[from Burlesques, Novels by Eminent Hands, Jeames's Diary, Adventures of Major Gahagan, A Legend of the Rhine, Rebecca and Rowena, The History of the Next French Revolution, Cox's Diary, New York: A.L. Burt, n.d.(19th century); originally published in a series of parodies, "Punch's Prize Novelists" in Punch, August, 7-12, 1847]
"'Faith, it never had so much wit in it before," said the Doctor, as he ladled out the drink.
We all roared with laughing, except the guardsman, who was as savage as a Turk at a christening.
"Buvez-en" said old Sawbones to our French prisoner; "ca vous fera du bien, mon vieux coq!" and the Colonel, whose wound had been just dressed, eagerly grasped at the proffered cup, and drained it with a health to the donors.
How strange are the chances of war! But half an hour before he and I were engaged in mortal combat, and our prisoner was all but my conqueror. Grappling with Cambaceres , whom I knocked from his horse, and was about to despatch, I felt a lunge behind, which luckily was parried by my sabretache; a herculean grasp was at the next instant at my throat -- I was on the ground -- my prisoner had escaped, and a gigantic warrior in the uniform of a colonel of the regiment of Artois glaring over me with pointed sword.
"Rends-toi, coquin!" said he.
"Allez au Diable!" said I: "a Fogarty never surrenders."
I thought of my poor mother and my sisters, at the old house in Killaloo -- I felt the tip of his blade between my teeth -- I breathed a prayer, and shut my eyes -- when the tables were turned -- the butt-end of Lanty Clancy's musket knocked the sword up and broke the arm that held it.
"Thonamoundiaoul nabochlish," said the French officer, with a curse in the purist Irish. It was lucky I stopped laughing time enough to bid Lanty hold his hand, for the honest fellow would else have brained my gallant adversary. We were the better friends for our combat, as what gallant hearts are not?
The breach was to be stormed at sunset, and like true soldiers we sat down to make the most of our time. The rogue of a Doctor took the liver-wing for his share -- we gave the other to our guest, the prisoner; those scoundrels Jack Delamere and Tom Delancy took the legs -- and, 'faith, poor I was put off with the Pope's nose and a bit of the back.
"How d'ye like his Holiness's fayture?" said Jerry Blake.
"Anyhow you'll have a merry thought," cried the incorrigible Doctor, and all the party shrieked at the witticism.
"De mortuis nil nisi bonum," said Jack, holding up the drumstick clean.
"'Faith, there's not enough of it to make us chicken-hearted, anyhow," said I; "come, boys, let's have a song."
"Here goes," said Tom Delancy, and sung the following lyric, of his own composition:
"Psha!" said the Doctor, "I've heard that song before; here's a new one for you, boys!" and Sawbones began, in a rich Corkagian voice
The sun was setting behind the mountains as our songs were finished, and each began to look out with some anxiety for the preconcerted signal, the rocket from Sir Hussey Vivian's quarters, which was to announce the recommencement of hostilities. It came just as the moon rose in her silver splendor, and ere the rocket-stick fell quivering to the earth at the feet of General Picton and Sir Lowry Cole, who were at their posts at the head of the storming-parties, nine hundred and ninety nine guns in position opened their fire from our batteries, which were answered by a tremendous canonnade from the fort.
"Who's going to dance?" said the Doctor: "the ball's begun. Ha! there goes poor Jack Delamere's head off! The ball chose a soft one, anyhow. Come here, Tim, till I mend your leg. Your wife has need only knit half as many stockings next year, Doolan my boy. Faix! there goes a big one had wellnigh stopped my talking: bedad! it has snuffed the feather off my cocked hat!"
In this way, with eighty-four-pounders roaring over us like hail, the undaunted little Doctor pursued his jokes and his duty. That he had a feeling heart, all who served with him knew, and none more so than Philip Fogarty, the humble writer of this tale of war.
Our embrasure was luckily bomb-proof, and the detachment of the Onety-Oneth under my orders suffered comparatively little. "Be cool, boys," I said; "it will be hot enough work for you ere long." The honest fellows answered with an Irish cheer. I saw that it affected our prisoner.
