The Little Countess takes Arms for Her Defence.
THE EAGLE OF THE EMPIRE
A STORY OF WATERLOO
By CYRUS TOWNSEND BRADY
"The Island of Regeneration," "The Island of the Stairs,"
"Britton of the Seventh," Etc.
By THE KINNEYS
A. L. BURT COMPANY
Published by Arrangements with GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY
By GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY
Dedications have gone out of vogue save with the old fashioned. The ancient idea of an appeal to a patron has been eliminated from modern literature. If a man now inscribes a book to any one it is that he may associate with his work the names of friends he loves and delights to honor. There is always a certain amount of assurance in any such dedication, the assurance lying in the assumption that there is honor to the recipient in the association with the book. Well, there is no mistaking the purpose anyway.
One of my best friends, and that friendship has been proved in war and peace, at home and abroad, is a Bank! The Bank is like Mercy in more ways than one, but particularly in that it is twice blessed; it is blessed in what it receives, I hope, and in what it gives, I know. From the standpoint of the depositor sometimes it is better to receive than to give. It has been so in my case and I have been able to persuade the Bank to that way of thinking.
Therefore, in grateful acknowledgment of the very present help it has been to me in time of need and in public recognition of many courtesies from its officers and directors, and as some evidence of my deep appreciation of its many kindnesses to me, I dedicate this book to
THE MOUNT VERNON TRUST COMPANY
MOUNT VERNON, NEW YORK
The Battle of Waterloo, which was fought just one hundred years ago and with which the story in this book ends, is popularly regarded as one of the decisive battles of the world, particularly with reference to the career of the greatest of all Captains. Personally some study has led me to believe that Bautzen was really the decisive battle of the Napoleonic wars. If the Emperor had there won the overwhelming victory to which his combinations and the fortunes of war entitled him he would still have retained his Empire. Whether he would have been satisfied or not is another question; and anyway as I am practically alone among students and critics in my opinions about Bautzen they can be dismissed. And that he lost that battle was his own fault anyway!
However Napoleon's genius cannot be denied any more than his failure. In this book I have sought to show him at his best and also almost at his worst. For sheer brilliance, military and mental, the campaigning in France in 1814 could not be surpassed. He is there with his raw recruits, his beardless boys, his old guard, his tactical and strategical ability, his furious energy, his headlong celerity and his marvelous power of inspiration; just as he was in Italy when he revolutionized the art of war and electrified the world. Many of these qualities are in evidence in the days before Waterloo, but during the actual battle upon which his fate and the fate of the world turned, the tired, broken, ill man is drowsily nodding before a farmhouse by the road, while Ney, whose superb and headlong courage was not accompanied by any corresponding military ability, wrecks the last grand army.
And there is no more dramatic an incident in all history, I believe, than Napoleon's advance on the Fifth-of-the-line drawn up on the Grenoble Road on the return from Elba.
Nor do the Roman Eagles themselves seem to have made such romantic appeal or to have won such undying devotion as the Eagles of the Empire.
This story was written just before the outbreak of the present European war and is published while it is in full course. Modern commanders wield forces beside which even the great Army of the Nations that invaded Russia is scarcely more than a detachment, and battles last for days, weeks, even months—Waterloo was decided in an afternoon!—yet war is the same. If there be any difference it simply grows more horrible. The old principles, however, are unchanged, and over the fields upon which Napoleon marched and fought, armies are marching and fighting in practically the same way to-day. And great Captains are still studying Frederick, Wellington and Bonaparte as they have ever done.
The author modestly hopes that this book may not only entertain by the love story, the tragic yet happily ended romance within its pages—for there is romance here aside from the great Captain and his exploits—but that in a small way it may serve to set forth not so much the brilliance and splendor and glory of war as the horror of it.
We are frightfully fascinated by war, even the most peaceable and peace-loving of us. May this story help to convey to the reader some of the other side of it; the hunger, the cold, the weariness, the suffering, the disaster, the despair of the soldier; as well as the love and the joy and the final happiness of the beautiful Laure and the brave Marteau to say nothing of redoubtable old Bal-Arrêt, the Bullet-Stopper—whose fates were determined on the battlefield amid the clash of arms.
CYRUS TOWNSEND BRADY.
EDGECLIFF TERRACE, PARK-HILL-ON-HUDSON.
YONKERS, N. Y.