by ladies, all asking to have their names put down in his lists as shareholders in the new stock, that, in spite of his wellknown and habitual gallantry, he was obliged to tear himself away par force. The most ludicrous stratagems were employed to have an opportunity of speaking to him. One lady, who had striven in vain during several days, gave up in despair all attempts to see him at his own house, but ordered her coachman to keep a strict watch whenever she was out in her carriage, and if he saw Mr. Law coming, to drive against a post and upset her. The coachman promised obedience; and for three days the lady was driven incessantly through the town, praying inwardly for the opportunity to be overturned. At last she espied Mr. Law, and, pulling the string, called out to the coachman, "Upset us now! upset us now!" The

purchaser of a quantity of Another story is told of a Madame de Boucha, who, knowing that Mr. Law was at dinner at a certain house, proceeded thither in her carriage, and gave the alarm of fire. The company started from table, and Law among the rest; but, seeing one lady making all haste into the house toward him, while everybody else was scampering away, he suspected the trick, and ran off in another direction.

coachman drove against a post, the lady screamed, the coach was overturned, and Law, who had seen the accident, hastened to the spot to render assistance. The cunning dame was led into the Hôtel de Soissons, where she soon thought it advisable to recover from her fright, and, after apologizing to Mr. Law, confessed her stratagem. Law iled, and entered the lady in his VOL. II, No. 4.-X

books as the India stock.

Many other anecdotes are related, which, even though they may be a little exaggerated, are nevertheless worth preserving, as showing the spirit of that singular period.

The regent was one day mentioning, in the presence of D'Argenson, the Abbé Dubois, and some other persons, that he was desirous of deputing some lady, of the rank at least of a duchess, to attend upon his daughter at Modena; "but," added he, "I do not exactly know where to find one." "No!" replied one, in affected surprise; "I can tell you where to find every duchess in France; you have only to go to Mr. Law's; you will see them every one in his antechamber."


M. de Chirac, a celebrated physician, had bought stock at an unlucky period, and was very anxious to sell out. Stock, however, continued to fall for two or three days, much to his alarm. His mind was filled with the subject, when he was suddenly called upon to attend a lady who imagined herself unwell. He arrived, was shown up-stairs, and felt the lady's pulse. "It falls! it falls! good God! it falls continually!" said he musingly, while the lady looked up in his face all anxiety for his opinion. "O, M. de Chirac!" said she, starting to her feet and ringing the bell for assistance; "I am dying! I am dying! it falls! it falls! it falls!"


"What falls?" inquired the doctor in amazement. "My pulse! my pulse!" said the lady; "I must be dying." "Calm your apprehensions, my dear madam," said M. de Chirac; "I was speaking of the stocks. The truth is, I have been a great loser, and my mind is so disturbed, I hardly know what I have been saying."

The price of shares sometimes rose ten or twenty per cent. in the course of a few hours, and many persons in the humbler walks of life, who had risen poor in the morning, went to bed in affluence. An extensive holder of stock, being taken ill, sent his servant to sell two hundred and fifty shares, at eight thousand livres each, the price at which they were then quoted. The servant went, and, on his arrival in the Jardin de Soissons, found that in the interval the price had risen to ten thousand livres. The difference of two thousand livres on the two hundred and fifty shares, amounting to 500,000 livres, or about 100,000 dollars, he very coolly transferred to his own use; and, giving the remainder to his master, set out the same evening for another country. Law's coachman in a very short time made money enough to set up a carriage of his own, and requested permission to leave his service. Law, who esteemed the man, begged of him as a favor that he would endeavor before he went to find a substitute as good as himself. The coachman consented, and in the evening brought two of his former comrades, telling Mr. Law to choose between them, and he would take the other. Cookmaids and footmen were now and then as lucky, and, in the full-blown pride of their easily-acquired wealth, made the most ridiculous mistakes. Preserving the language and manners of their old, with the finery of their new station, they afforded continual subjects for the pity of the sensible, the contempt of the sober, and the laughter of everybody. But the folly and meanness of the higher ranks of society were still more disgusting. One instance alone, related by the Duke de St. Simon, will show the unworthy avarice which infected the whole of society. A man of the name of André, without character or education, had, by a series of well-timed speculations in Mississippi bonds, gained enormous wealth in an incredibly short space of time. As St.


