Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

-URI

ry own industry. At the

so karpy, that way

store for me, but let me can
ed in my be revenged of you."

• 4. You

“I know the vengeance
M. de Valesnes, very should have known that I

and I would which a gentleman maya
FLOWERS OF FICTION.

admin

P. 149.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

RETRIBUTION.

In the midst of my reflections I was

joined by an officer of my own troop : I BELONGED to a regiment of cuiras- he had entered the regiment at the same siers, which formed a part of the rear of time as myself, and we had formed a the “grand army," on its retreat upon sincere friendship for each other. His Leipsic, and the shades of night had de- usually cheerful countenance now wore scended long ere we arrived at the spot an expression of deep thought, if not of in which we were to bivouac; watch- melancholy. Upon my rallying him upon fires were blazing along our whole line, his rueful visage, in a subdued tone he surrounded by the fatigued soldiery: thus addressed me: “My dear friend, I

After obtaining some little refresh- feel a strange presentiment that to-morment, I walked forward a few paces to row my mortal career will terminate. I observe our position. From the prox- know you will laugh at me for indulging in imity of the countless watchfires in the what you deem chimerical forebodings : direction of the enemy, I judged that but the conviction that I shall fall in loimmediately morning dawned, the battle morrow's contest is indelibly fixed in

my imagination. You have always exWhat an imposing scene ! Two of the pressed a sincere regard for me, let me greatest armies that had ever followed now bring you to the proof; promise me European leaders, lay hushed in repose. that you will deliver these two packets.

How soon would this repose be dis- The first addressed to one for whom turbed by the deafening thunder of can- my heart beats with an affection that non—the rude shock of cavalry—the shall cease not till I am a lifeless corse : close and deadly bayonet charge ! Be- it contains a miniature and a lock of fore the setting of to-morrow's sun, my hair. The other is addressed to my

many brave men, who were now father, M. d'Olliever, and contains a full of lusty vigour, would be stretched locket which is composed of his and my upon the bare earth stiffening in their gore. sister's hair. Promise me that in the

would commence.

[blocks in formation]

how

ly

Vol. I. (10.)

L

event of my death, you will deliver these ments were reduced to skeletons without with your own hands. I have cogent once changing the position they had ocreasons for being thus urgent, for I more cupied in the morning. than suspect a villain of calumniating me Night was drawing on apace ; but not in the tenderest quarter—my love to a foot of ground had been won or lost Helène de Chaluz, to whom you will find on either side. Owing to the sangui. the packet addressed.” I pledged myself nary contests in which we had been to comply with his request, but at the constantly engaged since the break of same time endeavoured to chase those day, our regiment had suffered severely sombre forebodings from his mind : my —but our services were not yet to be efforts were ineffectual, however, and he dispensed with : in conjunction with continued plunged in settled gloom. some regiments of chasseurs, we were

Our conference was scarcely finished, ordered to attack and drive back a division before the faint streaks of day appeared of Polo-Russian infantry, and charge in the horizon: we hastily joined our several regiments of Austrian cuirassiers. division, when all was bustle and con- While forming for this service, I bantered fusion, which however was soon hushed, my friend upon his melancholy forebodand every man mounted and ready for ings, for like myself he had hitherto action. We were not kept long in sus- escaped without a single wound : before pense, for our veteran colonel received he could reply, we received orders to orders to take up a position in the rear charge, and I saw him no more alive. of a large wood which protected our left Upon our charging the Austrian cuirasAank : here we were quickly joined by siers, they retreated, leaving the infantry squadron after squadron, until we mus- to their fate; they formed in squares, and tered some thousands strong. It was firmly awaited our attack. How my heart now evident that one of those sudden bled for these gallant men, thus compelled and irresistible shocks of cavalry, with to maintain a contest so unequal. In vain which Napoleon was so wont to surprise did we endeavour to break in upon them; his enemy, was in contemplation. The firm as the earth that supported them, enemy, however, soon showed himself to they withstood our repeated shocks ; be aware of our movements, by sending again we returned to the charge, and several rounds of artillery crashing again were we received by the steady through the wood; no time was therefore huzza, the deadly shower of balls, and to be lost, we were quickly wheeled into the bristling ranks of bayonets. line, and at the command of a voice In the third charge which we made at which every horseman knew well, every this devoted band, a ball not twenty yards blade flashed in the faint morning light; from the muzzle struck my bridle-arm, again that voice was heard “ Forward ! almost at the same moment my horse Charge !”—and on we rushed, the solid was shot under me-in falling, he pitchearth trembling beneath the thunder ed me forward on my head, and I fell of our horses' hoofs—our brave chief, insensible on the plain. Upon recover. who had led so many charges, several ing my senses, I found myself in total yards in advance, his sabre flashing darkness, stretched on the field of battle above his head, and his long dark locks with my arms broken, and my body sore waving like war-pennons on the breeze. from the bruises I had received in my

Terrific as our onset was, it was un- fall. After some efforts I raised myself successful ; for the enemy, having re- upon my feet and endeavoured to walk, ceived notice of our intention, had so but the spot upon which I had fallen was strengthened his position by bringing up so thickly covered with the dead and his bravest troops, that we were unable wounded that I could not stir, without to force his ranks.