"Countryman," said I, "I know you; but an Irishman was never a traitor."
"Taisez-vous!" said he, putting his finger to his lip. "C'est la fortune da la guerre: if ever you come to Paris, ask for the Marquis d' O'Mahony, and I may render you the hospitality which your tyrannous laws prevent me from exercising in the ancestral halls of my own race."
I shook him warmly by the hand as a tear bedimmed his eye. It was, then, the celebrated colonel of the Irish Brigade, created a Marquis by Napoleon on the field of Austerlitz!
"Marquis," said I, "the country which disowns you is proud of you; but -- ha! here, if I mistake not, comes our signal to advance." And in fact, Captain Vandeleur, riding up through the shower of shot, asked for the commander of the detachment, and bade me hold myself in readiness to move as soon as the flank companies of the Ninety-ninth, and Sixty-sixth, and the Grenadier Brigade of the German Legion began to advance up the echelon. The devoted band soon arrived; Jack Bowser heading the Ninety-ninth (when was he away and a storming-party to the fore?), and the gallant Potztausend, with his Hanoverian veterans.
The second rocket flew up.
"Forward, Onety-oneth!" cried I, in a voice of thunder. "Killaloo boys, follow your captain!" and with a shrill hurray, that sounded above the tremendous fire from the fort, we sprung upon the steep; Bowser with the brave Ninety-ninth, and the bold Potztausend, keeping well up with us. We passed the demilune, we passed the culverin, bayoneting the artillerymen at their guns; we advanced across the two tremendous demilunes which flank the counterscarp, and prepared for the final spring upon the citadel. Soult I could see quite pale on the wall; and the scoundrel Cambaceres , who had been so nearly my prisoner that day, trembled as he cheered his men. "On, boys, on!" I hoarsely exclaimed. "Hurroo!" said the fighting Onety-oneth.
But there was movement among the enemy. An officer, glittering with orders, and another in a gray coat and a cocked hat, came to the wall, and I recognized the Emperor Napoleon and the famous Joachim Murat.
"We are hardly pressed, methinks," Napoleon said sternly. "I must exercise my old trade as an artilleryman;" and Murat loaded, and the Emperor pointed the only hundred-and-twenty-four-pounder that had not been silenced by our fire.
"Hurray, Killaloo boys!" shouted I. The next moment a sensation of numbness and death seized me, and I lay like a corpse upon the rampart.
"HUSH!" said a voice, which I recognized to be that of the Marquis d' O'Mahony. "Heaven be praised, reason has returned to you. For six weeks those are the only sane words I have heard from you."
"Faix, and 'tis thrue for you, Colonel dear," cried another voice, with which I was even more familiar; 'twas that of my honest and gallant Lanty Clancy, who was blubbering at my bedside overjoyed at his master's recovery.
"O musha, Masther Phil agrah! but this will be the great day intirely, when I send off the news, which I would, barrin' I can't write, to the lady your mother and your sisters at Castle Fogarty; and 'tis his Riv'rence Father Luke will jump for joy thin, when he reads the letther! Six weeks ravin' and roarin' as bould as a lion, and as mad as Mich Malony's pig, that mistuck Mick's wig for a cabbage, and died of atin' it!"
"And have I then lost my senses?" I exclaimed feebly.
"Sure, didn't ye call me your beautiful Donna Anna only yesterday, and catch hould of me whiskers as if they were the Signora's jet-black ringlets?" Lanty cried.
At this moment, and blushing deeply, the most beautiful young creature I ever set my eyes upon, rose from a chair at the foot of the bed, and sailed out of the room.
"Confusion, you blundering rogue," I cried; "who is that lovely lady whom you frightened away by your impertinence? Donna Anna? Where am I?"
