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Soldiers of Fortune
Marschal Saxe


MAURICE of Saxe was one of the numerous progeny of Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. He inherited the strength, the constitution, the abilities, and the temperament of his gifted and vicious father. His mother was the beautiful Aurora von Kiinigsmark, and his life, like hers, was a romance. She was the daughter of the Count von Konigsmark who had disappeared mysteriously when, presuming on his favour at the Court of Hanover, he had raised his eyes to a Princess of Zell. Jewish creditors disputed the succession to his property, when Aurora with her sisters came from Denmark to Dresden to invoke the protection of the Saxon Elector. The amorous prince was fascinated at first sight ; the lady surrendered after a protracted siege. It is said that at the fete in her honour which swayed her decision she found on her plate at the evening banquet a bouquet of precious stones of priceless value. Maurice was born in 1696, one of a hundred or more of illegitimate children who could claim princely paternity. But the son of Aurora von Konigsmark was the only one who was acknowledged ; the infant had the title of Count de Saxe, so that Maurice might be said to have been cradled on the steps of a throne —whence, perhaps, the audacity of his conceptions, his magnificence in a milicu where profusion was the rule, and his over-vaulting ambition. His doting mother spoiled the boy; his father loved him for the striking resemblance to himself, in character as well as physique. Aurora's accomplishments might have held the affections of the volatile monarch—he had been elected to the crown of Poland the year after Maurice's birth—had not the consequences of a severe illness disenchanted him; but she still retained his friendship and regard, nor had she reason to complain of his generosity. The monarch's favourite mistress was made Abbess of the wealthy Abbey of Quedlinburg, and she had sundry pensions to boot. The sisters of Quedlinburg were of the Lutheran religion; Maurice was bred in that faith and held firmly to it, which afterwards delayed his advancement in France, when he had earned the baton of the Field-Marshal over and over again.

His military tastes were pronounced as those of Prince Eugene, and never has there been a more precocious boy. With a single exception he hated lessons, but as a child he was enthusiastic over riding and fencing. That sole exception was the study of French, as if his prescience had forecast his future. As soon as he could mount a horse, he had accompanied his father to the Polish campaigns. When peace was proclaimed in Central Europe, he sadly missed the excitement. When in 1708 the allies declared war against King Louis he got permission to join them. A boy of twelve, enlisting as a private, he marched on foot from Dresden to the Netherlands, where he joined the King, who was then incognito in the allied camp. His mother had been inconsolable at the parting, but she specially confided him to the charge of Count Schulenberg, who was in command of the Saxon contingent. Young Maurice could have found no better mentor ; but, though he admired the Count as a master of war, unfortunately he set small store by his moral lessons. He had gone to school besides under Marlborough and Eugene, who noted the intelligence of their eager pupil when they were forming the most formidable of the future generals of France. Precocious in everything, when the allies were resting on their arms through the winter, the boy had the first of his innumerable amours. He made himself conspicuous in the battle of Malplaquet, and in the evening after the frightful carnage, remarked placidly that he was well content with the day's work.

In March 1710, hearing that the Russians had invaded Livonia and invested Riga, he hurried from Dresden to take part in the siege, and had a cordial reception from Peter the Great. The fortress fell, and satisfied, as he said, with having received the approbation of so glorious a leader, that he might miss no possible chance he hastened west to the Low Countries. At the sieges of that summer he exposed himself with such foolhardiness as to have warning or rebuke both from Marlborough and Eugene. Marlborough said that none but a man who knew not what danger was would do what he did, and Eugene told him that with connoisseurs of experience, recklessness could never pass for courage. No warnings of the kind had any weight. In 1711, when he was campaigning with the King against the Swedes in Pomerania, he swam the Sound in sight of the enemy, with a pistol in his teeth, when three and twenty of his soldiers were shot in the crossing. Soldiering had ever a greater fascination for him than love-making. In the winter, the King, delighted with his military spirit, gave him a newly-raised regiment of horse as a plaything. Maurice was indefatigable in mounting, drilling, and disciplining his men, and was so highly satisfied with the results that he longed to lead them into action. His desires were gratified in the spring, when the war was renewed in Pomerania. The Saxons were beaten, but Maurice distinguished himself by the skill and spirit with which he handled his regiment ; his dispositions in repeated charges and the adroitness with which he managed the retreats were praised alike by the Saxon and the Swedish generals. Already, with all his hot-headed valour he had the eye and cool decision of a veteran.

It may be doubted whether the best and most beautiful of wives would have steadied him, but when he was married to a girl of fifteen, his mother's choice was an unhappy one. It was no love match when in his nineteenth year he wedded the Countess de Lobin. The young lady was a great heiress, but she was as careless of the marriage vows as her husband, and they soon parted, not by divorce, but by mutual consent.

Next year there was nothing notable, except a narrow escape from death or captivity, in which tactics and daring served him well. Travelling to the army with five officers and a dozen of attendants, he was beset in an inn by a Polish horde belonging to a faction opposed to his father and bitterly envenomed against the son. The little party blocked doors and windows, and stood on their defence till their ammunition had given out and things looked desperate. A sally seemed hopeless, but Maurice told his followers it was their only chance, for no quarter was to be expected.

The night was falling, and there were woods hard by where they might find safety. They rushed the enemy's advanced guard, who had dismounted ; seized their horses, cut a passage through the rest, reached the woods, and made their way to a Saxon garrison. Maurice would have been sadly disappointed had mischief befallen him then, for he was hastening to the siege of Stralsund, where he hoped to see the hero, Charles the Twelfth, who was directing the defence in person. His wish was gratified, for one day, being with the stormers of a horn-work, he met Charles face to face, who was fighting at the head of his grenadiers. The meeting and the noble bearing of the King left an abiding impression, for Maurice always venerated his memory.

