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A Sequel to The Conscript of 1813 

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A Sequel to The Conscript of 1813 






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Copyright, 1869, by 


Copyright, 1889 and 1898, 






Peace was Returning,. Frontispiece 



Peasants were Arriving in Bands, . . . .36 

M. Pinacle and the Baraquins, . .... 46 

Two Days after, my Marriage with Catherine took 


“ It is what may be Called a Prince’s Watch,” . 108 

People were Heard Shouting, “ There it is ! There 

it is ! ” 118 

Aunt Cried out to Me, “Is it You, Joseph?” . . 168 

A Mounted Hussar was Looking out into the Night, 190 

The Emperor, his Hands behind his Back and his 

Head Bent Forward,. 214 

He had had the Courage to Pull Up the Bucket, . 240 

Combat of Hougoumont Farm,. 302 

The Emperor had left for Paris, . 310 

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


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

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

I well remember how, when on the 3d of May the 
order came to raise the white flag on the church, the 
whole town trembled for fear of the soldiers of the 
garrison, and Nicholas Passauf, the slater, demand- 



ed six louis for the bold feat. He was plainly to be 
seen from every street with the white silk flag with 
its fleur-de-lis,’’ and the soldiers were shooting at 
him from every window of the two barracks, but 
Passauf raised his flag in spite of them and came 
down and hid himself in the barn of the Trois Mai- 
sons,” while the marines w^ere searching the town 
for him to kill him. 

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

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

I had come back to Father Goulden’s, and I shall 
never in my life forget his hearty welcome, or his 
exclamation as he took me in his arms: It is Jo 
seph! Ah! my dear child, I thought you were 
lost! ” and we mingled our tears and our embraces 
together. And then we lived together again like 



two friends. He would make me go over our battles 
again and again, and laughingly call me the old 
soldier.’’ Then he would tell me of the siege of 
Pfalzbourg, how the enemy arrived before the town 
in January, and how the old republicans with a 
few hundred gunners were sent to mount our can¬ 
non on the ramparts, how they were obliged to eat 
horseflesh on account of the famine, and to break 
up the iron utensils of the citizens to make case-shot 
and canister. 

Father Goulden, in spite of his threescore years, 
had aimed the pieces on the Magazine bastion on the 
Bichelberg side, and I often imagined I could see 
him with his black silk cap and spectacles on, in the 
act of aiming a twenty-four pounder. Then this 
would make us both laugh and helped to pass away 
the time. 

We had resumed all our old habits. I laid the 
table and made the soup. I was occupying my little 
chamber again and dreamed of Catherine day and 
night. But now, instead of being afraid of the con¬ 
scription as I was in 1813, I had something else to 
trouble me. Man is never quite happy, some petty 
misery or other assails him. How often do we see 
this in life ? My peace was disturbed by this. 

You know I was to marry Catherine; we were 
agreed, and Aunt Gredel desired nothing better. 



Unliappily, however, the conscripts of 1815 were 
disbanded, while those of 1813 still remained sol¬ 
diers. It was no longer so dangerous to be a soldier 
as it was under the Empire, and many of these had 
returned to their homes and were living quietly, 
but that did not prevent the necessity of my having 
a permit in order to be married. Mr. Jourdan, the 
neAv mayor, would never allow me to register with¬ 
out this permission, and this made me anxious. 

Father Goulden, as soon as the city gates were 
opened, had written to the minister of war, Dupont, 
that I was at Pfalzbourg and still unwell, that I had 
limped from my birth, and that I had in spite of this 
been pressed into the service, that I was a poor sol¬ 
dier, but that I could make a good father of a fam¬ 
ily, that it would be a real crime to prevent me from 
marrying, that I was ill-formed and weak and should 
be obliged to go into the hospital, etc. 

It was a beautiful letter, and it told the truth too. 
The very idea of going away again made me ill. So 
we waited from day to day—Aunt Gredel, Father 
Goulden, Catherine, and I, for the answer from the 

I cannot describe the impatience I felt when the 
postman Brainstein, the son of the bell-ringer, came 
into the street. I could hear him half a mile away, 
and then I could not go on with my work, but must 



lean out of the window and watch him as he went 
from house to house. When he would stay a little 
too long, I would say to myself, What can he have 
to talk about so long? why don’t he leave his letters 
and come away? he is a regular tattler, that Brain- 
stein! ” I was ready to pounce upon him. Some¬ 
times I ran down to meet him, and would ask. 
Have you nothing for me? ” Ho, Mr. Joseph,” 
he would reply as he looked over his letters. Then 
I would go sadly back, and Father Goulden, who 
had been looking on, would say: 

Have a little patience, child! have patience, it 
will come. It is not war tiriie now.” 

But he has had time to answer a dozen times, 
Mr. Goulden.” 

Do you think he has nobody’s affairs to attend 
to but yours ? He receives hundreds of such letters 
every day—and each one receives his answer in his 
turn. And then everything is in confusion from 
top to bottom. Come, come! we are not alone in 
the world—many other brave fellows are waiting 
for their permits to be married.” 

I knew he was right, but I said to myself, “ If 
that minister only knew how happy he would make 
us by just writing ten words, I am sure he would 
do it at once. How we would bless him, Catherine 
and I, Aunt Gredel and all of us.” But wait we 



Of course I had resumed my old habit of going to 
Quatre Vents on Sundays. On these mornings I 
was always awake early—I do not know what roused 
me. At first I thought I was a soldier again; this 
made me shiver. Then I would open my eyes, look 
at the ceiling, and think, Why you are at home 
with Father Goulden, at Pfalzbourg, in your own 
little room. To-day is Sunday, and you are going 
to see Catherine.’’ By this time I was wide awake, 
and could see Catherine with her blooming cheeks 
and blue eyes. I wanted to get up at once and dress 
myself and set off. But the clocks had just struck 
four, and the city gates were still shut. I was 
obliged to wait, and this annoyed me very much. 
In order to keep patience I began to recall our court¬ 
ship, remembering the first days, how we feared the 
conscription and the drawing of the unlucky num¬ 
ber, with its fit for service; ” the old guard Wer¬ 
ner, at the mayor’s, the leave-taking, the journey to 
Mayence, and the broad Capougnerstrasse where the 
good woman gave me a foot-bath, Frankfort and 
Erfurth farther on, where I received my first letter, 
two days before the battle, the Kussians, the Prus¬ 
sians—everything in fact—and then I would weep, 
but the thought of Catherine was always uppermost. 

When the clock struck five I jumped from my 
bed, washed and shaved and dressed myself, then 



Father G Gulden, still behind his big curtains, would 
put out his nose and say: 

I hear you! I hear you! You have been roll¬ 
ing and tumbling for the last half hour. Ha! ha! 
it is Sunday to-day.’’ 

He would laugh at his own wit, and I laughed 
with him, and would then bid him good-morning 
and be down the stairs at a bound. 

Very few people were stirring, but Sepel the 
butcher would always call out: Come here, Jo¬ 
seph, I have something to tell you.” But I only 
just turned my head, and ten minutes after was on 
the high-road to Quatre Vents, outside the city 
walls. Oh! how fine the weather was that beautiful 
year! How green and fiourishing everything 
looked, and how busy the people were, trying to 
make up for lost time, planting and watering their 
cabbages and turnips, and digging over the ground 
trodden down by the cavalry; how confident every¬ 
body was too of the goodness of God, who, they 
hoped, would send the sun and the rain which they 
so much needed. All along the road, in the little 
gardens, women and old men, everybody, were at 
work, digging, planting, and watering. 

Work away. Father Thiebeau, and you too. 
Mother Furst. Courage! ” cried I. 

Yes, yes, Mr. Joseph, there is need enough for 



that; this blockade has put everything back, there 
is no time to lose.’’ 

The roads were filled with carts and wagons, laden 
with brick and lumber and materials for repairing 
the houses and roofs which had been destroyed by 
the howitzers. How the whips cracked and the 
hammers rang in all the country round! On every 
side carpenters and masons were seen busily at work 
on the summer houses. Father Ulrich and his three 
boys were already on the roof of the Flower Bas¬ 
ket,” which had been broken to pieces by the balls, 
strengthening the new timbers, whistling and ham¬ 
mering in concert. What a busy time it was, in¬ 
deed, when peace returned! They wanted no more 
war then. They knew the worth of tranquillity, and 
only asked to repair their losses as far as possible. 
They knew that a stroke of a saw or a plane was 
of more value than a cannon-shot, and how many 
tears and how much fatigue it would cost to rebuild 
even in ten years, that which the bombs had de¬ 
stroyed in ten minutes. Oh! how happy I was as I 
went along. No more marches and counter-march¬ 
es; I did not need the countersign from Sergeant 
Pinto where I was going! And how sweetly the 
lark sang as it soared tremblingly upward, and the 
quails whistled and linnets twittered. The sweet 
freshness of the morning, the fragrant eglantine in 



the hedges, urged me on till I caught sight of the 
gable of the old roof of Quatre Vents, and the little 
chimney with its wreath of smoke. ’Tis Cath¬ 
erine who made the fire,’’ I thought, and she is 
preparing our coffee.” Then I would moderate my 
steps in order to get my breath a little, while I 
scanned the little windows and laughed with antici¬ 
pated pleasure. The door opens, and Mother Gre- 
del, with her woollen petticoat and a big broom in 
her hand, turns round and exclaims : Here he is ! 
here he is ! ” Then Catherine runs up, always 
more and more beautiful, with her little blue cap, 
and says : Ah ! that is good ; I was expecting 
thee ! ” How happy she is, and how I embrace 
her ! Ah ! to be young ! I see it all again ! 

I go into the old room with Catherine, and Aunt 
Gredel flourishes her broom and exclaims energeti¬ 
cally : Ho more conscription—that is done with!” 
We laugh heartily and sit down, and while Cath¬ 
erine looks at me, aunt commences again : 

That beggar of a minister, has he not written 
yet? Will he never write, I wonder? Does he 
take us for brutes? It is very disagreeable always 
to be ordered about. Thou art no longer a soldier, 
since they left thee for dead. We saved thy life, 
and thou art nothing to them now.” 

Certainly, you are right. Aunt Gredel,” I 



would say ; but for all that we cannot be married 
without going to the mayor—without a permit— 
and if we do not go to the mayor, the priest will not 
dare to marry us at the church/’ 

Then aunt would be very grave, and always ended 
by saying : You see, Joseph, that all those people 
from first to last have fixed everything to suit them¬ 
selves. Who pays the guards, and the judges, and 
the priests, and who is it that pays everybody? It is 
we ! and yet they dare not marry us. It is shame¬ 
ful ; and if it goes on, we will go to Switzerland and 
be married.” This would calm us, and we would 
spend the rest of the day in singing and laughing. 


In spite of my great impatience every day 
brought something new, and it comes back to me 
now like the comedies that are played at the fairs. 
The mayors and their assistants, the municipal coun¬ 
sellors, the grain and wood merchants, the foresters 
and field-guards, and all those people who had been 
for ten years regarded as the best friends of the Em¬ 
peror, and had been very severe if any one said a 
word against his majesty, turned round and de¬ 
nounced him as a tyrant and usurper, and called him 
the ogre of Corsica/’ You would have thought 
that Napoleon had done them some great injury, 
when the fact was that they and their families had 
always had the best offices. 

I have often thought since, that this is the way 
the good places are obtained under all governments, 
and still I should be ashamed to abuse those who 
could not defend themselves, and whom I had a 
thousand times flattered. I should prefer to remain 
poor and work for a living rather than to gain riches 
and consideration by such means. But such are 




men ! And I ouglit to remember too, that our old 
mayor and three or four of the counsellors did not 
follow this example, and Mr. Goulden said that at 
least they respected themselves, and that the brawl¬ 
ers had no honor. 

I remember how, one day, the Mayor of Hacmatt 
had come to have his watch put in order at our shop, 
when he commenced to talk against the Emperor in 
such a way that Father Goulden, rising suddenly, 
said to him : 

Here, take your watch, Mr. Michael, I will not 
work for you. What ! only last year you called 
him constantly ‘ the great man.’ And you never 
could call him Emperor simply, but must add. Em¬ 
peror and King, protector of the Helvetic Confed¬ 
eration, etc., while your mouth was full of beef ; 
now you say he is an ogre, and you call Louis 
XVIII., ^ Louis the well-beloved! ’ You ought to 
be ashamed of yourself ! Do you take people for 
brutes? and do you think they have no memories? ” 
Then the mayor replied, It is plain to be seen 
that you are an old Jacobin.” 

What I am is nobody’s business,” replied 
Father Goulden, “ but in any case I am not a slan¬ 
derer.” He was pale as death, and ended by saying, 
Go, Mr. Michael, go ! beggars are beggars under 
all governments.” 



He was so indignant that day he could hardly 
work, and would jump up every minute and ex¬ 
claim ; 

Joseph, I did like those Bourbons, but this 
crowd of beggars has disgusted me with them al¬ 
ready. They are the kind of people who spoil ev¬ 
erything, for they declare everything perfect, 
beautiful, and magnificent ; they see no defect in 
anything, they raise their hands to heaven in ad¬ 
miration if the king but coughs. They want their 
part of the cake. And then, seeing their delight, 
kings and emperors end by believing themselves 
gods, and when revolutions come, these rascals aban¬ 
don them, and begin to play the same role under 
some one else. In this way they are always at the 
top, while honest people are always in trouble.’’ 

This was about the beginning of May, and it had 
been announced that the King had just made liis 
solemn entry into Paris, attended by the marshals of 
the Empire, that nearly all the population had come 
out to meet him, and that old men and women and 
little children had climbed upon the balconies to 
catch a glimpse of him, and that he had at first en¬ 
tered the church of Kotre Dame to give thanks to 
God, and immediately after retired to the Tuileries. 

It was announced also that the Senate had pro¬ 
nounced a high-sounding address, assuring him 



there need be no alarm on account of all the disturb¬ 
ances, urging him to take courage and promising the 
support of the senators in case of any difficulties. 

Everybody approved this address. But we were 
soon to have a new sight, we were to witness the re¬ 
turn of the knigres from the heart of Germany and 
from Russia. Some returned by the government 
vessels, and some in simple salad baskets,’’ a kind 
of wicker carriage, on two and four wheels. The 
ladies wore dresses with immense flower patterns, 
and the men wore the old French coats and short 
breeches, and waistcoats hanging down to the thighs, 
as they are represented in the fashions of the time of 
the Republic. 

All these people were apparently proud and hap¬ 
py to see their country once more. In spite of the 
miserable beasts which dragged their wretched wag¬ 
ons filled with straw, and the peasants who served 
as postilions—in spite of all this, I was moved 
with compassion as I recalled the joy I felt five 
months before on seeing France again, and I said to 

Poor people ! they will weep on beholding 
Paris again, they are going to be happy ! ” 

They all stopped at the Red Ox,” the hotel of 
the old ambassadors and marshals and princes and 
dukes and rich people, who no longer patronized it. 



and we could see them in the rooms brushing their 
own hair, dressing and shaving themselves. 

About noon they all came down, shouting and 
calling John ! ” Claude ! ’’ Germain ! ’’ 
with great impatience, and ordering them about like 
important personages, and seating themselves 
around the great tables, with their old servants all 
patched up and standing behind them with their 
napkins under their arms. These people with their 
old-fashioned clothes, and their fine manners and 
happy air, made a very good appearance, and we said 
to ourselves : There are the Frenchmen returning 
from exile ; they did wrong to go, and to excite all 
Europe against us, hut there is mercy for every sin ; 
may they be well and happy ! That is the worst we 
wish them.” 

Some of these emigres returned by post, and then 
our new mayor, Mr. Jourdan, chevalier de St. Louis, 
the vicar, Mr. Loth, and the new commandant, Mr. 
Robert de la Faisanderie, in his embroidered uni¬ 
form, would wait for them at the gate, and when 
they heard the postilion’s whip crack they would go 
forward, smiling as if some great good fortune had 
arrived, and the moment the coach stopped, the 
commandant would run and open it, shouting most 

At other times they would stand quite still to 



show their respect ; I have seen these people salute 
each other three times in succession, slowly and 
gravely, each time approaching a little nearer to 
each other. 

Father Goulden would laugh and say : Do you 
see, Joseph, that is the grand style—the style of the 
nobles of the ancien regime ; by just looking out of 
the window we can learn fine manners which may 
serve us when we get to be dukes and princes.” 
Again it would be : Those old fellows, there, 
Joseph, fired away at us from the lines at Wissem- 
bourg, they were good riders and they fought well, 
as all Frenchmen do, but we routed them after all.” 

Then he would wink and go back laughing to his 
work. But the rumor spread among the servants 
of the Red Ox,” that these people did not hesitate 
to say that they had conquered us, and that they 
were our masters ; that King Louis XVIII. had al¬ 
ways reigned since Louis XVII., son of Louis XVI.; 
that we were rebels, and that they had come to re¬ 
store us to order. 

Father Goulden did not relish this, and said to 
me in an ill-humored way : Do you know, Joseph, 
what these people are going to do in Paris? they are 
going to demand the restoration of their ponds and 
their forests, their parks and their chateaux, and 
their pensions, not to speak of the fat offices and hon- 



ors and favors of every kind. You think their coats 
and perukes very old-fashioned, but their notions 
are still older than their coats and perukes. They 
are more dangerous for us than the Kussians or the 
Austrians, because they are going away, but these 
people are going to remain. They would like to de¬ 
stroy all we have done for the last twenty-five years. 
You see how proud they are ; though many of them 
lived in the greatest misery on the other side of the 
Ehine, yet they think they are of a different race 
from ours—a superior race ; they believe the people 
are always ready to let themselves be fleeced as they 
were before ’89. They say Louis XVIII. has good 
sense; so much the better for him, for if he is unfort¬ 
unate enough to listen to these people, if they im¬ 
agine even that he can act upon their advice, all is 
lost. There will be civil war. The people have 
thought, during the last twenty-five years. They 
know their rights, and they know that one man is as 
good as another, and that all their ^ noble races ’ are 
nonsense. Each one will keep his property, each 
one will have equal rights and will defend himself 
to the death.” That is what Father Goulden said 
to me, and as my permit never came, I thought the 
minister had no time to answer our demands with all 
these counts and viscounts, these dukes and mar¬ 
quises at his back, who were clamoring for their 



woods and their ponds and their fat offices. I was 

“ Great God/’ I cried, what misery ! as soon 
as one misfortune is over another begins ! and it is 
always the innocent who suffer for the faults of the 
others ! O God ! deliver us from the nohles, old 
and new ! Crown them with blessings, but let them 
leave us in peace ! ” 

One morning Aunt Gredel came in to see us ; it 
was on Friday and market-day. She brought her 
basket on her arm and seemed very happy. I looked 
toward the door, thinking that Catherine was com¬ 
ing too, and I said: Good-morning, Aunt Gredel; 
Catherine is in town, she is coming too? ” 

No ! Joseph, no ; she is at Quatre Yents. We 
are over our ears in work on account of the plant¬ 

I was disappointed and vexed too, for I had an¬ 
ticipated seeing her. But Aunt Gredel put her bas¬ 
ket on the table, and said as she lifted up the cover : 

Look ! here is something for you, Joseph, some¬ 
thing from Catherine.” 

There was a great bouquet of May roses, violets, 
and three beautiful lilacs with their green leaves 
around the edge. The sight of this made me happy, 
and I laughed and said: How sweetly it smells.” 
And Father Goulden turned round and laughed too, 
saying : 



You see, Joseph, they are always thinking of 
you ! ” 

And we all laughed together. Md good-humor 
had returned, and I kissed Aunt Gredel and told her 
to take it to Catherine from me. 

Then I put my bouquet in a vase on the window¬ 
sill by my bedside, and thought of Catherine going 
out in the early morning to gather the violets and 
the fresh roses and adding one after the other in the 
dew, putting in the lilacs last, and the odor seemed 
still more delightful. I could not look at them 
enough. I left them on the window-sill, thinking : 

I shall enjoy them through the night, and shall 
give them fresh water in the morning, and the next 
day after will be Sunday and I shall see Catherine 
and thank her with a kiss.’’ 

I went back into the room, where Aunt Gredel 
was talking to Father Goulden about the markets 
and the price of grain, etc., both in the best of 
humor. Aunt put her basket on the ground and 
said : 

Well, Joseph, your permit has not come yet? ” 
ISTo ! not yet, and it is terrible ! ” 

Yes,” she replied, the ministers are all alike, 
one is no better than another ; they take the worst 
and laziest to fill that place.” 

Then she went on : Make yourself easy, I have 



a plan which will change all that.’’ She laughed, 
and as Father Goulden and I listened to hear her 
plan, she continued : 

Just now while I was at the town-hall, Sergeant 
Harmantier announced that we were to have a grand 
mass for the repose of the souls of Louis XYI., 
Pichegru, Moreau, and—another one.” 

Yes,” interrupted Father Goulden, for 
George Cadoudal,—I read it last evening in the 

That is it, of Cadoudal,” said Aunt Gredel. 

You see, Joseph, hearing that, I thought at once, 
‘ now we will have the permit.’ We are going to 
have processions and atonements, and we will all go 
together, Joseph, Catherine, and I. We shall he 
the first, and everybody will say, ^ They are good 
royalists, they are well disposed.’ The priest will 
hear of it. 'Now the priests have long arms, as in 
the time of the generals and colonels,—we will go 
and see him, he will receive us favorably, and will 
even make a petition for us. And I tell you this 
will succeed, we shall not fail this time.” 

She spoke quite low as she explained all this, and 
seemed well satisfied with her ingenuity. I felt 
happy too, and thought, That is what we must do. 
Aunt Gredel is right.” But on looking at Father 
Goulden, I saw he was very grave, and that he had 



turned away and Was looking at a watch through 
his glass, and knitting his big white eyebrows. So, 
knowing he was not pleased, I said: 

I think myself, that would succeed, but before 
we do anything I would like to have Father Goul- 
den’s opinion.” 

Then he turned round and said: 

Every one is free, Joseph, to follow his own 
conscience. To make an expiation for the death of 
Louis XVI. is all very well; honest people of all 
parties will have nothing to say, if they are royal¬ 
ists, of course; but if you kneel from self-interest, 
you had better stay at home. As for Louis XYI., 
I will let him pass, but for Pichegru, Moreau, and 
Cadoudal,—that is altogether another thing. Piche¬ 
gru surrendered his troops to the enemy, Moreau 
fought against France, and George Cadoudal was an 
assassin,—three kinds of ambitious men, who asked 
for nothing but to oppress us, and all three deserved 
their fate. That is what I think.” 

But what has all that to do with us, pray? ” ex¬ 
claimed Aunt Gredel. We will not go for them, 
we will go to get our permit. I despise all the rest, 
and so does Joseph, do you not ? ” 

I was greatly embarrassed, for what Father Goul- 
den said seemed to me to be right, and he, seeing 
this, said: 



I understand the love of young people, Mother 
Gredel, but we must not use such means to induce 
a young man to sacrifice what he thinks is right. If 
Joseph does not hold the same opinion as I do of 
Pichegru and Moreau and Cadoudal, very well, let 
him go to the procession. I shall not reproach him 
for it, but as for me, I shall not go.^’ 

I shall not go either. Mr. Goulden is right,’’ I 

I saw Aunt Gredel was displeased, she turned 
quite red, but was calm again in a moment, and 

Very well! Catherine and I will go, because 
we mock at all those old notions.” 

Father Goulden could not help smiling as he 
saw her anger. 

Yes, everybody is free,” said he, to do as he 
pleases, so do as you like.” 

Aunt Gredel took up her basket and went away, 
and he laughed and made a sign to me to go with 
her. I very quickly had my coat on and overtook 
her at the corner of the street. 

Listen, Joseph,” said she, as she went toward 
the square, Father Goulden is an excellent man, 
but he is an old fool! He has never since I knew 
him been satisfied with anything. He does not say 
so, but the Kepublic is always in his head. He 



thinks of nothing but his old Republic, when every¬ 
body was a sovereign—beggars, tinkers, soap-boil¬ 
ers, Jews, and Christians. There is no sense in it. 
But what are we to do? If he were not such an ex¬ 
cellent man I would not care for him, but we must 
remember he has taught you a good trade, and done 
us all many favors, and we owe him great respect, 
that is why I hurried away, for I was inclined to be 

You did right,^’ I said, I love Father Goul- 
den like my father, and you like my mother, and 
nothing could give me so much pain as to see you 
angry with one another.’’ 

I quarrel with a man like him! ” said Aunt 
Gredel. I would rather jump out of the window. 
1^0, no, but we need not listen to all he says, for I 
insist that this procession is a good thing for us, 
that the priest will get the permit for us, and 
that is the principal thing. Catherine and I will go, 
and as Mr. Goulden will stay at home, you had -best 
stay too. But I am certain that three-fourths of the 
town and country round will go, and whether it be 
for Moreau or Pichegru or Cadoudal it is of no con¬ 
sequence. It will be very fine. You will see! ” 

I believe you,” I answered. 

We had reached the German gate; I kissed her 
again, and went back quite happy to my work. 


I RECOLLECT tliis visit of Aunt Gredel because 
eight days after the processions and atonements and 
sermons commenced, and did not end till the return 
of the Emperor in 1815, and then they commenced 
again and continued till the fall of Charles X. in 
1830. Everybody who was then alive knows there 
was no end to them. So when I think of Xapoleon, 
I hear the cannon of the arsenal thunder and the 
panes of our windows rattle, and Father Goulden 
cries out from his bed; Another victory, Joseph! 
Ha! ha! ha! Always victories.’’ And when I 
think of Louis XVIII., I hear the bells ring and I 
imagine Father Brainstein and his two big boys 
hanging to the ropes, and I hear Father Goulden 
laugh and say: That, Joseph, is for Saint Ma- 
gloire or Saint Polycarp.” 

I cannot think of those days in any other way. 

Under the Empire I see too at nightfall. Father 
Coiffe, Nicholas Rolfo,and five or six other veterans, 
loading their cannon for the evening salute of twen¬ 
ty-one guns, while half of Pfalzbourg stand on the 



opposite bastion looking at the red light, and smoke, 
and watching the wads as they fall into the moat; 
then the illuminations at night and the crackers and 
rockets, I hear the children cry Yive VEmpcreur, 
and then some days after, the death notices and the 
conscription. Under Louis XYIII. I see the altars 
and the peasants with their carts full of moss and 
broom and young pines; the ladies coming out of 
their houses with great vases of flowers; people car¬ 
rying their chandeliers and crucifixes, and then the 
processions—the priest and his vicars, the choir 
boys and Jacob Cloutier, Purrhus, and Tribou, the 
singers; the beadle Kcekli, with his red robe and his 
banner which swepl the skies, the bells ringing their 
full peals; Mr. Jourdan, the new mayor, with his 
great red face, his beautiful uniform with his cross 
of St. Louis, and the commandant with his three- 
cornered hat under his arm, his great peruke frosted 
with powder, and his uniform glittering in the sun¬ 
shine, and behind them the town council, and the 
innumerable torches, which they lighted for each 
other as the wind blew them out; the Swiss, Jean- 
Peter Sirou, with his blue beard closely shaven and 
his splendid hat pointing across his shoulders, his 
broad white silk shoulder-belt sprinkled with fleur- 
de-lis across his breast, his halberd erect, glistening 
like a plate of silver; the young girls, ladies, and 



thousands of country people in their Sunday clothes, 
praying in concert with the old people at their head, 
from each village, who kept repeating incessantly, 
pray for us, pray for us/’ With the streets full 
of leaves and garlands and the white flags in the 
windows, the Jews and the Lutherans looking out 
from their closed blinds and the sun lighting up 
the grand sight below. This continued from 1814 
to 1830, except during the hundred days, not to 
speak of the missions, the bishop’s visits, and other 
extraordinary ceremonies. I like best to tell you 
all this at once, for if I should undertake to describe 
one procession after another the story would be too 

Well! this commenced the 19th of May, and the 
same day that Harmentier announced the grand 
atonement, there arrived five preachers from Nancy, 
young men, who preached during the whole week, 
from morning until midnight. This was to prepare 
for the atonement; nothing else was talked about 
in the town, the people were converted, and all the 
women and girls went to confession. It was ru¬ 
mored also that the national property was to be re¬ 
stored, and that the poor men would be separated 
from the respectable people by the procession, be¬ 
cause the beggars would not dare to show them¬ 
selves. You may imagine my chagrin at being 



obliged, in spite of myself, to remain among the 
poor people; but, thank God! I had nothing to re¬ 
proach myself with in regard to the death of Louis 
XYI., and I had none of the national property, and 
all I wanted was permission to marry Catherine. I 
thought with Aunt Gredel that Father Goulden 
was very obstinate, but I never dared to say a word 
to him about that. I was very unhappy, the more 
so, because the people who came to us to have their 
watches repaired, respectable citizens, mayors, for¬ 
esters, etc., approved of all these sermons, and said 
that the like had never been heard. Mr. Goulden 
always kept on his work while listening to them, 
and when it was done he would turn to them and 
say, Here is your watch, Mr. Christopher or Mr. 
Nicholas; it is so and so much.” He did not seem 
to be interested in these matters, and it was only 
when one and another would speak of the national 
property, of the rebellion of twenty-five years, and 
of expiating past crimes, that he would take off his 
spectacles and raise his head to listen, and would 
say with an air of surprise, Pshaw! well! well! 
that is fine! that is, Mr. Claude! indeed you as¬ 
tonish me. These young men preach so well then? 
Well, if the work were not so pressing, I would go 
and hear them. I need instruction also.” 

I always kept thinking that he would change his 



mind, and the next evening as we were finishing onr 
supper I was happy enough to hear him say good- 
humoredly : 

Joseph, are you not curious to hear these 
preachers? They tell so many fine things of them, 
that I want to hear how it is for myself.’’ 

Oh! Mr. Goulden, I should like nothing bet¬ 
ter! but we must lose no time, for the church is 
always full by the second stroke of the bell.” 

Very well! let us go,” said he, rising and tak¬ 
ing down his hat. I am curious to see how it is. 
Those people astonish me. Come! ” 

"We went out; the moon was shining so brightly 
that we could recognize people as easily as in broad 
daylight. At the corner of the rue Fouquet we saw 
that even the steps of the church were already cov¬ 
ered with people. Two or three old women, Ann¬ 
ette Petit, Mother Balaie, and Jeannette Baltzer, 
with their big shawls wrapped closely round them, 
and the long fringes of their bonnets over their 
eyes, hurried past us, when Father Goulden ex¬ 
claimed, Here are the old women! Ha! ha! ha! 
always the same! ” 

He laughed, and as he went on said, that since 
Father Colin’s time there had never been so many 
people seen at the evening service. I could not 
believe that he was speaking of the old landlord 



of the Three Roses/’ opposite the infantry bar¬ 
racks, so I said: 

He was a priest, Mr. Goulden? ” 

Ho, no,” he answered smiling, I mean old 
Colin. In 1792, when we had a club in the church, 
everybody could preach; but Colin spoke best of 
all. He had a magnificent voice, and said many 
forcible and true things, and the people came from 
far and near, from Saverne and Saarburg, and even 
still farther away to hear him; women and girls, 
^ citoyennes ’ as they called them then, filled the 
choir galleries and the pews. They wore little cock¬ 
ades in their bonnets, and sang the ^ Marseillaise ’ 
to arouse the young men. You never saw anything 
like it! Annette Petit, Mother Baltzer, and all 
those whom you see running before us, with their 
prayer-books under their arms, were among the fore¬ 
most. But they had white teeth and beautiful hair 
then, and loved ^ Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.’ 
Ha! ha! poor Bevel! poor Annette! How they 
are going to repent, though they were good patriots 
then; I believe God will pardon them.” He 
laughed as he recalled these old stories, but when we 
had reached the steps of the church he grew sober, 
and said: 

Yes—yes—everything changes, everything! I 
remember the day in ’93, when old Colin spoke of 



the country being in danger, when three hundred 
young men left the country to join the army of 
Hoche; Colin followed them, and became their 
commander. He was a terrible fellow among his 
grenadiers. He would not sign the proposition to 
make Hapoleon emperor,—now he sells over the 
counter by the glass! 

Then looking at me as if he were astonished at 
his own thoughts, he said, Let us go in, Joseph.” 

We entered under the great pillars of the organ; 
the crowd was very great, and he did not say a word 
more. There were lights burning in the choir over 
the heads of the people. The only sound which 
broke the silence was the opening and shutting of 
the doors of the pews. At last we heard Sirou’s hal¬ 
berd on the floor, and Mr. Goulden said, There 
he is!” 

A light near the vessel for the holy water enabled 
us to see a little. A shadow mounted to the pulpit 
at the left, while Koekli lighted two or three can¬ 
dles with his stick. The preacher might have been 
twenty-five or thirty years old, he had a pleasant, 
rosy face and heavy blonde hair below his tonsure, 
that fell in curls over his neck. They commenced 
by singing a psalmj the young girls of the village 
sang in the choir What joy to be a Christian.” 
After that the preacher from the desk said, that he 



had come to defend the faith, the law, and the 

right divine ’’ of Louis XVIII., and demanded if 
any one had the audacity to take the other side. 
As nobody wished to be stoned, there was a dead 
silence. Then a brown, thin man, six feet high, 
with a black cloak on, rose in one of the pews op¬ 
posite, and exclaimed: 

“ I have! I maintain that faith, religion, and 
the right of kings, and all the rest, are nothing but 
superstitions. I maintain that the republic is just, 
and that the worship of reason is worth them all! ’’ 
and so on. 

The people were indignant. There never was 
anything like it! When he had finished speaking, 
I looked at Mr. Goulden, who laughed softly, and 
said: Listen! listen! ’’ 

Of course I listened; the young preacher prayed 
to God for this infidel, and then he spoke so beauti¬ 
fully that the crowd was entranced. The big thin 
man replied, saying, They had done right to 
guillotine Louis XYI., Marie Antoinette, and all 
the family.” The indignation increased, and the 
men from Bois-de-Chenes, and especially their 
wives, wanted to get into the pew to knock him 
down, but just then Sirou came up, crying Boom! 
room! ” and old Kcekli in his red gown threw him¬ 
self before the man, who escaped into the sacristy. 



raising liis hands to heaven and declaring that he 
was converted, and that he renounced the devil and 
all his works. Then the preacher made a prayer 
for the soul of the sinner. It was a real triumph 
for religion. 

Everybody left about eleven o’clock, and it was 
announced that there would be a procession the next 
day, which was Sunday. 

In consequence of the great crowd, which had 
pushed us into the corner, Mr. Goulden and I were 
among the last to get out, and by the time we 
reached the street, the people from Quatre Yents 
and the other villages were already beyond the Ger¬ 
man gate, and nothing was heard in the streets but 
the closing of the shutters by the townspeople, and 
a few old women talking about the wonderful things 
they had heard, as they went home by the rue de 

Father Goulden and I walked along in the si¬ 
lence, he with his head bent down and smiling, 
though without speaking a word. When we 
reached home I lighted the candle, and while he 
was undressing asked: 

“Well! Father Goulden, did they preach 
well ? ” 

“ Yes,” he replied smiling, “ yes, for young men 
who have seen nothing, it was not bad.” Then he 



laughed aloud and said, But if old Colin had been 
in the Jacobin’s place, he would have puzzled the 
young man terribly.” I was greatly surprised at 
that, and as I still waited to hear what more he had 
to say, he slowly pulled his black silk cap over his 
ears and added thoughtfully, but it’s all the same; 
all the same. These people go too fast, much too 
fast. They will never make me believe that Louis 
XVIII. knows about all this. Xo, he has seen too 
much in his life not to know men better than that. 
But, good-night, Joseph, good-night. Let us hope 
that an order will soon arrive from Paris sending 
these young men back to their seminary.” 

I went to bed and dreamed of Catherine, the 
Jacobin, and of the procession we were going to 



IText morning the bells began to ring as soon as 
it was light. I rose and opened my shutters and saw 
the red sun rising from behind the Magazine, and 
over the forest of Bonne-Fontaine. It might have 
been five o’clock, and you could feel beforehand 
how hot it was going to be, and the air was laden 
with the odor of the oak and beech and holly leaves 
which were strewn in the streets. The peasants be¬ 
gan to arrive in companies, talking in the still morn¬ 
ing. You could recognize the villagers from 
Wechem, from Metting, from the Graufthal and 
Dasenheim, by their three-cornered hats turned 
down in front and their square coats, and the women 
with their long black dresses and big bonnets quilted 
like a mattress hanging on their necks ; and those 
from Dagsberg, Hildehouse, Harberg, and Houpe 
with their large round felt hats, and the women 
without bonnets and with short skirts, small, brown, 
dry, and quick as powder, with the children behind 
with their shoes in their hands, but when they 



reached Luterspech they sat down in a row and put 
them on to be ready for the procession. 

Some priests from the different villages, also came 
by twos and threes, laughing and talking among 
themselves in the best of humor. 

And I thought, as I rested my elbows on the win¬ 
dow-sill, that these people must have risen before 
midnight to reach here so early in the morning, and 
that they must have come over the mountains walk¬ 
ing for hours under the trees, crossing the little 
bridges in the moonlight ; as I thought this I re¬ 
flected that religion is a beautiful thing, that the 
people in towns do not know what it is, and that for 
thousands upon thousands of field laborers and 
wood-choppers, uncultivated and rude beings, who at 
the same time were good and loved their wives and 
children and honored their aged parents, supporting 
them and closing their eyes in the hope of a better 
world ; this was the only consolation. And in look¬ 
ing at the crowd, I imagined that Aunt Gredel and 
Catherine had the same thoughts, and I was happy 
to know that they prayed for me. It grew lighter 
and lighter, and the bells rang while I continued to 
look on. I heard Father Goulden rise and dress 
himself, and a few minutes after he came into my 
chamber in his shirt-sleeves, and seeing me so 
thoughtful, he exclaimed : 



Joseph, the most beautiful thing in the world is 
the religion of the people/^ 

I was quite astonished to hear him express pre¬ 
cisely my own thoughts. 

Yes,’’ he added, the love of God, the love of 
country and of family, are one and the same thing ; 
but it is sad to see the love of country perverted to 
satisfy the ambition of a man, and the love of God 
to exalt the pride and the desire to rule in a few.” 

These words impressed me deeply, and I have 
often thought since that they expressed the sad 
truth. Well ! to return to those days, you know 
that after the siege we were obliged to work on Sun¬ 
days, because Mr. Goulden while serving as a gun¬ 
ner on the ramparts had neglected his work and we 
were behindhand. So that on that morning as on 
the others I lighted the fire in our little stove and 
prepared the breakfast ; the windows were open and 
_we could hear the noise from the streets. 

Mr. Goulden leaned out of the window and said: 

Look ! all the shops except the inns and the beer¬ 
houses are closed ! ” 

He laughed, and I asked, Shall we open our 
shutters, Mr. Goulden ? ” 

He turned round as if surprised : Look here, 
Joseph, I never knew a better boy than you, but you 
lack sense. Why should we close our shutters? 




Because God created the world in six days and rest¬ 
ed the seventh? But we did not create it ourselves, 
and we need to work to live. If we shut our shop 
from interest and pretend to be saints and so gain 
new customers, that will be hypocrisy. You speak 
sometimes without thinking.’’ 

I saw at once that I was wrong, and I replied : 

Mr. Goulden, we will leave our windows open and 
it will be seen that we have watches to sell, and that 
will do no harm to any one.” 

We were no sooner at table than Aunt Gredel and 
Catherine came. Catherine was dressed entirely in 
black, on account of the service for Louis XVI. She 
had a pretty little bonnet of black tulle, and her 
dress was very nicely made, and this set off her deli¬ 
cate red and white complexion and made her look so 
beautiful that I could hardly believe that she was 
Joseph Bertha’s beloved ; her neck was white as 
snow, and had it not been for her lips and her rosy 
little chin, her blue eyes and golden hair, I should 
have thought that it was some one who resembled 
her, but who was more beautiful. She laughed 
when she saw how much I admired her, and at last I 
said : Catherine, you are too beautiful now ; I 
dare not kiss you.” 

Oh ! you need not trouble yourself,” said she. 

As she leaned upon my shoulder I gave her a long 



kiss, so that Aunt Gredel and Mr. Goulden looked 
on and laughed, and I wished them far enough 
away, that I might tell Catherine that I loved her 
more and more, and that I would give my life a 
thousand times for her ; but as I could not do that 
before them, I only thought of these things and was 

Aunt had a black dress on also, and her prayer- 
book was under her arm. 

Come, kiss me too, Joseph ; you see I too have 
a black dress, like Catherine’s.^’ 

I embraced her, and Mr. Goulden said, You 
will come and dine with us—that is understood ; 
but, meanwhile you will take something, will you 
not? ” 

We have breakfasted,” replied Aunt Gredel. 

That is nothing ; God knows when this proces¬ 
sion will end, you will be all the time on your feet, 
and will need something to sustain you.” 

Then they sat down. Aunt Gredel on my right, 
and Catherine on my left, and Father Goulden op¬ 
posite. They drank a good glass of wine, and aunt 
said the procession would be very fine, and that there 
were at least twenty-five priests from the neighbor¬ 
hood round; that Mr. Hubert, the pastor of Quatre 
Vents, had come, and that the grand altar in the 
cavalry quarter was higher than the houses ; that 



the pine-trees and poplars around had crape on 
them, and that the altar was covered with a black 
cloth. She talked of everything under the sun, 
while I looked at Catherine, and we thought, with¬ 
out saying anything, Oh ! when will that beg¬ 
garly minister write and say, ^ Get married and 
leave me alone? ’ ” 

At last, toward nine o’clock, and when the second 
bell had rung, Aunt Gredel said, That is the sec¬ 
ond ringing ; we will come to dinner as soon as pos¬ 

Yes, yes. Mother Gredel,” replied Mr. Gould- 
en, we will wait for you.” 

They rose, and I went down to the foot of the 
stairs with Catherine in order to embrace her once 
again, when Aunt Gredel cried, Let us hurry, let 
us hurry ! ” 

They went away, and I went back to my work ; 
but from that moment till about eleven o’clock I 
could do nothing at all. The crowd was so very 
great that you could hear nothing outside but a 
ceaseless murmur ; the leaves rustled under foot, 
and when the procession left the church the effect 
was so impressive that even Mr. Goulden himself 
stopped his work to listen to the prayers and hymns. 

I thought of Catherine in the crowd more beauti¬ 
ful than any of the others, with Aunt Gredel near 



her, repeating Pray for us, pray for us,^’ in their 
clear voices. I thought they must be very much 
fatigued, and all these voices and chants made me 
dream, and though I held a watch in my hand and 
tried to work, my mind was not on it. The higher 
the sun rose the more uneasy I became, till at last 
Mr. Goulden said, laughing, Ah ! Joseph, it does 
not go to-day ! ’’ and as I blushed rosy red, he con¬ 
tinued, Yes, when I was dreaming of Louisa 
Benedum I looked in vain for springs and wheels. 
I could see nothing but her blue eyes.” 

He sighed, and I too, thinking, you are quite 
right, Mr. Goulden.” 

That is enough,” he added a moment after, tak¬ 
ing the watch from my hands. Go, child, and 
find Catherine. You cannot conquer your love, it 
is stronger than you.” 

On hearing this, I wanted to exclaim Oh, good, 
excellent man ! you can never know how much I 
love you,” but he rose to wipe his hands on a towel 
behind the door, and I said, “ If you really wish it 
Mr. Goulden.” 

Yes, yes ; certainly ! ” 

I did not wait for another word. My heart 
bounded with joy, I put on my hat and went down 
the stairs at a leap, exclaiming, I will be back in 
an hour, Mr. Goulden.” 



I was out of doors in a moment, but what a crowd, 
what a crowd ! they swarmed ! military hats, felt 
hats, bonnets, and over all the noise and confusion, 
the church bell tolled slowly. 

For a minute I stood on our own steps, not know¬ 
ing which way to turn, and seeing at last that it was 
impossible to take a step in that crowd I turned into 
the little lane called the Lanche, in order to reach 
the ramparts and run and wait for the procession at 
the slope by the German gate, as then it would turn 
up the rue de College. It might have been eleven 
o’clock. I saw many things that day which have 
suggested many reflections since ; they were the 
signs of great trouble but nobody noticed them, no¬ 
body had the good sense to comprehend their sig¬ 
nificance. It was only later, when everybody was 
up to their necks in trouble, when we were obliged 
to take our knapsacks and guns, again to be cut in 
pieces ; then they said, if we had only had good 
sense and justice and prudence we should have been 
so much better off, we should have been quiet at 
home instead of this breaking up, which is coming ; 
we can do nothing but be quiet and submit ; what a 
misfortune ! ” 

I went along the Lanche, where they shot the de¬ 
serters under the Empire. The noise grew fainter 
in the distance, and the chanting and prayers and 



the sound of the bells as well. All the doors and 
windows were closed, everybody had followed the 
procession. I stopped in the silent street to take 
breath, a slight breeze came from the fields beyond 
the ramparts, and I listened to the tumult in the dis¬ 
tance and wiped the sweat from my face and 
thought, how am I to find Catherine? 

I was climbing the steps at the postern gate when 
I heard some one say : Mark the points, Mar- 

I then saw that Father Colin’s windows on the 
first fioor were open, and that some men in their 
shirt-sleeves were playing billiards. They were old 
soldiers with short hair, and mustaches like a brush. 
They went back and forth, without troubling them¬ 
selves about the mayor, or the commandant, or 
Louis XYI., or the bourgeoisie. One of them, short, 
thick, with his whiskers cut as was the fashion of the 
hussars in those days, and his cravat untied, leaned 
out of the window, resting his cue on the sill, and, 
looking toward the square, said : 

“ We will put the game at fifty.” 

I thought at once that they were half-pay officers, 
who were spending their last sous, and who would 
soon be troubled to live. I continued on my way, 
and hurried along under the vault of the powder 
magazine behind the college, thinking of all these 



things, but when I reached the German gate I for¬ 
got everything. The procession was just turning 
the corner at Bockholtz, the chants broke forth op¬ 
posite the altar like trumpets, and the young priests 
from ^hTancy were running among the crowd with 
their crucifixes raised to keep order, and the Swiss 
Sirou carried himself majestically under his ban¬ 
ner; at the head of the procession were the priests 
and the choir singing, while the prayers rose to 
heaven, and behind, the crowd responded : and all 
this took form, in a low fearful murmur. 

I stood on my tiptoes, half hidden by the shed, 
trying to discover Catherine in all that multitude 
and thinking only of her, but what a crowd of hats 
and bonnets and flags I saw defiling down the rue 
Ulrich. You would never have imagined that there 
were so many people in the country ; there could 
not have been a soul left in the villages, except a few 
little children and old people who stayed to take 
care of them. 

I waited about twenty minutes, and gave up hop¬ 
ing to find Catherine, when suddenly I saw her with 
Aunt Gredel. Aunt was praying in such a loud 
clear voice, that you could hear her above all the 
others. Catherine said nothing, but walked slowly 
along with her eyes cast down. If I could only have 
called to her she might perhaps have heard me, but 



it was bad enough not to join the procession without 
causing further scandal. All I can say is,—and 
there is not an old man in Pfalzbourg who will as¬ 
sert the contrary,—that Catherine was not the least 
beautiful girl in the country, and that Joseph Ber¬ 
tha was not to be pitied. 

