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La Vendee by Anthony Trollope

Part 2 out of 10

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"What do you propose yourself?" said Henri.

"I think we should not wait for them to punish us for our first success.
I think we should follow up our little victory, and attack the
republicans, at Beauprieu, perhaps, or at Cholet; we should so teach our
men to fight, teach them to garrison and protect their own towns, and
then, perhaps, before very long, we might fly at higher game; we might
endeavour to drive these wolves from their own strong places; from
Angers perhaps, or Nantes, or better still, from Saumur."

"Why Saumur, especially," said Henri; "surely Nantes would be a better
mark than Saumur; besides Saumur is a perfect fortress, walled on all
sides, almost impregnable; whereas Nantes is not fortified at all.
Saumur is reckoned the strongest town in the south of France; it is the
only fortified town in Anjou, Poitou, Tourraine or Southern Britanny."

"That is just the reason, my friend," said Cathelineau, now reassured
by his own enthusiasm, and by his intense anxiety on the subject, "that
is the very reason why Saumur should be our aim. The republicans now
fear nothing from us, and will take no more than ordinary precautions;
if we should now attack other places, and commence our proceedings with
some success, they would make Saumur utterly impregnable; and what could
we do with such a place as that opposed to us on the borders of our
country, and on the very road to Paris. But think what it would be in
our favour; it commands the Loire, it commands the road from Paris,
besides, it contains what we so much want, arms, ammunition, and
artillery; it is from Saumur that the republican troops are supplied
with gunpowder; believe me, Saumur should be our mark. I know it is
difficult, there will be danger and difficulties enough, I know; but it
is not impossible, and I believe it may be done," and then he looked
round, and saw where he was, and that every one in the room was
listening to him, and he added, "but I am too bold to say so much before
my Lord the Marquis, and M. Larochejaquelin, and M. de Lescure, and the
other gentlemen, whose opinions are so much better than my own."

"He is right, Henri," said de Lescure; "take my word, he is right. We
will do it, my friend," and he put his hand on the postillion's
shoulder. "We will be masters of Saumur, and you shall lead us there;
we will help you to plant the King's standard on the citadel of the

Cathelineau was still sitting, and he looked up into de Lescure's face
with thankful admiration. "Ah! M. de Lescure, with such guides as you,
with such a heart, such courage as yours, no walls shall hinder us, no
enemies prevent us."

"You shall have many such friends, Cathelineau," said he; "many as
eager, and very many more useful."

"None more useful," said the postillion; "none could be more useful."

"No; none more useful," said the Marquis; "may you have many friends as
good, and then you will succeed."

"Saumur let it be, then," said Henri. "I have no doubt you are right;
and indeed I do not claim to be great in council; I only hope I may not
be found backward in action."

"That you never, never will," said Agatha. "That he never will,
Mademoiselle: a Larochejaquelin was never backward in the hour of need,"
said Cathelineau.

"They know how to flatter in St. Florent, my friend," said she smiling.

"If that be flattery, all the country flatters. I only speak as I hear
others speaking; they say that beauty and courage were always to be
found at Durbellière."

"Nay, Agatha; but is he not Bayard complete?" said Marie laughing. "I
am sure we should be obliged; it is an age since we received a
compliment here in the Bocage."

"The ladies are laughing at me," said Cathelineau, rising, "and it is
time that I and my friend should cease to trouble you."

"But where would you go, Cathelineau?" said Henri.

"Back to St. Florent; we have gained our object; we can tell our
townsmen that the gentlemen of Poitou will fight on their side."

"We will tell them so together, tomorrow by sunset," said Henri; "it is
now late, you and Foret stay here tonight; not a word either of you, for
your life. I command this garrison; do not you, Cathelineau, be the
first to shew an example of disobedience. Father Jerome, lay hands on
Foret, lest he fly. Why, my friend, have we so much time to spare, that
we can afford to lose it in foolish ceremony? Have we not a thousand
plans to mature--a thousand things to settle, which we must settle, and
none but we, and which we must discuss together? Are there not here
four, six of us, brothers in arms together? I count you one, Father
Jerome; and are we not here with the benefit of our father's advice?
When shall we all meet again, or when could we meet that our meeting
would be more desirable? Well, go if you will, Cathelineau," added he,
seeing that the postillion hesitated; "but every one here will tell you
that you are wrong to do so."

"Stay, my friend," said the Marquis, who understood well the different
feelings which perplexed the mind of the postillion; "stay, my friend,
and take your supper with us; you have undertaken a great work, and have
shewn yourself fit for it, do not let little things embarrass you.
Agatha, darling, see that beds be got ready for our friends. Father
Jerome also will remain here tonight, and Charles, and Adolphe; we may
not have many merry suppers more, we will at any rate enjoy tonight."

"And Cathelineau," said Henri, "you will not, I trust, be less welcome
in St. Florent tomorrow because I accompany you."

It was then decided that they should all remain there that night, that
de Lescure and Adolphe should return with Marie to Clisson on the
following morning, and that Henri and the priest should accompany Foret
and the postillion to St. Florent, there to make the best arrangement
within their power for the immediate protection of the place.

They were not very merry that evening, but they were by no means
unhappy; as Henri had said they had much to talk of, and they spent an
anxious evening, but each satisfied the other. Cathelineau felt himself
to be in a new world, sitting down at table to eat with such companions
as those around him. The sweet, kind face of Agatha disturbed him most.
It almost unmanned him; he thought that it would be happiness enough for
a life to be allowed to remain unseen where he might gaze on her. He
felt that such beauty, such ineffable loveliness as hers could almost
make him forget his country and his countrymen; and then he shuddered
and turned his eyes away from her. But there she sat close to him: and
she would speak to him, and ask him questions; she asked after his
friends in St. Florent, after the women who were wounded, and she gave
him money for the children who were made orphans; and then her hand
touched his again, and he thought that he was asleep and dreaming.

Much of importance to their future plans was arranged that night, and
such a council of war was probably never before assembled. The old man
joined in their contemplated designs with as much energy as the youngest
among them; the words rash and imprudent never once crossed his lips;
nothing seemed rash to him that was to be undertaken for the restoration
of the King. The priest took a very prominent part in it, and his word
was certainly not for peace; he was the most urgent of the party for
decided measures. De Lescure, Larochejaquelin, and Denot, argued,
debated, and considered, as though war had always been their profession;
but they all submitted, or were willing to submit, to Cathelineau; he
had already commenced the war, and had been successful; he had already
shewn the ready wit to contrive, and the bold hand to execute; his
fitness to lead was acknowledged, and though two days since he was only
a postillion, he was tacitly acknowledged by this little band of
royalists, to be their leader.

And there too among these confederates sat Agatha and Marie, if not
talking themselves, yet listening with almost breathless attention to
the plans of the party; sharing their anxiety, promising their women's
aid, enchanting them with their smiles, or encouraging them with their
tears. Cathelineau had heard how knights of old, famed in song, had
spent their lives among scenes of battle and danger, and all for the
smiles of the lady of their love; and now he thought he understood it.
He could do the same to be greeted with the smiles of Agatha
Larochejaquelin, and he would not dream of any richer reward. She was
as an angel to him, who had left her own bright place in heaven to
illuminate the holy cause in which he had now engaged himself; under
such protection he could not be other than successful.

When Foret and Cathelineau dismounted, and were taken into the house by
Henri and the Curé, they left their steeds in the care of Peter Berrier;
but Peter has not been left ever since leading them up and down in sight
of the white-washed lions. The revolt of St. Florent had been heard of
in the servants' hall as well as in the salon upstairs, and it was soon
known that the heroes of the revolt were in the house, and that their
horses were before the door. A couple of men and two or three boys soon
hurried round, and Peter was relieved from his charge, and courteously
led into the servants' hall by Momont, the grey-headed old butler and
favourite servant of the Marquis, and Jacques Chapeau, the valet, groom,
and confidential factotum of Larochejaquelin. Peter was soon encouraged
to tell his tale, and to explain the mission which had brought him and
his two companions to Durbellière, and under ordinary circumstances the
having to tell so good a tale would have been a great joy to him; but
at the present moment Peter was not quite satisfied with his own
position; why was the postillion in the salon while he was in the
kitchen? Peter usually was a modest man enough, and respectful to his
superiors; the kitchen table in a nobleman's house would generally be
an elysium to him; he had no idea that he was good enough to consort
with Marquises and their daughters; but he did think himself equal to
Cathelineau, the postillion, and as Cathelineau was in the salon, why
should he be in the kitchen? He quite understood that Cathelineau was
thus welcomed, thus raised from his ordinary position in consequence of
what he had done at St. Florent, but why shouldn't he, Berrier, be
welcomed, and raised also? He couldn't see that Cathelineau had done
more than he had himself. He was the first man to resist; he had been
the first hero, and yet he was left for half an hour to lead about a
horse, an ass, and an old mule, as though he were still the ostler at
an auberge, and then he was merely taken into the servants' hall, and
asked to eat cold meat, while Cathelineau was brought into a grand room
upstairs to talk to lords and ladies; this made Peter fidgety and
uncomfortable; and when he heard, moreover, that Cathelineau was to sup
upstairs at the same table with the Marquis and the ladies, all his
pleasure in the revolt was destroyed, he had no taste for the wine
before him, and he wished in his heart that he had joined the troops,
and become a good republican. He could not bear the aristocratic foppery
of that Cathelineau.

"And were you a conscript yourself, Peter Berrier?" said Jacques

"Of course I was," said Peter. "Why, haven't you heard what the revolt
of St. Florent was about?"

"Well; we have heard something about it," said Momont; "but we didn't
exactly hear your name mentioned."

"You couldn't have heard much of the truth then," said Berrier.

"We heard," said Chapeau, "how good Cathelineau began by taking three
soldiers prisoners."

"I had twice more to do with those three prisoners than ever he had,"
said Peter.

"Well; we never heard that," said Momont.

"But we heard," said Chapeau, "how Cathelineau led a few of the townsmen
against a whole regiment of soldiers, and scattered them through the
town like chaff."

"Scattered them like chaff!" said Peter.

"And we heard," said Momont, "how he stormed the barracks, slaughtered
all the soldiers, and dragged the Colonel with his own hand through the
barrack window."

"Through the barrack window!" repeated Peter, with an air intended to
throw discredit on the whole story.

"And we heard," said Gather's confidential maid, "how he laid his hand
upon the cannon and charmed it, so that it would not go off, though the
fiery torch was absolutely laid upon the gunpowder."

"That the cannon wouldn't go off though the torch was laid upon the
gunpowder!" said Peter.

"And we heard," said the cook, "how all the girls in the town came and
crowned him with bay leaves; and how the priest blessed him."

"And how the young made him their captain and their general," said the

"And how they christened him the Saviour of St. Florent," said the

"And gave him all the money in the town, and the biggest sword they
could find," said the page.

