« PreviousContinue »
BY AN EYE WITNESS.
WATERLOO, THE DAY AFTER
abruptly, and in half-an-hour drums were THE BATTLE.
beating and bugles sounding. The good burghers of the city, who were almost all
enjoying their first sleep, started from their (From the United Service Journal.-No. I.) beds at the alarm, and hastened to the streets,
wrapped in the first things they could find.
The most ridiculous and absurd rumours I am an idle man and a bachelor, and being were rapidly circulated and believed. The in possession of an independent fortune, I most general impression seemed to be that the need scarcely add that I am fond of travelling. town was on fire; the next that the Duke of Indeed ça va sans dire, for the love of loco. Wellington had been assassinated; but when motion is so natural to an Englishman, that it was discovered that the French were ad. nothing can chain him at home, but the ab- vancing, the consternation became general, solute impossibility of living abroad. No and every one hurried to the Place Royale, such imperious necessity acting upon me, I where the Hanoverians and Brunswickers gave way to my oiko-phobia, and the summer were already mustering. of 1815 found me at Brussels.
Strange rumours were now whispered. The town was then crowded to excess—it Some said that the enemy were actually at seemed a city of splendour; the bright and the gates lying in ambush to surprise the varied uniforms of so many different nations, city,
and some that the security of the English mingled with the gay dresses of female beauty general arose from his having bought over in the park, and the Allée Verte was thronged the French. with superb horses and brilliant equipages. About one o'clock in the morning of the The tables d'hóte resounded with a confusion 16th, the whole population of Brussels seemof tongues which might have rivalled the ed in motion. The streets were crowded as tower of Babel, and the shops actually glit. in full day; lights flashed to and fro; artil. tered with showy toys hung out to temptlery and baggage waggons were creaking in money from the pockets of the English, every direction ; the drums beat to arms, and whom the Flemings seemed to consider as the bugles sounded loudly " the dreadful note walking bags of gold. Balls and plays, of preparation." The noise and bustle surrouts and dinners were the only topics of passed all description; here were horses conversation; and though some occasional plunging and kicking amidst a crowd of terrumours were spread that the French had rified burghers ; there lovers parting from made an incursion within the lines, and car- their weeping mistresses. Now the attention ried off a few head of cattle, the tales were was attracted by a park of artillery thunderwo vague to excite the least alarm.
ing through the streets ; and now, by a group On the 3d of June, I went to see ten of officers disputing loudly the demands of thousand troops reviewed by the Dukes of their imperturbable Flemish landlords ; for Wellington and Brunswick. Imagination not even the panic which prevailed could cannot picture any thing finer than the en- frighten the Flemings out of a single stiver ; semble of this scene. The splendid uniforms screams and yella occasionally rose above the of the English, Scotch, and Hanoverians, busy hum that murmured through the crowd, contrasted strongly with the gloomy black of but the general sound resembled the roar of the Brunswick hussars, whose veneration for distant ocean. the memory of their old duke, could be only Between two and three o'clock the Bruns. equalled by their devotion to his son. The wickers marched from the town, still clad in firm step of the Highlanders seemed irre- the mourning which they wore for their old sistible; and as they moved in solid masses, duke, and burning to avenge liis death. they appeared prepared to sweep away every Alas! they had a still more fatal loss to thing that opposed them. In short, I was lament ere they returned. delighted with the cleanliness, military order, At four, the whole disposable force under and excellent appointments of the men gene- the Duke of Wellington was collected togerally, and I was particularly struck with the ther, but in such haste, that many of the handsome features of the Duke of Bruns- officers had not time to change their silk. wick, whose fine, manly figure, as he galloped stockings and dancing-shoes ; and some, quite across the field, quite realized my beau idéal overcome by drowsiness, were seen lying of a warrior.
asleep about the ramparts, still holding, how The next time I saw the Duke of Bruns. ever, with a firm hand, the reins of their wick was at the dress ball, given at the assem. horses which were grazing by their sides. bly-rooms in the Rue Ducale, on the night About five o'clock, the word “ march” was of the 15th of June. I stood near him when heard in al directions, and instantly the he received the information that a powerful whole mass appeared to move simultaneously. French force was advancing in the direction. I'conversed with several of the officers preof Charleroy. “ Then it is high time for vious to their departure, and not one appeared me to be off," said the duke, and I never saw to have the slightest idea of an approaching him alive again. The assembly broke up engagement. VOL. I.
