure of our Saviour had the feet nibbled by the flames, at which the superstitious marvel greatly to this day.

  Columns of smoke hung over everything. A gallant artillery driver rushed his horses to the wall, and flung a barrel of welcome cartridges over into the yard. At the corner, before the gardener's house, Baron de Cubières lay wounded under his horse; afterwards, when Governor of Ancona, he expressed himself very grateful that we had not fired on him!

  Crawford of the 3rd Guards was killed in the kitchen garden, Blackman of the Coldstreams died in the orchard; but the attack and repulse grew gradually weaker, as both sides tired of the hideous slaughter.

  Meanwhile, a serious trouble which had been menacing the Emperor on his right flank for some time at last grew terribly imminent.

  The Prussians were coming in spite of Grouchy, who had been sent in their pursuit.

  They should have arrived about one o'clock; but, thanks to the bad roads, a fire in the town of Wavre, which had to be extinguished before the ammunition-waggons could be got through, and some hesitation on the part of Gneisenau, Blücher's Chief of Staff, who doubted Wellington's good faith, it was half-past four when part of Büow's corps came out of the woods at St. Lambert and confirmed Napoleon's previously awakened fears.

  In the hazy weather they thought it was Grouchy, and a false report was afterwards sent through the French army to cheer the wearied men; but the Emperor and Soult knew otherwise, and the line of battle was weakened by a strong force being detached to meet the new arrivals.

  There was no time to be lost; drums rolled and trumpets sounded again, and the last remnants of the cavalry had not regained their position when the Fourth Grand Attack began with a fury that even exceeded the others.

  While fresh bodies of horse and foot advanced up the ridge, a most determined rush was made on La Haye Sainte. Baring had been reinforced, it is true; but, although he sent time after time for more ammunition, not a single cartridge was forthcoming!

  A feeble excuse has been made that there were no means of getting it into the building; but a large door and several windows faced our line at the back of the house then, as now. They may still be seen by the visitor to Waterloo.

  A horde of French infantry flung themselves on the buildings, setting the barn on fire, and besieging the broken gateway.

  While the brave Germans filled their camp-kettles from the pond and extinguished the flames, others, with their bayonets only, kept the door leading into the field. Seventeen corpses they piled up there in a few minutes, one gallant fellow defending a breach with a brick torn from the wall! The individual acts of heroism on authentic record would fill many pages but, without ammunition, they were at a fearful disadvantage.

  The voltigeurs climbed on to the roof of the stable, and shot them down at their ease: the half barn-door is preserved to the present day, with eighty bullet-holes in it! Alten sent the brave Christian Ompteda to their aid, if practicable, with the 5th Battalion. He pointed to an overwhelming force; but the irrepressible Orange repeated Alten's suggestion in a tone that brooked no delay, and Ompteda went down with his 5th Battalion, and they died, almost to a man!

  Baring dismounted to pick up his cap, knocked off by a shot; four balls had lodged in the cloak rolled on his saddle-bow, and a fifth then pierced the saddle itself, while the Scotch Lieutenant Græme, sitting on the rafters of the piggery, in which a calf was lowing, raised his shako to cheer his men, and his right hand was taken off at the wrist. He was only eighteen.

  It was hopeless. "If I receive no cartridges," said Baring in his last appeal, "I not only must, but will abandon the post!" And very soon those neglected heroes retreated slowly through the house and out through the garden beyond, the French, bursting into the yard, chasing, the remnant round and round and bayoneting them on the dungheaps.

  A roar of cheering rang above the battle. At last they were victorious, and the French had taken La Haye Sainte.

  Without a moment's hesitation their conquest was turned to the best possible advantage. Smart red-braided Horse Artillery galloped down the causeway, dragging their guns to the knoll above the sandpit, from which our 95th had been driven, and, unlimbering, opened fire at sixty yards range on to our line.

  Skirmishers filled the hedgerows and the farm buildings. The Great Battery renewed its work of death, and in a few moments there was a serious gap in the centre of our position.

  Lambert's brigade had been brought up before this, and suffered terribly.

  The 27th, which had lain down and slept soundly behind Mont St. Jean until after three o'clock, lost 478 out of 698 in its new quarters; and the 40th thirteen officers and 180 rank and file, one round shot taking off the head of Captain Fisher and killing twenty-five men.