She had passed, and the procession halted on the 
Place d’armes,” before the high altar at the right 
of the church. The priest officiated, and silence 
spread all over the city. In the little streets at the 
right and the left, it was as quiet as if they could 
have seen the priest at the altar, great numbers 
kneeled, and others sat down on the steps of the 
houses, for the heat was excessive, and many of them 
had come to town before daylight. This grand 
sight impressed me very much, and I prayed for my 
country and for peace, for I felt it all in my heart, 
and I remember that just then I heard under the 
shed at the German gate, voices which said very 
good-humoredly, Come, come, give us a little 
room, my friends.’’ 

The procession blocked the way, everybody was 
stopped, and these voices disturbed the kneeling 
multitude. Several persons near the door made 
way. The Swiss and the beadle looked on from a 
distance, and my curiosity induced me to get a little 
nearer the steps, when I saw five or six old soldiers 



white with dust, bent down and apparently exhaust¬ 
ed with fatigue, making their way along the slope 
in order to gain the little rue d’Arsenal, through 
which they no doubt thought to find the way clear. 
It seems as if I could see them now, with their worn- 
out shoes and their white gaiters, and their old 
patched uniforms and shakos battered by the sun 
and rain and the hardships of the campaign. They 
advanced in file, a little on the grass of the slope in 
order to disturb the people who were below as little 
as possible. One old fellow with three chevrons, 
who marched ahead and resembled poor Sergeant 
Pinto who was killed near the Hinterthor at Leip¬ 
zig, made me feel very sad. He had the same long, 
gray mustaches, the same wrinkled cheeks, and the 
same contented air in spite of all his misfortunes 
and sufferings. He had his little bundle on the end 
of his stick, and smiling and speaking quite low he 
said, Excuse us, gentlemen and ladies, excuse us,” 
while the others followed step by step. 

They were the first prisoners released by the con¬ 
vention of the 23d of April, and we saw these men 
pass afterward every day until July. They had no 
doubt avoided the magazines, in order the sooner to 
reach France. 

On reaching the little street they found the crowd 
extended beyond the arsenal ; and then in order not 



to disturb the people, they went under the postern 
and sat down on the damp steps, with their little 
bundles on the ground beside them, and waited for 
the procession to pass. They had come from a great 
distance, and hardly knew what was going on with 

Unhappily the wretches from Bois-de-Chenes, the 
big Horni, Zapheri Boiler, Nicholas Cochart, the 
carder, Pinacle, whom they had made mayor to pay 
him for having shown the way to Falberg and 
Graufthal to the allies during the siege, all these 
rascals and others who were with them, who wanted 
the fleur-de-lis—as if the fleur-de-lis could make 
them any better—unhappily, I say, all that bad set 
who lived by stealing fagots from the forest, had 
discovered the old tri-colored cockade in the tops of 
their shakos, and now,” they thought, is the 
time to prove ourselves the real supporters of the 
throne and the altar.” 

They came on disturbing everybody, Pinacle had 
a big black cravat on his neck and a crape, an ell 
wide, on his hat, with his shirt collar above his ears, 
and as grave as a bandit who wants to make himself 
look like an honest man ; he came up the first one. 
The old soldier with the three chevrons had discov¬ 
ered that these men were threatening them at a dis¬ 
tance and had risen to see what it meant. 




Come, come ! don’t crowd so ! ” said lie. We 
are not much in the habit of running, what do you 
want? ” 

But Pinacle, who was afraid of losing so good an 
occasion to show his zeal for Louis XYIII., instead 
of replying to him, smashed his shako at a blow, 
shouting, Down with the cockade ! ” 

Xaturally the old veteran was indignant and was 
about to defend himself, when these wretches, both 
men and women, fell upon the soldiers, knocking 
them down, pulling off their cockades and epaulets, 
and trampling them under foot without shame or 

The poor old fellow got up several times, ex¬ 
claiming, in a voice which went to one’s heart. 

Pack of cowards, are you Frenchmen, assassins, 
etc., etc.” 

Every time he rose they beat him down again, and 
at last left him with his clothes torn, and covered 
with blood in a corner, and the commandant, de la 
Faisanderie, having arrived, ordered them to be es¬ 
corted to the Violin.” If I had been able to get 
down, I should have run to the rescue, without 
thinking of Catherine or Aunt Gredel or Mr. Gould- 
en, and they might have killed me too. When I 
think of it now even, I tremble, but fortunately the 
wall of the postern was twenty feet thick, and when 



I saw them carried away covered with blood, and 
comprehended the whole horrible affair, I ran home 
by way of the arsenal, where I arrived so pale that 
Father Goulden exclaimed : 

Why, Joseph ! have you been hurt? 

No, no,” I replied, but I have seen a fright¬ 
ful thing.” And I commenced to cry as I told him 
of the affair. He walked up and down with his 
hands behind his back, stopping fiom time to time 
to listen to me, while his lips contracted and his eyes 

Joseph,” said he, these men provoked 
them? ” 

No, Mr. Goulden.” 

It is impossible, they must have invited it. The 
devil ! we are not savages ! The rascals must have 
had some other reason than the cockades for attack¬ 
ing them ! ” 

He could not believe me, and it was only after 
telling him all the details twice over that he said at 
last : 

Well ! since you saw it with your own eyes I 
must believe you. But it is a greater misfortune 
than you think, Joseph. If this goes on, if they do 
not put a strong check on these good-for-nothings, if 
the Pinacles are to have the upper hand, honest peo¬ 
ple will open their eyes.” 



He said no more, for the procession was finished 
and Aunt Gredel and Catherine had come. 

We dined together, aunt was happy and Cathe¬ 
rine too, but even the pleasure it gave me to see them, 
could not make me forget what I had witnessed, and 
Mr. Goulden was very grave too. 

At night, I went with them to the Koulette,’’ 
and then I embraced them and bade them good¬ 
night. It might have been eight o^clock, and I 
went home immediately. Mr. Goulden had gone 
to the Homme Sauvage ” brewery, as was his 
habit on Sunday, to read the gazette, and I went to 
bed. He came in about ten, and seeing my candle 
burning on the table, he pushed open the door and 
said : 

It seems that they are having processions every¬ 
where. You see nothing else in the gazette.’’ And 
he added that twenty thousand prisoners had re¬ 
turned, and that it was a happy thing for the coun¬ 



The next morning all the clocks in the village 
were to be wound up, and as Mr. Goulden was grow¬ 
ing old he had intrusted that to me, and I went out 
very early. The wind had blown the leaves in 
heaps against the walls during the night, and the 
people were coming to take their torches and vases 
of flowers from the altars. All this made me sad, 
and I thought, Now that they have performed 
their service for the dead, I hope they are satisfled. 
If the permit would come, it would be all very well, 
but if these people think they are going to amuse us 
with psalms they are mistaken. In the time of the 
Emperor we had to go to Russia and Spain it is true, 
but the ministers did not leave the young people to 
pine away. I would like to know what peace is for 
if it is not to get married ! ” 

I denounced Louis XYIII., the Comte d’Artois, 
the eniigreSy and everybody else, and declared that 
the nobles mocked the people. 

On going home I found that Mr. Goulden had set 
the table, and while we were eating breakfast, I told 



him what I thought. He listened to my complaint 
and laughed, saying, Take care, Joseph, take 
care ; you seem to me as if you were becoming a 

He got up and opened the closet, and I thought 
he was going to take out a bottle, but, instead, he 
handed me a thick square envelope with a big red 

“ Here, Joseph,’’ said he, is something that 
Brigadier Werner charged me to give you.” 

I felt my heart jump and I could not see clearly. 

Why don’t you open it? ” said Father Goulden. 

I opened it and tried to read, but had to take a 
little time. At last I cried out, It is the permit.” 

Do you believe it ? ” said he. 

Yes, it is the permit,” I said, holding it at arm’s 

Ah ! that rascal of a minister, he has sent no 
others,” said Father Goulden. 

But,” I said, I know nothing of politics, 
since the permit has come, the rest does not con¬ 
cern me.” 

He laughed aloud, saying, Good, Joseph, 
good ! ” 

I saw that he was laughing at me, but I did not 

We must let Catherine and Aunt Gredel know 



immediately/^ I cried in the joy of my heart ; we 
must send Chaudron’s boy right away.” 

Ha ! go yourself, that will be better,” said the 
good man. 

But the work, Mr. Goulden? ” 

Pshaw ! pshaw ! at a time like this one for¬ 
gets work ! Go ! child, stir yourself, how could 
you work now? You cannot see clearly.” 

It was true I could do nothing. I was so happy 
that I cried, I embraced Mr. Goulden, and then 
without taking time to change my coat I set off, and 
was so absorbed by my happiness, that I had gone 
far beyond the German gate, the bridge and the 
outworks and the post station, and it was only when 
I was within a hundred yards of the village and saw 
the chimney and the little windows that I recalled 
it all like a dream, and commenced to read the per¬ 
mit again, repeating, It is true, yes, it is true ; 
what happiness ! what will they say ! ” 

I reached the house and pushed open the door ex¬ 
claiming, The permit ! ” 

Aunt Gredel in her sabots was just sweeping the 
kitchen, and Catherine was coming downstairs with 
her arms bare, and her blue kerchief crossed over her 
breast ; she had been to the garret for chips, and 
both of them on seeing me and hearing me cry, the 
permit ! ” stood stock still. But I repeated, “ the 



permit ! ” and Aunt Gredel threw up her hands as 
I had done, exclaiming, Long live the King ! ’’ 
Catherine, quite pale, was leaning against the side 
of the staircase ; 1 was at her side in an instant and 
embraced her so heartily that she leaned on my 
shoulder and cried, and I carried her down, so to 
speak, while aunt danced round us, exclaiming. 
Long live the King ! long live the Minister ! ” 
There was never anything like it. The old black¬ 
smith, Kuppert, with his leather apron on and his 
shirt open at the throat, came in to ask what had 

What is it, neighbor? ” said he, as he held his 
big tongs in his hands and opened his little eyes as 
wide as possible. 

This calmed us a little, and I answered, We 
have received our permit to marry.’’ 

“ Ah, that is it? is it? now I understand, I un¬ 

He had left the door open and five or six other 
neighbors came in—Anna Schmoutz, the spinner, 
Christopher Wagner, the field-guard, Zapheri Gross, 
and several others, till the room was full. I read 
the permit aloud ; everybody listened, and when it 
was finished Catherine began to cry again, and Aunt 
Gredel said : 

Joseph, that minister is the best of men. If he 



were here, I would embrace bim and invite bim to 
tbe wedding ; be should have the place of honor 
next Mr. Goulden.’’ 

Then tbe women went off to spread tbe news, and 
I commenced my declarations anew to Catherine, as 
if the old ones went for nothing ; and I made her 
repeat a thousand times that she had never loved 
any one but me, till we cried and laughed, and 
laughed and cried, one after the other, till night. 
We heard Aunt Gredel, as she attended to the cook¬ 
ing, talking to herself and saying, That is what T 
call a good king; or, If my good Franz could 
come back to the earth he would be happy to-day, 
but one cannot have everything.’^ She said, also, 
that the procession had done us good ; but Cath¬ 
erine and I were too happy to answer a word. We 
dined, and lunched, and took supper without seeing 
or hearing anything, and it was nine o’clock when I 
suddenly perceived it was time to go home. Cath¬ 
erine and Aunt Gredel and I went out together, the 
moon was shining brightly, and they went with me 
to the Roulette,” and while on the way we agreed 
that the marriage should take place in fifteen days. 
At the farm-house, under the poplars, aunt kissed 
me, and I kissed Catherine, and then watched them 
as they went back to the village. When they 
reached home they turned and kissed their hands to 



me, and then I came back to town, crossed the great 
square, and got home about ten o’clock. Mr. 
Goulden was awake though in bed, and he heard me 
open the door softly. I had lighted my lamp and 
was going to my chamber, when he called, ^Mo- 
seph! ” 

I went to him, and he took me in his arms and we 
kissed each other, and he said : 

It is well, my child ; you are happy, and you 
deserve to be. E^ow go to bed, and to-morrow we 
will talk about it.” 

I went to bed, but it was long before I could sleep 
soundly. I wakened every moment, thinking, Is 
it really true that the permit has come? ” Then I 
would say to myself, Yes ; it is true.” But to¬ 
ward morning I slept. When I wakened it was 
broad day, and I jumped out of bed to dress myself, 
when Father Goulden called out, as happy as pos-- 
sible, Come, Joseph, come to breakfast.” 

Forgive me, Mr. Goulden,” I replied ; I was 
so happy I could hardly sleep.” 

Yes, yes, I heard you,” he answered and we 
went into the workshop, where the table was al¬ 
ready laid. 


After the joy of marrying Catherine, my great¬ 
est delight was in thinking I should be a tradesman, 
for there was a great difference between fighting for 
the King of Prussia and doing business on one’s own 
account. Mr. Goulden had told me he would take 
me into partnership with him, and I imagined my¬ 
self taking my little wife to mass and then going for 
a walk to the Roche-plate or to Bonne-Fontaine. 
This gave me great pleasure. In the meantime I 
went every day to see Catherine ; she would wait 
for me in the orchard, while Aunt Gredel prepared 
the little cakes and the bride’s loaf for the wedding. 
We did nothing but look at each other for hours to¬ 
gether ; she was so fresh and joyous and grew pret¬ 
tier every day. 

Mr. Goulden would say on seeing me come home 
happier every night, Well ! Joseph, matters seem 
to be better than when we were at Leipzig ! ” 

Sometimes I wanted to go to work again, but he 
always stopped me by saying, Oh ! pshaw ! 
happy days in life are so few. Go and see Cath- 



erine, go! If I should take a fancy to be married 
and by, you can work for us both/’ And then he 
would laugh. Such men as he ought to live a hun¬ 
dred years, such a good heart ! so true and honest ! 
He was a real father to us. And even now, after so 
many years, when I think of him with his black silk 
cap drawn over his ears, and his gray beard eight 
days old, and the little wrinkles about his eyes show¬ 
ing so much good-humor, it seems to me that I still 
hear his voice and the tears will come in spite of me. 

But I must tell you here of something which hap¬ 
pened before the wedding and which I shall never 
forget. It was the 6th of July and we were to be 
married on the 8th. I had dreamed of it all night. 
I rose between six and seven. Father Goulden was 
already at work, with the windows open. I was 
washing my face and thinking I would run over to 
Quatre Vents, when all at once a bugle and two taps 
of a drum were heard at the gate of France, just 
as when a regiment arrives, they try their mouth¬ 
pieces, and tap their drums just to get the sticks well 
in hand. When I heard that my hair stood on end, 
and I exclaimed, Mr. Goulden, it is the Sixth ! ” 
Yes, indeed, for eight days everybody has been 
talking about it, but you hear nothing in these days. 
It is the wedding bouquet, Joseph, and I wanted to 
surprise you.” 



I listened no longer, but went downstairs at a 
jump. Our old drummer Padoue had already lift¬ 
ed his stick under the dark arch, and the drummers 
came up behind balancing their drums on their hips; 
in the distance was Gemeau, the commandant, on 
horseback, the red plumes of the grenadiers and the 
bayonets came up slowly ; it was the Third bat¬ 
talion. The march commenced, and my blood 
bounded. I recognized at the first glance the long 
gray cloaks which we had received on the 22d of 
October, on the glacis at Erfurth ; they had be¬ 
come quite green from the snow and wind and rain. 
It was worse than after the battle of Leipzig. The 
old shakos were full of ball holes, only the flag was 
new, in its beautiful case of oil-cloth, with the fleur- 
de-lis at the end. 

Ah ! only those who have made a campaign can 
realize what it is to see your regiment and to hear the 
same roll of the drum as when it is in front of the 
enemy, and to say to yourself, There are your 
comrades, who return beaten, humiliated, and 
crushed, bowing their heads under another cock¬ 
ade.^’ 1^0 ! I never felt anything like it. Later 
many of the men of the Sixth came and settled down 
at Pfalzbourg, they were my old officers, old 
sergeants, and were always welcome, there was La- 
fleche, Carabin, Lavergne, Monyot, Padoue, Chazi, 



and many others. Those who commanded me dur¬ 
ing the war sawed wood for me, put on tiles, were 
my carpenters and masons. After giving me or¬ 
ders they obeyed me, for I was independent, and 
had business, while they were simply laborers. But 
that was nothing, and I always treated my old chiefs 
with respect, I always thought, at Weissenfels, 
at Lutzen, and at Leipzig, these men who now are 
forced to labor so hard to support themselves and 
their families, represented at the front the honor and 
the courage of France.’’ These changes came after 
Waterloo ! and our old Ensign Faizart, swept the 
bridge at the gate of France for fifteen years ! That 
is not right, the country ought to be more grateful. 

It was the Third battalion that returned, in so 
wuetched a state that it made the hearts of good men 
bleed. Zebede told me that they left Versailles on 
the 31st of March, after the capitulation of Paris, 
and marched to Chartres, to Chateaudun, to Blois, 
Orleans and so on like real Bohemians, for six weeks 
without pay or equipments, until at last at Kouen, 
they received orders to cross France and return to 
Pfalzbourg, and everywhere the processions and 
funeral services for the King, Louis XYI., had ex¬ 
cited the people against them. They were obliged 
to bear it all, and even were compelled to bivouac in 
the fields while the Kussians, Austrians, and Prus- 



sians, and other beggars, lived quietly in our 

Zebede wept with rage as be recounted their suf¬ 
ferings afterward. 

“ Is France no longer France he asked. Have 
we not fought for her honor? 

But it gives me pleasure now in my old age, to re¬ 
member how we received the Sixth at Pfalzbourg. 
You know that the First battalion had already ar¬ 
rived from Spain, and that the remnant of this regi¬ 
ment and of the 24th infantry of the line formed the 
6th regiment of Berry, so that all the village was re¬ 
joicing that instead of the few old veterans, we were 
to have two thousand men in garrison. There was 
great rejoicing, and everybody shouted, “ Long live 
the Sixth; the children ran out to St. Jean to 
meet them, and the battalion had nowhere been bet¬ 
ter received than here. Several old fellows wept 
and shouted, Long live France.” But in spite of 
all that, the officers were dejected and only made 
signs with their hands as if to thank the people for 
their kind reception. 

I stood on our door-steps while three or four hun¬ 
dred men filed past, so ragged that I could not dis¬ 
tinguish our number, but suddenly I saw Zebede, 
who was marching in the rear, so thin that his long 
crooked nose stood out from his face like a beak,, his 



old cloak hanging like fringe down his back, but he 
had his sergeant’s stripes, and his large bony shoul¬ 
ders gave him the appearance of strength. On see¬ 
ing him, I cried out so loud that it could be heard 
above the drums, Zebede ! ” 

He turned round and I sprang into his arms and 
he put down his gun at the corner of the rue Fou- 
quet. I cried like a child and he said, Ah ! it is 
you, Joseph ! there are two of us left then, at 

Yes, it is I,” said I, and I am going to marry 
Catherine, and you shall be my best man.” 

We marched along together to the corner of the 
rue Houte, where old Furst was waiting with tears 
in his eyes. The poor old man thought, Perhaps 
my son will come too.” Seeing Zebede coming 
with me, he turned suddenly into the little dark en¬ 
trance to his house. On the square. Father Klipfel 
and five or six others were looking at the battalion 
in line. It is true they had received the notices of 
the deaths, but still they thought there might be mis¬ 
takes, and that their sons did not like to write. They 
looked amongst them, and then went away while the 
drums were beating. 

They called the roll, and just at that moment the 
old grave-digger came up with his little yellow vel¬ 
vet vest and his gray cotton cap. He looked behind 



the ranks where I was talking with Zebede, who 
turned round and saw him and grew quite,pale, they 
looked at each other for an instant, then I took his 
gun and the old man embraced his son. They did 
not say a word, but remained in each other’s arms 
for a long while. Then when the battalion filed off 
to the right to go to the barracks, Zebede asked per¬ 
mission of Captain Yidal to go home with his father, 
and gave his gun to his nearest comrade. We went 
together to the rue de Capucins. The old man said: 

You know that grandmother is so old that she 
can no longer get out of bed, or she would have come 
to meet you too.” 

I went to the door, and then said to them, You 
will come and dine with us, both of you.” 

I will with pleasure,” said the father. Yes, 
Joseph, we will come.” 

I went home to tell Father Goulden of my invita¬ 
tion, and he was all the more pleased as Catherine 
and her aunt were to be there also. 

I never had been more happy than when thinking 
of having my beloved, my best friend, and all those 
whom I loved the most, together at our house. 

That day at eleven o’clock our large room on the 
first floor was a pretty sight to see. The floor had 
been well scrubbed, the round table in the middle of 
the room was covered with a beautiful cloth with 



red stripes and six large silver covers upon it, the 
napkins folded like a boat in the shining plates, the 
salt-cellar and the sealed bottles, and the large cut 
glasses sparkling in the sun which came over the 
groups of lilac ranged along the windows. 

Mr. Goulden wished to have everything in abun¬ 
dance, grand and magnificent, as he would for 
princes and embassadors, and he had taken his silver 
from the basket, a most unusual thing ; I had made 
the soup myself. In it there were three pounds of 
good meat, a head of cabbage, carrots in abundance, 
indeed everything necessary ; except that,—which 
you can never have so good at an hotel,—everything 
had been ordered by Mr. Goulden himself from the 

Ville de Metz.’^ 

About noon we looked at each other, smiling and 
rubbing our hands, he in his beautiful nut-brown 
coat, well shaved, and with his great peruke a little 
rusty, in place of his old black silk cap, his maroon 
breeches neatly turned over his thick woollen stock¬ 
ings, and shoes with great buckles on his feet ; while 
I had on my sky-blue coat of the latest fashion, my 
shirt finely plaited in front, and happiness in my 

All that was lacking now was our guests—Cath¬ 
erine, Aunt Gredel, the grave-digger, and Zebede. 
We walked up and down laughing and saying, “ Ev- 



erytliing is in its place and we had best get out the 
soup-tureen.’’ And I looked out now and then to 
see if they were coming. 

At last Aunt Gredel and Catherine turned the 
corner of the rue Foquet ; they came from mass and 
had their prayer-books under their arms, and farther 
on I saw the old grave-digger in his fine coat with 
wide sleeves, and his old three-cornered hat, and 
Zebede, who had put on a clean shirt and shaved 
himself. They came from the side next the ram¬ 
parts arm in arm, gravely, like men who are sober 
because they are perfectly happy. 

Here they are,” I said to Father Goulden. 

We just had time to pour out the soup and put the 
big tureen, smoking hot in the middle of the table. 
This was happily accomplished just as Aunt Gredel 
and Catherine came in. You can judge of their 
surprise on seeing the beautiful table. We had 
hardly kissed each other when aunt exclaimed : 

It is the wedding-day then, Mr. Goulden.” 

Yes, Madame Gredel,” the good man answered 
smiling,—on days of ceremony he always called her 
Madame instead of Mother Gredel, yes, the wed¬ 
ding of good friends. You know that Zebede has 
just returned, and he will dine with us to-day with 
the old grave-digger.” 

“ Ah ! ” said aunt, that will give me great 


Catherine blushed deeply, and said to me in a low 
voice : 

i^ow everything is as it should be, that was what 
we wanted to make us perfectly happy/’ 

She looked tenderly at me as she held my hand. 
Just then some one opened the door, and old Laur¬ 
ent from the Ville de Metz,” with two high bas¬ 
kets in which dishes were ranged in beautiful order 
one above the other, cried out, Mr. Goulden, here 
is the dinner ! ” 

Very well ! ” said Mr. Goulden, now arrange 
it on the table yourself.” 

And Laurent put on the radishes first, the fricas¬ 
seed chicken and beautiful fat goose at the right, 
and on the left the beef which we had ourselves ar¬ 
ranged with parsley in the plate. He put on also a 
nice plate of sauerkraut with little sausages, near the 
soup. Such a dinner had never been seen in our 
house before. 

Just at that moment we heard Zebede and his 
father coming up the stairs, and Father Goulden and 
I ran to meet them. Mr. Goulden embraced 
Zebede and said : 

How happy I am to see you, I know you showed 
yourself a good comrade for Joseph in the midst of 
the greatest danger.” 

Then he shook the old grave-digger’s hand. 



saying, I am proud of you for having such a 

Then Catherine, who had come behind us, said to 
Zebede : 

“ I could not please Joseph more than to embrace 
you, you would have carried him to Ilanau only 
your strength failed. I look upon you as a brother.” 

Then Zebede, who was very pale, kissed her with¬ 
out saying a word, and we all went into the room in 
silence, Catherine, Zebede, and I first, Mr. Goulden 
and the old grave-digger came afterward. Aunt 
Gredel arranged the dishes a little and then said : 

You are welcome, you are welcome ! you who 
met in sorrow, have rejoined each other in joy. May 
God send his grace on us all.” 

Zebede kissed Aunt Gredel and said, Always 
fresh and in good health, it is a pleasure to see you.” 

Come, Father Zebede, sit at the head of the 
table, and you there, Zebede, that I may have you 
on my right and my left, Joseph will sit farther 
down, opposite Catherine, and Madame Gredel at 
the other end to watch over all.” 

Each one was satisfied with his place, and Zebede 
smiled and looked at me as if he would say : If we 
had had the quarter of such a dinner as this at 
Hanau, we should never have fallen by the road¬ 
side.” Joy and a good appetite shone on every 



face. Father Goulden dipped the great silver 
ladle into the soup as we all looked on, and served 
first the old grave-digger, who said nothing and 
seemed touched by this honor, then his son, and then 
Catherine, Aunt Gredel, himself, and me. And 
the dinner was begun quietly. 

Zebede winked and looked at me from time to 
time with great satisfaction. We uncorked the first 
bottle and filled the glasses. This was very good 
wine, but there was better coming, so we did not 
drink each other’s health yet, we each ate a good 
slice of beef, and Father Goulden said : 

Here is something good, this beef is excellent.” 
He found the fricassee very good also, and then I 
saw that Catherine was a woman of spirit, for she 
said : 

You know, Mr. Zebede, that we should have in¬ 
vited your grandmother Margaret, whom I go to see 
from time to time, only she is too old to go out, but 
if you wish, she shall at least eat a morsel with us, 
and drink her grandson’s health in a glass of wine. 
What do you say. Father Zebede? ” 

I was just thinking of that,” said the old man. 

Father Goulden looked at Catherine with tears in 
his eyes, and as she rose to select a suitable piece for 
the old woman, he kissed her, and I heard him call 
her his daughter. 



She went out with a bottle and a plate ; and while 
she was gone Zebede said to me : 

Joseph, she who is soon to be your wife deserves 
to be perfectly happy, for she is not only a good girl, 
not only a woman who ought to be loved, but she 
deserves respect also, for she has a good and feeling 
heart. She saw what my father and I thought of 
this excellent dinner, and she knew it would give us 
a thousand times more pleasure if grandmother 
could share it. I shall love her for it, as if she were 
my sister.’’ Then he added in a low voice : It is 
when we are happy that we feel the bitterness of 
poverty. It is not enough to give our blood to our 
country, but there is suffering at home in conse¬ 
quence, and when we return we must have misery 
before our eyes.” 

I saw that he was growing sad, so I filled his glass 
and we drank, and his melancholy vanished. Cath¬ 
erine came back and said, the grandmother was 
very happy, and that she thanked Mr. Goulden, and 
said it had been a beautiful day for her.” And this 
roused everybody. As the dinner continued. Aunt 
Gredel heard the bells for vespers, and she went out 
to church, but Catherine remained, and the anima¬ 
tion which good wine inspires had come, and we be¬ 
gan to speak of the last campaign ; of the retreat 
from the Ehine to Paris, of the fighting of’the bat- 



talion at Bibelskirchen and at Saarbruck, where 
Lieutenant Baubin swam the Saar when it was freez¬ 
ing as hard as stone, to destroy some boats which 
were still in the hands of the enemy ; of the passage 
at I^arbefontaine, at Courcelles, at Metz, at Enzel- 
vin, and at Champion and Verdun, and, still re¬ 
treating, the battle of Brienne. The men were 
nearly all destroyed, but on the 4th of February the 
battalion was re-formed from the remnant of the 
5th light infantry, and from that moment they were 
every day under fire ; on the 5th, 6th, and 7th at 
Mery-sur-Seine ; on the 8th at Sezanne, where the 
soldiers died in the mud, not having strength enough 
to get out ; the 9th and 10th at Miirs, where Zebede 
was buried at night in the dung-heap of a farm¬ 
house in order to get warm, and the terrible battle 
of Marche on the 11th, in which the Commandant 
Philippe was wounded by a bayonet-thrust; the 
encounter on the 12th and 13th at Montmirail, the 
battle of Beauchamp on the 14th, the retreat on 
Montmirail on the 15 th and 16th, when the Prussians 
returned: the combats at the Ferte-Gauche, at Jou- 
arre, at Gue-a-Train, at ISTeufchettes, and so on. 
When the Prussians were beaten, then came the 
Russians, after them the Austrians, the Bavarians, 
the Wurtemburgers, the Hessians, the Saxons, and 
the Badois. 



I have often heard that campaign described, but 
never as it was done by Zebede. As he talked his 
great thin face quivered and his long nose turned 
down over the four hairs of his yellow mustache, 
and his eyes would flash and he would stretch out 
his hand from his old sleeve and you could see what 
he was describing. The great plains of Champagne 
with the smoking villages to the right and to the 
left, where the women, children, and old men were 
wandering about in groups, half naked, one carry¬ 
ing a miserable old mattress, another with a few 
pieces of furniture on his cart, while the snow was 
falling from the sky, and the cannon roared in the 
distance, and the Cossacks were flying about like 
the wind with kitchen utensils and even old clocks 
hanging to their saddles, shouting hurrah ! 

Furious battles were raging, singly, or one against 
ten, in which the desperate peasants joined also with 
their scythes. At night the Emperor might be seen 
sitting astride his chair, with his chin resting in his 
folded hands on the back, before a little Are with his 
generals around him. This was the way he slept 
and dreamed. He must have had terrible reflec¬ 
tions after the days of Marengo, Austerlitz, and 

To flght the enemy, to suffer hunger and cold and 
fatigue, to march and countermarch, Zebede said. 



were nothing, but to hear the women and children 
weeping and groaning in French in the midst of 
their ruined homes, to know you could not help 
them, and that the more enemies you killed, the 
more would you have ; that you must retreat, al¬ 
ways retreat, in spite of victories, in spite of cour¬ 
age, in spite of everything ! that is what breaks 
your heart, Mr. Goulden.” 

In listening and looking at him we had lost all 
inclination to drink, and Father Goulden, with his 
great head bent down as if thinking, said in a low 
voice : 

Yes, that is what glory costs, it is not enough to 
lose our liberty, not enough to lose the rights gained 
at such a cost, we must be pillaged, sacked, burned, 
cut to pieces by Cossacks, we must see what has not 
been seen for centuries, a horde of brigands making 
law for us—hut go on, we are listening, tell us all.” 

Catherine, seeing how sad we were, filled the 

Come,” said she, to the health of Mr. Goulden 
and Father Zehede. All these misfortunes are past 
and will never return.” 

"We drank, and Zehede related how it had been 
necessary to fill up the battalion again, on the route 
to Soissons, with the soldiers of the 16 th light infan¬ 
try, and how they arrived at Meaux where the 



plague was raging, although it was winter, in the 
hospital of Piete, in consequence of the great num¬ 
bers of wounded who could not be cared for. 

That was horrible, but the worst of all was when 
he described their arrival at Paris, at the Barriere 
de Charenton: the Empress, King Joseph, the King 
of Kome, the ministers, the new princes and dukes, 
and all the great world, were running away toward 
Blois, and abandoning the capital to the enemy, 
while the workingmen in blouses, who gained noth¬ 
ing from the Empire, but to be forced to give their 
children to defend it, were gathered around the 
town-house by thousands, begging for arms to de¬ 
fend the honor of France; and the Old Guard re¬ 
pulsed them with the bayonet! 

At this Father Goulden exclaimed: 

That is enough, Zebede, hold! stop there, and 
let us talk of something else.” 

He had suddenly grown very pale; at this mo¬ 
ment Mother Gredel returned from vespers, and 
seeing us all so quiet, and Mr. Goulden so disturbed, 

What has happened? ” 

We were speaking of the Empress and of the 
ministers of the Emperor,” replied Father Goulden, 
forcing a laugh. 

Said she, I am not astonished that the wine 



turns against you. Every time I think of them, if 
by accident I look in the glass, I see that it turns 
me quite livid. The beggars! fortunately, they 
are gone.” 

Zebede did not like this. Mr. Goulden observed 
it and said, Well! France is a great and glorious 
country all the same. If the new nobles are worth 
no more than the old ones, the people are firm. 
They work in vain against them. The bourgeois, 
the artisan, and the peasant are united, they have 
the same interests and will not give up what they 
have gained, nor let them again put their feet on 
their necks. E’ow, friends, let us go and take the 
air, it is late, and Madame Gredel and Catherine 
have a long way to go to Quatre Yents. Joseph 
will go with them.” 

ISTo,” said Catherine, Joseph must stay with 
his friend to-day, and we will go home alone.” 

Very well! so be it! on a day like this friends 
should be together,” said Mr. Goulden. 

We went out arm in arm, it was dark, and after 
embracing Catherine again at the Place d’Armes 
she and her aunt took their way home, and after 
having taken a few turns under the great lindens we 
went to the Wild Man ” and refreshed ourselves 
with some glasses of foaming beer. Mr. Goulden 
described the siege, the attack at Pernette, the sor- 



ties at Bigelberg, at the barracks above, and the 
bombardment. It was then that I learned for the 
first time that he had been captain of a gun, and 
that it was he who had first thought of breaking up 
the melting-pots in the foundry to make shot. 
These stories occupied us till after ten o’clock. At 
last Zebede left us to go to the barracks, the old 
grave-digger went to the rue Capucin, and we to 
our beds, where we slept till eight o’clock the next 


Two days afterward I was married to Catherine 
at Aunt Gredehs at Quatre Yents. Mr. Goulden 
represented my father. Zebede was my best man, 
and some old comrades remaining from the battalion 
were also at the wedding. The next day we were 
installed in our two little rooms over the workshop 
at Father Goulden’s, Catherine and I. Many years 
have rolled away since then! Mr. Goulden, Aunt 
Gredel, and the old comrades have all passed away, 
and Catherine’s hair is as white as snow 1 Yet often, 
even now, when I look at her, those times come 
back again, and I see her as she was at twenty, 
fresh and rosy, I see her arrange the flower-pots in 
the chamber-window, I hear her singing to herself, 
I see the sun opposite, and then we descend the 
steep little staircase and say together, as we go into 
the workshop: ^^Good-morning, Mr. Goulden;” 
he turns, smiles, and answers, Good-morning, my 
children, good-morning! ” Then he kisses Cath¬ 
erine and she commences to sweep and rub the fur- 



niture and prepare the soup, while we examine the 
work we have to do during the day. 

Ah, those beautiful days, that charming life! 
What joy in being young and in having a simple, 
good, and industrious wife! How our hearts re¬ 
joice, and the future spreads out so far—so far—be¬ 
fore us! We shall never be old; we shall always 
love each other, and always keep those we love! 
We shall always be of good heart; we shall always 
take our Sunday walk arm in arm to Bonne-Fon- 
taine; we shall always sit on the moss in the woods, 
and hear the bees and May-bugs buzzing in the 
great trees filled with light; we shall always smile! 
What a life! what a life! 

And at night we shall go softly home to the nest, 
as we silently look at the golden trains which spread 
over the sky from Wecham to the forests of Mittel- 
bronn, we shall press each other’s hand when we 
hear the little clock at Pfalzbourg ring out the 

Angelus,” and those of all the villages will re¬ 
spond through the twilight. Oh, youth! oh, life! 

All is before me just as it was fifty years ago; 
but other sparrows and larks sing and build in the 
spring, other blossoms whiten the great apple-trees.. 
And have we changed too, and grown old like the 
old people of those days? That alone makes me be¬ 
lieve that we shall become young again, that we 



shall renew onr loves and rejoin Father Goulden 
and Aunt Gredel and all our dear friends. Other¬ 
wise we should be too unhappy in growing old. 
God would not send us pain without hope. And 
Catherine believes it too. Well! at that time we 
were perfectly happy, everything was beautiful to 
us, nothing troubled our joy. 

It was when the allies were passing through our 
city by hundreds of thousands on their way home. 
Cavalry, artillery, infantry, foot and horse, with oak 
leaves in their shakos, on their caps, and on the ends 
of their muskets and lances. They shouted so that 
you could hear them a league away. Just as you 
hear the chaffinches, thrushes, and blackbirds, and 
tliousands of other birds in the autumn. At any 
other time this would have made me sad, because 
it was the sign of our defeat, but I consoled myself 
by thinking that they were going away, never to 
return. And when Zebede came to tell me that 
every day the Eussian, Austrian, Prussian, and Ba¬ 
varian officers crossed the city to visit our new com¬ 
mandant, Mons. de la Faisanderie, who was an old 
emigre, and who covered them with honors—that 
such an officer of the battalion had provoked one of 
these strangers, and that such another half-pay of¬ 
ficer had killed two or three in duels at the 
Koulette,’’ or the Green Tree,’’ or the Flower 



Basket,” for they were everywhere—our soldiers 
could not bear the sight of the foreigners, there 
were fights everywhere, and the litters of the hos¬ 
pital were constantly going and coming—when 
Zebede told me all these things, and when he said 
that so many ofiicers had been put upon half-pay 
in order to replace them by ofiicers from Coblentz, 
and that the soldiers were to be compelled to go to 
mass in full uniform, that the priests were every¬ 
thing and epaulettes nothing any more; instead of 
being vexed, I only said, Bah! all these things will 
get settled by and by. So long as we can have 
quiet, and can live and labor in peace, we will be 

I did not think that it is not enough that one 
is satisfied; to preserve peace and tranquillity, all 
must be so likewise. I was like Aunt Gredel, who 
found everything right now that we were married. 
She came very often to see us, with her basket full 
of fresh eggs, fruits, vegetables, and cakes for our 
housekeeping, and she would say: 

Oh! Mr. Goulden, there is no need to ask if the 
children are well, you have only to look at their 

And to me she would say: There is some dif¬ 
ference, Joseph, between being married, and trudg¬ 
ing along under a knapsack and musket at Lutzen! ” 



I believe you, Mamma Gredel,’^ I would au- 

Then she would sit down, with her hands on her 
knees, and say: All this comes from peace; 
peace makes everybody happy, and to think of that 
mob of barefoot beggars who shout against the 

At first Mr. Goulden, who was at work, would 
say nothing, but when she kept on he would say. 

Come, Mother Gredel, a little moderation, you 
know that opinion is free now, we have two cham¬ 
bers and constitution, and each one has a voice.” 

“ But it is also true,” said aunt looking at me ma¬ 
liciously, that one must hold his tongue from time 
to time, and that shows a difference too.” 

Mr. Goulden never went farther than this, for 
he looked upon aunt as a good woman, but who was 
not worth the trouble of converting. He would 
only laugh when she went too far, and matters went 
on without jarring until something new happened. 

At first there was an order from Kancy to com¬ 
pel the people to close all their shutters during ser¬ 
vice on Sunday—Jews, Lutherans, and all. There 
was no more noise in the inns and wine-shops, it was 
still as death in the city during mass and vespers. 
The people said nothing, but looked at each other as 
if they were afraid. . 



The first Sunday that our shutters were closed, 
Mr. Goulden seemed very sad, and said, as we were 
dining in the dark, I had hoped, my children, 
that all this was over, and that people would have 
common-sense, and that we should he tranquil for 
years, but unhappily I see that these Bourbons are 
of the same race as Dagobert. Affairs are growing 

He did not say anything else on this Sunday, and 
went out in the afternoon to read the papers. 
Everybody who could read went, while the peasants 
were at mass, to read the papers after shutting their 
shops. The citizens and master-workmen then got 
in the habit of reading the papers, and a little later 
they wanted a Casino. I remember that everybody 
talked of Benjamin Constant and placed great confi¬ 
dence in him. Mr. Goulden liked him very much, 
and as he was accustomed to go every evening to 
Bather Colin’s, to read of what had taken place, we 
also heard the news. He told us that the Duke 
d’Angouleme was at Bordeaux, the Count d’Artois 
at Marseilles, they had promised this, and they had 
said that. 

Catherine was more curious than I, she liked to 
hear all the news there was in the country, and 
when Mr. Goulden said anjffhing, I could see in 
her eyes that she thought he was right. One even- 



ing lie said, The Duke de Berry is coining 

We were greatly astonished. What is he going 
to do here, Mr. Goulden? ” asked Catherine. 

He is coming to review the regiment,” he an¬ 
swered, I have a great curiosity to see him. The 
papers say that he looks like Bonaparte, hut that 
he has a great deal more mind. It is not astonish¬ 
ing for if a legitimate prince had no more sense than 
the son of a peasant it would be a great pity. But 
you have seen Bonaparte, Joseph, and you can 
judge of the matter.” 

You can imagine how this news excited the coun¬ 
try. From that day nothing was thought of but 
erecting triumphal arches, and making white flags, 
and the people from all the villages kept coming 
with their carts covered with garlands. They raised 
a triumphal arch at Pfalzbourg and another near 
Saverne. Every evening after supper Catherine 
and I went out to see how the work progressed. It 
was between the hotel de la Ville de Metz ” and 
the shop of the confectioner Diirr, right across the 
street. The old carpenter Ulrich and his boys built 
it. It was like a great gate covered with garlands 
of oak leaves, and over the front were displayed 
magnificent white flags. 

While they were doing this, Zebede came to see 



us several times. The prince was to come from 
Metz, the regiment had received letters, which rep¬ 
resented him as being as severe as if he had gained 
fifty battles. But what vexed Zebede most was, 
that the prince called our old ofiicers, Soldiers of 

He arrived the 1st of October, at six in the even¬ 
ing, we heard the cannon when he was at Gerber- 
hoff. He alighted at the Yille de Metz,” without 
going under the arch. The square was crowded with 
officers in full uniform, and from all the windows 
the people shouted, Long live the King, Long 
live the Duke de Berry,” just as they cried in the 
time of Kapoleon, Long live the Emperor.” 

Mr. Goulden and Catherine and I could not get 
near because of the crowd, and we only saw the car¬ 
riages and the hussars file past. A picket near our 
house cut off all communication. That same even¬ 
ing he received the corps of officers and conde¬ 
scended to accept a dinner offered to him by the 
Sixth, but he only invited Colonel Zaepfel. After 
the dinner, from which they did not rise till ten 
o’clock, the principal citizens gave a ball at the col¬ 
lege. All the officers and all the friends of the 
Bourbons were present in black coats, and breeches 
and stockings of white silk, to meet the prince, and 
the young girls of good families were there in 



crowds, dressed in white. I still seem to hear the 
horses of the escort as they passed in the middle of 
the night amid the thousands shouting “Vive le 
Koi! Vive le Due de Berry! ” 

All the windows were illuminated, and before 
those of the commandant there was a great shield 
of sky blue, and the crown and the three fleur-de-lis 
in gold, sparkled in the centre. The great hall of 
the college echoed with the music of the regimental 

Mademoiselle Bremer, who had a very fine voice, 
was to sing the air of Vive Henri IV.’’ before the 
prince. But all the village knew the next day, that 
she had been so confused by the sight of the prince, 
that she could not utter a word, and everybody said. 
Poor Mademoiselle Felicite, poor Mademoiselle 

The ball lasted all night. We—Mr. Goulden, 
Catherine, and I—were asleep, when about three in 
the morning we were wakened by the hussars going 
byand the shoutsof ^Wive le Due de Berry.” These 
princes must have excellent health to be able to go 
to all the balls and dinners which are offered to 
them on their journeys. And it must become very 
tiresome at last to be called Your Majesty,” 
Your Excellence,” Your Goodness,” and Your 
Justice,” and everything else that can be thought 



of, that is new and extraordinary, in order to make 
them believe that the people adore them and look 
upon them as gods. If they do despise the men at 
last it is not astonishing. If the same thing were 
done to us we might think ourselves eagles too. 

What I have told you is exactly the truth. I 
have exaggerated nothing. 

The next day they began again with new enthu¬ 
siasm. The weather was very fine, but as the prince 
had slept badly, and the children who wished to imi¬ 
tate the court without suc(?eeding, annoyed him, 
and he thought perhaps, that they had not done him 
sufficient honor and had not shouted Vive le Roi, 
Vive le Due de Berry ’’ loud and long enough—for 
all the soldiers kept silent—he was in a very bad 

I saw him very well that day, while the review 
was taking place—the soldiers occupied the sides of 
the square, we were at Wittman^s, the leather mer¬ 
chant, on the first floor—and also during the con¬ 
secration of the flag and the Te Deum at the church, 
for we had the fourth pew in front of the choir. 
They said he looked like ^N'apoleon, but it was not 
true; he was a good-looking fat fellow, short and 
thick, and pale with fatigue, and not at all lively, 
quite the contrary. During the service he did noth¬ 
ing but yawn and rock back and forth like a pen- 



dulum. I am telling you what I saw myself, and 
that shows how blind people are, they want to find 
resemblances everywhere. 

During the review, too, I remembered that the 
Emperor always came on horseback, and so would 
discover at a glance if everything was in order; in¬ 
stead of this, the duke came along the ranks on foot, 
and two or three times he found fault with old sol¬ 
diers, examining them from head to foot. That 
was the worst. Zebede was one of these men, and 
he never could forgive him. 

That was well enough for the review, but a more 
serious thing was the distribution of the crosses and 
the fleur-de-lis. When I tell you that all the may¬ 
ors and their assistants, the councillors from the 
Baraques-d’en-Haut and the Baraques-du-bois-de • 
Chenes, from Holderloch and Hirschland, received 
the fleur-de-lis because they headed their village 
deputations with a white flag, and that Pinacle re¬ 
ceived the cross of honor, for having arrived first 
with the band of the Bohemian, Waldteufel, who 
l^layed Vive Henri IV.,’’ and had five or six white 
flags larger than the others; when I tell you that, 
you will understand what reasonable people 
thought. It was a real scandal! 

In the afternoon about four o’clock, the prince 
left for Strasbourg, accompanied by all the royalists 



in the country on horseback, some on good mounts, 
and others, like Pinacle, on old hacks. 

One event the Pfalzbourgers of that day remem¬ 
ber until this, and that is, that after the prince was 
seated in his carriage and was driving slowly away, 
one of the emigre officers with his head uncovered 
and in uniform, ran after him, crying in a pitiful 
voice, Bread, my prince, bread for my children! 
That made the people blush, and they ran away for 

We went home in silence. Father Goulden was 
lost in thought, when Aunt Gredel arrived. 

Well! Mother Gredel, you ought to be satis¬ 
fied,’’ said he. 

“ And why? ” 

Because Pinacle has been decorated.” 

She turned quite livid, and said after a minute: 

That is the greatest trumpery that ever was 
seen. If the prince had known what he is, he would 
have hung him rather than decorate him with the 
cross of honor.” 

That is just the trouble,” said Mr. Goulden, 
those people do many such things without know¬ 
ing it, and when they do know, it is too late.” 


So it was that Monseigneur the Duke de Berry, 
visited the departments of the East. Every word 
he uttered was taken up and repeated again and 
again. Some praised his exceeding graciousness, 
and others kept silence. From that time I sus¬ 
pected that all these emigres and officers on half¬ 
pay, these preachers with their processions and their 
expiations, would overturn everything again, and 
about the beginning of winter we heard that not 
only with us, but all over Alsace affairs were grow¬ 
ing worse and worse in just the same way. 