rich and poor fared alike, and in most cases three weeks before. This was by no means every offer of remuneration was declined. a solitary instance ; indeed, in most cases,
The whole of Friday night was passed in the loss was much greater, and in many, houses the greatest anxiety ; the wounded arrived full of furniture were entirely deserted, and every hour, and the accounts they brought abandoned to pillage. of the càrnage which was taking place were : Sunday morning was ushered in by one of absolutely terrific. Saturday morning was the most dreadful tempesis I ever remember. still worse ; an immense number of super. The crashing of thunder was followed by numeraries and runaways from the army the roar of cannon, which was now distinctly came rushing in at the Porte de Namur, heard from the ramparts, and it is not possi. and these fugitives increased the public panic ble to describe the fearful effect of this apparent to the utmost. Sauve qui peut ! now be- mockery of heaven. I never before felt so forcame the universal feeling ; all ties of friend. cibly the feebleness of man. The rain was treship or kindred were forgotten, and an earn- mendous--the sky looked like that in Pousest desire to quit Brussels seemed to absorb sin's picture of the Deluge, and a heavy black every faculty. To effect this object, the cloud spread, like the wings of a monstrous greatest sacrifices were made. Every beast vulture, over Brussels. The wounded conof burthen, and every species of vehicle, tinued to arrive the whole of Saturday night were put into requisition to convey persons and Sunday morning, in a condition which and property to Antwerp. Even the dogs defies description. They appeared to have and fish-carts did not escape-enormous been dragged for miles through oceans of šums were given for the humblest modes of mud ; their clothes were torn, their caps and conveyance, and when all failed, numbers feathers cut to pieces, and their shoes and set off on foot. The road soon became boots trodden off. The accounts they brought choked up-cars, waggons, and carriages were vague and disheartening—in fact, we of every description were joined together in could only ascertain that the Duke of Weld an immoveable mass ; and property to an lington had late on Saturday taken up his immense amount was abandoned by its position at Waterloo, and that there he meant owners, who were too much terrified even to to await the attack of the French. That think of the loss they were sustaining. A this attack had commenced we needed not to scene of frightful riot and devastation ensued. be informed, as the roar of the cannon became Trunks, boxes, and portmanteaus were broken every instant more distinct, till we even fan. open and pillaged without mercy; and cied that it shook the town. The wounded every one who pleased, helped himself to represented the field of battle as a perfect what he liked with impunity. The disorder quagmire, and their appearance testified the was increased by a rumour, that the Duke truth of their assertions. About two o'clock of Wellington was retreating towards Brus. a fresh alarm was excited by the horses, sels, in a sort of running fight, closely pur- which had been put in requisition to draw sued by the enemy; the terror of the fugi. the baggage-waggons, being suddenly gal. tives now almost amounted to frenzy, and loped through the town. We fancied this they flew like maniacs escaping from a mad- a proof of defeat, but the fact was simply house. It is scarcely possible to imagine a thus ; the peasants, from whom the borses more distressing scene. A great deal of rain had been taken, finding the drivers of the had fallen during the night, and the unhappy waggons absent from their posts, seized the fugitives were obliged literally to wade opportunity to cut the traces, and gallop off through mud. I had, from the first, deter. with their cattle. mined to await my fate in Brussels ; but on As this explanation, however, was not this eventful morning, I walked a few miles given till the following day, we thought that on the road to Antwerp, to endeavour to all was over ; the few British adherents who assist my flying countrymen. I was soon had remained were in despair, and tri-coloured disgusted with the scene, and finding all my cockades were suspended from every house. efforts to be useful unavailing, I returned to Even I, for the first time, lost all courage. the town, which now seemed like a city of “ England cannot be much injured by the the dead'; for a glooiny silence reigned loss of a single battle," thought I; and through the streets, like that fearful calm as for me, it is of little consequence whether which precedes a storm ; the shops were all I am a prisoner on parole, or a mere wanderer closed, and all business was suspended. at pleasure. I may easily resign myself to
During the panic of Friday and Saturday, my fate.” In this manner I reasoned, but the sacrifice of property made by the British in spite of my affected philosophy, I could residents was enormous. A chest of drawers not divest myself of all natural feeling ; and sold for five francs, a bed for ten, and a horse when about six o'clock we heard that the for fifty. In one instance, which fell imme. French had given way, and that the Prussians diately under my own observation, some had eluded Grouché, and were rapidly adhousehold furniture was sold for one thou- vancing to the field, I thanked God with all sand francs (about 401.), for which the owner my heart. At eight o'clock there was no had given seven thousand francs (2801.) only longer any doubt of our success, for a batta
to save his life. His thigh was broken, and GOOD LIVING THE CAUSE OF BAD he was badly wounded on the left wrist, but
WRITING. the vital parts were untouched, and his exhaustion seemed to arise principally from loss of blood. I poured a few drops of brandy into his “We say it is a fleshly style, when there is much
periplorases and circuit of words; and when with mouth, and crumbling my biscuit contrived inore than enough it grows fat and corpulent." to make him swallow a small particle. The
Ben Jonson, effects of the dose were soon visible; his eyes By writing long articles, and running into half opened, and a faint tinge of colour spread diffuseness, authors have become rich,
while over his cheek. I administered a little more, the good living consequent upon sudden and it revived him so much that he tried to wealth has still farther deteriorated the quasit upright. I raised him, and contriving to lity of their writings, pecuniary abundance place him in such a manner, as to support invariably producing intellectual penury. him against the dead body of a horse, I put That the reader may yield a perfect assent to the flask and biscuit by his side, and departed the truth of this proposition, he must bear in in order to procure assistance to remove mind that the stomach hath ever been held him.