  Ompteda's brigade mustered a mere handful, Kielmansegge was almost destroyed, Halkett had two weak squares, one of his regiments being very shaky indeed, and, altogether, things were unpleasant when the Duke came up with reinforcements to patch our front as best he could.

  Far off on our right Chassé's Dutch Belgians had arrived, shouting and singing, from Braine l'Alleud, very drunk, narrowly escaping a volley from us, as they wore the French uniform; and at this time, by reason of the bolting of Hake's Cumberland Hussars and some of our supports, with the enormous losses from the six hours of carnage, the British affairs were in bad case.

  Halkett's 30th and 73rd in square had been charged no less than eleven times: the Duke pointed to a scarlet mass in front through the smoke, and inquired what regiment it was. It was the dead and wounded of those two corps, huddled together where they had fallen.

  The green-faced 73rd was at one time commanded by Lieutenant Stewart, all the other officers having been killed or wounded; and at half-past seven the colours of both regiments were sent to the rear.

  The 2nd Line Battalion of the German Legion went into action with 300 men, but mustered only six officers and thirty-six privates after the battle; but Blücher was now nearing the French right rear with nearly 52,000 troops and 104 guns, and the Emperor was obliged to send General Duhesme with eight battalions of the young Guard down into the straggling village of Planchenoit to help to check them.

  He had been at La Belle Alliance all day, and Prussian shot were now falling about him.

  Marshal Ney sent for more infantry to renew the attack. "Où voulez vous que j'en prenne: voulez vous que j'en fasse?" was the Emperor's impatient reply -- "Where can I get them: do you wish me to make them?"

  The long June day was drawing into evening, and shadows began to lengthen across the fields. Wellington, who had always been seen where the fire was hottest, rode with a calm, inscrutable face, followed by a sadly diminished staff, his eagle eye taking note of the strength and weakness of our line.

  The Hussars had been moved in rear of the centre; and Adams' Brigade took position immediately behind the ridge. In front of the clover field where the 52nd stood in square, a pretty little tortoiseshell kitten, which had been frightened out of Hougoumont by the firing, lay dead -- a strange feature in the scene of destruction.

  The men were growing accustomed to the hideous sights and sounds around them, and became impatient at the inactivity which doomed them to endure without reprisal. Suddenly the brass guns blazed forth once more upon us; the pas de charge was rolling from a thousand drums; a serried line was seen advancing along our entire front, and, led by the Emperor himself, on his grey charger Marie, his famous redingote gris open and showing the well-known dark-green chasseur coat, the Grenadiers of the Guard marched in solid columns into the valley.

  Two winding serpents of determined men ten battalions in tall black bearskins, white facings and dark-blue pantaloons -- that was their dress at Waterloo -- with Friant and Morand, Petit, whom Napoleon had kissed at Fontainebleau, Poret de Morvan, and old Cambronne. The élite of the French army, the Grenadiers and Chasseurs of the Old and Middle Guard, marching sternly to victory or death. Marcognet, Alix, and Donzelot, with their remnants, against our reeling left; Reille, Foy, and Jérôme renewing on Hougoumont -- cavalry in the gaps and spaces -- a simultaneous, mighty LAST ATTACK!

  The yet unbroken Imperial Guard set their faces towards the spot where Maitland's, Adams' and Byng's red-coats looked to their priming and closed their ranks had Napoleon hurled them against the cross road behind La Haye Sainte, the story of Waterloo had been written differently.

  He missed his chance; he threw away his final hope. The greatest of his many mistakes was committed, and, handing over the leadership to Ney, he remained on a hillock above the farm, and watched the downfall of France and the death-blow of his empire! For the last time in this world their Emperor addressed them, pointing towards the heights with a gesture all could understand.

  "Déployez les aigles. En avant! Vive l'Empereur!" and with a great shout they quickened their pace, passing proudly, unheeding, over the bodies of those comrades who had gone before.

  Red tongues of flame burst from the smoke of our guns; whiz, came the fiery rockets, darting into their ranks, scorching, blinding, and burning in their course; humming shells dropped among them with terrible destruction; but the Old Guard pressed on, and began to mount the ridge.

  Ney's horse fell -- the fifth killed under him that day, and the "bravest of the brave," went forward on foot. Alas, would that it had been to death!