"You heard all this, did you?" said Peter Berrier.

"Indeed we did" said Jacques Chapeau, "and a great deal more from M. de
Lescure's own man, who went back to Clisson only an hour since, and who
had it all from one who came direct from St. Florent."

"And you heard not a word of Peter Berrier?"

"Not a word, not a word," said they all at once.

"Then, friends, let me tell you, you have not heard much of the truth,
although M. de Lescure's own man did see the man who came direct from
St. Florent; I think I may say, without boasting, and I believe Monsieur
the postillion upstairs will not be inclined to contradict me, that
without me, there would have been no revolt.

"No revolt without you? No revolt without Peter Berrier? No revolt
without M. Debedin's ostler?" said they one after another.

"No--no revolt without M. Debedin's ostler, Madame." The last question
had been asked by the cook. "M. Debedin's ostler is as good, I suppose,
as M. Gaspardieu's postillion."

"What, as good as Cathelineau?" asked Momont.

"As good as our good postillion!" shouted Chapeau.

"As good as the holy man who charmed the cannon!" said the confidential
maid in a tone of angry amazement.

"Would all the girls in St. Florent crown you with bay leaves!" jeered
the cook.

"Will they ever make you a great captain!" screamed the housekeeper.

"Or call you the Saviour of St. Florent!" added the laundress.

"Or trust you with all the money, I'd like to know!" suggested the page.

Peter Berrier felt that he was ill-used after all that he had gone
through for his King and his country; he sat apart for the rest of the
evening, and meditated whether he would go over to the republicans, and
bring an army down upon Durbellière, or whether he would more nobly
revenge himself by turning out a more enterprising royalist than even
the postillion himself.



De Lescure with his sister returned on the following morning to Clisson;
for so was his château called. Clisson is about two leagues south of the
town of Brassiere, in the province of Poitou, and is situated in the
southern part of the Bocage. M. de Lescure owned the château and a
considerable territory around it. He was a man of large property in that
country where the properties were all comparatively small, and was in
other respects also by far the most influential person in the
neighbourhood. He had married a lady with a large fortune, which gave
him more means of assisting the poor than most of the gentlemen resident
in the Bocage possessed. He took a deep interest in the welfare of those
around him; he shared their joys, and sympathized with their grief, and
he was consequently beloved, and almost adored.

He had now undertaken to join with his whole heart the insurgents
against the Republic, and he was fully determined to do so; he had made
up his mind that it was his duty to oppose measures which he thought
destructive to the happiness of his countrymen, and to make an effort
to re-establish the throne; but he did not bring to the work the
sanguine hope of success, the absolute pleasure in the task which
animated Larochejaquelin; nor yet the sacred enthusiastic chivalry of
Cathelineau, who was firmly convinced of the truth of his cause, and
believed that the justice of God would not allow the murderers of a
King, and the blasphemers of his name to prevail against the arms of
people who were both loyal and faithful.

De Lescure had studied and thought much; he was older than
Larochejaquelin, much better educated than Cathelineau. He was as ardent
in the cause as they were; why else had he undertaken it? but he
understood better than they did the fearful chances which were against
them: the odds against which they had to fight, the almost insuperable
difficulties in their way. He knew that the peasantry around them would
be brave and enthusiastic followers, but he also knew that it would be
long before they were disciplined soldiers. He was sure that they would
fight stoutly round their homes and their families; but he felt that it
would be almost impossible to lead any body of them to a distance from
their own fields. He foresaw also all the horrors into which they were
about to plunge; horrors, of which an honourable death on the field of
battle would be the least. The Republic had already shown the bitterness
of their malice towards those who opposed them, and de Lescure knew what
mercy it would shew to those of his party who fell into its power.

Besides, how could they hope for success against the arms of a whole
nation supported by a despotic government. His friends talked sanguinely
of aid from England, from Austria, and from Prussia; but he feared that
that aid would come too late, after their houses were burnt, and their
fields destroyed; after the best among them had fallen; after their
children had been murdered; when the country should be depopulated, and
nothing but the name of La Vendee left.

With all these fears around his heart, and yet with a firm determination
to give himself entirely to the cause in which he was embarked, de
Lescure rode home to tell his young wife, to whom he was but barely two
years married, that he must not only leave her, and give up the life so
congenial to both their tastes, which they had lately led; but that he
was going to place himself in constant danger, and leave her and all he
loved in danger also.

"You must be very good to Victoriana," he said to his sister; "you must
be very good to each other, Marie, for you will both have much to bear."

"We will, we will," said Marie; "but you, Charles, you will be with us;
at any rate not far from us."

"I may be near you, and yet not with you; or I may soon be placed beyond
all human troubles. I would have you prepare yourself; of all the curses
which can fall on a country, a civil war is the most cruel."

Madame de Lescure was the daughter of a nobleman of high rank; she had
been celebrated as a beauty, and known to possess a great fortune; she
had been feted and caressed in the world, but she had not been spoiled;
she was possessed of much quiet sense; and though she was a woman of
strong passions, she kept them under control. When her husband told her,
therefore, that the quiet morning of their life was over, that they had
now to wade through contest, bloodshed, and civil war, and that probably
all their earthly bliss would be brought to a violent end before the
country was again quiet, she neither screamed nor fainted; but she felt,
what he intended that she should feel that she must, now, more entirely
than ever, look for her happiness in some world beyond the present one.

"I know, Victorine," said he, when they were alone together in the
evening, when not even his own dear sister Marie was there to mar the
sacred sweetness of their conference, "I know that I am doing right, and
that gives me strength to leave you, and our darling child. I know that
I am about to do my duty; and you would not wish that I should remain
here in safety, when my King and my country require my services."

"No, Charles; I would never wish that you should be disgraced in your
own estimation. I could perfectly disregard what all others said of you,
as long as you were satisfied with your own conduct; but I would not for
any worldly happiness, that you should live a coward in your own

"My own, own Victorine," said he, "how right you are! What true
happiness could we have ever had, if we attempted to enjoy it at the
expense of our countrymen! Every man owes his life to his country; in
happy, quiet times, that debt is best paid by the performance of homely
quiet duties; but our great Father has not intended that lot for us."

"His will be done. He may yet turn away from us this misery. We may yet
live, Charles, to look on these things as our dearest reminiscences."

"We may; but it is not the chance for which we should be best prepared.
We are not to expect that God will raise his arm especially to vindicate
our injuries; it would be all but blasphemous to ask Him to do so. We
are but a link in the chain of events which His wisdom has designed.
Should we wish that that chain should be broken for our purposes?"

"Surely not. I would not be so presumptuous as to name my own wishes in
my prayers to the Creator."

"No; leave it to His wisdom to arrange our weal or woe in this world;
satisfied with this, that He has promised us happiness in the world
which is to come."

"I must leave you on Monday, dearest," continued he, after a pause,
during which he sat with his wife's hand within his own.

"So soon, Charles!"

"Yes, dearest, on Monday. Henri, and Adolphe, and others, will be here
on Sunday; and our different duties will commence immediately."

"And will yours keep you altogether away from Clisson?"

"Very nearly so; at any rate, I could not name the day or the week, when
I might be with you. You and Marie will be all in all to each other now;
do not let her droop and grow sad, Victorine."

"Nay, Charles, it is she should comfort me; she loves no dear husband.
Marie dotes on you; but she can never feel for a brother, as I must feel
for you."

"She is younger than you, Victorine, and has not your strength of mind."

"She has fewer cares to trouble her; but we will help each other; it
will be much to me to have her with me in your absence. I know she is
giving up much in returning to Clisson, and she does it solely for my

"How! what is she giving up? Will she not be better in her own home than
elsewhere in such times as these."

"She might choose to change her home, Charles; I had a happy, happy
home, but I should not have been contented to remain there till now. I
found that something more than my own old home was necessary to my

"You have made but a sad exchange, my love."

"Would I for all the world recall what I have done? Have I ever
repented? Shall I ever repent? No; not though your body were brought
breathless to your own hall door, would I exchange my right to mourn
over it, for the lot of the happiest bride just stepping from the altar
in all the pride of loveliness and rank?"

"My own true love. But tell me, what is this you mean about Marie.
Surely she is not betrothed without my knowledge."

"Betrothed! Oh, no! Nor won, nor wooed, as far as I believe; but we
women, Charles, see through each other's little secrets. I think she is
not indifferent to Henri Larochejaquelin; and how should she be! How few
she sees from whom to choose; and if all France were before her feet,
how could she make a better choice than him."

"Poor Marie, from my heart I pity her; in any other times than these,
how I would have gloried to have given Henri my sister; but now, these
are no times to marry, or to give in marriage. Henri has stern, hard
work to do, and he is bent on doing it; ay, and he will do it. No one
will carry the standard of his King further into the ranks of the
republicans than Henri Larochejaquelin."

"I know one, Charles, who will, at any rate, be beside him."

"But he is so full of glorious confidence--so certain of success. He
will go to battle with the assured hope of victory. I shall fight
expecting nothing but defeat."

"You are melancholy, tonight, my love: something ails you beyond your
dread of the coming struggle."

"Can I be other than melancholy? I have no hope."

"No hope, Charles. Oh! do not say you have no hope."

"None in this world, Victorine. The Indian widow, when she throws
herself on the burning pile, with a noble courage does what she has been
taught to look upon as a sacred duty, but she cannot but dread the fire
which is to consume her."

"You would not liken yourself to her?"

"Through the mercy of our blessed Saviour I am not so mistaken in my
creed; but I am hardly less calamitous in my fate: but it is not the
prospect of my own sufferings which disturb me; I at any rate may be
assured of an honourable, even an enviable death. It is my anxiety for
you--for our little one--and for dear Marie, which makes my spirit sad."

"God will temper the wind to the shorn lamb," said Madame de Lescure.
"Our trials will not be harder than we can bear."

"God bless you for those words, dearest: there is comfort in them--real,
true comfort. But remember them yourself Victorine; remember them when
you will most want them. When great sorrow comes home to your bosom, as
it will do; when affliction is heavy on you, when worldly comforts are
leaving you, when enemies are around you, when the voices of cruel men
are in your ears, and their cruel deeds before your eyes, then remember,
my love, that God will temper the wind to the shorn lamb."

"I will, my own Charles, I will," said she, now kneeling at his feet,
and burying her face in her hands upon his knees; "if I am called upon
to bear these miseries, I will remember it."

"And look up, Victorine; look up, dearest. I would have you prepared for
the worst. Listen to me now calmly, love, and then I need not harrow you
with these thoughts again. It may be God's pleasure that I should
outlive this war; but as, with His will, I am determined that I will
never lay down my sword till the soldiers of the Republic are driven
from the province, it is most improbable that I should do so. You must
teach yourself, Victorine, to look for my death, as an event certain to
occur, which any day may bring forth; and when the heavy news is brought
to you, bear it as a Christian woman should bear the afflictions of
this, world. I do not ask you not to weep for me, for that would be
putting too violent a constraint upon your nature, but do not weep over
much. Above all, Victorine, do not allow your sorrow to paralyse your
actions. You will have to act then, not only for yourself, but for your
child--for my daughter; and if you then give way to the violence of
sorrow, who shall think and care for her?"

