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The Dynasts by Thomas Hardy
page 2 of 1016 (00%)
with the first Napoleon, and where he was visited by ministers and
others who bore the weight of English affairs on their more or less
competent shoulders at that stressful time. Secondly, this district,
being also near the coast which had echoed with rumours of invasion
in their intensest form while the descent threatened, was formerly
animated by memories and traditions of the desperate military
preparations for that contingency. Thirdly, the same countryside
happened to include the village which was the birthplace of Nelson's
flag-captain at Trafalgar.

When, as the first published result of these accidents, _The Trumpet
Major_ was printed, more than twenty years ago, I found myself in
the tantalizing position of having touched the fringe of a vast
international tragedy without being able, through limits of plan,
knowledge, and opportunity, to enter further into its events; a
restriction that prevailed for many years. But the slight regard
paid to English influence and action throughout the struggle by
those Continental writers who had dealt imaginatively with Napoleon's
career, seemed always to leave room for a new handling of the theme
which should re-embody the features of this influence in their true
proportion; and accordingly, on a belated day about six years back,
the following drama was outlined, to be taken up now and then at wide
intervals ever since.

It may, I think, claim at least a tolerable fidelity to the facts of
its date as they are give in ordinary records. Whenever any evidence
of the words really spoken or written by the characters in their
various situations was attainable, as close a paraphrase has been
aimed at as was compatible with the form chosen. And in all cases
outside the oral tradition, accessible scenery, and existing relics,
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