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La Vendee by Anthony Trollope

Part 4 out of 10

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handkerchief; this costume had been adopted to preserve Larochejaquelin
from the especial danger of being made the butt of republican marksmen.
There was now no especial mouchoir rouge among them. They certainly had
a frightful appearance, as they hurried through the streets with their
bayonets fixed, dripping with mud and water, and conspicuous with their
red necks and red waists; at least so thought the republicans, for they
offered very little opposition to them.

Henri had just time to see that his friends had entered the town by the
gate on the Doué road, but he did not wait to speak to them. The
republican soldiers were escaping from the town in the opposite
direction, and he could not resist the temptation of following them. He
was at the head of his men, just passing over the Loire by a wooden
bridge, called the bridge of the Green Cross, and having possessed
himself of a sword in his passage through the town, was making good use
of it, when a dragoon turned suddenly round, and fired a pistol almost
in his face: near as the man was to him, in his hurry he missed him, and
the bullet merely grazed Henri's cheek, without even raising the skin.
"Ah, bungler," said Henri, raising his sword, "you are no good for
either King or nation," and he struck the unfortunate man dead at his

Not only the soldiers, but the inhabitants of the town were escaping by
hundreds over the bridge, and Henri saw that if he pursued them farther,
he must, sooner or later, find himself surrounded and overpowered by
numbers; he returned, therefore, and destroyed the bridge, so as to
prevent the return of the soldiers who had fled in their first panic,
and also to prevent any more of the inhabitants from leaving their

"God has certainly fought on our side today," said he to one of his
Mends: "with barely two hundred men, all dripping like drowned rats, we
have made our way, almost without opposition, through the town, and
thousands of soldiers are even yet flying before us."

"Ah! M. Henri," said the little Chevalier, "it is a great honour to
fight for one's King; one fears nothing then: a single royalist should
always drive before him ten republicans."

Henri now returned and joined de Lescure, who was in possession of the
town, though the citadel was still in the hands of General Quetineau,
who held the command of the garrison. It was not till the cousins had
embraced each other, that Henri saw that de Lescure was wounded.

"Yes," said de Lescure, "I have at length acquired the privilege of
shedding my blood in the cause; but it is only a broken arm; Victorine
will have a little trouble with me when I return to Clisson."

"And Adolphe, my brave Adolphe, you are wounded, too?" said Henri.

Denot muttered something, and turned away; he did not dare to look his
friends in the face.

"He envies me my honour," said de Lescure; "but it might have been his
chance as well as mine, for he was not two feet from me when I was
wounded." This was true, for de Lescure had been struck after Denot had
crossed the bridge with the other men.

A flag of truce was now sent out by General Quetineau to the royalists,
with a proposal that he would give up the castle, and lay down his arms,
on being allowed to march out with all his men, and take the road to
Angers; but this proposition was not acceded to.

"No!" said de Lescure to the General's messenger: "tell M. Quetineau
that the Vendeans cannot accede to those terms--we cannot allow his
soldiers to march to Angers, and to return within a week to inflict new
cruelties on our poor peasants. M. Quetineau must surrender without any
terms: the practices of our army must be his only guarantee, that his
men will not be massacred in cold blood, as the unfortunate royalists
are massacred when they fall into the hands of the republicans."

The republicans were not in a condition to insist upon anything; as M.
de Lescure had said, the practices of the Vendeans were a guarantee that
no blood would be unnecessarily shed, and relying on this assurance
alone, M. Quetineau surrendered the castle and gave up his sword. De
Lescure took possession of it till he should be able to hand it over to
his General, and the Vendeans found themselves complete masters of

There was, however, still a very strong detachment of republican troops
on the heights of Bournan, who were watched on one side by Foret and his
detachment, and on the other by a portion of M. d'Elbée's army. These
men had done some execution, as they covered with their cannon a portion
of the road over which the Vendeans had passed, but they had taken no
active part whatever in the engagement. What made this the more
singular, was that the garrison at Bournan was composed of the very best
soldiers of the French republican army. They were under the command of
General Coustard, who kept his position during the whole attack,
inactive and unmolested; had he attacked M. d'Elbée's army in the rear,
when that officer advanced to support de Lescure's division, the
Vendeans would probably have been destroyed between the two republican
armies. Whether the two Generals of the Convention misunderstood each
other, or whether the soldiers at Bournan were unwilling to rout the
royalists, it is impossible to say; but they remained at Bournan till
the night, and then leaving their post during the darkness, made good
their retreat to Angers.

As soon as the white flag was seen on the walls of Saumur, Cathelineau
left the position which he had held, and entered the town. It was
greatly in opposition to his own wishes that he had been induced to
remain at a distance from the absolute attack, and now he felt almost
ashamed of himself as the officers and men crowded round him to
congratulate him on the victory which he had gained.

"No, M. de Lescure," he said, as that officer tendered him General
Quetineau's sword, "no, I will never take it from him who has won it
with so much constancy and valour. I must own I envy you your good
fortune, but I will not rob you of the fruits of your exertions."

"But Cathelineau," said the other, "you are our General, the customs of
war require--"

"The customs of war are all changed," replied Cathelineau, "when such
as you and M. de Larochejaquelin make yourselves second to a poor
postillion; at any rate," he added, pressing between his own, the left
hand of M. de Lescure, which still held the sword, "if I am to be the
commander, I must be obeyed. M. de Lescure will not set a bad example
when I tell him to keep General Quetineau's sword."

"And you, General Quetineau," said Cathelineau, "what are your
wishes--your own personal wishes I mean? I have not forgotten that you
alone of the republican leaders have shewn mercy to the poor royalists,
when they were in your power; you at any rate shall not say that the
Vendean brigands do not know how to requite kind services." Cathelineau
alluded to the name which the republicans had given to the royalists at
the commencement of the war.

"It little matters to me," said Quetineau, "what becomes of me; were you
to give me unconditional liberty, I should go to Paris--and the
Convention would accuse me of betraying my trust, and I should become
another victim of the guillotine."

"Of the guillotine!" said Henri; "why, what bloody monsters are those
you serve they send you soldiers who know nothing but how to run; do
they expect that with such troops as these you should be victorious,
when opposed to men who are individually striving for everything that
is dear to them?"

"The Convention," said Quetineau, "would ensure success by punishing
defeat. You will find in the end that they are politic; there will,
however, be many victims, and I am fated to be one of them."

"Stay with us, General Quetineau," said de Lescure, "join our forces,
and here you will find that honesty and courage are respected. You
cannot, you do not approve of the tyranny of the Convention. We know
each other of old, and I know that in joining the army, you never
intended to serve under a Republic. You cannot say that in your heart
you are a repubhican."

"Did I wish to shew myself a royalist, it would not now become me to
proclaim myself one," answered Quetineau. "I entered the army of the
King, but I have chosen to remain a soldier of the Republic. Whatever
may be my feelings, adversity shall not make me false to the colours I
have carried; besides, gentlemen, if I escaped the anger of the
Convention myself, I have a wife in Paris, whose life would be made to
satisfy it; under such circumstances, I presume you would not counsel
me to become a royalist."