She laid her beautiful head upon his bosom, and wept, and promised, and
prayed for him. And when he had finished what he felt he had to say,
what he wished to say once, and but once, before he left her, he became
more cheerful, and seemed to have more spirit for his work than he had
hitherto shewn.

"And so," he said, after a while, "poor Marie is in love."

"Nay; I did not say she was in love-not in the deep depth of absolute
love--but I think she is not indifferent to Henri: were she truly and
earnestly in love, she would have told me so."

"Not indifferent to him, and yet not in love. Faith, Victorine, I know
not the difference; but you women are such adepts in the science, that
you have your degrees of comparison in it."

"Marie, then, has not yet reached the first degree, for hers is not even
downright positive love; but I am sure she is fond of Henri's society;
and now, poor girl, she must give it up--and probably for ever."

"As you said a while since, Victorine, how should she not like his
society? I can fancy no man more fit to be the cynosure of a woman's eye
than Larochejaquelin. He has that beauty which women love to look on:
the bold bright eye, the open forehead, the frank, easy smile, and his
face is only a faithful index to his heart; he is as frank as brave, and
yet as tender-hearted as he looks to be; he is specially formed to love
and to be loved."

"Poor Marie! I grieve that you brought her from Durbellière."

"Not so, Victorine; this is the place for Marie now; indeed, dear girl,
she knew that well herself. The Marquis pressed her hard to stay, and
I said nothing; but Marie insisted on coming home. I thought Henri
looked somewhat more sombre than is his wont, as he was leading her down
the steps: but he cannot, must not, think of love now, Victorine. La
Vendée now wants all his energies."

"But you would not forbid him to love her, Charles?"

"I could forbid him nothing, for I love him as Joseph loved his younger
brother Benjamin."

"And he will be here now backwards and forwards, will he not?"

"Probably he will--that is as circumstances may arise--he is, at any
rate, as likely to be at Clisson as Durbellière."

"He will be more likely, Charles, take my word for it; you cannot
prevent their meeting; you cannot hinder them from loving each other."

"Were the King upon his throne, it would be my greatest joy to give my
sister to my friend, but now--it is the same for all of us--we must take
the chance of these horrid times; and could they be taught to quench the
warm feelings of their young hearts, it were well for both of them. The
cold, callous disposition would escape much misery, which will weigh
down to the grave the loving and the generous."

On the next morning, Madame de Lescure spoke to her sister-in-law on the
same subject. She could not bring herself to look on things around her
quite so darkly as her husband did. She could not think that there was
no longer any hope in their once happy country for the young and the
generous, the beautiful and the brave; of herself and her own lot, her
thoughts were sombre enough. De Lescure had imbued her with that
presentiment, which he himself felt so strongly, that he should perish
in the conflict in which he was about to engage; but all would not
surely be doomed to share her cup of sorrow. She loved Marie dearly, and
she loved Henri, not only from what her husband so often said of him,
but from what she knew of him herself; and she longed in her woman's
heart that they should be happy together.

It was still March, but it was on a bright warm spring morning, that
Madame de Lescure was walking with her sister-in-law in the gardens at
Clisson. Marie was talking of her brother--of the part he was to take
in the war--of the gallant Cathelineau, and of the events which were so
quickly coming on them; but Madame de Lescure by degrees weaned her from
the subject and brought her to that on which she wished to speak.

"M. Larochejaquelin will be much here as long as this fighting lasts and
M. Denot: we shall have plenty of brave knights coming to and fro to lay
their trophies at your feet."

"Poor M. Denot--his trophies if he gets any will be taken to
Durbellière; and I fear me, when he offers them, they will not be
welcomed. Agatha loves him not; she thinks he shares his adoration too
equally between her and his looking-glass."

"I do not wonder at it; no one can deny that M. Denot is attractive, but
he attracts without retaining; were I ever so much in want of lovers,
I could not endure M. Denot's attentions for more than one evening at
the utmost; but our other knight--our other preux chevalier, sans peur
et sans reproche--at whose feet will he lay his trophies, Marie? who is
to wreath a crown of bay leaves for his brow?"

"His countrywomen should all unite to do it, Victorine--for he is going
out to battle for them all--every village girl, whose lover is still
left to walk with her on the Sabbath evening--every young wife, who can
still lay her baby in her husband's arms--every mother, who still
rejoices in the smile of her stalwart son; they should all unite to
wreath a crown for the brow of Henri Larochejaquelin."

"And so they shall, Marie; but there will be others also, whose valour
will claim a token of admiration from the gratitude of their
countrywomen; we will all do this for Henri and our other brave
defenders; but if I know his character, the gratitude of many will not
make him happy without the favour of one, and she will be the lady of
his love; the remembrance of whose smiles will bear him scatheless
through the din of the battle."

"I should be vain, Victorine, if I pretended to misunderstand your
questions," said Marie; "but why you should mix my name with that of M.
Larochejaquelin, without vanity I do not know."

"It does not offend you, Marie?"

"Offend me, dearest Victorine! how should I be offended with anything
you could say?"

"But would it offend you to see Henri Larochejaquelin at your feet."

"Is there any girl in France who would have a right to be offended at
seeing him there, if he came with a tale of true love?"

"You may be sure at least that Henri will never sully his lips with
false vows," said Madame de Lescure.

"He has at any rate made no vows to me, Victorine, nor given me cause
to suppose he ever will."

"But should he do so, Marie?"

"Now you ask me questions which you know it only becomes me to answer
in one way."

"Why, Marie, I declare you and I have changed characters this morning.
You are all sobriety when I make a poor attempt at joking with you. Were
I, as usual, talking of my sober cares, you would be as giddy as a girl
of fifteen, and talk to me of twenty lovers that you have."

"It is very different talking of twenty lovers, and of one."

"Then you own there is one lover in the ease--eh, Marie?"

"Now you are crafty, Victorine, and try to trap me into confessions. You
know I have no confession to make, or I should have made it long ago to

"I know, Marie, that Larochejaquelin is sad when you are not by, and
that he has a word for no one else when you are present; but I know not
whether that means love. I know also that your bright eyes brighten when
they rest on him, and that your heart beats somewhat faster at the
mention of his name; but I know not whether that means love."

"Victorine," said Marie, turning round upon her companion her beautiful
face, on which two lustrous tears were shining, "Victorine, you are
treating your poor sister unfairly. I know not that my eyes are turned
oftener on him than on others; and when my heart would play the rebel
within me, I always try to check it."

"Nay, Marie, dear Marie, I did but joke! You do not think I would accuse
you of an unmaidenly partiality; if it grieves you we will not mention
Henri's name again, though I remember when you did not spare me so
easily; when Charles' name was always in my ear, when you swore that
every dress I wore was his choice, that every flower I plucked was for
his eye; and there had been no more then between Charles and me, than
there has now between you and Henri; and yet you see what has become of
it. You thought yourself wonderfully clever then, Marie; you were quite
a prophetess then. Why should not I now foresee a little. Why should not
I also be clever?"

"Well, Victorine, time will shew," said Marie, smiling through her
tears; "but do not teach me to love him too dearly, till I know whether
he will value my love. If he would prize it, I fear he might have it for
the asking for; but I will not throw it at his feet, that he should keep
it loosely for awhile, and then scorn it, and lay it by."



On the Monday following the meeting at Durbellière, Larochejaquelin,
Denot, the Curé of St. Laud, Foret and Cathelineau joined M. de Lescure
at Clisson, and on the day afterwards, the soldiers of the Republic,
when attempting to collect the conscripts at a small town near Clisson,
were resisted and treated as they had been at St. Florent. There was not
quite so much of a battle, for the officer in command knew what was
likely to occur, and not having received any reinforcement of troops,
thought it advisable to give in early in the day, and capitulate with
the honours of war. He was allowed to march his men out of the town,
each man having stipulated that he would not again serve in any
detachment sent into La Vendée for the collection of conscripts; but
they were not allowed to take their arms with them, muskets, bayonets,
and gunpowder being too valuable to the insurgents to be disregarded.
So the soldiers marched unarmed to Nantes, and from thence returned,
before two months were over, in spite of the promises they had given,
and requited the mercy of the Vendeans with the most horrid cruelties.

The people were equally triumphant in many other towns. In Beauprieu,
Coron, Châtillon, and other places, the collection of conscripts was
opposed successfully, and generally speaking, without much bloodshed.
In Coron, the military fired on the people, and killed three or four of
them, but were ultimately driven out, In Beauprieu, they gave up their
arms at once, and marched out of the place. In Châtillon, they attempted
to defend the barracks, but they found, when too late, that they had not
a single day's provisions; and as the townspeople also knew this, they
were at no pains to besiege the stronghold of the soldiers. They knew
that twenty-four hours would starve them out. As it was, the lieutenant
in command gave up, half an hour after his usual dinner time.

These things all occurred within a week of the revolt at St. Florent.
Beauprieu and Châtillon were carried on the Wednesday. Coron was
victorious on the Thursday; and on the Friday following, a strong
detachment of soldiers marched out of Cholet, of their own accord,
without attempting to collect their portion of the levy, and crossed the
river Loire, at the Pont de Cé, thus retreating from La Vendée.

These triumphs inspired the insurgents with high hopes of future
victories; they gave them the prestige of success, made them confident
in the hour of battle, and taught them by degrees to bear, undaunted,
the fire of their enemies. The officers of the Republic were most
injudicious in allowing their enemies to gather head as they did; had
they brought a really formidable force of men, in one body, into the
province of Anjou, immediately upon the revolt of St. Florent, they
might doubtless have driven the Vendeans, who were then unarmed and
undisciplined, back to their farms; but they affected to despise them,
they neglected to take vigorous measures, till the whole country was in
arms; and they then found that all the available force which they were
enabled to collect, was insufficient to quell the spirit, or daunt the
patriotism of the revolted provinces.

Towards the end of April, the first attempt was made by the Vendean
chiefs to collect a body of men under arms, and to put them into motion,
for the purpose of performing service at a distance from their own
homes; and though considerable difficulty was felt in inducing them to
follow the standards, their first attempts were successful. In the early
part of May, they altogether succeeded in driving the soldiers out of
Thouars. A few days later, they did the same at Fontenay, though here
they met with a violent opposition, and much blood was shed. At these
two latter places, the cannon which Cathelineau had taken in so gallant
a manner at St. Florent, was brought into action, and quite supported
its character as a staunch royalist. At Fontenay, with its aid, they
took three or four other pieces of cannon, but none which they prized
as they did Marie Jeanne. It was universally credited among the
peasantry, that at Cathelineau's touch, this remarkable piece of
artillery had positively refused to discharge itself against the
Vendeans; and their leaders certainly were at no pains to disabuse them
of a belief which contributed so strongly to their enthusiasm.

