Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/355

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the boastful king and the boastful poet were taught that it is prudent as well as graceful to be modest in the hour of victory.

One mortification Lewis had suffered even in the midst of his prosperity. While he lay before Namur, he heard the sounds of rejoicing from the distant camp of the allies. Three peals of thunder from a hundred and forty pieces of cannon were answered by three volleys from sixty thousand muskets. It was soon known that these salutes were fired on account of the battle of La Hogue. The French King exerted himself to appear serene. "They make a strange noise," he said, "about the burning of a few ships." In truth he was much disturbed, and the more so because a report had reached the Low Countries that there had been a sea fight, and that his fleet had been victorious. His good humour however was soon restored by the brilliant success of those operations which were under his own immediate direction. When the siege was over, he left Luxemburg in command of the army, and returned to Versailles. At Versailles the unfortunate Tourville soon presented himself, and was graciously received. As soon as he appeared in the circle, the King welcomed him in a loud voice. "I am perfectly satisfied with you and with my sailors. We have been beaten, it is true; but your honour and that of the nation are unsullied."[308]

Though Lewis had quitted the Netherlands, the eyes of all Europe were still fixed on that region. The armies there had been strengthened by reinforcements drawn from many quarters. Every where else the military operations of the year were languid and without interest. The Grand Vizier and Lewis of Baden did little more than watch each other on the Danube. Marshal Noailles and the Duke of Medina Sidonia did little more than watch each other under the Pyrenees. On the Upper Rhine, and along the frontier which separates France from Piedmont, an indecisive predatory war was carried on, by which the soldiers suffered little and the cultivators of the soil much. But all men looked, with anxious expectation of some great event, to the frontier of Brabant, where William was opposed to Luxemburg.