A British Farse
Posted by P, Bingham on April 18, 1998 at 23:35:30:
In response to English reaction to Waterloo, written by Leanne S on April 17, 1998 at 16:09:28
] His escape from Alba a few years later must've caused some palpitating hearts too ... but mainly in French bosoms from what little I've read. ]
Not just in the French Bosoms! There was a popular song out in that autumn of 1814 and its words read "...All the world's in Paris." The English upper class had flocked to Paris by the hundreds that seaon and Brighton was packed with men and women either coming or going. It had been some twenty years since the general public had travel to France available to them (except for in 1802 during a very brief Peace of Amiens) Here is a little passage from Our Tempestuous Day (in the bibliography) which covers this period in time very well. Upon the word that Bonaparte had landed in France there was no real alarm. But upon reaching Grenoble (staunchly Republican and mobbing him with open arms) panic spread fast. "By this time the English had left Paris, scrambling to buy what horses there were at exorbitant prices, bribing their way past soldiers and roadblocks, racing for the coast. All was confusion and commotion, neither the king, the debuties nor the military could keep order. The Palais-Royal, the Salon des Estrangers were nearly empty (two grand hotels in Paris frequented by the British and other foreignors). In the Faubourg St.-Germain the former emigres trembled at the thought of the wmporer's revenge."
"Fierce March storms lashes the roads that led northward to Boulogne and Dieppe and Ostend. The wind and rain punished the fleeing English, drenching them and threatening to keep them stranded in the mud forever. In the overcrowded ports they waited to make the Channel crossing, fearful of the wild water and praying for safety. Finally they made it home, sick and anxious, to learn the the Tyrannical Destroyer was in Paris and that Louis XVIII had fled to Lille. Wilberforce, who had not joined the exodus to France the previous Fall and who thoroughly disapproved of the hedonistic, frivolous French, gave it as his opinion that Bonaparte's escape was a divine judgement for the sins of his fellow countrymen, and in particular, for their wicked sojourn amid the corruptions of Paris."
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