Under Two Flags (novel)

Under Two Flags (1867) was a best-selling novel by Ouida.[1] The most famous of her books, it tells the story of an English aristocrat, apparently in disgrace, who disappears and joins a French battalion in Algeria, loosely based on the Foreign Legion.

First edition title page


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.


Blanche Bates as Cigarette in David Belasco's Broadway production of Under Two Flags (1901)

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


  1. ^ "LOUISE DE LA RAMEE ("OUIDA")". www.ulib.niu.edu. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  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.
  5. ^ "[Caption]". Munsey's Magazine. September 1915. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Under Two Flags". Progressive Silent Film List. Silent Era. Retrieved 29 March 2017.

External linksEdit

  • Under Two Flags at Project Gutenberg