One morning between eleven and twelve Father 
Goulden and I were both at work, each one thinking 
after his own fashion, and Catherine was laying the 
cloth. I started to go out to wash my hands at the 
pump, as I always did before dinner, when I saw an 
old woman wiping her feet on the straw mat at the 
foot of the stairs and shaking her skirts which were 
covered with mud. She had a stout staff, and a 
large rosary hung from her neck. As I looked at 
her from the top of the stairs, she began to come up 



and I recognized her immediately by the folds about 
her eyes and the innumerable wrinkles round 
her little mouth, as Anna-Marie, the pilgrim of St. 
Witt. The poor old woman often brought us 
watches to mend, from pious people who had confi¬ 
dence in her, and Mr. Goulden was always delight¬ 
ed to see her. 

Ah! he exclaimed, it is Anne-Marie! now 
we shall have the news. And how is Mr. Such-an- 
one, the priest ? How is the Yicar So-and-So? Docs 
he still look as well as ever? and Mr. Jacob, of such 
a place. And the old sexton, Mclausse, does he 
still ring the bells at Dann, and at Hirschland, and 
Saint Jean? He must begin to look old? 

Ah! Mr. Goulden, thanks for Mr. Jacob, you 
know that he lost Mademoiselle Christine last 

What! Mademoiselle Christine? ” 

Yes, indeed? ” 

What a misfortune! but we must remember 
that we are all mortal! ” 

Yes, Mr. Goulden, and when one is so fortu¬ 
nate as to receive the holy consolations of the 

Certainly—certainly, that is the principal 

So they talked on. Father Goulden laughing in his 



sleeve. She knew everything that happened within 
six leagues round the city. He looked mischiev¬ 
ously at me from time to time. This same thing 
had happened a hundred times during my appren¬ 
ticeship, but you will understand how much more 
curious he was now to learn all that was going on 
in the country. 

Ah! it is really Anna-Marie! ” said he rising, 
it is a long time since we have seen you.’^ 

Three months, Mr. Goulden, three long 
months. I have made pilgrimages to Saint Witt, 
to Saint Odille, to Marienthal, to Hazlach, and I 
have vows for all the saints in Alsace, in Lorraine, 
and in the Yosges. But now I have nearly finished, 
only Saint Quirin remains.’’ 

“ Ah! so much the better, your affairs go on well, 
and that gives me pleasure. Sit down, Anna-Marie, 
sit down and rest yourself.” 

I saw in his eyes how happy he was to have her 
unroll her budget of news. But it appeared she had 
other matters to attend to. 

Oh! Mr. Goulden,” said she. “ I cannot to¬ 
day. Others are before me. Mother Evig, Gaspard 
Eosenkranz, and Jacob Heilig. I must go to Saint 
Quirin, to-night. I only just came in to tell you 
that the clock at Dosenheim is out of order, and 
that they are expecting you to repair it.” 



Pshaw! pshaw! stay a moment/’ 

I cannot, I am very sorry, Mr. Goulden, 
but I must finish my round.” 

She had already taken up her bundle, and Mr. 
Goulden seemed greatly disappointed; when Cath¬ 
erine put a great dish of cabbage on the table, and 
said, ^^What! are you going, Anna-Marie? you 
cannot think of it! here is your plate! ” 

She turned her head and saw the smoking soup 
and the cabbage, which exhaled a most delicious 

I am in a great hurry,” said she. 

Oh! pshaw! you have very good legs,” said 
Catherine, glancing at Mr. Goulden. 

Yes, thank God, they are very good still.” 

Well, sit down then and refresh yourself. It 
is hard work to be always walking.” 

Yes, indeed, Madame Bertha, one earns the 
thirty sous that one gets.” 

I placed the chairs. 

Sit down, Anna-Marie, and give me your stick.” 

Well, I must listen to you, I suppose, but I can¬ 
not stay long, I will only take a mouthful and then 

Yes, yes, that is settled, Anna-Marie,” said Mr. 
Goulden; we will not hinder you long.” 

We sat down, and Mr. Goulden served us at 



once. Catherine looked at me and smiled, and I 
said to myself, Women are more ingenious than 
we,’’ and I was very happy. What more could a 
man wish for than to have a wife with sense and 
spirit? It is a real treasure, and I have often seen 
that men are happy when they allow themselves to 
be guided by such a woman. You can easily believe 
that when once seated at the table near the fire, 
instead of being out in the mud, with the sharp 
November wind whistling in her thin skirts, she no 
longer thought of her journey. She was a good 
creature sixty years old, who still supported two 
children of her son who died some years before. To 
travel round the country at that age, with the sun 
and rain and snow on your back, to sleep in bams 
and stables on straw, and three-quarters of the time 
have only potatoes to eat and not enough of them, 
does not make one despise a plate of good hot soup, 
a piece of smoked bacon and cabbage, with two or 
three glasses of wine to warm the heart. No, you 
must look at things as they are, the life of these 
poor people is very hard, every one would do well 
to try a pilgrimage on his own account. 

Anna-Marie understood the difference between 
being at table and on the road, she ate with a good 
appetite, and she took real pleasure in telling us what 
she had seen during her last round. 



Yes/’ said she, everything is going on well 
now. All the processions and expiations which you 
have seen are nothing, they will grow larger and 
more imposing from day to day. And you know 
there are missionaries coming among us, as they 
used to do among the savages, to convert us. They 
are coming from Mr. de Forbin-Janson and Mr. de 
Kanzan, because the corruption of the times is so 
great. And the convents are to be rebuilt, and the 
gates along the roads restored, as they were before 
the twenty-five years’ rebellion. And when the 
pilgrims arrive at the convents, they will only have 
to ring and they will be admitted at once, when 
the brothers who serve, will bring them porringers 
of rich soup with meat on ordinary days, and vege¬ 
table soup with fish on Fridays and Saturdays and 
during Lent. In that way piety will increase, and 
everybody will make pilgrimages. But the pious 
women of Bischofisheim say, that only those who 
have been pilgrims from father to son, like us, ought 
to go; that each one ought to attend to his work, 
that the peasants should belong to the soil, and that 
the lords should have their chateaux again, and 
govern them. I heard this with my own ears from 
these pious women, who are to have their properties 
again because they have returned from exile, and 
that they must have their estates in order to build 



their chapels is very certain. Oh! if that were only 
done now, so I could profit by it in my old age! I 
have fasted long enough, and my little grandchil¬ 
dren also. I would take them with me, and the 
priests would teach them, and when I die I should 
have the consolation of seeing them in a good way.’’ 

On hearing her recount all these things so con¬ 
trary to reason we were much moved, for she wept 
as she imagined her little girls begging at the door 
of the convent and the brother bringing them soup. 

And you know, too, that Mr. de Kanzan and 
the Reverend Rather Tarin want the chateaux re¬ 
built, and the woods and meadows and fields given 
up to the nobles, and in the meantime that the 
ponds are to be put in good condition, because they 
belong to the reverend fathers, who have no time 
to plough or sow or reap. Everything must come to 
them of itself.” 

But tell us, Anna-Marie, is all this quite cer¬ 
tain? I can hardly believe that such great happi¬ 
ness is in store for us.” 

It is quite certain, Mr. Goulden. The Count 
d’Artois wishes to secure his salvation, and in order 
to do that everything must be set in order. Mons. 
le Vicar Antoine of Marienthal said the same 
things last week. They come from above,—these 
things,—and the hearts of the people must be ac- 



customed to them by the sermons and expiations. 
Those who will not submit, like the Jews and Lu¬ 
therans, will be forced to do so, and the Jacobins ” 
—in speaking of the Jacobins Anna-Marie looked 
suddenly at Mr. Goulden and blushed up to her 
ears, for he was smiling. 

But she recovered herself, and went on: 

Among the Jacobins there are some very good 
people, but the poor must live. The Jacobins have 
taken the property of the poor and that is not right.” 

When and where have they taken the property 
of the poor? ” 

Listen, Mr. Goulden, the monks and the Capu¬ 
chins had the estates of the poor, and the Jacobins 
have divided them amongst themselves.” 

^^Ah! I understand, I understand, the monks 
and Capuchins had your property, Anna-Marie; I 
never should have guessed that.” 

Mr. Goulden was all the time in good-humor, and 
Anna-Marie said: 

We shall be in accord at last.” 

Oh! yes, we are, we are,” said he pleasantly. 

I listened without saying anything, as I was nat¬ 
urally curious to hear what was coming. It was 
easy to see that this was what she had heard on her 
last journey. 

She said also that miracles were coming again and 



that Saint Quirin, Saint Odille, and the others would 
not work miracles under the usurper, but that they 
had commenced already; that the little black St. 
John at Kortzeroth, on seeing the ancient prior re¬ 
turn had shed tears. 

Yes, yes, I understand,” said Mr. Goulden, 

that does not astonish me in the least, after all 
these processions and atonements the saints must 
work miracles; and it is natural, Anna-Marie, quite 

Without doubt, Mr. Goulden, and when we see 
miracles, faith will return. That is clear, that is 

The dinner was finished, and Anna-Marie seeing 
that nothing more was coming, remembered that 
she was late, and exclaimed: 

“ Oh! Lord, that is one o’clock striking. The 
others must be near Ercheviller; now I must leave 

She rose and took her stick with a very important 

Well! hon voyage, Anna-Marie, don’t make us 
wait so long next time.” 

Ah! Mr. Goulden, if I do not sit every day at 
your table it is not my fault.” 

She laughed, and as she took up her bundle she 



Well, good-by, and for the kindness you have 
shown me I will pray the blessed Saint Quirin to 
send you a fine fat boy as fresh and rosy as a lady- 
apple. That is the best thing, Madame Bertha, that 
an old woman like me can do for you.’’ 

On hearing these good wishes, I said, That 
old woman is a good soul. There is nothing I so 
much wish for in the world. May God hear her 
prayer! ” I was touched by that good wish. 

She went downstairs, and as she shut the door, 
Catherine began to laugh, and said: 

She emptied her budget this time.” 

Yes, my children,” replied Mr. Goulden, who 
was quite grave, that is what we may call human 
ignorance. You would believe that poor creature 
had invented all that, but she has picked it up right 
and left, it is word for word what those emigres 
think, and what they repeat every day in their 
journals, and what the preachers say every day 
openly in all the churches. Louis XVIII. troubles 
them, he has too much good sense for them, but 
the real king is Monseigneur the Duke d’Artois, 
who wants to secure his salvation, and in order that 
this may be done everything must be put back 
where it was before the ‘ rebellion of twenty-five 
years,’ and all the national property must be given 
up to its ancient owners, and the nobles must have 



their rights and privileges as in 1788; they must 
occupy all the grades of the army, and the Catholic 
religion must be the only religion in the state. The 
Sabbath and fete days must be observed, and her¬ 
etics driven from all the offices, and the priests alone 
have the right to instruct the children of the people, 
and this great and terrible country, which carried 
its ideas of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity every¬ 
where by means of its good sense and its victories, 
and which never would have been vanquished if 
the Emperor had not made an alliance with the 
kings at Tilsit, this nation, which in a few years 
produced so many more great captains and orators, 
learned men and geniuses of all kinds, than the 
noble races produced in a thousand years, must sur¬ 
render everything and go back to tilling the earth, 
while the others, who are not one in a thousand, will 
go on from father to son, taking everything and 
gladdening their hearts at the expense of the peo¬ 
ple! Oh! no doubt the fields and meadows and 
ponds will be given up as Anna-Marie said, and that 
the convents will be rebuilt in order to please Mons. 
le Comte d’Artois and help him to gain his salvation 
—that is the least the country could do for so great 
a prince! ” 

Then Father Goulden, joining his hands, looked 
upward saying: 




Lord God, Lord God, who hast wrought so 
many miracles by the little black St. John of Kort- 
zeroth, if thou wouldst permit even a single ray of 
reason to enter the heads of Monseigneur and his 
friends, I believe it would be more beautiful than 
the tears of the little saint! And that other one on 
his island, with his clear eyes like the sparrow-hawk 
who pretends to sleep as he watches the unconscious 
geese in a pool,—O Lord, a few strokes of his wing 
and he is upon them, the birds may escape, while 
we shall have all Europe at our heels again! ” 

He said all this very gravely, and I looked at 
Catherine to know whether I should laugh or cry. 
Suddenly he sat down, saying: 

Come! Joseph, this is not at all cheerful, but 
what can we do? It is time to be at work. Look, 
and see what is the matter with Mr. Jacob’s watch.” 

Catherine took off the cloth, and each one went 
to his work. 


It was winter. Rain fell constantly, mingled 
with snow. There were no gutters, and the wind 
blew the rain as it fell from the tiles quite into the 
middle of the street. We could hear it pattering all 
day while Catherine was running about, watching 
the fire, and lifting the covers of the saucepans, 
and sometimes singing quietly to herself as she sat 
down to her spinning. Father Goulden and I were 
so accustomed to this kind of life that we worked 
on without thinking. We troubled ourselves about 
nothing, the table was laid and the dinner served 
exactly on the stroke of noon. At night Mr. Goul¬ 
den went out after supper to read the gazette at 
Hoffman’s, with his old cloak wrapped closely 
round his shoulders and his big fox-skin cap pulled 
down over his neck. 

But in spite of that, often when he came in at ten 
o’clock, after we had gone to bed, we heard him 
cough; he had dampened his feet. Then Catherine 
would say, He is coughing again, he thinks he is 



as young as he was at twenty,” and in the morning 
she did not hesitate to reproach him. 

Monsieur Goulden,” she would say, you are 
not reasonable; you have an ugly cold, and yet you 
go out every evening.” 

Ah! my child, what would you have? I have 
got the habit of reading the gazette, and it is 
stronger than I. I want to know what Benjamin 
Constant and the rest of them say, it is like a sec¬ 
ond life to me and I often think ^ they ought to 
have spoken further of such or such a thing. If 
Melchior Goulden had been there he would have 
opposed this or that, and it would not have failed 
to produce a great effect.’ ” 

Then he would laugh and shake his head and 

Every one thinks he has more wit and good 
sense than the others, but Benjamin Constant al¬ 
ways pleases me.” 

We could say nothing more, his desire to read the 
gazette was so great. One day Catherine said to 

If you wish to hear the news, that is no reason 
why you should make yourself sick, you have only 
to do as the old carpenter Carabin does, he arranged 
last week with Bather Hoffman, and he sends him 
the journal every night at seven o’clock, after the 



others have read it, for which he pays him three 
francs a month. In this way, without any trouble 
to himself, Carabin knows everything that goes on, 
and his wife, old Bevel, also; they sit by the fire 
and talk about all these things and discuss them 
together, and that is what you should do.’’ 

Ah! Catherine, that is an excellent idea, but 
—the three francs ? ” 

The three francs are nothing,” said I, the 
principal thing is not to be sick, you cough very 
badly and that cannot go on.” 

These words, far from offending, pleased him, as 
they proved our affection for him and that he ought 
to listen to us. 

Very well! we will try to arrange it as you 
wish, and the rather as the cafe is filled with half¬ 
pay officers from morning till night, and they pass 
the journals from one to the other so that sometimes 
we must wait two hours before we can catch one. 
Yes, Catherine is right.” 

He went that very day to see Father Hoffman, so 
that after that, Michel, one of the waiters at the 
cafe brought us the gazette every night at seven 
o’clock, just as we rose from the table. We were 
happy always when we heard him coming up the 
stairs, and we would say, There comes the ga¬ 



Catherine would hurry off the cloth and I would 
put a big bullet of wood in the stove, and Mr. Gould- 
en would draw his spectacles from their case, and 
while Catherine spun and I smoked my pipe like 
an old soldier, and watched the blaze as it danced 
in the stove, he would read us the news from 

You cannot imagine the happiness and satisfac¬ 
tion we had in hearing Benjamin Constant and two' 
or three others maintain the same opinions which 
we held ourselves. Sometimes Mr. Goulden was 
forced to stop to wipe his spectacles, and then Cath¬ 
erine would exclaim: 

How well these people talk. They are men of 
good sense. Yes, what they say is right—it is the 
simple truth.’^ 

And we all approved it. Sometimes Bather Gould¬ 
en thought that they ought to have spoken of this 
or that a little more, but that the rest was all very 
well. Then he would go on with his reading, which 
lasted till ten o’clock, and then we all went to bed, 
reflecting on what we had just heard. Outside the 
wind blew, as it only can blow at Pfalzbourg, and 
vanes creaked as they turned, and the rain beat 
against the walls, while we enjoyed the warmth and 
comfort, and thanked God till sleep came, and we 
forgot everything. Ah! how happily we sleep with 



peace in our souls, and when we have strength and 
health, and the love and respect of those whom we 

Days, weeks, and months went by, and we be¬ 
came, after a manner, politicians, and when the 
ministers were going to speak, we thought; 

“ ITow the beggars want to deceive us! the mis¬ 
erable race! they ought to be driven out, every one 
of them! 

Catherine above all could not endure them, and 
when Mother Gredel came and talked as before 
about our good King, Louis XYIII., we allowed her 
to talk out of respect, but we pitied her for being 
so blind, to the real interests of the country. 

It must be remembered, too, that these emigres, 
ministers, and princes, conducted themselves in the 
most insolent manner possible toward us. If the 
Count d’Artois and his sons had put themselves at 
the head of the Yendeeans and Bretons, and 
marched on Paris and had been victorious, they 
would have had reason to say, We are masters, 
and will make laws for you.” But to be driven out 
at first, and to be brought back by the Prussians 
and the Kussians, and then to come and humiliate 
us, that was contemptible, and the older I grow the 
more I am confirmed in that idea—it was shame¬ 



Zebede came to see us from time to time, and he 
knew all that was in the gazette. It was from us 
that he first learned, that the young emigres had 
driven General Vandamme from the presence of 
the King. This old soldier, who had just returned 
from a Russian prison, and whom all the army re¬ 
spected in spite of his misfortune at Kuhn, they 
conducted from the royal presence, and told him 
that was not his place. Vandamme had been colonel 
of a regiment at Pfalzbourg, and you cannot imag¬ 
ine the indignation of the people at this news. 

And it was Zebede who told us, that processes 
had been made out against the generals on half-pay, 
and that their letters were opened at the post, that 
they might appear like traitors. He told us a little 
aftenvard that they were going to send away the 
daughters of the old officers who were at the school 
of St. Denis and give them a pension of two hun¬ 
dred francs; and later still, that the emigres alone 
would have the right to put their sons in the schools 
at St. Cyr and la Fleche to be educated as 
officers, while the people’s sons would remain sol¬ 
diers at five centimes (one cent) a day for centuries 
to come. 

The gazettes told the same stories, but Zebede 
knew a great many other details—the soldiers knew 



I could not describe Zebede’s face to you as he 
sat behind the stove, with the end of his black pipe 
between his teeth, recounting all these misfortunes. 
His great nose would turn pale, and the muscles 
would twitch around the comers of his light gray 
eyes, and he would pretend to laugh from time to 
time, and murmur, It moves, it moves.’’ 

And what do the other soldiers think of all 
this? ” said Father Goulden. 

Ha! they think it is pretty well when they have 
given their blood to France for twenty years, when 
they have made ten, fifteen, and twenty campaigns, 
and wear three chevrons, and are riddled with 
wounds, to hear that their old chiefs are driven 
from their posts, their daughters turned out of the 
schools, and that the sons of those people are to be 
their officers forever—that delights them. Father 
Goulden! ” and his face quivered even to his ears 
as he said this. 

That is terrible, certainly,” said Father Gould¬ 
en, but discipline is always discipline there. The 
marshals obey the ministers, and the officers the 
marshals, and the soldiers the officers.” 

You are right,” said Zebede, but there, they 
are beating the assembly.” 

And he shook hands and hurried off to the bar¬ 


The winter passed in this way, while the indigna¬ 
tion increased every day. The city was full of of¬ 
ficers on half-pay, who dared not remain in Paris, 
—lieutenants, captains, commandants, and colonels 
of infantry and cavalry,—men who lived on a crust 
of bread and a glass of wine a day, and who were 
the more miserable because they were forced to keep 
up an appearance—think of such men with their 
hollow cheeks and their hair closely cropped, with 
sparkling eyes and their big mustaches and their old 
uniform cloaks, of which they had been forced to 
change the buttons, see them promenading by 
threes and sixes and tens on the square, with their 
sword-canes at their button-holes, and their three- 
cornered hats so old and worn, though still well 
brushed; you could not help thinking that they 
had not one quarter enough to eat. 

And yet we were compelled to say to ourselves, 
these are the victors of Jemmapes, of Pleurus, of 
Zurich, of Hohenlinden, of Marengo, of Auster- 
litz, and of Friedland and Wagram. If we are 
proud of being Frenchmen, neither the Comte 
d’Artois nor the Duke de Berry can boast of being 
the cause; on the contrary, it is these men, and 
now they leave them to perish, they even refuse 
them bread and put the emigres in their place. It 
does not need any extraordinary amount of com- 



mon-sense, or heart, or of justice to discover that 
this is contrary to nature. 

I never could look at these unhappy men; it made 
me miserable. If you have been a soldier for only 
six months, your respect for your old chiefs, for 
those whom you have seen in the very front under 
fire, always remains. I was ashamed of my country 
for permitting such indignities. 

One circumstance I shall never forget: it was 
the last of January, 1815, when two of these half¬ 
pay ofiicers—one was a large, austere, gray-haired 
man, known as Colonel Falconette, who appeared 
to have served in the infantry, the other was short 
and thick and they called him Commandant Mar- 
garot, and he still wore his hussar whiskers—came 
to us and proposed to sell a splendid watch. It 
might have been ten o’clock in the morning. I can 
see them now as they came gravely in, the colonel 
with his high collar, and the other one with his head 
down between his shoulders. 

The watch was a gold one, with double case; a 
repeater which marked the seconds, and was wound 
up only once in eight days. I had never seen such 
a fine one. 

While Mr. Goulden examined it I turned round 
on my chair and looked at the men, who seemed to 
be in great need of money, especially the hussar. 



His brown, bony face, his big red mustaches, and 
his little brown eyes, his broad shoulders and long 
arms, which hung down to his knees, inspired me 
with great respect. I thought that when he took 
his sabre his long arm would reach a good way, that 
his eyes would burn under his heavy brows, and that 
the parry and thrust would come like lightning. I 
imagined him in a charge, half hidden behind his 
horse^s head, with the point advanced, and my ad¬ 
miration was greater still. I suddenly remembered 
that Colonel Falconette and Commandant Margarot 
had killed some Kussian and Austrian officers in a 
duel in the rear of the Green Tree,’’ when the 
allies were passing through the town six months 

The large man too, without any shirt-collar, al¬ 
though he was thin, wrinkled, and pale, and his 
temples were gray and his manner cold, seemed re¬ 
spectable too. 

I waited to hear what Father Goulden would say 
about the watch. He did not raise his eyes, but 
looked at it with profound admiration, while the 
men waited quietly like those who suffer from not 
being able to conceal their pain. At last he said: 

This, gentlemen, is a beautiful watch, fit for a 
prince? ” 

“ Indeed it is,” said the hussar, and it was from 


i ^ 




imuxce's watch. 



a prince I received it after the battle of Eabbe,” and 
he glanced at his companion, who said nothing. 

Mr. Goulden saw that they were in great need. 
He took off his black silk bonnet, and said, as he 
rose slowly from his seat: 

Gentlemen, do not take offence at what I am 
going to say. I am like you an old soldier, I served 
France under the Kepublic, and I am sure it must 
be heart-breaking to be forced to sell such a thing 
as that, an object which recalls some noble action, 
the souvenir of a chief whom we revere.’’ 

I had never heard Father Goulden speak with 
such emotion, his bald head was bowed sadly, and 
his eyes were on the ground, so that he might not 
see the pain of those to whom he was speaking. 

The commandant grew quite red, his eyes were 
dim, his great fingers worked, and the colonel was 
pale as death. I wished myself away. 

Mr. Goulden went on, This watch is worth 
more than a thousand francs, I have not so much 
money in hand, and besides you would doubtless 
regret to part with such a souvenir. I will make 
you this offer, leave the watch with me, I will hang 
it in my window—it shall always be yours—and I 
will advance you two hundred francs, which you 
shall repay me when you take it away.” 

On hearing this, the hussar extended his two 



great hairy hands, as if to embrace Father 

You are a good patriot,’’ he exclaimed, Colin 
told ns so. Ah! sir, I shall never forget the service 
you have rendered me. This watch I received from 
Prince Eugene for bravery in action, it is dear to 
me as my own blood, but poverty-” 

Commandant! ” exclaimed the other, turning 

Colonel, permit me! we are old comrades to¬ 
gether. They are starving us, they treat us like 
Cossacks. They are too cowardly to shoot us out¬ 

He could be heard all over the house. Catherine 
and I ran into the kitchen in order not to see the 
sad spectacle. Mr. Goulden soothed him, and we 
heard him say: 

Yes, yes, gentlemen, I know all that, and I put 
myself in your place.” 

Come! Margaret, be quiet,” said the colonel. 
And this went on for a quarter of an hour. 

At last we heard Mr. Goulden count out the 
money, and the hussar said: 

Thank you, sir, thank you! If ever you have 
occasion, remember the Commandant Margaret.” 

We were glad to hear the door open, and to hear 
them go downstairs, for Catherine and I were much 



pained by what we had heard and seen. We went 
back to the room, and Mr. Goulden, who had been 
to show the officers out, came back with his head 
bare. He was very much disturbed. 

These unhappy men are right,’’ said he, “ the 
conduct of the government toward them is horrible, 
but it will have to pay for it sooner or later.” 

We were sad all day, but Mr. Goulden showed 
me the watch and explained its beauties, and told 
me, we ought always to have such models before us, 
and then we hung it in our window. 

From that moment the idea never left me that 
matters would end badly, and that even if the emi¬ 
gres stopped here, they had done too much mischief 
already. I could still hear the commandant ex¬ 
claiming, that they treated the army like Cossacks. 
All those processions and expiations and sermons 
about the rebellion of twenty-five years, seemed to 
me to be a terrible confusion, and I felt that the 
restoration of the national property and the rebuild¬ 
ing of the convents would be productive of no 


It was about the beginning of March, when a 
rumor began to circulate that the Emperor had just 
landed at Cannes. This rumor was like the wind, 
nobody ever could tell where it came from. Pfalz- 
bourg is two hundred leagues from the sea, and 
many a mountain and valley lies between them. An 
extraordinary circumstance, I remember, happened 
on the 6th of March. When I rose in the morning, 
I pushed open the window of our little chamber 
which was just under the eaves, and looked across 
the street at the old black chimneys of Spitz the 
baker, and saw that a little snow still remained be¬ 
hind them. The cold was sharp, though the sun 
was shining, and I thought, What fine weather 
for a march! ” Then I remembered how happy we 
used to be in Germany, as we put out our camp¬ 
fires and set off on such fine mornings as this, with 
our guns on our shoulders, listening to the footfalls 
of the battalion echoing from the hard frozen 
ground. I do not know how it was, but suddenly 
the Emperor came into my mind, and I saw him 




with his gray coat and round shoulders, with his 
hat drawn over his eyes, marching along with the 
Old Guard behind him. 

Catherine was sweeping our little room, and I 
was almost dreaming as I leaned out into the dry, 
clear air, when we heard some one coming up the 
stairs. Catherine stopped her sweeping and said: 

It is Mr. Goulden.’’ 

I also recognized his step, and was surprised, as 
he seldom came into our chamber. He opened the 
door and said in a low voice: 

My children, the Emperor landed on the 1st of 
March at Cannes, near Toulon, and is marching 
upon Paris.’’ 

He said no more, but sat down to take breath. 
We looked at each other in astonishment, but a 
moment after Catherine asked: 

Is it in the gazette, Mr. Goulden? ” 

Ho,” he replied, either they know nothing of 
it over there, or else they conceal it from us. But, 
in Heaven’s name, not a word of all this, or we 
shall be arrested. This morning, about five o’clock, 
Zebede, who mounted guard at the French gate, 
came to let me know of it; he knocked downstairs, 
did you hear him? ” 

Ho! we were asleep, Mr. Goulden.” 

Well! I opened the window to see what was the 



matter, and tlien I went down and unlocked the 
door. Zebede told it to me as a fact, and says the 
soldiers are to be confined to the barracks till fur¬ 
ther orders. It seems they are afraid of the soldiers, 
but how can they stop Bonaparte without them? 
They cannot send the peasants, whom they have 
stripped of everything, against him, nor the bour¬ 
geoisie, whom they have treated like Jacobins. How 
is a good time for the emigres to show themselves. 
But silence, above all things, the most profound si¬ 
lence! ’’ 

He rose, and we all went down to the workshop. 
Catherine made a good fire, and everyone went 
about his work as usual. 

That day everything was quiet, and the next 
day also. Some neighbors, Father Kiboc and Off- 
ran, came in to see us, under pretence of having 
their watches cleaned. 

Anything new, neighbor? ’’ they inquired. 

Ho, indeed! ” replied Mr. Goulden. Every¬ 
thing is quiet. Do you hear anything? ” 


But you could see by their eyes, that they had 
heard the news. Zebede stayed at the barracks. 
The half-pay officers filled the cafe from morning 
till night, but not a word transpired, the affair was 
too serious. On the third day these ofiicers, who 
were boiling over with impatience, were seen run- 



ning back and forth, their very faces showing their 
terrible anxiety. If they had had horses or even 
arms, I am sure they would have attempted some¬ 
thing. But the guards went and came also, with 
old Chancel at their head, and a courier was sent off 
hourly to Saarbourg. The excitement increased, 
nobody felt any interest in his work. We soon 
learned through the commercial travellers, who ar¬ 
rived at the City of Basle,’’ that the upper Bhine 
provinces and the Jura had risen, and that regi¬ 
ments of cavalry and infantry were following each 
other from Besangon, and that heavy forces had 
been sent against the usurper. 

One of these travellers having spoken rather too 
freely, was ordered to quit the town at once, the 
brigadier in command having examined his pass¬ 
port and, fortunately for him, found it properly 
made out. 

I have seen other revolutions since then, but never 
such excitement as reigned on the 8th of March be¬ 
tween four and five in the evening, when the order 
arrived for the departure of the first and second bat¬ 
talions fully equipped for service for Lons-le-Saul- 
nier. It was only then that the danger was fully 
realized, and every one thought, It is not the Duke 
d’Angouleme nor the Duke de Berry that we need 
to arrest the progress of Bonaparte, but the whole 
of Europe.” 



The laces of the officers on half-pay lighted up 
as with a burst of sunshine, and they breathed freely 
again. About five o’clock the first roll of the drum 
was heard on the square, when suddenly Zebede 
rushed in. 

Well! ” said Father Goulden to him. 

The first two battalions are going away,” he re¬ 
plied. He was very pale. 

They are sent to stop him,” said Mr. Goulden. 

Yes,” said Zebede, winking, they are going 
to stop him.” 

The drums still rolled. He went downstairs, four 
at a time. I followed him. At the foot of the 
stairs, and while he was on the first step, he seized 
me by the arm, and raising his shako, whispered in 
my ear: 

Look, Joseph, do you recognize that? ” 

I saw the old tri-colored cockade in the lining. 

That is ours,” he said, all the soldiers have it.” 

I hardly had time to glance at it when he shook 
my hand and, turning away, hurried to Fouquet’s 
corner. I went upstairs, saying to myself, How 
for another breaking up, in which Europe will be 
involved; now for the conscription, Joseph, the 
abolition of all permits and all the other things that 
we read of in the gazettes. In the place of quiet, we 
must be plunged in confusion; instead of listening 
to the ticking of clocks, we must hear the thunder 



of cannon; instead of talking of convents, we must 
talk of arsenals; instead of smelling flowers and in¬ 
cense, we must smell powder. Great God! will 
this never come to an end? Everything would go 
prosperously without missionaries and emigres. 
What a calamity! What a calamity! We who 
work and ask for nothing are always the ones who 
have to pay. All these crimes are committed for 
our happiness, while they mock us and treat us like 
brutes.” A great many other ideas passed through 
my head, but what good did they do me? I was 
not the Comte d’Artois, nor was I the Duke de 
Berry; and one must be a prince in order that his 
ideas may be of consequence, and that every word 
he speaks may pass for a miracle. 

Father Goulden could not keep still a moment 
that afternoon. He was just as impatient as I was 
when I was expecting my permit to marry. He 
would look out of the window every moment and 
say, There will be great news to-day; the orders 
have been given, and there is no need of hiding any¬ 
thing from us any longer.” And from time to time 
he would exclaim, Hush! here is the mail coach! ” 

We would listen, but it was Lanche’s cart with 
his old horses, or Baptiste’s boat at the bridge. It 
was quite dark and Catherine had laid the cloth, 
when for the twentieth time Mr. Goulden ex¬ 
claimed, Listen! ” 



This time we heard a distant rumbhng, which 
came nearer every moment. Without waiting an 
instant, he ran to the alcove and slipped on his big 
waistcoat, crying: 

Joseph, it has come.’’ 

He rolled down the stairs, as it were, and from 
seeing him in such a hurry the desire to hear the 
news seized me, and I followed him. W^e had hardly 
reached the street when the coach came through the 
dark gateway, with its two red lanterns, and rushed 
past us like a thunder-bolt. We ran after it, but we 
were not alone; from all sides we heard the people 
running and shouting, There it is, there it is! ” 
The post-office was in the rue des Foins, near the 
German gate, and the coach went straight down to 
the college and turned there to the right. The far¬ 
ther we went the greater was the crowd; it poured 
from every door. 

The old mayor, Mr. Parmentier, his secretary, 
Eschbach, and Cauchois, the tax-gatherer, and 
many other notables were in the crowd, talking to¬ 
gether and saying: 

The decisive moment has come.” 

When we turned into the Place d’Armes, we saw 
the crowd already gathered in front of the post- 
office ; innumerable faces were leaning over the iron 
balustrade, one trying to get before the other, and in¬ 
terrogating the courier, who did not answer a word. 


“THERE IT is! there IT IS ! “ 



The postmaster, Mr. Pernette, opened the win¬ 
dow, which was lighted up from the inside, and 
the package of letters and papers flew from the 
coach through this window into the room; the win¬ 
dow closed, and the crack of the postilion’s whip 
warned the crowd to get out of the way. 

The papers, the papers! ” shouted the crowd 
from every side. The coach set ofl again and dis¬ 
appeared through the German gate. 

Let us go to Hoffman’s cafe,” said Mr. Gould- 
en. Hurry! the papers will go there, and if we 
wait we shall not be able to get in.” 

As we crossed the square we heard some one run¬ 
ning behind us, and the clear, strong voice of Marga- 
rot, saying: 

They have come, I have them.” 

All the half-pay ofiicers were following him, and 
as the moon was shining we could see they were 
coming at a great pace. We rushed into the cafe 
and were hardly seated near the great stove of Delft 
ware, when the crowd at once poured in through 
both doors. You should have seen the faces of the 
half-pay officers at that moment. Their great three- 
cornered hats, defiling under the lamps, their thin 
faces with their long mustaches hanging down, 
their sparkling eyes peering into the darkness, made 
them look like savages in pursuit of something. 
Some of them squinted in their impatience and 



anxiety, and I think that they did not see anything 
at all, and that their thoughts were elsewhere with 
Bonaparte;—that was fearful. 

The people kept coming and coming, till we were 
suffocating, and were obliged to open the windows. 
Outside in the street, where the cavalry barracks 
were, and on the Fountain Square, there was a great 

We did well to come at once,’’ said Mr. Gould- 
en, springing on a chair and steadying himself 
with his hand on the stove. Others were doing the 
same thing, and I followed his example. Nothing 
could be seen but the eager faces and the big hats 
of the officers, and the great crowd on the square 
outside in the moonlight. The tumult increased 
and a voice cried, Silence.” It was the Com¬ 
mandant Margarot, who had mounted upon a table. 
Behind him the gendarmes Keltzand Werner looked 
on, and at all the open windows people were lean¬ 
ing in to hear. On the square at the same instant 
somebody repeated, “ Silence, silence.” And it was 
at once so still that you would have said, there was 
not a soul there. 

The commandant read the gazette, his clear 
voice pronouncing every word with a sort of quaver 
in it, resembling the tic-tac of our clock in the mid¬ 
dle of the night, and it could be distinctly heard in 
the square. The reading lasted a long time, for the 


I 2 I 

commandant omitted nothing. I remember it com¬ 
menced by declaring that the one called Bonaparte, 
a public enemy, who for fifteen years had held 
France in despotic slavery, had escaped from his 
island, and had had the audacity to set his foot on 
the soil deluged with blood through his own crimes, 
but that the troops—faithful to the King and to 
the nation—were on the march to stop him, and 
that in view of the general horror, Bonaparte, with 
the handful of beggars that accompanied him, had 
fied into the mountains, but that he was surrounded 
on all sides and could not escape. 

I remember too, according to that gazette all the 
marshals had hastened to place their glorious swords 
at the service of the King, the father of the people 
and of the nation, and that the illustrious Marshal 
Key, Prince of Moscowa, had kissed the King’s hand 
and promised to bring Bonaparte to Paris dead or 
alive. After that there were some Latin words 
which no doubt had been put there for the priests. 

From time to time I heard some one behind me 
laughing and jeering at the journal. On turning 
round, I saw that it was Professor Burguet and two 
or three other noted men who had been taken after 
the Hundred days,” and had been forced to re¬ 
main at Bourges because, as Father Goulden said, 
they had too much spirit. That shows plainly that 
it is better to keep still at such times, if one does 



not wish to fight on either side; for words are of 
no use, but to get us into difficulty. 

But there was something worse still toward the 
end, when the commandant commenced to read the 

The first indicated the movement of the troops, 
and the second, commanded all Frenchmen to fall 
upon Bonaparte, to arrest and deliver him dead or 
alive, because he had put himself out of the pale of 

At that moment the commandant, who had until 
then only laughed when he read the name of Bona¬ 
parte, and whose bony face had only trembled a 
little as it was lighted up by the lamp—at that mo¬ 
ment his aspect changed completely, I never saw 
anything more terrible; his face contracted, fold 
upon fold, his little eyes blazed like those of a cat, 
and his mustaches and whiskers stood on end; he 
seized the gazette and tore it into a thousand pieces, 
and then pale as death he raised himself to his full 
height, extended his long arms, and shouted in a 
voice so loud that it made our flesh creep, Yive 
VEmpercMr! Immediately all the half-pay officers 
raised their three-cornered hats, some in their hands 
and some on the end of their sword-canes, and re¬ 
peated with one voice, Vive VEmpereur! 

You would have thought the roof was coming 
down. I felt just as if some one had thrown cold 



water down mj back. I said to myself, It is all 
over now. What is the use in preaching peace to 
such people? 

Outside among the groups of citizens, the soldiers 
of the post repeated the cry, Vive VE^npereur, And 
as I looked in great anxiety to see what the gen¬ 
darmes would do, they retired without saying a 
word, being old soldiers also. 

But it was not yet over. As the commandant was 
getting down from the table, an officer suggested 
that they should carry him in triumph. They seized 
him by the legs, and forcing the crowd aside, carried 
him around the room, screaming like madmen, Vive 
VEmpereur, He was so affected by the honor 
shown him by his comrades and by hearing them 
shout what he so much loved to hear, that he sat 
there with his long hairy hands on their shoulders, 
and his head above their great hats, and wept. Ho 
one would have believed that such a face could 
weep; that alone was sufficient to upset you and 
make you tremble. He said not a word; his eyes 
were closed and the tears ran down his nose and his 
long mustaches. I was looking on with all my eyes, 
as you can imagine, when Bather Goulden got down 
from his chair and pulled me by the arm, saying: 

Joseph, let us go, it is time.” 

Behind us the hall was already empty. Every¬ 
body had hurried out by the brewer Klein’s alley 



for fear of being mixed up in a disagreeable affair, 
and we went that way also. 

As we crossed tbe square, Father Goulden said, 

There is danger that matters will take a bad turn. 
To-morrow the gendarmerie may commence to act, 
the Commandant Margarot and the others have not 
the air of men who will allow themselves to be ar¬ 
rested. The soldiers of the third battalion will take 
their part, if they have not already. The city is in 
their power.” 

He was talking to himself, and I thought as he 

When we reached home, Catherine was waiting 
anxiously for us in the workshop. We told her all 
that had happened. The table was set, but nobody 
was inclined to eat. Mr. Goulden drank a glass of 
wine, and then as he took off his shoes he said to us: 

My children, after what we have just heard we 
may be sure that the Emperor will reach Paris; the 
soldiers wish it, and the peasants desire it, and if he 
has considered well since he has been on his island 
and will give up his ideas about war, and will re¬ 
spect the treaties, the bourgeoise will ask nothing 
better, especially if we have a good Constitution 
that will guarantee to everyone his liberty, which is 
the best of all good things. Let us wish it for our¬ 
selves and for him. Good-night.” 


The next day was Friday and market day, and 
there was nothing talked of in the whole town but 
the great news. Great numbers of peasants from 
Alsace and Lorraine came filing into town on their 
carts, some in blouses, some in their waistcoats, some 
in three-cornered hats, and some in their cotton 
caps, under pretence of selling their grain, their bar¬ 
ley and oats, but in reality to find out what was 
going on. 

You could hear nothing but Get up. Fox! gee 
ho, Gray! and the rolling of the wheels and the 
cracking of the whips. And the women were not be¬ 
hindhand, they arrived from the Houpe, from 
Dagsberg, Ercheviller, and Baraques, with their 
scanty skirts and with great baskets on their heads, 
striding and hurrying along. Everybody passed 
under our windows, and Mr. Goulden said, What 
an excitement there is, what a rush! It is easy to 
see that there is another spirit in the land. Xobody 
is marching now with candles in his hand and a sur¬ 
plice on his back.” 




He seemed to be satisfied, and that proved how 
much all these ceremonies had annoyed him. At 
last about eight o^clock it was necessary to set about 
our work again, and Catherine went out as usual to 
buy our butter and eggs and vegetables for the 
week. At ten o’clock she came back again. 

Oh ! Heavens ! ” said she, everything is 
topsy-turvy.” And then she related how the half¬ 
pay officers were promenading with their sword- 
canes, with the Commandant Margarot in their 
midst, that on the square, in the market, in the 
church, and around the stands, everywhere the peas¬ 
ants and citizens were shaking hands and taking 
snuff together, and saying, Ah! now trade is brisk 

And she told us also that during the night procla¬ 
mations had been posted up at the town-house and 
on the three doors of the church, and even against 
the pillars of the market, but that the gendarmes 
had torn them down early in the morning, in fact, 
that everything was in commotion. Father Gould- 
en had risen from the counter in order to listen to 
her, and I turned round on my chair and thought : 

. All that is good, very good, but at this rate your 
leave of absence will soon be recalled. Everything 
is moving and you must also move, Joseph ! Instead 
of remaining here quietly with your wife, you will 



have to take your cartridge-box and knapsack and 
musket and two packages of cartridges on your 

As I looked at Catherine, who did not think of 
the bad side of affairs, Weissenfels, Lutzen, and 
Leipzig passed through my mind, and I was quite 
melancholy. While we were all so sober, the door 
opened and Aunt Gredel walked in. At first you 
would have thought she was quite composed. 

Good-morning, Mr. Goulden ; good-morning, 
my children,” said she, putting down her basket be¬ 
hind the stove. 

Are you well too. Mother Gredel? ” asked Mr. 

Ah ! well ! well ! ” said she. 

I saw that she had set her teeth, and that two red 
spots burned on her cheeks. She crammed her hair 
which was hanging down over her ears, with a single 
thrust into her cap, and looked at us one after the 
other with her gray eyes to see what we thought, and 
then she commenced. 

It seems that the rascal has escaped from his 

Of what rascal do you speak? ” asked Mr. 
Goulden calmly. 

Oh ! you know very well of whom I speak, I 
speak of your Bonaparte.” 



Mr. Goulden, seeing her anger, turned round to 
his counter to avoid a dispute. He seemed to be 
examining a watch, and I followed his example. 

Yes,’’ said she, speaking still louder, his evil 
deeds are commencing again ; just as we thought 
all was finished ! and he comes back again worse 
than ever ! What a pest ! ” 

I could hear her voice tremble. Mr. Goulden 
kept on with his work, and asked, without turning 
round, Whose fault is it. Mother Gredel? Do 
you think that those processions, atonements, and 
the sermons in'regard to the national domains and 
the ^ rebellion of twenty-five years,’ these continual 
menaces of establishing the old order of things, the 
order to close the shops during the service, do you 
think all that could continue? Did any one, let me 
ask, ever see since the world began, anything more 
calculated to rouse a nation against those who at¬ 
tempt to degrade it! You would have said that Bona¬ 
parte himself had whispered in the ears of those 
Bourbons, all the stupidities which would be likely 
to disgust the people. Tell me, might we not ex¬ 
pect just what has come to pass? ” 

He kept on looking at the watch through his glass 
in order to keep calm. While he was speaking I 
had looked at Aunt Gredel out of the comer of my 
eye. She had changed color two or three times, and 



Catherine, who was behind us near the stove, made 
signs to her not to make trouble in our house, but 
the wilful woman disregarded all signs. 

You, too, are satisfied then, are you? you change 
from one day to another like the rest of them, you 
always bring out your republic when it suits you.’’ 

On hearing this, Mr. Goulden coughed softly, as 
if he had something in his throat, and for half a min¬ 
ute he seemed to be considering, while aunt looked 
on. He recovered himself at last and said slowly : 

You are wrong, Madame Gredel, to reproach me, 
for if I had wished to change I should have begun 
sooner. Instead of being a clock-maker in Pfalz- 
bourg I should have been a colonel or a general, like 
the others, but I always have been, I am now, and 
shall remain till I die, for the Republic and the 
Rights of Man.” 

Then he turned suddenly round, and looking at 
aunt from head to foot, and raising his voice, he 
went on : “ And that is the reason why I like Bona¬ 
parte better than the Comte d’Artois, the emigres, 
the missionaries, and the workers of miracles ; at 
least he is forced to keep something of the Revolu¬ 
tion, he is forced to respect the national domain, to 
guarantee to every one his property, his rank, and 
everything he has acquired under the new laws. 
Without that, what right would he have to be Em- 




peror? If he had not maintained equality why 
should the nation wish to have him? The others, 
on the contrary, have attacked everything ; they 
want to destroy everything that we have done. How 
you understand why I like him better than the oth¬ 

Ah ! ” said Mother Gredel, that is new ! ” 
and she laughed contemptuously. I would have 
given anything if she had been at Quatre Yents. 

There was a time when you talked otherwise, 
when he re-established the bishops and the archbish¬ 
ops and the cardinals, when he had himself crowned 
by the Pope, and consecrated with oil from the holy 
ampoule,* when he recalled the emigres, when he 
gave up the chateaux and forests to the great fam¬ 
ilies, when he made princes and dukes and barons 
by the dozen ; how many times have I heard you 
say that all that was atrocious, that he had betrayed 
the Pevolution, that you would have preferred the 
Bourbons, because they did not know any other way, 
that they were like blackbirds, who only whistle one 
tune because they know no other, and because they 
think it the most beautiful air in the world. While 
he, the result of the Eevolution, whose father had 
only a few dozens of goats on the mountains of Cor- 

*Vial which contains the oil for anointing the kings 
of France. 



sica, should have known that all men are equal, that 
courage and genius alone elevate them above their 
fellows,—that he should have despised all those old 
notions, and that he should have made war only to 
defend the new rights, the new ideas, which are just 
and which nothing can arrest : did you not say that, 
when you were talking with old Colin in the rear of 
our garden, for fear of being arrested—did you not 
say that between yourselves and before me? ” 

Father Goulden had grown quite pale. He looked 
down at his feet and turned his snuff-box round and 
round in his fingers as if he were thinking, and I saw 
his emotion in his face. 

