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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 13, No. 351, January 10, 1829 online

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their equipments entirely destroyed. When the caravans stopped, I
approached them, and addressed a Scotch officer who was only slightly
wounded in the knee. - "Are the French coming, sir?" asked I. - "Egad I
can't tell," returned he. "We know nothing about it. We had enough to do
to take care of ourselves. They are fighting like devils; and I'm off
again as soon as my wound's dressed." - An English lady, elegantly
attired, now rushed forwards - "Is my husband safe?" asked she
eagerly. - "Good God! Madam," replied one of the men, "how can we
possibly tell! I don't know the fate of those who were fighting by my
side; and I could not see a yard round me." She scarcely heeded what he
said; and rushed out of the gate, wildly repeating her question to every
one she met. Some French prisoners now arrived. I noticed one, a fine
fellow, who had had one arm shot off; and though the bloody and mangled
tendons were still undressed, and had actually dried and blackened in
the sun, he marched along with apparent indifference, carrying a loaf of
bread under his remaining arm, and shouting _"Vive l'Empereur!"_ I asked
him if the French were coming. - "Je le crois bien," returned he,
"preparez un souper, mes bourgeois - il soupera à Bruxelles ce
soir." - Pretty information for me, thought I. "Don't believe him, sir,"
said a Scotchman, who lay close beside me, struggling to speak, though
apparently in the last agony. "It's all right - I - assure - you - ." The
whole of Friday night was passed in the greatest anxiety; the wounded
arrived every hour, and the accounts they brought of the carnage which
was taking place were absolutely terrific. Saturday morning was still
worse; an immense number of supernumeraries and runaways from the army
came rushing in at the _Porte de Namur,_ and these fugitives increased
the public panic to the utmost. _Sauve qui peut!_ now became the
universal feeling; all ties of friendship or kindred were forgotten, and
an earnest desire to quit Brussels seemed to absorb every faculty. To
effect this object, the greatest sacrifices were made. Every beast of
burthen, and every species of vehicle were put into requisition to
convey persons and property to Antwerp. Even the dogs and fish-carts did
not escape - enormous sums were given for the humblest modes of
conveyance, and when all failed, numbers set off on foot. The road soon
became choked up - cars, wagons, and carriages of every description were
joined together in an immovable mass and property to an immense amount
was abandoned by its owners, who were too much terrified even to think
of the loss they were sustaining. A scene of frightful riot and
devastation ensued. Trunks, boxes, and portmanteaus were broken open and
pillaged without mercy; and every one who pleased, helped himself to
what he liked with impunity. The disorder was increased by a rumour,
that the Duke of Wellington was retreating towards Brussels, in a sort
of running fight, closely pursued by the enemy; the terror of the
fugitives now almost amounted to frenzy, and they flew like maniacs
escaping from a madhouse. It is scarcely possible to imagine a more
distressing scene. A great deal of rain had fallen during the night, and
the unhappy fugitives were obliged literally to wade through mud. I had,
from the first, determined to await my fate in Brussels; but on this
eventful morning, I walked a few miles on the road to Antwerp, to
endeavour to assist my flying countrymen. I was soon disgusted with the
scene, and finding all my efforts to be useful, unavailing, I returned
to the town, which now seemed like a city of the dead; for a gloomy
silence reigned through the streets, like that fearful calm which
precedes a storm; the shops were all closed, and all business was
suspended. During the panic of Friday and Saturday, the sacrifice of
property made by the British residents was enormous. A chest of drawers
sold for five francs, a bed for ten, and a horse for fifty. In one
instance, which fell immediately under my own observation, some
household furniture was sold for one thousand francs, (about 40 l.) for
which the owner had given seven thousand francs, (280 l.) only three
weeks before. This was by no means a solitary instance; indeed in most
cases, the loss was much greater, and in many, houses full of furniture
were entirely deserted, and abandoned to pillage.