disturbing some dying wretch. Oh Our charge seemed to have been the heavens! the memory of that dreadful signal for the commencement of the night clings to my recollection with a general engagement, which now raged tenacity that bids defiance to the efforts along the whole line with a fury which I of time to efface it. Shrieks of despair have never seen equalled: one incessant and agony, accompanied by fearful curses roar of canon and musketry rolled from andimprecations, resounded from—but the opposing lines. The proximity of enough! enough! let me no longer dwell the two armies was so great that every upon the harrowing theme. In a short volley did most deadly execution ; whole time I was discovered by a party sent ranks were struck to the earth, and regi- out to collect the wounded, and conveyed

[graphic]
[graphic][merged small]

the “grand army,

RETRIBUTION.

In the midst of my reflections I was

joined by an officer of my own troop : I BELONGED to a regiment of cuiras. he had entered the regiment at the same siers, which formed a part of the rear of time as myself, and we had formed a on its retreat upon sincere friendship for each other.

His Leipsic

, and the shades of night had de- usually cheerful countenance now wore scended long ere we arrived at the spot an expression of deep thought, if not of in which we were to bivouac; watch- melancholy. Upon my rallying him upon fires were blazing along our whole line, his rueful visage, in a subdued tone he surrounded by the fatigued soldiery.

thus addressed me : “My dear friend, I After obtaining some little refresh- feel a strange presentiment that to-morment, I walked forward a few paces to row my mortal career will terminate. I observe our position. From the prox- know you will laugh at me for indulging in imity of the countless watchfires in the what you deem chimerical forebodings : direction of the enemy, I judged that but the convietion that I shall fall in toimmediately morning dawned, the battle morrow's contest is indelibly fixed in

my imagination. You have always exWhat an imposing scene ! Two of the pressed a sincere regard for me, let me greatest armies that had ever followed now bring you to the proof; promise me European leaders, lay hushed in repose. that you will deliver these two packets.

How soon would this repose be dis. The first addressed to one for whom turbed by the deafening thunder of can- my heart beats with an affection that non—the rude shock of cavalry—the shall cease not till I am a lifeless corse : close and deadly bayonet charge i Be- it contains a miniature and a lock of fore the setting of to-morrow's sun,

The other is addressed to my how many brave men, who were now father, M. d'Olliever, and contains a full of lusty vigour, would be stretched locket which is composed of his and my upon the bare earth stiffening in their gore. sister's hair.

Promise me that in the

would commence.

my hair.

Vol. I. (10.)

L

event of my death, you will deliver these ments were reduced to skeletons without with your own hands. I have cogent once changing the position they had ocreasons for being thus urgent, for I more cupied in the morning. than suspect a villain of calumniating me Night was drawing on apace; but not in the tenderest quarter-my love to a foot of ground had been won or lost Helène de Chaluz, to whom you will find on either side. Owing to the sangui. the packet addressed.” I pledged myself nary contests in which we had been to comply with his request, but at the constantly engaged since the break of same time endeavoured to chase those day, our regiment had suffered severely sombre forebodings from his mind : my-but our services were not yet to be efforts were ineffectual, however, and he dispensed with: in conjunction with continued plunged in settled gloom. some regiments of chasseurs, we were

Our conference was scarcely finished, ordered to attack and drive back a division before the faint streaks of day appeared of Polo-Russian infantry, and charge in the horizon: we hastily joined our several regiments of Austrian cuirassiers. division, when all was bustle and con- While forming for this service, I bantered fusion, which however was soon hushed, my friend upon his melancholy forebodand every man mounted and ready for ings, for like myself he had hitherto action. We were not kept long in sus- escaped without a single wound : before pense, for our veteran colonel received he could reply, we received orders to orders to take up a position in the rear charge, and I saw him no more alive. of a large wood which protected our left Upon our charging the Austrian cuirasflank : here we were quickly joined by siers, they retreated, leaving the infantry squadron after squadron, until we mus- to their fate; they formed in squares, and tered some thousands strong. It was firmly awaited our attack. How my heart now evident that one of those sudden bled for these gallant men, thus compelled and irresistible shocks of cavalry, with to maintain a contest so unequal. In vain which Napoleon was so wont to surprise did we endeavour to break in upon them ; his enemy, was in contemplation. The firm as the earth that supported them, enemy, however, soon showed himself to they withstood our repeated shocks ; be aware of our movements, by sending again we returned to the charge, and several rounds of artillery crashing again were we received by the steady through the wood; no time was therefore huzza, the deadly shower of balls, and to be lost, we were quickly wheeled into the bristling ranks of bayonets. line, and at the command of a voice In the third charge which we made at which every horseman knew well, every this devoted band, a ball not twenty yards blade flashed in the faint morning light; from the muzzle struck my bridle-arm, again that voice was heard “ Forward I almost at the same moment my horse Charge !"--and on we rushed, the solid was shot under me—in falling, he pitchearth trembling beneath the thunder ed me forward on my head, and I fell of our horses' hoofs—our brave chief, insensible on the plain. Upon recoverwho had led so many charges, several ing my senses, I found myself in total yards in advance, his sabre flashing darkness, stretched on the field of battle above his head, and his long dark locks with my arms broken, and my body sore waving like war-pennons on the breeze. from the bruises I had received in my