"You are in good hands, Philip," said the Colonel; "you are at my house in the Place Vendome, at Paris, of which I am the military Governor. You and Lanty were knocked down by the wind of the cannon-ball at Burgos. Do not be ashamed: 'twas the Emperor pointed the gun;" and the Colonel took off his hat as he mentioned the name darling to France. "When our troops returned from the sally in which your gallant storming party was driven back, you were found on the glacis, and I had you brought into the City. Your reason had left you, however, when you returned to life; but, unwilling to desert the son of my old friend, Philip Fogarty, who saved my life in '98, I brought you in my carriage to Paris."
"And many's the time you tried to jump out of the windy, Masther Phil," said Clancy.
"Brought you to Paris," resumed the Colonel, smiling; "where, by the soins of my friends Broussais, Esquirol, and Baron Larrey, you have been restored to health, thank heaven!"
"And that lovely angel who quitted the apartment?" I cried.
"That lovely angel is the Lady Blanche Sarsfield, my ward, a descendant of the gallant Lucan, and who may be, when she chooses, Madame la Marechale de Cambaceres , Duchess of Illyria."
"Why did you deliver the ruffian when he was in my grasp?" I cried.
"Why did Lanty deliver you when in mine?" the Colonel replied. "C'est la fortune de la guerre, mon garcon; but calm yourself, and take this potion which Blanche has prepared for you."
I drank the tisane eagerly when I heard whose fair hands had compounded it, and its effects were speedily beneficial to me, for I sank into a cool and refreshing slumber.
From that day I began to mend rapidly, with all the elasticity of youth's happy time. Blanche -- the enchanting Blanche -- ministered henceforth to me, for I would take no medicine but from her lily hand. And what were the effects? 'Faith, ere a month was past, the patient was over head and ears in love with the doctor; and as for Baron Larrey, and Broussais, and Esquirol, they were sent to the right-about. In a short time I was in a situation to do justice to the gigot aux navets, the boeuf aux cornichons, and the other delicious entremets of the Marquis's board, with an appetite that astonished some of the Frenchmen who frequented it.
"Wait till he's quite well, Miss," said Lanty, who waited always behind me. "'Faith! when he's in health, I'd back him to ate a cow, barrin' the horns and teel." I sent a decanter at the rogue's head, by way of answer to his impertinence.
Although the disgusting Cambaceres did his best to have my parole withdrawn from me, and to cause me to be sent to the English depot of prisoners at Verdun, the Marquis's interest with the Emperor prevailed, and I was allowed to remain at Paris, the happiest of prisoners, at the Colonel's hotel at the Place Vendome. I here had the opportunity (an opportunity not lost, I flatter myself, on a young fellow with the accomplishments of Philip Fogarty, Esq.) of mixing with the elite of French society, and meeting with many of the great, the beautiful, and the brave. Talleyrand was a frequent guest of the Marquis's. His bon-mots used to keep the table in a roar. Ney frequently took his chop with us; Murat, when in town, constantly dropt in for a cup of tea and friendly round game. Alas! who would have thought those two gallant heads would be so soon laid low? My wife has a pair of earrings which the latter, who always wore them, presented to her -- but we are advancing matters. Anybody could see, "avec un demioeil," as the Prince of Benevento remarked, how affairs went between me and Blanche; but though she loathed him for his cruelties and the odiousness of his person, the brutal Cambaceres still pursued his designs upon her.
I recollect it was on St. Patrick's Day. My lovely friend had procured, from the gardens of the Empress Josephine, at Malmaison (whom we loved a thousand times more than her Austrian successor, a sandy-haired woman, between ourselves, with an odious squint), a quantity of shamrock wherewith to garnish the hotel, and all the Irish in Paris were invited to the national festival.
I and Prince Talleyrand danced a double hornpipe with Pauline Bonaparte and Madame de Stael; Marshal Soult went down a couple of sets with Madame Recamier; and Robespierre's widow -- an excellent, gentle creature, quite unlike her husband -- stood up with the Austrian ambassador. Besides, the famous artists Baron Gros, David and Nicholas Poussin, and Canova, who was in town making a statue of the Emperor for Leo X., and, in a word, all the celebrities of Paris -- as my gifted countrywoman, the wild Irish girl, calls them -- were assembled in the Marquis's elegant receiving-rooms.