Sunday morning was ushered in by one of the most dreadful tempests I
ever remember. The crashing of thunder was followed by the roar of
cannon, which was now distinctly heard from the ramparts, and it is not
possible to describe the fearful effect of this apparent mockery of
heaven. I never before felt so forcibly the feebleness of man. The rain
was tremendous - the sky looked like that in Poussin's picture of the
Deluge, and a heavy black cloud spread, like the wings of a monstrous
vulture, over Brussels. The wounded continued to arrive the whole of
Saturday night and Sunday morning, in a condition which defies
description. They appeared to have been dragged for miles through oceans
of mud; their clothes were torn, their caps and feathers cut to pieces,
and their shoes and boots trodden off. The accounts they brought were
vague and disheartening - in fact, we could only ascertain that the Duke
of Wellington had late on Saturday taken up his position at Waterloo,
and that there he meant to wait the attack of the French. That this
attack had commenced we needed not to be informed, as the roar of the
cannon became every instant more distinct, till we even fancied that it
shook the town. The wounded represented the field of battle as a perfect
quagmire, and their appearance testified the truth of their assertions.
About two o'clock a fresh alarm was excited by the horses, which had
been put in requisition to draw the baggage-wagons, being suddenly
galloped through the town. We fancied this a proof of defeat, but the
fact was simply thus: the peasants, from whom the horses had been taken,
finding the drivers of the wagons absent from their posts, seized the
opportunity to cut the traces, and gallop off with their cattle. As this
explanation, however, was not given till the following day, we thought
that all was over; the few British adherents who had remained were in
despair, and tri-coloured cockades were suspended from every house. Even
I, for the first time, lost all courage, and my only consolation was the
joy of Annette. "England cannot be much injured by the loss of a Single
battle," thought I; "and as for me, it is of little consequence whether
I am a prisoner on parole, or a mere wanderer at pleasure. I may easily
resign myself to my fate; but this poor girl would break her heart if
she lost her lover, for he is every thing to her." In this manner I
reasoned, but in spite of my affected philosophy, I could not divest
myself of all natural feeling; and when about six o'clock we heard that
the French had given way, and that the Prussians had eluded Grouchè, and
were rapidly advancing to the field, I quite forgot poor Annette, and
thanked God with all my heart. At eight o'clock there was no longer any
doubt of our success, for a battalion of troops marched into the town,
and brought intelligence that the Duke of Wellington had gained a
complete victory, and that the French were flying, closely pursued by
the Prussians. Sunday night was employed in enthusiastic rejoicing. The
tri-coloured cockades had all disappeared, and the British colours were
hoisted from every window. The great bell of St. Gudule tolled, to
announce the event to the surrounding neighbourhood; and some of the
English, who had only hidden themselves, ventured to re-appear. The only
alloy to the universal rapture which prevailed, was the number of the
wounded; the houses were insufficient to contain half; and the churches
and public buildings were littered down with straw for their reception.
The body of the Duke of Brunswick, who fell at Quatre Bras, was brought
in on Saturday, and taken to the quarters he had occupied near the
Chateau de Lacken. I was powerfully affected when I saw the corpse of
one, whom I had so lately marked as blooming with youth and health; but
my eyes soon became accustomed to horrors. On Monday morning, June 19th,
I hastened to the field of battle: I was compelled to go through the
forest de Soignês, for the road was so completely choked up as to be
impassable. - The dead required no help; but thousands of wounded, who
could not help themselves, were in want of every thing; their features,
swollen by the sun and rain, looked livid and bloated. One poor fellow
had a ghastly wound across his lower lip, which gaped wide, and showed
his teeth and gums, as though a second and unnatural mouth had opened
below his first. Another, quite blind from a gash across his eyes, sat
upright, gasping for breath, and murmuring, "De l'eau! de l'eau!" The
anxiety for water, was indeed most distressing. The German "Vaser!
vaser!" and the French "De l'eau! de l'eau!" still seem sounding in my
ears. I am convinced that hundreds must have perished from thirst alone,
and they had no hope of assistance, for even humane persons were afraid
of approaching the scene of blood, lest they should be taken in
requisition to bury the dead; almost every person who came near, being
pressed into that most disgusting and painful service. This general
burying was truly horrible: large square holes were dug about six feet
deep, and thirty or forty fine young fellows stripped to their skins
were thrown into each, pell mell, and then covered over in so slovenly a