Prince Eugene's campaign against the Turks was an irresistible temptation. Maurice was one of the last of the princes and young nobles who flocked to the Prince's camp, and he was the last to take reluctant leave when he saw no hope of further distinction. He had come in time for the siege of Belgrade. Before the great battle he lost no opportunity of being out with the light horse who faced the clouds of skirmishing Spahis, and again there was many an occasion to rebuke him for his rashness. His father had the more readily given him permission to go to the Danube, that the hot-headed youth had got into hot water at Dresden. The death of the Electress Dowager had lost him a powerful protectress, who had always taken his part against the minister who had the ear of the King and was the inveterate enemy of Saxe and his mother. There were incessant complaints from his wife, to whom he had given too good cause of jealousy. Their cool relations had ended in mutual aversion, and in 1720 Maurice took flight for the congenial Paris of the Regency. He was a man after the Regent's own heart, and soon ranked high among his roués. Excelling all his rivals in the success and excess of his amours, no one of them drank or played deeper, and the recklessness of his gambling was the more admired that his means were notoriously limited. Yet with his folly was mingled much worldly wisdom. The Regent offered his joyous boon-companion employment in France. Maurice answered very sensibly that there was nothing he should desire more, but he must first have the sanction of his father. The sanction implied the means of keeping up a suitable establishment, and Maurice went to Dresden to obtain it. The Regent by way of recommending the request, paid him the extraordinary compliment of giving him the brevet of Marechal de Camp, as an earnest of what he might expect if the errand to Dresden were successful.

Matters did not arrange themselves so easily as Saxe would have desired. The King made many sensible objections, though he does not seem to have laid stress on the renunciation of German nationality. Two years were to pass before the return to France, and it was partly delayed by his fixed determination to get rid of his wife. Seldom has a divorce been carried out on such terms, though they were entirely in keeping with his character. Divorce could only be granted on proof of adultery, and the guilty party incurred the death penalty. The lawyers saw no way out of the difficulty. Maurice took the matter into his own hand: was caught in flagrant &lit, divorced, duly condemned by the courts, and pardoned by the gracious mercy of the sovereign. Back in Paris in the spring of 1722, he found none of the foreign regiments vacant, so he bought the regiment of Spar, which was sold him dear, and began immediately to reform it and remodel the system on that which had answered so well with his corps in Saxony. But France being then in an interlude of peace, for three years while keeping open house and maintaining his reputation for dissipation among the most debauched, he amused what leisure he could spare from folly in prosecuting his studies in the science of war.

Events which gave him the chance of his life roused him from his lethargy. In December 1725' Ferdinand of Courland, last male of the old ducal dynasty, fell dangerously ill. Courland was a sovereign state, though depending on Poland, and now it was rumoured that the Polish Diet had decided to annex it. Patriotism and religion in Courland were alike alarmed. The Lutherans would be subjected to the Catholic hierarchy, and the State would be split into Palatinates ruled by popish Palatines. The Courland Diet hastily assembled to elect an adjunct and successor to their moribund Duke. It is doubtful by whom the idea of Saxe's candidature was broached; some say by Brakel, a patriotic Courlander; others by Lefort, the scheming Saxon envoy at St. Petersburg. Saxe grasped gladly at the proposal. The Courlanders never doubted that it would be agreeable to his father, as it was; but they hardly reckoned with the opposition of the Polish Diet. However, Saxe having assured himself of his father's consent, hastened to Mittau, the capital of the duchy. The Diet welcomed him with open arms, and the populace cheered him to the echo when he rode through the streets. He came with the reputation of the most brilliant libertine and dashing officer of the day, which recommended him to the good graces of Anne, daughter of the elder brother of Peter the Great and widow of the late Duke. Anne was generally beloved, and had great influence. The gallant adventurer probably never had an idea of marrying her, nevertheless he made proposals in form, and was conditionally accepted. Meantime he had been taking more active measures. The sinews of war had been found by a joint-stock company of French speculators, and his devoted mistress, the famous actress, Adrienne le Couvreur, had contributed the whole of her plate and jewels. The fund gave out at Liege, where recruiting had been going briskly forward, but not before 800 men had been enlisted. When his recruits reached Mittau, Saxe had announced the confirmation of his election —formally to the Polish Primate, secretly, with all confidential details, to his father. Meantime, however, the match with Anne had miscarried, if it had ever been seriously intended. Another Russian princess was in the marriage market, and the indefatigable Lefort had changed his views. He wrote from St. Petersburg, painting in glowing colours the charms of the Princess Elizabeth, and protesting that she was as much in love with Saxe, or with his reputation, as the Duchess Anne. Never did a man of such boundless ambition more narrowly miss a pinnacle of greatness to which even Saxe had never aspired. He had the chance of marriage with either of two future Empresses: he might have been the Tsar, or at least the omnipotent dictator of Muscovy. He hesitated with no fixed intentions, and so slipped between the two stools. For the moment he was leaning upon the Duchess Anne, and went to Warsaw instead of to St. Petersburg.

The King secretly favoured him ; the Polish Diet was firm against the candidature. His illegitimate sisters, canvassing actively for him, did him the more harm that their influence was great. Polish patriots raised the cry that the King, having bled the treasury to enrich his bastards, now proposed to alienate Polish possessions to create principalities for them. Augustus had no idea of risking his crown that Maurice might be Duke of Courland. He had given his son letters for the Empress Catherine, then he reconsidered his decision. Maurice was stopped on the point of starting, and when told that the royal order was imperative, lie said he had no mind to disobey, but if the journey were countermanded all was lost. And so it proved. He set out all the same, but it was to carry on the campaign in Courland. He was still the favourite of the fickle Courlanders, but a formidable Russian candidate was in the field after sundry others of princely birth had been rejected. The all-powerful Menschikoff was at Riga to urge his own cause, and had brought 12,000 soldiers to back him. He pressed his claims with threats rather than flatteries. Speaking as the mouthpiece of his mistress, he threatened the Marshal of the Diet and the leading members with a journey to Siberia if they did not annul the election of Maurice. Saxe, on his part, exclaimed bitterly that he had found open arms, but no open purses. His money had run short, and he had only a few squadrons of mercenary dragoons. Menschikoff sent the Diet an ultimatum when Maurice was vainly urging them to vigorous defence. But the Russian was a man of action, as Saxe had reason to know.

He was in his quarters, and deep in an embarrassing letter from the Primate of Poland, when he was disturbed by a stir in the street. He looked out, to see the house beset by soldiers. He realised at once that it was a coup of his enemy, and made preparations for defence as on the former occasion at Crachnitz. With his little garrison of sixty men he made determined resistance, till the firing and the clamour had roused the town. The citizens rushed to arms, the enamoured Duchess sent her guards to his help, and Menschikoff's baffled 800 beat a retreat. It was a near thing, for undoubtedly had Maurice been taken, he would have had summary despatch to Siberia, and would probably have happened to die en route. As it was, he was landed in another complication, for, as his quarters had suffered severely in the assault, the Duchess insisted on housing him in her palace.

