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OF FICTION, POETRY, HISTORY, AND GENERAL LITERATURE.
A REMINISCENCE OF oment, I walked forward a few paces to MY FIRST CAMPAIGN. observe our position. From the proximity (For the Parterre).
of the countless watchfires which blazed in the direction of the enemy, I judged
that immediately morning dawned, the 'Twas my first campaign-I might al- battle would commence, so near were we most say my first field; for though I was to each other. present at the desperately fought battle What an imposing scene!-two of the of Dresden, and the variety of slight greatest armies that had ever followed engagements which followed, all seemed European leaders, lay hushed in repose to dwindle to nothingness, before the --nothing disturbed the awful calm but a mighty struggle which I was to witness confused murmur, like the hum of some on the morrow. It was the eve of the me- mighty hive. morable battle of Leipsic, upon the issue
What reflections crowded upon my of which, the destiny of Europe seemed mind! Before the setting of to-morrow's to depend: the last great effort of that sun, how many brave men,
who were giant spirit, who had wielded the thun- now full of lusty vigour, would be derbolts of war upon so many victorious stretched upon the bare earth stiffening fields.
in their gore-how soon would this reI belonged to a regiment of cuiras- pose be disturbed by the deafening thunsiers; we were in the rear of the “grand der of cannon, the rude shock of cavalry, army," and the shades of night had de- and close and deadly bayonet charge. scended long ere we arrived at the spot In the midst of my reflections I was which we were to occupy for the night; joined by an officer of my own troop: he watchfires were blazing along our whole had entered the regiment at the same line, surrounded by the fatigued soldiery. time as myself, and we had formed a After obtaining some little refresh- sincere friendship for each other. His usually cheerful countenance, now wore charge ! and on we rushed, the solid an expression of deep thought, if not of earth trembling beneath the thunder of melancholy. Upon my rallying him our chargers' hoofs,-our brave chief,who upon his rueful visage, in a subdued had led so many daring charges, about tone he thus addressed me, “ My dear twenty yards in front, his sabre flashing friend, I feel a strange presentiment that above his head, and his long dark locks to-morrow will end my mortal career. I waving like war-pennons on the breeze. know you will laugh at me for indulging Terrific as our charge was, it was unin what you deem chimerical forebod- successful; for the enemy having reings; but the conviction that I shall fall ceived notice of our intention, had so in to-morrow's contest is indelibly fixed strengthened his position by bringing in my imagination. You have always ex- up his bravest troops, that we were pressed a sincere regard for me, let me unable to force his ranks, now bring you to the proof; promise Our onset seemed to have been the me that you will deliver these two pack signal for the commencement of the ets to the parties to whom they are ad- general engagement, which now raged dressed. This is addressed to one for along the whole line with a fury which whom my heart beats with an affection I have never seen equalled ; one incesthat shall cease not till I am a lifeless sant roar of cannon and musketry rolled corse: it contains a miniature and a lock from the opposing lines. The proximity of my hair.
The other is addressed to of the two armies was so great that every my father, M. d' Olliever, and contains volley did most deadly execution; whole a locket which is composed of his and ranks were struck to the earth, and regimy sister's hair. Promise me that in ments were reduced to skeletons without the event of my death, you will deliver once changing the position they had octhese with your own hands. I have co- cupied in the morning. gent reasons for being thus urgent, for Night was drawing on apace; but not I more than suspect a villain of calum- a foot of ground had been won or lost niating me in the tenderest quarter-my on either side. Owing to the sanguinlove to Hélène de Chaluz, to whom you ary contests in which we had been conwill find the packet addressed.” I stantly engaged since break of day, our pledged myself to comply with his re- regiment was almost annihilated,—but quest, but at the same time endeavoured our services were not yet to be dispensed to chase those sombre forbodings from with : in conjunction with some regi. his mind : my efforts were ineffectual ments of chasseurs, we were ordered to however, and he continued plunged in attack and drive back a division of Polasettled gloom.