manner, that sometimes a hand or foot peeped through the earth. One of
these holes was preparing as I passed, and the followers of the army
were stripping the bodies before throwing them into it, whilst some
Russian Jews were assisting in the spoilation of the dead, by chiseling
out their teeth! an operation which they performed with the most brutal
indifference. The clinking hammers of these wretches jarred horribly
upon my ears, and mingled strangely with the occasional report of
pistols, which seemed echoing each other at stated intervals, from
different corners of the field. I could not divine the meaning of these
shots, till I was informed, that they proceeded from the Belgians, who
were killing the wounded horses. Hundreds of these fine creatures were,
indeed, galloping over the plain, kicking and plunging, apparently mad
with pain, whilst the poor wounded wretches who saw them coming, and
could not get out of their way, shrieked in agony, and tried to shrink
back to escape from them, but in vain. Soon after, I saw an immense
horse (one of the Scotch Greys) dash towards a colonel of the Imperial
Guard, who had had his leg shattered; the horse was frightfully wounded,
and part of a broken lance still rankled in one of its wounds. It rushed
snorting and plunging past the Frenchman, and I shall never forget his
piercing cry as it approached. I flew instantly to the spot, but ere I
reached it the man was dead; for, though I do not think the horse had
touched him, the terror he felt had been too much for his exhausted
frame. Sickened with the immense heaps of slain, which spread in all
directions as far as the eye could reach, I was preparing to return,
when as I was striding over the dead and dying, and meditating on the
horrors of war, my attention was attracted by a young Frenchman, who was
lying on his back, apparently at the last gasp. There was something in
his countenance which interested me, and I fancied, though I knew not
when, or where, that I had seen him before. Some open letters were lying
around, and one was yet grasped in his hand as though he had been
reading it to the last moment. My eye fell upon the words "Mon cher
fils," in a female hand, and I felt interested for the fate of so
affectionate a son. When I left home in the morning, I had put a flask
of brandy and some biscuit into my pocket, in the hope that I might be
useful to the wounded, but when I gazed on the countless multitude which
strewed the field, I felt discouraged from attempting to relieve them.
Chance had now directed my attention to one individual, and I was
resolved to try to save his life. His thigh was broken, and he was badly
wounded on the left wrist, but the vital parts were untouched, and his
exhaustion seemed to arise principally from the loss of blood. I poured
a few drops of brandy into his mouth, and crumbling my biscuit contrived
to make him swallow a small particle. The effects of the dose were soon
visible; his eyes half opened, and a faint tinge of colour spread over
his cheek. I administered a little more, and it revived him so much that
he tried to sit upright. I raised him, and contriving to place him in
such a manner, as to support him against the dead body of a horse, I put
the flask and biscuit by his side, and departed in order to procure
assistance to remove him. I recollected that a short time before, I had
seen a smoke issuing from a deep ditch, and that my olfactory nerves had
been saluted by a savoury smell as I passed. Guided by these
indications, I retraced my steps to the spot, and found some Scotch
soldiers sheltered by a hedge, very agreeably employed in cooking a
quantity of beefsteaks over a wood tire, in a French cuirass!! I was
exceedingly diverted at this novel kind of frying-pan, which served also
as a dish; and after begging permission to dip a biscuit in their gravy
for the benefit of my patient, I told my tale, and was gratified by the
eagerness which they manifested to assist me; one ran to catch a horse
with a soft Hussar saddle, (there were hundreds galloping over the
field,) and the rest went with me to the youth, whom we found
surprisingly recovered, though he was still unable to speak. The horse
was brought, and as we raised the young Frenchman to put him upon it,
his vest opened, and his _"livret"_ fell out. This is a little book
which every French soldier is obliged to carry, and which contains an
account of his name, age, pay, accoutrements, and services. I picked it
up, and offered it to my patient - but the young man murmured the name of
"Annette," and fainted. "Annette!" the name thrilled through every
nerve. I hastily opened the _livret,_ and found that it was indeed Louis
Tissand whom I had saved! The rest is soon told. Louis reached Brussels
in safety, and even Madame's selfishness gave way to rapture on
recovering her son. As to Annette - but why perplex myself to describe
her feelings? If my readers have ever loved, they may conceive them.
Louis soon recovered; indeed with such a nurse he could not fail to get
well. When I next visited Brussels, I found Annette surrounded by three
or tour smiling cherubs, to whom I was presented as _le bon Anglais,_
who preserved the life of their papa.