  Our Guards were lying down to avoid the hurricane from the French artillery. A shell dropped in one of the squares, and Colonel Colquitt, picking it up, fizzing and fuming, walked to the edge and flung it outside to burst harmlessly. Another officer, mortally wounded, said faintly:

  "I should like to see the colours of the regiment again before I quit them for ever": they were brought and waved round his body, and with a smile, he was carried away, to die.

  It was men like those that the oncoming columns had to face, and batteries as famous as those of Bull and Bolton, of Norman Ramsay, Whinyates, and Webber Smith, with guns double shotted and served as on parade; no need to sight so carefully, for the moving target is a wide one, and they hit in every time!

  Now the skirmishers run out, shouting and firing as before, and when they have said their say, they fall back leaving all clear for the others; but the columns seem to get no nearer though they are marching steadily; front rank after front rank is blown to shreds -- that is why they appear stationary!

  The gunners have done their work; the guns recoil, and are left there it is the turn of the infantry now, and the time has come, for that historic signal, "Up, Guards, and at 'em!" which in reality was never said.

  But whatever the word was, they do "up," and they do "at 'em"; and again it is bayonet to bayonet, and man to man.

  One Welsh giant, named Hughes, six feet seven inches in height, is seen to knock over a dozen of the Old Guard single handed; the red-coats and the blue-coats mingle for a moment and the blue-coats melt away.

  The second column, a little behind the other, is in good order it has suffered less from the cannonade, and is full of fire and fury; but so also are our 52nd lads, who advance down the slope with three tremendous cheers.

  Colborne is leading, and when they get abreast of the column he cries--

  "Halt! Mark time!"

  The men touch in to their left, and regain their dressing; Colborne's horse is shot, and he comes forward wiping his mouth with a white handkerchief, still wearing Ensign Leeke's blue boat-cloak.

  "Right shoulders forward!"

  The regiment swings round, and, four deep, faces the column's flank two hundred yards away.

  "Forward, 52nd -- charge!" and the Foot Guards, who are back on the ridge again, behold a noble spectacle.

  The crash is terrific; the Imperial phalanx is taken in flank. The contest is fierce, but it is soon over.

  Brave Michel, in response to our officers, replies with glorious esprit de corps, "The Guard dies, and never surrenders!" his words instantly fulfilled, as he falls lifeless, sword in hand, while Cambronne, grown old in the service (to whom these words have been falsely attributed), gives up his weapon to William Halkett.

  Halkett's horse is shot, and Cambronne hastens away, but his captor is too quick for him, and seizing his gold aiguillette, hands him to a sergeant to be taken care of.

  On presses the 52nd, driving the broken Guard before it: it is a sight probably never repeated in history -- one regiment traversing the field alone, in sight of the army sending the foe like sheep into the hollow dispersing and pushing them relentlessly back, until they turn and fly, and other corps make haste to join in that glorious progress.

  There is a movement along the ridge as the setting sun shines out in a burst of sinking splendour, and the Duke, with cocked hat raised above his head, gives the magic word, "The whole line will advance!" and then spurs down after the 52nd.

  On the rising ground near La Haye Sainte, Napoleon sits on horseback, close to a small battalion which has formed square.

  Jérôme, his brother, bleeding and exhausted, is with him, with honest old Drouot in his artillery uniform, in the pocket of which is a well-worn Bible; Soult and Gourgaud, Bertrand and brave young La Bédoyère are there, too: but the English Hussars are coming on at a fast trot.

  All day long the waves of valour have been rolling northward, and breaking against an ironbound shore; now the tide has turned, and rushes madly south again.

  Nothing but confusion meets the eye: everywhere the French are in full retreat -- solitary men, groups of three and four, ruined regiments, and the skeletons of squadrons.

  Jérôme rides close to his brother, and says in a meaning tone--

  "It were well for all who bear the name of Bonaparte to perish here!"

  Napoleon orders some guns to open on the Hussars, and one shot hits Lord Uxbridge on the right knee as, mounted on a troop horse belonging to a sergeant-major of the 23rd Light Dragoons, he is leading the pursuit.

  "Here we must die on the field of battle," exclaims the Emperor, preparing to head the weak column; but Soult seizes his bridle, saying, "They will not kill you you will be taken prisoner"; and, held up in the saddle by two faithful officers, for he is worn out, Napoleon is galloped away in the gathering darkness.