This was an argument which it was impossible to answer. General
Quetineau accepted the present of his liberty, and soon as he was free,
he returned to Paris; he was immediately sent to the revolutionary
tribunal and tried for his life; and as he himself had predicted, was
guillotined by the Convention for the cowardice of the troops, whom he
had been called upon to take under his command. In the old days of
Greece, when the Kings sinned, the people suffered for it: this law was
reversed under the first French Republic; when the soldiers ran away,
the Generals were beheaded.

The joy of the Vendeans, when they found themselves masters of Saumur,
knew no bounds, but they were grotesque rather than unruly in their
demonstrations; they plundered nothing from the poor people, or even
from the shopkeepers; the money that was found in the republican chest
was divided among them, but as this consisted almost entirely of
assignats, it was of but little value. The shopkeepers were surprised
at the liberality of their enemies and conquerors, who were willing to
dispose of these assignats for anything they would fetch--a little wine,
or a few ounces of tobacco; whereas, their own friends, the republicans,
had insisted that they should be taken at their nominal value as money,
for all goods exposed for sale.

An enormous poplar had been planted by the towns-people in the centre
of the marketplace, which they called the tree of liberty. This was now
a doomed tree. On the evening of the day in which they took the town,
the royalist peasants went in procession, and with many cheers hewed it
to the ground; it was then treated with every possible contumely--it was
chopped, and hacked, and barked; it was kicked, and cuffed, and spat
upon; the branches were cut off, and on the bare top was placed a large
tattered cap of liberty; the Vendean marksmen then turned out, and fired
at the cap till it was cut to pieces; after that, all the papers and
books, which had belonged to the municipality, every document which
could be found in the Town-hall, were brought into the square, and piled
around the roots of the tree; and then the whole was set on fire--and
tree, papers, and cap of liberty, were consumed together.

On the next morning, considerable difficulty was experienced in
disposing of the prisoners there were about two thousand in the town,
and the Vendeans knew that they had no means of keeping them, nor did
they wish to be at the great expense of feeding them; it was contrary
to their inclination, their practice, and their consciences, to kill
them in cold blood: and they knew from experience, that if they gave
them their liberty, the same men would return within a fortnight,
newly-armed, to carry on the war against their liberators, in spite of
any oaths they might take to the contrary.

"I'll tell you what we will do, M. Henri," said Chapeau, speaking to his
master, "we will put a mark upon them, so that if we catch them again,
we may know them; and then I do think it would be all right to hang
them; or perhaps for the second time we might cut off their ears, and
hang them the third time."

"But how would you mark them, Jacques; men are not like cattle that you
can brand them."

"I will tell you what," said the little Chevalier, "shave them all like
pigs; they cannot all buy wigs, and we shall know them by their bald

"That is the very thing, M. Arthur," said Chapeau delighted, "we will
shave their heads as clear as the palm of my hand. I am an excellent
barber myself; and I will even get a dozen or two assistants; hair shall
be cheap in Saumur tomorrow; though I fear soap and razors will be

Chapeau was so delighted with the proposal that he at once hurried away
to carry it into execution; and Arthur, though he felt that his dignity
as an officer would be somewhat compromised, could not resist the boyish
temptation to follow him and see the fun.

He and Chapeau were not long in raising an efficient corps of barbers
and assistant barbers; and few of the shopkeepers, when called upon,
thought it advisable to refuse the loan of a razor and a shaving dish.
They established themselves in the large room of the Town-hall, and had
the prisoners brought in by a score at a time; vehemently did the men
plead for their hair, and loud did they swear that if allowed to escape
free, they would never again carry arms against the Vendeans; but
neither their oaths or their prayers were of any avail, nor yet the
bribes which were offered by those who had ought to give; the order to
sit down was given imperatively, and if not immediately obeyed, the
command was somewhat roughly enforced.

They were shaved by twenty at a time, and while one lot was being
operated on, another twenty, who were next destined to fill the chairs,
were kept standing against the wall. The long hair was first cut off
with scissors, and then the head and whiskers were closely shaved. The
first candidates for the soap-dish were very unruly under the operation,
but they only got their ears snipped and their skin chipped, and had to
return to their prisons with their polls all bloody as well as bald.
Those who looked on, took a lesson from the folly of their comrades, and
most of them remained quiet. The manoeuvres of the men however were very
different during the process; some took it with good humour, and
endeavoured to laugh as their locks were falling; some sat still as
death; others looked fierce and warlike; some were even moved to tears;
some fought, and kicked and scratched, and at last had to be corded to
their seats. One unfortunate went down upon his knees, and implored
Chapeau by the memory of his mistress, if ever he had been in love, by
his regard for his wife, if he chanced to be married, not to shave his
head. He was engaged to be married, he said, to a young girl at Angers,
who had many lovers; she had preferred him for the beauty of his hair:
if he returned back bald, he knew that he would be rejected. Chapeau for
a time was moved, but the patriot and the royalist triumphed over the
man, and Jacques, turning away his face on which a tear was gleaming,
with a wave of his hand motioned the young man to the chair.

Insult was added to injury, for the Chevalier stood at the door with a
brush, and a large jar of red paint, and as each man went out of the
room, Arthur made a huge cross upon his bare pate. The poor wretches in
their attempt to rub it off, merely converted the cross into a red
patch, and as they were made to walk across the market-place with their
bald red heads, they gave rise to shouts of laughter, not only from the
royalists, but from the inhabitants of the town.

For three days the shaving went on, and as the men became experienced
from practice, it was conducted with wonderful rapidity. At last, the
prisoners were all deprived of their hair, and set at liberty--a
temporary bridge was thrown across the Loire, near the Green Cross, and
the men were allowed to march over. As soon as they found themselves on
the other side of the Loire, they were free.

"Come, my bald pates, come my knights of the ruddy scalp," said Jacques,
standing at the corner of the bridge as they passed over, "away with you
to the Convention; and if your friends like your appearance, send them
to Saumur, and they shall be shaved close, and the barber shall ask for
no fee; but remember, if you return again yourselves, your ears will be
the next sacrifice you will be called on to make for your country."



The taking of the fortified town of Saumur, and the total dispersion of
the large army which had been collected there by the Republic, was an
enterprise of much greater magnitude than anything which had previously
been undertaken by the Vendeans: it gave them great advantages, it
supplied them plentifully with arms, ammunition and clothes for their
soldiers, and greatly inspirited the peasants; but it made the
Convention feel that it had no contemptible enemy to deal with in La
Vendée, and that the best soldiers of France would be required to crush
the loyalty which inspired the peasants of Anjou and Poitou.

The Vendean leaders felt that their responsibilities were greatly
increased, and that very much depended on the decision to which they
might now come as regarded their further operations. A general council
of war was accordingly held in Saumur, at which the matter was debated
among them. Twelve of the Vendeans were admitted to this consultation,
and all others were strictly excluded; they were Cathelineau, Bonchamps,
who though badly wounded, had caused himself to be brought thither from
Doué, de Lescure, who had remained in action for eight hours after his
arm was broken, and had consequently suffered much from it,
Larochejaquein, d'Elbée, Stofflet, Adolphe Denot, Father Jerome, Foret,
M. Donnessan, Lescure's father-in-law, Marigny, and the Prince de

The first question was the selection of a chief officer. Cathelineau had
been named before the battle of Saumur; but, as he himself alleged, his
command was to last only during that siege; he had been, he said,
selected for a special purpose, which purpose, by the grace of God, was
accomplished, and he was now ready to resign his commission into the
hands of those who had given it to him.