* * * * *

NOTES OF A READER

* * * * *


GERMAN SCHOOLS.

A law respecting schools has existed, more or less, in the states of the
south of Germany, for above a century, but which has been greatly
improved within the last thirty years. By this law, parents are
compelled to send their children to school, from the age of six to
fourteen years, where they must be taught reading, writing, and
arithmetic, but where they may acquire as much additional instruction in
other branches as their parents choose to pay for. To many of the
schools of Bavaria large gardens are attached, in which, the boys are
taught the principal operations of agriculture and gardening in their
hours of play; and, in all the schools of the three states, the girls,
in addition to the same instruction as the boys, are taught knitting,
sewing, embroidery, &c. It is the duty of the police and priest (which
may be considered equivalent to our parish vestries) of each commune or
parish, to see that the law is duly executed, the children sent
regularly, and instructed duly. If the parents are partially or wholly
unable to pay for their children, the commune makes up the deficiency.
Religion is taught by the priest of the village or hamlet; and where, as
is frequently the case in Wurtemberg, there are two or three religions
in one parish, each child is taught by the priest of its parents; all of
which priests are, from their office, members of the committee or vestry
of the commune. The priest or priests of the parish have the regular
inspection of the school-master, and are required by the government to
see that he does his duty, while each priest, at the same time, sees
that the children of his flock attend regularly. After the child has
been the appointed number of years at school, it receives from the
schoolmaster, and the priest of the religion to which it belongs, a
certificate, without which it cannot procure employment. To employ any,
person under twenty-one, without such a certificate, is illegal, and
punished by a fixed fine, as is almost every other offence in this part
of Germany; and the fines are never remitted, which makes punishment
always certain. The schoolmaster is paid much in the same way as in
Scotland; by a house, a garden, and sometimes a field, and by a small
salary from the parish, and by fixed rates for the children.

A second law, which is coeval with the school law, renders it illegal
for any young man to marry before he is twenty-five, or any young woman
before she is eighteen; and a young man, at whatever age he wishes to
marry, must show, to the police and the priest of the commune where he
resides, that he is able, and has the prospect, to provide for a wife
and family. - _London's Mag. Nat. Hist._


* * * * *

EATING AND WRITING.


Ovid, Horace, and Virgil all frequented the tables of the great; Cato
warmed his virtue with wine; Shakspeare kept up his _verve_ with stolen
venison; Steele and Addison wrote their best papers over a bottle; Sir
Walter Scott is famed for good housekeeping; and I know authors who love
to dine like lords. Even booksellers do their spiriting more gently for
good fare, and bid for an author the most spiritedly after dinner.

There is not a more vulgar mistake than that of confounding good eating
with gluttony and excess. It is not because a man gets twenty or
five-and-twenty guineas per sheet for a dashing article, and has taste
to expend his well-earned cash upon a cook who knows how to dress a
dinner, that he is necessarily to gorge himself like a mastiff with
sheep's paunch. On the contrary, if he means to preserve the powers of
his palate intact, he must "live cleanly as a nobleman should do." The
fat-witted people in the City are not nice in their eating, quantity
being more closely considered by them than quality. There is, I admit,
something in the good man's concluding conjecture, that "the sort of
diet men observe influences their style." I should know an "heavy-wet"
man at the third line; and I can tell to a nicety when Theodore Hook
writes upon claret, and when he is inspired by the over-heating and
acrimonious stimulus of Max. Hayley obviously composed upon tea and
bread and butter. Dr. Philpots may be nosed a mile off for priestly port
and the fat bulls of Basan; and Southey's Quarterly articles are written
on an empty stomach, and before his crudities, like the breath of Sir
Roger de Coverley's barber, have been "mollified by a breakfast." - _New
Monthly Mag._


* * * * *

SACRED POETRY.


