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But, in the absence of prompt, clear, and detailed instructions, that Marshal was left a prey to his fatal notion that Wavre was the one point to be aimed at and attacked. Despite the heavy cannonade on the west he persisted in this strange course; while Napoleon staked everything on a supreme effort against Wellington.

Lambert, on the Emperor's right flank, and directing Grouchy to approach and join the main army instantly, and crush Bulow EN FLAGRANT DELIT. It was then too late for Grouchy to obey; but it is remarkable that as early as noon on the 18th, and while Grouchy had not proceeded as far as Wavre, he and his suite heard, the sound of heavy cannonading In the direction of Planchenoit and Mont St. Jean.

Blücher's retreat however left the English flank uncovered; and on the following day, while the Prussians were falling back on Wavre, Wellington, with nearly seventy thousand men for his army was now well in hand withdrew in good order, followed by the mass of the French forces under the Emperor himself.

Shortly after Gordon's return, a Prussian orderly galloped up and confirmed the news of their retreat, which drew from the Duke the remark: "Blücher has had a d d good licking and gone back to Wavre.... As he has gone back, we must go too."

Early on the next morning their rearguard drew off from Sombref; and, thanks to the inertness of their foes, the line of retreat remained unknown. During the march to Wavre, their columns were cheered by the sight of the dauntless old Field-Marshal, who was able to sit a horse once more. Thielmann's corps did not leave Gembloux till 2 p.m., but reached Wavre in safety.

Violent complaints and recriminations passed afterwards between the Emperor and the marshal respecting the manner in which Grouchy attempted to perform this duty, and the reasons why he failed on the 18th to arrest the lateral movement of the Prussians from Wavre to Waterloo.

The story to the effect that on the evening of the 17th the Duke rode over to Wavre to make sure from Bluecher's own mouth that he could rely on Prussian support next day, to the truth of which not a little of vague testimony has been adduced, may be now definitely disregarded. The evidence against the legend is conclusive.

Grouchy believed, on the 17th, and caused Napoleon to believe, that the Prussian army was retreating by lines of march remote from Waterloo upon Namur and Maestricht. Napoleon learned only on the 18th, that there were Prussians in Wavre, and felt jealous about the security of his own right.

The Belgians were absolutely convinced that Antwerp was impregnable, and as we had heard that large masses of English troops had been landed there, we hoped very much that this would be the turning-point of the war, and that the Germans might be driven back out of the country. On Wednesday, September 30, the sounds of cannon grew more distant, and we heard that Wavre St. Catherine had been taken.

But the battle was one of the most decisive recorded in history, and was the real beginning of a peace which lasted over the whole of Europe for nearly forty years. Grouchy heard the cannonade of Waterloo on his march from Ligny to Wavre, and was strongly urged by Gérard to hasten across country, with his whole force, in the direction of the firing.