"I am not so foolish," said he, "as to suppose that I am qualified to
take the command in the war which we have now to carry on. No; one
privilege I beg to exercise on retiring from my command. I will name a
successor; let any one who pleases name another; we will then put it to
the vote, and let him who has most votes be our General."

"So be it," said Henri. "Nothing can be better."

"I name M. de Lescure," said Cathelineau. "Some of us are beloved by the
people, but are not educated; others are highly educated, but are not
yet known to the peasants. We are all, I am sure, brave men: but M. de
Lescure is beloved by all; his knowledge fits him for his high position,
and his cool, constant, determined courage, no man who has seen him in
the hour of battle will doubt. I name M. de Lescure."

De Lescure was about to rise, when Henri put his hand upon his friends
arm, and said:

"Let me speak, Charles. We all know that what Cathelineau has said of
my cousin is no more than the truth. Be still, Charles: when I have
spoken you can then say what you please, but I am sure you will agree
with me. Nevertheless, I will not give my vote that he be our chief
General. Cathelineau has desired that any one differing from him should
name another, and that the question should then be put to the vote. I
differ from him, and, therefore, I name another. I name the good
Cathelineau, the Saint of Anjou."

"Now let us vote," said the Prince de Talmont. "Come, Bonchamps, do you

"I never heard of deposing a Commander-in-Chief in consequence of a
complete victory," said Bonchamps. "The Convention murders their
Generals when they are defeated, but even the Convention rewards them
for victory. I vote for Cathelineau."

"And you, Foret," said the Prince.

"I say Cathelineau," said Foret: "the peasants generally would be
disappointed to see any put above him."

"I certainly vote for Cathelineau," said Father Jerome, who came next.

"We should be offending our Creator," said M. d'Elbée, "were we to
reject the great and good Commander, whom His gracious providence has
sent us. I vote for Cathelineau."

"And you, M. Denot," said the Prince. Adolphe Denot especially disliked
Cathelineau: he was jealous of his reputation and popularity: he could
not bear to feel himself in any way under the control of a man so much
his inferior in rank; he fancied, moreover, that Cathelineau regarded
Agatha Larochejaquelin; he had been quick enough to perceive that the
ineffable grace and beauty of his mistress had filled the heart of the
poor postillion with admiration, and he feared that his own rejection
had been caused by some mutual feeling in Agatha's breast, which future
events might warm into love. Adolphe, therefore, hated Cathelineau, and
would have delighted, had he dared to do so, to express his
disapprobation of the choice; but, after pausing for a few moments, he
found that he did not dare; so he merely said:

"Oh, Cathelineau, of course. When you are all resolved, what's the use
of voting about it?"

"To show that we all are resolved," said de Lescure; "to make
Cathelineau understand that it is positively his duty to take the
position we wish him to fill."

And so, one after another, they all recorded their votes that
Cathelineau should be the Commander-in-Chief of the Vendean army; and
they all declared that they would, without reserve, obey any military
orders, which he might give them.

"Well, gentlemen," said he, again seating himself at the head of the
table, "I should pay but a bad compliment to your understanding, were
I any further to insist on my own unworthiness. I will not, at any rate,
be wanting in zeal for the good cause, and I will trust to Him who
directs us all, for assistance in the difficult duties which you have
imposed on me."

They then debated on the all-important question of what should be their
next movement, and on this subject there was much difference of opinion.
Bonchamps was again asked to speak first, and he advised that they
should at once proceed to Paris.

"We can do nothing," said he, "while the present Convention sits in
Paris; it has but one head, but it has ten thousand bloody hands. There
can be no peace, no rest in France, while Danton, Robespierre and
Barrère are omnipotent. Let us at once start for Paris: Brittany will
join us, and parts of Normandy; the Southerns will follow us; the men
of Bordeaux and of the Gironde: have not their own orators, the leaders
of the Revolution, been murdered in their seats, because they were not
willing that all France should become one Golgotha? Lyons, even, and
Marseilles, are now sick of the monsters who have crawled forth from the
haunts of the Jacobins to depopulate the country, and annihilate
humanity. There is now but a small faction, even in Paris, to whom the
restoration of order would not be acceptable. .The intensity of their
cruelty is the only strength of the governing faction; the extent of
their abominations alone makes them terrible. Hundreds will fly from one
Indian snake, so potent is its venom, so sure to inflict death: but let
one brave man set his heel upon its head, and the noxious animal is
destroyed for ever: so it is with the party who now rules the
Convention. Now that we have with us the all-powerful prestige of
victory, let us march at once to Paris; hundreds will join us on the
way, and what force can at the moment be collected to stop us? Let us
proceed at once to Paris, and proclaim at the door of the Convention,
in the gardens of the Tuilleries, in the Place Louis Quinze, where our
sainted monarch so nobly shed his blood, that France again submits
herself to her King."

"Would that we could!" said de Lescure; "would that the spirit of
revolution was yet sufficiently quenched in France to allow us to follow
your advice; but there is much, very much to be done before a royalist
army can march from La Vendée to Paris; unthought of sufferings to be
endured, the blood of thousands to be sacrificed, before France will own
that she has been wrong in the experiment she has made. We must fight
our battles by inches, and be satisfied, if, when dying, we can think
that we have left to our children a probability of final victory.
Normandy and the Gironde may be unwilling to submit to the Jacobin
leaders, but they are as yet as warmly attached to the Republic as Paris
itself. And, Bonchamps, you little know the dispositions and character
of the men, who at our bidding have left their homes and come to Saumur,
if you think that at our bidding they will march to Paris; they are even
now burning to return home, to recount to their wives and children what
they have done.

"Not half the number that came to Saumur would leave the town with us on
the road to Paris; and before we could reach Tours, the army would have
melted away from us like snow from a mountain top, when the sun begins
to shine. It is here, in our own locality, that we should endeavour to
extend our influence. In Southern Brittany the people, I believe, are
with us, but the towns are full of the troops of the Republic. Let us
drive them out of Angers, Ancenis, and Nantes, as we have driven them
from Saumur. Let us force them from the banks of the Loire, and become
masters of the coast of Southern Brittany. Then we may expect men and
money from England. Then we may fairly hope for such foreign aid as may
enable us to face the Republic; but at present, if we march to Paris,
we march to certain destruction."

"M. de Lescure is right," said Stofflet, "our men would not go far from
their homes; we must remember that they are not paid, nor have we the
means of paying them; if we had English gold, we might perhaps make our
way to Paris."

"Our men are not so mercenary, Stofflet," said Bonchamps, "I do not
think they have shewn any great desire for plunder."

"No," said Stofflet, "but they must live; if they are to have neither
pay nor plunder, how are they to get to Paris?"