* * * * * * *

  On the left of the Brussels road some Prussian guns had come up and fired on our men.

  They were the sole representatives of Blücher's force present before Mont St. Jean until after the retreat had begun; and they had been far better absent, as their pounding was cruelly felt by Mercer's battery and several of our regiments.

  They were induced, after some time, to change the direction of their range, and then all went well. The 52nd still pursued its march, halting for a moment near La Haye Sainte to face and charge some rallying squares, where a Belgian soldier was seen killing a wounded Frenchman, and was run through by an officer of the regiment.

  Leeke, who carried the King's colour, found a foot and a half of the pole wet with blood; Holman, the brother of the blind traveller, had three musket balls through his sword blade, and wore it for many years; Colborne and Major Rowan, being both dismounted, jumped on to two horses attached to an abandoned gun, calling to their men to cut the harness; but the advance continuing, they had to dismount with a hearty laugh and march on again on foot.

  It was getting dark, and our Hussars were clearing the field in splendid style, the 10th, whose sabres were soon red as their scarlet cuffs, engaging with some strong remnants of the Old Guard and losing two officers.

  Major Murray, of the dashing 18th, met a gun going at full speed, and leaped his charger over the traces, between the leaders and wheelers, while his men proceeded to cut the gunners down.

  Colquhoun Grant, who had lost five horses and was then mounted on a magnificent chestnut, sent the gallant remains of his brigade at the retreating foe; and until it was impossible any longer to pick one's way among the vast heaps of dead, disabled cannon, and miserable wounded -- in short, the absolute wreck of an army -- our light cavalry went wheeling and slashing right and left, hurrying on the veteran, the conscript, the artillery driver and the officer alike, all the French accounts doing justice to these light horsemen. It is only in private letters, hardly, in the official documents, that England can learn the heroism of her Hussars at Waterloo.

  Meanwhile the 52nd had crossed to the left of the road and scattered a column debouching from Planchenoit, behind the buildings of La Belle Alliance, in front of which a mass of guns had been left to their fate. The regiment passed on, and on its return found them marked with the numbers of other corps that had succeeded them.

  All the causeway was crammed with flying troops a terrible struggle for liberty took place, in which discipline gave way to terror. General officer and baggage waggon fled side by side; rifles and accoutrements were thrown away that their owners might hurry faster. The fields, the by-lanes, the woods, were all filled with fugitives -- even the Emperor had to turn aside in order to get past.

  Marshal Ney was one of the last to go. He had joined the army on the 15th, without money, without horses, almost without a uniform. He was to be found everywhere on that dreadful 18th, planting batteries, heading charges, rallying, raging, facing death at every stride, and when it was over he tottered exhausted away on foot, leaning on the shoulder of a compassionate corporal.

  Now the Prussians have arrived in force. Planchenoit, its churchyard and crooked street, its orchards and barnyards, are full of French and Prussian slain.

  The young Guard fought well, but they were outnumbered, and Blücher rides into the chaussée at La Belle Alliance.

  A Uhlan band plays "God Save the King," and farther along the road they meet the Duke returning on his way in the dark to write his despatches announcing the victory.

  The two soldiers embrace, and sit talking for ten minutes while the stream goes hurrying by. Then the fiery old German follows the retreat with a fury that is incredible.

  At Genappe the Silesians have taken the Emperor's baggage; Gneisenau mounts a drummer on one of the cream-coloured carriage horses, and away they go into the darkness after the fugitives, driving them from seven bivouacs, slaying, hacking, giving no rest, until the land is strewn for leagues with dead men, fallen under the Prussian steel.

  Merciless it may seem to us, looking back with fourscore years between us and that moonlit night; but such was the vitality of the French that the most drastic steps were necessary to prevent their army mustering again.

* * * * * * *

  What can I say of the battle-field, after the pursuit had rolled away, and it was left to the searcher and the plunderer?

  If I could re-create one tithe of the horror those slopes and roads revealed you would sicken and turn away in disgust.

  Prussian, Belgian, and British, there were,out on the plain that night, bent on no errand of mercy; stragglers and camp-followers creeping from group to group, tearing the rings from the fingers, and the teeth from the jaws!

  Many a life was foully taken that tender nursing might have saved; but there were some groups who sought for a lost comrade or a favourite officer, and women there were, with woman's gentle sympathy, soothing and tending as only they can soothe.