• russian infantry, and cover several regiOur conference was scarcely finished, ments of Austrian cuirassiers. Whilst before the faint streaks of day appeared forming for this service, I bantered my in the horizon: we hastily joined our di- friend upon his melancholy forebodings, vision, when all was bustle and confusion, for like myself he had hitherto escaped which however was soon hushed, and without a single wound: before he could every man mounted and ready for action. reply, we received orders to charge, and We were not kept long in suspense, for our I saw him no more alive. Upon our veteran colonel received orders to take, charging the Austrian cuirassiers, they up a position
a large wood retreated almost annihilated, leaving the which protected our left flank; here we infantry to their fate; they formed in were quickly joined by squadron after squares, and firmly awaited our attack. squadron, until we mustered some thou. How my heart bled for these gallant sands strong. It was now evident that men, thus compelled to maintain a conone of those sudden and irresistible test so unequal. In vain did we endeashocks of cavalry, with which Napoleon vour to break in upon them;~firm as the was so wont to surprise his enemy, was earth that supported them, they within contemplation. The enemy however stood our repeated shocks; again we soon shewed himself to be aware of our returned to the charge, and again were movements, by sending several rounds of we received by the steady huzza, the artillery crashing through the wood; no deadly shower of balls, and the bristling time was therefore to be lost, we were ranks of bayonets; and again were we quickly wheeled into line, and at the forced to retreat before our brave oppocommand of a voice which every horse- nents. man knew well, every blade flashed in In the third charge which we made at the faint morning light ;-again that voice this devoted band, a ball not twenty was heard thundering forward ! - yards from the muzzle struck my bridle
arm, almost at the same moment my have endeavoured to relate in the forehorse was shot under me,-in falling, he going pages; it will suffice to say, that pitched me forward on my head, and I the 19th of October beheld Napoleon fell insensible on the plain. Upon re- and the wreck of his splendid army recovering my senses, I found myself in treating through Leipsic, totally disortotal darkness, stretched on the field of ganized: of four hundred thousand men battle with my arm broken, and my body with whom he had commenced the camsore from the bruises I had received in paign, barely ninety thousand escaped my fall. After some efforts I raised my- beyond the Rhine. self upon my feet and endeavoured to This disastrous chain of events at walk, but the spot upon which I had length terminated in the abdication of fallen was so thickly covered with the the emperor, and I then found myself dead and wounded that I could not stir, at liberty to fulfil my promise. After without disturbing some dying wretch. spending a few weeks with my friends Oh God! the memory of that dreadful in order to recruit my shattered health, I night clings to my recollection with a set out upon my melancholy mission. tenacity that bids defiance to the efforts My journey lay through some of the of time to efface it. Shrieks of despair most beautiful provinces of southern and agony, accompanied by fearful France; and to one who had so long curses and imprecations, resounded from been accustomed to the blasting scenes —but enough! enough; let me no longer of war, nature seemed clothed in double dwell upon the harrowing theme. In a charms. short time I was discovered by a party At the conclusion of my second day's sent out to collect the wounded, and journey I arrived at my place of desticonveyed to a hospital at Leipsic. From nation, which was a retired village. It the inquiries I made concerning the fate being late in the evening before I arof my friend, I learnt that he had been rived, I determined to postpone my so desperately wounded that he was not errand until the following morning, when expected to survive many hours; he also I might make my débât in some decent had been conveyed to Leipsic.
trim. The caberet I found did not furIn that city the utmost confusion nish accommodations in the most supéreigned; the streets were crowded with rior style of elegance, but I had seen too wagons bearing the wounded soldiery much of the “ bivouac” to stand upon to the hospitals. The inhabitants were niceties. in the utmost consternation : from the Scarcely had morning dawned before issue of the first day's conflict, they fully I was roused from my slumbers by the expected to have the victorious allies merry peals of the village bells, and other thundering at their gates ; it was even joyful demonstrations, with which the reported that the king of Saxony had populace are wont to celebrate some sent proposals of capitulation to the happy event. When the landlord enallied sovereigns.
tered with my morning meal, I inquired After my wound had been dressed, I the reason of those joyful ebullitions. went the round of the hospitals, hoping Why, Monsieur,'' exclaimed he, to gain some intelligence of my friend. “I thought all the world knew this After a toilsome search, I was so far was to be the wedding-day of Count successful as to find his remains, for his Lenois and Hélène de Chaluz—it is the spirit had fled some hours before my talk of the whole province. The Count arrival : he had been shot through the is the richest man in this part of France, lungs, and all human aid was futile. As and who will deny that Hélène de Cha-I gazed upon his lifeless form, my ima- luz is as handsome as he is rich ? No gination conjured vp visions of the fond one who has once seen her, I think. relatives and friends to whom I should Yes, yes; a splendid fête shall we see shortly have to communicate the sad this day, I promise you.” narrative of his tragical end, and my So saying, he hastily left me, to attend eyes were unconsciously dimmed with to the numerous guests who were now tears.