Simon expresses it, "he had amassed mountains of gold." As he became rich, he grew ashamed of the lowness of his birth, and anxious above all things to be allied to nobility. He had a daughter, an infant only three years of age, and he opened a negotiation with the aristocratic and needy family of D'Oyse, that this child should, upon certain conditions, marry a member of that house. The Marquis D'Oyse, to his shame, consented, and promised to marry her himself on her attaining the age of twelve, if the father would pay him down the sum of a hundred thousand crowns, and twenty thou sand livres every year until the celebration of the marriage. The marquis was himself in his thirty-third year. This scandalous bargain was duly signed and sealed, the stock-jobber furthermore agreeing to settle upon his daughter, on the marriage-day, a fortune of several millions. The Duke of Brancas, the head of the family, was present throughout the negotiation, and shared in all the profits. St. Simon, who treats the matter with the levity becoming what he thought so good a joke, adds, “that people did not spare their animadversions on this beautiful marriage ;" and further informs us, “that the project fell to the ground some months afterward by the overthrow of Law, and the ruin of the ambitious Monsieur André." It would appear, however, that the noble family never had the honesty to return the hundred thousand crowns.

SIR E. BULWER'S EARLY EDUCATION. I was smart, and was in the head class when I leftI could make twenty Latin verses in half an hour; I could construe, without an English translation, all the easy Latin authors, and many of the difficult ones with it. I could read Greek fluently, and even translate it. I was thought exceedingly clever, for I had only been eight years acquiring all this fund of information, which, as one can never recall it in the world, you have every right to suppose that I had entirely forgotten before I was five-and-twenty. As I was never taught a syllable of English during this period, of everything which relates to English literature, English laws, and English history, you have the same right to suppose that I was, at the age of eighteen, when I left in the profoundest ignorance.

[graphic][merged small]



THE weather, which, during the 17th of June, 1815, was unsettled and stormy, grew worse as darkness set in. The rain fell incessantly, sometimes in torrents, and was accompanied by loud peals of thunder and almost a hurricane of wind. It continued cloudy the whole of the next day, but the rain ceased with the darkness. At dawn the soldiers started from their cheerless bivouac, and made ready for the battle; and when the trumpets and drums sounded and beat to arms, the whole of the forces sprang to their posts with the utmost alacrity and zeal. Of the 18th of June it is needless to give many particulars; for there are few that have not read the story of that "day of battles," and fewer still from whose memory the details have escaped. The effective strength of the allied army, according to Captain Siborne, was as follows:-Infantry, 49,608; cavalry, 12,402; artillery, 5,645 total, 67,655 men and 156 guns. The French army comprised: - Infantry, 48,950; cavalry, 15,765; artillery, 7,232: total, 71,947 men and 246 guns. Other accounts raise the allies to 74,000 men, and the French to 90,000 and 296 guns. Nothing could exceed the surprise and delight of Napoleon and his generals at the allied movement of the 17th, which, attributing it to any cause but the right one, they tortured into evi



dence of defeat. Soult sent a dispatch to Davoust, the Minister of War, in which he fairly out-Soulted Soult. He announced that Wellington and Blucher had been separated, and had only saved themselves with difficulty." "The effect," he said, "was theatrical. In an instant the enemy was routed in all directions." Another account in the Moniteur naively remarked that a whole Scotch division of five or six thousand men had been cut to pieces, for they had not "seen any of them prisoners!" A third narrative concluded by stating that they would not hear of the Prussians again for some time, even if they should be able to rally. The two rival armies had bivouacked, on the night of the 17th, within three-quarters of a mile, and in some places at even less than that from each other; and Napoleon expected the next day to resume his pursuit. He was, therefore, much pleased at discovering the allies setting their battle in array; and, turning to one of his staff, he exclaimed, "Ah! je les tiens donc, ces Anglais !" (Ah, I have got them then, these English!) He is also reported to have praised the soldierly manner in which the army took up their ground, adding, that "they must run." Soult, who, notwithstanding his Munchausenic dispatches, thoroughly appreciated British prowess, expressed some doubts, and Napoleon

turning quickly round, asked him, "Why?" The curt reply was, "Because they will be cut to pieces first."