the seat of some of our noblest faculties and I recollected that a short time before, I had affections. Persius calls it the dispenser of seen a smoke issuing from a deep ditch, and genius ; the Hebrews considered it the head that my olfactory nerves had been saluted by quarters of intellect; Saint Paul cautions the a savoury smell as I passed. Guided by Philippians against making it their deity ; these indications, I retraced my steps to the we ourselves, in common parlance, hold it to spot, and found some Scotch soldiers sheltered be the seat of pride and courage; the Hinby a hedge, very agreeably employed in cook doos and other nations reverence it as the seat ing a quantity of beefsteaks over a wood fire, of thought, whence, in all probability, beasts in a French cuirass !! I was exceedingly with two stomachś came originally to be diverted at this novel kind of frying-pan, called ruminating animals par excellence. I which served also as a dish; and after begging believe I have expressed this opinion elsepermission to dip a biscuit in their gravy for where—mais n'importe ; it is too plausible the benefit of my patient, I told my tale, and and pertinent to be suppressed upon an un was gratified by the eagerness which they certainty, and if I am repeating myself, I manifested to assist me; one ran to catch a may at least plead the excuse of the old horse with a soft hussar saddle (there were French wag, who was sometimes guilty of hundreds galloping over the field), and the the same misdemeanour—" Il faut bien que rest went with me to the youth, whom we vous me permetties de redire de temps en found surprisingly recovered, though he was temps més petits contes ; sans cela je les still unable to speak. The horse was brought, oublierais.” Where else than to the stomach and as we raised the young Frenchman to put should we look for the primary cause of that him upon it, his vest opened, and his "livret" irritability which, in all ages, has been the fell out. This is a little book which every distinguishing characteristic of authors; as French soldier is obliged to carry, and which well as for that morbid state of the intel. contains an account of his name, age, pay, lectual faculties by which they are so often accoutrements, and services. I picked it up, afflicted, and of which the evidence is some. and offered it to my patient. The young times so lamentably seen in the inferiority of soldier soon recovered, and when, at a sub, `their writings ? Authors are no longer Grub. sequent period I visited Brussels, I found street garreteers, invigorating their minds by him surrounded by three or four smiling Spartan temperance, and their bodies by incherubs, to whom I was presented as le haling the pure and classical air of an attic bon Anglais, who preserved the life of their lodging. The “ mens sana in corpore sano, papa.
may now be prayed for in vain. Payment by the sheet of nine feet four has tempted them to scribble by the furlong; they have ac
quired riches, money has made them luxuri. THE NEW YEAR.
ous, luxury has deranged their intestine
economy, the sympathising soul “ embodies A YRAR had vanished, and another Year
and embrutes," and thus do I come round to Is born : what awful changes will arise,
the title of my paper, and most logically and What dark events lie bidden in the womb
incontestably prove that good living is the Of Time, imagination cannot dream : Ye Heavens ! upon whose brow a stillness lies,
cause of bad writing. Deep as the silence of a thinking heart
A ready clue will be afforded us to the In its most boly hour, the World hath changed, superiority of the ancient writers over the Bat ye are changeless; and your midnight race Of starry watchers glance our glorious isle
moderns, if we recollect that necessity is the Undium'd, as when amid her forest depths mother of invention, and that invention has The Savage roamed, and chanted to the moon. always been deemed the test, the experimen
tum crucis, the sine qua non of a great poet. What says Shakspeare, who, in confirmation