I resolved to execute the com- rapidly filling his little hostelry. mission with as little delay as possible; His unexpected information filled me but the hazards incident to a soldier's with perplexity and astonishment.life, rendered the accomplishment of it Hélène de Chaluz about to be married ! doubtful.
Could she then so soon forget the I will not detain the reader, by a re- devoted affection of him, who, in the capitulation of the memorable events dark hour of death, had dwelt upon which occurred subsequently to those I her remembrance with such intense emo
tion. Lewis had expressed his suspicions and that she was encompassed in the of the machinations of a villain, toils of some designing villain irresistthat villain Count Lenois ? Possibly ibly fastened upon my mind.
At all events I resolved to redeem For some seconds í stood perfectly at the pledge I had so solemnly given my a loss how to open my melancholy emfriend, and that with as little delay as bassy, being convinced that the direful possible. Inquiring, therefore, of the intelligence at such a moment would landlord, he directed me to the mansion produce overwhelming effects. At which was about to become the scene of length, in a faltering voice, I commencso much festivity. I found it surround- ed the melancholy narrative. At the ed by equipages of every description, mention of her lover's name, the truth and crowded with the company invited flashed like lightning through her brain, for the occasion. Upon requesting to her face assumed a deadly paleness, she see Madame de Chaluz, I was ushered sunk-upon a seat, and seemed gasping into an ante-room, and after a short for breath. This was too much for me; delay an elderly lady entered, and an- I hastily produced the packet directed to nounced herself by that title. I in- her, and placing it in her trembling stantly concluded that she was the mother hand, turned away to avoid seeing the of thc lady I wished to see.
troubled emotion I was convinced it “I am extremely sorry, Madam,” would occasion.
I heard her tear open said I, “to intrude at so unseasonable the envelope-a silence of some minutes a juncture, but I am compelled by un- eusued—at length I ventured to cast my avoidable circumstances to request a eyes towards her-she had read the letshort interview with your daughter." ter, and was slowly untwirling a lock of
“Why, really, sir,” she replied, “ you his beautiful hair, which he had wound have reason to apologise for your ill- about her miniature. The torrent of timed intrusion. What business of so her emotions at length found vent. pressing a nature can you have with my " I knew it-I said it,” cried she, in daughter, that you are compelled to in- frenzied tones. “ I have been deceived, terrupt her almost in the midst of her I have been entangled in the snares of nuptials? Cannot you communicate it a villain. Oh! wretch that I was, to listo me; you may rely upon her hearing ten to his vile calumnies, to have had it the earliest convenient opportunity. my mind poisoned with the breath of You cannot possibly see her now, for she this reptile. But thou shalt be revenged only awaits my return to enter the car- Lewis ; never, never will I be his : but riage with the Count.”
am not I at this moment arrayed ready I again apologized for my interrup- to be led forth his victim ?-thus, thus tion, but declined acquainting her with perish the wretch's hopes !" As she my errand, which was, I said, intended for uttered these words, she snatched the her daughter's ear alone. After some rich coronet of diamonds that glittered in further urging on my part, she acceded her dark hair, and dashed it to the floor, to my request, but manifestly with the at the same time shrieking violently, and greatest possible reluctance. She left in the paroxysm of her passion, tearing the apartment, and in a few minutes from her person the valuable jewels with returned with a young lady, whom she which she was decorated, and throwing introduced as her daughter, and again them from her with frantic energy. retired. Her appearance instantly struck Nature could endure no more, she fell me: she was rather above the middle violently to the floor in deep convulsions. height, of a majestic and graceful Her screams, and the noise of her fall, figure; her handsome countenance was brought her mother and several of the strikingly expressive, causing emotion bridal party into the room; a gentlein the most heartless and phlegmatic ob- man, whom I supposed to be the Count,
She was arrayed in all the hastened to raise her and support her in splendour becoming the wealth and rank his arms, others of the company crowdof her intended husband; but her speak- ing round her with looks of astonishing features were darkened by a cloud ment and dismay. Upon applying reof the deepest melancholy, forcing the storatives, she slowly recovered; but no beholder to the conviction that the sooner did she perceive the person who blighting fangs of grief had already fixed supported her than she renewed her upon her young heart.
shrieks, writhing in his embrace with As I gazed upon her speaking counte- signs of the utmost loathing. nance, the conviction that the image of “Unhand me, wretch,” she cried, Lewis was still engraved upon her heart, “ thy touch strikes horror to my soul!