Yes, I said it,” he replied, and I think so 
still—you have a good memory, Mother Gredel. It 
is true that for ten years Colin and I have been 
obliged to hide ourselves if we spoke of events that 
will certainly be accomplished, and it is the despot¬ 
ism of one man born among us, whom we have sus¬ 
tained with our own blood, which compelled us to 
do that. But to-day everything is changed. The 
man, to whom you cannot deny genius, has seen his 
sycophants abandon and betray him ; he has seen 
that his strength lies in the people, and that those 
alliances of which he had the weakness to be so 
proud, were the cause of his ruin. He has come 
now to rid us of the others, and I am glad.” 



Then you have no faith in yourself, eh? Have 
you any need of him? exclaimed Aunt Gredel. 

If the processions annoyed you, and if you were, 
as you say, ^ the people,’ why do you need him? ” 

Father Goulden smiled, and said, If everybody 
had the courage to follow his own conscience, and if 
so many persons who joined the processions had not 
done so from vanity or to show their fine clothes, 
and if others had not joined from interest, from the 
hope of getting a good office, or to obtain permits, 
then Madame Gredel you would he right, and we 
should not have needed Bonaparte to overturn all 
that, and you would have seen that three-quarters 
of the people had common-sense, and perhaps even 
the Comte d’Artois himself would have cried. Hold! 
But as hypocrisy and interest hide and obscure ev¬ 
erything and make night out of the broad day, un¬ 
happily we must have thunder-bolts to make us see 
clearly. It is you, and those who are like you, who 
have caused those who have never changed their 
opinions, to rejoice when fever takes the place of 

Father Goulden rose and walked up and down in 
great agitation, and as Aunt Gredel was going on 
again, he took his cap and went out, saying : 

I have given you my opinions. How talk to 
Joseph ; he thinks you are always right.” 



As soon as he had gone, Mother Gredel cried out: 

He is an old fool, and he has been, always ! 
How, as for you, if you do not go to Switzerland, I 
warn you, you will be obliged to go, God knows 
where. But we will talk about that another time, 
the principal thing is to warn you. We will wait 
and see what happens ; perhaps Bonaparte will be 
arrested, but if he reaches Paris, we will go some¬ 
where else.’’ 

She embraced us and took her basket and went 
away. A few minutes afterward, Father Goulden 
came in and we sat down to our work and said no 
more about these things. We were very sober, and 
at night I was more than ever surprised, when Cath¬ 
erine said : 

We will always listen to Mr. Goulden, he is 
right and will give us good counsel.” 

On hearing that, I thought that she agreed with 
Father Goulden because they read the gazette to¬ 
gether. That gazette always says what just pleases 
them, but that does not prevent it being very ter¬ 
rible if we are obliged to take our guns and knap¬ 
sacks again, and it would be better to be in Switzer¬ 
land, either at Geneva, or at Father Pulle’s manu¬ 
factory or at Chaux-de-Fonds, than at Leipzig, and 
those other places. I did not wish to contradict 
Catherine, but her remarks annoyed me greatly. 


Fkom tliat moment there was confusion every¬ 
where, the half-pay officers shouted, Vive I’Em- 
pereur.’’ The commandant gave orders to arrest 
them, but the battalion did the same thing, and the 
gendarmes seemed to be deaf. Xobody was at 
work; the tax-gatherers and overseers, the mayor 
and his counsellors, grew gray with uncertainty, not 
knowing on which foot they should dance. Xobody 
dared to come out for Bonaparte, or for Louis 
XYIII., except the slaters and masons and knife- 
grinders, who could not lose their offices and who 
wished for nothing better than to see others in their 
places. With their hatchets stuck in their leather 
belts and a bag of chips on their shoulders, they did 
not hesitate to shout, Down with the emigres,’^ 
they laughed at the troubles, which increased vis¬ 

One day the gazette said, the usurper is at Gre¬ 
noble, the next he is at Lyons, the next at Macon, 
and the next at Auxerre, and so on. Father Gould- 



en was in good-lmmor as he read the news at night, 
and he would saj : 

They can see now that the Frenchmen are for 
the Revolution, and that the others cannot hold out. 
Everybody says, ^ Down with the emigres.’ What 
a lesson for those who can see clearly ! Those 
Bourbons wanted to make us all Yendeeans, they 
ought to rejoice that they have succeeded so well.” 

But one thing troubled him still, that was the 
great battle which was announced between FTey and 

Although Rey has kissed the hand of the King, 
yet he is an old soldier, and I will never believe that 
he will fight against the will of the people. Ko, it 
is not possible, he will remember the old cooper of 
Saar-Louis, who would break his head with his ham¬ 
mer, if he were still living, on learning that Michel 
had betrayed the country in order to please the 

That was what Mr. Goulden said, hut that did 
not prevent people from being uneasy, when sud¬ 
denly the news arrived that he had followed the ex¬ 
ample of the army and the bourgeoisie and all those 
who wished to be rid of the atonements, and that he 
had rallied with them. Then there was greater con¬ 
fidence, but still prudent men were silent in view of 
what might happen. 



On the 21st of March, between five and six in 
the evening, Mr. Goulden and I were at work; it had 
begun to grow dark, and Catherine- was lighting the 
lamp, a gentle rain was falling on the panes, when 
Theodore Roeber, who had charge of the telegraph, 
passed under our windows, riding a big dapple-gray 
horse at the top of his speed, his blouse filled out by 
the air, he went so fast, and he was holding his great 
felt hat on with one hand, while he kept striking his 
horse with a whip which he held in the other, though 
he was galloping like the wind. Father Goulden 
wiped the glass and leaned over to see better, and 
said : 

That is Roeber, who is coming from the tele¬ 
graph, some great news has arrived.’’ His pale 
cheeks reddened, and I felt my heart beat violently. 
Catherine came and placed the lamp near us, and I 
opened the window to close the shutter. That took 
me some moments, as I was obliged to disarrange the 
glasses on the work-table, and take down the watches 
before I could do it. Mr. Goulden seemed lost in 
thought. Just as I had fastened the window, we 
heard the assembly beat from both sides of the city 
at once, from the bastion of the Mittelbronn and 
from Bigelberg, the echoes from the ramparts and 
from the target valley responded, and a dull rum¬ 
bling filled the air. Mr. Goulden rose, saying: 



The matter is decided at last/^ in a tone which 
made me shudder. Either they are fighting near 
Paris, or the Emperor is in his old palace as he was 
in 1809.^’ 

Catherine ran for his cloak, for she saw plainly 
he was going out in spite of the rain. He was speak¬ 
ing with his great gray eyes wide open, and took no 
notice as she slipped on the sleeves, and as he went 
out Catherine touched me on the shoulder—I was 
still sitting—and said: 

Go, Joseph, follow him.’^ 

We reached the square just as the battalion filed 
out of the broad street at the corner by the mayor’s, 
behind the drummers, who had their drums over 
their shoulders. A great crowd followed them. 
When they reached the great lindens, the drums 
recommenced, and the soldiers hurriedly got into 
their ranks, and almost immediately the Command¬ 
ant Gemeau, who was suffering from his wounds and 
had not been out for two months appeared on the 
steps of the Minque.” A sapper held his horse 
by the bridle, and gave him his shoulder to mount. 
Everybody was looking on, and the roll commenced. 

The commandant crossed the square, and the cap¬ 
tains went quickly up to meet him; he said a few 
words to them, and then passed in front of the bat¬ 
talion, followed by a sergeant with three chevrons. 



who carried a flag in its oil-cloth case. The crowd 
increased every moment. Mr. Goulden had mount¬ 
ed on the stone posts in front of the arch of the 
guard-house. After the roll was called, the com¬ 
mandant waited a moment and then drew his sword 
and gave the order to form a square. I tell you 
these things in a simple way, because they were sim¬ 
ple and terrible. 

The commandant was very pale, and we could 
see, though it was almost night, that he had fever. 
The gray lines of soldiers in the square, the com¬ 
mandant on horseback, the offlcers around him in 
the rain, the listening citizens, the profound silence, 
the opening of the windows in the vicinity, all are 
present to my mind though fifty years have passed 
since then. I^ot a word was said, for we all felt that 
we were going to learn the fate of France. 

Carry arms! shoulder arms! ’’ 

After this nothing was heard but the voice of the 
commandant, that voice which I had heard on the 
other side of the Khine at Lutzen and Leipzig, say¬ 

Close the ranks.” 

The words went through my very marrow. 

Soldiers! ” said he, Louis XYIII. left Paris 
on the 20th of March, and the Emperor Xapoleon 
made his entry into the capital the same day.” 



A sort of shiver went through the crowd, but it 
lasted for a moment only, and the commandant con¬ 
tinued : 

Soldiers, the flag of France is the flag of Areola, 
of Eivoli, of Alexandria, of Chebreisse, of the Pyra¬ 
mids, of Aboukir, of Marengo, of Austerlitz, and of 
Jena, of Eylau, of Friedland, of Sommo-Sierra, of 
Madrid, of Abensberg, of Eckmiil, of Essling, of 
Wagram, of Smolensk, of Moscowa, of Weissenfels, 
of Lutzen, of Bautzen, of Wurtschen, of Dresden, of 
Bischofswarda, of Hanau, of Brienne, of Saint Diz- 
ier, of Champaubert, of Chateau-Thierry, of Join- 
villiers, of Mery-sur-Seine, of Montereau, and of 
Montmirail. It is the flag which we have dyed 
with our blood, and it is that which makes it our 

The old sergeant had drawn the torn flag from 
its case, and the commandant continued: 

Here is the flag! you recognize it; it is the flag 
of the nation, it is that flag which the Kussians and 
Austrians and Prussians took from us on the day of 
their first victory, because they feared it.” 

A great number of the old soldiers, on hearing 
these words, turned away their heads to hide their 
tears; while others, deathly pale, looked and lis¬ 
tened with flashing eyes. 

said the commandant, raising his sword, 



know no other. Vive la France! Vive VEnv- 
pereiir! ” 

The words had hardly left his mouth when from 
every window, from the square, from the streets, 
rose the shouts, Vive la France! Vive VEm- 
pereur!^’ like the blast of a trumpet. The people 
and the soldiers embraced each other, you would 
have thought that everything was safe, that we had 
found all that France lost in 1814. It was almost 
dark, and the people went away in companies of 
threes, sixes, and twenties, shouting, Vive VEm- 
pereur ! ” When near the hospital a red flash light¬ 
ed up the sky, the cannon thundered, another re¬ 
sponded from the rear of the arsenal, and so they 
continued to roar from second to second. 

Mr. Goulden and I left the square arm in arm, cry¬ 
ing, Vive VEmpereur! also, and as at each dis¬ 
charge of cannon the flash lighted up the square, in 
one of them we saw Catherine, who was coming to 
meet us with old Madelon Schouler. She had put 
on her little cloak and hood, protecting her rosy lit¬ 
tle nose from the mist, and she exclaimed, on seeing 

There they are, Madelon! The Emperor is mas¬ 
ter, is he not, Mr. Goulden? ’’ 

Yes, my child,” he replied, it is decided.” 

Catherine took my arm, and I kissed her two or 



three times as we were going home. Perhaps I felt 
that we should soon be forced to part, and that then 
it would be long before I should kiss her again. 
Father Goulden and Madelon were before us, and 
he said: 

Come up, Madelon; I want to drink a good glass 
of wine with you.’’ But she declined, and left us 
at the door. I can only say that the joy of the peo¬ 
ple was as great as on the return of Louis XYIII., 
and perhaps still greater. 

Father Goulden took off his cloak and sat down 
in his place at table, as supper was waiting. Cath¬ 
erine ran down to the cellar and brought up a bottle 
of good wine, we laughed and drank while the can¬ 
non made our windows rattle. Sometimes people’s 
heads are turned, even those who love nothing but 
peace. So the sound of the cannon made us happy, 
and we went back in a measure to our old habits. 

The commandant,” said Mr. Goulden, spoke 
well, but he might have kept on till to-morrow with 
his victories, commencing with Yalmy, Hundschott, 
Wattignies, Fleurus, Xeuwied, Ukerath, Froesch- 
willer, Geisberg, to Zurich and Hohenlinden. These 
were also great victories, and even the most splendid 
of all, for they preserved liberty. He only spoke 
of the last ones, that was enough for the moment. 
Let those people come! let them dare to move! The 



nation wants peace, but if tbe allies commence war 
woe be unto them. J^ow we shall again talk of lib¬ 
erty, equality, and fraternity. All France will be 
roused by it, I warn you beforehand. There will be 
a national guard, and the old men like me and the 
married men will defend the towns, while the young¬ 
er ones will march, but no one will cross the fron¬ 
tiers. The Emperor, taught by experience, will arm 
the artisans, the peasants, and the bourgeoisie, and 
when we are attacked, even if they are a million, 
not one shall escape. The day for soldiers is past, 
regular armies are for conquest, but a people who 
can defend themselves do not fear the best armies 
in the world. We proved that to the Prussians and 
Austrians, to the English and the Russians from 
1792 to 1800, and since then the Spaniards have 
shown us the same thing, and even before that, the 
Americans demonstrated it to the English. The 
Emperor will speak to us of liberty, be sure of that; 
and if he will send his proclamations into Germany, 
many Germans will be with us; they were promised 
liberty in order to make them rise against France, 
and now the sovereigns in conference at Vienna 
mock at their own promises. Their plan is fixed. 
They divide the people among themselves as they 
would a fiock of sheep. Those who have good sense 
will unite, and in that way peace will be established 



by force. The kings alone have any interest in war, 
the people do not need to conquer themselves, pro¬ 
vided that they arrange for the freedom of com¬ 
merce, that is the principal thing.’’ 

In his excitement everything looked bright to 
him. And all that he said seemed to me so natural, 
that I was sure that the Emperor would direct mat¬ 
ters as we had supposed. Catherine believed it too. 
We thanked God for what had come, and about 
eleven o’clock, after having laughed and drank and 
shouted, we went to bed with the brightest hopes. 
All the city was illuminated, and we had put lamps 
in our windows also. Every moment we heard the 
crackers in the street and the children were shout¬ 
ing, Yive I’Empereur! ” and the soldiers were 
coming out of the inns, singing, Down with the 
emigres.” This lasted till very late, and it was one 
o’clock before we slept. 


This general satisfaction continued for five or six 
days. The old mayors and their assistants were re¬ 
placed as well as the field-guards, and all those who 
had been displaced a few months before. The 
whole city, even the women, wore little tri-colored 
cockades, and all the seamstresses were busily at 
work making them, of red, white, and blue ribbon; 
and those who railed so bitterly against the ogre 
of Corsica,” never spoke of Louis XYIII. except as 
the Panada King.” On the 25th of March a Te 
Deum was sung, the garrison and all the civil au¬ 
thorities joining in the service with great ceremony. 

After the Te Deum, the authorities gave a grand 
dinner to the officers of the garrison at the Yille 
de Metz.” The weather was fine and the windows 
were open, and the hall was lighted by clusters of 
lamps hanging from the ceiling. Catherine and I 
went out in the evening to enjoy the spectacle. We 
could see the uniforms and the black coats sitting 
side by side around the long tables, and first the 

mayor would rise, and then his assistants, or the new 



commandant of the post, Mr. Brancion, to drink to 
the health of the Emperor or of his ministers, of 
France, to peace or to victory, etc., etc., and this 
they kept up till midnight. 

Inside the glasses jingled, and outside the chil¬ 
dren fired crackers. They had erOcted a climbing 
pole before the church, and wooden horses and or¬ 
gan-grinders had come from Saverne, and there was 
a holiday at the college. In Klein’s Court, at the 
Ox,” there was a fight between dogs and donkeys; 
in short, it was just as it was in 1830 and in 1848, 
and afterward. The people never invent anything 
new to glorify those who rise, or to express their 
contempt for those who fall. 

But they soon found out that the Emperor had no 
time to lose in rejoicings. The gazette said that 
his Majesty wished for peace, that he made no de¬ 
mands, that he was on good terms with his father- 
in-law the Emperor Francis, that Marie Louise and 
the King of Koine were to return, they were daily 
expected,” etc. 

But meanwhile the order anlved to arm the place. 
Two years before Pfalzbourg was a hundred leagues 
from the frontier. The ramparts were in ruins, the 
ditches filled up, and there was nothing in the ar¬ 
senal but miserable old muskets of the time of Louis 
XIY., which were discharged with matches ; and 



the guns were so unwieldy on their heavy carriages, 
that horses were required to move them. The ar¬ 
senals were really at Dresden and Hamburg and 
Erfurt; but though we had not stirred, we were ten 
leagues from Khenish Bavaria, and it was upon us 
that the first shower of bombs and bullets would fall. 
So, day after day, we received orders to restore the 
earthworks and to clear out the ditches and to put 
the old ordnance in good condition. At the begin¬ 
ning of April a great workshop was established at 
the arsenal for repairing the arms, and skilful en¬ 
gineers and artillerists arrived from Metz to repair 
the earthworks of the bastions and make terraces 
around the embrasures. The activity was very 
great—greater than in 1805 and in 1813, and I 
thought more than once that these extensive fron¬ 
tiers had their good side, because we might in the in¬ 
terior live in peace, while they took the blows and 

But we had great anxiety, for naturally when the 
palisades were newly planted on the glacis, and the 
half-moons filled with fascines, when cannon were 
placed in every nook and comer, we knew that there 
must be soldiers to guard and serve them. 

Often as we heard these decrees read at night, 
Catherine and I looked at each other in mute appre¬ 
hension. I felt beforehand that instead of remain- 



ing quietly at home, cleaning and mending clocks, I 
would be obliged to be again on tbe march, and that 
always made me sad; and this melancholy increased 
from day to day. Sometimes Father Goulden, see¬ 
ing this, would say cheerfully: 

Come! Joseph, courage! all will come right at 

He wished to raise my spirits, hut I thought : 
“ Yes, he says that to encourage me, but any one 
who is not blind can see what turn affairs will take.” 

Events followed each other so rapidly, that the 
decrees came like hail, always with sounding phrases 
and grand words to embellish them. 

And we learned too that the regiments were to 
take their old numbers, illustrious in so many 
glorious campaigns.” "Without being very mali¬ 
cious, we could understand that the old numbers 
which had no regiments would soon find them again. 
And not only that, but we learned that the skele¬ 
tons of the third, fourth, and fifth battalions of in¬ 
fantry, the fourth and fifth squadrons of cavaby, 
and thirty battalions of artillery trains were to be 
filled up, and twenty regiments of the Young 
Guard, ten battalions of military equipages, and 
twenty regiments of marines were to be formed, os¬ 
tensibly to give employment to all the half-pay offi¬ 
cers of both arms of the service, land and naval. 



That was very well to say; but when they are cre¬ 
ated they are to be filled up, and when they are full 
the soldiers must go. When I saw that, my con¬ 
fidence vanished, but yet everybody cried, Peace, 
peace, peace! We accept the treaty of Paris. The 
kings and emperors convened at Vienna are our 
friends. Marie Louise and the King of Pome are 

The more I heard of these things, the more my 
distrust increased. In vain Mr. Goulden would 
say, He has taken Carnot into his counsels. Car¬ 
not is a good patriot; Carnot will prevent him from 
going to war, or if we are forced to go to war, he 
will show him that the enemy must come here to find 
us, the nation must be roused, declare the country in 
danger, etc.’’ 

In vain did he tell me these things, I always said 
to myself, all these new regiments are to be filled; 
that is certain.” We heard also that ten thousand 
picked men were to be added to the Old Guard, and 
that the light artillery was to be reorganized. Ev¬ 
erybody knows that light artillery follows the army. 
To remain behind the ramparts or for defence at 
home, it is useless. 

I came to this conclusion at once, and though I 
was generally careful to conceal my anxiety from 
Catherine, yet this night I could not help telling 



her so. She said nothing, which shows plainly that 
she had good sense and that she thought so too. 

All these things diminished my enthusiasm for 
the Emperor very much indeed, and I sometimes 
said to myself as I was at work, I would rather see 
processions going past my windows, than to go and 
fight against people whom I never saw.’’ At least 
the sight would cost me neither leg nor arm, and if 
it annoyed me too much I could make an excursion 
to Quatre Vents. My vexation increased the more, 
as since the dispute with Mr. Goulden, Aunt Gredel 
did not come to see us. She was a very wilful 
woman and would not listen to reason, and would 
hold resentment against a person for years and years. 
But she was our mother, and it was our duty to yield 
something to her as she wished us only good. But 
how could we be reconciled to her ideas and those of 
Mr. Goulden? 

This was what embarrassed us, for if we were 
bound to love Aunt Gredel, we owed also the most 
profound respect to him, who looked upon us as his 
own children, and who loaded us every day with his 

These thoughts made us sad, and I had resolved to 
tell Mr. Goulden, that Catherine and I were Jac¬ 
obins like himself, but without doing injustice to 
Jacobin ideas, or abandoning them, we ought to 



honor our mother, and go and inquire after her 

I did not know how he would receive this declara¬ 
tion, when one Sunday morning, as we went down 
about eight o’clock, we found him dressed, and in 
excellent humor. He said to us, Children, here 
it is more than a month since Aunt Gredel has been 
to see us. She is obstinate. I wish to show her 
that I can yield. Between friends like us, there 
should not be even a shadow of difference. After 
breakfast we will go to Quatre Vents, and tell her 
that she is prejudiced, and that we love her in spite 
of her faults. You will see how ashamed she will 
be.” He laughed, but we were quite touched by his 

Ah! Mr. Goulden, how good and kind you are,” 
said Catherine, they who do not love you, must 
have very bad hearts.” 

Ha! ” he exclaimed, is not what I have done 
quite natural? must we let a few words separate us? 
Thank God! age teaches us to be more reasonable 
and to be willing to take the first step,—that you 
know is one of the principles of the Eights of Man, 
—in order to maintain concord between reasonable 

Everything was summed up, when he had quoted 
the Eights of Man.” You can hardly imagine 



our satisfaction. Catherine could hardly wait till 
breakfast was over, she was here and there and ev¬ 
erywhere, to bring his hat and cane and his shoes 
and the box which held his beautiful peruke. She 
helped him on with his brown coat, while he laughed 
as he watched her, and at last he kissed her saying, 

I knew this would make you happy, so do not let 
us lose a minute, let us go.’’ 

We all set off together. Father Goulden gravely 
giving his arm to Catherine, as he always did in the 
street, and I marched on behind as happy as possible. 
Those I loved best in the world were here before my 
eyes, and as I went on I thought of what I should 
say to Aunt Gredel. 

The weather was splendid, and on we went be¬ 
yond the wall and the glacis, and in twenty minutes, 
without hurrying, we stood before Aunt Gredel’s 
door. It might have been ten o’clock, and as I had 
gained a little on them at the Roulette ” I went 
in by the alley of elders that ran along the side of the 
house, and looked into the little window to see what 
aunt was doing. She was seated right opposite me 
near the fireplace, in which a little fire was smoulder¬ 
ing, she had on her short skirt, striped with blue, 
with great pockets on the outside, and her linen 
corsage with shoulder-straps, and her old shoes. She 
was spinning away, with her eyes cast down, looking 
very sober, her great thin arms naked to the elbow. 



and her gray hair twisted up in her neck without any 
cap. Poor Aunt Gredel/’ thought I, she is 
thinking of us no doubt—and she is so obstinate in 
her vexation. It is sad though, all the same, to live 
alone and never see her children.” It made me sad 
to see her. 

At that moment the door opened on the side next 
the street, and Father Goulden walked in with Cath¬ 
erine, as happy as possible, exclaiming: 

Ha! Mother Gredel, you do not come to see us 
any more, therefore I have brought your children to 
see you, and have come myself to embrace you. 
You will have to get us a good dinner, do you hear? 
and that will teach you a lesson.” He seemed a lit¬ 
tle grave with all his joy. 

On seeing them, aunt sprang up and embraced 
Catherine, and then she fell into Mr. Goulden^s arms 
and hung on his neck: 

Ah! Mr. Goulden, how happy I am to see you. 
You are a good man; you are worth a thousand of 

Seeing that matters had taken a pleasant turn, I 
ran round to the door and found them both with 
their eyes full of tears. Father Goulden said: 

We will talk no more politics! ” 

^^Ho! but whether one is Jacobin or anything 
else you will, the principal thing is to keep in good 



She then came and embraced me, and said: 

My poor Joseph! I have been thinking of you 
from morning till night. But all is well now and I 
am satisfied.’’ 

She ran into the kitchen and commenced bustling 
among the kettles to prepare something to regale us 
with, while Mr. Goulden placed his cane in a corner 
and hung his great hat upon it, and sat down with 
an air of contentment near the hearth. 

What fine weather! ” he exclaimed, how 
green and fiourishing everything is! How happy 
I should be to live in the fields, to see the hedges and 
apple-trees and plum-trees from my windows, cov¬ 
ered with their red and white blossoms! ” 

He was gay as a lark, and we all should have been 
except for the thoughts of the war which were con¬ 
stantly coming into our heads. 

Leave all that, mother,” said Catherine, I 
will get the dinner to-day as I used to do; go and sit 
down quietly with Mr. Goulden.” 

But you do not know where anything is, I have 
disarranged everything,” said aunt. 

Sit down, I beg you,” said Catherine, I shall 
find the butter and the eggs and the flour and every¬ 
thing that is necessary.” 

Well, well! I am going to obey you,” said she, 
as she went down to the cellar. 

Catherine took ofi her pretty shawl and hung it 



on the back of my chair, then she put some wood on 
the fire and some butter in a saucepan and looked 
into the kettles to see that everything was in order. 
Aunt came in at that moment with a bottle of white 

You will first refresh yourselves a little before 
dinner, and while Catherine looks after the kitchen 
I will go and put on my sacque and give my hair a 
touch with the comb, for certainly it needs it, and 
you—go into the orchard;—here, Joseph, take these 
glasses and the bottle and go and sit in the bee-house, 
the weather is fine, in an hour all will be in order and 
I will come and drink with you.’’ 

Father Goulden and I went out through the tall 
grass and the yellow dandelions which came up to 
our knees. It was very warm and the air was full 
of soft murmurs. We sat down in the shade and 
looked at the glorious sunshine. 

Mr. Goulden took ofi his peruke in order to be 
more at his ease and hung it up behind him, and I 
opened the bottle and we drank some of the good 
white wine. 

Well! all goes on even though man does com¬ 
mit follies; the Lord God watches over all his works. 
Look at the grain, Joseph, how it grows! What a 
harvest there will be in three or four months. And 
those turnips and cabbages, and the shrubs, and the 
bees, how busy everything is, how they live and 



grow! what a pity it is that men do not follow so 
good an example! what a pity that some must labor 
to support the others in idleness. What a pity that 
there must be always idlers of every kind, who treat 
us like Jacobins because we wish for order and 
peace and justice! ’’ 

There was nothing he liked so much to see as in¬ 
dustry, not only that of man but even of the smallest 
insect that runs about in the grass, as in an endless 
forest, which builds and pairs and covers its eggs, 
heaps them up in its places of deposit, exposes them 
to the sunshine, protects them from the chills of 
night, and defends them from its enemies; in short, 
all that great universe of life where everything 
sings, everything is in its place; from the lark which 
fills the air with his joyous music to the ant which 
goes and comes and runs and mows and saws and 
pulls and is master of all trades. 

This was what pleased Mr. Goulden, but he never 
spoke of it except in the fields, when this grand spec¬ 
tacle was right under his eyes, and naturally he then 
spoke of God, whom he called the Supreme Be¬ 
ing,’’ as in the time of the Republic, and he said. 
He was reason and wisdom and goodness and love; 
justice, order, and life. The ideas of the almanac- 
makers came back to him also, and it was splendid to 
hear him talk of the Pluviose ” the season of 
rains, of Nivose ” the season of snows, of Ven- 



tose ” season of winds, and Floreal, Prairial, and 
Fructidor.^^ He said the ideas of men in those 
times were more closely allied to God’s, while July, 
September, and October meant nothing, and were 
only invented to confuse and obscure everything. 
Once on this subject it was plain that he could not 
exhaust it. Unfortunately I have not the learning 
that that good man had, otherwise it would give me 
real pleasure to recount his sayings to you. We 
were just here when Mother Gredel, well washed 
and combed and in her Sunday dress, came round 
the corner of the house toward us. He stopped in¬ 
stantly that she might not be disturbed. 

Here I am,” she said, all in order.” 

Sit down,” said Father Goulden, making a place 
for her beside him on the bench. 

Do you know what time it is? ” said she. 

Does it not seem long to you? Listen! ” and we 
heard the city clock slowly strike twelve. 

What 1 is it noon already! I would not have be¬ 
lieved that we had been here more than ten min¬ 

Yes, it is noon, and dinner is waiting.” 

So much the better,” said Mr. Goulden, offer¬ 
ing his arm to her, since you have told me the 
hour I find I have a good appetite.” 

They went along the alley arm in arm, and when 
we were at the door a most charming sight met our 



eyes, the great tureen with its red flowers was smok¬ 
ing on the table, a breast of stuffed veal filled the 
room with a delicious odor. A great plate of cinna¬ 
mon cakes stood on the edge of the old oak buffet, 
two bottles of wine, and glasses clear as crystal, 
shone on the white cloth beside the plates. The 
very sight of it made you feel that it is the joy of the 
Lord to shower blessings on His children. 

Catherine, with her rosy cheeks and white teeth, 
laughed to see our satisfaction, and during the whole 
dinner our anxiety for the future was forgotten. 
We laughed and were as happy as if the world were 
in the best condition possible. But as we were tak¬ 
ing coffee our sadness returned, and without know¬ 
ing why, we were all very grave. Hobody wished 
to speak of politics, when suddenly Aunt Gredel 
herself asked if there was anything new. Mr. 
Goulden then said that the Emperor desired peace, 
and that he wished to put himself in a condition of 
defence, in order to warn our enemies that we were 
not afraid. He said that in any case, in spite of the 
ill-feeling of the allies they would not dare to attack 
us, that the Emperor Francis, though he had not 
much heart, would not wish to overthrow his son-in- 
law and his own daughter and grandson a second 
time, that it would be contrary to nature, and besides 
that, the nation would rise en masse, that they 
would declare the country to be in danger, and that 



it would not be a war of soldiers alone, but of all 
Frenchmen against those who wished to oppress 
them, that this would make the allied sovereigns re¬ 
flect, etc., etc. 

He said many other things which I do not recall. 
Aunt Gredel listened without saying a word. She 
rose at last, and went to a closet and took a piece of 
paper from a porringer, and, giving it to Mr. Gould- 
en, said, Read this; such papers are all around 
the country; this came to me from the Yicar Hie- 
mer. You will see whether peace is so certain.’’ 

As Mr. Goulden had left his spectacles at home, I 
read the paper. I put all those old papers aside 
years and years ago, they have grown yellow and no 
one thinks of them or speaks of them, and still it 
is well to read them. How do we know what will 
happen? Those old kings and emperors died after 
doing us all the harm possible, but their sons and 
grandsons still live, and do not wish us overmuch 
good, and that which they said then they may say 
again now, and those who lent their aid to the 
fathers might incline to help their sons. Here is 
the paper. 

“ The Allied Powers which signed the treaty of Paris, 
assembled in Congress at Vienna, having been informed 
of the escape of Napoleon Bonaparte, and of his en¬ 
trance into France with arms in his hands, owe it to 
their dignity and to the interest of social order to make 
a solemn declaration of the sentiments which this event 



has excited. In violating the terms of the convention 
w^hich placed him at Elba, Bonaparte destroyed his only 
legal title to life; and in reappearing in France with 
projects for disturbing the public peace, he has deprived 
himself of the protection of the laws, and made it mani¬ 
fest to the universe that there can be neither truce nor 
peace with him.” 

And so they continued through two long pages, 
and those people who had nothing in common with 
us, who had no concern with our affairs, and who 
gave themselves the title of Defenders of the Peace, 
finished by declaring that they united themselves to 
maintain the treaty of Paris and replace Louis 
XVIII. on the throne. 

When I had finished, aunt turned to Mr. Goulden 
and asked: 

What do you think of all that? ” 

I think,’’ said he, that those sovereigns de¬ 
spise the people, and that they would exterminate 
the human race without shame or pity in order to 
maintain fifteen or twenty families in luxury. They 
look upon themselves as gods, and upon us as 

Doubtless,” replied Aunt Gredel. I do not 
deny it, but all that will not prevent Joseph from 
being compelled to go away.” 

I turned quite pale, for I saw that she was right. 

Yes,” said Mr. Goulden, I knew that some 
days ago, and this is what I have done. You have 



heard, no doubt, Mother Gredel, that great work¬ 
shops have been built for repairing arms. There is 
an arsenal at Pfalzbourg, but they are in want of 
skilful workmen. Of course the good laborers ren¬ 
der as much service to the state in repairing arms as 
those who go to battle; they have more to do, but 
they do not risk their lives, and they remain at home. 
Well! I went at once to the commandant of artil¬ 
lery, and asked him to accept Joseph as a workman. 
It is nothing for a good clock-maker to repair a gun- 
lock, and Mr. Montravel accepted him at once. 
Here is his order,” said he, showing us a paper 
which he took from his pocket. 

I felt as if I had returned to life, and I exclaimed, 
“ Oh! Mr. Goulden, you are more than a father; 
you have saved my life.” 

Catherine, who had been overwhelmed with anxi¬ 
ety, got up and went out, and Aunt Gredel kissed 
Mr. Goulden twice over, and said, Yes, you are 
the best of men, a man of sense and of a great spirit. 
If all Jacobins were like you, women would wish 
only for Jacobins.” 

But it was the most simple thing in the world to 

ISTo, no; it is your good heart which gives you 
good thoughts.” 

Words failed me in my joy and astonishment, and 
while aunt was speaking I went out into the orchard 



to take the air. Catherine was there in a corner of 
the bake-house, weeping hot tears. 

Ah! now I can breathe again,she said, now 
I can live.” 

I embraced her with deep emotion. I saw what 
she had suffered during the last month, but she was 
a brave woman, and had concealed her anxiety from 
me, knowing that I had enough on my own account. 
We stayed for ten minutes in the orchard to wipe 
away our tears, and then went in. Mr. Goulden 

Well, Joseph 1 you go to-morrow; you must set 
off early, and you will not lack work.” 

Oh! what joy to think I should not be compelled 
to go away, and then too I had other reasons for 
wishing to remain at home, for Catherine and I al¬ 
ready had our hopes. Ah! those who have not suf¬ 
fered cannot realize our feelings, nor understand 
what a weight this good news lifted from our hearts. 
We stayed an hour longer at Quatre Vents, and as 
the people were coming from vespers, at nightfall, 
we set off for the town. Aunt Gredel went with us 
to where the post changes horses, and at seven 
o’clock we were at home again. 

It was thus that peace was established between 
Aunt Gredel and Mr. Goulden, and now she came 
to see us as often as before. I went every day to the 
arsenal and worked at repairing the guns. When 


i 62 


the clock struck twelve I went home to dinner, and 
at one returned to my work and stayed until seven 
o’clock. I was at once soldier and workman, ex¬ 
cused from roll-call but overwhelmed with work. 
We hoped that I could remain in that position till 
the war was over, if unfortunately it commenced 
again, hut we were sure of nothing. 


Our confidence returned a little after I worked 
at the arsenal, but still we were anxious, for hun¬ 
dreds of men on furloughs for six months, con¬ 
scripts, and old soldiers enlisted for one campaign, 
passed through the town in citizens’ clothes but with 
knapsacks on their backs. They all shouted Vive 
VEmpereur! ” and seemed to be furious. In the 
great hall of the town-house they received one a 
cloak, another a shako, and others epaulettes and 
gaiters and shoes, at the expense of the department, 
and oif they went, and I wished them a pleasant 
journey. All the tailors in town were making uni¬ 
forms by contract, the gendarmes gave up their 
horses to mount the cavalry, and the mayor, Baron 
Parmentier, urged the young men of sixteen and 
seventeen to join the partisans of Colonel Bruce, 
who defended the defiles of the Zorne, the Zinselle, 
and the Saar. 

The baron was going to the Champ de Mai,” 
and his enthusiasm redoubled. “Go!” cried he, 
“ courage! ” as he spoke to them of the Eomans 
who fought for their country. I thought to myself 



as I listened to him, If you think all that so beau¬ 
tiful why do you not go yourself.” 

You can imagine with what courage I worked at 
the arsenal; nothing was too much for me. I would 
have passed night and day in mending the guns and 
adjusting the bayonets and tightening the screws. 
When the commandant, Mr. Montravel, came to 
see us, he praised me. 

Excellent! ” said he, that is good! I am 
pleased with you, Bertha.” 

These words filled me with satisfaction, and I 
did not fail to report them to Catherine, in order 
to raise her spirits. We were almost certain that 
Mr. Montravel would keep me at Pfalzbourg. 

The gazettes were full of the new constitution, 
which they called the Additional Act,” and the 
act of the “ Champ de Mai.” Mr. Goulden always 
had something to say, sometimes about one article 
and sometimes another, but I mixed no more in 
these affairs, and repented of having complained of 
the processions and expiations; I had had enough 
of politics. 

This lasted till the 23d of May. That morning 
about ten o’clock I was in the great hall of the ar¬ 
senal, filling the boxes with guns. The great door 
was wide open, and the men were waiting with their 
wagons before the bullet park, to load up the boxes. 
I had nailed the last one, when Kobert, the guard, 



touched me on the shoulder and said in my 

Bertha, the Commandant Montravel wishes to 
see you. He is in the pavilion.’’ 

What does he want of me? ” 

I do not know\” 

I was afraid directly, but I went at once. I 
crossed the grand court, near the sheds for the gun- 
carriages, mounted the stairs, and knocked softly at 
the door. 

Come in,” said the commandant. 

I opened the door all in a tremble, and stood with 
my cap in my hand. Mr. Montravel was a tall, 
brown, thin man, with a little stoop in his shoulders. 
He was walking hastily up and down his room, in 
the midst of his books and maps, and arms hung on 
the wall. 

Ah! Bertha, it is you, is it? I have disagree¬ 
able news to tell you, the third battalion to which 
you belong leaves for Metz.” 

On hearing this my heart sank, and I could not 
say a word. He looked at me, and after a moment 
he added: 

Do not be troubled, you have been married for 
several months, and you are a good workman, and 
that deserves consideration. You will give this let¬ 
ter to Colonel Desmichels at the arsenal at Metz; 
he is one of my friends, and will find employment in 



some of his workshops for you, you may he cer¬ 

I took the letter which he handed me, thanked 
him, and went home filled with alarm. Zebede, Mr. 
Goulden, and Catherine were talking together in 
the shop, distress was written on every face. They 
knew everything. The third battalion is going," 
I said as I entered, but Mr. Montravel has just 
given me a letter to the director of the arsenal at 
Metz. Do not be anxious, I shall not make the 

I was almost choking. Mr. Goulden took the let¬ 
ter and said, It is open; we can read it." 

Then he read the letter, in which Mr. Montravel 
recommended me to his friend, saying that I was 
married, a good workman, industrious, and that I 
could render real service at the arsenal. He could 
have said nothing better. 

How the matter is certain," said Zebede. 

Yes, you will be retained in the arsenal at 
Metz," said Father Goulden. 

Catherine was very pale, she kissed me and said. 

What happiness, Joseph! " 

They all pretended to believe that I should re¬ 
main at Metz, and I tried to hide my fears from 
them. But the effort almost suffocated me, and 
I could hardly avoid sobbing, when happily I 
thought I would go and announce the news to Aunt 



Gredel. So I said, Although it will not he very 
long, and I shall stay in Metz, yet I must go and 
tell the good news to Aunt Gredel. I mil be back 
between five and six, and Catherine will have time 
to prepare my haversack, and we will have supper.” 

Yes, Joseph, go! ” said Father Goulden. Cath¬ 
erine said not a word, for she could hardly restrain 
her tears. I set off like a madman. Zebede, who 
was returning to the barracks, told me at the door, 
that the officer in charge at the town-house would 
give me my uniform, and that I must be there about 
five o’clock. I listened, as if in a dream, to his 
words, and ran till I was outside of the city. Once 
on the glacis I ran on without knowing where, in 
the trenches, and by the Trois-ChMeaux and the 
Baraques-a-en-haut, and along the forest to Quatre 

I cannot describe to you the thoughts that ran 
through my brain. I was bemldered, and wanted 
to run away to Switzerland. But the worst of all 
was when I approached Quatre Vents by the path 
along the Daun. It was about three o’clock. Aunt 
Gredel was putting up some poles for her beans, in 
the rear of the garden, and she saw me in the dis¬ 
tance, and said to herself: 

“Why it is Joseph! what is he doing in the 
grain? ” 

But when I got into the road, which was full of 



ruts and sand and which the sun made as hot as a 
furnace, I went on more slowly with my head bent 
down, thinking I should never dare to go in, when, 
suddenly aunt exclaimed from behind the hedge. 

Is it you, Joseph? ’’ 

Then I shivered. Yes, it is 1.” 

She ran out into the little elder alley, and seeing 
me so pale she said, I know why you have come, 
you are going away! ’’ 

Yes,” I replied, the others are going, hut I 
am to stay in Metz; it is very fortunate.” 

She said nothing, and we went into the kitchen, 
which was very cool compared with the heat outside. 
She sat down, and I read her the commandant’s let¬ 
ter. She listened to it, and repeated, Yes, it is 
very fortunate.” 

And we sat and looked at each other without 
speaking a word, and then she took my head be¬ 
tween her hands and kissed me, and embraced me 
for a long time, and I could see she was crying, 
though she did not say a word. 

You weep,” said I, but since I am to stay in 
Metz! ” 

Still she did not speak, hut went and brought 
some wine. I took a glass, and she asked, What 
does Catherine say? ” 

She is glad that I am to remain at the arsenal; 
and Mr. Goulden also.” 



That is well ; and are they preparing what you 
need? ’’ 

Yes, Aunt Gredel, and I must be at the city 
hall before five o’clock to receive my uniform.” 

Well! then you must go; kiss me, Joseph. I 
will not go with you. I do not wish to see the bat¬ 
talion leave—I will stay here. I must live a long 
while yet—Catherine has need of me—” here her 
restraint gave way. 

Suddenly she checked herself, and said, At 
what time do you leave? ” 

To-morrow, at seven o’clock. Mamma Gredel.” 

“Well! at eight o’clock I will be there. You will 
be far away, but you will know that the mother of 
your wife is there, that she will take care of her 
daughter, that she loves you, that she has only you 
in the whole world.” 

The courageous woman sobbed aloud; she accom¬ 
panied me to the door, and I left her. It seemed as 
if I had not a drop of blood left in my veins. Just 
as the clock struck five I reached the town-house. 
I went up and saw that hall again where I had lost, 
that cursed hall where everybody drew unlucky 
numbers. I received a cloak and coat, pantaloons, 
gaitei^, and shoes. Zebede, who was waiting for 
me, told one of the musketeers to take them to the 

“ You will come early and put them on,” said he; 



your musket and knapsack have been in the rack 
since morning.’^ 

Come with me/^ said I. 

ISTo, I cannot, the sight of Catherine breaks my 
heart; and besides I must stay with my father. 
Who knows whether I shall find the old man alive 
at the end of a year? I promised to take supper 
with you, but I shall not go.^’ 

I was obliged to go home alone. My haversack 
was all ready; my old haversack, the only thing I 
had saved from Hanau, as my head rested on it in 
the wagon. Mr. Goulden was at work. He turned 
round without speaking, and I asked, Where is 
Catherine? ’’ 

She is upstairs.’^ 

I knew she was crying, and I wanted to go up, 
but my legs and my courage both failed me. 

I told Mr. Goulden of my visit to Quatre-Yents, 
and then we sat and waited, thinking, without dar¬ 
ing to look each other in the face. It was already 
dark when Catherine came down. She laid the 
table in the twilight, and then I took her hand, and 
made her sit down on my knee, and we remained 
so for half an hour. 

Then Mr. Goulden asked: 

Is not Zebede coming? ’’ 

Ho, he cannot come.’’ 

Well! let us take our supper then.” 



But no one was hungry. Catherine removed the 
table about nine o’clock, and we all retired. It was 
the most terrible night I ever passed in my life. 
Catherine was in a deathly swoon. I called her, 
but she did not answer. At midnight I wakened 
Mr. Goulden, and he dressed himself and came up 
to our chamber. We gave her some sugar-water, 
when she revived and got up. I cannot tell you 
everything; I only know that she sank at my feet 
and begged me not to abandon her, as if I did it vol¬ 
untarily ! but she was crazed. Mr. Goulden wanted 
to call a doctor, but I prevented him. Toward 
morning she recovered entirely, and after a long fit 
of weeping, she fell asleep in my arms. I did not 
even dare to embrace her, and we went out softly 
and left her. 

W'hen we feel all the miseries of life, we exclaim: 

W^hy are we in the world? Why did we not sleep 
through the eternal ages? What have we done, that 
we must see those we love suffer, when we are not 
in fault? It is not God, but man, who breaks our 

After we went downstairs Mr. Goulden said to 
me, She is asleep, she knows nothing of it all, 
and that is a blessing; you will go before she 
wakes.” I thanked God for His goodness, and we 
sat waiting for the least sound, till at last the drums 
beat the assembly. Then Mr. Goulden looked at 



me very gravely, we rose, and he buckled my knap¬ 
sack on my shoulders in silence. 

At last he said: Joseph, go and see the com¬ 
mandant in Metz, but count upon nothing; the 
danger is so great that France has need of all her 
children for her defence, and this time it is not a 
question of acquiring from others, but of saving 
our own country. Remember that it is yourself and 
your wife and all that is dearest to you in the world 
that is at stake.’^ We went down to the street in 
silence, embraced each other, and then I went to the 
barracks. Zebede took me to the mess-room and I 
put on my uniform. All that I remember after so 
many years is, that Zebede^s father, who was there, 
took my clothes and made them into a bundle and 
said he would take them home after our departure; 
and the battalion filed out by the little rue de 
Lanche through the French gate. A few children 
ran after us, and the soldiers on guard presented 
arms; we were en route for Waterloo. 


