that an army which it was intended to destroy had maintained itself intact; morally, the battle left the defeated more elated than the victors; and for this reason, that the result was so much more in their favour than the expectation had been. In what is most important of all, the general fortunes of the campaign, the victory of the allies at Malplaquet was as sure a signal that the advance on Paris could not be made, and as sure a prevention of that advance as though Marlborough and Eugene had registered, not a success, but a defeat.
Situations of this sort, which render victories barren or actually negative, paradoxical to the general reader, simple enough in their military aspect, abound in the history of war. It is perhaps more important to explain them if one is to make military history intelligible than to describe the preliminaries and movements of the great decisive action.
The "block" of Malplaquet (to use the metaphor which is common in French history), the unexpected power of resist