Terrific as our onset was, it was un. fall. After some efforts I raised myself successful ; for the enemy, having re- upon my feet and endeavoured to walk, ceived notice of our intention, had so but the spot upon which I had fallen was strengthened his position by bringing up so thickly covered with the dead and his bravest troops, that we were unable wounded that I could not stir, without to force his ranks.

disturbing some dying wretch. Oh Our charge seemed to have been the heavens! the memory of that dreadful signal for the commencement of the night clings to my recollection with a general engagement, which now raged tenacity that bids defiance to the efforts along the whole line with a fury which I of time to efface it. Shrieks of despair have never seen equalled: one incessant and agony, accompanied by fearful curses roar of canon and musketry rolled from andimprecations, resounded from-but the opposing lines. The proximity of enough! enough! let me no lor dwell the two armies was so great that every upon the harrowing theme. In a short volley did most deadly execation ; whole time I was discovered by a party sent ranks were struck to the earth, and regi- out to collect the wounded, and conveyed

[ocr errors]

to a hospital at Leipsic. From the in- journey I arrived at my place of destinaquiries I made concerning the fate of my tion, which was a retired village. It friend, I learned that he had been so being late in the evening, I determined desperately wounded that he was not ex- to postpone my errand until the followpeeted to survive many hours; he also ing morning, when I might make my had been conveyed to Leipsic.

début in some decent trim. The cabaret In that city the utmost confusion reign. I found did not furnish accommodations ed; the streets were crowded with waggons in the most superior style of elegance, bearing the wounded soldiery to the but I had seen too much of the bivouac hospitals. The inhabitants were in the to stand upon niceties. utmost consternation: from the issue Scarcely had morning dawned before of the first day's conflict, they fully ex. I was roused from my slumbers by the pected to have the victorious allies thun, merry peals of the village bells, and other dering at their gates; it was even re- joyful demonstrations, with which the ported that the king of Saxony had sent populace are wont to celebrate some proposals of capitulation to the allied happy event. When the landlord entersovereigns.

ed with my morning meal, I enquired the After my wound had been dressed, I reason of those joyful ebullitions. went the round of the hospitals, hoping “Why, monsieur,'' exclaimed he, “I to gain some intelligence of my friend. thought all the world knew this was to After a toilsome search, I was so far suc- be the wedding-day of Count de Lenois cessful as to find his remains, for his and Helène de Chaluz-it is the talk of spirit had fled some hours before my the whole province. The count is the arrival: he had been shot through the richest man in this part of France, and lungs, and all human aid was futile. As who will assert that Helène de Chaluz is I gazed upon his lifeless form, my im. not as handsome as he is rich ? No one agination conjured up visions of the fond who has once seen her, I think. Yes, yes; relatives and friends to whom I should a splendid fête shall we see this day, I shortly have to communicate the sad promise you.” narrative of his tragical end, and my eyes So saying, he hastily left me, to attend were unconsciously dimmed with tears. to the numerous guests who were now I resolved to execute the commission rapidly filling his little hostelry. with as little delay as possible ; but the His unexpected information filled me hazards incident to a soldier's life, ren- with perplexity and astonishment. Helène dered the accomplishment of it doubt. de Chalúz about to be married ! Could

she then so soon forget the devoted affecI will not detain the reader by a re- tion of him, who, in the dark hour of capitulation of the memorable events death, had dwelt upon her remembrance which occurred subsequently to those I with such intense emotion ? Louis had have endeavoured to relate; it will suf- expressed his suspicions of the machinafice to say, that the nineteenth of Oc. tions of a villain--was that villain Count tober beheld Napoleon and the wreck of de Lenois ? Possibly so. At all events his splendid army retreating through I resolved to redeem the pledge I had Leipsic, totally disorganised of four so solemnly given my friend, and that hundred thousand men with whom he with as little delay as possible. Jnhad commenced the campaign, barely quiring, therefore, of the landlord, he ninety thousand escaped beyond the directed me to the mansion which was Rhine.

about to become the scene of so much This disastrous chain of events at festivity. I found it surrounded by length terminated in the abdication of equipages of every description, and the emperor, and I then found myself crowded with company invited for the at liberty to fulfil my promise. After occasion. Upon requesting to see Ma. spending a few weeks with my friends in dame de Chaluz, I was ushered into an order to recruit my shattered health, I ante-room, and after a short delay an set out on my melancholy mission. My elderly lady entered, and announced herjourney lay through some of the most self by that title. I instantly concluded beautiful provinces of southern France ; that she was the mother of the lady I and to one who had so long been accus- wished to see. tomed to the blasting scenes of war,

I am extremely sorry, madam,'' nature seemed clothed in double charms. said I, “to intrude at so unseasonable At the conclusion of my second day's a juncture, but I am compelled by un

ful.

« ПредишнаНапред »