The positions of the two armies were both masterly, and the manoeuvring took up a considerable portion of the morning. Napoleon's first thought was to attack the center; but he postponed his assault on that part of the allied lines, and ordered his brother Jerome to advance with the second corps, consisting of thirty thousand men, against the farm of Hougoumont. About half-past ten, or a quarter to eleven o'clock, Sir George Wood, by the Duke's direction, caused the first gun to be fired at an advancing column of the enemy. The discharge killed six or eight, and was soon followed by a general cannonade in support of the attack, and one in reply from the British batteries. The enemy succeeded in carrying the wood, but against the buildings they could effect nothing. On the contrary, as they confi

dently rushed toward the garden wall, they were received with a tremendous volley that prostrated the leading files, and this was supported by a fusilade so telling that they quickly began to give way. The guards sallied and cleared part of the wood; and the Duke, justly relying on the skill of his artillery, then ordered Major Bull to open his howitzer batteries upon the remainder. In ten minutes the whole was abandoned by the French.

from the storm of cannon balls. Meanwhile Jerome had reinforced his troops, and returned with still greater fury to the attack on Hougoumont. The guards outside the farm made a gallant resistance, and when driven back retired to the cover of a haystack, from which they kept up the fight till it was set on fire. Finding

Napoleon now commenced a tremendous cannonade throughout the line, which was promptly returned by the English gunsevery piece that could be brought to bear on both sides being vigorously employed. Large masses of cavalry were observed concentrating on the French side of the field, and it was apparent that some new attack was intended. The Duke of Wellington, therefore, formed his centre divisions into squares, and withdrew them behind the ridge, so as to shelter them

[graphic][merged small][ocr errors]

themselves also outflanked, and in danger of being cut off, they retired hastily into the farm-yard, the gate of which they strove to barricade with ladders, posts, barrows, or anything they could lay hands upon. All was in vain; the gate was forced open, and a few Frenchmen rushed into the yard. The defenders instantly

[graphic][merged small]

ran to the nearest cover, and opened such a fire as soon checked their advance, and then made a fierce attack in return, and after an intrepid struggle on both sides, Colonel Macdonnell, Captain Wyndham, Lieutenants Gooch and Harvey, and Serjeant Graham, contrived, by the exercise of great daring and personal strength, to close the door, while the intruders paid the penalty of their rashness. The attempt, so nearly successful, thus entirely failed.

Napoleon had now determined to make his left and center attack on the British lines, intending thereby to turn the former and force the latter; and, by possessing himself of La Haye Sainte and Mont St. Jean, to cut off the Duke's communications by the main road with Brussels, as well as to sever the allied from the Prussian army. For that important enterprise he had selected the whole of Drouet's corps, amounting to eighteen thousand infantry, in four columns, in addition to Roussel's cavalry division. To support this imposing force, he had placed ten batteries, containing seventy-four guns, with ranges of from six to eight hundred yards of the English line. Between half-past one and two the advance commenced, the French guns gradually becoming silent as the columns approached the English lines. On they came, shouting, "En avant!" "Vive l'Empereur !" till, driving back a Belgian brigade, they

reached a broken hedge, behind which Picton was posted with the fifth division. The columns halted, and began to deploy; and while so engaged, a tremendous volley, at less than forty yards, threw them into confusion. Picton thundered the words, "Charge, charge! hurrah!" and fell from his horse, pierced in the right temple by a musket shot. His death was revenged; for the fifth, struggling through the hedge, fell upon the enemy and routed them with great slaughter. The second Cavalry Brigade, numbering thirteen hundred men, and consisting of the Royals, Greys, and Enniskilleners, led by the Earl of Uxbridge, fell on the discomfited troops with terrific violence, and covered the ground with slain. In vain did the Cuirassiers and Lancers, who had been drawn up to charge the fifth in flank, seek to oppose them; they were swept away with the rest, and two eagles, as well as two thousand prisoners, were taken. The English cavalry, in fact, succeeded in completely destroying a division five thousand strong, and cut the traces of all Drouet's cannons, which were thus rendered useless for the remainder of the day.

These successes, however, were purchased at a considerable cost. While the victorious troops were disorganized by their pursuit, they were charged in their turn and repulsed, scarcely a fifth of their gross number returning from the conflict. Sir

« VorigeDoorgaan »