Away, reptile ! lest thou wouldst have meet me there, in ten minutes, I will me expire at thy feet.” She relapsed join you with weapons that shall settle more violently than before, and was this affair without more brawling.” speedily borne to her apartment, followed I signified my assent to this proposal, by the wondering group.
and left the house by a private door, I remained perfectly unnoticed in the which he pointed out. I had not armidst of the general confusion, and there- rived at the appointed spot more than fore determined to quit a spot where my five minutes, ere I was joined by my presence had caused so much excite- adversary, who carried a brace of pistols, ment. Before I had advanced two steps muffled in a silk handkerchief.” towards the accomplishment of my pur- “ I suppose,” said he, with a sarcastic pose, however, I received a slight tap on grin, “ as you are the challenged party, the shoulder : upon facing round, the you must have your first choice of weaCount stood before me. He was a man
pons.” of middle age and stature, possessed of To this I made no reply; but taking a good face and figure, but the former one of the pistols which he held towards was characterized by a peculiar cold and me, proceeded to examine it. sinister expression, which in my eyes be
• What !” exclaimed he,“ do you trayed a selfish and treacherous disposi- think I mean to assassinate you; do you tion. After eyeing me for some seconds, suspect me of treachery?” he thus addressed me:
“ I know not what your intention “ Pray,” said he, in tones so cold and was," said I, having finished my examicalm, that he seemed to drop (if I may nation, “ but the charge of this pistol is use the expression) rather than articulate blank; I am perfectly willing to admit, them, “ will you have the goodness to that this was the result of accident; but, enlighten me, with regard to the scene with your permission, I will reload it mywe have just witnessed: you are the self.” person to whom I am to address myself He said nothing, but produced a pow. for an explanation, I presume. Am I der flask and bullets. Having loaded, right in my conjecture ?"
I desired him to take his ground. “Whatever your conjectures may be,
6. We will each walk six paces,” said sir," replied I, in a voice and manner he, " and then turn and fire.” not a little less stiff than his own,“ I To this arrangement I assented. do not feel myself called upon, either to Placing ourselves back to back, he gave confute them, or acknowledge them cor- the word "ready," and I stepped forward; rect. I have accomplished the purpose but ere I had taken three steps, the vil. for which I came, and do not feel bound lain turned and fired. The shot struck me to explain myself further.”
in the small of my back; and the shock “ You have accomplished the purpose was so great, that I thought I was shot upon which you came, have you ?" said through the body. Believing myself to he, in tones of suppressed rage. “ Am I be mortally wounded, I exerted all my to suppose then, that the interruption of remaining strength, and wheeled round, my union with Hélène de Chaluz was determined to take vengeance on my your object ?”
cowardly assassin. He had not stirred “ If that hypothesis is most congenial a single step from the spot, when a smile to your feelings,” rejoined I with a sneer, of malignant pleasure at the success of “ I will not question the stability of its his murderous scheme, was visible on his foundation. At any rate, you cannot countenance ; on seeing my movement, but acknowledge, that my unlooked for he hastily produced a second pistol, presence has been the means of breaking which he had till now concealed. I could up some ingenious plot, which seems to hear the slight tick of the lock as he have been hatching against the peace of cocked it, but my arm was already raised, your beloved Hélène." I saw this touch and before he could level, I touched the ed him to the quick, and in a voice tre- trigger, and with a shriek and a bound mulous with rage, he said, " I know he fell a lifeless corse to the earth. I you, you are some minion of Lewis now grew sick and faint, my head grew d'Olliever?"
giddy, the objects about me seemed ra“ And I know you," shouted I, in pidly whirling round, and I at length my turn ; you are a most consummate fell insensible to the ground, beside my scoundrel !
prostrate enemy. “ Enough, sir," said he, leading me When I recovered my faculties, I to a window, “ enough! you see that found myself in bed, with my wound wall which skirts the garden; if you will dressed; but I was so reduced with the