The Polish Diet had summoned him for contumacy ; on his declining to appear as owing no allegiance to it, he had been outlawed and a price set upon his head. The sentence sat lightly on him. He went to Dresden, got some money there, and, returning to Mittau, raised a bodyguard of a few hundreds. It was money wasted, for the Polish Diet sent commissioners charged to have him arrested, and he could put no faith in the constancy of the Courlanders. He picked up the Flemish troopers he had left at Dantzic, and, taking shipping for the island of Usmaiz, set to work to fortify it. The death of the Empress Catherine left the Regent Menschikoff for the moment master of Russia, and made him indifferent to the dukedom of Courland. It changed nothing so far as Saxe was concerned. A declaration dictated to the young Tsar and addressed to the Diet suggested a choice of candidates from which Saxe was excluded. Virtually a command, it was enforced by a Russian army. The stroke was decisive. Saxe had but a handful of troops, his credit was exhausted, and he was out of the good graces of the Duchess Anne; yet, characteristically, though he beat a retreat, he did not altogether despair. The death of young Peter and the unexpected elevation of the Duchess to the Russian throne revived his drooping hopes. But his amours, carried on, and scarcely sought to be concealed, under the roof of the woman who had been foolishly in love with him, were neither to be forgotten nor forgiven. Anne was implacable, though his agents strove hard to conciliate her.

Dissipating in Paris in 1732, his excesses brought on a serious illness. During his slow recovery he devoted his time to the composition of the very remarkable "Reveries." They show the man as he might have been had he concentrated himself on his grand passion of ambition, in place of indulging in a multiplicity of those fugitive amours, where he generally, as was his fashion, took the place by storm. They were wonderful studies of the science of war, where the practical blends with the sentimental or romantic. They anticipate the modern idea of bringing the whole manhood of a nation under arms instead of recruiting the ranks from mercenaries and the scum of the populace. All for improvised redoubts, he condemns the elaborate entrenchments and fortified camps then universally in vogue, saying that with the best troops in the world they bring apprehension of defeat in place of confidence of victory.

He anticipated the irresistible elan the great Frederick gave to his armies—though the abuse of these tactics sometimes cost the Prussians dear—and the advances in echelon, superseding column-shock, which staggered generals of the older school and compensated for inferiority in numbers. And descending to details, he denounced the showy but unserviceable uniforms, unfitted alike for work and rough weather, parsimoniously doled out at long intervals by captains who filled their pockets at the cost of their companies.

The death of his father broke one of the strongest ties which still held him to the land of his birth. It did more, for the vacancy embroiled the affairs of Europe. France, in spite of the pacific efforts of Fleury, on an understanding for division of the spoils with Spain and Savoy, heedlessly plunged into war out of sheer jealousy of Austria. But the triumvirate of Powers was far from the Polish frontier, and the Saxon Elector's claims to the paternal succession ,were supported by his powerful neighbours. It shows the estimate in which Saxe's military talents were already held, that his brother offered him the command of the Saxon army. It was a tempting offer, but, whatever the reason, it was declined. Probably Saxe was already a Frenchman at heart, seeing broader fields for his ambition in France than in Poland.

He returned to place himself at the head of his regiment. He was with Berwick on the Rhine and with Belleisle on the Moselle. Everywhere he displayed his reckless daring and the talent that was more highly appreciated. When Belleisle was besieging Coblenz the slow operations palled on him; he asked and obtained leave to join Berwick, who was advancing to drive the Imperialists out of their lines at Etlingen. Berwick received him with a flattering compliment. "Count, I was going to ask M. de Noailles for 3000 men, but you alone are worth more to me than that reinforcement." The speech was followed by another compliment more to Saxe's tastes, for he was given a detachment of grenadiers, with orders for an immediate onslaught on the lines. He forced the positions of the enemy, captured their guns on that side, and thereby decided the result of the operations. It would be tedious to recount all the exploits where he would seem to have risked himself under the safeguard of a special Providence. For special gallantry at Philipsbourg, following on the affair of Etlingen, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant- General. When he returned to Paris for the winter, he had been preceded by Belleisle, who had been generous in his praises of the man of whom d'Asfeldt, who had succeeded Berwick, had spoken as his right hand.

Peace sent him back to his studies and his loves, There were fetes and festivities at the betrothal of a French princess to Don Philip of Spain. At a hunting luncheon at Chantilly the son of Augustus the Strong had an opportunity of showing himself the heir of his father's strength. Corkscrews had been forgotten. Saxe took a tenpenny nail, and twisting it round his finger, drew all the corks. Indeed, when halting at a village, he is said once to have astonished the rustics by snapping half-a-dozen of horseshoes while the farrier was shoeing his horse. The garrison of Paris at that time was perpetually getting into trouble with the burghers on whom they were billeted. Always interested in military discipline, Saxe submitted a paper to the Minister of War, recommending a novelty—the building of barracks. The minute was approved, but it was shelved through the practical difficulty that two- thirds of the Guards were married men with families—a strong argument, as Saxe remarked, for his own system of recruiting. Perhaps the most flattering tribute he ever received was in 174o, when, in course of a tour in the south, he visited Toulon. Admiral Matthews, of court-martial notoriety, was then blockading the port. Count Saxe asked the Admiral's permission to view the British fleet. The Admiral sent his own galley to convey the illustrious guest. The fleet, dressed out in colours, received him with a general salute. There was a grand banquet on board the flagship ; the Kings of France and England were repeatedly toasted, and each time the glasses were emptied there was a salvo from all the guns of the ships.

That year saw almost simultaneously the deaths of the Emperor Charles and the Empress Anne. Saxe, with his spasmodic tenacity, had never lost sight of the ducal crown of Courland. The latter event, with the fall of his enemy, the omnipotent Biron, sent him incognito to St. Petersburg to strive to knit up the broken threads of the old intrigues. He came back disappointed from a bootless errand to gather fresh laurels in new fields. The death of Charles had given the signal for war, reviving the eternal animosity between Bourbon and Hapsburg. France, as before, had found an ally in the Elector of Bavaria, who was advancing pretensions of his own to the Empire. In August 1741 Saxe joined the allied army under the Elector in Alsace. Though there were some sharp skirmishes, the march to St. Polten on the Danube was rather a military promenade. Then the alarm in the Kaiserstadt was relieved by the news that the victorious advance had been diverted to Bohemia. On the 23rd of October, Saxe with the van-guard had occupied I3udweis. At the same time the Prussians and Saxons were entering Bohemia from the north. The Elector had only been feinting on Vienna, and Maria Theresa, suddenly undeceived, was hurrying belated succours into Bohemia. Meanwhile the Elector was within striking distance of Prague, and had sent the governor a summons.

