Boekgegevens
Titel: First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
Auteur: Herrig, Ludwig
Uitgave: Arnhem: J. Voltelen, 1869 *
Auteursrechten: Zie auteursrechten
Citeerinstructie: Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, UBM: IWO 513 H 21
URL: https://schoolmuseum.uba.uva.nl/bookid/LCSM_204683
Onderwerp: Taal- en letterkunde naar afzonderlijke talen: Engelse taalkunde
Trefwoord: Leesvaardigheid, Engels, Leermiddelen (vorm)
* jaar van uitgave niet op de gebruikelijke wijze verkregen, mogelijk betreft het een schatting
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129
battle is, however, given by a Frenchman,
said to have been an eye-witness to the
circumstances which he narrates ; it contains
some interesting details not generally known,
and is otlierwise deserving of notice, be-
cause, though proceeding trom an enemy,
it gives a colour to the exertions of the
British army, even more favourable than
that cast upon it by the narratives of the
victors. The narrator thus commences
his detail: *It was a dreadful night which
preceded the morning of this never-to-
be - forgotten battle. The rain fell in
torrents, and was most oppressive to the
troops bivouacked as they were in the
midst of mud, and not having had time to
construct any temporary shelter. Daylight
appearing, the French took to their arms,
and were surprised to find that the English
not only remained where they had been
the night before, but appeared as if resolv-
ed to defend their position. Napoleon,
who had feared that they would escape
during the night, could not repress expres-
sions of satisfaction at finding them still
stationary when he awoke in the morning.
'Ah! ah!' exclaimed he in his transports,
'I have them then — these English!'
"Without further consideration, and with
that eagerness which constituted one of
his characteristics, he summoned the columns
which had halted in the rear, and without
gaining any information, without knowing
either the position or the strength of the
enemy; without ascertaining that the Prus-
sian army was sufficiently kept in check
by General Grouchy's corps, he resolved
on an immediate attack.
'Scarcely were the French troops form-
ed, when the emperor, who had taken his
station on a hill not far from the farm-
house at which he slept, sent orders to
commence the attack. He continued to
walk to and fro with his arms folded over
his breast, at a short distance from his
staff. The weather was stormy, and con-
tinued so through the day. Towards noon
the first discharge of cannon took place
from the French hne, and a numerous body
of riflemen were despatched to begin the
action. A strong force was sent, with in-
structions to carry Mount St. Jean .at the
point of the bayonet, while the cavalry of
the wings debouched, and made a charge
at the points which appeared to be the
least defended. The emperor seemed to
await the result of this manœuvre with
impatience, its success, it is said, he con-
sidered certain; this was, however, retarded
by the obstinate efforts made by the Bri-
Firgt Engl. Reading book.
tish to hold the villages which covered
their wings.
'The points, at which the two English
wings had taken their stations, having been
carried, the French army passed the ravine,
and approached the positions which sent
forth a deluge of balls and grapeshot upon
them. The charges which the emperor
had directed were imrnediatety executed.
A most formidable column advanced against
Mount St. Jean, where a most desperate
and sanguinary struggle ensued. The
French cavalry darted forward to seize
the artillery, but was assailed in its turn
by the cavalry of the enemy, and the car-
nage on both sides was appalling. Neither
one side nor the other would yield an inch
of ground. Fresh columns advanced, the
charges were renewed, and the position
was twice or thrice on the point of being
forced, but as often, after performing pro-
digies of valour, the French were repulsed,
or arrested in their progress. They now
began to exhibit symptons of hesitation
and inquietude; several dismounted batteries
were put into retreat. A considerable num-
ber of wounded soldiers were detached
from the main body, and spread alarm by
their reports as to the issue of the battle.
Profound silence had succeeded to the ac-
clamations and cries of joy with which the
soldiers, certain of marching to victory, had
before been rending the air. With the
exception of the infantry of the guard, all
the troops had gradually become engaged,
and were exposed to a most destructive
fire.
'It was near seven o'clock and Napoleon,
who had till then remained on the hill,
from which he clearly saw all that was
passing, appeared to contemplate with a
look of ferocity the hideous scene of but-
chery beneath him. The more numerous
the difficulties which occurred, the more
obstinate did he appear. He was indignant
at obstacles which he had so httle fore-
seen, and far from thinking that it was
wrong to sacrifice an army, which placed
unbounded confidence in him, he incessantly
sent fresh troops, with orders to charge
and force their way in spite of every re-
sistance. He was several times told that
appearances were bad. and that the troops
were exhausted; but his only answer was,
'Forward, forward!'
'A general sent information that he could
not maintain his position, on account of
being dreadfully annoyed by a battery, and
asked what he was to do. 'To take the
battery,' said Buonaparte, turning his back
on the aide-de-camp.
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