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this true genius was conquered by calculation. On both sides somebody
was expected; and it was the exact calculator who succeeded. Napoleon
waited for Grouchy, who did not come; Wellington waited for Blücher,
and he came.

Wellington is the classical war taking its revenge; Bonaparte, in his
dawn, had met it in Italy, and superbly defeated it - the old owl
fled before the young vulture. The old tactics had been not only
overthrown, but scandalized. Who was this Corsican of six-and-twenty
years of age? What meant this splendid ignoramus, who, having
everything against him, nothing for him, without provisions,
ammunition, guns, shoes, almost without an army, with a handful of
men against masses, dashed at allied Europe, and absurdly gained
impossible victories? Who was this new comet of war who possest the
effrontery of a planet?

The academic military school excommunicated him, while bolting, and
hence arose an implacable rancor of the old Caesarism against the new,
of the old saber against the flashing sword, and of the chessboard
against genius. On June 18, 1815, this rancor got the best; and
beneath Lodi, Montebello, Montenotte, Mantua, Marengo, and Arcola, it
wrote - Waterloo. It was a triumph of mediocrity, sweet to majorities,
and destiny consented to this irony. In his decline, Napoleon found
a young Suvarov before him - in fact, it is only necessary to blanch
Wellington's hair in order to have a Suvarov. Waterloo is a battle of
the first class, gained by a captain of the second.

What must be admired in the battle of Waterloo is England, the English
firmness, the English resolution, the English blood, and what England
had really superb in it, is (without offense) herself; it is not her
captain, but her army. Wellington, strangely ungrateful, declares in
his dispatch to Lord Bathurst that his army, the one which fought on
June 18, 1815, was a "detestable army."

What does the gloomy pile of bones buried in the trenches of Waterloo
think of this? England has been too modest to herself in her treatment
of Wellington, for making him so great is making herself small.
Wellington is merely a hero, like any other man. The Scots Grays, the
Life Guards, Maitland's and Mitchell's regiments, Pack's and Kempt's
infantry, Ponsonby's and Somerset's cavalry, the Highlanders playing
the bagpipes under the shower of canister, Ryland's battalions, the
fresh recruits who could hardly manage a musket, and yet held their
ground against the old bands of Essling and Rivoli - all this is grand.

Wellington was tenacious; that was his merit, and we do not deny it
to him, but the lowest of his privates and his troopers was quite as
solid as he, and the iron soldier is as good as the iron duke. For our
part, all our glorification is offered to the English soldier, the
English army, the English nation; and if there must be a trophy, it
is to England that this trophy is owing. The Waterloo column would be
more just, if, instead of the figure of a man, it raised to the clouds
the statue of a people....

But this great England will be irritated by what we are writing here;
for she still has feudal illusions, after her 1688 and the French
1789. This people believes in inheritance and hierarchy, and while no
other excels it in power and glory, it esteems itself as a nation and
not as a people. As a people, it readily subordinates itself, and
takes a lord as its head; the workman lets himself be despised; the
soldier puts up with flogging. It will be remembered that, at the
battle of Inkerman, a sergeant who, as it appears, saved the British
army, could not be mentioned by Lord Raglan, because the military
hierarchy does not allow any hero below the rank of officer to be
mentioned in dispatches. What we admire before all, in an encounter
like Waterloo, is the prodigious skill of chance. The night raid,
the wall of Hougoumont, the hollow way of Ohain, Grouchy deaf to the
cannon, Napoleon's guide deceiving him, Bulow's guide enlightening
him - all this cataclysm is marvelously managed.

There is more of a massacre than of a battle in Waterloo. Waterloo, of
all pitched battles, is the one which had the smallest front for
such a number of combatants. Napoleon's three-quarters of a league.
Wellington's half a league, and seventy-two thousand combatants
on either side. From this density came the carnage. The following
calculation has been made and proportion established: loss of men, at
Austerlitz, French, fourteen per cent.; Russian, thirty per cent.;
Austrian, forty-four per cent.; at Wagram, French, thirteen per cent.;
Austrian, fourteen per cent.; at Moscow, French, thirty-seven per
cent.; Russian, forty-four per cent.; at Bautzen, French, thirteen
cent.; Russian and Prussian, fourteen per cent.; at Waterloo, French,
fifty-six per cent.; allies, thirty-one per cent. - total for Waterloo,
forty-one per cent., or out of one hundred and forty-four thousand
fighting men, sixty thousand killed.