Some of the more astute among the people had certainly thought for a
while that the cannon was a humbug, that it was useless either to
royalist or to republican, in fact, that it would never go off at all.
But these sceptics were cured of their infidelity at Thouars, when they
saw the soldiers as well as the republicans of the town fall in heaps
beneath the thunders of Marie Jeanne.

During April and the three weeks of May, Larochejaquelin and de Lescure,
together with Cathelineau, Denot, and M. Bonchamps, were actively
engaged in collecting and exhorting the people, planning what they
should do, and preparing themselves to bear that burst of republican
fury which they knew would, sooner or later, fall upon them.

Much of this time was spent at Clisson, as that place was centrically
situated for their different manoeuvres; and there certainly appeared
reason to suppose that Madame de Lescure was not altogether wrong in her
surmises respecting Marie. Here also, at Clisson, Cathelinean frequently
joined the party, and though he shewed by his language and demeanour
that he had not forgotten that he was a postillion, he gradually
acquired a confidence and ease of manner among his new associates, and
displayed a mixture of intelligence and enthusiasm, which induced his
confederates gene. rally to acknowledge his voice as the first in their

They were occasionally at Durbellière; but there Cathelineau was again
abashed and confused. He could not calmly endure the quiet loveliness
of Agatha's face, or the sweet music of her voice. He himself felt that
his brain was not cool when there; that his mind was gradually teaching
itself to dwell on subjects, which in his position would be awfully
dangerous to him. He never owned to himself that he was in love with the
fair angel, whom he considered as much above him as the skies are above
the earth; but he would walk for hours through those eternal paths in
the château garden, regardless of the figures, regardless of the various
turns and twists he took, dreaming of the bliss of being beloved by such
a woman as Agatha Larochejaquelin. He built for himself splendid castles
in the air, in which he revelled day after day; and in these dreams he
always endowed himself with that one gift which no talents, no courage,
no success could give him--high birth and noble blood, for he strongly
felt that without these, no one might look up to the goddess of his
idolatry; it was his delight to imagine to himself with what ecstasy he
would receive from her lips the only adequate reward of his patriotism;
he would quicken his pace with joy as he dreamt that he heard her sweet
voice bidding him to persevere, and then he would return to her after
hard fighting, long doubtful but victorious battles, and lay at her feet
honours worthy of her acceptance.

It can hardly be said that he himself was the hero of his own reveries;
he was assured beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the proud happiness
which he pictured to his imagination was as much beyond his own reach,
as though his thoughts were turned on some celestial being. No, it was
a creation of his brain, in which he dwelt awhile, till his own strong
good sense reminded him that he had other work before him than the
indulgence in such dreams, and he determined that he would be at
Durbellière as little as was possible.

It was singular though, that he contrived, while his imagination was
thus rambling, to mingle in his thoughts the actual and the ideal. The
revolt of La Vendée, the struggle of his brother royalists for the
restoration of their King; the annihilation of republicanism, and
re-establishment of the old clergy, were still the subjects of his
meditations; and the bold plans which his mind then suggested to him,
were those which were afterwards put into effect.

He still insisted on attacking the strongly fortified citadel of Saumur,
and after their success at Fontenay, the chiefs agreed at once to make
arrangements for that great undertaking. The tenth of June was settled
on as the day on which the attack should be commenced, and their utmost
efforts in the mean time were to be employed in raising recruits, arming
and drilling them, and collecting ammunition and stores of war
sufficient for so serious an operation.

For this purpose Cathelineau returned for a while to St. Florent. M.
Charette was requested to bring up all the men he could collect from the
Marais, a part of La Vendée which lies close upon the sea. M. Bonchamps
was invited to join them from Angers. De Lescure returned to Fontenay,
to ask the assistance of those who had been so successful there against
the republicans; while Henri Larochejaquelin, was left at home in the
Bocage, to secure the services of every available man from every

He had two comrades with him in his recruiting party; and though they
were of very different characters, they were almost equally serviceable.
One was his friend and priest, the Curé of St. Laud, and the other was
his servant, Jacques Chapeau. The Curé had no scrupulous compunction in
using his sacerdotal authority as a priest, when the temporal influence
of Larochejaquelin, as landlord, was insufficient to induce a countryman
to leave his wife and home to seek honour under the walls of Saumur. The
peasants were all willing to oppose the republican troops, should they
come into their own neighbourhood to collect conscripts; they were ready
to attack any town where republican soldiers were quartered, providing
they were not required to go above a day's march from their own homes;
but many objected to enrol themselves for any length of time, to bind
themselves as it were to a soldier's trade, and to march under arms to
perform service at a distance from their farms, which to them seemed
considerable. With such men as these, and with their wives and sisters,
Henri argued, and used his blandest eloquence, and was usually
successful; but when he failed, the Curé was not slow in having recourse
to the irresistable thunders of the church.

No one could have been fitter for the duties of a recruiting-sergeant
than Jacques Chapeau; and to his great natural talents in that line, he
added a patriotic zeal, which he copied from his master. No one could
be more zealous in the service of the King, and for the glory of La
Vendée, than was Jacques Chapeau. Jacques had been in Paris with his
master, and finding that all his fellow-servants in the metropolis were
admirers of the revolution, he had himself acquired a strong
revolutionary tendency. His party in Paris had been the extreme
Ultra-Democrats: he had been five or six times at the Jacobins, three
or four times at the Cordeliers; he had learnt to look on a lamp-rope
as the proper destination of an aristocrat, and considered himself equal
to anybody, bu his master, and his master's friends. On Henri's return
to La Vendée, he had imbued himself with a high tone of loyalty, without
any difficulty or constraint on his feelings; indeed, he was probably
unaware that he had changed his party: he had an appetite for strong
politics, was devotedly attached to his master, and had no prudential
misgivings whatsoever. He had already been present at one or two affairs
in which his party had been victorious, and war seemed to him twice more
exciting, twice more delightful than the French Opera, or even the
Jacobin Clubs.

Jacques Chapeau was about five years older than his master, and was as
active and well made a little Frenchman, as ever danced all night at a
ball outside the barriers of Paris. He was a light-hearted and
kind-hearted creature, although he always considered it necessary to
have mortal enemies--horrid, blasphemous, blood-thirsty fellows, men
devoid of feeling, without faith, hope, or charity, who would willingly
slaughter women and children for the mere pleasure of doing so. Such,
in Chapeau's imagination, were all his enemies--such had been the
aristocrats during the time of his revolutionary fervour--such now were
the republicans. Chapeau loved his own side truly and faithfully,
without any admixture of self in his calculations, but I certainly
cannot say for him that he was a good Christian, for all the clergymen
in Anjou could not have taught him to love his enemies.

On a beautiful summer's morning, on the 2nd of June, this remarkable
recruiting party rode from Durbellière to the little village of
Echanbroignes; the distance was about four leagues, and their road lay,
the whole way, through the sweet green leafy lanes of the Bocage. The
aspect of this province is very singular, and in summer most refreshing.
The country is divided into small farms, which are almost entirely
occupied with pasture; the farms are again divided into small fields,
and each field is surrounded by a belt of trees, growing out of high,
green, flowering hedges. The face of the country is like a thickly
wooded demesne, divided and subdivided into an infinity of little
paddocks. The narrow lanes of the country, which are barely broad enough
for the wheels of a carriage, and are seldom visited by such a vehicle,
lie between thick, high hedges, which completely overshadow them; the
wayfarer, therefore, never has before him that long, straight, tedious,
unsightly line of road, which adds so greatly to the fatigue of
travelling in an open country, and is so painful to the eye.

Through such a lane as this our party rode quickly and cheerily;
quickly, for they had much work before them for that day; and cheerily,
for they knew that the people among whom they were going would join them
with enthusiasm. They were all well mounted, for they rode the best
horses from the stables of Durbellière: the old Marquis would have
blushed to have given less than the best to the service of his King.

Chapeau was peculiarly elated at the prospect of his day's work; but his
joy was not wholly professional; for Jacques now accounted himself a
soldier by profession. He had another reason for the more than ordinary
gaiety with which he trotted on towards Echanbroignes. There was there
a certain smith, named Michael Stein, who had two stalwart sons, whom
Jacques burnt to enrol in his loyal band of warriors; this smith had
also one daughter, Annot Stein, who, in the eyes of Jacques Chapeau,
combined every female charm; she was young and rosy; she had soft hair
and bright eyes; she could dance all night, and was known to possess in
her on right some mysterious little fortune, left to her by nobody knew
what grandfather or grandmother, and amounting, so said report, to the
comfortable sum of five hundred francs. When Chapeau had risen to some
high military position, a field-marshal's baton, or the gold-laced cap
of a serjeant-major, with whom could he share his honours better than
with his dear little friend, Annot Stein? Jacques wanted her advice upon
this subject, and he therefore rejoiced greatly that the path of duty
was leading him this morning to Echanbroignes.

"We may be sure, Father Jerome," said Henri, "of those men from St.

"Of every man. You will find there will not be a defaulter."

"God send it; one traitor makes many, as sheep follow each other through
a hedge row."

"Do not fear them, my son. Father Francois has the list of them; he will
have every man collected by daylight on the 7th, and he will come on
with them himself as far as the cross-roads; they will there meet my own
children from St. Laud."

"There were to be one hundred and seventy-five from St. Michael."

"Yes; and one hundred and forty from St. Laud; and thirty will have
joined us from Petit Ange de Poitou before we reach the turn from St.

"And have you positively determined you will start with them from St.
Laud's yourself, Father Jerome."

"With God's will, my son, I most assuredly shall do so; and from that
to the walls of Saumur, they shall see before them my tattered Curé's
frock, and the blessed symbol of their hope. I will carry the cross
before them from the porch of the little church which shall once more
be my own, till I plant it on the citadel of Saumur beside the standard
of the King."

"Oh! if we had a few more Father Jeromes!" said Henri.

"There might perhaps be more soldiers in La Vendée than at present; but
perhaps also there would be fewer Christians," said the priest. "May God
forgive me if, in my zeal for my King, I am too remiss in His service."

They rode on a little way in silence, for Father Jerome felt a slight
qualm of conscience at his warlike proceedings, and Henri did not like
to interrupt his meditations; but the Curé soon recovered himself.

"I shall have a goodly assemblage of followers," said he, "before I
reach Coron. Those from Echanbroignes will join us half-a-mile from the
town. There will be above two hundred from Echanbroignes."

"Will there? So many as that, think you?"

"They will muster certainly not short of two hundred. Near seven hundred
men will follow me into Coron on the evening of the 7th."