"I agree with you, Bonchamps," said Henri, "come what, come may, I would
make a dash at Paris; we shall be cut to pieces here, while we are
waiting for English aid; some of the men would follow us--most of them
I believe; where we meet with friends, they will give us provisions;
where we find enemies, we will take them, and pay the owners in
republican assignats; they would get no other payment in the
market-towns. I am sorry to disagree with you, Charles, but my voice is
for Paris."

"And mine also, certainly," said Adolphe, "let our career be short, at
any rate let it be glorious; let us march to Paris and strike terror
into the tyrants of the Convention."

"It is difficult to strike terror into tyrants," said de Lescure
quickly, "when the number of their supporters is ten times greater than
that of their opponents."

"Well, Cathelineau," said Bonchamps, "what do you say? it is for you to
settle the question between us; are we to go forward to Paris, or march
back to Nantes?"

"I would wish to hear what others say; for myself, I fear that M. de
Lescure is right. I fear the peasants would not follow us so far from
their own homes. What does the Prince de Talmont say?"

"I will have no voice in the matter," said the Prince. "I have joined
you but lately, and as yet am only fit to follow where others lead."

"And you, M. d'Elbée?" said Cathelineau.

"I hardly know how to speak," said d'Elbée, "where the subject is so

"M. d'Elbée is not wont to be so modest," said Stofflet; "does he not
trust that Providence will inspire him with wisdom, when he opens his
mouth to give his opinion?"

"Certainly, Stofflet; I trust in that all-seeing eye, at which you are
so willing to scoff; but I do not expect that I am to be allowed to see
further into futurity than another; however, if I am to express an
opinion, I think we should endeavour to march on Paris; if we find that
the men desert us, and that others do not join our standards, we must

"And how are we to return," said de Lescure, "and to whom? think you
that we can collect another army in La Vendée, when one has deserted us
on the road? will the peasants again trust in us, after they have once
left us? Never If the army dissolves itself in despair, you will never
be able to establish it again."

"Who talks of despair, Charles?" said Henri, "you did not despair when
you were thundering against the gates of Saumur with four republicans
to one royalist opposed to you; why should you despair now; or why
should the army despair; I believe they would go anywhere at the command
of their priests, and with the hope of restoring the King to his

The question was then put to the vote. De Lescure and four others, voted
for attacking Nantes. Bonchamps, and five others, declared for
proceeding at once to Paris, with the view of arresting the present
leaders of the Convention. Cathelineau was then called on to express his
opinion, which would of course be decisive.

"I think M. de Lescure is right," said he, "I think we are not in a
position to advance to Paris. I have not the heart to ask the men to
follow me into a strange country, so far from their own homes."

The numbers were now equally divided, but as Cathelineau was the
Commander-in-Chief, his voice turned the scale; and the expedition to
Paris was postponed.

"So be it," said Bonchamps; "let us prepare then for Nantes; it is not
fortified like Saumur, but the troops there are very numerous."

It was then decided that Cathelineau should name six lieutenants under
him, to take command of the different districts from which the army was
collected, and to which the men would be sure to return; and also
appoint an officer in command of the artillery, and another in command
of the cavalry. Cathelineau would have willingly dispensed with the task
of selecting his officers--a work in which he could hardly fail to give
offence to some, and in which he might probably give entire satisfaction
to none; but it was to be done, and he felt that it was useless for him
to shrink from it.

"M. Bonchamps," said he, "will of course take the command of the men of
Anjou, and M. de Lescure of those from the southern parts of the Bocage,
and they will assist me, I hope, in selecting the others. It is very
difficult to select, where so many are fit."

"Rather say," said Henri, laughing, "where so many are equally unfit.
Why, Bonchamps and Marigny are the only soldiers by profession we have
among us."

"You'll all be soldiers shortly," said Father Jerome. "You are at any
rate going the right way to learn the trade."

"Marigny of course will take the artillery," said Bonchamps. "We are
very lucky in having so good an artillery officer among us."

"There is no one, at any rate, to dispute your claim, Marigny," said de

"So he's president over 'Marie Jeanne' and the gunpowder," said Henri;
"that's settled, isn't it Cathelineau?"

"Unless M. Marigny refuses," said Cathelineau.

"I am not modest enough for that, General," said Marigny. "Do you
furnish me with guns, and I'll fight them. Do you collect the gunpowder,
and I'll consume it."

"And the Prince de Talmont will take the cavalry?" said Cathelineau.

"No, indeed," said the Prince. "I will not interfere with Henri

"Henri Larochejaquelin is much obliged to you, Prince," said Henri, "but
he is not ambitious of making a fool of himself; nor does he wish to be
made a fool of. Moreover, Henri Larochejaquelin does not wish to quarrel
with an old friend like you, Prince; but he might be tempted to do so,
if you take any liberties with his name."

"But, Cathelineau," said the Prince, "Henri has been at the head of the
cavalry all through."

"Don't set a bad example, Prince," said de Lescure. "Let every man
coincide with Cathelineau's directions without a word; so shall we be
spared the ill effects of over modesty, and of too much assurance."

"Besides," said Cathelineau, "M. Larochejaquelin will be much wanted
elsewhere. As a matter of course, he will be the leader of all the
parishes round Chatillon; I doubt if the men would follow any one else."

"Dear Cathelineau," said Henri, "if you will take my advice, you will
not make leaders of us youngsters at all. Adolphe and I will be well
contented to be hussars for awhile. Let these grey-headed seniors be
our leaders," and he pointed to d'Elbée whose hair was grizzled.

Henri had seen that the spirit of jealousy was already rising in Adolphe
Denot's face. No allusion had been made to his services; his advice had
never been asked in the council; there was no probability that he would
be named as one of the leaders; he had hardly spoken a word since they
had assembled in the council-room. Henri, though his own heart was a
stranger to the jealousy and dread of neglect which tormented Adolphe,
sympathised with, and felt for his friend; and he thought that if they
were both together excluded from command at his request, the blow would
be less keenly felt. They were the two youngest in the room, and their
youth was a good reason why they should not be named; but Henri was the
younger of the two, and he knew that if he were selected as one of the
chiefs, Adolphe would be miserable at finding himself left out.

De Lescure, however, would not allow of this. He had promised that he
would not disgrace Denot, by telling of the cowardice he had shewn at
the Bridge of Fouchard, and he was determined to keep his word; but he
would not allow his cousin, his pupil, his bosom friend, the man whom
he loved with the affection of a brother and a father, to sink himself
to the same level as a coward.

"How absurd is this!" said he, angrily. "I wonder, Henri, that you
should be the first to create such foolish difficulties, when our very
existence depends on perfect unanimity. In proportion as our means of
enforcing obedience is slender, should our resolution be firm,
implicitly to obey the directions of those who are selected as our
leaders. We have made Cathelineau our General, and desired him to select
his officers, and when he selects you as one, you object. If you object
from a proper modesty, it argues that those who accept, shew an improper
degree of assurance. You should think of these things, Henri."

"I resign myself to my dignity, and am dumb," said Henri laughing. "Go
on, Cathelineau, and if the men you name, say but one word, one syllable
against your choice--I'll slay them."

