Page:Napoleon's Addresses.djvu/14

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

to them, exhorting them to new efforts and promising them rich rewards.

After a battle he stated the results to them, thus giving them a tacit recognition of their importance. The explanation was one that all understood; it was clear and explicit, and bristled with figures. Your common man grasps numbers. They are the bullets of speech and sink in like lead. When Napoleon rattled a volley of numbers at them—"Soldiers, in fifteen days you have gained six victories, taken twenty-one stands of colors, fifty-five pieces of cannon, and several fortresses, and conquered the richest part of Piedmont. You have made fifteen hundred prisoners, and killed or wounded ten thousand men"—they understood, and glowed with pride.

The phrases with which he praised, condemned, exhorted them, were short, terse, and unforgetable. "You will return to your homes, and your countrymen will say as they point you out, 'He belonged to the Army of Italy.'" Not a man with a spark of pride but remembered those words and dreamed that he walked the