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I LIKE to turn over the pages of that admirably
illustrated edition of the Life of
Napoleon, in which M. Horace Vernet has
poured forth all the riches of his facile pencil,
his varied powers of expression, and his vast
erudition in military matters. Glancing
at the varieties of garb assumed by the Emperor
at different stages of his careerfrom
the long frock coat and embroidered collar of
the pale meagre young man with flowing
locks who commanded the artillery at Toulon,
and crossed the bridge of Lodi: to the laurel-
crowned Imperator in that strange coronation
costume invented for him by Talma; the
velvet robe sewn with golden bees, the lace
ruff, the long eagle-tipped sceptre; from the
world-known little cocked hat, high boots,
and gray great coat worn by the stern, sad,
ruined man who bade his troops adieu at
Fontainebleau, to the straw hat, linen jacket, and
loose pantaloons of Longwood, St. Helena;
glancing at all these, I try to conjure up to
myself an idea of that ghostly Midnight Review
which poetry has imagined, and painting and
music have successively striven to express. If
such an impossible sight could ever be, how
much of awful grandeur, yet how much of fantastic
eccentricity it would present! As the
ghostly drums beat, and the unearthly trumpets
sounded, the graves of this vast military
householdsevered so far and wide, by mount,
and stream, and seawould give up their
dead. From the Vendée, and the Loire;
from Fleurus, Jemappes, and the ditches of
Valenciennes; from the plains of Lombardy,
and the mountains of Calabria; from the
shallow of the Pyramids, and the choked
trendies of Acre, and the poisoned wells of
Jaffa,; from the snows of Eylau, and the
charred embers of Moscow, and the icy waters
of the Beresina; from beneath the golden
barley at Ligny, and from the ashes of the
château of Hougoumont; they would all
come. The ardent young volunteers of the
Republic in its first stormy days; the
Requisitionaries, the peasant soldiers who, without
bread, without shoes, almost without arms,
crossed the Alps to find shoes and bread
(and some of them death, and some of them
thrones, and some of them marshals' batons)
on the other side; the revolutionary generals
with high plumed hats, long coats, tricoloured
sashes, and topboots; the glittering
barbarically clothed mamelukes; the fleet-
mounted guides; the cumbrous artillery; the
brilliant hussars, all furs and embroidery,
led by the famous sabreur with the snow-
white plume; the Old Guard with their
high caps, long grizzled moustaches, and
clean white gaiters; the beardless conscript;
the grenadier of the Isle of Elba; the
red Polish lancer; the steel-clad helmeted
cuirassier of Waterloo, breaking his valorous
heart and strength against the English
squares: these would all be there. From
three quarters of the earth would these
grisly warriors arrive; the bones assembling,
the muscles reclothing, the tattered uniforms
enveloping; epaulettes shining through
shrouds; coffin-plates glistening into gorgets;
the mouldering dust and ashes gathering into
a mighty army, as in the days of old in the
valley which was full of dry bones. The
smoke of the battle would be seen; its roar
would be heard above the vapours of the
tomb: the countersign once more Waterloo,
and the watchword St. Helena!

I can't help it. I do my best to be
serious; but, through the very centre of
this ghastly spectacle of the imagination
there will persist in piercing, a fantastic,
ludicrous mind-picture of a conclave of
commanders-in-chief, members of clothing
boards, military tailors, and army accoutrement
makers, sitting in perturbed and anxious
deliberation in re vestiariâ,—as to how the
British soldier is henceforth to be clad. I
have somewhere read of a French savant
who was present at a dinner table where
a violently ponderous theological discussion
formed the conversation. Questions of
doctrine, of discipline, of polity, were elaborately
argued. Everybody had his theological
praxis to state and to maintain; all hammered
the table, and raised their voices to the
loudest pitch, save one grave, pale-faced
gentleman who, clad in solemn black, with a
white neckcloth, ate and drank prodigiously,
but said never a word. The savant at last
grew somewhat nettled at the grave man's
taciturnity, and charged him with a theological
poser of the abstrusest description. It
behoved the man in black to say or do something.
Whereupon, with the severest gravity