Cathelineau knew that all his difficulty still lay before him; those
whom he had already chosen would as a matter of course be among the
number; but who were to be the other three?

"M. Donnissan," said be, in a whisper to de Lescure, who was sitting
next to him. "I do not know what his wishes might be."

"My father-in-law feels himself too old," answered de Lescure; "d'Elbée
would be a much fitter person; he is thought so much of at Beauprieu."

"And the other two?" asked Cathelineau.

"Name one yourself, and ask Bonchamps to name the other."

"M. d'Elbée," said Cathelineau, aloud, "you will not, I am sure, refuse
to take your portion of our labours."

"You will find," whispered Stofflet to his neighbour, "that as
Providence has called upon him, he will be willing enough."

"I will do my best," said d'Elbée "as I am called upon; and may the Lord
direct me, that I may fight His battle so as to do honour to His name."

"I think I will name Stofflet," said Cathelineau, consulting with
Bonchamps and de Lescure; "he is a brave man, and though rude in his
manner, he will make perhaps the best soldier among us; already the men
obey him almost more implicitly than any one."

"Do--do!" said Bonchamps; "you cannot do better."

"I think you will be right to do so," said de Lescure, "though I do not
like the man; but the peasants know him, and he is one of themselves.
Yesterday morning I had ample proof of his courage. As you say, he is
a brave man and a good soldier."

Stofflet was then informed that he had been named, and though he
muttered some expressions as to his own want of the necessary
qualifications, he was evidently well pleased that the choice had fallen
on him.

And now the last of the lot was to be chosen. As the two last names had
been mentioned, Denot's brow had grown blacker and blacker. Henri
Larochejaquelin, during the whole proceeding, had been walking about the
room, sitting now in one place, and now in another. At the present
moment, he was sitting next to Adolphe, who, when Stofflet's name was
mentioned, whispered to him, but almost audibly:

"Gracious heaven! Stofflet!--the whole affair is becoming discreditable.
How can any gentleman serve under such a man as that?"

"You think too much of rank, Adolphe," said Henri; "we should entirely
forget all distinctions of person now; unless we do so we can never

"But do you think we are more likely to set the King upon his throne,
by making such a brute as that a General? I wonder whom our
Commander-in-Chief will choose next--Foret, I suppose."

After having again consulted for some time, Bonchamps said to
Cathelineau: "I do not think you can do better than name Adolphe Denot."

This was said in a low voice, but Adolphe's ears were not slow to catch
his own name, and he was once more happy. Though he was named last, he
would be equal with the others.

"Not so," said de Lescure, who had no idea that Denot had overheard the
mention of his name, "Adolphe is not yet sufficiently known to the
people; besides we have hitherto forgotten one, who though absent, we
must not forget--one who was the first in the field against the
Republic, who is already at the head of an army, and who has on various
occasions shown himself capable to lead an army. We must not forget

The last words were spoken out loud, and though they were eagerly
responded to by every one else, they fell with a heavy sound on Adolphe
Denot's ear. To know that he was excluded after he had been named, to
feel that he had been proposed merely to be rejected; it was more than
he could bear; and as soon as Cathelineau had formally announced the
name of M. Charette as one of their leaders, he started abruptly from
his chair and said:

"Oh, of course, gentlemen, if you prefer Charette, so be it! He,
doubtless will be better able to assist your endeavours than I should;
but you might have spared me the mortification of putting my name on
your list of officers, merely to scratch it off again."

"What matters it, Adolphe," said Larochejaquelin, blushing for his
friend, "will you not share my command? Will not your word be as
influential in the parishes of Chatillon as my own?"

"I sincerely beg your pardon, M. Denot," said Cathelineau, "if I have
hurt your feelings, but you are as much aware as we are that we should
be very wrong to neglect the merits of M. Charette; his achievements
claim from us this distinction, and his power and influence would
probably be lost to La Vendée, if we did not now incorporate his army
with ours."

"I have nothing further to say," said Denot. I must own I do not
altogether admire the selection which has been made; but I have nothing
further to say on the subject."

"I am sorry, Adolphe, that you have said so much," said de Lescure.

"You would have been apt to say more yourself if you had been passed
over," said Adolphe, forgetting in his passion how he had disgraced
himself before de Lescure at the bridge of Fouchard.

"I fear you misunderstand the purpose, which has collected here in
Saumur so many men in arms," said he. "I fear that you think the
peasants of our country have turned themselves into soldiers, that we
might become generals, and play at being great men. Indeed, such is not
the case; if personal ambition has brought you here, you had better
leave us. We have come here to fight, and very probably to die for our
King and our religion; and, being called upon to act as leaders, we must
bear a heavier share of the burden, and undergo greater perils than
others; but we seek no especial dignity, we look for no other
pre-eminence, than that of suffering more than others. I fear these are
not the feelings that influence you."

"My feelings, Sir, are as pure as your own!" said Denot.

"If so," said Father Jerome, "you had better teach us all to think so,
by taking care that your conduct is also as pure as M. de Lescure's."

"Oh, Father Jerome, do not anger him," said Henri. "Come with me,
Adolphe, and we will quietly talk over this; they don't exactly
understand what you mean yet."

"But they shall understand what I mean," said Denot, whose anger was now
beyond control, "and they shall know that I will not remain here to be
rebuked by a priest, who has thrust himself into affairs with which he
has no concern; or to make myself subservient to men who are not fit to
be my equals. I will not deign to be a common soldier, when such a man
as Stofflet is made an officer."

And he got up from the chair in which he had again seated himself, and
stalked out of the room.

"He has at any rate proved to us," said Bonchamps, "that I was wrong to
nominate him, and that you were right not to accept the nomination."

"I grieve that he should be vexed with me," said Stofflet; "but I did
not seek to put myself above him."

"Time and experience will make him wise," said de Lescure: "let us pity
his folly and forgive it."

The council was then broken up, and the different officers went each to
perform his own duties. When Denot left the room, Henri immediately
followed him.

"Adolphe," said he, as he overtook him in the market-place, "Adolphe,
indeed you are wrong, no one meant to show you any indignity."

"And have you also followed me to tell me I am wrong--of course I am
wrong--I am wrong because I will not submit, as you and Charles do, to
ignorant boors like Stofflet and Cathelineau, because--"

"Like Cathelineau! why, Adolphe, you are mad," said Henri, "why you
yourself voted that Cathelineau should be our General."

"Voted! Why, Henri, what a child you are! Do you call that voting when
all was arranged beforehand? You are blind, I tell you. You will vote
next, I suppose, that your great General's valour shall de rewarded with
your sister's hand!"

"My sister's hand! what is it you are speaking of?"

"Yes, Agatha's hand! think you that when you make a General of such as
him, that his ambition will rest there? if you are content to be
lieutenant to a postillion, I presume you will feel yourself honoured
by a nearer connexion with him."

"Denot, you are raving mad! Cathelineau looking for my sister's hand?"

"Yes, Agatha's hand, the postillion looking for your sister's hand; and,
Sir, you will find that I am not mad. Before long, Cathelineau will look
for Agatha's hand: her heart he has already," and without waiting for
any further answer, he hurried away.

