Arthur Conan Doyle
The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard

by

Arthur Conan Doyle

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The Exploits of BRIGADIER GERARD

SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

This book is published by arrangement with the Estate of the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

1896

BY SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
The Return of Sherlock Holmes
His Last Bow
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Sign of Four
The Valley of Fear
Sir Nigel
The White Company
Micah Clarke
The Refugees
Rodney Stone
Uncle Bernac
Adventures of Gerard
The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard
The Lost World
The Tragedy of the Korosko

OMNIBUS VOLUMES

Great Stories
The Conan Doyle Stories
The Sherlock Holmes Short Stories
The Sherlock Holmes Long Stories
The Historical Romances
The Complete Professor Challenger Stories
The Complete Napoleonic Stories

* * * * *

The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

by John Dickson Carr

* * * * *

CONTENTS

1. How the Brigadier came to the Castle of Gloom

2. How the Brigadier slew the brothers of Ajaccio

3. How the Brigadier held the King

4. How the King held the Brigadier

5. How the Brigadier took the field against the Marshal Millefleurs

6. How the Brigadier played for a kingdom

7. How the Brigadier won his Medal

8. How the Brigadier was tempted by the Devil

1. HOW THE BRIGADIER CAME TO THE CASTLE OF GLOOM[A]

You do very well, my friends, to treat me with some little reverence, for in honouring me you are honouring both France and yourselves. It is not merely an old, grey-moustached officer whom you see eating his omelette or draining his glass, but it is a fragment of history. In me you see one of the last of those wonderful men, the men who were veterans when they were yet boys, who learned to use a sword earlier than a razor, and who during a hundred battles had never once let the enemy see the colour of their knapsacks. For twenty years we were teaching Europe how to fight, and even when they had learned their lesson it was only the thermometer, and never the bayonet, which could break the Grand Army down. Berlin, Naples, Vienna, Madrid, Lisbon, Moscow--we stabled our horses in them all. Yes, my friends, I say again that you do well to send your children to me with flowers, for these ears have heard the trumpet calls of France, and these eyes have seen her standards in lands where they may never be seen again.

Even now, when I doze in my arm-chair, I can see those great warriors stream before me--the green-jacketed chasseurs, the giant cuirassiers, Poniatowsky's lancers, the white-mantled dragoons, the nodding bearskins of the horse grenadiers. And then there comes the thick, low rattle of the drums, and through wreaths of dust and smoke I see the line of high bonnets, the row of brown faces, the swing and toss of the long, red plumes amid the sloping lines of steel. And there rides Ney with his red head, and Lefebvre with his bulldog jaw, and Lannes with his Gascon swagger; and then amidst the gleam of brass and the flaunting feathers I catch a glimpse of him, the man with the pale smile, the rounded shoulders, and the far-off eyes. There is an end of my sleep, my friends, for up I spring from my chair, with a cracked voice calling and a silly hand outstretched, so that Madame Titaux has one more laugh at the old fellow who lives among the shadows.

Although I was a full Chief of Brigade when the wars came to an end, and had every hope of soon being made a General of Division, it is still rather to my earlier days that I turn when I wish to talk of the glories and the trials of a soldier's life. For you will understand that when an officer has so many men and horses under him, he has his mind full of recruits and remounts, fodder and farriers, and quarters, so that even when he is not in the face of the enemy, life is a very serious matter for him. But when he is only a lieutenant or a captain he has nothing heavier than his epaulettes upon his shoulders, so that he can clink his spurs and swing his dolman, drain his glass and kiss his girl, thinking of nothing save of enjoying a gallant life.

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