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A love story.

Men of courage and resolution, no doubt, but without subtleties, or nerves, or that burdensome gift of imagination; sturdy men, a little wanting in delicacy, hardly conspicuous for intellect; to put it frankly, men rather stupid. The Emperor is furious. Gerard was meant to fail. A very brave buffoon, but a buffoon nonetheless. Here he is charging alone at a troop of British Hussars:. I remember that I tried to pray as I rode, but I am a little out of practice at such things, and the only words I could remember were the prayer for fine weather which we used at the school on the evening before holidays.

Even this seemed better than nothing…. There are also some lovely sequences that satirize both the French and the British.

The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard/Chapter 6 - Wikisource, the free online library

The Englishmen that Gerard meets are obsessed with hunting and gambling. The Bart as Gerard calls him got himself in all sorts of trouble as a result of this incident — not so much for neglect of duty as for not clearing trumps. Such are the values of the officer class in Britain. The egg must be broken for the omelette.

I could hear the huntsman shouting his congratulations behind me. Rather different is his account of the Germans. Gerard is sent on a mission, but has no fears for his own safety:. The Germans had always seemed to me to be a kindly, gentle people, whose hands closed more readily round a pipe-stem than a sword-hilt — not out of want of valour, you understand, but because they are genial, open souls, who would rather be on good terms with all men.

I did not know then that beneath that homely surface there lurks a devilry as fierce as, and far more persistent than, that of the Castilian or the Italian. Even a man as insensitive as he, however, cannot help noticing that there are signs of nationalism in the air. It was soft, at first, and dreamy, telling of old Germany, the mother of nations, of the rich, warm plains, and the grey cities, and the fame of dead heroes. But then verse after verse rang like a trumpet-call. It was of the Germany of now, the Germany which had been taken unawares and overthrown, but which was up again, and snapping the bonds upon her giant limbs.

What was life that one should covet it? What was glorious death that one should shun it?


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The mother, the great mother, was calling. Her sigh was in the night wind. She was crying to her own children for help. Would they come? As Gerard rides across the battlefield in the aftermath of Waterloo, he realizes that all the glory in the world cannot conceal the reality of the suffering:. There were things which I saw then, as I pressed through that dreadful crowd, which can never be banished from my mind.

In evil dreams there comes back to me the memory of that flowing stream of livid, staring, screaming faces upon which I looked down.

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It was a nightmare. In victory one does not understand the horror of war.


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  6. It is only in the cold chill of defeat that it is brought home to you. Part of the pleasure of the stories is the way that real-life figures make guest appearances, the blend of fiction and history. Gerard fills in some details that appear to have evaded historians. Even as we look upon his works and despair, he remains pretty much the only French person who cuts any ice in this country. When the humour seized him, he would throw a hundred square miles to that man, or tear as much off the other, round off one kingdom by a river, or cut off another by a chain of mountains.

    That was how he used to do business, this little artilleryman, whom we had raised so high with our sabres and our bayonets. He was very civil to us always, for he knew where his power came from. We knew also, and showed it by the way in which we carried ourselves. We were agreed, you understand, that he was the finest leader in the world, but we did not forget that he had the finest men to lead. And for a moment, it seemed as though the Brigadier might even usurp Holmes. Having thus killed off his most popular character, Doyle launched Brigadier Gerard in a one-off tale, also in the Strand , in December It was popular enough that a full series then began appearing from April onwards, collected in The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard Mostly the stories got a good reception.

    A second set of tales was published as The Adventures of Gerard There was also a stage play, with a new plot cobbled together from bits of others, which was less well received. It was moderately successful, though, and Lewis Waller best known for roles in Wilde and Ibsen played Gerard, a role he reprised in the first movie adaptation in But however popular Gerard was, he never did eclipse Holmes.

    Thereafter, there was just one more Gerard tale to come, in We start in the days when the threat of invasion is felt right across Britain. He had no shoes on. Then he was out of earshot. She felt sure the same could not be said about her. The next morning, she and the dog, Buddy, were again on their walk when a dark-green Lincoln Mark VIII pulled up, and a man inside said hello.

    She recognized the voice from the previous day. Susan saw that the man had an open, friendly face and a direct gaze. She gave him the address of her town house, just around the corner. Within the hour, she was pouring him coffee.

    He said that his name was Rick Rescorla, and he seemed eager to talk—so eager that Susan doubted he was paying much attention to her end of the conversation. Rescorla told her that he was divorced, with two children, and was living in the area to be near them. These experiences had made him a fierce anti-Communist. The reason he had come to America, he said, was to enlist in the Army, so that he could go to Vietnam. He welcomed the opportunity to join the American cause in Southeast Asia and, for a long time, had never questioned the wisdom or morality of the war.

    He had met his former wife there. Now he was spending his free time trying to write, mainly plays and screenplays.

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    Few of the native Rhodesians had worn shoes, which was why he had to feel what it was like to run barefoot. And all his life, he said, he had worked out and kept himself in good shape. He seemed self-conscious about his weight, and explained that his body had swollen because of medical treatments. He had prostate cancer, and the cancer had spread to his bone marrow. When she glanced at the kitchen clock, she was surprised to see that it was eleven-thirty; four and a half hours had passed.

    Susan made a point of reminding herself that a woman in her fifties with three grown daughters and two failed marriages behind her should have few illusions about romantic prospects. She also worked full time, as assistant to a dean at Fairleigh Dickinson University, in Madison, New Jersey, and had managed to get her three daughters through college.

    She had had practically no free time. Like many women her age, Susan had been brought up to be a wife and mother, and had never aspired to anything else. Her father, a physician, came home after his hospital rounds every day for a formal lunch. The family summered on the Chesapeake Bay, and when she was seventeen her parents took her on a two-month tour of Europe.

    She thought of getting a job in Manhattan, but instead married a high-school boyfriend from a similarly affluent family, embarked on a honeymoon tour of Europe that lasted from June to September, and looked forward to leading a conventional upper-middle-class life. Soon she was pregnant with her first child.


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    4. Over the next seventeen years, Susan took care of her daughters, decorated and maintained a large house, and travelled abroad frequently with her husband and children. Then, when her youngest daughter was four, her husband announced that he was leaving her. Susan had no marketable skills.

      The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard/Chapter 6

      She went to the travel agency that had once arranged her visits to luxury resorts and European capitals and offered to work without pay to learn the business. Her second marriage, to a forensic pathologist, who initially showered her with attention and promised to care for her and her children, also ended badly. There was no sign of Rick Rescorla or his car. Three days later, driving home from work—she was now an administrative assistant at a nearby bank—she saw his car coming from the other direction.

      He noticed her, too, and rolled down his window. He told her that he regularly caught the six-ten train to Manhattan, and he had looked for her each morning on the way to the station. Rescorla picked Susan up the following Sunday morning, and they drove to Frenchtown, on the Delaware River, and had brunch at an inn. Afterward, Rescorla pulled out a cigar, and she had one, too. He told her that his family had been poor, but every Saturday his grandmother gave him money for the movies. Would Susan take lessons with him?

      They walked across the bridge over the Delaware. The next week, they enrolled at the Arthur Murray studio in Chatham. Both Rick and Susan turned out to be good dancers, and after class they would go to his house or hers and continue practicing as soon as they walked in the door. They excelled at Latin rhythms—the tango, the rumba, the samba. Rick bought Susan extra-high heels to give her more height on the dance floor. He also began helping her choose her clothes.

      Her friends at work were happy for her, and kidded her about being in love, but some warned her that she was rushing into a relationship with a man she barely knew.

      She saw Rick every day. They were so eager for time together that they neglected their families and friends. Susan felt that they had been destined to find each other late in life, after each had endured a long, sometimes arduous journey. Rick had survived war and cancer; she had suffered through two debilitating marriages. She was interested in cultural activities, and introduced him to art galleries, museums, and antique shops. He loved nature and history; he took her to parks and historic sites.