The memoirs of Baron de Marbot: late lieutenant - general in the French army

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Page vii - Or mild concerns of ordinary life, A constant influence, a peculiar grace; But who, if he be called upon to face Some awful moment to which Heaven has joined Great issues, good or bad for human kind, Is happy as a Lover; and attired With sudden brightness, like a Man inspired ; And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw...
Page 210 - I must go back to the autumn of 1805, when the officers of the Grand Army, among their preparations for the battle of Austerlitz, were completing their outfits. I had two good horses ; the third for whom I was looking, my charger, was to be better still. It was a difficult thing to find, for though horses were far less dear than now, their price was pretty high, and I had not much money ; but chance served me admirably. I met a learned German, Herr von Aister, whom I had known when he was a professor...
Page 211 - I compelled her, for in her fury she would have flown at anyone else. She had become still more vicious ever since the Saxon hussar officer, of whom I have told you, had treacherously laid open her shoulder with a sabre-cut on the battlefield of Jena. ' Such was the mare which I was riding at Eylau at the moment when the fragments of Augereau's army corps, shattered by a hail of musketry and cannon-balls, were trying to rally near the great cemetery. You will remember how the 14th of the line had...
Page 160 - ... reached the place of my friends sojourn. By the dim light of the lantern which my companion carried, I succeeded in picking my way along a winding grass-covered path, leading to one of the most desolate cottages I had ever seen. I could not resist the impulse to stop for a minute and look around ; but the darkness of the night was increased by a thick fog, which rendered it impossible to distinguish any object out of the small circle of faint shadow cast by the lantern. The cottage stood alone,...
Page 214 - I see no means of saving the regiment," said the major; "return to the Emperor, bid him farewell from the 14th of the line, which has faithfully executed his orders, and bear to him the eagle which he gave us, and which we can defend no longer: it would add too much to the pain of death to see it fall into the hands of the enemy.
Page 213 - I had much difficulty in passing over this horrible entrenchment. At last I was in the square. Since Colonel Savary's death at the passage of the Wkra, the 14th had been commanded by a major. While I imparted to this officer, under a hail of balls, the order to quit his position and try to rejoin his corps, he pointed out to me that the enemy's artillery had been firing on the 14th for an hour, and had caused it such loss that the handful of soldiers which remained would inevitably be exterminated...
Page 214 - Frenchmen made a valiant defence with their bayonets, and when the square had been broken, they held together in groups and sustained the unequal fight for a long time. During this terrible struggle several of our men, in order not to be struck from behind, set their backs against my mare's flanks, she, contrary to her practice, remaining perfectly quiet. If I had been able to move I should have urged her forward to get away from this field of slaughter. But it was absolutely impossible for me to...
Page viii - He who, though thus endued as with a sense And faculty for storm and turbulence, Is yet a Soul whose master-bias leans To home-felt pleasures and to gentle scenes.
Page 212 - The 14th of the line had remained alone on a hillock, which it could not quit except by the Emperor's order. The snow had ceased for the moment; we could see how the intrepid regiment, surrounded by the enemy, was waving its eagle in the air to show that it still held its ground and asked for support. The Emperor, touched by the grand devotion of these brave men, resolved to try to save them, and ordered Augereau to send an officer to them with orders to leave the hillock, form a small square, and...
Page 215 - These were at first fruitless, but one at last reached me, piercing my left arm, and I felt with a kind of horrible pleasure my blood flowing hot. The Russian grenadier with redoubled fury made another thrust at me, but, stumbling with the force which he put into it, drove his bayonet into my mare's thigh. Her ferocious instincts being restored by the pain, she sprang at the Russian, and at one mouthful tore off his nose, lips, eyebrows, and all the skin of his face, making of him a living death's-head,...

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