"He must be raving mad," said Henri, "unlucky in love, and thwarted in
ambition, he is unable to bear his griefs like a man. What a phantasy
has jealousy created in his brain But Agatha was right; a man who could
speak of her, even in his madness, as he has now spoken, was not worthy
of her. Cathelineau! were he ten times lower than a postillion by birth,
he would still be twenty times made noble by achievements and by
character, and yet I would not wish--but nonsense! he thinks no more of
wedding Agatha than I of Diana."



When Adolphe Denot left his friend Henri in the street of Saumur, and
ran off from him, Henri was so completely astonished by his parting
words, so utterly dumb-founded by what he said respecting Agatha, that
he made no attempt to follow him, but returned after awhile to the
house, in which he, Charles and Adolphe were lodging, and as he walked
slowly through the streets, he continued saying to himself, "Poor
fellow, he is mad! he is certainly raving mad!"

From that time, no tidings whatsoever were heard of Denot. He had never
returned to his lodging, nor been seen anywhere, except in the stable,
in which his horse had been put to stand--he had himself saddled his
horse, and taken him from the stall, and from that moment nothing
further could be learnt of him in Saumur. De Lescure and Henri made the
most minute inquiries--but in vain; had he destroyed himself, or hid
himself in the town, his horse would certainly have been found; it was
surmised that he had started for Paris on some mad speculation; and
though his friends deeply grieved at his misconduct, his absence, when
they had so much to do and to think of was in itself, felt as a relief.

After remaining about a week in Saumur, the army was disbanded--or
rather disbanded itself, for every effort was made, to keep together as
great a body of men as possible. An attempt was made to garrison the
town; and for this purpose, the leaders undertook to pay about one
thousand men, at a certain rate per day, for their services, while they
remained under arms in Saumur, but the idea, after a very short time,
was abandoned; the men would not stay away from their homes, and in
spite of the comforts which were procured for them, and the pay which
was promised, the garrison very quickly dissolved.

Cathelineau succeeded in taking back with him to St. Florent, nearly all
the men who had accompanied him; his next object was the attack of
Nantes, and as St. Florent is between Saumur and that town, his men were
able to return to their homes, without going much out of their direct
way. He marched through the town of Angers on his return, and took
possession of the stores which he found there, the republican garrison
having fled as soon as they heard of his approach; many of Bonchamps'
men accompanied him, and some of those who had come to Saumur with de
Lescure and Henri Larochejaquelin, young men who had no wives or
families, and who literally preferred the excitement of the campaign,
to their ordinary home employments; all such men joined Cathelineau's
army, but by far the greater number of the peasants of the Bocage
returned with de Lescure and Larochejaquelin.

Charette had been invited to assist Cathelineau in his attack on Nantes,
and he had promised to do so; de Lescure found it absolutely necessary
to go home, on account of his wound, and Larochejaquelin went with him.
They had already heard that the Convention had determined to invade La
Vendée on every side with an overwhelming force, and it was necessary
to protect the Southern portion of the province; this duty was allotted
to our two friends, and they therefore returned home from Saumur,
without expecting to enjoy for any length of time the fruits of their
recent victory.

A litter was formed for de Lescure, for at present he found it
impossible to bear the motion of riding, and Henri, the little
Chevalier, Father Jerome and Chapeau, accompanied him on horseback. Many
of the peasants had started from Saumur, before their party, and the
whole road from that town through Dou and Vihiers to Durbellière, was
thronged with crowds of these successful warriors, returning to their
families, anxious to tell to their wives and sweethearts the feats they
had accomplished.

They were within a league of Durbellière, and had reached a point where
a cross-road led from the one they were on to the village of
Echanbroignes, and at this place many of the cortege, which was now
pretty numerous, turned off towards their own homes.

"M. Henri," said Chapeau, riding up to his master, from among two or
three peasants, who had been walking for some time by hi horse's side,
and anxiously talking to him, "M. Henri?"

"Well, Jacques; what is it now?" said Henri.

"I have a favour to ask of Monsieur."

"A favour, Chapeau; I suppose you want to go to Echanbroignes already,
to tell Michael Stein's pretty daughter, of all the gallant things you
did at Saumur."

"Not till I have waited on you and M. de Lescure to the château. Momont
would be dying if he had not some one to give him a true account of what
has been done, and I do not know that any one could give him a much
better history of it, than myself--of course not meaning such as you and
M. de Lescure, who saw more of the fighting than any one else; but then
you know, M. Henri, you will have too much to do, and too much to say
to the Marquis, and to Mademoiselle, to be talking to an old man like

"Never fear, Chapeau. You shall have Momont's ears all to yourself; but
what is it you do want?"

"Why, nothing myself exactly, M. Henri; but there are two men from
Echanbroignes here, who wish you to allow them to go on to Durbellière,
and stay a day or two there: they are two of our men, M. Henri; two of
the red scarfs."

"Two of the red scarfs!" said Henri.

"Yes, M. Henri, two of the men who went through the water, and took the
town; we call ourselves red scarfs, just to distinguish ourselves from
the rest of the army: your honour is a red scarf that is the chief of
the red scarfs; and we expect to be especially under your honour's

"I am a red scarf, Henri;" said the little Chevalier. "There are just
two hundred of us, and we mean to be the most dare-devil set in the
whole army; won't we make the cowardly blues afraid of the Durbellière
red scarfs!"

"And who are the two men, Jacques?" said Henri.

"Jean and Peter Stein," said Jacques: "you see, M. Henri, they ran away
to the battle, just in direct opposition to old Michael's positive
orders. You and the Curé must remember how I pledged my honour that they
should be at Saumur, and so they were: but Michael Stein is an awful
black man to deal with when his back is up: he thinks no more of giving
a clout with his hammer, than another man does of a rap with his five

"But his sons are brave fellows," said the little Chevalier, "and dashed
into the water among the very first. Michael Stein can't but be proud
that his two sons should be both red scarfs: if so, he must be a

"He is no republican, Chevalier," said Chapeau, "that's quite certain,
nor yet any of the family; but he is a very black man, and when once
angered, not easy to be smoothed down again; and if M. Henri will allow
Jean and Peter to come on to Durbellière, I can, perhaps, manage to go
back with them on Sunday, and Michael Stein will mind me more than he
will them: I can knock into his thick head better than they can do, the
high honour which has befallen the lads, in their chancing to have been
among the red scarfs."

"Well, Chapeau, let them come," said Henri. "No man that followed me
gallantly into Saumur, shall be refused admittance when he wishes to
follow me into Durbellière."

"We were cool enough, weren't we, Henri, when we marched into the town?"
said the Chevalier.

"We'll have a more comfortable reception at the old château," said
Henri; "at any rate, we'll have no more cold water. I must say, Arthur,
I thought the water of that moat had a peculiarly nasty taste."

They were not long in reaching the château, and Henri soon found himself
in his sister's arms. A confused account, first of the utter defeat of
the Vendeans at Varin, and then of their complete victory at Saumur, had
reached Durbellière; and though the former account had made them as
miserable, as the latter had made them happy, neither one nor the other
was entirely believed. De Lescure had sent an express to Clisson
immediately after the taking of the town, and Madame de Lescure had sent
from Clisson to Durbellière; but still it was delightful to have the
good news corroborated by the conquerors themselves, and Agatha was
supremely happy.

