Under Two Flags (novel)

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First edition title page

Under Two Flags (1867) was a best-selling novel of the late 1860s by Ouida. Perhaps "her best" novel.[1]


The novel is about The Hon. Bertie Cecil (nicknamed Beauty of the Brigades).[2][3]

In financial distress because of his own profligacy and the loss of an important horse-race on which he has bet extensively, and falsely accused of forgery, but unable to defend himself against the charge without injuring the "honour" of a lady and also exposing his younger brother (the real culprit), Cecil fakes his own death and exiles himself to Algeria where he joins the Chasseurs d'Afrique, a regiment comprising soldiers from various countries, rather like the French Foreign Legion.

After Cecil's great childhood friend and the friend's beautiful sister show up in Africa, and after a series of melodramatic self-sacrifices by Cecil and by the young girl Cigarette, a "child of the Army" who sacrifices her life saving Cecil from a firing squad, the main conflicts are resolved and the surviving characters return to England to fortune, title, and love.


The book has also served as a basis for a number of stage and film adaptations.

Classics Illustrated # 86 Under Two Flags is an excellent adaptation with outstanding comic art by Maurice del Bourgo.


  1. ^ http://www.ulib.niu.edu/badndp/ramee_louise.html
  2. ^ http://fp.arizona.edu/mesassoc/Bulletin/35-2/35-2Driss.htm
  3. ^ The Forgotten Female Aesthetes: Literary Culture in Late-Victorian England, by Talia. Schaffer; pp. x + 298. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press
  4. ^ Mantle, Burns, and Garrison P. Sherwood, eds., The Best Plays of 1899-1909, (Philadelphia: The Blakiston Company), 1944, pp. 387-388.

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