"They will find provisions there in plenty--meat, bread, and wine. They
are not used to lie soft; they will not grumble at having clean straw
to sleep on."

"They shall grumble at nothing, my friend; if your care can supply them
with food, well; if not, we will find bread enough among the townsfolk.
There is not a housewife in Coron, who would refuse me the contents of
her larder."

"The bullocks are ready for the butcher's axe in the stalls at
Durbellière, please your reverence," said Chapeau, who rode near enough
to his master to take a part in the conversation as occasion offered.
"And the stone wine-jars are ready corked. Momont saw to the latter part
himself. May the saints direct that the drinking have not the same
effect upon our friends that the corking had on Momont, or there will
be many sick head-aches in Coron on the next morning."

"There will be too many of us for that, Jacques. Five hundred throats
will dispose of much good wine, so as to do but little injury."

"That would be true, your reverence, were not some throats so much wider
than others. You will always see that one porker half empties the trough
before others have moistened their snouts in the mess."

"We will see to that, Jacques. We will appoint some temperate fellow
butler, or rather some strong-fisted fellow, whose thick head much wine
will not hurt; though he may swill himself he will not let others do

"If it were not displeasing to yourself and to M. Henri, I would
undertake all that myself. Each man of the five hundred should have his
own share of meat and drink at Coron, and the same again at Doué."

"Will not Jacques be with you?" said the priest, turning round to Henri.
"What should bring him to Coron among my men?"

"He says he has friends here in Echanbroignes, and he has begged that
he may be here with them on the evening of the 6th, so as to accompany
them into Coron on the 7th. We shall all meet at Doué on the 8th."

"I was thinking, your reverence, if any here were loiterers, as there
may be some, I fear; or if there should be any ill inclined to leave
their homes, my example might encourage them. I have a liking for the
village, and I should feel disgraced were a single able-bodied man to
be found near it after the morning of the 7th."

"I trust they will not need any one to remind them of their promise,
when they have once pledged themselves to the service of their King,"
said the priest. "However, you will be, doubtless, useful to me at
Coron. But, Henri, what will you do without him?"

"Adolphe and I will be together, and will do well. We shall have an
absolute barrack at Durbellière. We shall have above one hundred men in
the house. Agatha and the women are at work night and day."

"You have the worst part of the whole affair--the ammunition."

"It is all packed and ready for the carts; a few days since the cellars
were half-full of the lead and iron, which we have been casting; they
are now, I trust, half-way to Saumur, under Foret's care."

"How many men has he with him?" asked the priest.

"He has all the men from Clisson, from St. Paul's and St. Briulph's--
except a few of Charles' own tenants, who went on forward to join him at
Doué, and who have our supply of flags with them, made in the château at
Clisson. Madame de Lescure and poor Marie have worked their fingers to
the bone."

"God bless them! God will bless them, for they are working in the spirit
which he loves."

"Agatha and Annette, between them, have packed nearly every ounce of
gunpowder," said Henri, who could not help boasting of his sister.
"Night and day they have been handling it without regarding for a moment
the destruction which the slightest accident might bring upon them."

"It is that spirit, my son, which will enable us to beat twice our own
strength in numbers, and ten times our own strength in arms and
discipline How many men has Foret with him?"

"Above six hundred. I do not know his exact numbers," said Henri.

"And you, yourself?"

"I shall muster a thousand strong, that is for a certainty; I believe
I shall be nearer twelve thousand."

"Let me see--that will be, say two thousand five hundred from the

"Oh! more than that your reverence," said Chapeau, "you are not counting
M. de Lescure's men, who have gone on with the flags--or the men from
Beauprieu who will follow M. d'Elbée, or the men from St. Florent, who
will come down with Cathelineau."

"I don't count Beauprieu, or Cholet or St. Florent; there will be two
thousand five hundred from our own country, out of three thousand three
hundred male adults, that is three men, Henry, out of every four--they
cannot at any rate say that the spirit of the people is not with us."

As the priest spoke, they rode into the street of the little village of
Echanbroignes, and having stopped at the door of the Mayor's house,
Henri and the Curé dismounted, and giving their horses up to Jacques,
warmly greeted that worthy civic authority, who came out to meet them.

The appointment of a mayor in every village in France, had been enjoined
at an early time in the revolution, and after the death of the King,
these functionaries were, generally speaking, strong republicans; but
the Vendeans in opposition to the spirit of the revolution, had
persisted in electing the Seigneurs, wherever they could get a Seigneur
to act as mayor; and, where this was not the case, some person in the
immediate employment of the landlord was chosen. This was the case at
Echanbroignes, where the agent or intendant of the proprietor was mayor.
He expected the visit which was now paid to him, and having twenty times
expressed his delight at the honour which was done him, he got his hat
and accompanied his visitors to the door of the church, where with his
own hands he commenced a violent assault on the bell-rope, which hung
down in the middle of the porch.

He was ringing the tocsin, which was to call together the people of the
village. They also very generally knew who was coming among them on that
day, and the purpose for which they were corning; and at the first sound
of the bell, all such as intended to shew themselves, came crowding on
to the little space before the church; it was but few who remained at
home, and they were mostly those to whom home at the present moment was
peculiarly sweet; one or two swains newly married, or just about to be
married; one or two fathers, who could hardly bring themselves in these
dangerous times to leave their little prattling children, and one or two
who were averse to lose the profits of their trade.

In spite of the speedy appearance of his townspeople, the Mayor
persisted in his operations on the bell-rope until the perspiration ran
down his face. He was sounding the tocsin, and he felt the importance
of what he was doing. Every one knew that a tocsin bell to be duly rung,
should be rung long and loud--not with a little merry jingle, such as
befitted the announcement of a wedding, but in a manner to strike
astonishment, if not alarm, into its hearers; and on this occasion great
justice was done to the tocsin.

"That will do, M. Mayor; that will do, I think!" said the Curé, "it
looks to me as though our friends were all here."

The Mayor gave an awful pull, the bell leapt wildly up, gave one loud
concluding flourish, and then was quiet.

"Now, M. Mayor," said the Curé, "you have by heart the few words I gave
you, have you not?"

"Indeed, Father Jerome, I have," said the Mayor, "and am not likely to
forget them. Let me see--let me see. Now, my friends, will you be quiet
a moment while I speak to you. Ambrose Corvelin, will you hold your
noisy tongue awhile--perhaps M. de Larochejaquelin, I had better get up
on the wall, they will hear me better?"

"Do, M. Mayor, do," said Henri; and the Mayor was lifted on to the low
wall which ran round the churchyard, and roared out the following words,
at the top of his voice:

"In the holy name of God, and by command of the King, this parish of
Echanbroignes is invited to send as many men as possible to Saumur, to
be there, or at any other such place in the neighbourhood as may be
appointed, at three o'clock on the afternoon of the 9th of June. And may
God defend the right. Amen!" And having said this, the Mayor jumped off
the wall, and the crowd commenced shouting and cheering.

"Wait one moment, and hear me say a few words, my friends," said Henri,
springing to the place which the Mayor had just left. "Most of you, I
believe, know who I am."

"We do, M Henri," said they. "We do, M. Larochejaquelin. We all know who
you are. We know that you are our friend."

"I am very glad you think so," continued he; "for you will know, that
if I am your friend, I shall not deceive you. I have come here to ask
you to share with me the honour and the danger of restoring his father's
kingdom and his father's throne to the son of your murdered King. I have
come here to ask you also to assist me and others, who are your friends,
in protecting yourselves, your pastors, your houses, your wives and
daughters, from the tyranny and cruelty of the republicans."

"We will!" shouted the crowd. "We will go at once. We will be at Saumur
on Wednesday. We will follow M. Larochejaquelin wherever he would lead

"You all know Cathelineau," continued Henri; "you all know the good
postillion of St. Florent?"

"We do, God bless him! we do. We all know the Saint of Anjou."

"Come and meet him, my friends, under the walls of Saumur; or rather,
I should say, come and meet him within the walls of Saumur. Come and
greet the noble fellows of St. Florent, who have set us so loyal an
example. Come and meet the brave men of Fontenay, who trampled on the
dirty tricolour, and drove out General Coustard from his covert, like
a hunted fox. He is now at Saumur; we will turn him out from thence."

"We will! we will! We will hang up Coustard by the heels."

"We will strip him rather of his spurs and his epaulettes, of his sword
and blue coat, and send him back to the Convention, that they may see
what will become of the heroes, whom they send to seek for glory in La
Vendée. Thanks, my friends; thanks for your kindness. I will lead you
to no dangers which I will not share with you. You shall suffer no
hardship of which I will not partake. I will look for no glory in which
you shall not be my partners."

During the time that the Mayor had been giving his invitation to the
people, and Henri had been speaking to them, Father Jerome had been
busily employed with Jacques Chapeau over six or seven little lists
which he held in his hand. These were lists of the names of able-bodied
men, which had been drawn out by the Curé of the parish, and Jacques had
already marked those of one or two whom he had found to be absent, and
among them the names of Michael Stems' two stalwart sons. Father Jerome
again handed the lists to Jacques, and as Henri descended from the wall,
amid the greeting of the populace, he ascended it, and gave them a
little clerical admonition.

"My children," said he, "it delights my heart to find that so few of you
are absent from us this morning--from the whole parish there are but
five, I believe, who have not readily come forward to proclaim their
zeal for their God, their King, and their Church: those five, I doubt
not, will be here when we proceed to check the names. Let it not be said
that there was one recreant in Echanbroignes--one man afraid to answer
when called for by his country. Is there danger in the bloody battle we
have before us?--let us all share it, and it will be lighter. Is it a
grievous thing for you to leave your wives and your children?--let no
man presume to think that he will be happier than his neighbours, for
that man shall assuredly be the most miserable. It is possible that some
of you may leave your bodies beneath the walls of Saumur, be it so; will
you complain because the Creator may require from some of you the life
which he has given? Is it not enough for you to know, that he who falls
fighting with this blessed symbol before his eyes, shall that night rest
among the angels of Heaven?" and the Curé held up on high, above the
people, a huge cross, which he bad had brought to him out of the church.
"God has blessed you, my children, in giving you the sacred privilege
of fighting in His cause. You would indeed be weak--senseless as the
brutes--unfeeling as the rocks--aye, impious as the republicans, had you
not replied to the summons as you have done; but you have shown that you
know your duty. I see, my children, that you are true Vendeans. I bless
you now, and on tomorrow week, I will be among you before the walls of

Having finished speaking, the priest also jumped off the wall, and again
the people shouted and cheered. And now they went to work with the
lists: Henri, the Mayor, and the Curé each took a pencil, and called the
names of the different men, as they were written down. There was of
course much delay in getting the men as they were called; but Chapeau
had sworn in three or four assistants, and he and they dived in among
the crowd, hurried this way and that, and shouted, screamed, and
screeched with great effect. The lists were made out with some regard
to the localities; the men from the lower end of the village were to go
to Henri's side; those from the northern part to Father Jerome's table;
and the inhabitants of the intermediate village were checked off by the
Mayor. Chapeau and his friends were most diligent in marshalling them;
to be sure, Jacques knew the names of but few of them; but he made them
tell him whether they were villagers, northerns, or lower-end men; and
though the men in many instances couldn't answer this themselves, the
divisions were effected, the names of all were called over, those who
were there were checked off and informed what was expected of them, and
where and by whom arms would be supplied to them: and those who were not
there became the unhappy victims of a black list.

