SCENE i PART FIRST
NAPOLEON (darkening) Well?
Sire, at the very juncture when the fleets
Sailed out from Ferrol, fever raged aboard
" L'Achille " and " 1'Algeciras " : later on,
Mischief assailed our Spanish comrades' ships ;
Several ran foul of neighbours; whose new hurts,
Being added to their innate clumsiness,
Gave hap the upper hand ; and in quick course
Demoralized the whole ; until Villeneuve,
Judging that Calder now with Nelson rode,
And prescient of unparalleled disaster
If he pushed on in so disjoint a trim,
Bowed to the inevitable; and thus, perforce,
Leaving to other opportunity
Brest and the Channel scheme, with vast regret
Steered southward into Cadiz.
NAPOLEON (having risen from the table)
My scheme of years to be disdained and dashed By this man's like, a wretched moral coward, Whom you must needs foist on me as one fit For full command in pregnant enterprise!
I'm one too many here! Let me step out Till this black squall blows over.' Poor Decres. Would that this precious project, disinterred From naval archives of King Louis' reign, Had ever lingered fusting where 'twas found!l
1 ** Le projet existe encore aux archives de la marine que Napoleon consultait incessamment: il sentait que cette marine depuis Louis XIV. avait fait de grandes choses: le plan de 1*Expedition d'Egypte et de la descente en Angleterre se trouvaient au ministere de la marine,"—CAPEFIGUE : D Europe pendant le Consul&t et T Empire.