"My own dear, darling Henri," she said, clinging round his neck, "my own
brave, gallant brother, and were you not wounded at all--are you sure
you are not wounded?"

"Not a touch, not a scratch, Agatha, as deep as you might give me with
your bodkin."

"Thank God! I thank Him with all my heart and soul: and I know you were
the first everywhere. Charles wrote but a word or too to Victorine, but
he said you were the very first to set your foot in Saumur."

"A mere accident, Agatha; while Charles had all the fighting--the real
hard, up hill, hand to 'hand work--I and a few others walked into
Saumur, or rather we swam in, and took possession of the town. The
Chevalier here was beside me, and was over the breach as soon as I was."

"My brave young Arthur!" said Agatha, in her enthusiasm, kissing the
forehead of the blushing Chevalier, "you have won your spurs like a
knight and a hero; you shall be my knight and my hero. And I will give
you my glove to wear in your cap. But, tell me Arthur, why have you and
Henri, those red handkerchiets tied round your waist? Chapeau has one
too, and those other men, below there."

"That's our uniform," said Arthur. "We are all red scarfs; all the men
who clambered into Saumur through the water, are to wear red scarfs till
the war is over; and they are to be seen in the front, at every battle,
seige and skirmish. Mind, Agatha, when you see a red scarf, that he is
one of Henri Larochejaquelin's own body-guard; and when you see a bald
pate, it belongs to a skulking republican."

"Are the republicans all bald then?" said Agatha.

"We shaved all we caught at Saumur, at any rate. We did not leave a hair
upon one of them," said Arthur, rejoicing. "The red scarfs are fine
barbers, when a republican wants shaving."

"Is Charles badly wounded?" asked Agatha.

"His arm is broken, and he remained in action for eight hours after
receiving the wound, so that it was difficult to set; but now it is
doing well," said Henri.

"I should have offered him my services before this: at any rate I will
do so now; but Henri I have a thousand things to say to you; do not
expect to go to bed tonight, till you have told me everything just as
it happened," and Agatha hurried away, to give her sweet woman's aid to
her wounded cousin, while Henri went into his father's room.

"Welcome, my hero! welcome, my gallant boy!" said the old man, almost
rising from his chair, cripple as he was, in his anxiety to seize the
hand of his beloved son.

"I have come home, safe, father," said Henri, "to lay my sword at your

"You must not leave it there long, Henri, I fear, you must not leave it
there long; these traitors are going to devour us alive; to surround us
with their troops and burn us out of house and home; they will
annihilate the people they say, destroy the towns, and root out the very
trees and hedges. We shall see, Henri--we shall see. So they made a bad
fight of it at Saumur?"

"They had two men to one against us, besides the advantage of position,
discipline and arms, and yet they marched the best part of their troops
off in the night without striking a blow."

"Thanks be to the Lord, we will have our King again; we will have our
dear King once more, thanks be to the Almighty," said the old man, eager
with joy. "And they fled, did they, without striking a blow!"

"Some of them did, father; but some fought well enough; it was desperate
sharp work when poor Charles was wounded."

"God bless him! God bless him! I didn't doubt it was sharp work; but
even with valour, or without valour, what could sedition and perjury
avail against truth and loyalty! they were two to one; they had stone
walls and deep rivers to protect them; they had arms and powder, and
steel cuirasses; they had disciplined troops and all the appanages of
war, and yet they were scattered like chaff; driven from their high
walls and deep moats, by a few half-armed peasants; and why? why have
our batons been more deadly than their swords? because we have had truth
and loyalty on our side. Why have our stuff jackets prevailed against
their steel armour; because they covered honest hearts that were
fighting honestly for their King. His Majesty shall enjoy his own again,
my boy. Vive le Roi! Vive le Roi!"

"I trust he may, father; but, as you say, we shall have some hard work
to do first. Cathelineau and Charette will be before Nantes in a week's
time. I should have been with them had we not heard that a strong body
of republican troops is to be stationed at Parthenay. They say that
Santerre is to command a party of Marseillaise, commissioned to
exterminate the Vendeans."

"What, Santerre, the brewer of the Faubourgs?"

"The same, Danton's friend, he who used to be so loud at the Cordeliers;
and Westerman is to assist him," said Henri.

"Worse again, Henri, worse again; was it not he who headed the rebels
on the tenth of August, when our sainted King was driven from his home?"

"Yes, the same Westerman is now to drive us from our homes; or rather
to burn us, our homes, and all together--such at least is the task
allotted to him."

"God help our babes and our women!" said the old Marquis shuddering, "if
they fall into the clutches of Santerre, and that other still blacker

"Do not fear, father; have we not shewn that we are men? Santerre will
find that he has better soldiers to meet than any he brings with him."

"Fear, Henri! no, for myself I fear nothing. What injury can they do to
an old man like me? I do not even fear for my own children; if their
lives are required in the King's service, they know how to part with
them in perfect confidence of eternal happiness hereafter; but, Henri,
I do feel for our poor people; they are now full of joy and enthusiasm,
for they are warm from victory, and the grief of the few, who are
weeping for their relatives, is lost in the joy of the multitude. But
this cannot always be so, we cannot expect continual victory, and even
victory itself, when so often repeated, will bring death and desolation
into every parish and into every family."

"I trust, father, the war will not be prolonged so distantly as you seem
to think; the forces of Austria, England and Prussia already surround
the frontiers of France; and we have every reason to hope that friendly
troops from Britain will soon land on our own coast. I trust the autumn
will find La Vendée crowned with glory, but once more at peace."

"God send it, my son!" said the Marquis.

"I do not doubt the glory--but I do doubt the peace."

"We cannot go back now, father," said Henri.

"Nor would I have you do so; we have a duty to do, and though it be
painful we must do it. 'God will temper the wind to the shorn lamb,' and
give us strength to bear our sufferings; but my heart shudders, when I
am told that the Republic has let loose those wolves of Paris to shed
the blood of our poor people."

The prospect of a prolonged civil war, of continued strife, and
increased bloodshed, somewhat damped the joy with which the victory at
Saumur was discussed in the aristocratic portion of the château; but no
such gloomy notions were allowed to interfere with the triumph which
reigned in the kitchen. Here victory was clothed in robes all couleur
de rose, and it appeared that La Vendée, so happy in many other
respects, was chiefly blessed in being surrounded by republicans whom
she could conquer, and in having enemies who gave her the means of
acquiring glory.

"And our own young master was the first royalist who put his foot in
Saumur?" asked Momont, who had already received the information he
required four or five times, and on each occasion had drunk Henri's
health in about half-a-pint of wine.

"Indeed he was," said Chapeau, "the very first. You don't think he'd
have let any one go before him."

"Here's his health then, and God bless him!" said Momont. "It was I
first showed him how to fire a pistol; and very keen he was at taking
to gunpowder."