Father Jerome, when he said that there were only five absent, was
something but not much out in his reckoning: his object, however, had
been to make the people think that he knew exactly who was there, and
who was not there; and in this he was successful. During the calling of
the lists, one or two stragglers dropped in who hoped to escape
detection: respecting a few others, some good ground of excuse was
alleged; but on this head the Curé was most severe: he would accept no
plea but that of absolute downright sickness, and of this he required
to have most ample testimony--even Henri sometimes pleaded for the
people, but unsuccessfully. The Republic by their proscription would
have decimated the men; the Curé of St. Laud insisted on taking them

The houses of those who had not presented themselves were to be visited,
and the two first on the list were Jean and Peter Stein.

"Jean and Peter Stein," said Henri. "Why, Jacques, are they not friends
of yours? are they not sons of Michael Stein, the smith?"

"Quiet, M. Henri; pray be quiet for a moment, and I will explain."

"Are they not strong, active lads," said the Curé, turning somewhat
angrily on Chapeau, as though he were responsible for the principles of
his friends.

"They are, they are, your reverence, fine strong active lads as you ever
laid your eyes on."

"And they are afraid to carry a musket for their king?"

"Not a bit, Father Jerome, not a bit afraid; nor yet unwilling, M.
Henri. I will explain it all; only let us be a little by ourselves."

"There is a mystery, Father Jerome," said Henri, "and Chapeau must have
his own way in explaining it."

"Exactly, M. Henri; I will explain all." By this time he had got the
priest and his master somewhat out of the crowd. "You see, M. Henri,
there are not two young men in the Bocage more determined to fight for
the good cause this moment, than Jean and Peter Stein."

"Why, Jacques, I do not see it yet, certainly."

"Oh! Sir, it's a fact; they are dying to have a musket in their hands.
I pledge for them my word of honour," and Jacques laid his hand upon his
heart. "You will find they are with me, your reverence, when I meet you
at the cross-roads, within half a mile of Coron, on Monday morning. But,
M. Henri, they have a father."

"Have a father!" said the Curé, "of course they have."

"You don't mean to tell me that Michael Stein, the smith, is a

"A republican!" said Jaques. "Oh! no, the heavens preserve us, he's
nothing so bad as that, or his own son wouldn't remain under his roof
another night, or his daughter either. No; Annot wouldn't remain with
him another hour, were he twenty times her father, if he turned

"Why does he prevent his sons joining the muster, then?" said Henri.

"He is very fond of money, M. Henri. Old Michael Stein is very fond of
money; and every one in the country who owns a franc at all, is buying
an old sword or a gun, or turning a reaping-hook into a sabre, or
getting a long pike made with an axe at the end of it; so Michael
Stein's smithy is turned into a perfect armoury, and he and his two sons
are at work at the anvil morning, noon, and night: they made Annot blow
the bellows this morning, till she looks for all the world like a
tinker's wife."

"That alters the case," said Father Jerome; "they are doing good
service, if they are making arms for our men; they are better employed
than though they joined us themselves."

"Don't say so, Father Jerome," said Jacques, "pray don't say so, Jean
and Peter would die were they not to be of the party at Saumur; but
Michael is so passionate and so headstrong, and he swears they shall not
go. Now go they will, and therefore I supplicate that my word may be
taken, and that I may be saved the dishonour of hearing the names of my
friends read out aloud with those of men who will disgrace their parish
and their country."

The request of Jacques was granted, and the names of Jean and Peter
Stein were erased from the top of the black list.

It was eight in the evening before the recruiting party had finished
their work, and it was not yet noon when they rode into the little
village. Henri and the Curé got their supper and slept at the Mayor's
house, and even there they were not allowed to be quiet; some of those
who were to be at Saumur, were continually calling for new instructions;
one wanted to know what arms he was to carry, another what provisions
he was to bring, a third was anxious to be a corporal, and a fourth and
fifth begged that they might not be separated, as one was going to marry
the sister of the other. None of these were turned away unanswered; the
door of the Mayor's house was not closed for a moment, and Henri, to be
enabled to eat his supper at all, was obliged to give his last military
orders with a crust of bread in his hand, and his mouth full of meat.

As might be supposed, Jacques spent the evening with Annot Stein, at
least it was his intention to have done so; but he had been so leading
a person in the day's transactions that he also was besieged by the
villagers, and was hardly able to whisper a word into his sweetheart's
ear. There he sat, however, very busy and supremely happy in the smith's
kitchen, with a pipe in his mouth and a bottle of wine before him. The
old smith sat opposite to him, while the two young men stood among a lot
of others round the little table, and Annot bustled in and out of the
room, now going close enough up to her lover to enable him. to pinch her
elbow unseen by her father, and then leaning against the dresser, and
listening to his military eloquence.

"And so, my friend," said Chapeau, "Jean and Peter are not to go to

"Not a foot, Chapeau," said the old man, "not a foot, Chapeau; let ye
fight, we will make swords for you: is not that fair, neighbour?"

"I have nothing to say against it, M. Stein, not a word; only such
fellows as they, they would surely get promoted."

"Oh, ay; you will all be sergeants, no doubt. I have nothing to say
against that; only none of mine shall go waging wars in distant lands."

"Distant lands, say you! is not Saumur in Anjou? and is not Anjou within
three miles of you, here where you are sitting?"

"May be so, M. Chapeau; but still, with your leave, I say Saumur is
distant. Can you get there in one day from here?"

"Why no, not in one day."

"Nor in two?"

"Why, no again; though they might do it in two. They'll start from here
Monday morning with light, and they'll reach Saumur on Wednesday in time
to look about them, and learn what they have to do the next morning."

"That's three day's going, and three coming, and heaven only knows how
many days there; and you don't call that distant! Who's to feed them all
I'd like to know?"

"Feed them!" said Chapeau. "I wish you could see all the bullocks and
the wine at Durbellière; they'll have rations like fighting-cocks. I
only pray that too much good living make them not lazy."

"Were I a man," said Annot, as she put on the table a fresh bottle of
wine, which she had just brought in from the little inn, "were I a man,
as I would I were, I would go, whether or no."

"Would you, minx," said the father; "it's well for you that your
petticoats keep you at home."

"Don't be too sure of her, Michael Stein," said Paul Rouel, the keeper
of the inn; "she'll marry a soldier yet before the wars are over."

"Let her do as her mother did before her, and marry an honest tradesman;
that is, if she can find one to take her."

"Find one!" said Annot, "if I can't get a husband without finding one,
indeed, I'm sure I'll not fash myself with seeking: let him find me that
wants me."

"And it wont be the first that finds you either, that'll be allowed to
take to you, will it Annot?" said the innkeeper.

"That's as may be, Master Rouel," said Annot. "Those who ask no
questions are seldom told many lies."

"I know Annot Stein loves a soldier in her heart," said another old man,
who was sitting inside the large open chimney. "The girls think there
is no trade like soldiering. I went for a soldier when I was young, and
it was all to oblige Lolotte Gobelin; and what think ye, when I was
gone, she got married to Jean Geldert, down at Petit Ange. There's
nothing for the girls like soldiering."

"You give us great encouragement truly," said Jacques. "I hope our
sweethearts will not all do as Lolotte did. You would not serve your
lover so, when he was fighting for his King and country--would you,

"I might, then, if I didn't like him," said she.

"She's no better than her neighbours, M. Chapeau," said one of her
brothers. "There was young Boullin, the baker, at St. Paul's. Till we
heard of these wars, Annot was as fond of him as could be. It was none
but he then; but now, she will not as much as turn her head if she sees
his white jacket."

"Hold thine unmannerly, loutish, stupid tongue, wilt thou, thou dolt,"
said Annot, deeply offended. "Boullin indeed! I danced with him last
harvest-home; I know not why, unless for sheer good-nature; and now,
forsooth, I am to have Boullin for ever thrust in my teeth. Bah! I hate
a baker. I would as lieve take a butcher at once."

Jacques Chapean also was offended.

"I wonder, Jean Stein," said he, "that you know not better than to liken
your sister to such as young Boullin--a very good young man in his way,
I have no doubt. You should remember there is a difference in these

"I don't know," said Jean, "why a smith's daughter should not marry a
baker's son; but I did not mean to vex Annot, and will say no more about
him; only good bread is a very good thing to have in one's house."

"And a butcher is a good trade too," said the old man inside the
chimney. "Jean Geldert, he that Lolotte Gobelin ran off with, he was a



The remainder of that week was spent by Henri and the Curé as actively
and as successfully as the day in which they visited Echanbroignes. The
numbers they enrolled exceeded their hopes, and they found among the
people many more arms than they expected, though mostly of a very rude
kind. The party separated on the Saturday night, with the understanding
that they were to meet together at Done on the Tuesday evening, to
proceed from thence to the attack of Saumur. Henri Larochejaquelin
returned to Durbellière. The Curé of St. Laud went to his own parish,
to perform mass among his own people on the following morning, and
Jacques Chapeau, according to agreement, took up his quarters at the
smith's house in Echanbroignes.

On the following morning, he and Annot, and most of the young men and
women of the village walked over to St. Laud's to receive mass from
Father Jerome, and to hear the discourse which he had promised to give
respecting the duties of the people in the coming times.

The people, as in olden days, were crowded round the church about
half-past ten o'clock; but the doors of the church were closed. The
revolt in La Vendée had already gone far enough to prevent the
possibility of the constitutional priests officiating in the churches
to which they had been appointed by the National Assembly; but it had
not yet gone far enough to enable the old nonjuring Cures to resume
generally their own places in their own churches: the people, however,
now crowded round the church of St. Laud's, till they should learn where
on that day Father Jerome would perform mass.

The church of St. Laud's did not stand in any village, nor was it
surrounded even by a cluster of cottages. It stood by itself on the side
of a narrow little road, and was so completely surrounded by beech and
flowering ash trees, that a stranger would not know that he was in the
neighbourhood of a place of worship till it was immediately in front of
him. Opposite to the door of the church and on the other side of the
road, was a cross erected on a little mound; and at its foot a Capuchin
monk in his arse brown frock, with his hood thrown back, and his eyes
turned to heaven, was always kneeling: the effigy at least of one was
doing so, for it was a painted wooden monk that was so perpetually at
his prayers.