At last a great outcry was raised for La Gigue Irlandaise! La Gigue Irlandaise! a dance which had made a fureur amongst the Parisians ever since the lovely Blanche Sarsfield had danced it. She stepped forward and took me for a partner, and amidst the bravoes of the crowd, in which stood Ney, Murat, Lannes, the Prince of Wagram, and the Austrian ambassador, we showed to the beau monde of the French capital, I flatter myself, a not unfavorable specimen of the dance of our country.
As I was cutting the double-shuffle, and toe-and-heeling it in the "rail" style, Blanche danced up to me, smiling, and said "Be on your guard; I see Cambaceres talking to Fouche, the Duke of Otranto, about us; and when Otranto turns his eyes upon a man, they bode him no good."
"Cambaceres is jealous," said I. "I have it," says she; "I'll make him dance a turn with me." So, presently, as the music was going like mad all this time, I pretended fatigue from my late wounds, and sat down. The lovely Blanche went up smiling, and brought out Cambaceres as a second partner.
The Marshal is a lusty man, who makes desperate efforts to give himself a waist, and the effect of the exercise upon him was speedily visible. He puffed and snorted like a walrus, drops trickled down his purple face, while my lovely mischief of a Blanche went on dancing at treble quick, till she fairly danced him down.
"Who'll take the flure with me?" said the charming girl, animated by the sport.
"Faix, den, 'tis I, Lanty Clancy!" cried my rascal, who had been mad with excitement at the scene; and, stepping in with a whoop and a hurroo, he began to dance with such rapidity as made all present stare.
As the couple were footing it, there was a noise as of a rapid cavalcade traversing the Place Vendome, and stopping at the Marquis's door. A crowd appeared to mount the stair; the great doors of the reception-room were flung open, and two pages announced their Majesties the Emperor and the Empress. So engaged were Lanty and Blanche, that they never heard the tumult occasioned by the august approach.
It was indeed the Emperor, who, returning from the Theatre Francais, and seeing the Marquis's windows lighted up, proposed to the Empress to drop in on the party. He made signs to the musicians to continue: and the conqueror of Marengo and Friedland watched with interest the simple evolutions of two happy Irish people. Even the Empress smiled; and, seeing this, all the courtiers, including Naples and Talleyrand, were delighted.
"Is not this a great day for Ireland?" said the Marquis, with a tear trickling down his noble face. "O Ireland! O my country! But no more of that. Go up, Phil, you divvle, and offer her Majesty the choice of punch or negus."
Among the young fellows with whom I was most intimate in Paris was Eugene Beauharnais, the son of the ill-used and unhappy Josephine by her former marriage with a French gentleman of good family. Having a smack of the old blood in him, Eugene's manners were much more refined than those of the new-fangled dignitaries of the Emperor's Court, where (for my knife and fork were regularly laid at the Tuileries) I have seen my poor friend Murat repeatedly mistake a fork for a toothpick, and the gallant Massena devour pease by means of his knife, in a way more innocent than graceful. Talleyrand, Eugene, and I used often to laugh at these eccentricities of our brave friends; who certainly did not shine in the drawing-room, however brilliant they were in the field of battle. The Emperor always asked me to take wine with him, and was full of kindness and attention.
"I like Eugene," he would say, pinching my ear confidentially, as his way was --"I like Eugene to keep company with such young fellows as you; you have manners; you have principles; my rogues from the camp have none. And I like you, Philip my boy," he added, "for being so attentive to my poor wife -- the Empress Josephine, I mean." All these honors made my friends at the Marquis's very proud, and my enemies at Court crever with envy. Among these, the atrocious Cambaceres was not the least active and envenomed.
The cause of the many attentions which were paid to me, and which, like a vain coxcomb, I had chosen to attribute to my own personal amiability, soon was apparent. Having formed a good opinion of my gallantry from my conduct in various actions and forlorn hopes during the war, the Emperor was most anxious to attach me to his service. The Grand Cross of St. Louis, the title of Count, the command of a crack cavalry regiment, the 14me Chevaux Marins, were the bribes that were actually offered to me; and must I say it? Blanche, the lovely, the perfidious Blanche, was one of the agents employed to tempt me to commit this act of treason.