At Sarrebourg we received tickets for lodgings. 
Mine was for the old printer Jarcisse, who knew 
Mr. Goulden and Aunt Gredel, and who made me 
dine at his table with my new comrade and bed¬ 
fellow, Jean Bnche, the son of a wood-cutter of 
Harberg, who had never eaten anything but pota¬ 
toes before he was conscripted. He devoured every¬ 
thing, even to the bones that they set before us. 
But I was so melancholy, that to hear him crunch 
the bones made me nervous. Father Jarcisse tried 
to console me, but every word he said only increased 
my pain. We passed the remainder of that day 
and the following night at Sarrebourg. The next 
day we kept on our route to the village of Mezieres, 
the next to the Yic, and on to Soigne, till on the 
fifth day we came to Metz. I do not need to tell 
you of our march, of the soldiers white with dust, 
how we passed one magazine after another, with our 
knapsacks on our backs, and our guns carried at 
will, talking, laughing, looking at the young girls 
as we passed through the villages, at the carts, the 
manure heaps, the sheds, the hills, and the valleys, 



without troubling ourselves about anything. And 
when one is sad and has left his wife at home, and 
dear friends too, whom he may never see again, all 
these pass before his eyes like shadows, and a hun¬ 
dred steps more and they too are unthought of. But 
yet the view of Metz, with its tall cathedral and 
its ancient dwellings, and its frowning ramparts 
awakened me. Two hours before we arrived, we 
kept thinking we should soon reach the earthworks, 
and hastened our steps in order the sooner to get 
into the shade. I thought of Colonel Desmichels, 
and had a little—very little, hope. If fate wills! ” 
I thought, and I felt for my letter. 

Zebede did not talk to me now, but from time to 
time he turned his head and looked back at me. 
It was not exactly as it was in the old campaign, 
he was sergeant, and I only a common soldier; we 
loved each other always, but that made a difference 
of course. Jean Buche marched along beside me, 
with his round shoulders and his feet turned in like 
a wolf. The only thing he said from time to time 
was, that his shoes hurt him on the march, and that 
they should only be worn on parade. During two 
months the drill-sergeant had not been able to make 
him turn out his toes, or to raise his shoulders, but 
for all that he could march terribly well in his own 
fashion, and without being fatigued. At last about 
five in the afternoon, we reached the outposts. They 



soon recognized ns, and the captain of the guard 
himself exclaimed, Pass! ” The drums rolled, 
and we entered the oldest town I had ever seen. 

Metz is at the confluence of the Seille and the 
Moselle. The houses are four or five stories high; 
their old walls are full of beams as at Saverne and 
Bouxviller, the windows round and square, great 
and small, on the same line, with shutters and with¬ 
out, some with glass and some without any. It is 
as old as the mountains and rivers. The roofs pro¬ 
ject about six feet, spreading their shadows over 
the black water, in which old shoes, rags, and dead 
dogs are floating. If you look upward you will 
be sure to see the face of some old Jew at the win¬ 
dows in the roof, with his gray beard and crooked 
nose, or a child who is risking his neck. Properly 
speaking, it is a city of Jews ^and soldiers. Poor 
people are not wanting either. It is much worse in ^ 
this respect than at Mayence, or at Strasbourg, or 
even at Frankfort. If they have not changed since 
then, they love their ease now. In spite of my sad¬ 
ness I could not help looking at these lanes and 
alleys. The town swarmed with national guards; 
they were arriving from Longwy, from Sarrelouis 
and other places; the soldiers left and were replaced 
by these guards. 

We came upon a square encumbered with beds 
and mattresses, bedding, etc., which the citizens had 



furnislied for tlie troops. We stacked arms in front 
of the barracks, every window of which was open 
from top to bottom. We waited, thinking we should 
be lodged there, but at the end of twenty minutes 
the distribution commenced, and each man received 
twenty-five sous and a ticket for lodging. We broke 
rank, each one going his own way. Jean Buche, 
who had never seen any other town than Pfalzbourg, 
did not leave me for a moment. Our ticket was for 
Elias Meyer, butcher, in the rue St. Valery. When 
we reached the house the butcher was cutting meat 
in the arched and grated window, and was anything 
but pleased to see us, and received us very ungra¬ 
ciously. He was a fat, red, round-faced Jew, with 
silver rings on his fingers and in his ears. His thin, 
yellow-skinned wife came down exclaiming that 
they had had lodgers for two nights before, that 
the mayor’s secretary did it on purpose, that he 
sent soldiers every day, and that the neighbors did 
not have them,” and so on. 

But they allowed us to enter after all. The 
daughter came and stared at us, and behind her 
was a fat servant-woman, frizzled and very dirty. 
I seem to see those people before me still, in that 
old room with its oak wainscoting, and the great 
copper lamp hanging from the ceiling, and the 
grated window looking into the little court. The 
daughter, who was very pale and had very black 



eyes, said something to her mother and then the 
servant was ordered to show us to the garret, to the 
beggars^ chamber, for all the Jews feed and shelter 
beggars on Friday. My comrade from Harberg 
did not complain, but I was indignant. We fol¬ 
lowed the servant up a winding stair slippery with 
filth, to the room. It was separated from the rest 
of the garret by slats, through which we could see 
the dirty linen. It was lighted by a Httle window 
like a lozenge in the roof. Even if I had not been 
so miserable I should have thought it abominable. 
There was only one chair and a straw mattress on 
the floor and one single coverlet for us both. The 
servant stood staring at us at the door, as if she ex¬ 
pected thanks or compliments. I took off my knap¬ 
sack, sad enough as you can imagine, and Jean 
Buche did the same. The servant turned to go 
downstairs when I cried out: Wait a minute, we 
will go down too, we do not want to break our necks 
on those stairs.’’ We changed our shoes and stock¬ 
ings and fastened the door and went down to the 
shop to buy some meat. Jean went to the baker op¬ 
posite for some bread, and as our ticket gave us a 
place at the fire we went to the kitchen to make our 
soup. The butcher came to see us just as we were 
finishing our supper. He was smoking a big TJlm 
pipe. He asked where we were from. I was so in¬ 
dignant I would not answer him, but Jean Buche 




told him that I was a watch-maker from Pfalzbourg, 
upon which he treated me with more consideration. 
He said that his brother travelled in Alsace and Lor¬ 
raine, with watches, rings, watch-chains, and other 
articles of silver and gold, and jewelry, and that his 
name was Samuel Meyer, and perhaps we had had 
business with him. I replied that I had seen his 
brother two or three times at Mr. Goulden’s, which 
was true. Thereupon he ordered the servant to 
bring us a pillow, but he did nothing more for us and 
we went to bed. 

We were very weary and were soon sound asleep. 
I thought to get up very early and go to the arsenal, 
but I was still asleep when my comrade shook me 
and said: The assembly! ’’ 

I listened—it was the assembly! We only had 
time to dress, buckle on our knapsacks, take our 
guns, and run down. When we reached the bar¬ 
racks the roll-call had begun. When it was finished 
two wagons came up, and we received fifty ball-car¬ 
tridges each. The Commandant Gemeau, the cap¬ 
tains, and all the officers were there. I saw that all 
was over, that I had nothing to count on longer, and 
that my letter to Colonel Desmichels might be good 
after the campaign was over, if I escaped and should 
be obliged to serve out my seven years. Zebede 
looked at me from a distance—I turned away my 
head. The order came: 



Carry arms! arms at will! by file! left! for¬ 
ward! march! ’’ 

The drums rolled, we marked step, and the roofs, 
the houses, the windows, the lanes, and the people 
seemed to glide past us. We crossed over the first 
bridge and the drawbridge. The drums ceased to 
beat and we went on toward Thionville. The other 
troops followed the same route, cavalry and in¬ 

That night we reached the village of Beauregard, 
the next night we were at Vitry, near Thionville, 
where we were stationed till the 8th of June. 
Buche and I were lodged with a fat landlord named 
Pochon. He was a very good man and gave us ex¬ 
cellent white wine to drink, and liked to talk politics 
like Mr. Goulden. During our stay in this village 
General Schoeffer came from Thionville, and we 
went to be reviewed with our arms at a large farm 
called Silvange.” 

It is a woody country, and we often went, several 
of us together, to make excursions in the vicinity. 
One day Zebede came and took me to see the great 
foundry at Moyeuvre where we saw then run bul¬ 
lets and bombs. We talked about Catherine and 
Mr. Goulden, and he told me to write to them, but 
somehow I was afraid to hear from home, and I 
turned my thoughts away from Pfalzbourg. 

On the 8th of June we left this village very early 



in the morning, returning near to Metz but without 
entering the city. The city gates were shut and the 
cannon frowned on the walls as in time of war. We 
slept at Chatel, and the next day we were at Etain, 
the day following at Dannevoux, where I was lodged 
with a good patriot named Sebastian Perrin. He 
was a rich man, and wanted to know the details of 

As a great number of battalions had followed the 
same route before us, he said, In a month perhaps 
we shall see great things, all the troops are marching 
into Belgium. The Emperor is going to fall upon 
the English and Prussians.” 

This was the last place where we had good sup¬ 
plies. The next day we arrived at Yong, which is 
in a miserable country. We slept on the 12th of 
June at Yivier, and the 13th at Cul-de-Sard. The 
farther we advanced the more troops we encoun¬ 
tered, and as I had seen these things in Germany, 
I said to Jean Buche: 

How we shall have hot work.” 

On all sides and in every direction, files of in¬ 
fantry, cavalry, and artillery, were seen as far as the 
eye could reach. The weather was as delightful as 
possible, and nothing could be more promising than 
the ripening grain. But it was very hot. What 
astonished me was, that neither before nor behind, 
on the right hand nor on the left could we discover 



any enemies, l^obody knew anything about them. 
The rumor circulated amongst us that we were to 
attack the English. I had seen the Kussians, Prus¬ 
sians, Austrians, Bavarians and Wurtemburgers and 
the Swedes. I knew the people of all the countries 
in the world, and now I was going to make the ac¬ 
quaintance of the English also. If we must be ex¬ 
terminated, I thought, it might as well be done by 
them as by the Germans. We could not avoid our 
fate—if I was to escape, I should escape, but if I 
were doomed to leave my bones here, all I could do 
would avail nothing—but the more we destroyed of 
them the greater would be the chances for us. This 
was the way I reasoned with myself, and if it did me 
no good it caused me at least no harm. 


We passed the Meuse on the 12th, and during the 
13th and 14th we marched along the wretched 
roads, bordered with grain fields, barley, oats, and 
hemp, without end. The heat was extraordinary, 
the sweat ran down to our hips from under our knap¬ 
sacks and cartridge-boxes. What a misfortune to 
be poor, and unable to buy a man to march and take 
the musket-shots in our place! After having gone 
through the rain, wind, and snow, and mud, in Ger¬ 
many, the turn of the sun and dust had come. And 
I saw too, that the destruction was approaching, you 
could hear the sound of the drum and the bugle in 
every direction, and whenever the battalion passed 
over an elevation long lines of helmets and lances 
and bayonets were seen as far as the eye could reach. 

Zebede, with his musket on his shoulder, would 
exclaim cheerfully, Well, Joseph! we are going 
to see the whites of the Prussians’ eyes again;” and 
I would force myself to reply, Oh 1 yes, the wed¬ 
dings will soon begin again.” As if I wanted to 
risk my life and leave Catherine a young widow for 
the sake of something which did not in the least con¬ 

cern me. 




That same day at seven o^clock we reached Eoly. 
The hussars occupied the town already, and we were 
obliged to bivouac in a deep road along the side of 
the hill. We had hardly stacked our arms when 
several general officers arrived. The Commandant 
Gemeau, who had just dismounted, sprang upon his 
horse and hurried to meet them. They conversed 
a moment together and came down into our road. 
Everybody looked on and said, Something has 
happened.’’ One of the officers. General Pechaux, 
whom we knew afterward, ordered the drums to 
beat, and shouted, Form a circle.” The road was 
too narrow, and some of the soldiers went up on the 
slope each side of the road, while the others re¬ 
mained on the road. All the battalion looked on 
while the general unrolled a paper, and said, Proc¬ 
lamation from the Emperor.” 

When he had said that, the silence was so pro¬ 
found that you would have thought yourself alone 
in the midst of these great fields. Every one, from 
the last conscript to the Commandant Gemeau, lis¬ 
tened, and, even to-day, when I think of it, after 
fifty years, it moves my heart; it was grand and ter¬ 
rible. This is what the general read: 

“ Soldiers! To-day is the anniversary of Mareng'o and 
of Friedland, which twice decided the fate of Europe! 
Then, as after Austerlitz and after Wagram, we were 
too generous, we believed the protestations and the 
oaths of princes, whom we left on their thrones. They 



have combined to attack the independence and even the 
most sacred rights of France. They have commenced 
the most unjust aggressions, let us meet them! They 
and we,—are we no longer of the same race? ” 

The whole battalion shouted, Vive VEvi¬ 
per eiirJ^ The general raised his hand, and all were 

“ Soldiers! at Jena, we were as one to three against 
these Prussians who are so arrogant to-day; at Mont- 
mirail we were as one against six! Let those among 
you who have been prisoners of the English tell the tale 
of their frightful sufferings in their prison ships. The 
Saxons, the Belgians, the Hanoverians, the soldiers of 
the Confederation of the Rhine, complain that they are 
compelled to lend their arms to princes who are enemies 
of justice and of the rights of all nations. They know 
that this coalition is insatiable. After having devoured 
twelve millions of Poles, twelve millions of Italians, one 
million of Saxons, six millions of Belgians, it will de¬ 
vour all the states of the second order in Germany. 
Madmen! a moment of prosperity has blinded them; 
the oppression and humiliation of the French people 
is beyond their power. If they enter France they will find 
their graves there. Soldiers, we have forced marches to 
make, battles to wage, and perils to encounter, but, if 
we are constant, victory will be ours. The rights of 
man and the happiness of our country will be recon¬ 
quered. For all Frenchmen, who have hearts, the time 
has come to conquer or to perish.— Napoleon.” 

The shouts which arose were like thunder, it was 
as if the Emperor had breathed his war spirit into 
our hearts, and moved us as one man to destroy our 



enemies. The shouts continued long after the gen¬ 
eral had gone, and even I was satisfied. I saw that 
it was the truth, that the Prussians, Austrians, and 
Kussians, who had talked so much of the deliverance 
of the people, had profited by the first opportunity 
to grasp everything, that those grand words about 
liberty, which had served to excite their young men 
against us in 1813, and all the promises of constitu¬ 
tions which they had made, had been set aside and 
broken. I looked upon them as beggars, as men 
who had not kept their word, who despised the peo¬ 
ple, and whose ideas were very narrow and limited, 
and consisted in always keeping the best place for 
themselves and their children and descendants 
whether they were good or bad, just or unjust, with¬ 
out any reference to God’s law. That was the way 
I looked at it; the proclamation seemed to me very 
beautiful. I thought too, that Father Goulden would 
be pleased with it, because the Emperor had not for¬ 
gotten the rights of man, which are liberty, equality, 
and justice, and all those grand ideas which distin¬ 
guish men from brutes, causing them to respect 
themselves and the rights of their neighbors also. 
Our courage was greatly strengthened by these 
strong and just words. The old soldiers laughed 
and said, We shall not be kept waiting this time. 
On the first march we shall fall upon the Prussians.” 

But the conscripts, who had never yet heard the 



bullets whistle, were the most excited of all. 
Buche’s eyes sparkled like those of a cat, as he sat on 
the road-side, with his knapsack opened on the 
slope, slowly sharpening his sabre, and trying the 
edge on the toe of his shoe. Others were setting 
their bayonets and adjusting their flints, as they al¬ 
ways do when on the eve of a battle. At those 
times their heads are full of thought, which makes 
them knit their brows, and compress their lips; giv¬ 
ing them anything but pleasant faces. 

The sun sank lower and lower behind the grain 
fields, several detachments of men went to the vil¬ 
lage for wood, and they brought back onions and 
leeks and salt, and even several quarters of beef were 
hung on long sticks over their shoulders. But it 
was when the men were around the fires, watching 
their kettles as they commenced to boil, and the 
smoke went curling up into the air, that their faces 
were happiest, one would talk of Lutzen, another of 
Wagram, of Austerlitz, of Jena, of Friedland, of 
Spain, of Portugal, and of all the countries in the 
world. They all talked at once, but only the old 
soldiers whose arms were covered with chevrons, 
were listened to. They were most interesting, as 
they marked the positions on the ground with their 
fingers, and explained them by a line on the right, 
and a line on the left. You seemed to see it all 
while listening to them. Each one had his pewter 


spoon at liis button-hole, and kept thinking, The 
soup will be capital, the meat is good and fat.’’ 

When we were stationed for the night, the order 
was given to extinguish the fires and not to beat the 
retreat, which indicated that the enemy was near, 
and that they feared to alarm them. 

The moon was shining, and Buche and I were eat¬ 
ing at the same mess; when we had finished, he 
talked to me more than two hours about his life at 
Harberg, how they were obliged to drag two or three 
cords of wood on great sleds at the risk of being run 
over and crushed, especially when the snow was 
melting. Compared with that, the life of a soldier, 
with his pleasant mess and good bread, regular ra¬ 
tions, the neat warm uniform, the stout linen shirts, 
seemed to him delightful. He had never dreamed 
that he could be so comfortable, and his strongest 
desire was to let his two younger brothers, Gaspard 
and Jacob, know how delighted he was, in order 
that they might enlist as soon as they were old 

Yes,” said I, that is all very well,—but the 
English and Prussians,—you do not think of that.” 

I despise them,” said he, my sabre cuts like a 
butcher’s knife, and my bayonet is sharp as a needle. 
It is they who should be afraid to encounter me.” 

We were the best friends in the world, and I liked 
him almost as well as my old comrades Klipfel, 



Furst, and Zebede. And he liked me too. I believe 
he would have let himself be cut to pieces to save me 
from danger. Old comrades and bed-fellows never 
forget each other. In my time, old Harwig whom 
I knew in Pfalzbourg, always received a pension 
from his old comrade Bernadotte, King of Sweden. 
If I had been a king, Jean Buche should have had a 
pension, for if he had not a great mind he had a good 
heart, which is better still. 

While we were talking, Zebede came and tapped 
me on the shoulder. 

You do not smoke, Joseph? 

I have no tobacco. 

Then he gave me half of a package which he had 
and I saw that he loved me still, in spite of the dif¬ 
ference in our rank, and that touched me. He was 
beside himself with delight at the thought of attack¬ 
ing the Prussians. 

WeJl be revenged! ’’ he cried. Ko quarter! 
they shall pay for all, from Katzbach even to Sois- 

You would have thought that those English and 
Prussians were not going to defend themselves, and 
that we ran no risk of catching bullets and canister 
as at Lutzen and at Gross-Beren, at Leipzig and ev¬ 
erywhere else. But what could you say to a man 
who remembered nothing and who always looked 
on the bright side? 



I smoked my pipe quietly and replied, “ Yes ! 
yes ! we’ll settle the rascals, we’ll push them ! 
They’ll see enough of us! ” 

I left Jean Buche with his pipe, and as we were 
on guard, Zebede went about nine o’clock to relieve 
the sentinels at the head of the picket. I stepped 
a little out of the circle and stretched myself in a fur¬ 
row a few steps in the rear with my knapsack under 
my head. The weather was warm, and we heard 
the crickets long after the sun went down. A few 
stars shone in the heavens. There was not a breath 
of air stirring over the plain, the ears of grain stood 
erect and motionless, and in the distance the village 
clocks struck nine, ten, and eleven, but at last I 
dropped asleep. This was the night of the 14th and 
15th of June, 1815. Between two and three in the 
morning Zebede came and shook me. Up ! ” 
said he, come! ” Buche had stretched himself 
beside me also, and we rose at once. It was our turn 
to relieve the guard. It was still dark, but there 
was a line of light along the horizon at the edge of 
the grain fields. Thirty paces farther on. Lieuten¬ 
ant Bretonville was waiting for us, surrounded by 
the picket. It is hard to get up out of a sound sleep 
after a march of ten hours. But we buckled on 
our knapsacks as we went, and I relieved the sentinel 
behind the hedge opposite Koly. The countersign 
was Jemmapes and Fleurus,” this struck me at 



once, I had not heard this countersign since 1813. 
How memory sleeps sometimes for years! I seem 
to see the picket now as they turn into the road, 
while I renew the priming of my gun by the light of 
the stars, and I hear the other sentinels marching 
slowly back and forth, while the footsteps of the 
picket grew faint and fainter in the distance. I 
marched up and down the hedge with my gun on my 
arm. There was nothing to be seen but the village 
with its thatched roofs and the slated church spire a 
little farther on; and a mounted sentinel stationed 
in the road with his blunderbuss resting on his thigh 
looking out into the night. I walked up and down 
thinking and listening. Everything slept. The 
white line along the horizon grew broader. An¬ 
other half hour and the distant country began to ap¬ 
pear in the gray light of morning. Two or three 
quails called and answered each other across the 
plain. As I heard these sounds I stopped and 
thought sadly of Quatre Vents, Danne, the Bara- 
ques-du-bois-de-chenes, and of our grain fields, 
where the quails were calling from the edge of the 
forest of Bonne Fontaine. Is Catherine asleep? 
and Aunt Gredel and Father Goulden and all the 
town? The national guard from Haney has taken 
our place.” I saw the sentinels of the two maga¬ 
zines and the guard at the two gates; in short, 
thoughts without number came and went, when I 






heard a horse galloping in the distance, but I could 
see nothing. 

In a few minutes he entered the village, and all 
was still except a sort of confused tumult. In an 
instant after, the horseman came from Roly into our 
road at full gallop. I advanced to the edge of the 
hedge and presented my musket, and cried, Who 
goes there?France!” What regiment?” 
^‘Twelfth chasseurs! Staff.” Pass on!” He 
went on his way faster than before. I heard him 
stop in the midst of our encampment, and call 

Commandant.” I advanced to the top of the hill 
to see what was going on. There was a great excite¬ 
ment; the officers came running up, and the sol¬ 
diers gathered round. The chasseur was speaking 
to Gemeau, I listened, but was too far away to hear. 
The courier went on again up the hill, and every¬ 
thing was in an uproar. They shouted and gesticu¬ 
lated. Suddenly the drums beat to mount guard, 
and the relief turned a corner in the road. I saw 
Zebede in the distance looking pale as death; as he 
passed me he said, Come! ” the two other senti¬ 
nels were in their places a little to the left. Talk¬ 
ing is not allowed when under arms, but, notwith¬ 
standing, Zebede said, Joseph, we are betrayed. 
Bourmont, general of the division in advance, and 
five other brigands of the same sort, have just gone 
over to the enemy.” His voice trembled. 



My blood boiled, and looking at the other men on 
the picket, two old soldiers with chevrons, I saw 
their lips quiver under their gray mustaches, their 
eyes rolled fiercely as if they were meditating ven¬ 
geance, but they said nothing. We hurried on to 
relieve the other two sentinels. Some minutes af¬ 
terward, on returning to our bivouac, we found the 
battalion already under arms and ready to move. 
Fury and indignation were stamped on every face, 
the drums beat and we formed ranks, the command¬ 
ant and the adjutant waited on horseback at the head 
of the battalion, pale as ashes. 

I remember that the commandant suddenly drew 
his sword as a signal to stop the drums, and tried to 
speak, but the words would not come, and he began 
to shout like a madman: ^^Ah! the wretches! mis¬ 
erable villains! Yive I’Empereur! 'No quarter! ’’ 
He stammered and did not know what he said, but 
the battalion thought he was eloquent, and began to 
shout as one man, Forward! forward! to the en¬ 
emy! no quarter!^’ We went through the village 
at quick step, and the meanest soldier was furious at 
not finding the Prussians. 

It was an hour after, when having reflected a lit¬ 
tle, the men commenced swearing and threatening, 
secretly at first, but soon openly, and at last the bat¬ 
talion was almost in revolt. Some said that all the 
ofiicers under Louis XYIII. must be exterminated. 



and others, that we were given up en masse, and sev¬ 
eral declared that the marshals were traitors, and 
ought to be court-martialed and shot. 

At last the commandant ordered a halt, and rid¬ 
ing down the line he told the men, that the traitors 
had left too late to do mischief, that we would make 
the attack that very day, and that the enemy would 
not have time to profit by the treason, and that ho 
would be surprised and overwhelmed. This calmed 
the fury of a great proportion of the men, and we re¬ 
sumed our march, and all along the route, we heard 
repeatedly that the exposure of our plans had been 
made too late. 

But our anger gave place to joy, when about ten 
o’clock we heard the thunder of cannon five or six 
leagues to the left, on the other side of the Sambre. 
The men raised their shakos on their bayonets and 
shouted: ^‘Forward! Vive FEmpereur! ” 

Many of the old soldiers wept, and over all that 
great plain there was one immense shout; when 
one regiment had ceased another took it up. The 
cannon thundered incessantly. We quickened our 
steps. We had been marching on Charleroi since 
seven o’clock, when an order reached us by an or¬ 
derly to support the right. I remember that in all 
the villages through which we passed, the doors and 
windows were full of eager friendly faces, waving 
their hands and shouting, The French, the 



French! We could see that they were friendly to 
us, and that they were of the same blood as our¬ 
selves; and in the two halts that we made, they 
came out with their loaves of excellent home-made 
bread, with a knife stuck in the crust, and great jugs 
of black beer, and offered them to us without asking 
any return. We had come to deliver them without 
knowing it, and nobody in their country knew it 
either, which shows the sagacity of the Emperor, 
for there were already in that corner of the Sambre 
et Meuse, more than one hundred thousand men, 
and not the slightest hint of it had reached the en¬ 

The treason of Bourmont had prevented our sur¬ 
prising them as they were scattered about in their 
separate camps. We could then have annihilated 
them at a blow, but now it would be much more dif¬ 

We continued our march till after noon, in the 
intense heat and choking dust. The farther we ad¬ 
vanced the greater the number of troops we saw, in¬ 
fantry and cavalry. They massed themselves more 
and more, so to speak, and behind us there were still 
other regiments. 

Toward five o^clock we reached a village where 
the battalions and squadrons filed over a bridge built 
of brick. This village had been taken by our van¬ 
guard, and in going through it, we saw some of the 



Prussians stretched out in the little streets on the 
right and left, and I said to Jean Buche: Those 
are Prussians, I saw them at Lutzen and Leipzig, 
and you are going to see them too, Jean.’’ 

So much the better,’’ he replied, that is what 
I want.” 

This village was called Chatelet. It is on the 
river Sambre, the water is very deep, yellow, and 
clayey, and those who are so unfortunate as to fall 
into it, find it very difficult to get out of, for the 
banks are perpendicular, as we found out afterward. 
On the other side of the bridge we bivouacked along 
the river; we were not in the advance, as the hus¬ 
sars had passed over before us, but we were the first 
infantry of the corps of Gerard. All the rest of 
that day the Fourth corps were filing over the 
bridge, and we learned at night, that the whole army 
had passed the Sambre, and that there had been 
fighting near Charleroi, at Marchiennes, and Jumet. 


On reaching the other hank of the river, we 
stacked our arms in an orchard, and lighted our 
pipes and took breath as we watched the hussars, the 
chasseurs, the artillery, and the infantry, tile over 
the bridge hour after hour, and take their positions 
on the plain. In our front was a beech forest, about 
three leagues in length, which extended toward 
Fleurus. We could see great yellow spots, here and 
there in this wood; these were stubble, and great 
patches of grain, instead of being covered with 
bramble or heath and furze as in our country. About 
twenty old decrepit houses were on that side the 
bridge. Chatelet is a very large village, larger than 
the city of Saverne. 

Between the battalions and squadrons, which 
were constantly moving onward, the men, women, 
and children would come out with jugs of sour beer, 
bread, and strong white brandy which they sold to 
the soldiers for a few sous. Buche and I broke a 
crust as we looked on and laughed with the girls, 
who are blonde and very pretty in that country. 

Very near us was the little village Catelineau, and 

i ()6 



in the distance on our left, between the wood and the 
river, lay the village of Gilly. The sound of mus¬ 
ketry, cannon, and platoon firing, was heard con¬ 
stantly in that direction. The news soon came that 
the Emperor had driven the Prussians out of Char¬ 
leroi, and that they had re-formed in squares at the 
corner of the wood. 

We expected every moment to be ordered to cut 
off their retreat, but between seven and eight 
o^clock, the sound of musketry ceased, the Prussians 
retired to Pleurus, after having lost one of their 
squares; and the others escaped into the wood. We 
saw two regiments of dragoons arrive and take up 
their position at our right, along the bank of the 
Sambre. There was a rumor a few minutes after¬ 
ward that General Le Tort had been killed by a ball 
in the abdomen, very near the place where in his 
youth he had watched and tended the cattle of a 
farmer. What strange things happen in life! The 
general had fought all over Europe, since he was 
twenty years old, but death waited for him here! 

It was about eight o’clock in the evening, and we 
were expecting to remain at Chatelet until our three 
divisions had crossed. An old bald peasant, in a 
blue blouse and a cotton cap and as lean as a goat, 
came into camp and told Captain Gregoire that on 
the side of the beech wood in a hollow, lay the vil¬ 
lage of Fleurus, and to the right of this, the little 



village of Lambusart; that the Prussians had been 
stationed in these towns more than three weeks, and 
that more of them had arrived the night before, and 
the night before that. He told us also that there 
was a broad road, bordered with trees, running two 
good leagues along our left; that the Belgians and 
Hanoverians had posts at Gosselies and at Quatre- 
Bras; that it was the high-road to Brussels, where 
the English and Hanoverians and Belgians had all 
their forces; while the Prussians, four or five 
leagues at our right, occupied the route to Hamur, 
and that between them and the English, there was a 
good road running from the plateau of Quatre-Bras 
to the plateau of Ligny in the rear of Eleurus, over 
which their couriers went and came from morning 
till night, so that the Prussians and English were in 
perfect communication, and could support each 
other with men, guns, and supplies when neces¬ 

Naturally enough I thought at once, that the first 
thing to be done was to get possession of this road 
and so cut off their communication; and I was not 
the only one who thought so; but we said nothing 
for fear of interrupting the old man. In five min¬ 
utes half the battalion had gathered round him in a 
circle. He was smoking a clay pipe and pointing 
out all the positions with the stem. He was a sort 
of commissioner between Chatelet, Eleurus, and 



!Namur and knew every foot of the country and all 
that happened every day. 

He complained greatly of the Prussians, said they 
were proud and insolent, that they corrupted the 
women and were never satisfied, and that the officers 
boasted of having driven us from Dresden to Paris, 
that they had made us run like hares. 

I was indignant at that, for I knew they were two 
to one at Leipzig, and that the Russians, Austrians^ 
Saxons, Bavarians, Wurtemburgers, Swedes, in fact 
all Europe had overwhelmed us, while three-quar¬ 
ters of our army were sick with typhus, cold, and 
famine, marching and countermarching; but that 
even all this had not prevented us from beating them 
at Hanau, and fifty other times when they were 
three to one, in Champagne, Alsace, in the Vosges, 
and everywhere. 

Their boasting disgusted me, I had a horror of the 
whole race, and I thought, those are the rascals 
who sour your blood.’’ The old man said too, that 
the Prussians constantly declared that they would 
soon be enjoying themselves in Paris, drinking good 
French wines; and that the French army was only 
a band of brigands. When I heard that, I said to 
myself, Joseph, that is too much! now you will 
show no more mercy, there is nothing but extermina¬ 

The clocks of Chatelet struck nine and a half, and 



tlie hussars sounded the retreat, and each one was 
about to dispose himself behind a hedge or a bee- 
house or in a furrow for the night, when the general 
of the brigade, Schoefier, ordered the battalion to 
take up their position on the other side of the wood, 
as the vanguard. I saw at once that our unlucky 
battalion was always to be in the van, just as it was 
in 1813. 

It is a sad thing for a regiment to have a reputa¬ 
tion ; the men change, but the number remains the 
same. The Sixth light infantry had always been a 
distinguished number, and I knew what it cost. 
Those of us who were inclined to sleep, were wide 
awake now, for when you know that the enemy is at 
hand, and you say to yourself, The Prussians are 
in ambush, perhaps in that wood, waiting for you,’’ 
it makes you open your eyes. 

Several hussars deployed as scouts on our right 
and left, in front of the column. We marched at 
the route step, with the captains between the com¬ 
panies, and the Commandant Gemeau, on his little 
gray mare, in the middle of the battalion. Before 
starting each man had received three pounds of 
bread and two pounds of rice, and this was the way 
in which the campaign opened for us. 

The sky was without a cloud, and all the country 
and even the forest, which lay three-quarters of a 
league before us, shone in the moonlight like silver. 



I thought involuntarily of the wood at Leipzig, where 
I had slipped into a clay-pit with two Prussian hus¬ 
sars, when poor Klipfel was cut into a thousand 
pieces at a little distance from me. All this made 
me very watchful. 'No one spoke, even Buche 
raised his head and shut his teeth, and Zebede, who 
was at the left of the company, did not look toward 
me, but right ahead into the shadow of the trees, 
like everybody else. 

It took us nearly an hour to reach the forest, and 
when within two hundred paces the order came to 

The hussars fell back on the flanks of the bat¬ 
talion, and one company deployed as scouts. We 
waited about five minutes, and as not the slightest 
noise or sound of any kind reached our ears, we re¬ 
sumed our march. The road which we followed 
through the wood was quite a wide cart-path. The 
column marked step in the shadows. At every mo¬ 
ment great openings in the forest gave us light and 
air, and we could see the white piles of newly cut 
wood between their stakes, shining in the distance 
from time to time. 

Besides this, nothing could be heard or seen. 
Buche said to me in a low voice, “ I like the smell 
of the wood, it is like Harberg.” 

I despise the smell of the wood,” I thought ; 
and if we do not get a musket-shot, I shall be satis¬ 



At the end of two hours the light appeared again 
through the underwood, and we reached the other 
side, fortunately without encountering either enemy 
or obstacle. The hussars who had accompanied us 
returned immediately, and the battalion stacked 

We were in a grain country, the like of which I 
had never seen. Some of the grain was in flower, a 
little green still, though the barley was almost ripe. 
The fields extended as far as the eye could reach. 
We looked around in perfect silence, and I saw that 
the old man had not deceived us. Two thousand 
paces in front of us, in a hollow, we saw the top of 
an old church spire and some slated gables, lighted 
up by the moon. That was Fleurus. Nearer to us 
on our right were some thatched cottages, and a few 
houses; this was without doubt Lambusart. At the 
end of the plain, more than a league distant and in 
the rear of Fleurus, the surface-of the country was 
broken into little hills, and on these hills innumer¬ 
able fires were burning. Three large villages were 
easily recognized extending over the heights from 
left to right. The one nearest to us, we afterward 
found, was St. Amand, Ligny in the middle, and 
two leagues beyond, was Sombref. We could see 
them more distinctly, even, than in the day-time, on 
account of the fires of the enemy. The Prussians 
were in the houses and the orchards and the fields; 



and beyond these three villages in a line, was an¬ 
other, lying still higher and farther away, where 
fires were burning also. This was Bry, where the 
rascals had their reserves. 

As we looked at this grand spectacle, I understood 
the disposition and the plan, and saw too that it 
would be very difficult to take the position. On the 
plain at our left there were fires also, but it was the 
camp of the Third corps, which had turned the cor¬ 
ner of the forest after having repulsed the Prussians, 
and had halted in some village this side of Fleurus. 
There were a few fires along the edge of the forest, 
on a line with us; these were the fires of our own 
soldiers. I believe there were some on both sides of 
us, but the great mass were at the left. 

We posted our sentinels immediately, and with¬ 
out lighting our fires laid down at the border of the 
wood to wait for further orders. General Schoeffer 
came again during the night with several hussar 
officers, and talked a long time with our command¬ 
ant, Gemeau, who was watching under arms. Their 
conversation was quite distinct at twenty paces from 
us. The general said that our army corps continued 
to arrive, but that they were very late, and would 
not all reach here the next day. I saw at once that 
he was right; for our fourth battalion, which should 
have joined us at Chatelet, did not come till the day 
after the battle, when we were almost exterminated 



by those rascals at Ligny, having only four hundred 
men left. If they had been there they would have 
had their share of the combat and of the glory. 

As I had been on guard the night before, I quietly 
stretched myself at the foot of a tree by the side of 
Buche, with my comrades. It was about one o’clock 
in the morning of the day of the terrible battle of 
Ligny. E^early half of those men who were sleep¬ 
ing around me left their bodies on the plain and in 
the villages which we saw, to be food for the grain, 
such as was growing so beautifully around us, for 
the oats and the barley for ages to come. If they 
had known that, there was more than one of them 
who would not have slept so well, for men cling to 
life, and it is a sad thing to think, to-day I draw 
my last breath! ’’ 


During the night the air was heavy, and I wak¬ 
ened every hour in spite of my great fatigue, but 
my comrades slept on, some talking in their sleep. 
Buche did not stir. 

Close at hand, on the edge of the forest, our 
stacked muskets sparkled in the moonlight. In the 
distance on the left I could hear the Qui vive,^’* 
and on our front the Wer da.’^f Xearer to us, 
our sentinels stood motionless, up to their waists in 
the standing grain. 

I rose up softly and looked about me. In the vi¬ 
cinity of Sombref, two leagues to our right, I could 
hear a great tumult from time to time, which would 
increase and then cease entirely. It might have 
been little gusts of wind among the leaves, but there 
was not a breath of air and not a drop of dew fell, 
and I thought, Those are the cannon and wagons 
of the Prussians, galloping over the Xamur road; 
their battalions and squadrons, which are coming 
continually. What a position we shall be in to-mor¬ 
row with that mass of men already before us, and 
re-enforcements arriving every moment.’’ 

* Who goes there !—French. f Who goes there ! - German. 




They had extinguished their fires at St. Amand 
and at Ligny, but they burned brighter than ever at 
Sombref. The Prussians who had just arrived af¬ 
ter forced inarches were no doubt making their 

A thousand thoughts ran through my brain, and I 
said to myself from time to time, You escaped 
from Lutzen and Leipzig and Hanau, why not es¬ 
cape this time also? 

But the hopes which I cherished did not prevent 
me from realizing that the battle would be a ter¬ 
rible one. I lay down, however, and slept soundly 
for half an hour, when the drum-major, Padoue 
himself, commenced to beat the reveille. He 
promenaded up and down the edge of the wood and 
turned ofi his rolls and double rolls with great satis¬ 
faction. The ofiicers were standing in the grain on 
the hill-side in a group, looking toward Fleurus, and 
talking among themselves. Our reveille always 
commenced before that of the Austrians or Prus¬ 
sians or any of our enemies. It is like the song of 
the lark at dawn. They commence theirs on their 
big drums with a dismal roll which gives you the 
idea of a funeral. But, on the contrary, their bu¬ 
glers have pretty airs for sounding the reveille, while 
ours only give two or three blasts, as much as to say: 

Come, let us be going! there is no time to lose.” 
Everybody rose and the sun came up splendidly over 



the grain fields, and we could feel beforehand how 
hot it would be at noon. 

Buche and all the detailed men set off with their 
canteens for water, while others were lighting hand¬ 
fuls of straw with tinder for their fires. There was 
no lack of wood, as each one took an armful from the 
piles that were already cut. Corporal Duhem and 
Sergeant Rabot and Zebede came to have a talk with 
me. We were together in 1813, and they had been 
at my wedding, and in spite of the difference in our 
rank they had always continued their friendship for 

^^Well! Joseph,^’said Zebede, the dance is go¬ 
ing to commence.^’ 

Yes,’’ I replied, and recalling the words of poor 
Sergeant Pinto the morning before Lutzen, I added 
with a wink, this, Zebede, will be a battle, as Ser¬ 
geant Pinto said, where you will gain the cross be¬ 
tween the thrusts of ramrod and bayonet, and if you 
do not have a chance now you need never expect it.” 

They all began to laugh, and Zebede said: 

Yes, indeed, the poor old fellow richly deserved 
it, but it is harder to catch than the bouquet at the 
top of a climbing pole.” 

We all laughed, and as they had a flash of brandy, 
we took a crust of bread together as we watched the 
movements of the enemy which began to be per¬ 
ceptible. Buche had returned among the first with 



his canteen and now stood behind us with his ears 
wide open like a fox on the alert. 

Files of cavalry came out of the woods and 
crossed the grain fields in the direction of St. 
Amand, the large village at the left of Fleurus. 

Those,” said Zebede, are the light horse of Pa- 
jol who will deploy as scouts. These are Exelman^s 
dragoons. 'When the others have ascertained the 
positions they will advance in line, that is the way 
they always do, and the cannon will come with the 
infantry. The cavalry will form on the right or the 
left and support the flanks, and the infantry will 
take the front rank. They will form their attack¬ 
ing columns on the good roads and in the fields, and 
the affair will begin with a cannonade for twenty 
minutes or half an hour, more or less, and when 
half the batteries are disabled, the Emperor will 
choose a favorable moment to put us in, but it is we 
who will catch the bullets and canister because we 
are nearest. We advance, carry arms, in readiness 
for a charge, at a quick step and in good order, but 
it always ends in a double quick, because the shot 
makes you impatient. I warn you, conscripts, be¬ 
forehand, so that you may not be surprised.” More 
than twenty conscripts had ranged themselves be¬ 
hind us to listen. The cavalry continued to pour 
out of the wood. 

I will bet,” said Corporal Duhem, that the 



Fourth cavalry has been on the march in our rear 
since daybreak.’’ 

And Rabot said they would have to take time to 
get into line, as it was so bad traversing the wood. 
We were discussing the matter like generals, and 
we scanned the position of the Prussians around the 
villages, in the orchards, and behind .the hedges, 
which are six feet high in that country. A great 
number of their guns were grouped in batteries be¬ 
tween Ligny and St. Amand, and we could plainly 
see the bronze shining in the sun, which inspired all 
sorts of reflections. 

I am sure,” said Zebede, that they are all 
barricaded, and they have dug ditches and pierced 
the walls; we should have done well to push on 
yesterday, when their squares retreated to the first 
village on the heights. If we were on a level with 
them it would be very well, but to climb up across 
those hedges under the enemy’s Are will cost a trifle, 
unless something should happen in the rear as is 
sometimes the case with the Emperor.” 

The old soldiers were talking in this fashion on all 
sides, and the conscripts were listening with open 

Meanwhile the camp-kettles were suspended over 
the fire, but they were expressly forbidden to use 
their bayonets for this purpose as it destroyed their 
temper. It was about seven o’clock, and we all 



thought that the battle would be at St. Amand. 
The village was surrounded by hedges and shrub¬ 
bery, with a great tower in the centre, and higher 
up in the rear there were more houses and a winding 
road bordered with a stone wall. All the officers 
said: That is where the struggle will be.” As 

our troops came from Charleroi they spread over 
the plain below us, infantry and cavalry side by 
side; all the corps of Yandamme and Gerard’s di¬ 
vision. Thousands and thousands of helmets glit¬ 
tered in the sun, and Buche who stood beside me, 

Oh! oh! oh! look, Joseph, look! they come 
continually! ” 

And we could see innumerable bayonets in the 
same direction as far as the eye could reach. 

The Prussians were spreading more and more 
over the hill-side near the windmills. This move¬ 
ment continued till eight o’clock. Nobody was 
hungry, but we ate all the same, so as not to re¬ 
proach ourselves; for the battle, once begun, might 
last two days without giving us a chance to eat 

Between eight and nine o’clock the first battalions 
of our division left the wood. The officers came to 
shake hands with their comrades, but the staff re¬ 
mained in the rear. Suddenly the hussars and chas¬ 
seurs passed us, extending our line of battle toward 


21 I 

the right. They were Morin^s cavalry. Our idea 
was that when the Prussians should have become 
engaged in the attack on St. Amand, we would fall 
on their flank at Ligny. But the Prussians were on 
their guard, and from that moment they stopped 
at Ligny, instead of going on to St. Amand. They 
even came lower down, and we could see the officers 
posting the men among the hedges and in the gar¬ 
dens and behind the low walls and baiTacks. We 
thought their position very strong. They continued 
to come lower down in a sort of fold of the hill-side 
between Ligny and Pleurus, and that astonished us, 
for we did not yet know that a little brook divided 
the village into two parts, and that they were filling 
the houses on our side, and we did not know that 
if they were repulsed they could retreat up the hill 
and still hold us always under their fire. 

If we knew everything about such affairs before¬ 
hand, we should never dare to commence such a dan¬ 
gerous enterprise, but the difficulties are discovered 
step by step. We were destined that day to find a 
great many things which we did not expect. 

About half-past eight several of our regiments 
had left the wood, and very soon the drums beat the 
assembly and all the battalions took their arms. 
The general. Count Gerard, arrived with his staff, 
and passing us at a gallop, without any notice, went 
on to the hill below Fleurus. Almost immediately 



the firing commenced; the scouts of Vandamme ap¬ 
proached the village on the left, and two pieces of 
cannon were sent off, with the artillerymen on horse¬ 
back. After five or six discharges of cannon from 
the top of the hill the musketry ceased and our 
scouts were in Fleurus, and we saw three or four 
hundred Prussians mounting the hill in the distance, 
toward Ligny. General Gerard, after looking at 
this little engagement, came back with his staff and 
passed slowly down our front, inspecting us care¬ 
fully, as if he wished to ascertain what sort of humor 
we were in. He was about forty-five years old, 
brown, with a large head, a round face, the lower 
part heavy, with a pointed chin. A great many 
peasants in our country resemble him, and they are 
not the most stupid. He said not a word to us, and 
when he had passed the whole length of our line, all 
the generals and colonels were grouped together. 
The command was given to order arms. The or¬ 
derlies then set off like the wind; this engrossed the 
attention of all, but not a man stirred. The rumor 
spread that Grouchy was to be commander-in-chief, 
and that the Emperor had attacked the English four 
leagues away, on the route to Brussels. 

This news put us in anything but a pleasant hu¬ 
mor, and more than one said, It is no wonder that 
we are here doing nothing since morning; if the 
Emperor was with us, we should have given battle 



long ago, and the Prussians would not have had time 
to know where they were.’’ 

This was the talk we indulged in, and it shows the 
injustice of men; for three hours afterward, in the 
midst of shouts of Vive VEmpereur,^ Napoleon 
arrived. These shouts swept along the line like a 
tempest, and were continued even opposite Sombref. 
Now everything was right. That for which we had 
reproached Marshal Grouchy, was perfectly proper 
when done by the Emperor, since it was he. 

Very soon the order reached us to advance our 
line five hundred paces to the right, and off we start¬ 
ed through the rye, oats, and barley, which were 
swept down before us, but the principal line of battle 
on the left was not changed. 

As we reached a broad road which we had not be¬ 
fore seen and came in sight of Fleurus, with its little 
brook bordered with willows, the order was given 
to halt! A murmur ran through the whole divi¬ 
sion—There he is! ” 

He was on horseback, and only accompanied by a 
few of the officers of his staff. 

We could only recognize him in the distance by 
his gray coat and his hat; his carriage with its es¬ 
cort of lancers was in the rear. He entered Fleurus 
by the high road, and remained in the village more 
than an hour, while we were roasting in the grain 



At the end of this hour, which we thought inter¬ 
minable, files of staff officers set off, at a gallop, bent 
over their saddle-hows till their noses were between 
their horse^s ears. Two of them stopped near Gen¬ 
eral Gerard, one remained with him, and the other 
went on again. Still we waited, until suddenly the 
bands of all the regiments began to play; drums and 
trumpets all together; and that immense line which 
extended from the rear of St. Amand to the forest, 
swung round, with the right wing in the advance. 
As it reached beyond our division in the rear, we ad¬ 
vanced our line still more obliquely, and again the 
order came. Halt! The road running out of Fleurus 
was opposite us, a blank wall on the left; behind 
which were trees and a large house, and in front a 
windmill of red brick, like a tower. 

We had hardly halted, when the Emperor came 
out of this mill with three or four generals and two 
old peasants in blouses, holding their cotton caps in 
their hands. The whole division commenced to 
shout, Vive VEmpereur! 