The church itself was small, but it boasted of a pretty grey tower; and
on each side of the door of the church were two works of art, much
celebrated in the neighbourhood. On the left side, beneath the window,
a large niche was grated in with thick, rusty iron bars. It occupied the
whole extent from the portico to the corner of the church, and from the
ground to the window; and, within the bars, six monster demons--spirits
of the unrepentent dead, the forms of wretches who had died without
owning the name of their Saviour, were withering in the torments of
hell-fire; awful indeed was the appearance of these figures; they were
larger than human, and twisted into every variety of contortion which
it was conceived possible that agony could assume. Their eyes were made
to protrude from their faces, their fiery tongues were hanging from
their scorched lips; the hairs of each demon stood on end and looked
like agonized snakes; they were of various hideous colours; one was a
dingy blue; another a horrid dirty yellow, as though perpetual jaundice
were his punishment; another was a foul unhealthy green; a fourth was
of a brick-dust colour; a fifth was fiery red, and he was leaping high
as though to escape the flame; but in vain, for a huge blue flake of
fire had caught him by the leg, and bound him fast; his fiery red hands
were closed upon the bars, his tortured face was pressed against them,
and his screeching mouth was stretched wide open so as to display two
awful rows of red-hot teeth; the sixth a jet black devil, cowered in a
corner and grinned, as though even there he had some pleasure in the
misery of his companions.

The space occupied on the other side was much larger, for it was carried
up so far as to darken a great portion of the window. That on the left
represented the misery of hell--torment without hope. That on the right
contained two tableaus: the lower one was purgatory, here four recumbent
figures lay in the four corners, uncomfortably enough; for the bed of
each figure was six sharp spikes, each of which perforated the occupier
of it. But yet these dead men were not horrible to look at as those six
other wretches; their eyes were turned on a round aperture above, the
edge of which was all gilt and shining, for the glory of heaven shone
into it. This aperture entered into paradise. Through the aperture the
imaginative artist had made a spirit to be passing---his head and
shoulders were in paradise; these were also gilt and glorious, and on
his shoulders two little seraphims were fixing wings; his nether parts
below the aperture, were still brown and dingy, as were the four
recumbent spirits who rested on their gridirons till the time should
come that they also should be passed through.

Above the aperture was to be seen paradise in all its blazon of glory,
numberless little golden-headen cherubims encircled a throne, on which
was seated the beneficent majesty of Heaven. From the towers and roofs
projected numerous brazen-mouthed instruments, which welcomed into
everlasting joy the purified spirit which was ascending from purgatory.

Thus were paradise, purgatory and pandemonium represented at St. Laud's,
and abominable as such representations now appear to be, they had, to
a certain extent, a salutary effect with the people who were in the
habit of looking at them. That they were absolute accurate
representations of the places represented, they never for a moment
presumed to doubt; and if the joys of heaven, as displayed there, were
not of much avail in adding to the zeal of the faithful, the horrors of
hell were certainly most efficacious in frightening the people into
compliance with the rules laid down for them, and in preventing them
from neglecting their priests and religious duties.

The people were crowded round the church; some were kneeling with the
wooden monk at the foot of the cross, and some round the bars of
purgatory. Others were prostrated before the six condemned demons, and
some sat by the road-side, on the roots of the trees, telling their
beads. Many men were talking of the state of the times, and of the wars
to come; some were foretelling misery and desolation, and others were
speaking of the happy days about to return, when their King and their
priests should have their own, and La Vendée should be the most honoured
province in France.

They made a pretty scene, waiting there beneath the shade till their
priest should come to lead them to some rural chapel. The bright colours
worn by the women in their Sunday clothes, and the picturesque forms of
the men, in their huge broad-brimmed flapping hats, harmonized well with
the thick green foliage around them. They shewed no sign of impatience,
they were quite content to wait there, and pray, or gossip, or make love
to each other, till such time as Father Jerome should please to come;
they had no idea that their time was badly spent in waiting for so good
a man.

At any rate he came before they were tired, and with him came a man who
was a stranger to them all, except to Jacques Chapeau. This man was but
little, if anything, better dressed than themselves; he looked like one
of their own farmers of the better days; certainly from his dress and
manner he had no pretensions to be called a gentleman, and yet he walked
and talked with Father Jerome as though he were his equal.

"God bless you, my children, God bless you," said the Curé, in answer
to the various greetings he received from his flock. "Follow me, my
children, and we will worship God beneath the canopy of his holy
throne," and then turning to the stranger, he added: "the next time you
visit me at St. Laud's, M. d'Elbée, we shall, I doubt not, have our
church again. I could now desire the people to force the doors for me,
and no one would dare to hinder them; but I have been thrust from my
altar and pulpit by a self-constituted vain authority--but yet by
authority; and I will not resume them till I do so by the order of the
King or of his servants."

"I reverence the house of God," replied M. d'Elbée, "because his spirit
has sanctified it; but walls and pillars are not necessary to my
worship; a cross beneath a rock is as perfect a church to them who have
the will to worship, as though they had above them the towers of Notre
Dame, or the dome of St. Peter's."

"You are right, my son; it is the heart that God regards; and where that
is in earnest, his mercy will dispense with the outward symbols of our
religion; but still it is our especial duty to preserve to his use
everything which the piety of former ages has sanctified; to part
willingly with nothing which appertains in any. way to His church. The
best we have is too little for His glory. It should be our greatest
honour to give to Him; it is through His great mercy that He receives
our unworthy offerings. Come, my children, follow me; our altar is
prepared above."

The priest led the way through a little shaded path at the back of the
church; behind a farmhouse and up a slight acclivity, on the side of
which the rocks in different places appeared through the green turf, and
the crowd followed him at a respectful distance.

"And who is that with Father Jerome--who is the stranger, M. Chapeau?"
said one and another of them, crowding round Jacques--for it soon got
abroad among them, that Jacques Chapeau had seen the stranger in some
of his former military movements in La Vendée. Chapeau was walking
beside his mistress, and was not at all sorry of the opportunity of
shewing off.

"Who is he, indeed?" said Jacques. "Can it be that none of you know M.

"D'Elbée!--d'Elbée!--indeed; no, then, I never heard the name till this
moment," said one.

"Nor I," said another; "but he must be a good man, or Father Jerome
would not walk with him just before performing mass."

"You are right there, Jean," said Jacques, "M. d'Elbée is a good man;
he has as much religion as though he were a priest himself."

"And he must be a thorough royalist," said another, "or Father Jerome
wouldn't walk with him at all."

"You are right, too, my friend; M. d'Elbée is a great royalist. He is
the especial friend of our good Cathelineau."

"The friend of Cathelineau and of Father Jerome," said a fourth, "then
I am sure M. d'Elbée must be something out of the common way."

"You are right again, he is very much out of the common way, he is one
of our great generals," said Chapeau.

"One of our great generals, is he," said two or three at once. "I knew
he was going to Saumur," said Jean, "or Father Jerome wouldn't have
walked so peaceable with him, great as he may be."

"But if he is a great general," said Annot, "why has he no lace upon his
coat; why doesn't he wear a sword and look smart like M.
Larochejaquelin? At any rate he is a very shabby general."

"He has a terrible long nose too," said another girl. "And he has not
a morsel of starch in his shirt ruffles, I declare," said a third, who
officiated as laundress to the Mayor of Echanbroignes.

"I'm sure the republicans will never be afraid of such a general as he
is. You are joking with us now, Jacques. I am sure he is not a general;
he is more like a grocer from Nantes."

"And is not Cathelineau like a postilion?" said Jacques, "and I hope you
will allow he is a great soldier. You know nothing of these things yet,
Annot. M. Larochejaquelin is so smart because he is a young nobleman;
not because he is a general."

"And is not M. d'Elbée a nobleman?" said one of the girls.

"Not a bit of it," said Chapeau.

"Well, I think the generals should all be noblemen; I declare," said the
laundress, "M. Larochejaquelin did look so nice last Wednesday, when he
was getting off his horse."

"That is all; but Cathelineau," said Annot, "he is the finest fellow of
them all. I'd sooner have Cathelinean for my lover, than the Duc de
Chartres, and he's the king's cousin."

"You are a foolish girl, Annot," said Chapeau. "You might as well want
the picture of St. John out of the church window down yonder, and take
that for your lover, as Cathelineau. Don't you know he's the Saint of

"He might marry a wife, and have a house full of children, for all that;
that's the difference between being a saint and a priest; there's no
harm in being in love with a saint, and I am very much in love with

"Why, you little ninny, you never saw him," said Chapean.

"No matter," said Annot; "ninny, or no ninny, I'll go where I'm like to
see him; and I'm sure I'll never bear the sight of another man
afterwards; the dear, good, sweet Cathelineau, with his curly hair, and
fine whiskers, and black bright eyes; he's better than all the noblemen:
I declare I dreamed of him these last two nights."

Chapeau left the side of his mistress, muttering something about stupid
foolish chits of girls, and continued his description of M. d'Elbée to
the men.

"Indeed he is a very great general. I don't know very well where he came
from, but I believe somewhere down in the Marais, from his being such
a friend of M. Charette; but he has been fighting against the
republicans this long time, even before Cathelineau began, I believe,
though I don't exactly know where. I know he was made a prisoner in
Paris, and nearly killed there by some of those bloody-minded rebels;
then he escaped, and he was at the siege of Machecoult, and got
honourably wounded, and was left for dead: and then he was at
Thouars--no, not at Thouars; we heard he was coming, but he didn't come;
but he was at Fontenay, and that's where I first saw him. M. Bonchamps
brought him in and introduced him to M. de Lescure, and our M.
Larochejaquelin, and I was astonished to see how much they made of him,
for he was dressed just as he is now, and had no sword or anything.
Well, as soon as he came in they all went to work talking, and settling
how Fontenay was to be attacked, for though its a little place, and not
walled and fortified like Saumur, we had a deal of trouble with it; but
before a word was spoken, M. d'Elbée stood up and said, 'Brethren,' said
he, 'let us ask the assistance of our Saviour:' so down they went on
their knees, and he said an awful long prayer, for all the world like
a priest. And then again before we fired a shot, he bade all the
soldiers kneel down, and down we went, the republicans firing at us all
the time. The soldiers call him Old Providence, for they say he talks
a deal about Providence when he is fighting."

"You may be sure that's what makes Father Jerome so fond of him," said
Jean. "I knew he was a good man."

"And he was a desperate fellow to fight afterwards," continued Chapeau.
"But he walked into the thick of the fighting just as he is now."

"But he had a sword, or a gun, or a spear?" said Jean.

"Neither the one or the other; he was just as he is this minute, giving
orders, and directing some of the men there who knew him well.
Presently, he said to a young gentleman who was near him: 'Lend me that
sword a moment, will you?' and he took it out of his hands, and made a
rush through the gate of Fontenay, and I saw no more of him that day."