The field of Waterloo has at the present day that calmness which
belongs to the earth, and resembles all plains; but at night, a sort
of a visionary mist rises from it, and if any traveler walk about it,
and listen and dream, like Virgil on the mournful plain of Philippi,
the hallucination of the catastrophe seizes upon him. The frightful
June 18th lives again, the false monumental hill is leveled, the
wondrous lion is dissipated, the battlefield resumes its reality,
lines of infantry undulate on the plain; furious galloping crosses the
horizon; the startled dreamer sees the flash of sabers, the sparkle
of bayonets, the red lights of shells, the monstrous collision of
thunderbolts; he hears like a death groan from the tomb, the vague
clamor of the fantom battle.

These shadows are grenadiers; these flashes are cuirassiers; this
skeleton is Napoleon; this skeleton is Wellington: all this is
non-existent, and yet still combats, and the ravines are stained
purple, and the trees rustle, and there is fury even in the clouds
and in the darkness, while all the stern heights, Mont St. Jean,
Hougoumont, Frischemont, Papelotte, and Plancenoit, seem confusedly
crowned by hosts of specters exterminating one another.


[Footnote A: From "Two Months Abroad." Privately printed. 1878.]


The French wished to call it the battle of Mont St. Jean, but
Wellington said "The Battle of Waterloo." The victor's wish prevailed.
I know not why, except because he was the victor. The scene of the
battle is four miles from the village of Waterloo and, besides Mont
St. Jean, several villages from any one of which it might well have
been named, are included in the field. Before the battle, however, the
village of Waterloo had been the headquarters of the Duke and there he
rested for two days after the battle was won.

I am now on this memorable spot as the solitary guest of a small hotel
at the base of the Lion's Mound, after having made a night of it in
crossing from Aix-la-Chapelle to Brussels and thence, through a storm
of mist and rain to the little station of Braine-l'Alleud, which is a
good mile from the battlefield. The train reached Braine-l'Alleud long
before daybreak. When the morn had really dawned, I left the
little waiting room, a solitary loiterer, and set out to find the
battleground. From the platform of the station the eye surveyed a
wide, thickly populated but rural plain, and in one direction afar
off, clearly set against the dark rain-dripping sky, rose in solemn
majesty a mound of earth, bearing on its lofty summit an indistinct
figure of a lion.

A small rustic gate from the station led in the direction of the
Mound. From necessity, I began a tramp through the rain alone, no
conveyance being obtainable. The soil of Belgium here being alluvial,
a little rain soon makes a great deal of mud and little rains at this
season (January) are frequent. Along a small unpaved mud-deep road,
having meanwhile been joined by a peasant with a two wheeled cart
drawn by a single mule, I was soon hastening onward toward the Mound
which was growing more and more visible on the horizon. The road soon
turned away, however, but a path led toward the mound. The peasant
took the road and I the path, which led into a little clump of houses,
where were boys about their morning duties, and dogs that barked
vigorously until one of the boys to whom I had spoken silenced them.

Passing onward through streets not more than six feet wide, along
neatly trimmed hedges and past small cottage doorways, I soon entered
an open plain, but in a crippled state with heavy mud-covered shoes.
Mud fairly obliterated all trace of leather. With this burden, and wet
to the skin with rain, there rose far ahead of me that historic mound,
and at last I stood at its base alone, there in the midst of one of
the greatest battlefields history records, soon to forget in the
momentary joys of a beefsteak breakfast that man had ever done
anything in this world except eat and drink.

I must borrow an illustration - Victor Hugo's letter A. The apex is
Mount St. Jean, the right hand base La Belle Alliance, the left hand
base Hougoumont, the cross bar that sunken road which perhaps changed
the future of Europe, the two sides broad Belgian roads, paved with
square stones and bordered with graceful and lofty poplar trees, their
proud heads waving in every breeze that drifts across this undulating
plain. The Lion's Mound is just below the middle of this cross bar.
Mont St. Jean, La Belle Alliance and Hougoumont, at the three angles
of the triangle, are small villages - scarcely more than hamlets. All
were important points in the fortunes of that memorable 18th of June,
1815. Hougoumont, with its château and wall, in some sense was like a

Go with me if you will in imagination to the summit of the Lion's
Mound. A flight of 225 stone steps will take us there, a toilsome
ascent in this chilling air and this persistent rain. Toward Mont
St. Jean, the surface of the ground is rolling, the waves of it high
enough to conceal standing men from view. Except the lofty poplars at
the road sides, there are no trees. An admirable place for an army on
the defensive, you will at once say, since reserves can be concealed
behind the convolutions of the rolling plain. These convolutions may
also serve in the fight as natural fortifications.