"Object to enter a foreign service!" she said, in reply to my refusal. "It is you, Philip, who are in a foreign service. The Irish nation is in exile, and in the territories of its French allies. Irish traitors are not here; they march alone under the accursed flag of the Saxon, whom the great Napoleon would have swept from the face of the earth, but for the fatal valor of Irish mercenaries! Accept this offer, and my heart, my hand, my all are yours. Refuse it, Philip, and we part."
"To wed the abominable Cambaceres !" I cried, stung with rage. "To wear a duchess's cornet, Blanch! Ha, ha! Mushrooms, instead of strawberry-leaves, should decorate the brows of the upstart French nobility. I shall withdraw my parole. I demand to be sent to prison -- to be exchanged -- to die -- anything rather than be a traitor, and the tool of a traitress!" Taking up my hat, I left the room in a fury; and flinging open the door tumbled over Cambaceres , who was listening at the key-hole, and must have overheard every word of our conversation.
We tumbled over each other, as Blanche was shrieking with laughter at our mutual discomfiture. Her scorn only made me more mad; and, having spurs on, I began digging them into Cambaceres' fat sides as we rolled on the carpet, until the Marshal howled with rage and anger.
"This insult must be avenged with blood!" roared the Duke of Illyria.
"I have already drawn it," says I, "with my spurs."
"Malheur et malediction!" roared the Marshal.
"Hadn't you better settle your wig?" says I, offering it to him on the tip of my cane, "and we'll arrange time and place when you have put your jasey in order." I shall never forget the look of revenge which he cast at me, as I was thus turning him into ridicule before his mistress.
"Lady Blanche," I continued bitterly, "as you look to share the Duke's coronet, hadn't you better see to his wig?" and so saying, I cocked my hat, and walked out of the Marquis's place, whistling, "Garryowen."
I knew my man would not be long in following me, and waited for him in the Place Vendome, where I luckily met Eugene too, who was looking at the picture-shop in the corner. I explained to him my affair in a twinkling. He at once agreed to go with me to the ground, and commended me, rather than otherwise, for refusing the offer which had been made to me. "I knew it would be so," he said kindly; "I told my father you wouldn't. A man with the blood of the Fogarties, Phil my boy, doesn't wheel about like those fellows of yesterday." So, when Cambaceres came out, which he did presently, with a more furious air than before, I handed him at once over to Eugene, who begged him to name a friend, and an early hour for the meeting to take place.
"Can you make it before eleven, Phil?" said Beauharnais. "The Emperor reviews the troops in the Bois de Boulogne at that hour, and we might fight there handy before the review."
"Done!" said I. "I want of all things to see the newly-arrived Saxon cavalry maneuvre:" on which Cambaceres , giving me a look, as much as to say, "See sights! Watch cavalry maneuvre! Make your soul, and take measure for a coffin, my boy!" walked away, naming our mutual acquaintance, Marshal Ney, to Eugene, as his second in the business.
I had purchased from Murat a very fine Irish horse, Bugaboo, out of Smithereens, by Fadladeen, which ran into the French ranks at Salamanca, with poor Jack Clonakilty, of the 13th, dead, on the top of him. Bugaboo was too much and too ugly an animal for the King of Naples, who, though a showy horseman, was a bad rider across country; and I got the horse for a song. A wickeder and uglier brute never wore pig-skin; and I never put my leg over such a timber-jumper in my life. I rode the horse down to the Bois de Boulogne on the morning that the affair with Cambaceres was to come off, and Lanty held him as I went in, "sure to win," as they say in the ring.
Cambaceres was known to be the best shot in the French army; but I, who am a pretty good hand at a snipe, thought a man was bigger, and that I could wing him if I had a mind. As soon as Ney gave the word, we both fired: I felt a whiz past my left ear, and putting up my hand there, found a large piece of my whiskers gone; whereas at the same moment, and shrieking a horrible malediction, my adversary reeled and fell. "Mon Dieu, il est mort!" cried Ney.
