People in the 19th century liked their books big. Brevity was not the object of such fawning appreciation then, as it is now. You pick up this book, or some Dickens, or Melville, and you just have to settle in for a long ride.
Tonight I am about a quarter of the way in. Most of the people in the story have met, and are beginning to interact.
He is describing the site of Waterloo-- now years after the war, abandoned and ruined. Spooky. He must have spoken to old men who were there.