BOOK TEN: 1812
34. CHAPTER XXXIV
"You are very fiery, Belliard," said Napoleon, when he again came up
to the general. "In the heat of a battle it is easy to make a mistake.
Go and have another look and then come back to me."
Before Belliard was out of sight, a messenger from another part of
the battlefield galloped up.
"Now then, what do you want?" asked Napoleon in the tone of a man
irritated at being continually disturbed.
"Sire, the prince..." began the adjutant.
"Asks for reinforcements?" said Napoleon with an angry gesture.
The adjutant bent his head affirmatively and began to report, but
the Emperor turned from him, took a couple of steps, stopped, came
back, and called Berthier.
"We must give reserves," he said, moving his arms slightly apart.
"Who do you think should be sent there?" he asked of Berthier (whom he
subsequently termed "that gosling I have made an eagle").
"Send Claparede's division, sire," replied Berthier, who knew all
the divisions regiments, and battalions by heart.
Napoleon nodded assent.
The adjutant galloped to Claparede's division and a few minutes
later the Young Guards stationed behind the knoll moved forward.
Napoleon gazed silently in that direction.
"No!" he suddenly said to Berthier. "I can't send Claparede. Send
Though there was no advantage in sending Friant's division instead
of Claparede's, and even in obvious inconvenience and delay in
stopping Claparede and sending Friant now, the order was carried out
exactly. Napoleon did not notice that in regard to his army he was
playing the part of a doctor who hinders by his medicines- a role he
so justly understood and condemned.