Here at Mont St. Jean, Wellington pitched his tent. Hougoumont lay far
off in front of his center, and had that morning a small garrison.
Napoleon, with his army, was a mile away, his line extending to the
right and left beyond La Belle Alliance. We must turn squarely around
as we stand alongside the lion if we are to see in the distance the
ground he occupied. Our place is nearly in the center of the field.
Hougoumont we realize to have been worthy of the prodigious struggle
the French made to capture it. Half a fortress then, it provided
an admirable stand for artillery. A few men might hold it against
superior numbers.

At Waterloo the Duke had about 67,000 men - some accounts say
70,000 - but many, perhaps 15,000, fled in desertion at an early hour
of the day. With these figures correct, the fighting forces of the
Allies later in the day, would remain little more than 55,000 men. The
Emperor's army has usually been placed at 70,000. His soldiers were
probably better trained than the Duke's and combined with long service
an abundance of enthusiasm for their old general, now restored to his
imperial throne and confident of victory.

The night before the battle had been wet and stormy, but the morning
gave some promise of clearing; the sky, however, remained overcast and
some rain continued to fall. The French were weary after a long march,
and the artillery moved with difficulty across this wet and muddy
plain. Altogether they were in poor condition for a battle, in which
all their fortunes were at stake. It was just such a morning as ours,
except that it was then June and is now January. If the battle began
at 8 o'clock, as one account reads, we are here on the Lion's Mound at
that same hour. Even if this be January, daisies are in blossom at our

Jerome Bonaparte, leading the attack, moves on Hougoumont, where the
Allies, who have come down from Mont St. Jean, repulse him. He renews
the attack "with redoubled fury," and a gallant resistance is made,
but he forces a way into the outer enclosure of the chateau that
crowns the hill. British howitzers are at once discharged upon the
French and compel them to retreat. New assaults are then made.
Overwhelming numbers seem to bear down upon the Allies. The stronghold
is more than once nearly lost, but it is defended with "prodigies of
valor" and firmly held to the last. Had Hougoumont been taken, the
result of the battle "would probably have been very different."

Meanwhile, the Emperor has ordered a second attack elsewhere - this
time against the left wing of Wellington. Marshal Ney sends forward
six divisions, who encounter the Netherlandish troops and easily
scatter them. Two brigades of British numbering 3,000 men then prepare
to check the advancing French. A struggle, brief but fierce, ensues,
in which the French are repulsed. They rally again, however, and
Scotch Highlanders, their bagpipes sounding the cry, advance against
them, along with an English brigade. These make an impetuous assault,
while cavalry charge Napoleon's infantry, and force a part of them
back on La Belle Alliance. But here the pursuing British meet with a
check in a scene of wild carnage that sweeps over the field.

We may look down upon the scene of that frightful struggle. It lies
just below us. Grass is growing there luxuriantly now. A north wind
sweeps over the plain. A mournful requiem seems to whistle through the
poplar trees.

If we look toward Hougoumont, French gunners are seen to have been
slain. Many cannon are silent. With the chateau in flames, confusion
reigns. Napoleon, ordering a new cavalry attack, directs Jerome to
advance with his infantry. Immediately the Allies discharge grape
and canister on the advancing host. But no Frenchman wavers. On the
contrary, the French cavalry capture Wellington's outward battalion
and press onward toward his hollow squares of infantry. All efforts to
break these squares end in failure. For a time the French abandon the
attack, but only to renew it and then follows a remarkable scene. The
French charge with unprecedented fury, and the squares are partially
broken, while friends and enemies, wounded or killed, are mingled in
inextricable confusion.

