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In 1815, with the Battle of Waterloo turning against them following the arrival of Blücher’s Prussians, soldiers of France’s Grande Armée were devastated to learn that Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, never before beaten in battle, had been broken and were in full retreat.
“La Garde recule,” the cry went up. “Sauve qui peut.”
It may be something of an exaggeration to compare the final defeat of Bonaparte to this week’s rout of Emmanuel Macron at the hands of the gilets-jaunes – workers, mainly from the provinces, demanding that he pay them due attention and cease being exclusively the President of the Rich. But it is not entirely inappropriate.