The answer was that he could not be expected to surrender before trenches had been opened or a cannon fired. The Elector responded by an attack, without waiting for his artillery. There was a feint on one side to divert attention; on another the actual onslaught was entrusted to Saxe. He led it with his accustomed daring, but has certainly been over-praised It cannot have been a very serious affair, when not a Frenchman was killed and only two were wounded. However, he was in the centre of the city, and had taken over 3000 prisoners, when the feigned attack, changing to a real one, carried it effectually from the other side. Next morning, as master of the place, he presented the keys to the Elector. The Bavarian had a welcome from the nobles, and was solemnly crowned. His reply to Saxe's congratulations was sarcastic, epigrammatic, and prophetic. Doubtless he remembered the unfortunate Winter-King. "Yes, I am King of Bohemia as you are Duke of Courland." He was to wear another illusory diadem when elected Emperor in the Imperial Diet at Frankfort, with the style of Charles VII. The war went on. Emperor or Elector, he withdrew to the Lower Palatinate, and when, after its suspension through the winter it recommenced in the spring, Saxe was with Marshal Broglie in Bohemia. He was detached with 12,000 men to assail the important fortress of Eger—memorable in the fall of Wallenstein—where the Austrians had their arsenal and magazines. Eger capitulated, though it was deemed so strong that Prince Charles had not troubled to march to its relief, and its fall raised Saxe's reputation far higher than the somewhat theatrical escalade of the fortifications of Prague.

Then a political revolution gave check to the French and Bavarians. Frederick of Prussia made peace with the Queen of Hungary, carrying the Saxons along with him. To the remonstrances of the French envoy, he cynically replied that with Silesia he had got everything he wanted. The Queen could turn her whole strength against the invaders. Swarms of Croats, Uhlans, and Pandours ravaged Bavaria. The evacuation of Bohemia became inevitable. The French army encamped under the batteries of Prague began to bethink themselves of making terms. Versailles in alarm gave the generals full powers, but the Austrians saw their advantage and pressed it. The tables were turned, and now 22,000 Frenchmen were to be beleaguered in Prague. They held out gallantly, but their sallies were repulsed, and provisions rose to famine prices. News of the advance of Marshal Maillebois gave them a breathing space; Broglie broke out with half the garrison to make a junction with Maillebois, which he never effected; Belleisle, finding the situation desperate, left with the rest, keeping his secret to the last moment, and reaching Eger in safety with baggage and artillery. With the glorious defence and the admirably conducted retreats which saved the wrecks of the once victorious army, Saxe was not concerned. He had gone to Dresden and thence to St. Petersburg on private business, and on his return as Prague was straitly shut up, he joined Maillebois on the Danube. Though Broglie had failed in the junction with Maillebois he made his way personally by a circuitous route to that Marshal's headquarters and assumed the command. He found Maillebois' forces almost in as bad a state as his own, and wisely, perhaps, as soon as possible withdrew into winter quarters between the Inn and the Iser, sending Saxe into cantonments beyond the Danube. The fiery spirit of Saxe was disgusted at the evacuation of Bohemia and the abandoning of Eger, which he regarded as a conquest of his own. He wrote his remonstrances to Broglie in a tone rather that of an equal or superior than of a subordinate, and Broglie, who was a martinet and tenacious of purpose, very naturally disregarded them.

In 1743, when King Louis was eager to retrieve his defeats and misfortunes, it was a question of enrolling civic militia and raising new armies. Saxe, who had had reason to appreciate the Austrian light horse, had undertaken to recruit a regiment of Uhlans. But so great was the con-fidence Louis reposed in him, that to smooth the way to his advancement he withdrew all officers senior to him from the army in Bavaria. Broglie was still general-inchief, but Saxe had the command in the Upper Palatinate. When Dettingen had been fought and lost, the armies of Broglie and Noailles were united to mount guard on the Rhine. Saxe had to yield his command to Marshal Coigny, but with the great exception of Dettingen, which but for the folly of the Duke de Grammont should have been a French victory, there was nothing in the campaigns of 1743 to respond to the formidable preparations.

Nor was the campaign of 1745 in the Austrian Netherlands more pregnant with decisive results. Saxe, who was to second De Noailles, had been consulted and had sketched out a programme. But before the performance came off, there was an interlude and a fiasco. The advisers of Louis were persuaded by Jacobite agents that the English were longing for the return of the Stewarts, and that an invasion might be successful. So at least it has been supposed, although there are indications that the operations were nothing more than a feint, Prince Charles Edward was invited from Rome to Paris. Fifteen thousand men were mustered on the Channel to embark at Dunkirk. Saxe was to have the command, with secret orders to land them on the Thames, when London and Kent were to receive them with acclamations. As to that, it does not appear that Saxe was consulted. The squadron which was to clear the Channel was to be under Admiral de Roquefeuille. He sailed from Brest, to be baffled by contrary winds, and meantime the British cruisers had brought warnings of his movements. Seeing no enemies, he sent messages to Dunkirk, urging Saxe to embark his men with all speed. Half the corps of invasion, with masses of war material, were hurried on board the transports, Saxe and the Young Chevalier being in the same ship. But meantime De Roquefeuille's frigates had told him that Sir John Norris had only shifted from Spithead to the Downs, and that his fleet was actually bearing down on the French squadron. De Roquefeuille crowded all sail for Brest; his fleet was greatly outnumbered by the other; light winds freshened to a gale, and the gale rose to a storm. No news of his flight had reached the trans-ports, but perhaps the storm which sent several to the bottom saved them from worse disaster. Saxe and the survivors were landed and the expedition was at an end.

For four years, notwithstanding liberal English sub-sidies, the battle of Dettingen, and this hostile expedition, France and Britain had been nominally at peace. The year 1744 opened with formal declarations of war. The French king was to take the field in person ; Noailles had trumped the tricks of those who were intriguing against him, and his friend and pupil Saxe at last received the baton of Marshal. The army of invasion was in two parts; Noailles with one was to push the sieges of the Flemish fortresses, and to Saxe was entrusted the covering operations. With the eye of a great strategist he chose his position at Courtrai. There he made his works unassailable, while at the same time he could make diversions in all directions to distract the attentions of the allies to De Noailles. The French generals were aided, no doubt, by the dissensions in the hostile camp. Marshal Wade was a good soldier, but no genius, and he had neither the suave tact nor the masterful spirit of Marlborough. He was hampered at every turn by his Austrian and Dutch colleagues. The allies everywhere outnumbered the French by three to two, and the odds became infinitely greater when Prince Charles of Lorraine broke into Alsace, drawing away the Duc d'Harcourt with his strong detachment. But the allies dared not attempt the storm of Saxe's entrenchments, nor could they lure him out to offer battle. The enforced inactivity must have been a sore strain on his fiery temperament, but he clung to Courtrai and his fixed plan, and saved a perilous situation where a mistake might have meant a catastrophe. His persistence starved the allies out, forcing them to withdraw, and it was famine at last which compelled him to abandon Courtrai. Perhaps the happiest of his menacing demonstrations was when he brought his enemies to a point, that he might know whether they intended to retreat or attack, and when it was imperative that his own action should be guided by their decision. Nor was the time while in the lines of Courtrai wasted, for he was busily drilling his troops and training them to the disciplined obedience which won the battle of Fontenoy.