I saw him plainly as he came along a path in front 
of the battalion, with his head bent down and his 
hands behind his back listening to the old bald peas¬ 
ant. He took no notice of the shouts, but turned 
round twice and pointed toward Ligny. I saw him 
as plainly as I could see Father Goulden when we 
sat opposite each other at table. He had grown 

niK K.MrKKOK, 





much stouter than when he was at Leipzig, and 
looked yellow. If it had not been for his gray coat 
and his hat, I should hardly have recognized him. 
His cheeks were sunken and he looked much older. 
All this came, I presume, from his troubles at Elba, 
and in thinking of the mistakes he had made; for he 
was a wise man, and could see his own faults. He 
had destroyed the revolution which had sustained 
him, he had recalled the emigres who despised him, 
he had married an archduchess who preferred Vi¬ 
enna to Paris, and he had chosen his bitterest en¬ 
emies for his counsellors. 

In short he had put everything back where it was 
before the revolution, nothing was wanting but 
Louis XVIII., and then the kings had put Louis 
XVIII. on his throne again. Xow he had come to 
overthrow the legitimate sovereign, and some called 
him a despot, and some a Jacobin. It was unfortu¬ 
nate for him that he had done everything possible 
to facilitate the return of the Bourbons. Xothing 
remained to him but his army, if he lost that, he lost 
everything, for many of the people wanted liberty 
like Father Goulden, others wanted tranquillity and 
peace like Mother Gredel, and like me and all those 
who were forced into the war. 

These things made him terribly anxious, he had 
lost the confidence of the whole world. The old 
soldiers alone preserved their attachment to him. 

2 i6 


and asked only to conquer or die. With such no¬ 
tions you cannot fail of one or the other, all is plain 
and clear; but a great many people do not have 
these ideas, and for my part I loved Catherine a 
thousand times more than the Emperor. 

On reaching a turn in the wall, where the hussars 
were waiting for him, he mounted his horse, and 
General Gerard who had recognized him came up at 
a gallop. He turned round for two seconds to listen 
to him, and then both went into Fleurus. 

Still we waited! About two o’clock General 
Gerard returned, and our line was obliqued a third 
time more to the right, and then the whole division 
broke into columns, and we followed the road to 
Fleurus with the cannon and caissons at intervals 
between the brigades. The dust enveloped us com¬ 

Buche said to me: 

Cost what it may, I must drink at the first pud¬ 
dle we come to.” 

But we did not find any water. The music did 
not cease, and masses of cavalry kept coming up be¬ 
hind us, principally dragoons. We were still on the 
march when suddenly the roar of musketry and can¬ 
non broke on our ears as when water breaking over 
its barriers sweeps all before it. 

T knew what it was, but Buche turned pale and 
looked at me in mute astonishment. 



Yes, indeed, Jean,’’ said I, those over there 
are attacking St. Amand, but our turn will come 

The music had ceased but the thunder of the guns 
had redoubled, and we heard the order on all sides. 


The division stopped on the road and the gunners 
ran out at intervals and put their pieces in line fifty 
paces in front, with their caissons in the rear. 

We were opposite Ligny. We could only see a 
white line of houses half hidden in the orchards, 
with a church spire above them—slopes of yellow 
earth, trees, hedges, and palisades. There we were, 
twelve or fifteen thousand men without the cavalry, 
waiting the order to attack. 

The battle raged fiercely about St. Amand, and 
great masses of smoke rose over the combatants to¬ 
ward the sky. 

While waiting for our turn, my thoughts turned 
to Catherine with more tenderness than ever, the 
idea that she would soon be a mother crossed my 
mind, and then I besought God to spare my life, but 
with this, came the comfort of feeling that our child 
would be there if I should die to console them all, 
Catherine, Aunt Gredel, and Father Goulden. If 
it should be a boy they would call it Joseph, and 
caress it, and Father Goulden would dandle it on his 
knee. Aunt Gredel would love it, and Catherine 



would think of me as she embraced it, and I should 
not be altogether dead to them. But I clung to life 
while I saw how terrible was the conflict before us. 

Buche said to me, Joseph, will you promise me 
something?—I have a cross—if I am killed.’’ 

He shook my hand, and I said: I promise.” 

Well! ” he added, it is here on my breast. 
You must carry it to Harberg and hang it up in the 
chapel in remembrance of Jean Buche, dead in the 
faith of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” 

He spoke very earnestly, and I thought his wish 
very natural. Some die for the rights of Human¬ 
ity ; with some, the last thought is for their mother, 
others are influenced by the example of just men 
who have sacriflced themselves for the race, but the 
feeling is the same in every case, though each one 
expresses it according to his own manner of think¬ 

I gave him the desired promise and we waited for 
nearly half an hour longer. All the troops as they 
left the wood came and formed near us, and the 
cavalry were mustering on our right as if to attack 

Up to half-past two o’clock not a gun had been 
fired, when an aid-de-camp of the Emperor arrived 
on the road to Eleurus, at full speed, and I thought 
immediately, Our turn has come now. May God 
watch over us, for, miserable wretches that we are, 



we cannot save ourselves in such a slaughter as is 

I had scarcely made these reflections when two 
battalions on the right set off on the road, with the 
artillery, toward Sombref, where the Uhlans and 
Prussian cavalry were deploying in front of our 
dragoons. It was the fortune of these two bat¬ 
talions to remain in position on the route all that day 
to observe the cavalry of the enemy, while we went 
to take the village where the Prussians were in force. 

The attacking columns were formed just as the 
clock struck three; I was in the one on the left which 
moved flrst at a quick step along a winding road. 

On the hill where Ligny was situated, was an im¬ 
mense ruin. It had been built of brick and was 
pierced with holes and overlooked us as we mounted 
the hill. We watched it sharply too, through the 
grain as we went. The second column left immedi¬ 
ately after us and passed by a shorter route directly 
up the hill, we were to meet them at the entrance to 
the village. I do not know when the third column 
left, as we did not meet again till later. 

All went smoothly until we reached a point where 
the road was cut through a little elevation and then 
ran down to the village. As we passed through be¬ 
tween these little hills covered with grain, and 
caught sight of the nearest house, a veritable hail of 
balls fell on the head of the column with a frightful 



noise. From every hole in the old ruin, from all 
the windows and loop-holes in the houses, from the 
hedges and orchards and from above the stone walls 
the muskets showered their deadly fire upon us like 

At the same time a battery of fifteen pieces which 
had been for that very purpose placed in a field in 
the rear of the great tower at the left of, and higher 
up than Ligny, near the windmill, opened upon us 
with a roar, compared with which that of the mus¬ 
ketry was nothing. Those who had unfortunately 
passed the cut in the road fell over each other in 
heaps in the smoke. At that moment we heard the 
fire of the other column which had engaged the en¬ 
emy at our right, and the roar of other cannon, 
though we could not tell whether they were ours or 
those of the Prussians. 

Fortunately the whole battalion had not passed 
the little knoll, and the halls whistled through the 
grain above us, and tore up the ground without do¬ 
ing us the least injury. Every time this whizzing 
was heard, I observed that the conscripts near me 
ducked their heads, and Jean Buche, I remember, 
was staring at me with open eyes. The old soldiers 
marched with tightly compressed lips. 

The column stopped. For an instant each man 
thought whether it would not be better to turn back, 
but it was only for a second, the enemy’s fire seemed 



to slacken, the officers all drew their sabres and 
shouted, Forward! ” 

The column set off again at a run and threw itself 
into the road that led down the hill across the 
hedges. From the palisades and the walls behind 
which the Prussians were in ambush, they continued 
to pour their musketry fire upon us. But woe to 
every one we encountered! they defended them¬ 
selves with the desperation of wolves, but a few 
blows from a musket, or a bayonet thrust, soon 
stretched them out in some corner. A great num¬ 
ber of old soldiers with gray mustaches had secured 
their retreat, and retired in good order, turning to 
fire a last shot, and then slipped through a breach or 
shut a door. We followed them without hesitation, 
we had neither prudence nor mercy. 

At last, quite scattered and in the greatest confu¬ 
sion, we reached the first houses, when the fusillade 
commenced again from the windows, the corners of 
the streets, and from everywhere. There were the 
orchards and the gardens and the stone walls which 
ran along the hill-side, but they were thrown down 
and demolished, the palisades torn up, and could no 
longer serve as a shelter or a defence. From the 
well-barricaded cottages, they still poured their fire 
upon us. In ten minutes more, we should have 
been exterminated to the last man; seeing this, the 
column turned down the hill again, drummers and 



sappers, officers and soldiers pell-mell, all went with¬ 
out once turning their heads to look back. I jumped 
over the palisades where I never should have 
thought it possible at any other time, with my knap¬ 
sack and cartridge-box at my back; the others fol¬ 
lowed my example, and we all tumbled in a heap 
like a falling wall. 

Once in the road again between the hills, we 
stopped to breathe. Some stretched themselves on 
the ground, and others sat down with their backs 
against the slope. The officers were furious; as if 
they too had not followed the movement to retreat, 
and some shouted to bring up the cannon, and others 
wanted to re-form the troops, though they could 
scarcely make themselves heard in the midst of the 
thunder of the artillery which shook the air like a 

I saw Jean Buche hurrying back with his bayonet 
red with blood. He took his place beside me with¬ 
out saying a word, and commenced to reload. 

Captain Gregoire, Lieutenant Certain, and sev¬ 
eral sergeants and corporals, and more than a hun¬ 
dred men were left behind in the orchards; and the 
first two battalions of the column had suffered as 
much as we. 

Zebede, with his’ great crooked nose, white as 
snow, seeing me at some distance, shouted, Joseph 
—no quarter! 



Great masses of white smoke rose over the sides of 
the road. The whole hill-side from Ligny to St. 
Amand was on fire behind the willows and aspens 
and poplars. 

As I crept up on my hands and knees, and looked 
over the surface of the grain and saw this terrible 
spectacle, and saw the long black lines of infantry 
on the top of the hill and near the windmills, and 
the innumerable cavalry on their fianks ready to 
fall upon us, I went back thinking: 

We shall never rout that army. It fills the vil¬ 
lages, and guards the roads, and covers the hill as 
far as the eye can reach, there are guns everywhere, 
and it is contrary to reason to persist in such an 

I was indignant and even disgusted with the gen¬ 

All this did not take ten minutes. God only 
knew what had become of our other two columns. 
The terrible musketry fire on the left, and the vol¬ 
leys of grape and canister which we heard rushing 
through the air, were no doubt intended for them. 

I thought we had had our full share of troubles, 
when Generals Gerard, Vichery, and Schoeffer 
came riding up at full speed on the road below us, 
shouting like madmen, Forward! Forward! ” 

They drew their swords, and there was nothing to 
do but go. 



At this moment our batteries on the road below 
opened their fire on Ligny, the roofs in the village 
tumbled, and the walls sank, and we rushed forward 
with the generals at our head with their swords 
drawn, the drums beating the charge. We shouted, 
Vive VEmpcreiir.^^ The Prussian bullets swept 
us away by dozens, and shot fell like hail, and the 
drums kept up their pan-pan-pan.’’ We saw 
nothing, heard nothing, as we crossed the orchards, 
nobody paid any attention to those who fell, and in 
two minutes after, we entered the village, broke in 
the doors with the butts of our muskets, while the 
Prussians fired upon us from the windows. 

It was a thousand times worse in-doors, because 
yells of rage mingled in the uproar; we rushed into 
the houses with fixed bayonets and massacred each 
other without mercy. On every side the cry rose, 
ITo quarter! ” 

The Prussians who were surprised in the first 
houses we entered, were old soldiers and asked for 
nothing better. They perfectly understood what 
ISTo quarter ” meant, and made a most desperate 

As we reached the third or fourth house on a 
tolerably wide street on which was a church, and a 
little bridge farther on, the air was full of smoke 
from the fires caused by our bombs; great broken 
tiles and slate were raining down upon us, and every- 



thing roared and whistled and cracked, when 
Zebede, with a terrible look in his eyes, seized me by 
the arm, shouting, Come! 

We rushed into a large room already filled with 
soldiers, on the first floor of a house; it was dark, as 
they had covered the windows with sacks of earth, 
but we could see a steep wooden stairway at one end, 
down which the blood was running. We heard 
musket-shots from above and the flashes each mo¬ 
ment showed us five or six of our men sunk in a heap 
against the balustrade with their arms hanging 
down, and the others running over their bodies with 
their bayonets fixed, trying to force their way into 
the loft. 

It was horrible to see those men with their brist¬ 
ling mustaches, and brown cheeks, every wrinkle ex¬ 
pressing the fury which possessed them, determined 
to force a passage at any cost. The sight made me 
furious, and I shouted, Forward! 'No quarter! ” 

If I had been near the stairway^ I might have 
been cut to pieces in mounting, but fortunately 
for me, others were ahead and not one would give 
up his place. 

An old fellow, covered with wounds, succeeded 
in reaching the top of the stairs under the bayonets. 
As he gained the loft he let go his musket, and 
seized the balustrade with both hands. Two balls 
from muskets touching his breast did not make him 




let go his hold. Three or four others rushed up be¬ 
hind him striving each to be first, and leaped over 
the top stairs into the loft above. 

Then followed such an uproar as is impossible to 
describe, shots followed each other in quick succes¬ 
sion, and the shouts and trampling of feet made us 
think the house was coming down over our heads. 
Others followed, and when I reached the scene be¬ 
hind Zebede, the room was full of dead and wound¬ 
ed men, the windows were blown out, the walls 
splashed with blood, and not a Prussian was left on 
his feet. Five or six of our men were supporting 
themselves against the different pieces of furniture, 
smiling ferociously. Nearly all of them had balls 
or bayonet thrusts in their bodies, but the pleasure 
of revenge was greater than the pain of their 
wounds. My hair stands on end when I recall that 

As soon as Zebede saw that the Prussians were 
all dead^ he went down again, saying to me, Come, 
there is nothing more to do here.’’ 

We went out and found that our column had 
already passed the church, and thousands of mus¬ 
ket-shots crackled against the bridge like the fire 
breaking out from a coal-pit. 

The second column had come down the broad 
street on our right and joined ours, and in the mean¬ 
time, one of those Prussian columns which we had 



seen on the hill in the rear of Ligny, came down to 
drive us out of the village. 

Here it was that we had the first encounter in 
force. Two staff officers rode down the street by 
which we had come. 

Those men/^ said Zebede, are going to order 
up the guns. When they arrive, Joseph, you will 
see whether they can rout us.” 

He ran and I followed him. The fight at the 
bridge continued. The old church clock struck five. 
We had destroyed all the Prussians on this side the 
stream except those who were in ambush in the 
great old ruin at the left, which was full of holes. 
It had been set on fire at the top by our howitzers, 
but the fire continued from the lower stories, and we 
were obliged to avoid it. 

In front of the church we were in force. We 
found the little square filled with troops ready to 
march, and others were coming by the broad street, 
which traversed the whole length of Ligny. Only 
the head of the column was engaged at the little 
bridge. The Prussians tried hard to repulse them. 
The discharges in file followed each other like run¬ 
ning water. The square was so filled with smoke 
that we could see nothing but the bayonets, the 
front of the church, and the officers on the steps 
giving their orders. ITow and then a staff officer 
would set off at a gallop, and the air round the old 



slated spire was full of rooks whirling about af¬ 
frighted with the noise. The cannon at St. Amand 
roared incessantly. 

Between the gables on the left, we could see on 
the hill, the long blue lines of infantry and masses 
of cavalry coming from Sombref to turn our col¬ 
umns. It was there in our rear that the desperate 
combats took place between the Uhlans and our 
hussars. How many of these Uhlans we saw next 
morning stretched dead on the plain! 

Our battalion having suffered the most, we fell 
back to the second rank. We soon found our own 
company commanded by Captain Ulorentin. The 
guns were arriving by the same street on which we 
'were; the horses at full gallop foaming and shaking 
their heads furiously, while the wheels crushed 
everything before them. All this produced a tre¬ 
mendous uproar, but the thunder of cannon and the 
crash of musketry was all that could be distin¬ 
guished. The soldiers were all shouting and sing¬ 
ing, with their guns on their shoulders, but we 
knew this only by seeing their open mouths. 

I had just taken my place by the side of Buche 
and had begun to breathe, when a forward move¬ 
ment began. 

This time the plan was to cross the little stream, 
push the Prussians out of Ligny, mount the hill be¬ 
hind and cut their line in two, and the battle would 



be gained. Each one of us understood that, but 
with such masses of troops as they held in reserve, it 
was no small affair. 

Everything moved toward the bridge, but we 
could see nothing but the five or six men before us, 
and I was well satisfied to know that the head of 
the column was far in fronts 

But I was most delighted when Captain Florentin 
halted our company in front of an old barn with the 
door broken down, and posted the remnant of the 
battalion behind the ruins in order to sustain the 
attacking columns by firing from the windows. 

There were fifteen of us in that barn and I can 
see it now, with the door hanging by one hinge, and 
battered with the balls, and the ladder running up 
through a square hole, three or four dead Prussians 
leaning against the walls, and a window at the other 
end looking into the street in the rear. 

Zebede commanded our post. Lieutenant Breton- 
ville occupied the house opposite with another 
squad, and Captain Florentin went somewhere else. 
The street was filled with troops quite up to the two 
corners near the brook. 

The first thing we tried to do was to put up the 
door and fasten it, but we had hardly commenced 
when we heard a terrible crash in the street, and 
walls, shutters, tiles, and everything were swept 
away at a stroke. Two of our men who were outside 



holding lip the door, fell as if cut down with a 

At the same moment we could hear the steps of 
the retreating column rolling over the bridge, while 
a dozen more such explosions made us draw back in 
spite of ourselves. It was a battery of six pieces 
charged with canister which Bliicher had masked 
at the end of the street, and which now opened 
upon us. 

The whole column—drummers, soldiers, officers, 
mounted and foot, were in retreat, pushing and jost¬ 
ling each other, swept along as by a hurricane. No¬ 
body looked back, those who fell were lost. The 
last ones had hardly passed our door when Zebede, 
who looked out to see what had happened, shouted 
in a voice of thunder, The Prussians! ” 

He fired, and several of us rushed for the ladder, 
but before we could think of climbing they were 
upon us. Zebede, Buche, and all who had not had 
time to get up the ladder drove them back with 
their bayonets. It seems to me as if I could see 
those Prussians still, with their big mustaches, their 
red faces and fiat shakos, furious at being checked. 

I never had such a shock as that. Zebede shout¬ 
ed, No quarter,” just as if we had been the 
stronger. But immediately he received a blow on 
the head from the butt of a musket and fell. 

I saw that he was going to be murdered and I 



burned for revenge. I shouted, To the bayonet,’^ 
and we all fell upon the rascals, while our comrades 
fired at them from above, and a fusillade com¬ 
menced from the houses opposite. 

The Prussians fell back, but a little distance away 
there was a whole battalion. Buche took Zebede 
on his shoulders and started up the ladder. We fol¬ 
lowed him, shouting Hurry! while we aided him 
with all our strength to climb the ladder with his 
burden. I was next to the last, and I thought we 
should never get up. We heard the shots already 
in the barn, but we were up at last, and all inspired 
with the same idea, we tried to draw the ladder up 
after us. To our horror we found, as we endeavored 
to pull it through the opening between the shots, 
one of which took off the head of a comrade, that 
it was so large we could not get it into the loft. 
We hesitated for a moment, when Zebede, recover¬ 
ing himself, exclaimed, Shoot through the 
rounds! This seemed to us an inspiration from 

Below us the uproar was terrible. The whole 
street, as well as our barn, was full of Prussians. 

They were mad with rage, and worse than we; 
repeating incessantly, Ho prisoners! ’’ 

They were enraged by the musket-shots from the 
houses; they broke down the doors, and then we 
could hear the struggles, the falls, curses in French 



and German, the orders of Lieutenant Bretonville 
opposite, and the Prussian officers commanding 
their men to go and bring straw to fire the houses. 
Fortunately the harvest was not yet secured, or we 
should all have been burned. 

They fired into the fioor under our feet, but it 
was made of thick oak plank and the balls tapped on 
it like the strokes of a hammer. We stood one be¬ 
hind the other and continued our fire into the street, 
and every shot told. 

It appeared as if they had retaken the church 
square, for we only heard our fire very far away. 
We were alone, two or three hundred men in the 
midst of three or four thousand. Then I said to 
myself, Joseph! you will never escape from this 
danger. It is impossible 1 your end has come! I 
dared not think of Catherine, my heart quaked. 
Our retreat was cut off, the Prussians held both 
ends of the street and the lanes in the rear, and they 
had already retaken several houses. 

Suddenly the hubbub ceased; they were making 
some preparation we thought; they have gone for 
straw or fagots or they are going to bring up their 
guns to demolish us. 

Our gunners looked out of the window, but they 
saw nothing, the barn was empty. This dead si¬ 
lence was more terrible than the tumult had been a 
few minutes before. 



Zebede had just raised himself up, and the blood 
was running from his mouth and nose. 

“ Attention! we are going to have another at¬ 
tack. The rascals are getting ready. Charge! ’’ 

He hardly finished speaking when the whole 
building, from the gables to the foundation, swayed 
as if the earth had opened beneath it, and beams 
and lath and slate came down with the shock, while 
a red flame burst out under our feet and mounted 
above the roof. We all fell in a heap. 

A lighted bomb which the Prussians had rolled 
into the barn had just exploded. On getting up I 
heard a whizzing in my ears, but that did not pre¬ 
vent me from seeing a ladder placed at the window 
of the barn. Buche was using his bayonet with 
great effect on the invaders. 

The Prussians thought to profit by our surprise 
to mount the ladder and butcher us; this made me 
shudder, but I ran to the assistance of my comrade. 
Two others who had escaped, ran up shouting, 
Vive VEmpereiir! 

I heard nothing more, the noise was frightful. 
The flashes of the muskets below and from the win¬ 
dows lighted up the street like a moving flame. We 
had thrown down the ladder, and there were six of 
us still remaining, two in front who fired the mus¬ 
kets, and four behind who loaded and passed the 
guns to them. 



In this extremity I had become calm. I resigned 
myself to my fate, thinking I would try to sell my 
own life as dearly as possible. The others no doubt 
had the same thoughts, and we made great havoc. 

This lasted about a quarter of an hour, when the 
cannon began to thunder again, and some seconds 
after our comrades in front looked out the window 
and ceased firing. My cartridge-box was nearly 
empty, and I went to replenish it from those of my 
dead comrades. 

The cries of Vive VEmpereur! ” came nearer 
and nearer, when suddenly the head of our column 
with its flag all blackened and torn, filed into the 
little square through our street. 

The Prussians beat a retreat. We all wanted to 
go down, but two or three times the column recoiled 
before the grape and canister. The shouts and the 
thunder of the cannon mingled afresh. Zebede, 
who was looking out, ran to the ladder. Our col¬ 
umn had passed the barn and we all went down in 
file without regarding our comrades who were 
wounded by the bursting of the bomb, some of 
whom begged us piteously not to leave them behind. 

Such are men! the fear of being taken prisoners, 
made us barbarians. 

When we recalled these terrible scenes afterward, 
we would have given anything if we had had the 
least heart, but then it was too late. 


An hour before, fifteen of us had entered that old 
bam, now there were but six to come out. 

Buche and Zebede were among the living; the 
Pfalzbourgers had been fortunate. 

Once outside it was necessary to follow the attack¬ 
ing column. 

We advanced over the heaps of dead. Our feet 
encountered this yielding mass, but we did not look 
to see if we stepped on the face of a wounded man, 
on his breast, or on his limbs; we marched straight 
on. We found out next morning, that this mass of 
men had been cut down by the battery in front of 
the church; their obstinacy had proved their ruin. 

Bllicher was only waiting to serve us in the same 
manner, but instead of going over the bridge we 
turned off to the right and occupied the houses 
along the brook. The Prussians fired at us from 
every window opposite, but as soon as we were am¬ 
bushed we opened our fire on their guns and they 
were obliged to fall back. 

They had already begun to talk of attacking the 
other part of the village, when the rumor was heard 



that a column of Prussians forty thousand strong 
had come up behind us from Charleroi. We could 
not understand it, as we had swept everything be¬ 
fore us to the banks of the Sambre. This column 
which had fallen on our rear, must have been hidden 
in the forest. 

It was about half-past six and the combat at St. 
Amand seemed to grow fiercer than ever. Bliicher 
had moved his forces to that side, and it was a favor¬ 
able moment to carry the other part of the village, 
but this column forced us to wait. 

The houses on either side of the brook were filled 
with troops, the French on the right and the Prus¬ 
sians on the left. The firing had ceased, a few shots 
were still heard from time to time, but they were 
evidently by design. We looked at each other as if 
to say, Let us breathe awhile now, and we will 
commence again presently.’^ 

The Prussians in the house opposite us, in their 
blue coats and leather shakos, with their mustaches 
turned up, were all strongly built men, old soldiers 
with square chins and their ears standing out from 
their heads. They looked as if they might over¬ 
throw us at a blow. The officers, too, were looking 

Along the two streets which were parallel with 
the brook and in the brook itself, the dead were 
lying in long rows. 



Many of them were seated with their backs 
against the walls. They had been dangerously 
wounded in the battle but had had sufficient 
strength to retire from the strife, and had 
sunk down against the wall and died from loss of 

Some were still standing upright in the brook, 
their hands clutching the bank as if to climb out, 
rigid in death. And in obscure corners of the 
ruined houses, when they were lighted up with the 
sun’s rays, we could see the miserable wretches 
crushed under the rubbish, with stones and beams 
lying across their bodies. 

The struggle at St. Amand became still more ter¬ 
rible, the discharges of cannon seemed to rise one 
above the other, and if we had not all been looking 
death in the face, nothing could have prevented us 
from admiring this grand music. 

At every discharge hundreds of men perished, 
but there was no interruption, the solid earth trem¬ 
bled under our feet. We could breathe again now, 
and very soon we began to feel a most intolerable 
thirst. During the fight nobody had thought of 
it, but now everybody wanted to drink. 

Our house formed the corner at the left of the 
bridge, but the little water that was running over 
the muddy bottom of the brook was red with blood. 
Between our house and the next there was a little 



garden, where there was a well from which to 
water it. We all looked at this well with its curb 
and its wooden posts; the bucket was still hanging 
to the chain in spite of the showers of shot, but 
three men were already lying face downward in 
the path leading to it. The Prussians had shot 
them as they were trying to reach it. 

As we stood there with our loaded muskets, one 
said, I would give half my blood for one glass of 
that water; ” another, Yes, but the Prussians are 
on the watch.” 

This was true, there they were, a hundred paces 
from us, perhaps they were as thirsty as we, and 
were guessing our thoughts. 

The shots that were still fired came from these 
houses, and no one could go along the street, they 
would shoot him at once, so we were all suffering 

This lasted for another half hour, when the can¬ 
nonade extended from St. Amand to Ligny, and we 
could see that our batteries had opened with grape 
and canister on the Prussians by the great gaps 
made in their columns at every discharge. 

This new attack produced a great excitement. 
Buche, who had not stirred till that moment, ran 
down through the path leading to the well in the 
garden and sheltered himself behind the curb. 
From the two houses opposite a volley was fired. 



and tlie stones and the posts were soon riddled with 

But we opened our fire on their windows and in 
an instant it began again from one end of the vil¬ 
lage to the other, and everything was enveloped in 

At that moment I heard some one shout from be¬ 
low, Joseph, Joseph! 

It was Buche; he had had the courage after he 
had drank himself, to fill the bucket, unfasten it, 
and bring it back with him. 

Several old soldiers wanted to take it from him, 
but he shouted, My comrade first! let go, or IJ1 
pour it all out! ” 

They were compelled to wait till I had drank, 
then they took their turn, and aftenvard the others 
who were upstairs drained the rest. 

We all wisnt up together greatly refreshed. 

It was about seven o’clock and near sunset, the 
shadows of the houses on our side reached quite to 
the brook—while those occupied by the Prussians 
were still in the sunlight, as well as the hill-side of 
Bry, down which we could see the fresh troops 
coming on the run. The cannonade had never been 
so fierce as at this moment from our side. 

Every one now knows, that at nightfall between 
seven and eight o’clock the Emperor, having dis¬ 
covered that the column which had been signalled 



in our rear was the corps of General d’Erlon, which 
had missed its route between the battle of Ney with 
the English at Quatre-Bras and ours here at Ligny, 
had ordered the Old Guard to support us at once. 

The lieutenant who was with us said, This is 
the grand attack. Attention! ’’ 

The whole of the Prussian cavalry was swarm¬ 
ing between the two villages. We felt that there 
was a grand movement behind us, though we did 
not see it. The lieutenant repeated, Attention to 
orders! Let no one stay behind after the order to 
march! Here is the attack! ’’ 

We all opened our eyes. The farther the night 
advanced the redder the sky grew over St. Amand. 
We were so absorbed in listening to the cannonade 
that we no longer thought of anything else. At 
each discharge you would have said the heavens 
were on fire. The tumult behind us was increasing. 

Suddenly the broad street running along the 
brook was full of troops, from the bridge quite to the 
end of Ligny. On the left in the distance the Prus¬ 
sians were shooting from the windows again, while 
we did not reply. The shout rose—The Guard! 
the Guard! ” I do not know how that mass of men 
passed the muddy ditch, probably by means of 
plank thrown across, but in a moment they were on 
the left bank in force. 

The batteries of the Prussians at the top of the 





i ■ • 

* I- f 


.4 < 







- f 







ravine between the two villages, cut gaps through 
our columns, but they closed up immediately, and 
moved steadily up the hill. What remained of our 
division ran across the bridge, followed by the ar¬ 
tillerymen and their pieces with the horses at a 

Then we went down to the street, but we had not 
reached the bridge when the cuirassiers began to file 
over it, followed by the dragoons and the mounted 
grenadiers of the guard. They were passing every¬ 
where, across and around the village. It was like 
a new and innumerable army. 

The slaughter began again on the hill, this time 
the battle was in the open fields, and we could trace 
the outlines of the Prussian squares on the hill-side 
at every discharge of musketry. 

We rushed on over the dead and wounded, and 
when we were clear of the village we could see that 
there was an engagement between the cavalry, 
though we could only distinguish the white cuirasses 
as they pierced the lines of the Uhlans; then they 
would be indiscriminately mingled and the cuiras¬ 
siers would re-form and set off again like a solid 

It was dark already, and the dense masses of 
smoke made it impossible to see fifty paces ahead. 
Everything was moving toward the windmills, the 
clatter of the cavalry, the shouts, the orders of the 



officers and the file-firing in the distance, all were 
confounded. Several of the squares were broken. 
From time to time a fiash would reveal a lancer bent 
to his horse’s neck, or a cuirassier, with his broad 
white back and his helmet with its fioating plume, 
shooting off like a bullet, two or three foot soldiers 
running about in the midst of the fray,—all would 
come and go like lightning. The trampled grain^ 
the rain streaking the heavens, the wounded under 
the feet of the horses, all came out of the black 
night—through the storm which had just broken 
out—for a quarter of a second. 

Every flash of musket or pistol showed us inex¬ 
plicable things by thousands. But everything 
moved up the hill and away from Ligny; we were 

We had pierced the enemy’s centre, the Prussians 
no longer made any defence, except at the top of the 
hill near the mills and in the direction of Sombref, 
at our right. St. Amand and Ligny were both in 
our hands. 

As for us, a dozen or so of our company there 
alone among the ruins of the cottages, with our car¬ 
tridge-boxes almost empty;—we did not know which 
way to turn. 

Zebede, Lieutenant Bretonville, and Captain 
Florentin had disappeared, and Sergeant Kabot was 
in command. He was a little old fellow, thin and 



deformed, but as tough as steel; he squinted and 
seemed to have had red hair when young. Now, as 
I speak of him, I seem to hear him say quietly to 
us, “ The battle is won! by file right! forward, 
march! ” 

Several wanted to stop and make some soup, for 
we had eaten nothing since noon and began to be 
hungry. The sergeant marched down the lane with 
his musket on his shoulder, laughing quietly, and 
saying in an ironical tone: 

“ Oh 1 soup, soup! wait a little, the commissary 
is coming! 

We followed him down the dark lane; about mid¬ 
way we saw a cuirassier on horseback with his back 
toward us. He had a sabre cut in the abdomen and 
had retired into this lane, the horse leaned against 
the wall to prevent him from falling off. 

As we filed past he called out, “ Comrades! ’’ But 
nobody even turned his head. 

Twenty paces farther on we found the ruins of a 
cottage completely riddled with balls, but half the 
thatched roof was still there, and this was why Ser¬ 
geant Kabot had selected it; and we filed into it for 

We could see no more than if we had been in an 
oven; the sergeant exploded the priming of his mus¬ 
ket, and we saw that it was the kitchen, that the fire¬ 
place was at the right, and the stairway on the left. 



Five or six Prussians and Frenchmen were stretched 
on the floor, white as wax, and with their eyes wide 

Here is the mess-room,^’ said the sergeant, let 
every one make himself comfortable. Our bedfel¬ 
lows will not kick us.^^ 

As we saw plainly that there were to he no ra¬ 
tions, each one took off his knapsack and placed it by 
the wall on the floor for a pillow. We could still 
hear the flring, but it was far in the distance on the 

The rain fell in torrents. The sergeant shut the 
door, which creaked on its hinges, and then quietly 
lighted his pipe. Some of the men were already 
snoring when I looked up, and he was standing at 
the little window, in which not a pane of glass re¬ 
mained, smoking. 

He was a Arm, just man, he could read and write, 
had been wounded and had his three chevrons, and 
ought to have been an officer, only he was not well 

He soon laid his head on his knapsack, and shortly 
after all were asleep. It was long after this when I 
was suddenly awakened by footsteps and fumbling 
about the house outside. 

I raised up on my elbow to listen, when somebody 
tried to open the door. I could not help screaming 
out. WhaFs the matter? ” said the sergeant. 



We could hear them running away, and Rabot 
turned on his knapsack saying: 

Night birds,—rascals,—clear out, or Idl send a 
hall after you! He said no more and I got up and 
looked out of the window, and saw the wretches in 
the act of robbing the dead and wounded. They 
were going softly from one to another, while the 
rain was falling in torrents. It was something hor¬ 

I lay down again and fell asleep overcome by 

At daybreak the sergeant was up and crying, 
En route! 

We left the cottage and went back through the 
lane. The cuirassier was on the ground, but his 
horse still stood beside him. The sergeant took 
him by the bridle and led him out into the orchard, 
pulled the bits from his mouth and said: 

Go, and eat, they will find you again by and 


And the poor beast walked quietly away. We 
hurried along the path which runs by Ligny. The 
furrows stopped here and some plats of garden 
ground lay along by the road. The sergeant looked 
about him as he went, and stooped down to dig up 
some carrots and turnips which were left. I quick¬ 
ly followed his example, while our comrades has¬ 
tened on without looking round. 



I saw that it was a good thing to know the fruits 
of the earth. I found two beautiful turnips and 
some carrots, which are very good raw, but I fol¬ 
lowed the example of the sergeant and put them in 
my shako. 

I ran on to overtake the squad, which was direct¬ 
ing its steps toward the fires at Sombref. As for 
the rest, I will not attempt to describe to you the 
appearance of the plateau in the rear of Ligny where 
our cuirassiers and dragoons had slaughtered all be¬ 
fore them. The men and horses were lying in 
heaps. The horses with their long necks stretched 
out on the ground and the dead and wounded lying 
under them. 

Sometimes the wounded men would raise their 
hands to make signs when the horses would attempt 
to get up and fall back, crushing them still more 

Blood! blood! everywhere. The directions of 
the balls and shot was marked on the slope by the 
red lines, just as we see in our country the lines in 
the sand formed by the water from the melting 
snow. But will you believe it? These horrors 
scarcely made any impression upon me. Before I 
went to Lutzen such a sight would have knocked me 
down. I should have thought then, Do our mas¬ 
ters look upon us as brutes? Will the good God 
give us up to be eaten by wolves ? Have we mothers 



and sisters and friends, beings who are dear to us, 
and will they not cry out for vengeance ? ’’ 

I should have thought of a thousand other things, 
but now I did not think at all. From having seen 
such a mass of slaughter and wrong every day and 
in every fashion, I began to say to myself: 

The strongest are always right. The Emperor 
is the strongest, and he has called us, and we must 
come in spite of everything, from Pfalzbourg, from 
Saverne, or other cities, and take our places in the 
ranks and march. The one who would show the 
least sign of resistance ought to be shot at once. The 
marshals, the generals, the officers, down to the last 
man, follow their instructions, they dare not make 
a move without orders, and everybody obeys the 
army. It is the Emperor who wills, who has the 
power and who does everything. And would not 
Joseph Bertha be a fool to believe that the Emperor 
ever committed a single fault in his life? Would 
it not be contrary to reason? 

That was what we all thought, and if the Emperor 
had remained here, all France would have had the 
same opinion. 

My only satisfaction was in thinking that I had 
some carrots and turnips, for in passing in the rear 
of the pickets to find our place in the battalion, we 
learned that no rations had been distributed except 
brandy and cartridges. 



The veterans were filling their kettles; but the 
conscripts, who had not yet learned the art of living 
while on a campaign, and who had unfortunately 
already eaten all their bread, as will happen when 
one is twenty years old, and is on the march with a 
good appetite, they had not a spoonful of anything. 

At last about seven o^clock we reached the camp. 
Zebede came to meet me and was delighted to see 
me, and said, What have you brought, Joseph? 
We have found a fat kid and we have some salt, but 
not a mouthful of bread.’’ 

I showed him the rice which I had left, and my 
turnips and carrots. 

That’s good,” said he, we shall have the best 
soup in the battalion.” 

I wanted Buche to eat with us too, and the six 
men belonging to our mess, who had all escaped with 
only bruises and scratches, consented. Padoue, the 
drum-major, said, laughing, Veterans are always 
veterans, they never come empty-handed.” 

We looked into the kettles of the five conscripts, 
and winked, for they had nothing but rice and water 
in them, while we had a good rich soup, the odor of 
which filled the air around us. 

At eight we took our breakfast with an appetite, 
as you can imagine. 

l^ot even on my wedding-day did I eat a better 
meal, and it is a pleasure even now to think of it. 



When we are old we are not so enthusiastic about 
such things as when we are young, but still we al¬ 
ways recall them with satisfaction. 

This breakfast sustained us a long time, but the 
poor conscripts with only a few crumbs as it were 
soaked in rain water, had a hard time next day—the 
18th. We were to have a short but terrible cam¬ 

Though all is over now, yet I cannot think of 
those terrible sufferings without emotion, or with¬ 
out thanking God that we escaped them. The sun 
shone again and the weather was fine,—we had hard¬ 
ly finished our breakfast when the drums began to 
beat the assembly along the whole line. 

The Prussian rear-guard had just left Sombref, 
and it was a question whether we should pursue 
them. Some said we ought to send out the light- 
horse, to pick up the prisoners. But no one paid 
any attention to them,—the Emperor knew what he 
was doing. 

But I remember that everybody was astonished 
notwithstanding, because it is the custom to profit by 
victories. The veterans had never seen anything 
like it. They thought that the Emperor was pre¬ 
paring some grand stroke; that Ney had turned the 
enemy’s line, and so forth. 

Meanwhile the roll commenced and General 
Gerard reviewed the Fourth corps. Our battalion 



had suffered most, because in the three attacks we 
had always been in the front. 

The Commandant Gemeau and Captain Vidal 
were wounded, and Captains Gregoire and Vignot 
killed, seven lieutenants and second lieutenants, and 
three hundred and sixty men hors de combat. 

Zebede said that it was worse than at Montmirail, 
and that they would finish us up completely before 
we got through. 

Fortunately the fourth battalion arrived from 
Metz under Commandant Delong and took our place 
in the line. 

Captain Florentin ordered us to file off to the left, 
and we went back to the village near the church, 
where a quantity of carts were stationed. 

We were then distributed in squads to superin¬ 
tend the removal of the wounded. Several detach¬ 
ments of chasseurs were ordered to escort the con¬ 
voys to Fleurus as there was no room for them at 
Ligny; the church was already filled with the poor 
fellows. We did not select those to be removed, the 
surgeons did that, as we could hardly distinguish in 
numbers of cases, between the living and the dead. 
We only laid them on the straw in the carts. 

I knew how all this was, for I was at Lutzen, and 
I understand what a man suffers in recovering from 
a ball, or a musket-shot, or such a cut as our cuiras¬ 
siers made. 



Every time I saw one of these men taken up, T 
thanked God that I was not reduced to that condi¬ 
tion, and, thinking that the same thing might befall 
me, I said to myself: You do not know how many 
balls and slugs have been near you, or you would be 
horrified.’’ I was astonished that so many of us had 
escaped in the carnage, which had been far greater 
than at Lutzen or even at Leipzig. The battle had 
only lasted five hours, and the dead in many places 
were piled two or three feet deep. The blood flowed 
from under them in streams. Through the princi¬ 
pal street where the artillery went, the mud was red 
with blood, and the mud itself was crushed flesh and 

It is necessary to tell you this, in order that the 
young men may understand. I shall fight no more, 
thank God, I am too old, but all these young men 
who think of nothing but war, instead of being in¬ 
dustrious and helping their aged parents, should 
know how the soldiers are treated. Let them im¬ 
agine what the poor fellows who have done their 
duty think, as they lie in the street, wanting an arm 
or a leg, and hear the cannon, weighing twelve or 
fifteen thousand pounds, coming with their big well- 
shod horses, plunging and neighing. 

Then it is that they will recall their old parents 
who embraced them in their own village, while they 
went off saying: 



I am going, but I shall return with the cross of 
honor, and with my epaulettes/’ 

Yes, indeed! if they could weep and ask God’s 
pardon, we should hear their cries and complaints, 
hut there is no time for that; the cannon and the 
caissons with their freight of bombs and bullets ar¬ 
rive—and they can hear their own bones crack be¬ 
forehand—and all pass right over their bodies, just 
as they do through the mud. 

When we are old, and think that such horrible 
things may happen to the children we love, we feel 
as if we would part with the last sou before we would 
allow them to go. 

But all this does no good, bad men cannot be 
changed, while good ones must do their duty, and if 
misfortune comes, their confidence in the justice of 
God remains. Such men do not destroy their fel¬ 
lows from the love of glory, they are forced to do so, 
they have nothing with which to reproach them¬ 
selves, they defend their own lives and the blood 
which is shed is not on their hands. 

But I must finish my story of the battle and the 
removal of the wounded. 

I saw sights there which are incredible ; men 
killed in a moment of fury, whose faces had not 
lost their horrible expression, still held their mus¬ 
kets in their hands and stood upright against the 
walls, and you could almost hear them cry, as they 



stared with glazed eyes, To the bayonet! No 
quarter! ’’ 

It was with this thought and this cry that they 
appeared before God. He was awaiting them, and 
He may have said to them, Here am I. Thou 
killest thy brethren—thou givest no quarter? None 
shall be given thee! 

I have seen others mortally wounded strangling 
each other. At Fleurus we were obliged to separate 
the French and the Prussians, because they would 
rise from their beds, or their bundles of straw, to tear 
each other to pieces. Ah! war! those who wish for 
it, and those who make men like ferocious beasts, 
will have a terrible account to settle above. 


The removal of the wounded continued until 
night. About noon shouts of Vive VEmpereur ex¬ 
tended along the whole line of our bivouac from the 
village of Bry to Sombref. Xapoleon had left 
Fleurus with his staff and had passed in review the 
whole army on the plateau. These shouts continued 
for an hour, and then all was quiet and the army took 
up its march. 

We waited a long time for the orders to follow, 
but as they did not come. Captain Florentin went to 
see what was the matter, and came back at full speed 
shouting, Beat the assembly! The detach¬ 
ments of the battalion joined each other and we 
passed through the village at a quick step. 

All had left, many other squads had received no 
orders, and in the vicinity of St. Amand the streets 
were full of soldiers. 

Several companies remained behind, and reached 
the road by crossing the fields on the left, where we 
could see the rear of the column as far as the eye 
could reach—caissons, wagons, and baggage of 
every sort. 

I have often thought that we might have been left 



behind, as Gerard’s division was at St. Amand, and 
nobody could have blamed us, as we followed our 
orders to pick up the wounded, but Captain Floren- 
tin would have thought himself dishonored. 

We hurried forward as fast as possible. It had 
commenced to rain again and we slipped in the mud 
and darkness. I never saw wmrse weather, not even 
at the retreat from Leipzig when we were in Ger¬ 
many. The rain came down as if from a watering 
pot, and we tramped on with our guns under our 
arms with the cape of our cloaks over the locks, so 
wet that if we had been through a river it could not 
have been worse; and such mud! With all this we 
began to feel the want of food. Buche kept 

Well! a dozen big potatoes roasted in the ashes 
as we do at Harberg would rejoice my eyes. We 
don’t eat meat every day at home, but we always 
have potatoes.” 

I thought of our warm little room at Pfalzbourg, 
the table with its white cloth, Father Goulden with 
his plate before him, while Catherine served the rich 
hot soup and the smoked cutlets on the gridiron. 
My present sufferings and troubles overwhelmed 
me, and if wishing for death only had been neces¬ 
sary to rid me of the^n, I should have long ago been 
out of this world. 

The night was dark, and if it had not been for the 



ruts, into which we plunged to our knees at every 
step, we should have found it difficult to keep the 
road; as it was, we had only to march in the mud to 
be sure we were right. 

Between seven and eight o’clock we heard in the 
distance something like thunder. Some said: ‘‘ It 
is a thunder-storm! ” others, It is cannon! ” 

Great numbers of disbanded soldiers were follow¬ 
ing us. 

At eight o’clock we reached Quatre-Bras. Tliere 
are two houses opposite each other at the intersec¬ 
tion of the road from Nivelles to ITamur with that 
from Brussels to Charleroi. They were both full of 
wounded men. It was here that Marshal ^Tey had 
given battle to the English, to prevent them from 
going to the support of the Prussians along the road 
by which we had just come. He had but twenty 
thousand men against forty thousand, and yet 
Nicholas Cloutier, the tanner, maintains to-day 
even, that he ought to have sent half his troops to 
attack the Prussian rear, as if it were not enough to 
stop the English. 

To such people everything is easy, but if they 
were in command, it would be easy to rout them 
with four men and a corporal. 

Below us the barley and oat fields were full of 
dead men. It was then that I saw the first red-coats 
stretched out in the road. 



Tlie captain ordered us to halt, and he went into 
the house at the right. We waited for some time in 
the rain, when he came out with Dauzelot, general 
of the division, who was laughing, because we had 
not followed Grouchy toward Namur; the want of 
orders had compelled us to turn off to Quatre-Bras. 
Notwithstanding, we received orders to continue our 
march without stopping. 

I thought I should drop every moment from 
weakness, but it was worse still when we overtook 
the baggage, for then we were obliged to march on 
the sides of the road, and the farther from it we went 
the more deeply we sank in the soft soil. 

About eleven o^clock we reached a large village 
called Genappe, which lies on both sides of the 

The crowd of wagons, cannon, and baggage was 
so great that we were forced to turn to the right and 
cross the Thy by a bridge, and from this point we 
continued to march through the fields of grain and 
hemp, like savages who respect nothing. The night 
was so dark that the mounted dragoons, who were 
placed at intervals of two hundred paces like 
guide-posts, kept shouting, This way, this 

About midnight we reached a sort of farm-house 
thatched with straw, which was filled with superior 
officers. It was not far from the main road, as we 




could hear the cavalry and artillery and baggage 
wagons rushing by like a torrent. 

