home | authors | books | about

Home -> Victor Hugo -> Les MisÚrables -> The Eighteenth of June, 1815

Les MisÚrables - The Eighteenth of June, 1815

1. M. Myriel

2. M. Myriel becomes M. Welcome

3. A Hard Bishopric for a Good Bishop

4. Works corresponding to Words

5. Monseigneur Bienvenu made his Cassocks last too long

6. Who guarded his House for him

7. Cravatte

8. Philosophy after Drinking

9. The Brother as depicted by the Sister

10. The Bishop in the Presence of an Unknown Light

11. A Restriction

12. The Solitude of Monseigneur Welcome

13. What he believed

14. What he thought

15. The Evening of a Day of Walking

16. Prudence counselled to Wisdom

17. The Heroism of Passive Obedience

18. Details concerning the Cheese-Dairies of Pontarlier

19. Tranquillity

20. Jean Valjean

21. The Interior of Despair

22. Billows and Shadows

23. New Troubles

24. The Man aroused

25. What he does

26. The Bishop works

27. Little Gervais

28. The Year 1817

29. A Double Quartette

30. Four and Four

31. Tholomyes is so Merry that he sings a Spanish Ditty

32. At Bombardas

33. A Chapter in which they adore Each Other

34. The Wisdom of Tholomyes

35. The Death of a Horse

36. A Merry End to Mirth

37. One Mother meets Another Mother

38. First Sketch of Two Unprepossessing Figures

39. The Lark

40. The History of a Progress in Black Glass Trinkets

41. Madeleine

42. Sums deposited with Laffitte

43. M. Madeleine in Mourning

44. Vague Flashes on the Horizon

45. Father Fauchelevent

46. Fauchelevent becomes a Gardener in Paris

47. Madame Victurnien expends Thirty Francs on Morality

48. Madame Victurnien's Success

49. Result of the Success

50. Christus nos Liberavit

51. M. Bamatabois's Inactivity

52. The Solution of Some Questions connected with the Municipal Police

53. The Beginning of Repose

54. How Jean may become Champ

55. Sister Simplice

56. The Perspicacity of Master Scaufflaire

57. A Tempest in a Skull

58. Forms assumed by Suffering during Sleep

59. Hindrances

60. Sister Simplice put to the Proof

61. The Traveller on his Arrival takes Precautions for Departure

62. An Entrance by Favor

63. A Place where Convictions are in Process of Formation

64. The System of Denials

65. Champmathieu more and more Astonished

66. In what Mirror M. Madeleine contemplates his Hair

67. Fantine Happy

68. Javert Satisfied

69. Authority reasserts its Rights

70. A Suitable Tomb

71. What is met with on the Way from Nivelles

72. Hougomont

73. The Eighteenth of June, 1815

74. A

75. The Quid Obscurum of Battles

76. Four o'clock in the Afternoon

77. Napoleon in a Good Humor

78. The Emperor puts a Question to the Guide Lacoste

79. The Unexpected

80. The Plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean

81. A Bad Guide to Napoleon; a Good Guide to Bulow

82. The Guard

83. The Catastrophe

84. The Last Square

85. Cambronne

86. Quot Libras in Duce?

87. Is Waterloo to be considered Good?

88. A Recrudescence of Divine Right

89. The Battle-Field at Night

90. Number 24,601 becomes Number 9,430

91. In which the reader will peruse Two Verses which are of the Devil's Composition possibly

92. The Ankle-Chain must have undergone a Certain Preparatory Manipulation to be thus broken with a Blow from a Hammer

93. The Water Question at Montfermeil

94. Two Complete Portraits

95. Men must have Wine, and Horses must have Water

96. Entrance on the Scene of a Doll

97. The Little One All Alone

98. Which possibly proves Boulatruelle's Intelligence

99. Cosette Side by Side with the Stranger in the Dark

100. The Unpleasantness of receiving into One's House a Poor Man who may be a Rich Man

101. Thenardier at his Manoeuvres

102. He who seeks to better himself may render his Situation Worse

103. Number 9,430 reappears, and Cosette wins it in the Lottery

104. Master Gorbeau

105. A Nest for Owl and a Warbler

106. Two Misfortunes Make One Piece of Good Fortune

107. The Remarks of the Principal Tenant

108. A Five-Franc Piece Falls on the Ground and Produces a Tumult

109. The Zigzags of Strategy

110. It Is Lucky That the Pont D'Austerlitz Bears Carriages

111. To Wit, the Plan of Paris in 1727

112. The Gropings of Flight

113. Which Would be Impossible With Gas Lanterns

114. The Beginning of an Enigma

115. Continuation of the Enigma

116. The Enigma Becomes Doubly Mysterious

117. The Man with the Bell

118. Which Explains How Javert Got on the Scent

119. Number 62 Rue Petit-Picpus

120. The Obedience of Martin Verga

121. Austerities

122. Gayeties

123. Distractions

124. The Little Convent

125. Some Silhouettes of this Darkness

126. Post Corda Lapides

127. A Century under a Guimpe

128. Origin of the Perpetual Adoration

129. End of the Petit-Picpus

130. The Convent as an Abstract Idea

131. The Convent as an Historical Fact

132. On What Conditions One can respect the Past

133. The Convent from the Point of View of Principles

134. Prayer

135. The Absolute Goodness of Prayer

136. Precautions to be observed in Blame

137. Faith, Law

138. Which treats of the Manner of entering a Convent

139. Fauchelevent in the Presence of a Difficulty

140. Mother Innocente

141. In which Jean Valjean has quite the Air of having read Austin Castillejo

142. It is not Necessary to be Drunk in order to be Immortal

143. Between Four Planks

144. In which will be found the Origin of the Saying: Don't lose the Card

145. A Successful Interrogatory

146. Cloistered







Let us turn back,--that is one of the story-teller's rights,--
and put ourselves once more in the year 1815, and even a little
earlier than the epoch when the action narrated in the first part
of this book took place.