Some of the Belgian troops take flight and in mad terror run back to
Brussels, causing great consternation there by reporting a defeat for
Wellington. The squares maintain their ground to the end admirably,
and with severe losses the French retire. Hougoumont near by, all this
time was not silent. The attack being continued, the commander is
killed and at last its heights are gained. From elsewhere in the
field, Wellington learns of his loss, places himself at the head of a
brigade, and commands it to charge. Amid the utmost enthusiasm of the
Allies the French are driven back from Hougoumont.

Napoleon now turns his efforts against La Haye Sainte, a small height
forward from Mont St. Jean, occupied by the enemy's left wing. Ney,
in a furious cannonade, begins the attack, in which the Allies are
overwhelmed and their ammunition is exhausted. Masters of this point,
the French again move on Hougoumont. It is seven o'clock in the
evening, with Napoleon in fair way to succeed, but his men are already
exhausted and their losses are heavy. Some of them plunge into that
famous sunken road, unheeded of him and them, and still so great a
mystery to historians. It was a charging cavalry column that plunged
in, unknowingly, rider and horse together, in indescribable confusion
and dismay. We may see that road to-day, for we have walked in a part
of it when coming across the plain from the station - a narrow road cut
many feet deep, its bed paved with little stones. Hugo's words on that
frightful scene are these:

"There was the ravine, unlooked for, yawning at the very feet of the
horses, two fathoms deep between its double slope. The second rank
pushed in the first, the third pushed in the second; the horses
reared, threw themselves over, fell upon their backs, and struggled
with their feet in the air, piling up and overturning their riders; no
power to retreat; the whole column was nothing but a projectile. The
force acquired to crush the English crusht the French. The inexorable
ravine could not yield until it was filled; riders and horses rolled
in together pell-mell, grinding each other, making common flesh in
this dreadful gulf, and when this grave was full of living men, the
rest marched over them and passed on. Almost a third of the Dubois'
brigade sank into this abyss."

Two hours before this, Blücher, with his Prussians, had
appeared - Blücher who was to turn the tide of battle. He had promised
Wellington to be there. His soldiers had complained bitterly on the
long march over muddy ground, but he told them his word as a soldier
must be kept. From far beyond La Belle Alliance had Blücher come, a
cow boy showing him the way - a boy who, if he had not known the way,
or had lied, might have saved Napoleon from St. Helena. The ground
where Blücher entered the field is just visible to us from the mound
as with strained eyes, we peer through the morning mist. During Ney's
attack, Blücher opens fire on La Haye Sainte. By six o'clock he has
forty-eight guns in action and some of the guns send shot as far as La
Belle Alliance. As the conflict deepens, Napoleon's fortunes are seen
to be obviously in grave, if not critical, danger, but he strengthens
his right wing and again hazards Hougoumont. Eight battalions are
sent forward, an outlying stronghold is captured, but more Prussians
advance and threaten to regain the point.

At seven o'clock while Ney is renewing the attack on Hougoumont other
Prussians appear. The real crisis being at hand, Napoleon resolves
on a final, concentrated movement against the enemy's center. His
soldiers being worn out and discouraged, he gives out a false report
that reinforcements are at last coming - that Grouchy has not failed
him. A furious cannonade opens this new attack, causing "frightful
havoc" among the Allies. The Prince of Orange holds back the French
on the very ground where the lion is now elevated, but falls wounded.
Napoleon, in an address to the Imperial Guard, rouses them to great
enthusiasm. For a half hour longer the French bear down on the enemy,
but British gunners make gaps in their ranks. With his horse shot from
under him, Ney goes forward on foot.

The Duke now takes personal command. He sends a shower of grape and
cannister against a column of French veterans, but they never waver.
Reserves, suddenly called for, pour a fierce charge against the
advancing French, rending them asunder. The attack is closely followed
up and the French are driven down the hill. Elsewhere in the field the
battle still rages. Blücher continues his attack on Napoleon's right
and forces it back. Reduced to despair, Napoleon now gives his final
and famous order: "Tout est perdu! Sauve qui peut." But the Young
Guard resists Blücher. Wellington, descending from his height, follows
the retreating enemy as far as La Belle Alliance. At eight o'clock,
after a most sanguinary struggle, the Young Guard yields. The success
of Blücher elsewhere completes the victory of the Allies.

