Nigel Jones

A Sound of Revelry

Dancing into Battle: A Social History of the Battle of Waterloo


Weidenfeld & Nicolson 267pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

‘There was a sound of revelry by night, / And Belgium’s Capital had gathered then / Her beauty and her Chivalry, and Bright / The lamps shone o’er fair women and brave men…’ So begins the ‘Eve of Waterloo’ section of Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. The poet describes how the gallant officers of the Allied armies and their ladies were dancing away the small hours at the Duchess of Richmond’s ball in Brussels when they were surprised by the news of the imminent arrival of Napoleon and his army.

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