If it had not rained in the night between the 17th and the 18th
of June, 1815, the fate of Europe would have been different.
A few drops of water, more or less, decided the downfall of Napoleon.
All that Providence required in order to make Waterloo the end
of Austerlitz was a little more rain, and a cloud traversing the sky
out of season sufficed to make a world crumble.

The battle of Waterloo could not be begun until half-past eleven
o'clock, and that gave Blucher time to come up. Why? Because the
ground was wet. The artillery had to wait until it became a little
firmer before they could manoeuvre.

Napoleon was an artillery officer, and felt the effects of this.
The foundation of this wonderful captain was the man who, in the report
to the Directory on Aboukir, said: Such a one of our balls killed
six men. All his plans of battle were arranged for projectiles.
The key to his victory was to make the artillery converge on one point.
He treated the strategy of the hostile general like a citadel,
and made a breach in it. He overwhelmed the weak point with grape-shot;
he joined and dissolved battles with cannon. There was something
of the sharpshooter in his genius. To beat in squares, to pulverize
regiments, to break lines, to crush and disperse masses,--for him
everything lay in this, to strike, strike, strike incessantly,--
and he intrusted this task to the cannon-ball. A redoubtable method,
and one which, united with genius, rendered this gloomy athlete
of the pugilism of war invincible for the space of fifteen years.

On the 18th of June, 1815, he relied all the more on his artillery,
because he had numbers on his side. Wellington had only one hundred
and fifty-nine mouths of fire; Napoleon had two hundred and forty.

Suppose the soil dry, and the artillery capable of moving,
the action would have begun at six o'clock in the morning.
The battle would have been won and ended at two o'clock, three
hours before the change of fortune in favor of the Prussians.
What amount of blame attaches to Napoleon for the loss of this battle?
Is the shipwreck due to the pilot?

Was it the evident physical decline of Napoleon that complicated
this epoch by an inward diminution of force? Had the twenty years
of war worn out the blade as it had worn the scabbard, the soul
as well as the body? Did the veteran make himself disastrously
felt in the leader? In a word, was this genius, as many historians
of note have thought, suffering from an eclipse? Did he go into
a frenzy in order to disguise his weakened powers from himself?
Did he begin to waver under the delusion of a breath of adventure?
Had he become--a grave matter in a general--unconscious of peril?
Is there an age, in this class of material great men, who may be
called the giants of action, when genius grows short-sighted? Old
age has no hold on the geniuses of the ideal; for the Dantes and
Michael Angelos to grow old is to grow in greatness; is it to grow
less for the Hannibals and the Bonapartes? Had Napoleon lost the
direct sense of victory? Had he reached the point where he could
no longer recognize the reef, could no longer divine the snare,
no longer discern the crumbling brink of abysses? Had he lost
his power of scenting out catastrophes? He who had in former days
known all the roads to triumph, and who, from the summit of his
chariot of lightning, pointed them out with a sovereign finger,
had he now reached that state of sinister amazement when he could
lead his tumultuous legions harnessed to it, to the precipice?
Was he seized at the age of forty-six with a supreme madness?
Was that titanic charioteer of destiny no longer anything more than
an immense dare-devil?

We do not think so.

His plan of battle was, by the confession of all, a masterpiece.
To go straight to the centre of the Allies' line, to make a breach
in the enemy, to cut them in two, to drive the British half back on Hal,
and the Prussian half on Tongres, to make two shattered fragments
of Wellington and Blucher, to carry Mont-Saint-Jean, to seize Brussels,
to hurl the German into the Rhine, and the Englishman into the sea.
All this was contained in that battle, according to Napoleon.
Afterwards people would see.

Of course, we do not here pretend to furnish a history of the battle
of Waterloo; one of the scenes of the foundation of the story which
we are relating is connected with this battle, but this history
is not our subject; this history, moreover, has been finished,
and finished in a masterly manner, from one point of view by Napoleon,
and from another point of view by a whole pleiad of historians.[7]


[7] Walter Scott, Lamartine, Vaulabelle, Charras, Quinet, Thiers.


As for us, we leave the historians at loggerheads; we are but a
distant witness, a passer-by on the plain, a seeker bending over
that soil all made of human flesh, taking appearances for realities,
perchance; we have no right to oppose, in the name of science,
a collection of facts which contain illusions, no doubt; we possess
neither military practice nor strategic ability which authorize
a system; in our opinion, a chain of accidents dominated the two
leaders at Waterloo; and when it becomes a question of destiny,
that mysterious culprit, we judge like that ingenious judge,
the populace.




© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary