The importance of this place was also so well appreciated by Bonaparte, that the battle of the 18th began by his attacking Hougoumont. This name, which was bestowed upon it by the mistake of our great commander, has quite superseded the real one of Chateau Goumont. The ruins are among the most interesting of all the points connected with this memorable place, for the struggle there was perhaps the fiercest. The battered walls, the dismantled and fire-stained chapel, which remained standing through all the attack, still may be seen among the wreck of its once beautiful garden; while huge blackened beams, which have fallen upon the crumbling heaps of stone and plaster, are lying in all directions.
On the field of battle are two interesting monuments: one, to the memory of the Hon. Sir Alexander Gordon, brother to the Earl of Aberdeen, who there terminated a short but glorious career, at the age of twenty-nine, and “fell in the blaze of his fame;” the other, to some brave officers of the German Legion, who likewise died under circumstances of peculiar distinction. There is also, on an enormous mound, a colossal lion of bronze, erected by the Belgians to the honour of the Prince of Orange, who was wounded at, or near, to the spot.
Against the walls of the church of the village of Waterloo are many beautiful marble tablets, with the most affecting inscriptions, records of men of various countries, who expired on that solemn and memorable occasion in supporting a common cause. Many of these brave men were buried in a cemetery at a short distance from the village.
[Illustration: FIELD OF WATERLOO]
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[Illustration: Letter T.]
Two formal Owls together sat,
Conferring thus in solemn chat:
“How is the modern taste decay’d!
Where’s the respect to wisdom paid?
Our worth the Grecian sages knew;
They gave our sires the honour due:
They weigh’d the dignity of fowls,
And pry’d into the depth of Owls.
Athens, the seat of earned fame,
With gen’ral voice revered our name;
On merit title was conferr’d,
And all adored th’ Athenian bird.”
“Brother, you reason well,” replies
The solemn mate, with half-shut eyes:
“Right: Athens was the seat of learning,
And truly wisdom is discerning.
Besides, on Pallas’ helm we sit,
The type and ornament of wit:
But now, alas! we’re quite neglected,
And a pert Sparrow’s more respected.”
A Sparrow, who was lodged beside,
O’erhears them sooth each other’s pride.
And thus he nimbly vents his
“Who meets a fool must find conceit.
I grant you were at Athens graced,
And on Minerva’s helm were placed;