In 1745 the coalition against France was so formidable that Louis would willingly have signed a peace — the rather that the deaths of the shadowy Emperor Charles and of his staunch friend, the Bavarian Elector, had left him neither reason nor pretext for interfering in German affairs. The young Elector had deserted him, yielding to force majeure and an Austrian invasion. So the King would gladly have come to terms, but the Queen of Hungary was obdurate. The war was to go on; the storm was to burst on his northern fortresses, and the sole question was which was to be attacked first. All the allied generals had been changed; the youthful Duke of Cumberland, eager for honour, had replaced the veteran Wade, and he was on the best terms with his colleagues. The old Austrian Marshal was complaisant, and the young Prince of Waldeck was venturesome as himself. The danger to France was fully realised, and for once the backbiters of Versailles were silenced. Saxe was nominated commander-in-chief with universal assent or acquiescence, and the Duc de Noailles set a noble example by volun-teering to serve under his former pupil. At the critical moment Saxe again paid the penalty of his excesses, and was stretched on a sick-bed. But the spirit and the love of glory triumphed over disease ; he defied the doctors, and set out for Flanders, saying in reply to remonstrances that it was not a question of living but of leaving. When he reached his headquarters at Maubeuge he was still so ill that he had to be carried about on his rounds of inspection in a litter. Fortunately he found a canon of Cambrai who put him on a regimen which soon enabled him to mount a horse.

His strength was 70,000 foot and 25,000 horse. His purpose was to deceive the allies, and for a time he succeeded. Making a show of menacing Mons in force, he marched straight upon Tournai. A masterpiece of the science of Vauban, it was one of the most formidable fortresses in Europe. Tournai was to be the stake of the battle of Fontenoy, for if it fell it opened French Hainault to the invader. When the allies began to realise that it was the real objective of Saxe, their hesitation had wasted time, and they were delayed besides by the deluges of rain which swamped the country except the paved chaussZes. They marched from Brussels, gathering in garrisons on the way, and the march, even for those days, was a miracle of slowness. Saxe, with prompt knowledge of all their movements, had ample time to make his arrangements. His position before Tournai, naturally strong, was strengthened according to the rules he had laid down in his "Réveries." The village of Fontenoy, to the south of the Scheldt, was at once recognised on both sides as the key of the defence. From the first it was the aim of the allies to carry it; of the French to hold it at any cost ; and at Fontenoy the battle was to be lost or won. There were ridges stretching thence to the left and right. That to Saxe's left, from Fontenoy to the wood of Barri, which the allies unfortunately neglected to occupy when they had the opportunity, was 620 yards in length. The ridge on the right led to the village of Antoing on the right bank of the Scheldt and five miles from Tournai. Antoing was also in the woodlands, and was protected by inundations, but besides that it was formidably entrenched; some of the cottages were levelled to make plateaux for the artillery, and the others were loopholed. As to his left the Marshal's mind might be easy ; it was covered by marshes and almost impenetrable thickets. Yet with his usual caution, everywhere he had thrown out advanced pickets and patrols of the light horse of the regiment of his trusted lieutenant De Grassins. Saxe had no great faith—it was always a weapon used against him by his detractors—in the steadiness of Frenchmen in line against a determined onset. In his "Reveries" he had ridiculed entrenched camps, and advocated the use of improvised redoubts. At Fontenoy he put those principles in practice. Between Antoing and the Barri Wood was a chain of redoubts, three to the right of Fontenoy and as many to the left of it. They were connected with abattis of felled timber. All the redoubts were heavily armed with cannon ; but the strongest was that next to Fontenoy on the left, known as the redoubt of Eu because it was held by the Eu Regiment; for the passage between the Eu redoubt and Fontenoy was notoriously the weakest point in the defence. Nor did the Marshal neglect to secure his rear or his retreat. Twenty thousand men in the trenches held the garrison of Tournai, and two fortified bridges had been thrown across the river.

Louis himself was in the field, and unaccompanied by ladies. A summons sent to Douai had hastily called him to the front. He came, and for once he showed something of manhood. He visited the sick in hospital; he con-descended to taste the ammunition bread. On the eve of the battle he rode with Saxe along the lines, hailed by voci-ferous shouts of "Vive he Roi." They cheered the monarch, not the general, but it was a striking counterpart of the salvos and leux de bivouac which greeted Napoleon on the eve of Austerlitz. Saxe's dispositions had been made, though in some trifling respects they were to be modified. The pick of his men were between Fontenoy and the Eu redoubt. These were battalions of the Regiment of Le Roi, of the Gardes Francaise, and of the Gardes Suisse. Behind them were the cavalry, four ranks deep, and beyond these again the famous horse of the Royal Household. The reserves were on the left flank, in rear of the wood of Barri, and in the first line were the regiments of the Irish Brigade, mustering nearly 4000 men.

Late on the gth May the allies were almost in touch with the French, pitching the camp on the heights commanding their positions. The same evening the generals rode out to reconnoitre. They saw the ground mapped out below them, and shaped their plans, deciding on the true point of attack. As a preliminary the village of Veyon, a fortified advance post of Fontenoy, was to be taken, and that was done on the following morning. They burned another fortified hamlet and won the first trick of the game.