The captain had hardly got into the house, when 
we jumped over the hedge into the garden. I did 
like the rest, and snatched what I could. Nearly 
the whole battalion followed this example in spite of 
the shouts of the officers, and each one began dig¬ 
ging up what he could find with his bayonet. In 
two minutes there was nothing left. The sergeants 
and corporals were with us, but when the captain re¬ 
turned we had all regained our ranks. 

Those who pillage and steal on a campaign ought 
to be shot; but what could you do? There was not 
a quarter enough food in the towns through which 
we passed to supply such numbers. The English 
had already taken nearly everything. We had a 
little rice left, but rice without meat is not very 

The English troops received sheep and beeves 
from Brussels, they were well fed and glowing with 
health. We had come too late, the convoys of sup¬ 
plies were belated, and the next day when the ter¬ 
rible battle of Waterloo was fought the only ration 
we received was brandy. 

We left the village, and on mounting a little ele¬ 
vation we perceived the English pickets through the 
rain. We were ordered to take a position in the 
grain fields with several regiments which we could 



not see, and not to light our fires for fear of alarming 
the English, if they should discover us in line, and so 
induce them to continue their retreat. 

Isow just imagine us lying in the grain under a 
pouring rain like regular gypsies, shivering with 
cold and bent on destroying our fellows, and happy 
in having a turnip or a radish to keep up our 
strength and tell me if that is the kind of life for 
honest people. Is it for that, that God has created 
us and put us in the world? Is it not abominable 
that a king or an emperor, instead of watching over 
the affairs of the state, encouraging commerce, and 
instructing the people in the principles of liberty 
and giving good examples, should reduce us to such 
a condition as that by hundreds of thousands. I 
know very well that this is called glory, but the peo¬ 
ple are very stupid to glorify such men as those. 
Yes, indeed, they must have first lost all sense of 
right, all heart, and all religion! 

But all this did not prevent my teeth from chat¬ 
tering, or from seeing the English in our front 
warming and enjoying themselves around their good 
fires, after receiving their rations of beef, brandy, 
and tobacco. And I thought, It is we poor devils, 
drenched to our very marrow, who are to be com¬ 
pelled to attack these fellows who are full of con¬ 
fidence, and want neither cannon nor supplies, who 
sleep with their feet to the fire, with their stomachs 

26 o 


well lined, while we must lie here in the mud.” I 
was indignant the whole night. Buche would say: 

I do not care for the rain, I have been through 
many a worse one when on the watch; but then I 
had at least a crust of bread and some onions and 

I was quite absorbed with my own troubles and 
said nothing, but he was angry. 

The rain ceased between two and three in the 
morning. Buche and I were lying back to back in a 
furrow, in order to keep warm, and at last overcome 
by fatigue I fell asleep. 

When I woke about five in the morning, the 
church bells were ringing matins over all that vast 

I shall never forget the scene; and as I looked 
at the gray sky, the trampled grain, and my sleeping 
comrades on the right and left, my heart sunk under 
the sense of desolation. The sound of the bells as 
they responded to each other from Planchenois to 
Genappe, from Frichemont to Waterloo, reminded 
me of Pf alzbourg, and I thought: 

To-day is Sunday, the day of rest and peace. 
Mr. Goulden has hung his best coat, with a white 
shirt, on the back of his chair. He is getting up 
now and he is thinking of me; Catherine has risen 
too and is sitting crying on the bed, and Aunt Gredel 
at Quatre Yents is pushing open the shutters and 



she has taken her prayer-book from the shelf and is 
going to mass.” I could hear the bells of Dann and 
Mittelbronn and Bigelberg ring out in the silence. 
I thought of that peaceful quiet life and was ready 
to burst into tears. 

The roll of the drums was heard through the 
damp air, and there was something inauspicious and 
portentous in the sound. 

iN'ear the main road, on the left, they were beating 
the assembly, and the bugles of the cavalry sounded 
the reveille. The men rose and looked over the 
grain. Those three days of marching and fighting 
in the bad weather without rations made them sober; 
there was no talking as at Ligny, every one looked 
in silence and kept his thoughts to himself. 

We could see too, that the battle was to be a much 
more important affair, for instead of having villages 
already occupied, which caused so many separate 
battles, on our front, there was an immense elevated 
naked plain on which the English were encamped. 

Behind their lines at the top of the hill was the 
village of Mont-St.-Jean, and a league and a half 
still farther away, was a forest which bounded the 

Between us and the English, the ground descend¬ 
ed gently and rose again nearest us, forming a little 
valley, but one must have been accustomed to the 
country to perceive this; it was deepest on the right 



and contracted like a ravine. On tke slope of this 
ravine on our side, behind the hedges and poplars 
and other trees, some thatched roofs indicated a ham¬ 
let; this was Planchenois. In the same direction 
but much higher, and in the rear of the enemy^s left, 
the plain extended as far as the eye could reach, and 
was scattered over with little villages. 

The clear atmosphere after the storm enabled us 
to distinguish all this very plainly. 

We could even see the little village of Saint-Lam- 
bert three leagues distant on our right. 

At our left in the rear of the English right, there 
were other little villages to be seen, of which I never 
knew the names. 

We took in all this grand region covered with a 
magnificent crop just in fiower, at a glance; and we 
asked ourselves why the English were there, and 
what advantage they had in guarding that position. 
But when we observed their line a little more closely 
—it was from fifteen hundred to two thousand yards 
from us—we could see the broad, well-paved road, 
which we had followed from Quatre-Bras and which 
led to Brussels, dividing their position nearly in the 
centre. It was straight, and we could follow it with 
the eye to the village of Mont-St.-Jean and be¬ 
yond quite to the entrance of the forest of Soignes. 
This we saw the English intended to hold to prevent 
us from going to Brussels. 



On looking carefully we could see that their line 
of battle was curved a little toward us at the wings, 
and that it followed a road which cut the route to 
Brussels like a cross. On the left it was a deep cut, 
and on the right of the road it was bordered with 
thick hedges of holly and dwarf beech which are 
common in that country. Behind these were post¬ 
ed mass of red-coats who watched us from their 
trenches. In the front, the slope was like a glacis. 
This was very dangerous. 

Immense bodies of cavalry were stationed on the 
flanks, which extended nearly three-quarters of a 

We saw that the cavalry on the plateau in the 
vicinity of the main road after having passed the 
hill, descended before going to Mont-St.-Jean, 
and we understood that there was a hollow be¬ 
tween the position of the English and that vil¬ 
lage; not very deep, as we could see the plumes 
of the soldiers as they passed through, but still 
deep enough to shelter heavy reserves from our 

I had already seen Weissenfels, Lutzen, Leipzig, 
and Ligny, and I began to understand what these 
things meant, and why they arranged themselves in 
one way rather than another, and I thought that the 
manner in which these English had laid their plans 
and stationed their forces on this cross-road to defend 



the road to Brussels, and to shelter their reserves, 
showed a vast deal of good sense. 

But in spite of all that, three things seemed to me 
to he in our favor. The position of the enemy with 
its covered ways and hidden reserves was like a great 
fort. Every one knows that in time of war every¬ 
thing is demolished that can furnish a shelter to the 

Well! just in their centre, on the high-road and 
on the slope of their glacis, was a farm-house like the 

Boulette ’’ at Quatre Yents, but five or six times 

I could see it plainly from where we stood. It 
was a great square, the ofiices, the house, the stables 
and barns formed a triangle on the side toward the 
English, and on our side the other half was formed 
by a wall and sheds, with a court in the centre. The 
wall running along the field side, had a small door, 
the other on the road had an entrance for carriages 
and wagons. 

It was built of brick and was very solid. Of 
course the English had filled it with troops like a 
sort of demilune, but if we could take it we should 
be close to their centre and could throw our attack¬ 
ing columns upon them, without remaining long un¬ 
der their fire. 

ISTothing could be better for us. This place was 
called Haie-Sainte, as we found out afterward. 



A little farther on, in front of their right wing was 
another little farmstead and grove, which we could 
also try to take. I could not see it from where I 
stood, but it was a stronger position than Haie-Sainte 
as it was covered by an orchard, surrounded with 
walls, and farther on was the wood. The fire from 
the windows swept the garden, and that from the 
garden covered the wood, and that from the wood 
the side-liill, and the enemy could beat a retreat from 
one to the other. 

I did not see this with my own eyes, but some vet¬ 
erans gave me an account of the attack on this farm; 
it was called Hougoumont. 

One must be exact in speaking of such a battle, 
the things seen with one’s own eyes are the princi¬ 
pal, and we can say: 

I saw them, but the other accounts I had from 
men incapable of falsehood or deception.” 

And lastly in front of their left wing on the road 
leading to W^avre, about a hundred paces from the 
hill on our side, were the farms of Papelotte and 
La Haye, occupied by the Germans, and the little 
hamlets of Smohain, Cheval-de-Bois, and Jean-Loo, 
which I informed myself about afterward in order 
to understand all that took place. I could see these 
hamlets plainly enough then, but I did not pay 
much attention to them as they were beyond our line 
of battle on the right, and we did not see any troops 



Now you can all see the position of the English 
on our front, the road to Brussels which traversed it, 
the cross-road which covered it, the plateau in the 
rear where the reserves were, and the three farms, 
Hougoumont, Haie-Sainte, and Papelotte in front, 
well garrisoned. You can all see that it would be 
very difficult to force. 

I looked at it about six o^clock that morning very 
attentively, as a man will do who is to run the risk 
of breaking his bones and losing his life in some 
enterprise, and who at least likes to know if he has 
any chance of escape. 

Zebede, Sergeant Babot, and Captain Florentin, 
Buche, and indeed every one as he rose cast a glance 
at that hill-side without saying a word. Then they 
looked around them at the great squares of infantry, 
the squadrons of cuirassiers, of dragoons, chasseurs, 
lancers, etc., encamped amid the growing grain. 

Nobody had any fears now that the English 
would beat a retreat, we lighted as many fires as we 
pleased, and the smoke from the damp straw filled 
the air. Those who had a little rice left, put on 
their camp-kettles, while those who had none looked 
on thinking: 

Each has his turn; yesterday we had meat, and 
we despised the rice, now we should be very grate¬ 
ful for even that.” 

About eight o’clock the wagons arrived with car- 



tridges and hogsheads of brandy; each soldier re¬ 
ceived a double ration: with a crust of bread we 
might have done very well, but the bread was not 
there. You can imagine what sort of humor we 
were in. 

This was all we had that day: immediately after^ 
the grand movements commenced. Regiments 
joined their brigades, brigades their divisions, and 
the divisions re-formed their corps. Officers on 
horseback carried orders back and forth, everything 
was in motion. 

Our battalion joined Donzelot’s division; the oth¬ 
ers had only eight battalions, but his had nine. 

I have often heard the veterans repeat the order 
of battle given by Napoleon. The corps of Reille 
was on the left of the road opposite Hougoumont, 
that of d’Erlon, at the right, opposite Haie-Sainte; 
Ney on horseback on the highway, and Napoleon in 
the rear with the Old Guard, the special detach¬ 
ments, the lancers and chasseurs, etc. That was all 
that I understood, for when they began to talk of the 
movements of eleven columns, of the distance which 
they deployed, and when they named the generals 
one after another, it seemed to me as if they were 
talking of something which I had never seen. 

I like better therefore to tell you simply what I 
saw and remember myself. 

The first movement was at half-past eight, when 



our four divisions received the order to take the ad¬ 
vance to the right of the highway. There were 
about fifteen or twenty thousand men marching in 
two columns, with arms at will, sinking to our knees 
at every step in the soft ground. I^obody spoke a 

Several persons have related that we were jubi¬ 
lant and were all singing; but it is false. Marching 
all night without rations, sleeping in the water, for¬ 
bidden to light a fire, when preparing for showers of 
grape and canister, all this took away any inclination 
to sing, we were glad to pull our shoes out of the 
holes in which they were buried at every step, and 
chilled and drenched to our waists by the wet grain, 
the hardiest and most courageous among us wore a 
discontented air. It is true that the bands played 
marches for their regiments, that the trumpets of the 
cavalry, the drums of the infantry, and the trom¬ 
bones mingled their tones and produced a terrible 
effect, as they do always. 

It is also true that these thousands of men 
marched briskly and in good order, with their knap¬ 
sacks at their backs, and their muskets on their shoul¬ 
ders, the white lines of the cuirassiers followed the 
red, brown, and green of the dragoons, hussars, and 
lancers, with their little swallow-tailed pennons fill¬ 
ing the air; the artillerymen in the intervals be¬ 
tween the brigades, on horseback around their guns. 



which cut through the ground to their axles,—all 
these moved straight through the grain, not a head 
of which remained standing behind them, and truly 
there could not be a sight more dreadful. 

The English drawn up in perfect order in front, 
their gunners ready with their lighted matches in 
their hands, made us think, but did not delight us 
quite so much as some have pretended, and men who 
like to receive cannon-balls are still rather rare. 

Father Goulden told me that the soldiers sang in 
his time, but then they went voluntarily and not 
from force. They fought in defence of their homes 
and for human rights, which they loved better than 
their own eyes, and it was not at all like risking our 
lives to find out whether we were to have an old or a 
new nobility. As for me, I never heard any one 
sing either at Leipzig or Waterloo. 

On we went, the bands still playing by order from 

The music ceased, and the silence which followed 
was profound. Then we were at the edge of the lit¬ 
tle valley, and about twelve hundred paces froin the 
English left. We were in the centre of our army, 
with the chasseurs and lancers on our right fiank. 

We took our distances and closed up the intervals. 
The first brigade of the first division turned to the 
left and formed on the highway. Our battalion 
formed a part of the second division, and we were 



in the first line, with a single brigade of the first 
division before us. The artillery was passed up to 
the front, and that of the English was directly op¬ 
posite and on the same level. And for a long time 
the other divisions were moving up to support us. 
It seemed as if the earth itself was in motion. The 
veterans would say: There are Milhaud^s cuiras¬ 
siers! Here are the chasseurs of Lefebvre-Des- 
noettes! Yonder is Lobau’s corps! ” 

On every side, as far as the eye could reach, there 
was nothing to be seen but cuirasses, helmets, col- 
backs,* sabres, lances, and files of bayonets. 

What a battle,” exclaimed Buche. Woe to 
the English! ” 

I had the same thought; I did not believe a single 
Englishman would escape. But it was we who were 
unfortunate that day, though had it not been for the 
Prussians I still believe we should have extermi¬ 
nated them. 

During the two hours we stood there, we did not 
see the half of our regiments and squadrons, and new 
ones were continually coming. About an hour af¬ 
ter we took our position we heard suddenly on the 
left, shouts of Vive TEmpereur,” they increased 
as they approached us like a tempest; we all stood 
on our tiptoes and stretched our necks to see; they 
spread through all the ranks, and even the horses in 
* Military caps of bear-skin. 



the rear neighed as if they would shout too. At 
that moment a troop of general officers whirled 
along our front like the wind. Napoleon was 
among them, and I thought I saw him, though I was 
not certain, he went so swiftly, and so many men 
raised their shakos on the points of their bayonets 
that I hardly had time to distinguish his round shoul¬ 
ders and gray coat in the midst of the laced uni¬ 
forms. When the captain had shouted, Carry 
arms! present arms! ’’ it was over. 

We saw him in this way every day, at least when 
we were on guard. 

After he had passed, the shouts continued along 
our right farther and farther away, and we 
all thought the battle would begin in twenty 

But we were obliged to wait a long time and we 
grew impatient. The conscripts in d^Erlon’s corps, 
who were not in battle the day before, began to shout 
Forward! At last, about noon, the cannon 
thundered on the left and were followed by the fire 
from the battalion and then the file. We could see 
nothing, for it was on the other side of the road. 
The attack had commenced on Hougoumont. Im¬ 
mediately shouts of Yive PEmpereur ’’ broke out. 
The cannoneers of our four divisions were standing 
the whole length of the hill-side, at twenty paces 
from each other. At the discharge of the first gun, 



they all commenced to load at once. I see them 
still, as they put in the charge, ram it home, raise up, 
and shake out their matches as by a single move¬ 
ment. This made us shiver. The captains of the 
guns, nearly all old officers, stood behind their pieces 
and gave orders as if on parade; and when the whole 
twenty-four guns went off together, the report was 
deafening, and the whole valley was covered with 

At the end of a second, we heard the calm voices 
of these veterans above the whistling in our ears say¬ 
ing Load! take aim! fire! ’’ And that continued 
without interruption for half an hour. We could 
see nothing at all, but the English had opened their 
fire, and we heard their bullets scream in the air and 
strike with a dull sound in the mud; and then we 
could hear another sound too, that of the muskets 
striking against each other, and the sound of the 
bodies of wounded men as they were thrown like 
boneless sacks twenty paces in the rear, or sank in 
a heap with a leg or an arm wanting. All this min¬ 
gled with the dull rumbling; the destruction had 

The groans of the wounded mingled also with 
these sounds, and with the fierce terrible neighing 
of the horses, which are naturally ferocious, and de¬ 
light in slaughter. We could hear this tumult half 
a league in the rear; and it was with great difficulty 



the animals could be restrained from setting off to 
join in the battle. 

For a long time we had been able to see nothing 
but the shadows of the gunners as they manoeuvred 
in the smoke, on the border of the ravine, when we 
heard the order, Cease firing! ’’ At the same mo¬ 
ment we heard the piercing voices of the colonels of 
our four divisions shout, Close up the ranks for 
battle! ’’ All the lines approached each other. 

‘‘Now it is our turn,’’ said I to Buche. 

“ Yes,” he replied, “ let us keep together.” 

The smoke from our guns rose up into the air, and 
then we could see the batteries of the English, who 
still continued their fire all along the hedges which 
bordered the road. 

The first brigade of Alix’s division advanced at a 
quick step along the road leading to Haie-Sainte. 
In the rear I recognized Marshal Ney with several 
of the officers of his staff. 

From every window of the farm-house, and from 
the garden, and walls which had been pierced with 
holes, came fiery showers, and at every step men 
were left stretched on the road. General Ney on 
horseback with the corners of his great hat pointing 
over his shoulders, watched the action from the mid¬ 
dle of the road. I said to Buche: 

“ That is Marshal Ney, the second brigade will go 
to support the first, and we shall come next.” 




But I mistook; at that very moment the first bat¬ 
talion of the second brigade received orders to march 
in line on the right of the highway, the second in the 
rear of the first, the third behind the second, and the 
fourth following in file. 

We had not time to form in column, but we were 
solidly arrayed after all, one behind the other, from 
one hundred and fifty to two hundred men in line in 
front, the captains between the companies, and the 
commandants between the battalions. But the balls 
instead of carrying off two men at a time would now 
take eight. Those in the rear could not fire because 
those in front were in the way and we found too 
that we could not form in squares. That should 
have been thought of beforehand, but was over¬ 
looked in the desire to break the enemy’s line and 
gain all at a blow. 

Our division marched in the same order: as the 
first battalion advanced, the second followed immedi¬ 
ately in their steps, and so on with all the rest. I 
was pleased to see, that, commencing on the left, we 
should be in the twenty-fifth rank, and that there 
must be terrible slaughter before we should be 

The two divisions on our right were also formed 
in close column, at three hundred paces from each 

Thus we descended into the little valley, in the 



face of tlie Englisli fire. We were somewhat de¬ 
layed by the soft ground, but we all shouted, To 
the bayonet! ” 

As we mounted on the other side, we were met by 
a hail of balls from above the road at the left. If we 
had not been so crowded together, this terrible vol¬ 
ley would have checked us. The charge sounded 
and the officers shouted, Steady on the left! ” 

But this terrible fire made us lengthen our right 
step more than our left, in spite of ourselves, so that 
when we neared the road bordered by the hedges, we 
had lost our distances and our division formed a 
square, so to speak, with the third. 

Two batteries now swept our ranks, and the shot 
from the hedges a hundred feet distant pierced us 
through and through; a cry of horror burst forth and 
we rushed on the batteries, overpowering the red¬ 
coats who vainly endeavored to stop us. 

It was then that I first saw the English close at 
hand. They were strong, fair, and closely shaved, 
like well-to-do bourgeois. They defended them¬ 
selves bravely, but we were as good as they. It was 
not our fault—the common soldiers—if they did de¬ 
feat us at last, all the world knows that we showed 
as much and more courage than they did. 

It has been said that we were not the soldiers of 
Austerlitz and Jena, of Friedland and of Moskowa. 
It was because they were so good, perhaps, that they 



were spared. We would have asked nothing better, 
than to have seen them in our place. 

Every shot of the English told, and we were 
forced to break our ranks. Men are not palisades, 
and must defend themselves when attacked. 

Great numbers were detached from their com¬ 
panies, when thousands of Englishmen rose up from 
among the barley and fired, their muskets almost 
touching our men, which caused a terrible slaughter. 
The other ranks rushed to the support of their com¬ 
rades, and we should all have been dispersed over 
the hill-side like a swarm of ants, if we had not heard 
the shout, Attention, the cavalry! 

Almost at the same instant, a crowd of red dra¬ 
goons mounted on gray horses, swept down upon us 
like the wind, and those who had straggled were cut 
to pieces without mercy. 

They did not fall upon our columns in order to 
break them, they were too deep and massive for that; 
but they came down between the divisions, slashing 
right and left with their sabres, and spurring their 
horses into the fianks of the columns to cut them in 
two, and though they could not succeed in this, they 
killed great numbers and threw us into confusion. 

It was one of the most terrible moments of my 
life. As an old soldier I was at the right of the bat¬ 
talion, and saw what they were intending to do. 
They leaned over as far as possible when they passed. 



in order to cut into our ranks; their strokes followed 
each other like lightning, and more than twenty 
times I thought my head was olf my shoulders, but 
Sergeant Kabot closed the file fortunately for me; 
it was he who received this terrible shower of blows, 
and he defended himself to the last breath. At 
every stroke he shouted, Cowards, Cowards! ’’ 

His blood sprinkled me like rain, and at last he 
fell. My musket was still loaded, and seeing one 
of the dragoons coming with his eye fixed on me 
and bending over to give me a thrust, I let him have 
it full in the breast. This was the only man I ever 
saw fall under my fire. 

The worst was, that at that moment their foot- 
soldiers rallied and recommenced their fire, and they 
even were so bold as to attack us with the bayonet. 
Only the first two ranks made a stand. It was 
shameful to form our men in that manner. 

Then the red dragoons and our columns rushed 
pell-mell down the hill together. 

And still our division made the best defence, for 
we brought off our colors, while the two others had 
lost two eagles. 

We rushed down in this fashion through the mud 
and over the cannon, which had been brought down 
to support us, and had been cut loose from the 
horses by the sabres of the dragoons. 

We scattered in every direction, Buche and I al- 



ways keeping together, and it was ten minutes be¬ 
fore we could be rallied again near the road in 
squads from all the regiments. 

Those who have the direction of affairs in war 
should keep such examples as these before their 
eyes, and reflect that new plans cost those dear who 
are forced to try them. 

We looked over our shoulders as we took breath, 
and saw the red dragoons rushing up the hill to 
capture our principal battery of twenty-four 
guns, when, thank God! their turn came to be 

The Emperor had observed our retreat from a dis¬ 
tance, and as the dragoons mounted the hill, two 
regiments of cuirassiers on the right, and a regi¬ 
ment of lancers on the left fell on their flanks like 
lightning, and before they had time to look, they 
were upon them. We could hear the blows slide 
over their cuirasses, hear their horses puff, and a 
hundred paces away we could see the lances rise and 
fall, the long sabres stretch out, and the men bend 
down to thrust under; the furious horses, rearing, 
biting, and neighing frightfully, and then men 
under the horses^ feet were trying to get up, and 
sheltering themselves with their hands. 

What horrible things are battles! Buche 

shouted, Strike hard! 

I felt the sweat run down my forehead, and others 



with great gashes, and their eyes full of blood, were 
wiping their faces and laughing ferociously. 

In ten minutes, seven hundred dragoons were 
hors-de-comhatj their gray horses were running 
wildly about on all sides, with their bits in their 
teeth. Some hundreds of them had retired behind 
their batteries, but more than one was reeling in his 
saddle and clutching at his horse’s mane. 

They had found out that to attack was not all the 
battle, and that very often circumstances arise 
which are quite unexpected. 

In all that frightful spectacle, what impressed 
me most deeply, was seeing our cuirassiers return¬ 
ing with their sabres red to the hilt, laughing among 
themselves; and a fat captain with immense brown 
mustaches, winked good-humoredly as he passed by 
us, as much as to say, “You see we sent them back 
in a hurry, eh! ” 

Yes, but three thousand of our men were left in 
that little hollow. And it was not yet finished: the 
companies and battalions and brigades were being 
re-formed, the musketry rattled in the vicinity of 
Haie-Sainte, and the cannon thundered near Hou- 
goumont. “ It was only just a beginning,” the offi¬ 
cers said. You would have thought that men’s lives 
were of no value! 

But it was necessary to get possession of Haie- 
Sainte, and to force a passage from the highway to 

28 o 


the enemy’s centre just as an entrance must be ef¬ 
fected into a fortification through the fire of the 
outworks and the demilunes. We had been re¬ 
pulsed the first time, but the battle was begun, and 
we could not go back. After the charge of the 
cuirassiers, it took a little time for us to re-form: 
the battle continued at Hougoumont, and the can¬ 
nonade re-opened on our right, and two batteries 
had been brought up to sweep the highway in the 
rear of Haie-Sainte, where the road begins to mount 
the hill. We all saw that that was to be the point 
of attack. 

We stood waiting with shouldered arms, when 
about three o’clock Buche looked behind him on the 
road and said, The Emperor is coming! ” 

And others in the ranks repeated, Here is the 

The smoke was so thick that we could barely see 
the bear-skin caps of the Old Guard on the little hill 
of Eossomme. I turned round also to see the Em¬ 
peror, and immediately recognized Marshal Hey, 
with five or six of his staff officers. He was coming 
from head-quarters and pushed straight down upon 
us across the fields. We stood with our backs to 
him; our officers hurried to meet him, and they con¬ 
versed together, but we could not hear a word in 
consequence of the noise which filled our ears. 

The marshal then rode along the front of our two 



battalions, with his sword drawn. I had never seen 
him so near since the grand review at Aschaffen- 
bourg; he seemed older, thinner, and more bony, 
but still the same man; he looked at us with his 
sharp gray eyes, as if he took us all in at a glance, 
and each one felt as if he were looking directly at 

At the end of a second he pointed toward Haie- 
Sainte with his sword, and exclaimed: 

We are going to take that, you will have the 
whole at once, it is the turning-point of the battle. 
I am going to lead you myself. Battalions by file 
to the left! 

We started at a quick step on the road, marching 
by companies in three ranks. I was in the second. 
Marshal Ney was in front, on horseback, with the 
two colonels and Captain Florentin: he had re¬ 
turned his sword to the scabbard. The balls whis¬ 
tled round our ears by hundreds, and the roar of 
cannon from Hougoumont and on our left and right 
in the rear was so incessant, that it was like the ring¬ 
ing of an immense bell, when you no longer hear the 
strokes, but only the booming. One and another 
sank down from among us, but we passed right on 
over them. 

Two or three times the marshal turned round to 
see if we were marching in good order; he looked 
so calm, that it seemed to me quite natural not to 



be afraid, his face inspired us all with confidence, 
and each one thought, “ Ney is with us, the others 
are lost! which only shows the stupidity of the 
human race, since so many others besides us escaped. 

As we approached the buildings the report of the 
musketry became more distinct from the roar of can¬ 
non, and we could better see the flash of the guns 
from the windows, and the great black roof above 
in the smoke, and the road blocked up with stones. 

We went along by a hedge, behind which crac¬ 
kled the fire of our skirmishers, for the first brigade 
of Alix’s division had not quitted the orchards; and 
on seeing us filing along the road, they commenced 
to shout, Yive hEmpereur.’’ 

The whole fire of the German musketry was then 
turned on us, when Marshal Ney drew his sword and 
shouted in a voice which reached every ear, “ For¬ 
ward! ’’ 

He disappeared in the smoke with two or three 
officers, and we all started on a run, our cartridge- 
boxes dangling about our hips, and our muskets at 
the'' ready.'' 

Ear to the rear they were beating the charge; we 
did not see the marshal again till we reached a shed 
which separated the garden from the road, when we 
discovered him on horseback before the main en¬ 

It appeared that they had already tried to force 



the door, as there was a heap of dead men, timbers, 
paving stones, and rubbish piled up before it, reach¬ 
ing to the middle of the road. The shot poured 
from every opening in the building, and the air was 
heavy with the smell of the powder. 

Break that in,’’ shouted the marshal. Fifteen 
or twenty of us dropped our muskets, and seizing 
beams we drove them against the door with such 
force, that it cracked and echoed back the blows 
like thunder. You would have thought it would 
drop at every stroke; we could see through the 
planks the paving stones heaped as high as the top 
inside. It was full of holes, and when it fell it 
might have crushed us, but fury had rendered us 
blind to danger. We no longer had any resem¬ 
blance to men, some had lost their shakos, others 
had their clothes nearly torn off; the blood ran 
from their fingers and down their sides, and at every 
discharge of musketry the shot from the hill struck 
the paving stones, pounding them to dust around us. 

I looked about me, but I could not see either 
Buche or Zebede or any others of our company, the 
marshal had disappeared also. Our rage redoubled; 
and as the timbers went back and forth, we grew 
furious to find that the door would not come down, 
when suddenly we heard shouts of Vive I’Em- 
pereur ” from the court, accompanied with a most 
horrible uproar. Every one knew that our troops 



had gained an entrance into the enclosure. We 
dropped the timbers, and seizing our guns we sprang 
through the breaches into the garden to find where 
the others had entered. It was in the rear of the 
house through a door opening into the barn. We 
rushed through one after the other like a pack of 

The interior of this old structure, with its lofts 
full of hay and straw, and its stables covered with 
thatch, looked like a bloody nest which had been 
attacked by a sparrow-hawk. 

On a great dung-heap in the middle of the court, 
our men were bayoneting the Germans who were 
yelling and swearing savagely. 

I was running hap-hazard through this butchery, 
when I heard some one call, Joseph, Joseph! ” I 
looked round, thinking, That is Buche calling 
me.’’ In a moment I saw him at the door of a wood¬ 
shed, crossing bayonets with five or six of our men. 

I caught sight of Zebede at that same instant, as 
our company was in that corner, and rushing to 
Buche’s assistance, I shouted, Zebede! ” Parting 
the combatants, I asked Buche what was the mat¬ 

They want to murder my prisoners! ” said he. 
I joined him, and the others began to load their mus¬ 
kets to shoot us. They were voltigeurs from another 



At that moment Zebede came up with several 
men from onr company, and without knowing how 
the matter stood, he seized the most brutal one by 
the throat and exclaimed, My name is Zebede, 
sergeant of the Sixth light infantry. When this 
affair is settled, we will have a mutual explanation.” 

Then they went away, and Zebede asked: 

What is all this, Joseph? ” 

I told him we had some prisoners. He turned 
pale with anger against us, but when he went into 
the wood-shed he saw an old major, who presented 
him the guard of his sabre in silence, and another 
soldier, who said in German, Spare my life. 
Frenchman; don’t take my life.” 

The cries of the dying still filled the court, and 
his heart relenting, Zebede said, Very well, I take 
you prisoners.” 

He went out and shut the door. We did not quit 
the place again until the assembly began to beat. 

Then, when the men were in their ranks, Zebede 
notified Captain Florentin that we had taken a 
major and a soldier prisoners. 

They were brought out and marched across the 
court without arms, and put in a room with three or 
four others. These were all that remained of the 
two battalions of FTassau troops which were in¬ 
trusted with the defence of Haie-Sainte. 

While this had been going on, two other battal- 



ions from Nassau, who were coming to the assistance 
of their comrades, had been massacred outside by 
our cuirassiers, so that for the moment we were 
victorious: we were masters of the principal out¬ 
post of the English and could begin our attack on 
their centre, cut their communication by the high¬ 
way with Brussels, and throw them into the miser¬ 
able roads of the forest of Soignes. AYe had had a 
hard struggle, but the principal part of the battle 
had been fought. We were two hundred paces from 
the English lines, well sheltered from their fire; 
and I believe, without boasting, that with the bay¬ 
onet and well supported by the cavalry, we could 
have fallen upon them, and pierced their line. 
An hour of good work would have finished the 

But while we were all rejoicing over our success, 
and the officers, soldiers, drummers, and trumpeters 
were all in confusion, amongst the ruins, thinking 
of nothing but stretching our legs and getting 
breath, the rumor suddenly reached us that the 
Prussians were coming, that they were going to fall 
on our flank, and that we were about to have two 
battles, one in front and the other on our right, and 
that we ran the risk of being surrounded by a force 
double our own. 

This was terrible news, but several hot-headed 
fellows exclaimed: 


So much the better, let the Prussians come! 
we will crush them all at once.’’ 

Those who were cool saw at once what a mistake 
we had made by not making the most of our vic¬ 
tory at Ligny, and in allowing the Prussians quietly 
to leave in the night without being pursued by our 
cavalry, as is always done. 

We may boldly say that this great fault was the 
cause of our defeat at Waterloo. It is true, the Em¬ 
peror sent Marshal Grouchy the next day at noon, 
with thirty-two thousand men to look after the en¬ 
emy, but then it was quite too late. In those fif¬ 
teen hours they had time to re-form, to commani- 
cate with the English, and to act on the defensive. 

The next day after Ligny, the Prussians still had 
ninety thousand men, of whom thirty thousand were 
fresh troops, and two hundred and seventy-five can¬ 
non. With such an army they could do what they 
pleased; they could have even fought a second bat¬ 
tle with the Emperor, but they preferred falling on 
our flank, while we were engaged with the English 
in front. That is so plain and clear, that I cannot 
imagine how any one can think the movement of 
the Prussians surprising. 

Bliicher had already played us the same trick at 
Leipzig—and he repeated it now in drawing Grou¬ 
chy on to pursue him so far. Grouchy could not 
force him to return, and he could not prevent him 



from leaving thirty or forty thousand men to stop 
his pursuers, while he pushed on to the relief of 

Our only hope was that Grouchy had been or¬ 
dered to return and join us, and that he would come 
up in the rear of the Prussians; but the Emperor 
sent no such order. 

It was not we, the common soldiers, as you may 
well think, who had these ideas; it was the officers 
and generals; we knew nothing of it; we were like 
children, utterly unconscious that their hour is near. 

But now having told you what I think, I will 
give you the history of the rest of the battle just as 
I saw it myself, so that each one of you will know 
as much about it as I do. 


Almost immediately after the news of the arrival 
of the Prussians, the assembly began to beat, the 
soldiers of the different battalions formed their 
ranks, and ours, with another from Quiot’s brigade, 
was left to guard Haie-Sainte, and all the others 
went on to join General d^Erlon’s corps, which had 
advanced again into the valley, and was endeavor¬ 
ing to flank the enemy on the left. 

The two battalions went to work at once to barri¬ 
cade the doors and the breaches in the walls with 
timbers and paving stones, and men were stationed 
in ambush at all the holes which the enemy had 
made in the wall on the side toward the orchard and 
on that next the highway. 

Buche and I, with the remainder of our company, 
were posted over a stable in a corner of the barn, 
about ten or twelve hundred paces from Hougou- 
mont. I can still see the row of holes which the Ger¬ 
mans had knocked in the wall, about as high as a 
man’s head, in order to defend the orchard. As we 
went up into this stable, we looked through these 
holes, and we could see our line of battle, the high- 
19 289 



road to Brussels and Charleroi, the little farms of 
Belle-Alliance, Eossomme, and Gros-Caillou, which 
lie along this road at little distances from each 
other; the Old Guard which was stationed across 
it, with their shouldered arms, and the staff on a 
little eminence at the left, and farther away in the 
same direction, in the rear of the ravine of Planche- 
nois, we could see the white smoke rising continually 
above the trees. This was the attack of the first 
Prussian corps. 

We heard afterward that the Emperor had sent 
Lobau with ten thousand men to turn them back. 
The battle had begun, but the Old and the Young 
Guard, the cuirassiers of Milhaud and of Keller- 
man, and the chasseurs of Lefebvre-Desnoettes; in 
fact the whole of our magnificent cavalry re¬ 
mained in position. The great, the real battle was 
with the English. 

What a crowd of thoughts must have been sug¬ 
gested, by that grand spectacle and that immense 
plain, to the Emperor, who could see it all mentally 
better than we could with our own eyes. 

We might have stayed there for hours, if Captain 
Elorentin had not come up suddenly, and exclaimed. 

What are you doing here ? Are we going to dis¬ 
pute the passage with the Guard? Come! hurry! 
Knock a hole in that wall on the side toward the 



"We picked up the sledges and pickaxes which the 
Germans had dropped on the floor, and made holes 
through the wall of the gable. 

This did not take fifteen minutes, and then we 
could see the fight at Hougoumont; the blazing 
buildings, the bursting of the bombs from second to 
second among the ruins, and the Scotch chasseurs 
in ambuscade in the road in the rear of the place, 
and on our right about two gunshots distant, the 
first line of the English artillery, falling back on 
their centre, and stationing their cannon, which our 
gunners had begun to dismount, higher up the hill. 

But the remainder of their line did not change; 
they had squares of red and squares of black touch¬ 
ing each other at the corners like the squares of a 
chess-board, in the rear of the deep road; and in 
attacking them we would come under their cross¬ 
fire. Their artillery was in position on the brow of 
the hill, and in the hollow on the hill-side toward 
Mont-St.-Jean their cavalry was waiting. 

The position of the English seemed to me still 
stronger than it was in the morning; and as we had 
already failed in our attack on their left wing, and 
the Prussians had fallen on our flank, the idea oc¬ 
curred to me, for the first time, that we were not 
sure of gaining the battle. 

I imagined the horrible rout that would follow 
in case we lost the battle—shut in between two ar- 



mies, one in front and the other on our flank, and 
then the invasion which would follow; the forced 
contributions, the towns besieged, the return of the 
emigres, and the reign of vengeance. 

I felt that my apprehension had made me grow 

At that moment the shouts of Yive VEm- 
pereur ’’ broke from thousands of throats behind 
us. Buche, who stood near me in a corner of the 
loft, shouted with all the rest of his comrades, Vive 
VEmpereur! ’’ 

I leaned over his shoulder and saw all the cavalry 
of our right wing; the cuirassiers of Milhaud, the 
lancers and the chasseurs of the Guard, more than 
five thousand men—advancing at a trot. They 
crossed the road obliquely and went down into the 
valley between Hougoumont and Haie-Sainte. I 
saw that they were going to attack the squares of 
the English, and that our fate was to be decided. 

We could hear the voices of the English artillery 
officers, giving their orders, above the tumult and 
the innumerable shouts of Vive VEmpereur.^’ 

It was a terrible moment when our cuirassiers 
crossed the valley; it made me think of a torrent 
formed by the melting snows, when millions of 
flakes of snow and ice sparkle in the sunshine. The 
horses, with the great blue portmanteaux fastened 
to their croups, stretched their haunches like deer 



and tore up the earth with their feet, the trumpets 
blew their savage blasts amidst the dull roar as they, 
passed into the valley, and the first discharge of 
grape and canister made even our old shed tremble. 

The wind blew from the direction of Hougou- 
mont, and drove the smoke through all the open¬ 
ings; we leaned out to breathe, and the second and 
third discharges followed each other instantly. 

I could see through the smoke that the English 
gunners had abandoned their cannon and were run¬ 
ning away with their horses, and that our cuirassiers 
had immediately fallen upon the squares, which 
were marked out on the hill-side by the zig-zag line 
of their fire. 

Nothing could be heard but a grand uproar of 
cries, incessant clashing of arms and neighing of 
horses, varied with the discharge from time to time, 
and then new shouts, new tumult and fresh groans. 
A score of horses with their manes erect, rushed 
through the thick smoke which settled around us, 
like shadows; some of them dragging their riders 
with one foot caught in the stirrup. 

And this lasted more than an hour. 

After Milhaud’s cuirassiers, came the lancers of 
Lefebvre-Desnoettes, after them the cuirassiers of 
Kellerman, followed by the grenadiers of the 
Guard, and after the grenadiers came the dragoons. 
They all mounted the hill at a trot, and rushed upon 



the squares with drawn sabres, shouting, Yive 
VEmpereur in tones which reached the clouds. 
At each new charge it seemed as if the squares must 
be overthrown; but when the trumpets sounded 
the signal for rallying and the squadrons rushed 
pell-mell back to the edge of the plateau to re-form, 
pursued by the showers of shot, there were the great 
red lines, steadfast as walls, in the smoke. 

Those Englishmen are good soldiers, but then 
they knew that Bliicher was coming to their assist¬ 
ance with sixty thousand men, and no doubt this 
inspired them with great courage. 

In spite of everything, at six o^clock we had de¬ 
stroyed half their squares, but the horses of our cui¬ 
rassiers were exhausted by twenty charges over the 
ground soaked with rain. They could no longer 
advance over the heaps of dead. 

As night approached, the great battle-field in our 
rear began to be deserted; at last the great plain 
where we had encamped the night before was ten¬ 
antless, only the Old Guard remained across the road 
with shouldered arms, all had gone—on the right 
against the Prussians, on the left against the Eng¬ 
lish. We looked at each other in terror. 

It was already growing dark, when Captain Elo- 
rentin appeared at the top of the ladder, and placing 
both hands on the fioor, he said in a grave voice, 
Men, the time has come to conquer or die! 



I remembered that these words were in the procla¬ 
mation of the Emperor, and we all filed down the 
ladder. It was still twilight, bnt all was gray in the 
devastated court; the dead were lying stiff on the 
dung-heap and along the walls. 

The captain formed our men on the right side of 
the court, and the commandant of the other bat¬ 
talion ranged his on the left; our drums resounded 
through the old building for the last time, and 
we filed out of the little rear door into the gar¬ 
den, stooping one after the other as we went 

The walls of the garden outside had been knocked 
down, and all along the rubbish, men were binding 
up their wounds—one his head, another his arm or 
his leg. A cantiniere with her donkey and cart, 
and with a great straw hat flattened on her back— 
was there too in a corner. I do not know what had 
brought the wretched creature there. Several sorry- 
looking horses were standing there, exhausted with 
fatigue, with their heads hanging down, and covered 
with blood and mud. 

What a difference between them now, and in the 
morning. Then the companies were half destroyed, 
but still they were companies. Confusion was com¬ 
ing. It had taken only three hours to reduce us to 
the same condition we were in at Leipzig at the end 
of a year. The remains of the two battalions still 



formed only one line, in good order, and I must ad¬ 
mit tliat we began to be anxious. 

When men have tasted nothing for twenty-four 
hours, and have exhausted all their strength by 
fighting all day, the pangs of hunger seize them at 
night, fear comes also, and the most courageous lose 
hope. All our great retreats, with their horrors, are 
traceable to the want of food. 

For in spite of everything we were not conquered; 
the cuirassiers still held their position on the pla¬ 
teau, and from all sides over the thunder of cannon, 
over all the tumult, the cry was heard, The Guard 
is coming! ’’ Yes, the Guard was coming at last! 
We could see them in the distance on the highway, 
with their high bear-skin caps, advancing in good 

Those who have never witnessed the arrival of the 
Guard on the battle-field, can never know the con¬ 
fidence which is inspired by a body of tried soldiers; 
the kind of respect paid to courage and force. 

The soldiers of the Old Guard were nearly all old 
peasants, born before the Republic; men five feet and 
six inches in height, thin and well built, who had held 
the plough for convent and chateau; afterward 
they were levied with all the rest of the people, and 
went to Germany, Holland, Italy, Egypt, Poland, 
Spain, and Russia, under Kleber, Hoche, and Mar- 
ceau first, and under Hapoleon afterward. He took 



special care of them and paid them liberally. They 
regarded themselves as the proprietors of an im¬ 
mense farm, which they must defend and enlarge 
more and more. This gained them consideration; 
they were defending their own property. They no 
longer knew parents, relatives, or compatriots; they 
only knew the Emperor; he was their God. And 
lastly they had adopted the King of Kome, who was 
to inherit all with them, and to support and honor 
them in their old age. Nothing like them was ever 
seen, they were so accustomed to march, to dress their 
lines, to load, and fire, and cross bayonets, that it was 
done mechanically in a measure, whenever there 
was a necessity. When they advanced, carrying 
arms, with their great caps, their white waistcoats 
and gaiters, they all looked just alike; you could 
plainly see that it was the right arm of the Emperor 
which was coming. When it was said in the ranks. 

The Guard is going to move,” it was as if they 
had said, The battle is gained.” 

But now, after this terrible massacre, after the 
repulse of these furious attacks, on seeing the Prus¬ 
sians fall on our fiank, we said, This is the de¬ 
cisive blow.” 

And we thought, If it fails, all is lost.” 

This was why we all looked at the Guard as they 
marched steadily up on the road. 

It was Key who commanded them, as he had com- 



manded the cuirassiers. The Emperor knew that 
nobody could lead them like Ney, only he should 
have ordered them up an hour sooner, when our 
cuirassiers were in the squares; then we should have 
gained all. 

But the Emperor looked upon his Guard as upon 
his own flesh and blood; if he had had them at Paris 
five days later, Lafayette and the rest of them would 
not have remained long in their chamber to depose 
him, but he had them no longer. 

This was why he waited so long before sending 
them; he hoped that E^ey would succeed in over¬ 
whelming the enemy with the cavalry, or that the 
thirty-two thousand men under Grouchy would re¬ 
turn, attracted by the sound of the cannon, and then 
he could send them in place of his Guard; because 
he could always replace thirty or forty thousand by 
conscription; but to have another such Guard, he 
must commence at twenty-five, and gain fifty victo¬ 
ries, and what remained of the best, most solid, and 
the toughest would be the Guard, 

It came, and we could see it. ETey, old Eriant, 
and several other generals, marched in front. We 
could see nothing but the Guard —the roaring can¬ 
non, the musketry, the cries of the wounded, all 
were forgotten. 

But the lull did not last long; the English per¬ 
ceived as well as we, that this was to be the decisive 



blow, and hastened to rally all their forces to receive 

That part of our field at our left was nearly de¬ 
serted; there was no more firing, either because 
their ammunition was exhausted, or the enemy were 
forming in a new order. 

On the right, on the contrary, the cannonade was 
redoubled; the struggle seemed to have been trans¬ 
ferred to that side, but nobody dared to say, The 
Prussians are attacking us; another army has come 
to crush us.” 

i^o! the very idea was too horrible; when sud¬ 
denly a staff officer rushed past like lightning, 

Grouchy, Marshal Grouchy is coming! ” 

This was just at the moment when the four bat¬ 
talions of the Guard took the left of the highway in 
order to go up in the rear of the orchard, and com¬ 
mence the attack. 

How many times during the last fifty years I have 
seen it over again at night, and how many times I 
have heard the story related by others. In listening 
to these accounts you would think that only the 
Guard took part in the attack, that it moved forward 
like ranks of palisades; and that it was the Guard 
alone which received the showers of shot. 

But in truth this terrible attack took place in the 
greatest confusion; our whole army joined in it; all 



the remnant of the left wing and centre, all that was 
left of the cavalry exhausted by six hours of fight¬ 
ing; every one who could stand or lift an arm. The 
infantry of Reille which concentrated on the left, 
we who remained at Haie-Sainte, all who were alive 
and did not wish to be massacred. 