"Pas de tout," said Beauharnais. "Ecoute; il jure toujours."
And such, indeed, was the fact: the supposed dead man lay on the ground cursing most frightfully. We went up to him: he was blind with the loss of blood, and my ball had carried off the bridge of his nose. He recovered; but he was always called the Prince of Ponterotto in the French army, afterwards. The surgeon in attendance having taken charge of this unfortunate warrior, we rode off to the review where Ney and Eugene were on duty at the head of their respective divisions; and where, by the way, Cambaceres , as the French say, "se faisait desirer."
It was arranged that Cambaceres' division of six battalions and nine-and-twenty squadrons should execute a ricochet movement, supported by artillery in the intervals, and converging by different epaulements on the light infantry, that formed, as usual, the centre of the line. It was by this famous maneuvrethat at Arcola, at Montenotte, at Friedland, and subsequently at Mazagran, Suwaroff, Prince Charles, and General Castanos were defeated with such victorious slaughter: but it is a movement which, I need not tell every military man, required the greatest delicacy of execution, and which, if it fails, plunges an army into confusion.
"Where is the Duke of Illyria?" Napoleon asked. "At the head of his division, no doubt." said Murat: at which Eugene, giving me an arch look, put his hand to his nose, and caused me almost to fall off my horse with laughter. Napoleon looked sternly at me; but at this moment the troops getting in motion, the celebrated maneuvre began, and his Majesty's attention was taken off from my impudence.
Milhaud's Dragoons, their bands playing "Vive Henri Quatre," their cuirasses gleaming in the sunshine, moved upon their own centre from the left flank in the most brilliant order, while the Carbineers of Foy, and the Grenadiers of the Guard under Drouet d'Erlon, executed a carambolade on the right, with the precision which became those veteran troops; but the Chasseurs of the young guard, marching by twos instead of threes, bore consequently upon the Bavarian Uhlans (an ill-disciplined and ill-affected body), and then, falling back in disorder, became entangled with the artillery and the left centre of the line, and in one instant thirty thousand men were in inextricable confusion.
"Clubbed, by Jabers!" roared out Lanty Clancy. "I wish we could show 'em the Fighting Onety-oneth, Captain darling."
"Silence, fellow!" I exclaimed. I never saw the face of man express passion so vividly as now did the livid countenance of Napoleon. He tore off General Milhaud's epaulettes, which he flung into Foy's face. He glared about him wildly, like a demon, and shouted hoarsely for the Duke of Illyria. "He is wounded, Sire," said General Foy, wiping a tear from his eye, which was blackened by the force of the blow; "he was wounded an hour since in a duel, Sire, by a young English prisoner, Monsieur de Fogarty."
"Wounded! a marshal of France wounded! Where is the Englishman? Bring him out, and let a file of grenadiers --"
"Sire!" interposed Eugene.
"Let him be shot!" shrieked the Emperor, shaking his spyglass at me with the fury of a fiend.
This was too much. "Here goes!" said I, and rode slap at him.
There was a shriek of terror from the whole of the French army, and I should think at least forty thousand guns were levelled at me in an instant. But as the muskets were not loaded, and the cannon had only wadding in them, these facts, I presume, saved the life of Phil Fogarty from this discharge.
Knowing my horse, I put him at the Emperor's head, and Bugaboo went at it like a shot. He was riding his famous white Arab, and turned quite pale as I came up and went over the horse and the Emperor, scarcely brushing the cockade which he wore.
"Bravo!" said Murat, bursting with enthusiasm at the leap.
"Cut him down!" said Sieyes, once an Abbe, but now a gigantic Cuirassier; and he made a pass at me with his sword. But he little knew an Irishman on an Irish horse. Bugaboo cleared Sieyes, and fetched the monster a slap with his near hind hoof which sent him reeling from his saddle, -- and away I went, with an army of a hundred and seventy-three thousand eight hundred men at my heels.