On the night of the loth both armies lay on their arms. Broken by fatigue and scarcely convalescent, after the long promenade on horseback with the King, Saxe retired not to his tent but to his coach to snatch some necessary sleep. All his preparations have now been made, and his 50,000 are behind his formidable works. For himself, he is unable to mount a horse ; he is carried, a cripple, from point to point, suffering acutely from dropsy and parched with unquenchable thirst. The allies, on their side, were early astir ; the reveille sounded at two, and at four Cumberland and Count Konigsegg were riding along their lines. Cumberland had to curb his impatience, for the battle-ground was veiled in a heavy mist. His simple plan was marked out for him. The Dutch and Austrians were to assail Antoing on the left. The right attack was en-trusted to Colonel Ingoldsby of the Guards, and in his brigade were the Black Watch and a crack Hanoverian regiment. The Duke himself was to strike with British and Hanoverians at the vital gap between Fontenoy and Veyon. The advance should have been simultaneous, but it was not till six that the sluggish Ingoldsby was in motion. Then he came to a dead halt in a hollow lane, between Veyon and Barri Wood. He sent back for cannon and he had them ; order after order reached him, but still he stuck fast or only moved forward to halt again. Cumberland galloped off in person to discover the cause of the delays, but nothing came of his conversation with Ingoldsby. The brigade was still in that hollow lane, though the guns had been searching the wood of Barri, which was held in doubtful force, but strongly defended by the abattis. Cumberland would wait no longer. Four cannon shot gave the expected signal. The Dutch cavalry on the left advanced on Fontenoy and Antoing, but en-countered such a scorching fire that they turned bridle and rode back. Nor had the British horsemen to the right of the centre attack any better fortune. No sooner had they emerged from the street of Veyon than they were beaten back by the murderous storm of grape and round shot from the batteries of Fontenoy and the redoubt of Eu. Re-formed by their leaders in the rear of the infantry, Cumberland never asked anything of them till too late, and thenceforth they were virtually out of the battle.

All the work was left to the central attack, directed on the points whence the murderous cannonade was con-verging, and the constancy neither of the chiefs nor their soldiers was shaken by the discomfiture on either flank. The fiery veteran Ligonier led his foot over the track of Campbell's horse through the street of Veyon. When they emerged, as the cavalry had emerged, into the blasting fire, they deployed and formed into line of battle as coolly as if they had been on parade at Hounslow. Yet the manoeuvring was slow and lasted long; four hours had elapsed before they were in array of battle. At last began the memorable advance of the immortal column of Fontenoy. Ingoldsby still lagged, and both columns of the Dutch and Austrian infantry had recoiled before the fire from Fontenoy, and were raked besides by batteries from beyond the Scheldt. All that passed had only hardened the determination of Cumberland. The gap above him must be forced, and the redoubt of Eu must be captured at any cost. Then he abandoned his right attack, and brought his right wing along the slopes under the incessant fire, anticipating a movement of Wellington at Vittoria. The Black Watch was sent to the left, to stiffen the Dutch, who had orders to try again. The Prince of Waldeck was hot enough, but even with the example of the Highlanders he could not animate his men. The Highlanders, weary of standing helpless under a galling fire, crossed at the double, gave a lead to the Dutch, and rushed headlong upon the entrenchments of Fontenoy. When within musket-shot they fell with faces on the ground, escaped the volley that passed over them, and tumbled headlong over the first breastwork. Fronting ranks of the enemy five deep, they had no choice but to withdraw, to find the Dutch who should have supported them already out of the action.

Meantime the main attack was progressing. There were i6,000 of them in the column, with Cumberland at their head. The butcher of Culloden might be execrated for inhumanity, but no man could ever call him a coward. The ranks were riddled by the fire from Fontenoy in front and from the redoubt on flank. The men were literally mown down in swaths ; but still the gaps refilled and the ranks re-formed, and all the time, with men harnessed for horses, they were dragging twelve field-pieces up the ascent. Infantry rushed on them in vain; cavalry were hurled back in confusion. When they topped the crest, the French stood facing them within thirty paces. Then there was a charge. The French were taken aback at sight of the cannon. The guns belched grape among them at close quarters, the musketeers poured in a deadly volley ; the front rank of the enemy is said to have gone down as one man ; the files behind looked back over their shoulders .to see their cavalry reserves full boo yards in the rear ; they scattered, and the Made was greeted by a thunderous British cheer.

The British had passed the batteries on either side, and stood victorious on the key of the positions. In fact, the battle was well-nigh won had our allies done their duty and had the cavalry been called into action in time. So Saxe believed, and for a moment his counsels were those of despair. Louis and his son had been watching the battle from the eminence still known as the Gallows Hill; Saxe sent to pray them to save themselves beyond the Scheldt, which both declined to do. On the contrary, they hastily called a council of war. Owing probably to the advice of Count Lowendahl it was resolved to make a supreme effort, though Fontenoy had already exhausted its shot and was firing blank cartridge. The Household Cavalry were rallied for a final frontal charge. Thanks to some anonymous inspiration, guns that had been standing idle were brought up to shower grape on the assailants. There could be no reply from our own batteries, for they were enclosed in the hollow square into which our column had been formed. As the Dutch were playing simply the role of spectators, the French Marshal could withdraw his regiments on the right. His reserves, and notably the Irish, who had been boiling over with impatience to get at their hereditary foes, were called over from the left. The combined attack was overwhelming on men faint with hunger and weary with unparalleled exertions and hard fighting. The shattered column, reduced by 5000, yielded with sullen reluctance to irresistible pressure. The retreat was effected with the same perfect discipline which had marked the advance ; Fontenoy brought more honour to the British and Hanoverians than many a glorious victory ; the guns dragged up the hill had to be abandoned for there were not horses to bring them away, but no colours were lost, and the French made few prisoners.

The allies retired to Ath, though they did not remain there. The French were not slow to press their advantage. Saxe has been censured for not immediately following up the retreat, but the columns showed so formidable a front that it would have been hazardous to press them with his shattered battalions. Moreover, the Dutch had taken such excellent care of themselves that they had some 20,000 unbroken men on his right flank. Naturally there was great jubilation among the victors. Not only had they won the decisive battle, but for the first time they had beaten the English in a fair field. As the King had reviewed the ranks on the eve of the battle, so now with the Dauphin he rode along the lines to still more vociferous cheering, though the numbers had been sadly thinned by death, and the ridge was strewed with the wounded. One man was missing from his brilliant staff ; Saxe had been borne on a litter to his tent, for with the relaxation of the strain he had broken down. The day for him had been a triumph of energy over feebleness and pain. Next morning he had so far rallied as to be carried in his wicker chair into the royal presence. Kneeling, he ejaculated in faltering accents, "Sire, I have lived long enough—I have lived to see your Majesty victorious." Then, glancing round on the blood-stained scene of the reception, he said: "Now, sire, you see the meaning of afbattle." Louis, overflowing with gratitude for once, raised the hero, and embraced him on either cheek. Nor did his gratitude stop there. He deigned to address the Marshal as "my cousin"; by solemn brevet, with many gracious preliminaries, he conferred on him and on his wife, should he marry, the privilege of entry into the Louvre in their coaches, and to the lady the right of the seat on the tabouret in presence of their Majesties and the children of France. But there were substantial rewards besides, more grateful to the impecunious soldier of fortune than relaxations of court etiquette. The château of Chambord, with its wide domains, was conferred on him ; there were additions to the pensions he already enjoyed, and he was appointed Governor of Alsace with a salary of 120,000 livres.