"Why did you not rush after him, then, M. Chapeau?"

"Rush after him! Why, you simpleton; do you think in wars like that
every man is to rush just where he pleases; you'll soon be taught the
difference. M. d'Elbée was a general, and might go where he liked; but
I was a corporal under M. Henri, with ten men under me. We had to remain
where we were, and cut off the republicans, if they showed their noses
at a point in the street which we covered; it's only the generals that
go rushing about in that way. But here we are at Father Jerome's altar.
Well; I'm very hot. I'm sure its nearly half a league up here from the

They had now come to a rude altar, constructed on a piece of rock, in
front of which was a small space of green turf: the whole spot was
closely surrounded by beech and ash-trees; so closely, indeed, that the
sun hardly made its way into it, and the rocks around it rising up
through the grass afforded ample accommodation for the people. In a
moment, they were on their knees on the grass; some almost immediately
before the altar; others kneeling against the rocks; others again with
their heads and hands resting against the trunk of a huge beech-tree.

Hither had been brought the necessary appurtenances for the performance
of mass. A small, but beautifully white cloth was spread upon a flat
portion of the rock; bread was there, and a small quantum of wine; a
little patina and a humble chalice. M. d'Elbée took his place among the
crowd before the altar, and Father Jerome, having dressed himself in his
robes, performed, with a fine, full, sonorous voice, the morning service
of his church. When so occupied, he had no longer the look of the
banished priest: his sacred vestments had not shared the decay which had
fallen on his ordinary clothes. No bishop rising from his throne to
bless the congregation assembled in his cathedral, could assume more
dignity, or inspire more solemnity than the Curé of St. Laud, as he
performed mass at his sylvan altar in La Vendée.

After mass was finished, the priest gave them an extempore discourse on
the necessity of their absolutely submitting themselves to their
teachers, spiritual masters, and pastors; and before he had finished,
he turned their attention to the especial necessity of their obeying the
leaders, now among them, in carrying on the war against the Republic,
and as he concluded, he said:

"I rejoice at all times, my children, that you are an obedient and a
docile people, content to accept the word of God from those whom he has
sent to teach it to you--that you are not a stiff-necked generation,
prone to follow your own vain conceits, or foolish enough to conceive
that your little earthly knowledge can be superior to the wisdom which
comes from above, as others are. I have always rejoiced at this, my
children, for in it I have seen hope for you, when I could see none for
others; but now also I rejoice greatly to see that you unite the courage
of men to the docility of babes. Hitherto your lot has been that of
peace, and if you have not enjoyed riches, you have at any rate been
contented: another destiny is before you now--peace and content have
left the country, and have been followed by robbery, confusion, and war.
My children, you must, for a while, give over your accustomed peaceful
duties; your hands--your hearts--all your energy, and all your courage,
are required by God for his own purposes--yes, required by that Creator
who gave you strength and energy--who gave you the power and the will
to do great deeds for His holy name.

"His enemies are in the land: impious wretches--who do not hesitate to
wage war against His throne--are endeavouring to destroy all that is
good, and all that is holy in France. Do you not know, my children, that
they have murdered your King?--and that they have imprisoned your Queen,
and her son, who is now your King? Would you be content to remain quiet
in your homes, while your King is lying in a prison, in hourly danger
of death? They have excluded you from your churches, they have caused
God's holy houses to be closed; they have sent among you teachers who
can only lead you astray--whose teaching can only bring you to the gates
of hell. The enemies of the Lord are around you; and you are now
required to take arms in your hands, to go out against them, and if
needs be to give your blood--nay your life for your country, your King,
and your Church.

"I greatly rejoice, my children, that you are an obedient people; I know
that you will now do your utmost, and I know that you will succeed. The
Lord will not desert His people when they combat for His glory, when
they faithfully turn to Him for victory. You have been taught how He
chose the Israelites as an especial people--how He loved and favoured
them: as long as they were faithful and obedient He never deserted them.
They conquered hosts ten times their numbers--they were victorious
against armed warriors, and mighty giants. The Lord blinded their
enemies so that they saw not; He blunted their weapons; He paralyzed
their courage; chariots and horses did not avail them; nor strong walls,
nor mighty men of battle. The Lord loved the Israelites, and as long as
they were faithful and obedient, they prevailed against all their

"You, my children, are now God's people; if you are truly faithful, you
shall assuredly prevail; if you go out to battle firmly, absolutely,
entirely trusting in the strength of His right hand--that right hand,
that Almighty arm shall be on your side. And who then shall stand
against you?--though tens, and hundreds of thousands swarm around you,
they shall yield before you--they shall fall before you as the giant
Goliath fell before the shepherd David.

"Be not afraid, therefore, my children: we will go together; we will
remember that every man who falls on our side in this holy war, falls
as he is doing Christ's service, and that his death is to be envied, for
it is a passport into Heaven. We will remember this in the hour of
battle, when our enemies are before us, when death is staring us in the
face, and remembering it, we shall not be afraid. If we die fighting
truly in this cause, our immortal souls will be wafted off to paradise--
to everlasting joy: if we live, it will be to receive, here in our own
dear fields, the thanks of a grateful King, to feel that we have done
our duty as Christians and as men, and to hear our children bless the
days, when the courage of La Vendée restored the honour of France."

Father Jerome's exhortation had a strong effect upon the people; he knew
and calculated their strength and their weakness--they were brave and
credulous, and when he finished speaking, there was hardly one there who
in the least doubted that the event of the war would be entirely
successful: they felt that they were a chosen people, set apart for a
good work--that glory and victory awaited them in the contest, and
especially that they were about to fight under the immediate protection
of the Almighty.

As soon as the service was over, they all left the little sylvan chapel
by different paths, and in different directions; some went back to the
church, some went off across the fields, some took a short cut to the
road, but they all returned home without delay. Every man was to set out
early on the morrow for the rendezvous, and the women were preparing to
shed their tears and say their last farewell to their lovers, brothers,
and husbands, before they started on so great an enterprise. They had
all been gay enough during the morning--they became a little melancholy
on their return home, but before the evening was far advanced, nothing
was to be heard but sobs and vows, kisses and blessings.

Jacques Chapeau returned to Echanbroignes with the party of villagers
who had gone from thence to hear Father Jerome, but he did not attach
himself expressly to Annot, indeed he said not a word to her on the way,
but addressed the benefit of his conversation to his male friends
generally; to tell the truth, he was something offended at the warm
admiration which his sweetheart had expressed for Cathelineau. He wasn't
exactly jealous of the postillion, for Annot had never seen him, and
couldn't, therefore, really love him; but he felt that she ought not to
have talked about another man's eyes and whiskers, even though that
other man was a saint and a general. It was heartless, too, of Annot to
say such things at such a time, just as he was going to leave her, on
the eve of battle, and when he had left his own master, and all the
glorious confusion and good living in--at Durbellière, merely that he
might spend his last quiet day in her company.

It was base of her to say that she had dreamed twice of Cathelineau; and
she was punished for it, for she had to walk home almost unnoticed. At
first she was very angry, and kicked up the dust with her Sunday shoes
in fine style; but before long her heart softened, and she watched
anxiously for some word or look from Jacques on which she might base an
attempt at a reconciliation. Jacques knew what she was about, and would
not even look at her: he went on talking with Jean and Peter and the
others, about the wars, and republicans and royalists, as though poor
Annot Stein had not been there at all. From the chapel of St. Laud to
the village of Echanbroignes, he did not speak a word to her, and when
the four entered the old smith's house, poor Annot was bursting with
anger, and melting with love; she could not settle with herself whether
he hated Chapeau or loved him most; she felt that she would have liked
to poison him, only she knew that she could not live without him.

She hurried into her little sleeping place, and had a long debate with
herself whether she should instantly go to bed and pray that Jacques
might be killed at Saumur, or whether she should array herself in all
her charms, and literally dazzle her lover into fondness and obedience
by her beauty and graces--after many tears the latter alternative was
decided on.

It was a lovely summer evening, and at about eight o'clock hardly a
person in the whole village was to be found within doors; the elderly
were sitting smoking at their doors, husbands were saying a thousand
last words to their weeping wives, young men were sharpening their
swords, and preparing their little kit for the morrow's march, and the
girls were helping them; but everything was done in the open air. Jean
and Peter Stein were secretly preparing for a stolen march to Saumur;
for their father was still inexorable, and they were determined not to
be left behind when all the world was fighting for glory. Old Michael
was smoking at his ease, and Jacques was standing talking to him,
wondering in his heart whether Annot could be really angry with him,
when that young lady reappeared in the kitchen.

"Where have you been, Annot?" said Michael Stein, "you didn't get your
supper, yet child."

"I was sick with the heat, father; walking home from St. Laud's."

"I would not have you sick tonight, Annot, and our friends leaving us
before sun-rise tomorrow. Here is M. Chapeau complaining you are a bad

"M. Chapeau has enough to think of tonight, without my teasing him,"
said Annot; "great soldiers like him have not time to talk to silly
girls. I will walk across the green to Dame Rouel's, father; I shall be
back before sunset."

And Annot went out across the green, at the corner of which stood the
smith's forge. Jacques Chapeau was not slow to follow her, and Dame
Rouel did not see much of either of them that evening.

"Annot," said Jacques, calling to his sweetheart, who perseveringly
looked straight before her, determined not to know that she was
followed. "Annot, stop awhile. You are not in such a hurry, are you, to
see Dame Rouel?"

"Ah, M. Chapeau, is that you?--in a hurry to see Dame Rouel. No--I'm in
no particular hurry."

"Will you take a turn down to the mill, then, Annot? Heaven knows when
you and I may walk to the old mill again; it may be long enough before
I see Echanbroignes again."

Annot made no answer, but she turned into the little path which led
through the fields to the mill.

"I suppose it may," said she, determined, if possible, that the amende
should be made by Jacques and not by herself.

"I see you are indifferent about that," said Jacques, with a soft and
sentimental look, which nearly melted Annot; "well, when you hear of my
death, you will sometimes think of me, will you not?"

"Oh, I will, M. Chapeau! Of course I'll think of you, and of all my

Jacques walked on a few minutes or two in silence, cutting off the heads
of the blue-bells with his little cane. "I am not different to you then
from any one else, eh, Annot?" said he.

"How different, M. Chapeau?"

"You will think as much of young Boullin, the baker?"

"I don't like young Boullin, the baker, and I don't thank you for
mentioning his name one bit."

"Well! people say you are very partial to young Boullin."

"People lie--they always do; everybody tries to tease and plague me now.
You and Jean, and father, and that old fool, Rouel, are all alike," and
Annot gave symptoms of hysterical tears.

Jacques was again silent for awhile, but he had commenced walking very
near to his companion, and she did not appear to resent it. After a
while he said: "You are not glad that I'm going, Annot?"

"You would not have me sorry that you are going to fight with all the

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