Songs and hymns, in honour of their Gods, are found among all people who
have either religion or verse. There is scarcely any pagan poetry,
ancient or modern, in which allusions to the national mythology are not
so frequent as to constitute the most copious materials, as well as the
most brilliant embellishments. The poets of Persia and Arabia, in like
manner, have adorned their gorgeous strains with the fables and morals
of the Koran. The relics of Jewish song which we possess, with few
exceptions, are consecrated immediately to the glory of God, by whom,
indeed, they were inspired. The first Christians were wont to edify
themselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs; and though we have
no specimens of these left, except the occasional doxologies ascribed to
the redeemed in the Book of Revelation, it cannot be doubted that they
used not only the psalms of the Old Testament, literally, or
accommodated to the circumstances of a new and rising Church, but that
they had original lays of their own, in which they celebrated the
praises of Christ, as the Saviour of the world. In the middle ages, the
Roman Catholic and Greek churches statedly adopted singing as an
essential part of public worship; but this, like the reading of the
Scriptures, was too frequently in an unknown tongue, by an affectation
of wisdom, to excite the veneration of ignorance, when the learned, in
their craftiness, taught that "Ignorance is the mother of devotion;" and
Ignorance was very willing to believe it. At the era of the Reformation,
psalms and hymns, in the vernacular tongue, were revived in Germany,
England, and elsewhere, among the other means of grace, of which
Christendom had been for centuries defrauded. - _Montgomery._


* * * * *

SUPERSTITION.


Grievously are they mistaken who think that the revival of literature
was the death of superstition - that ghosts, demons, and exorcists
retreated before the march of intellect, and fled the British shore
along with monks, saints, and masses. Superstition, deadly superstition,
may co-exist with much learning, with high civilization, with any
religion, or with utter irreligion. Canidia wrought her spells in the
Augustan age, and Chaldean fortune-tellers haunted Rome in the sceptical
days of Juvenal. Matthew Hopkins, the witch-finder, and Lilly, the
astrologer, were contemporaries of Selden, Harrington, and Milton.
Perhaps there never was a more superstitious period than that which
produced Erasmus and Bacon. _ - Blackwood's Mag._


* * * * *

"FELLOW" FEELING.


A "certain exalted personage," as the newspapers would say, commanded
the attendance of a physician, who was only a Licentiate, and, thereby,
struck consternation throughout the whole body of "Fellows." The great
men already in attendance were dreadfully alarmed and confounded by this
terrible subversion of established College etiquette. "Sire!" said one
of them, "we humbly acquaint your Majesty, with all dutiful submission
that as Dr. - - is not a Fellow, it is contrary to rule and custom to
meet him in attendance here." - "A Fellow?" asked his Majesty; "what mean
ye?" The learned physician explained. "Well, make him a Fellow, then,"
was his Majesty's quick reply; and he was accordingly made one!


* * * * *

CULTIVATION OF WASTE LANDS.


No man at all acquainted with the principles of fertility and the
present state of British tillage, can for a moment doubt that a very
large quantity of waste land is scattered over the different districts
of this country, which is not only susceptible of improvement, but which
would yield an ample return for any amount of labour which could, for
centuries to come, be spared from the cultivation of our own land. To be
fully convinced of this fact, no man need do more than ride twenty miles
in any direction from the metropolis. Let him select whatever road he
may choose for his excursion, and he will find tracts of land, forming
in the aggregate a very considerable quantity, which at this moment
remain in the hands of nature - which man has never made the slightest
effort to reclaim. Even the hebdomadal excursions of the citizen will
conduct him over or near many such scenes. What Gilpin, living within
the sound of Bow-bells, does not know Epping and Hainault Forests,
Hounslow, Putney, and Black Heaths, Brook Green, Turnham Green,
Wandsworth, Esher, Sydenham, Hays, and various other Commons? Within a
circle of twenty miles around the largest and most opulent city in the
world, we thus discover a large quantity of land, which cultivation
would render highly productive, but which, in its present state of
waste, is of little or no value to the public. And this land, situated
in the very outskirts of the metropolis, continues to be utterly
neglected, if not entirely overlooked, at a moment when the whole
kingdom resounds with the groans of those who argue that the population
of this country has outrun the means of subsisting them. As the
traveller advances in his journey from the metropolis, the waste becomes
more extensive, if not more numerous. The English wastes, which amount
to about five millions of acres, are more valuable than those of


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