Tournai held out for a little longer, but surrendered on the 22nd May. The fall of the great fortress was followed up by the capture of Ghent, by the surrender of Bruges, Oudenarde, and Ostend. They all fell to Li5wendahl, by far the ablest of Saxe's lieutenants. Finally Ath, the last bulwark of West Flanders, succumbed, and the successive shocks to British prestige were felt severely in England. Saxe, though incapable of great effort, had remained with the army, but his brain was active, and his presence caused the allied generals much anxiety. As the winter approached, their strength was rapidly weakened. Cumberland, after many entreaties, had gone to take command against the Scottish rebellion. Maldeck was left in charge, with a slender contingent of Hessians under Lord Dunmore. He looked forward to a peaceable winter. Saxe, as he knew, with his marvellous vitality had become another man ; after a flying visit to Paris he was at Ghent, indulging in all manner of excesses, making volatile love with the verve of the roué of the Regency, and having the troupe of actors who generally attended him playing to crowded houses. On a sudden, in the dead of the Flemish winter, news came to Waldeck that his enemy, changing from one of his roles to the other, and violating all the rules of war, was laying siege to Brussels. Brussels capitulated, and its surrender was followed by the capture of Vilvorde with all the field-guns and magazines of the allies. That closed the brief and brilliant winter campaign. Saxe was back again in Paris, to be embraced by the King and to be applauded to the echo by an overflowing house when he made his first appearance at the opera.

Next spring the King would again willingly have made peace, but again Maria Theresa would hear nothing of it. Charles of Lorraine was on the Rhine with 50,000 Imperialists. Saxe was in the field again, and Louis again came to the Netherlands. The campaign opened with the taking of Antwerp, left with only a feeble garrison. Then came the capture of the great fortress of Namur, only four days after opening the trenches. Meantime, Charles of Lorraine was drawing near and Waldeck had been reinforced. Twenty thousand Hessians and Hanoverians had joined him in his camp at Breda, and Ligonier brought back a British contingent of six regiments of the line and four of cavalry. The allied armies effected their junction, though too late to save Namur. Their purpose was to winter in Liege, and that of Saxe to force them back across the Meuse. They took up a strong position, at once commanding Liege and covering Maestricht. Then Saxe, who, though habitually cautious, could nevertheless be audacious in an emergency, determined to bring on a battle. All told, the allies mustered Ioo,000, but they stretched in thin, straggling formation along a line of wooded hills, cut up by deep ravines or impracticable gullies; and in fact the Austrians on the extreme left, observed by a detached body of French, were virtually out of the fighting.

On October II the battle began with a French attack on the left, which, storming through a suburb of Liege, turned the left flank of the allies. The Dutch, as at Fontenoy, made but indifferent resistance. Saxe's attack on the centre was delayed by the perverse obstinacy of Count Clermont, but early in the afternoon his twelve brigades rushed impetuously forward in three columns. They were driven back by tremendous discharges of artillery and musketry. Saxe had exposed himself like any private, and his spirit animated his soldiers for another advance. The second attempt, with a concentration of superior numbers, proved successful, the villages of Rocoux and Vorax were carried, and the allied centre was broken. Still the British and the German contingents under the gallant Ligonier retired slowly, offering a determined resistance. But French colours were showing on the heights to the left, the French artillery fire had scattered the Dutch cavalry, a few thousand Bavarians had broken their ranks and fled, and Ligonier's battalions, caught up by the rabble of fugitives, were involved in the panic flight. The rush was for the three pontoon bridges thrown over the Meuse, and many of the fugitives were drowned in the river. At five o'clock the allies had been driven from all their posts, and Saxe ordered up his cavalry for the pursuit. But the autumn night was coming on, and his horsemen drew rein at the ravines. Estimates of the losses on either side vary amazingly. The French author of Saxe's Memoirs says the allies left 12,000 dead and lost 3000 prisoners, while the French had but loon killed. Considering the obstinate fighting in the centre, the last statement is incredible. More probable calculations place the whole casualties of the allies at between 5000 and 6000, and those of the French at about two-thirds of that number. A decree of the King conferred on Saxe the title of "Most Serene Highness," and six of the captured guns went to Chambord, to be mounted on the terrace of the château.

The war continued, to the satisfaction of Saxe as was believed, for he was always eager for honours and glory. In March he was formally gazetted Marshal-General in command of the army of the Low Countries. Louis had issued a lengthy proclamation, setting forth in honeyed words his concern for the interests of Holland, but ending with an unmistakable hint that he contemplated nothing short of its conquest, unless it asked for peace upon terms of his dictation. Cumberland was back and nominally in command of the allies, but now he was embarrassed at every step by the obstruction and jealousy of his colleagues. Now, however, the Dutch were thoroughly alarmed ; William of Orange-Nassau, the son-in-law of King George, had been elected Stadtholder, and fresh levies were being hurried into the field. Already the French were afoot and active. Saxe in consultation at Versailles had sketched out his plan of campaign. LOwendahl had his orders, while Saxe was still at Versailles, and was threatening the fortresses in Dutch Flanders. When the attention of the allies was diverted thither, Saxe in command of the main army was to lay siege to Maestricht and strike into South Holland. Lowendahl acted with his habitual celerity and more than his usual good fortune. Fortress after fortress fell to him, and when Saxe joined his army, lie found his left already secured. The allies, after sundry vain demonstrations, had given up their designs on Antwerp, and had to content themselves with moving eastward to cover Maestricht.