  The bulk of the British force had gone to bivouac beyond and about Rosomme, which was behind the French position; but some detached portions remained where they had fought, too weary to advance with the others.

  Mercer was one of these, and creeping under the cover of a waggon, worn out with slaughter, he slept -- waking to find a dead man stark and stiff beneath him! His men came to him in the morning, and asked permission to bury one of their comrades.

  "Why him in particular?" asked the captain, for many a bearskin-crested helmet was empty in "G Troop."

  Then they showed him the horror of it.

  The whole of the man's head had been carried away, leaving the fleshy mask of what had been a face, from which the eyes were still staring wildly.

  "We have not slept a wink, sir," they said. "Those eyes have haunted us all night!"

  With daybreak men stood aghast at the spectacle of that battle-ground.

  The losses have never been satisfactorily reckoned; but I have seen it stated, curiously, that of the red-coats 9,999 were actually killed there. The French loss for the four days campaign has been counted as 50,000; and you can tell off the survivors of both armies to-day, perhaps, on the fingers of one hand.

  Every house in the neighbourhood was full of wounded. For three days, the doctors tell us, they were being brought in by the search parties, a sharp frost having congealed the wounds of many and so saved them, and lines of carts jolted the shrieking wretches over that dreadful causeway to Brussels in endless succession.

  At Hougoumont, where the orange-trees were in blossom, they flung three hundred bodies down a well: it was a simple method, saving time and trouble; but a dark tradition lingers that voices were heard afterwards, faintly imploring, from the cavernous depths.

  Wild strawberries hung their red clusters, and the little, blue forget-me-not peeped in the woods; birds of prey came croaking on the wing; and within twenty-four hours ten thousand horses had been flayed by the Flemish peasants, many of whom made fortunes by plunder!

  Men gathered jewelled decorations and crosses by handfuls it was impossible to take three strides without treading on a sword, a broken musket, a carbine, or a corpse!

  Near La Haye Sainte they found a pretty French girl in hussar uniform, and the farm itself was encrusted with blood; tufts of hair adhered to the doorways, the yard presenting a sight never to be forgotten. A pole to which a scrap of torn silk clung was picked up under the body of Ensign Nettles: it was the King's colour.

  The remains of three French brothers named Angelet were among the slain, and the history of one was most romantic. Wounded in some of the Napoleonic wars, where he had lost a leg, he was taunted by a lady with the fact that he could only talk of what he had done for France -- that he could do no more. The brave fellow seized his crutches, limped after the army, and met his fate at Waterloo.

  Picton's body -- wounded at Quatre Bras, though none but his valet knew it -- was taken to England, and by a strange coincidence was laid, at the Fountain Inn, Canterbury, on the very table at which he had dined, a fortnight before, on his way to join the army.

  Byng of the Guards said to Sir John Colborne in Paris: "How do your fellows like our getting the credit of what you did at Waterloo? I could not advance because our ammunition was all done."

  The Foot Guards got their bearskins as a well-merited reward, only the Grenadier companies wearing them during the battle. The 52nd, for their great share in the closing scene, received -- nothing! and the Duke, when approached on the subject of that glaring injustice, said, "Oh, I know nothing of the services of particular regiments. There was glory enough for all!"

* * * * * * *

  They are nearly all gathered to the "land o' the leal" now. The last of Hougoumont's defenders -- Von Trovich of the Nassauers -- died in 1882; Albemarle, who fought with the 14th Foot, passed away quite recently; while the Guards turned out to bury a veteran not long since who paraded for the last time in Caterham workhouse! In 1894 John Stacey, aged ninety-six, of the German Legion, walked from Yorkshire to London to see if his tenpence a day might not be increased.

  For thirty years you could mark, by the deeper colour of the corn, where they had buried the dead in greatest numbers: they still find buttons in the plough-land after rain, with bullets cut in half against our sword-blades, and sometimes bones! Ten thousand people, on an average, visit the field each year; and, though the land lies dozing under its wealth of crops, and the lark trills his requiem where the guns once thundered, and. the herdboy's song rises in place of "Vive l'Empereur!" -- never will the nations forget that fearful Sunday or the names of WELLINGTON and WATERLOO.

(Proofread by Patricia Teter)