One man will never surrender - Cambronne. Who was Cambronne? No one
can tell you more than this - he was the man at Waterloo who would not
surrender. "The Old Guard dies, but never surrenders." "Among those
giants then," says Hugo, "there was one Titan - Cambronne. The man
who won the battle of Waterloo was not Napoleon, put to rout; not
Wellington, giving way at four o'clock, desperate at five; not
Blücher, who did not fight. The man who won the battle of Waterloo
was Cambronne. To fulminate at the thunderbolt which kills you, is

As we look over this field from our height and try to realize what
mighty fortunes were here at stake, we note that the mementoes of
that day are few. A Corinthian column and an obelisk are seen at the
roadside as memorials of the bravery of two officers. This Lion's
Mound, two hundred feet high and made from earth piled up by cart
loads, commemorates the place where a prince was wounded. Colossal in
size, the lion was cast from French cannon captured in the fight. On
this broad plain upward of 50,000 men, who had mothers, sisters,
and wives at home, gave up their lives. Poplar trees sigh forth
perpetually their funeral dirge. Grass grows where their blood was
poured out. Modern Europe can show few scenes of more sublime tragedy.
Our visiting day, with its chilling air and penetrating rain, has
been a fit day for seeing Waterloo. The old woman who served me with
breakfast spoke English easily. It was well - doubly well. No other
language than English should be spoken on the field of Waterloo. I
passed a few French words with the boy who called off the dogs, but
was afterward sorry for having done so.


[Footnote A: From "The Cathedrals and Churches of Belgium." Published
by James Pott & Co.]


Byzantium - Venice - Antwerp, these are the centers around which the
modern world has revolved, for we must include its commercial with its
social progress, and with those interests which develop with society.
Indeed, the development of the arts has always run concurrently with
commerce. One could wish to add that the converse were equally true.

Antwerp - the city on the wharf - became famous at the beginning of
the sixteenth century under the reign of the enterprising Charles V.
"Antwerp was then truly a leading city in almost all things, but
in commerce it headed all the cities of the world," says an old
chronicler. Bruges, the great banking center yielded her position,
and the Hanseatic merchants removed to the banks of the Scheldt. "I
was astonished, and wondered much when I beheld Antwerp," wrote an
envoy of the Italian Republic, "for I saw Venice outdone."

In what direction Venice was outdone is not recorded. Not in her
architecture, at least; scarcely in her painting. We can not concede
a Tintoretto for a Rubens. Yet, as Antwerp was the home of Matsys,
of Rubens, Van Dyck, and the Teniers, the home also of Christopher
Plantin, the great printer, her glory is not to be sought in trade
alone. She is still remembered as a mother of art and letters, while
her mercantile preeminence belongs to a buried past.

It must, however, be confest that the fortunes of Antwerp as a city,
prospering in its connection with the Hanseatic League, were anything
but advantageous to the student of architectural history. Alterations
and buildings were the order of the day, and so lavish were the means
devoted to the work that scarcely a vestige of architecture in the
remains is of earlier date than the fourteenth century.

The grandly dimensioned churches raised in every parish afford ample
evidence of the zeal and skill with which the work of reconstruction
was prosecuted, and as specimens of the style of their day can not
fail to elicit our admiration by the nobility of their proportions, so
that in the monuments the wealthy burghers of Antwerp have left us we
have perhaps no reason to regret their zeal. At the same time, one
is tempted to wish that they had spared the works of earlier date by
raising their new ones on fresh ground, instead of such wholesale
demolition of the labors of preceding generations.

Nôtre Dame at Antwerp, the most spacious church in the Netherlands,
originated in a chapel built for a miraculous image of the Blessed
Virgin. This chapel was reconstructed in 1124, when the canons of St.
Michel, having ceded their church to the Praemonstratensians, removed
hither. Two centuries later, the canons of St. Michel, animated by the
prevailing spirit, determined on rebuilding their church on a more
magnificent scale, and they commenced the work in 1352 by laying the
foundations for a new choir. But slow progress was made with this
great undertaking, more than two centuries and a half elapsing before
the church assumed that form with which we are familiar to-day. In
1520, the chapter, dissatisfied with its choir, started upon the
erection of a new one, the first stone of which was laid in the
following year by the Emperor Charles V., accompanied by King
Christian II. of Denmark and a numerous retinue.

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