Conflicting counsels had paralysed their operations, and indeed they were greatly inferior in numbers. When Louis reached Brussels, whither Saxe had preceded him, he reviewed 140,000 men who had passed the winter in comfortable quarters. The great army marched from Brussels for Maestricht. Saxe anticipated the allies in occupying Tongres, where Cumberland had intended to establish his headquarters. Then the opposing forces found themselves face to face. Their battle-field lay open between them, and when King Louis came to Tongres, he rode over the ground which Saxe had surveyed and carefully studied. From the heights above the village of Henderen, on which his infantry were arrayed in a double line, the King could trace the positions of the allies, who now mustered 90,000. Their right extended westward, along the opposite ridge; their left was pointing towards Maestricht. They had occupied all the villages in their front, with Laffeldt held strongly as the key of their position. But it was no equal match. Besides being outnumbered by nearly a third, they were wearied by fruitless countermarching, and aware of the dissensions between their leaders, whereas the French were in high heart and spirits, fighting under the eyes of their sovereign and led by their invincible Marshal. The Austrians were on the right, the Dutch on the left, while in the centre behind Laffeldt were the British, the Hanoverians, and the Hessians. Saxe's infantry still stood ranged along the Henderen heights, extended on the right to the village of Rymps and overlapping the Dutch ; Rymps was strongly entrenched and occupied, and repelled an attack by the Dutch on the eve of the battle. The battle may be briefly described, and the result was almost a foregone conclusion. On the morning of the 2nd July the French were moving early, but it was ten o'clock ere the action began. Then Saxe launched a furious attack on Laffeldt. Three times the village was won; thrice was it recovered as reserves came up. But the reserves gave out, and Saxe had still fresh regiments to call upon. Heading that charge in person, and supporting it with concentrated artillery fire, Laffeldt changed hands for the last time, and so by noon the day was virtually won.

Cumberland strove to save it by ordering a charge of the Dutch horse from the centre. They were charged in turn by the heavy French cavalry from either side, overridden, and hunted back, while the Frenchmen never drew rein till they had met in the allied centre. Then there was nothing for it but retreat upon Maestricht. The retreat was becoming a rout, when the rabble of fugitives was saved by a gallant onset of Ligonier at the head of four regiments of dragoons. Not only were the French cavalry checked in the full flush of a jubilant chase, but they left five of their standards behind. The gallant Ligonier, always in the thick of the fight, was unhorsed and taken prisoner. Saxe received him with chivalrous courtesy. Presenting him to the King, he said: "Here, sire, is a man who by a single splendid action has upset all my plans."

Nor were the words an empty compliment. Laffeldt was no decisive battle, and Maestricht, though always threatened, was still safe, Meantime the interest had centred in West Flanders. LOwendahl was laying siege to Bergen-op-Zoom, a virgin fortress, deemed impregnable, and the masterpiece of Cohorn's science. The Dutch, in the depths of depression, urged the allies to raise the siege. The King sent peremptory orders to Saxe that the place must be taken at any cost. LOwendahl staked fame and fortune on a desperate hazard. The allies were advancing ; the defences were yet unbreached, but he ordered a general assault at daybreak. Bergen-op-Zoom was taken, he won the coveted baton of Marshal, but stained his reputation to all time by the atrocities he permitted on the helpless inhabitants. Louis is said to have shrunk from connivance in the guilt, but Saxe, when consulted, spoke out with his usual decision. "Sire, there is no middle course; you must either hang him or make him Marshal of France."

Louis had for years been longing for peace, and again the succession of victories enabled him to make honourable advances. Ligonier had been employed as an intermediary, and King George lent a willing ear. Indeed Louis' pro-positions were so generous as to disarm reasonable opposition, for he offered as the basis of a treaty reversion to the status quo ante. In the spring of 1748 the negotiations were progressing, but none the less, Saxe had been preparing for war. The capture of Maestricht he declared to be an indispensable preliminary to any treaty, and the city was closely invested on either bank of the Meuse. But on May Day news came to the camps of the French and the allies that the peace preliminaries had been actually signed at Aix-la-Chapelle. Saxe received an envoy with proposals for an armistice and the surrender of Maestricht. His acceptance was ratified by Louis, and on May 10 Maestricht was given over.

The Marshal was by no means satisfied to see much of his work undone. Holland had good reason to be gratified, for Bergen-op-Zoom and Maestricht, her bulwarks on the western and eastern borders, were to be given back. Saxe protested in vain against terms he deemed dishonourable. Undoubtedly personal considerations weighed with him as much as politics and patriotism. He loved war, and had a passion for fame and celebrity. Now he saw his occupation gone and the field of honour finally closed to him. Reluctantly he sheathed his sword and retired to his château of Chambord.

There he lived en prince and grand seigneur. Louis had not been backward in gratitude or generosity, and he was in enjoyment of a splendid income. He still played at soldiering—as Napoleon when locked up in Elba—with his own regiment, the Volunteers of Saxe, which he had raised in 1743. To his shame and scandal, as it was afterwards to prove, he indulged his tastes for music and the drama. But these trivial distractions speedily palled on the restless spirit who had filled Europe with his fame. Among other schemes, more or less extravagant, he planned a settlement in Tobago, a starting-point for dreams of ambition in the other hemisphere. That scheme was promptly knocked on the head by the natural objections of England and Holland. There was nothing left the old roué but to fall back on dissipation, and with a constitution worn-out by war and dissipation he reverted to the excesses of his youth. Four years before his death it was his misfortune to become the victim of a senile and devouring passion. He fell in love with the beautiful young wife of his theatrical impresario. Unfortunately for his fame, the lady was virtuous and her husband an honest man. They were proof alike against threats and magnificent offers. Saxe stooped to abuse his great position, and fell into the fashion of the court favourites of the day. He hunted his helpless dependant into hiding, wearied by lawsuits to be decided by servile judges, and sent the hapless beauty to a convent under a lettre de cachet. By the irony of fate that was the last memorable incident in the career of the hero of Fontenoy. He died on 3oth November 1750 in his bed at Chambord, with the calm courage and the dignity with which he would have met death on the battle-field.

There was universal mourning in France as the news was slowly circulated. By a clause in the Marshal's will his body was to be cremated in quicklime, in imitation of Saint Monica, but it was disregarded by the executors. The corpse was embalmed and enclosed in triple coffins of lead, copper, and iron-bound mahogany. The heart was in a silver case, the entrails in another casket. For a month there was a sort of lying in state; then in the depth of winter the stately funeral cortege set out from Chambord for Strasburg. As during the waiting at Chambord guard had been mounted as when the Marshal was alive, and guns fired every half-hour, now the coaches were escorted by a squadron of light dragoons, and after a month's march in wild, stormy weather and over difficult roads, it was met in the environs of Strasburg by the garrison and all the dignitaries, military and civil. The Protestant hero, who had held fast to his faith, was buried in the Lutheran church of St. Thomas.


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