And when they say we were in a panic of terror 
and tried to run away like cowards, it is not true. 
When the news arrived that Grouchy was coming, 
even the wounded rose up and took their places in 
the ranks; it seemed as if a breath had raised the 
dead; and all those poor fellows in the rear of Haie- 
Sainte with their bandaged heads and arms and legs, 
with their clothes in tatters and soaked with blood, 
every one who could put one foot before the other, 
joined the Guard when it passed before the breaches 
in the wall of the garden, and every one tore open 
his last cartridge. 

The attack sounded, and our cannon began again 
to thunder. All was quiet on the hill-side, the rows 
of English cannon were deserted, and we might have 
thought they were all gone, only as the bear-skin 
caps of the Guard rose above the plateau, five or six 
volleys of shot warned us that they were waiting for 

Then we knew that all those Englishmen, Ger¬ 
mans. Belgians, and Hanoverians, whom we had 
been sabring and shooting since morning, had re- 



formed in the rear, and that we must encounter 
them. Many of the wounded retired at this mo¬ 
ment, and the Guard, upon which the heaviest part 
of the enemy’s fire had fallen, advanced through the 
showers of shot almost alone, sweeping everything 
before it, but it closed up more and more, and dimin¬ 
ished every moment. In twenty minutes every 
officer was dismounted, and the Guard halted before 
such a terrible fire of musketry, that even we, two 
hundred paces in the rear, could not hear our own 
guns; we seemed to be only exploding our priming. 

At last the whole army, in front, on the right and 
on the left, with the cavalry on the flanks, fell upon 

The four battalions of the Guard, reduced from 
three thousand to twelve hundred men, could not 
withstand the charge, they fell back slowly, and we 
fell back also, defending ourselves with musket and 

We had seen other battles more terrible, but this 
was the last. 

When we reached the edge of the plateau, all the 
plain below was enveloped in darkness and in the 
confusion of the defeat. The disbanded troops 
were flying, some on foot and some on horseback. 

A single battalion of the Guard in a square near 
the farm-house, and three other battalions farther 
on, with another square of the Guard at the junction 



of the route at Planchenois, stood motionless as some 
firm structure in the midst of an inundation which 
sweeps away everything else. 

They all went—hussars, chasseurs, cuirassiers, ar¬ 
tillery, and infantry—pell-mell along the road, 
across the fields, like an army of savages. 

Along the ravine of Planchenois the dark sky was 
lighted up by the discharges of musketry; the one 
square of the Guard still held out against Bulow, 
and prevented him from cutting ofi our retreat, but 
nearer us the Prussian cavalry poured down into the 
valley like a flood breaking over its barriers. Old 
Bliicher had just arrived with forty thousand men: 
he doubled our right wing and dispersed it. 

What can I say more! It was dissolution—we 
were surrounded. The English pushed us into the 
valley, and it was through this valley that Bliicher 
was coming. The generals and officers and even 
the Emperor himself were compelled to take refuge 
in a square, and they say that we poor wretches were 
panic-stricken! Such an injustice was never seen. 

Buche and I with five or six of our comrades ran 
toward the farm-house—the bombs were bursting 
all around us, we reached the road in our wild flight 
just as the English cavalry passed at full gallop, 
shouting, Ho quarter! no quarter! 

At this moment the square of the Guard began to 
retreat, firing from all sides in order to keep off the 

('oMivvT or ii()i (;oi’M(>\'r fakm 



wretches who sought safety within it. Only the 
officers and generals might save themselves. 

I shall never forget, even if I should live a thou¬ 
sand years, the immeasurable, unceasing cries which 
filled the valley for more than a league; and in the 
distance the grenadiere was sounding like an alarm- 
bell in the midst of a confiagration. But this was 
much more terrible; it was the last appeal of France, 
of a proud and courageous nation; it was the voice 
of the country saying, Help, my children! I per¬ 
ish! ” 

This rolling of the drums of the Old Guard in the 
midst of disaster, had in it something touching and 
horrible. I sobbed like a child;—Buche hurried 
me along, but I cried, Jean, leave me—we are 
lost, everything is lost! ” 

The thought of Catherine, and Mr. Goulden, and 
Pfalzbourg, did not enter my mind. What aston¬ 
ishes me to-day is, that we were not massacred a hun¬ 
dred times on the road, where files of English and 
Prussians were passing. But perhaps they mistook 
us for Germans, or they were running after the Em¬ 
peror, for they were all hoping to see him. 

Opposite the little farm of Eossomme, we were 
obliged to turn off the road to the right, into the 
field; it was here that the last square of the Guard 
still held out against the attack of the Prussians ; 
they soon gave way, for twenty minutes afterward 



the enemy poured over the road, and the Prussian 
chasseurs separated into bands to arrest all those who 
straggled or remained behind. This road was like 
a bridge; all who did not keep on it fell into the 

At the slope of the ravine in the rear of the inn 
“ Passe-Avant,” some Prussian hussars rushed upon 
us:»there were not more than five or six of them, and 
they called out to us to surrender; but if we had 
raised the butts of our muskets, they would have 
sabred us. We aimed at them, and seeing that we 
were not wounded, they passed on. 

This forced us to return to the road, where the up¬ 
roar could be heard for at least two leagues; cavalry, 
infantry, artillery, ambulances, and baggage-wag¬ 
ons, were creeping along the road pell-mell, howling, 
beating, neighing, and weeping. The retreat at 
Leipzig furnished no such spectacle as this. 

The moon rose above the wood behind Planche- 
nois, and lighted up this crowd of shapskas,* bear¬ 
skin caps, helmets, sabres, bayonets, broken caissons, 
and abandoned cannon; the crowd and confusion 
increased every moment, plaintive howls were heard 
from one end of the line to the other, rolling up and 
down the hill-side and dying away in the distance 
like a sigh. 

But the saddest of all, were the cries of the 
* Polish military cap. 



women, those unhappy creatures who follow armies. 
When they were knocked down or crowded out on 
to the slope with their carts, their screams could be 
heard above all the uproar, but no one turned his 
head, not a man stretched out a hand to help them: 

Every one for himself!—I shall crush you,—so 
much the worse for you,—I am the stronger—you 
scream, but it is all the same to me!—take care,— 
take care—I am on horseback—I shall hit you ! 
room—let me get away—the others do just the same 
—room for the Emperor! room for the marshal! ’’ 
The strong crush the weak—the only thing in the 
world is strength! On! on! Let the cannons 
crush everything, if we can only save them! 

But the cannon can move no farther,—unhitch 
them, cut the traces, and the horses will carry us off. 
Make them go as fast as possible, and if they break 
down—then let them go? If we were not the 
stronger our turn would come to be crushed—we 
should cry out and everybody would mock at our 
complaints. Save himself who can—and Yive 

But the Emperor is dead! ’’ 

Everybody thought the Emperor had died with 
the Old Guard; that seemed perfectly natural. 

The Prussian cavalry passed us in files with drawn 
sabres, shouting, Hurrah! ’’ They seemed to be 
escorting us, but they sabred every one who strag- 




gled from the road, and took no prisoners, neither 
did they attack the column; a few musket-shots 
passed over us from the right and left. 

Far in the rear we could see a red light: this was 
the farm-house at Caillou. 

We hastened onward, borne down with fatigue, 
hunger, and despair; we were ready to die, but still 
the hope of escape sustained us. Buche said to me 
as we went along, Joseph, let us help each other.’’ 

I will never abandon you,” I replied. We 
will die together. I can hold out no longer, it is too 
terrible,—we might better lie down at once.” 

FTo, let us keep on,” said he. The Prussians 
make no prisoners. Look! they kill without 
mercy, just as we did at Ligny.” 

We kept on in the same direction with thousands 
of others, sullen and discouraged, and yet we would 
turn round all at once and close our ranks and fire, 
when a squadron of Prussians came too near. We 
were still firm, still the stronger from time to time; 
we found abandoned gun-carriages, caissons, and 
cannons, and the ditches on either side were full of 
knapsacks, cartridge-boxes, guns, and sabres, which 
had been thrown away by the men to facilitate their 

But the most terrible thing of all was the great 
ambulances in the middle of the road filled with the 
wounded. The drivers had cut the traces and fled 



with the horses for fear of being taken prisoners. 
The poor half-dead wretches, with their arms hang¬ 
ing down, looked at us as we passed with despairing 

When I think of all this now, it reminds me of 
the tufts of straw and hay which lodge among the 
bushes after an inundation. We say That is our 
harvest, this is our crop, that is what the tempest has 
left us.” 

Ah! I have had many such reflections during 
fifty years! 

What grieved me most and made my heart bleed 
in the midst of this rout was that I could not dis¬ 
cover a single man of our battalion besides ourselves. 
I said to myself, They cannot all be dead; ” and I 
said to Buche: 

If I could only find Zebede it would give me 
back" my courage.” 

But he replied: ^^Let us try to save ourselves, 
Joseph. As for me, if I ever see Harberg again, I 
will not complain because I have to eat potatoes. 
1^0, no. God has punished me. I shall be content¬ 
ed to work and go into the woods with my axe on my 
shoulder. If only I do not go home maimed, and if 
I am not compelled to hold out my hand at the road¬ 
side in order to live, like so many others. Let us 
try to get home safe and sound.” 

I thought he showed great good sense. 



At about half-past ten, as we reached the environs 
of Genappe, terrible cries were beard in tbe dis¬ 
tance. Fires of straw had been lighted in the mid¬ 
dle of the principal street to give light to the multi¬ 
tude, and we could see from where we were, that the 
houses were full of people and the streets so full of 
horses and baggage that they could not move a step. 
We knew that the Prussians might come at any 
moment, and that they would have cannon; and 
that it would be better for us if we went round the 
village than to be taken prisoners altogether. This 
was why we turned to the left across the grain fields 
with a great many others. We crossed the Thy in 
water up to our waists, and toward midnight we 
reached Quatre-Bras. 

We had done well not to stop at Genappe, for we 
already heard the roar of the Prussian cannon and 
musketry near the village. Great numbers of fugi¬ 
tives came along the road, cuirassiers, lancers, and 
chasseurs. iN’ot one of them stopped. 

We began to be terribly hungry. We knew very 
well that everything in these houses must have been 
eaten long ago, but still we went into the one on the 
left. The floor was covered with straw, on which 
the wounded were lying. We had hardly opened 
the door when they all began to cry out at once; to 
tell the truth, the stench was so horrible that we left 
immediately and took the road to Charleroi. The 




moon shone beautifully, and we could see on the 
right amongst the grain a quantity of dead men, who 
had not yet been buried. 

Buche followed a furrow about twenty-five paces, 
to where three or four Englishmen were lying one 
on the top of the other. I asked him what he was 
going to do amongst the dead. 

He came back with a tin bottle, and shaking it 
at his ear, he said, Joseph, it is full.” 

He dipped it in the water of the ditch before 
opening it, and then took out the cork and drank, 
saying, It is brandy! ” 

He passed it to me, and I drank also. I felt my 
life returning, and I gave him back the bottle half 
full, thanking God for the good idea that he had 
given us. 

We looked on all sides to see if we could not find 
some bread in the haversacks of the dead, but the 
uproar increased, and as we could not resist the 
Prussians if they should surround us, we set off again 
full of strength and courage. The brandy made us 
look at everything on the bright side already, and T 
said to Buche: 

Jean, now the worst is over and we shall see 
Pfalzbourg and Harberg again. We are on a good 
road which will take us back to France. If we had 
gained the battle, we should have been forced to go 
still farther into Germany, and we should have been 



obliged to figbt the Austrians and tbe Russians, and 
if we bad bad tbe good fortune to escape with our 
lives, we should have returned old gray-baired vet¬ 
erans, and should have been compelled to keep gar¬ 
rison at ^ Petite Pierre,’ or somewhere else.” 

These miserable thoughts ran through my head, 
but I marched on with more courage, and Buche 

The English are right in having their bottles 
made of tin, for if I had not seen this shining in the 
moonlight, I should never have thought of going to 
look for it.” 

Every moment while we were talking in this way 
men were riding by, their horses almost ready to 
drop, but by beating and spurring, they kept them 
trotting just the same. 

The noise of the retreating army began to reach 
our ears again in the distance, but fortunately we 
had the advance. 

It might have been about one o’clock in the 
morning, and we thought ourselves safe, when sud¬ 
denly Buche said to me: 

Joseph, here are the Prussians! ” 

And looking behind us, I saw in the moonlight 
five bronzed hussars from the same regiment as those 
who, the year before, had cut poor Klipfel to pieces. 
I thought this was a bad sign. 

Is your gun loaded? ” I asked Buche. 

emi>i:hok had left fou fahis, 




Well! let us wait, we must defend ourselves, I 
will not surrender.” 

Nor I either,” said he, I had rather die than 
to be taken prisoner.” 

At the same moment the Prussian officer shouted 
arrogantly, Lay down your arms.” 

Instead of waiting, as I did, Buche discharged the 
contents of his musket full in the officer’s breast. 
Then the other four fell upon us. Buche received 
a blow from a sabre which cut his shako down to the 
visor, but with one thrust with his bayonet he killed 
his antagonist. Three of them still remained. My 
musket was loaded. Buche planted himself with 
his back against a nut-tree, and every time the Prus¬ 
sians, who had fallen back, approached us, I took 
aim. Neither of them wanted to be the first to die! 
As we waited, Buche with his bayonet fixed and I 
with my musket at my shoulder, we heard a gallop¬ 
ing on the road. This frightened us, for we thought 
more Prussians were coming, but they were our 
lancers. The hussars then turned off into the grain, 
and Buche hastened to re-load his gun. 

Our lancers passed and we followed them on the 

An officer who joined us, said that the Emperor 
had set out for Paris, and that King Jerome had 
just taken command of the army. 



Buclie’s scalp was laid completely open, bnt tKe 
bone was not injured, and tbe blood ran down his 
cheeks. He bound up his head with his handker¬ 

After that we saw no more Prussians. 

About two o’clock in the morning, we were so 
weary we could hardly take another step. About 
two hundred paces to the left of the road there was 
a little beech grove. Buche said: Look, Joseph, 
let us go in there and lie down and sleep.” 

It was j*ust what I wanted. 

We went down across the oat-field to the wood, 
and entered a close thicket of young trees. 

We had both kept our guns and knapsacks and 
cartridge-boxes. We laid our knapsacks on the 
ground for a pillow, and it had long been broad day¬ 
light, and the retreating crowd had been passing for 
hours, when we awoke and quietly pursued our j*our- 


XuMBEES of our comrades and of tlie wounded 
remained behind at Gosselies, but the larger part of 
the army kept on their way, and about nine o’clock 
we began to see the spires of Charleroi in the dis¬ 
tance, when suddenly we heard shouts, cries, com¬ 
plaints, and shots intermingled, half a league be¬ 
fore us. 

The whole immense column of miserable wretches 
halted, shouting: The city closes its doors against 
us! we are stopped here! ” 

Consternation and despair were stamped on every 

But a moment after, the news came that the con¬ 
voys of provisions were coming and that they would 
not distribute them. 

Let us fall upon them! Kill the rascals who 
are starving us! We are betrayed! ” 

The most fearful and the most exhausted quick¬ 
ened their pace, and drew their sabres or loaded their 

It was plain that there would be a veritable butch¬ 
ery if the guards did not give way. Buche himself 




They ouglit all to be murdered, we are betrayed. 
Come, Joseph, let us be revenged.’’ 

But I held him back by the collar and exclaimed: 

!No, Jean, no! We have had murders enough 
already, and we have escaped all, and we do not want 
to be killed here by Frenchmen. Come! ” 

He struggled still, but at last I showed him a vil¬ 
lage on the left of the road and said: 

Look! there is the road to Harberg, and there 
are houses like those at Quatre Vents; let us go 
there and ask for bread; I have money, and we shall 
certainly find some. That will be better than to 
attack the convoys like a pack of wolves.” 

He allowed himself to be persuaded at last, and 
we set off once more through the grain. If hunger 
had not urged us on, we should have sat down on the 
side of the path at every step. But at the end of 
half an hour, thanks to God, we reached a sort of 
farm-house; it was abandoned, with the windows 
broken out, and the door wide open, and great heaps 
of black earth lying about. We went in and shout¬ 
ed, Is there no one here? ” 

We knocked against the furniture with the butts 
of our muskets, but not a soul answered. Our fury 
increased, because we saw several wretches, follow¬ 
ing the route by which we had come, and we 
thought, They are coming to eat up our bread.” 
Ah! those who have never suffered these priva- 



tions cannot comprehend the fury which possessed 
us. It was horrible—horrible! 

We had already broken open the door of a cup¬ 
board filled with linen, and were turning over every¬ 
thing with our bayonets, when an old woman came 
out from behind a table, which hid the passage to 
the cellar. She sobbed and exclaimed: 

My God, my God! have mercy upon us.” 

The house had been pillaged early in the morn¬ 
ing; they had taken away the horses, the master had 
disappeared and the servants had fled. 

In spite of our fury the sight of the poor old 
woman made us ashamed of ourselves, and I said to 

Do not be afraid, we are not monsters, only give 
us some bread, we are starving.” 

She was sitting on an old chair with her withered 
hands crossed over her knee, and she said: 

I no longer have any, they have taken all. My 
God! all! all!” 

Her gray hair was hanging down over her face, 
and I felt like weeping for her and for ourselves. 
^^Well!” I said, ^^we must look for ourselves, 
Buche.” We went into all the rooms and the 
stables, there was nothing to be seen, everything 
had been stolen and broken. 

I was going out, when in the shadow behind the 
old door, I saw something whitish against the wall. 



I stopped, and stretched out my hand. It was a 
linen bag with a strap. I took it down, trembling 
in my hurry. Buche looked at me—the bag was 
heavy—I opened it, there were two great black rad¬ 
ishes, half of a small loaf of bread, dry and hard as 
stone, a large pair of shears for trimming hedges, 
and quite in the bottom some onions and some gray 
salt in a paper. 

On seeing these we made an exclamation of joy, 
but the fear of seeing the others come in, made us 
run out in the rear, far into the rye-field, skulking 
and hiding like thieves. 

W^e had regained all our strength, and we went 
and sat down on the edge of a little brook. Buche 

Look here! I must have my part.’’ 

Yes,—half of all,” I replied. You let me 
drink from your bottle, I will divide with you.” 

Then he was calm again. I cut the bread in two 
with my sabre and said: Choose, Jean; that is 
your radish, and there are half the onions, and we 
will share the salt between us.” We ate the bread 
without soaking it in the water, we ate our radishes, 
our onions and the salt. We should have kept on 
eating still, if we had had more to eat, but yet we 
were satisfied. 

We knelt down with our hands in the water and 
we drank. 



‘^Now let us go/’ said Buche, ^^and leave the bag.” 

In spite of our weary legs, which were ready to 
give out, we went on again toward the left; while on 
the right behind us, toward Charleroi, the shouts 
and shots redoubled, and all along the road we could 
see nothing but the men fighting, but they were al¬ 
ready far away. 

We looked back from time to time, and Buche 

Joseph, you did well to bring me away, had it 
not been for you, I might have been stretched out 
over there by the road-side, killed by a Frenchman. 
I was too hungry. But where shall we go now ? ” 

I answered, Follow me! ” 

We passed through a large and beautiful village, 
pillaged and abandoned also. 

Farther on we met some peasants, who scowled at 
us from the road-side. We must have had ill-look¬ 
ing faces, especially Buche with his head bound up, 
and his beard eight days old, thick and hard as the 
bristles of a boar. 

About one o’clock in the afternoon we re-crossed 
the Sambre, by the bridge of Chatelet, but" as the 
Prussians were still in pursuit we did not halt there. 
I was quite at ease, thinking: 

If they are still pursuing us, they will follow 
the bulk of the army, in order to take more prison¬ 
ers and pick up the cannon, caissons, and baggage.” 



This was the manner in which we were compelled 
to reason, we, who three days before had made the 
world tremble. 

I recollect that when we reached a small village 
about three o’clock in the afternoon, we stopped at a 
blacksmith’s shop to ask for water. The country 
people immediately began to gather round, and the 
smith, a large, dark man, asked us to go to the little 
inn, opposite, saying he would join us and take a 
glass of beer with us. 

Naturally enough this pleased us, for we were 
afraid of being arrested, and we saw that these peo¬ 
ple were on our side. 

I remembered that I had some money in my knap¬ 
sack, and that now it would be useful. 

We went into the inn, which was only a little 
shop, with two small windows on the street, and a 
round door opening in the middle, as is common in 
our country villages. 

When we were seated the room was so full of men 
and women, who had come to hear the news, that we 
could hardly breathe. 

The smith came. He had taken off his leather 
apron and put on a little blue blouse, and we saw at 
once that he had five or six men with him. They 
were the mayor and his assistant, and the municipal 
councillors of the place. 

They sat down on the benches opposite, and or- 



dered tlie favorite sour beer of the country for us to 
drink. Buche asked for some bread; the innkeep¬ 
er’s wife brought us a whole loaf and a large piece 
of beef in a porringer. 

All urged us to Eat, eat! ” When one or an¬ 
other would ask us a question about the battle, the 
smith or the mayor would say: 

Let the men finish, you can see plainly that they 
have come a long way.” 

And it was only when we had finished eating, that 
they questioned us, asking if it was true that the 
Erench had lost a great battle. The first report was 
that we were the victors, but afterward they heard 
a rumor that we were defeated. 

We understood that they were speaking of Ligny, 
and that their ideas were confused. I was ashamed 
to tell that we were overthrown; I looked at Buche, 
and he said: 

We have been betrayed. The traitors revealed 
our plans. The army was full of traitors, who 
cried, Sauve qui peut! ’ How was it possible for 
us not to lose, under such circumstances? ” 

It was the first time I had heard treason spoken 
of; some of the wounded, it is true, had said, “ We 
are betrayed,” but I had paid no attention to their 
words, and when Buche relieved us from our em¬ 
barrassment by this means, I was glad of it, though 
I was astonished. 



The people sympathized with us in our indigna¬ 
tion against the traitors., 

Then we were obliged to explain the battle and 
the treason. Buche said the Prussians had fallen 
upon us through the treason of Marshal Grouchy. 

This seemed to me to be going too far, but the 
peasants in their pity for us had made us drink again 
and again, and had given us pipes and tobacco, and 
at last I said the same as Buche. It was not till af¬ 
ter we had left the place that the recollection of our 
shameful falsehoods made me ashamed of myself, 
and I said to Buche: 

Do you know, Jean, that our lies about the 
traitors were not right? If every one tells as many, 
we shall all be traitors, and the Emperor will be the 
only true man amongst us. It is a disgrace to the 
country to say that we have so many traitors; it is 
not true.’’ 

^^Bah! bah!” said he. ^^We have been be¬ 
trayed; if we had not, the English and Prussians 
could never have forced us to retreat.” 

We did nothing but dispute this point till eight 
o’clock in the evening. By this time we had 
reached a village called Bouvigny. 

We were so tired that our legs were as stiff as 
stakes, and for a long while we had needed a great 
deal of courage to take a single step. 

We were certain that the Prussians were no Ion- 



ger near, and as I had money we went into an inn 
and asked for a bed. 

I took out a six-franc piece in order to let them 
see that we could pay. I had resolved to change 
my uniform the next day, to leave my gun and knap¬ 
sack and cartridge-box here and to go home, for I 
believed that the war was over, and I rejoiced in the 
midst of my misfortunes that I had escaped with my 
arms and legs. 

Buche and I slept that night in a little room, with 
a Holy Virgin and infant Jesus in a niche between 
the curtains over our heads, and we rested like the 
blessed in heaven. 

The next morning, instead of keeping on our way, 
we were so glad to sit on a comfortable chair in the 
kitchen, to stretch our legs and smoke our pipes as 
we watched the kettles boiling, that we said, Let 
us stay quietly here. To-morrow we shall be well 
rested, and we will buy two pairs of linen pantaloons, 
and two blouses, we will cut two good sticks from a 
hedge, and go home by easy stages.” 

The thought of these pleasant plans touched us. 
And it was from this inn that I wrote to Catherine 
and Aunt Gredel and Mr. Goulden. I wrote only a 

“ I have escaped, let us thank God, I am coming’, I 
embrace you a thousand times with all my heart. 

“Joseph Bertha.” 




I thanked God as I wrote, but a great many things 
were to happen before I should mount our staircase 
at the corner of the rue Fouquet opposite the Eed 
When one has been taken by conscription he 
must not be in a hurry to write that he is released. 
That happiness does not depend upon us, and the 
best will in the world helps nothing. 

I sent off my letter by the post, and we stayed all 
that day at the inn of the Golden Sheep.” 

After we had eaten a good supper, we went up to 
our beds, and I said to Buche, Ha! Jean, to do 
what you please is quite a different thing from be¬ 
ing forced to respond to the roll-call.” 

We both laughed in spite of the misfortunes of 
the country, of course without thinking, otherwise 
we should have been veritable rascals. 

For the second time we went to sleep in our good 
bed, when about one o’clock in the morning we were 
wakened in a most extraordinary manner: the drums 
were beating and we heard men marching all over 
the village. 

I pushed Jean, and he said, I hear it, the Prus¬ 

sians are outside.” 

You cannot imagine our terror, but it was much 
worse a moment after; some one knocked at the 
door of the inn, and it opened; in a moment the 
great hall was full of people. Some one came up 
the stairs. We had both got up, and Buche 



said, I shall defend myself if they try to 
take me/’ 

I dared not think what I was going to do. 

We were almost dressed, and I was hoping to es¬ 
cape in the darkness without being recognized, when 
suddenly there was a knock at the door and a shout. 


We were obliged to open it. 

An infantry officer, wet through by the rain, with 
his great blue cloak thrown over his epaulettes, 
followed by an old sergeant with a lantern, 
came in. 

We recognized them as Frenchmen, and the 
officer asked brusquely, Where do you come 
from? ” 

From Mont-St.-Jean, lieutenant,” I replied. 

From what regiment are you? ” 

From the Sixth light infantry,” I answered. 

He looked at the number on my shako, which was 
lying on the table, and at the same time I saw that 
his number was also the Sixth. 

From which battalion are you? ” said he, knit¬ 
ting his brows. 

The third.” 

Buche, pale as ashes, did not say a word. The 
officer looked at our guns and knapsacks and car¬ 
tridge-boxes behind the bed in the corner. 

You have deserted,” said he. 



lieutenant, we left, the last ones, at eight 
o’clock, from Mont-St.-Jean.” 

Go downstairs, we will see if that is true.” 

We went downstairs. The officer followed us, 
and the sergeant went before with his lantern. 

The great hall below was full of officers of the 
12th mounted chasseurs, and of the 6th light in¬ 
fantry. The commandant of the 4th battalion of 
the 6th was promenading up and down, smoking a 
little wooden pipe. They were all of them wet 
through and covered with mud. 

The officers said a few words to the commandant, 
who stopped, and fixed his black eyes upon us, while 
his crooked nose turned down into his gray mus¬ 

His manner was not very gentle as he asked us 
half a dozen questions about our departure from 
Ligny, the road to Quatre-Bras, and the battle. He 
winked and compressed his lips. The others walked 
up and do^vn dragging their sabres without listen¬ 
ing to us. At last the commandant said, Ser¬ 
geant, these men will join the second company; go!” 

He took his pipe again from the edge of the man¬ 
tel, and we went out with the sergeant, happy 
enough to get off so easily, for they might have shot 
us as deserters before the enemy. 

We followed the sergeant for two hundred paces 
to the other end of the village to a shed. Fires had 



been lighted farther on in the fields; men were 
sleeping under the shed, leaning against the doors of 
the stables, and the posts. 

A fine rain was falling and the puddles quivered 
in the gray uncertain moonlight. We stood up un¬ 
der a part of the roof at the corner of the old house 
thinking of our troubles. 

At the end of an hour, the drums began to beat 
with a dull sound; the men shook the straw from 
their clothes and we resumed our march. It was 
still dark—but we could hear the chasseurs sound¬ 
ing their signal to mount, behind us. 

Between three and four in the morning, at dawn, 
we saw a great many other regiments, cavalry, in¬ 
fantry, and artillery, on the march like ourselves by 
different roads, all the corps of Marshal Grouchy in 
retreat! The wet weather, the leaden sky, the long 
files of weary men, the disappointment of being re¬ 
taken, and the thought that so many efforts and so 
much bloodshed had only terminated a second time 
in an invasion, all this made us hang down our heads. 

Nothing was heard but the sound of our own foot¬ 
steps in the mud. 

I could not shake off my sadness for a long time, 
when a voice near me said: 

Good-morning, Joseph.’’ 

I was awakened, and looking at the man who 
spoke to me, I recognized the son of Martin the tan- 



ner, our neighbor at Pfalzbourg; he was corporal 
of the Sixth, and the file-closer, marching with arms 
at will. We shook hands. It was a real consola¬ 
tion for me to see some one from our own place. 

In spite of the rain which continued to fall and 
our great fatigue, we could talk of nothing but this 
terrible campaign. 

I related the story of the battle of Waterloo, and 
he told me that the 4th battalion on leaving Fleurus 
had taken the route toward Wavre with the whole 
of Grouchy’s corps, and that in the afternoon of the 
next day, the 18th, they heard the cannon on their 
left and that they all wanted to go in that direction, 
even the generals, but the marshal having received 
positive orders, had continued on the route to 
Wavre. It was between six and seven o’clock, be¬ 
fore they were convinced that the Prussians had es¬ 
caped; then they changed their course to the left 
in order to rejoin the Emperor, but unfortunately, it 
w^as too late, and toward midnight they were obliged 
to take a position in the fields. 

Each battalion formed in a square. At three 
o’clock in the morning the cannon of the Prussians 
had awakened the bivouacs, and they had skirmished 
until two o’clock in the afternoon, when the order 
to retreat reached them. 

Again, Martin said they were too late, for a part 
of the enemy’s force which had been engaged with 



that of the Emperor, was in their rear, and they were 
obliged to march all the rest of that day and the 
night following in order to escape from their pur¬ 

At six o’clock the battalion had taken a position 
near the village of Temploux, and at ten the Prus¬ 
sians came up in superior force. They opposed 
them in the most vigorous manner in order to give 
the baggage and artillery time to get over the bridge 
at E^amur. 

Fortunately the whole army corps had escaped 
from the village except the 4th battalion which, 
through a mistake of the commandant, had turned 
olf the road at the left, and was obliged to throw 
itself into the Sambre in order to escape being cut 
off. Some of the men were taken prisoners and 
some were drowned in trying to swim across the 

This was all that Martin told me; he had no news 
from home. 

That same day we passed through Givet; the bat¬ 
talion bivouacked near the village of Hierches half a 
league farther on. The next day we passed through 
Fumay and Eocroy, and slept at Bourg-FidMes, the 
23d of June at Blombay, the 24th at Saulsse-Lenoy 
—where we heard of the abdication of the Emperor 
—and the days following at Vitry, near Eheims, at 
Jonchery, and at Soissons. From there the bat- 



talion took the route toward Ville-Cotterets, but the 
enemy was already before us, and we changed our 
course to Ferte-Milon, and bivouacked at FTeu- 
chelles, a village destroyed by the invasion of 1814, 
and which had not yet been rebuilt. We left that 
place on the 29th, about one o’clock in the morning, 
passing through Meaux. 

Here we were obliged to take the road to Lagny, 
because the Prussians occupied that which led to 
Claye. We marched all that day and the night fol¬ 

On the 30th, at five in the morning, we were at 
the bridge of Saint-Maur. 

The same day we passed outside of Paris and 
bivouacked in a place rich in everything, called Yau- 

The 1st of July we reached Meudon, a superb 
place. We could see by the walled gardens and 
orchards, and by the size and good condition of the 
houses, that we were in the suburbs of the most 
beautiful city in the world, and yet we were in the 
midst of the greatest danger and suffering, and our 
hearts bled in consequence. 

The people were kind and friendly to the soldiers, 
and called us the defenders of the country, and even 
the poorest were willing to go to battle with us. 

We left our position at eleven o’clock in the even¬ 
ing of the 1st of July, and went to St. Cloud, which 



is nothing but palace upon palace, and garden upon 
garden, with great trees, and magnificent alleys, and 
everything that is beautiful. At six o’clock we 
quitted St. Cloud to go back to our position at Yau- 

The most startling rumors filled the city. The 
Emperor had gone to Rochefort—they said ; the 
King was coming back—Louis the XYIII. was en 
route —and so forth. 

They knew nothing certain in the city, where they 
should soonest know everything. 

The enemy attacked us in the suburbs of Issy 
about one o’clock in the afternoon, and we fought 
till midnight for our capital. 

The people aided as much as possible; they car¬ 
ried off the wounded from under the enemy’s fire; 
even the women took pity on us. 

What we suffered from being driven to this, I can¬ 
not describe. I have seen Buche himself cry be¬ 
cause we were in one sense dishonored. I wished I 
had never seen that time. Twelve days before I did 
not know that France was so beautiful. But on 
seeing Paris with its towers and its innumerable pal¬ 
aces extending as far as the horizon, I thought. 
This is France, these are the treasures that our 
fathers have amassed during century after century. 
What a misfortune that the English and Prussians 
should ever come here.” 



At four in the morning we attacked the Prussians 
with new fury, and retook the positions we had lost 
the day before. Then it was that some generals 
came and announced a suspension of hostilities. 
This took place on the 3d of July, 1815. 

We thought that this suspension was to give no¬ 
tice to the enemy, that if he did not quit our country, 
France would rise as one man, and crush them all as 
she did in ’92. These were our opinions, and seeing 
that the people were on our side, I remembered the 
general levies which Mr. Goulden was always talk¬ 
ing about. 

But unhappily a great many were so tired of 
Napoleon and his soldiers, that they sacrificed the 
country itself, in order to be rid of him. They laid 
ajl the blame on the Emperor, and said, if it had not 
been for him, our enemies would never have had the 
force or the courage to attack us, that he had ex¬ 
hausted our resources, and that the Prussians them¬ 
selves would give us more liberty than he had done. 

The people talked like Mr. Goulden, but they had 
neither guns nor cartridges, their only weapons were 

On the 4th, while we were thinking of these 
things, they announced to us the armistice, by which 
the Prussians and English were to occupy the bar¬ 
riers of Paris, and the French army was to retire be¬ 
yond the Loire. 



When we heard this, our indignation was so great 
that we were furious. Some of the soldiers broke 
their guns, and others tore off their uniforms, and 
everybody exclaimed, We are betrayed, we are 
given up.’’ The old officers were quiet, but they 
were pale as death, and the tears ran down their 

Nobody could pacify us, we had fallen below con¬ 
tempt, we were a conquered people. 

For thousands of years it would be said, that Paris 
had been taken by the Prussians and the English. 
It was an everlasting disgrace, but the shame did not 
rest on us. 

The battalion left Yaugirard at five o’clock in the 
afternoon to go to Montrouge. When we saw that 
the movement toward the Loire had commenced, 
each one said, What are we then? Are we sub¬ 
jects to the Prussians? because they want to see us 
on the other side of the Loire, are we forced to 
gratify them? No, no! that cannot be. Since 
they have betrayed us, let us go! All this is none 
of our concern any longer. We have done our 
duty, but we will not obey Bliicher! ” 

The desertion commenced that very night; all the 
soldiers went, some to the right and some to the left; 
men in blouses and poor old women tried to take us 
with them through the wilderness of streets, and en¬ 
deavored to console us, but we did not need consola- 



tion. I said to Buclie: Let us leave the whole 
thing, and return to Pfalzhourg and Harberg, let 
us go back to our trades and live like honest people. 
If the Austrians and Kussians come there, the 
mountaineers and villagers will know how to defend 
themselves. We shall need no great battles to de¬ 
stroy thousands of them, let us go! ’’ 

There were fifteen of us from Lorraine in the bat¬ 
talion, and we all left Montrouge, where the head¬ 
quarters were, together; we passed through Ivry 
and Bercy, both places of great beauty, hut our 
trouble prevented us from seeing a quarter of what 
we should have done. Some kept their uniforms, 
while others had only their cloaks, and the rest had 
bought blouses. 

We found the road to Strasbourg at last, in the 
rear of St. Mande, near a wood to the left of which 
we could see some high towers, which they told us 
was the fortress of Vincennes. 

From this place, we regularly made our twelve 
leagues a day. 

On the 8th of July we learned that Louis XVIII. 
was to he restored, and that Monseigneur le Comte 
d^Artois would secure his salvation. All the wag¬ 
ons and boats and diligences already carried the 
white flag, and they were singing Te Deums ” in 
all the villages through which we passed; the mayors 
and their assistants and the councillors all praised 



and glorified God for the return of Louis the well- 

The scoundrels called us “ Bonapartists/’ as they 
saw us pass, and even set their dogs on us. 

But I do not like to speak of them; such people 
are the disgrace of the human race. 

We replied only by contemptuous glances, which 
made them still more insolent and furious. 

Some of them flourished their sticks, as much as 
to say,—If we had you in a corner, you would be 
as meek as lambs.’’ 

The gendarmes upheld these Pinacles and we 
were arrested in three or four places. They de¬ 
manded our papers and took us before the mayor, 
and the rascals forced us to shout Vive le 

It was shameful, and the old soldiers rather than 
do it allowed themselves to be taken to prison. 
Buche wanted to follow their example, but I said to 
him, What harm will it do us to shout Vive Jean 
Claude, or Vive Jean Mcholas? All these kings 
and emperors, old and new, would not give a hair of 
their heads to save our lives, and shall we go and 
break our necks in order to shout one thing rather 
than another? ISTo, it does not concern us, and if 
people will be so stupid, as long as we are not the 
strongest, we must satisfy them. By and by, they 
will shout something else, and afterward still some- 



tiling else. Everything changes—nothing but 
good sense and good will remain.’’ 

Buche did not want to understand this reasoning, 
but when the gendarmes came, he submitted not¬ 

As we went along, one after another of our little 
party would drop oif in his own village, till at last 
no one was left but Toul, Buche, and I. 

We saw the saddest sight of all, and this was the 
crowds of Germans and Russians in Lorraine and 
Alsace. They were drilling at Luneville, at Bla- 
mont, and at Sarrebourg, with oak branches in their 
wretched shakos. What vexation to see such sav¬ 
ages living in luxury at the expense of our peasants. 

Father Goulden was right when he said that mili¬ 
tary glory costs very dear. I only hope the Lord 
will save us from it for ages to come! 

At last, on the 16th July, 1815, about eleven 
o’clock in the morning, we reached Mittelbronn, the 
last village on that side, before reaching Pfalzbourg. 
The siege was raised after the armistice, and the 
whole country was full of Cossacks, Landwehr,* and 
Kaiserlichs.f Their batteries were still in position 
around the town, though they no longer discharged 
them; the gates were open, and the people went out 
and in to secure their crops. 

There was great need of the wheat and rye, and 

* German militiamen. f German imperial troops. 



you can imagine the suffering it caused us, to feed 
so many thousands of useless beings, who denied 
themselves nothing, and who wanted bacon and 
schnapps every day. 

Before every door and at every window there was 
nothing to be seen but their flat noses, their long 
filthy yellow beards, their white coats filled with 
vermin, and their low shakos, looking out at you, as 
they smoked their pipes in idleness and drunkenness. 
We were obliged to work for them, and at last hon¬ 
est people were compelled to give them two thou¬ 
sand millions of francs more to induce them to go 

How many things I might say against these lazy¬ 
bones from Kussia and Germany, if we had not done 
ten times worse in their country. You can each one 
make reflections for yourself, and imagine the rest. 

At Heitz’s inn I said to Buche, Let’s stop here. 
My legs are giving out.” 

Mother Heitz, who was then still a young woman, 
threw up her hands and exclaimed, My God! there 
is Joseph Bertha! God in heaven! what a surprise 
for the town! ” 

I went in, sat down and leaned my head on a table 
and wept without restraint. 

Mother Heitz ran down to the cellar to bring a 
bottle of wine, and I heard Buche sobbing in the 
corner. Heither of us could speak for thinking of 



the joy of our friends. The sight of our own coun¬ 
try had upset us, and we rejoiced to think that our 
bones would one day rest peacefully in the village 
cemetery. Meanwhile we were going to embrace 
those we loved best in the world. 

When we had recovered a little, I said to Buche: 

Jean, you must go on before me, so that my 
wife and Mr. Goulden may not be too much sur¬ 
prised. You will tell them that you saw me the day 
after the battle, and that I was not wounded, and 
then you must say, you met me again in the suburbs 
of Paris, and even on the way home, and at last, that 
you think I am not far behind, that I am coming— 
you understand.’’ 

Yes, I understand,” said he, getting up after 
having emptied his glass, and I will do the same 
thing for grandmother, who loves me more than she 
does the other boys; I will send some one on before 

He went out at once, and I waited a few min¬ 
utes ; Mother Heitz talked to me but I did not listen; 
I was thinking how far Buche had gone; I saw him 
near the ford, at the outworks, and at the gate. Sud¬ 
denly I went out, saying to Mother Heitz, I will 
pay you another time.” 

I began to run; I partly remember having met 
three or four persons, who said, Ah! that is Joseph 
Bertha! ” But I am not sure of that. 



All at once, without knowing how, I sprang up 
the stairs, and then I heard a great cry—Catherine 
was in my arms. 

My head swam—in a minute after I seemed to 
come out of a dream; I saw the room, Mr. Goulden, 
Jean Buche, and Catherine; and I began to sob 
so violently, that you would have thought some 
great misfortune had happened. I held Catherine 
on my knee and kissed her, and she cried too. Af¬ 
ter a long while I exclaimed: 

Ah! Mr. Goulden, pardon me! I ought to have 
embraced you, my father! whom I love as I do 
myself! ’’ 

I know it, Joseph,’’ said he with emotion, I 
know it, I am not jealous.’’ And he wiped his eyes. 

Yes—yes—love—and family and then friends. 
It is quite natural, my child, do not trouble your¬ 
self about that.” 

I got up and pressed him to my heart. 

The first word Catherine said to me was, Jo¬ 
seph, I knew you would come back, I had put my 
trust in God! How our worst troubles are over, 
and we shall always remain together.” 

She was still sitting on my knee with her arm on 
my shoulder, I looked at her, she dropped her eyes 
and was very pale. That which we had hoped for 
before my departure had come. 

We were happy. 




Mr. Goulden smiled as he sat at his workbench— 
Jean stood up near the door and said: 

Now I am going, Joseph, to Harberg. Father 
and grandmother are waiting for me.’’ 

Stay, Jean, you will dine with us.” Mr. Gould¬ 
en and Catherine urged him also, but he would 
not wait. I embraced him on the stairs and felt that 
I loved him like a brother. 

He came often after that, but never once for 
thirty years without stopping with me. Now he 
lies behind the church at Hommert. He was a 
brave man and had a good heart. 

But what am I thinking of? I must finish my 
story, and I have not said a word of Aunt Gredel, 
who came an hour afterward. Ah! she threw up 
her hands, and she embraced me, exclaiming: 

Joseph! Joseph! you have then escaped every¬ 
thing! let them come now to take you again! let 
them come! oh! how I repented of letting you go 
away! how I cursed the conscription and all the 
rest! but here you are! how good it is! the Lord 
has had mercy upon us! ” 

Yes, all these old stories bring the tears to my 
eyes, when I think of them; it is like a long for¬ 
gotten dream, and yet it is real. These joys and 
sorrows that we recall, attach us to earth, and though 
we are old and our strength is gone and our sight is 
dim, and we are only the shadows of ourselves; yet 



we are never ready to go, we never say, It is 
enough! ’’ 

These old memories are always fresh; when we 
speak of past dangers we seem to be in the midst of 
them again; when we recall our old friends, we 
again press their hands in imagination, and our be¬ 
loved is again seated on our knee, and we look in 
her face, thinking, She is beautiful! ’’ and that 
which seemed to us just and wise and right in those 
old days, seems right and wise and just still. 

I remember—and I must here finish my long 
story—that for many months and even years there 
was great sorrow in many families, and nobody 
dared to speak openly, or wish for the glory of the 

Zebede came back with those who had been dis¬ 
banded on the other side of the Loire, but even he 
had lost his courage. This came from the ven¬ 
geance and the condemnations and shootings, mas¬ 
sacres and revenge of every kind which followed 
our humiliation; from the hundred and fifty thou¬ 
sand Germans, English, and Kussians, who gar¬ 
risoned our fortresses, from the indemnities of war, 
from the thousands of emigres, from the forced con¬ 
tributions, and especially from the laws against sus¬ 
pects, and against sacrilege, and the rights of pri¬ 
mogeniture which they wished to be re-established. 

All these things so contrary to reason and to the 



honor of the nation, together with the denunciations 
of the Pinacles and the outrages that the old revo¬ 
lutionists were made to suffer—altogether these 
things have made us melancholy, so that often when 
we were alone with Catherine and the little Joseph, 
whom God had sent to console us for so many mis¬ 
fortunes, Mr. Goulden would say, pensively: 

Joseph, our unhappy country has fallen very 
low. When E^apoleon took France she was the 
greatest, the freest, and most powerful of nations, 
all the world admired and envied us, but to-day we 
are conquered, ruined, our fortresses are filled with 
our enemies, who have their feet on our necks; and 
what was never before seen since France existed, 
strangers are masters of our capital—twice we have 
seen this in two years. See what it costs to put lib¬ 
erty, fortune, and honor in the hands of an am¬ 
bitious man. We are in a very sad condition, the 
great Kevolution is believed to be dead, and the 
Rights of Man are annihilated. But we must not 
be discouraged, all this will pass away, those who 
oppose liberty and justice will be driven away, and 
those who wish to re-establish privileges and titles 
will be regarded as fools. The great nation is re¬ 
posing, is reflecting upon her faults, is observing 
those who are leading her contrary to her own in¬ 
terests: she reads their hearts, and in spite of the 
Swiss, in spite of the royal guard, in spite of the 



Holy Alliance, when once she is weary of her suf¬ 
ferings she will cast them out some day or other. 
Then it will be finished, for France wants liberty, 
equality, and justice. 

The one thing which we lack is instruction, 
though the people are instructing themselves every 
day, they profit by our experiences, by our mis¬ 

I shall not have the happiness, perhaps, of see¬ 
ing the awakening of the country, I am too old to 
hope for it, but you will see it, and the sight will 
console you for all your sufferings; you will be 
proud to belong to that generous nation which has 
outstripped all others since ’89; these slight checks 
are only moments of repose on a long journey.” 

This excellent man preserved to his last hour his 
calm confidence. 

I have lived to see the accomplishment of his pre¬ 
dictions, I have seen the return of the banner of lib¬ 
erty, I have seen the nation grow in wealth, in pros¬ 
perity, and in education. I have seen those who ob¬ 
structed justice and who wished to establish the old 
regime, compelled to leave. I have seen that mind 
always progresses, and that even the peasants are 
willing to part with their last sou for the good of 
their children. 

Unfortunately we have not enough school¬ 
masters. If we had fewer soldiers and more teach- 



ers the work would go on much faster. But—pa¬ 
tience—that will come. 

The people begin to understand their rights, they 
know that war brings them nothing but increased 
contributions, and when they shall say, Instead of 
sending our sons to perish by thousands under the 
sabre and cannon, we prefer that they should be 
taught to be men; ’’ who will dare to oppose them? 
To-day the people are sovereign! 

In this hope, my friends, I embrace you with my 
whole heart, and bid you. Adieu! 

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