"Indeed, and indeed he was," said the housekeeper. "When he was no more
than twelve years old, not nigh as big as the little Chevalier, he let
off the big blunderbuss in my bed-room, and I on my knees at prayers the
while. God bless his sweet face, I always knew he'd make a great

"And don't you remember," said the laundress, "how he blew up
Mademoiselle Agatha, making her sit on a milk-pan turned over, with a
whole heap of gunpowder stuffed underneath, and she only six or seven
years old?"

"Did he though," said the page, "blow up Mademoiselle Agatha?"

"Indeed he did, and blew every scrap of hair off her head and eyebrows.
It's no wonder he's such a great general."

"And the Chevalier was second, wasn't he?" said the cook.

"Dear little darling fellow!" said the confidential maid; "and to think
of him going to the wars with guns and swords and pistols! If anything
had happened to him I should have cried my eyes out."

"And was the Chevalier the first to follow M. Henri into the town?"
asked the page, who was a year older than Arthur Mondyon, and
consequently felt himself somewhat disgraced at not having been at

"Why," said Jacques, with a look which was intended to shew how
unwilling he was to speak of himself, "I can't exactly say the Chevalier
was the first to follow M. Henri, but if he wasn't the second, he was
certainly the third who entered Saumur."

"Who then was the second?" said one or two at the same time.

"Why, I shouldn't have said anything about it, only you ask me so very
particularly," said Jacques, "but I believe I was second myself; but
Jean Stein can tell you everything; you weren't backward yourself Jean,
there were not more than three or four of them before you and Peter."

"I don't know about that," said Jean, "but we all did the best we could,
I believe."

"And was Chapeau really second?" said Momont, who was becoming jealous
of the distinction likely to be paid to his junior fellow-servant. "You
don't mean to say he went in before all the other gentlemen?"

"Gentlemen, indeed!" said Chapeau. "What an idea you have of taking a
town by storm, if you think men are to stand back to make room for
gentlemen, as though a party were going into dinner."

"But tell us now, Jean Stein," continued Momont, "was Chapeau really

"Well then," said Jean, "he was certainly second into the water, but he
was so long under it, I doubt whether he was second out--he certainly
did get a regular good ducking did Chapeau. Why, you came out feet
uppermost, Chapeau."

"Feet uppermost!" shouted Momont, "and is that your idea of storming a
town, to go into it feet uppermost?"

"But do you really mean to say that you were absolutely wet through when
you took Saumur?" said the laundress.

"Indeed we were," answered Chapeau, "wringing wet, every man of us."

"Lawks! how uncomfortable," said the cook. "And M. Henri, was he wet

"Wet, to be sure he was wet as water could make him."

"And the little Chevalier, did he get himself wet?" said the
confidential maid, "poor little fellow! it was like to give him his
death of cold."

"But, Chapeau, tell me truly now: did you kill any of those bloody
republicans with your own hand?" asked the housekeeper.

"Kill them," said Chapeau, "to be sure, I killed them when we were

"And how many, Chapeau; how many did you positively kill dead, you
know?" said the confidential maid.

"What nonsense you do talk!" answered he, with a great air of military
knowledge, "as if a man in battle knows when he kills and when he
doesn't. You're not able to look about you in that sort of way in the
middle of the smoke and noise and confusion."

"You don't mean to tell me you ever kill a man without knowing it!" said
the housekeeper.

"You don't understand what a battle is at all," answered Chapeau,
determined to communicate a little of his experience on the matter. "One
hasn't time to look about one to see anything. Now supposing you had
been with us at the taking of Saumur."

"Oh, the Lord forbid!" said the housekeeper. "I'd sooner be in my grave
any day, than go to one of those horrid bloody battles."

"Or you, Momont; supposing you'd been there?"

"Maybe I might have done as much as another, old as I look," replied the

"I'm sure you'd have done well, Momont. I'm sure you'd have done very
well," endeavouring to conciliate him into listening; "but supposing you
had been there, or at the camp of Varin--we'll say Varin, for after
all, we had more fighting there than at Saumur. Supposing you were one
of the attacking party; you find yourself close wedged in between your
two comrades right opposite the trenches; you have a loaded musket in
your hand, with a bayonet fixed to it, and you have five or six rounds
of cartridges in your belt; you know that you are to do your best, or
rather your worst with what you've got. Well, your commander gives the
word of attack. We'll suppose it's the good Cathelineau. 'Friends,' he
will say; 'dear friends; now is the time to prove ourselves men; now is
the moment to prove that we love our King; we will soon shew the
republicans that a few sods of turf are no obstacles in the way of
Vendean royalists,' and then the gallant fellow rushes into the
trenches; two thousand brave men follow him, shouting 'Vive le Roi!' and
you, Momont, are one of the first. All of a sudden, as you are just in
motion, prepared for your first spring, a sharp cutting gush of air
passes close to your face, and nearly blinds you; you feel that you can
hardly breathe, but you hear a groan, and a stumble; your next neighbour
and three men behind him have been sent into eternity by a cannon-ball
from the enemy. Do you think then that the man who fired the cannon
knows, or cares who he has killed? Well, on you go; had you not been in
a crowd, the enemy's fire, maybe, might have frightened you; but good
company makes men brave: on you go, and throw yourself into the trench.
You find a more active man than yourself just above you; he is already
nearly at the top of the bank, his feet are stuck in the sods above your
head; he is about to spring upon the rampart, when the bayonet of a
republican passes through his breast, and he falls at your feet, or
perhaps upon your head. You feel your heart shudder, and your blood runs
cold, but it is no time for pausing now; you could not return if you
would, neither can you remain where you are: up you go, grasping your
musket in one hand and digging the other into the loose sods. Your eyes
and mouth are crammed with dust, your face is bespattered with your
comrade's blood, your ears are full of strange noises; your very nature
changes within you; the smell of gunpowder and of carnage makes you feel
like a beast of prey. You do not think any longer of the friends who
have fallen beside you; you only long to grapple with the enemy who are
before you."

"Oh, mercy me! how very shocking!" said the housekeeper. "Pray don't
go on Chapeau; pray don't, or I shall have such horrid dreams."

"Oh! but you must go on, Chapeau," said the confidential maid, "I could
never bear that you should leave off; it is very horrid, surely; but as
Mademoiselle says, we must learn to look at blood and wounds now, and
hear of them, too."

"Do pray tell us the rest," said the page, who sat listening intently
with his mouth wide open. "I do so like it; pray tell us what Momont did
after he became a beast of prey?"

Chapeau was supremely happy; he felt that his military experience and
his descriptive talents were duly appreciated, and he continued:

"Well, you are now in the camp, on the enemy's ground, and you have to
fight every inch, till you drive them out of it; six or seven of your
comrades are close to you, and you all press on, still grasping your
muskets and pushing your bayonets before you: the enemy make a rush to
drive you back again; on they come against you, by twenties and by
thirties; those who are behind, push forward those who are in front, and
suddenly you find a heavy dragging weight upon your hands, and again you
hear the moans of a dying man close to you--almost in your arms. A
republican soldier has fallen on your bayonet. The struggles of the
wounded man nearly overpower you; you twist and turn and wrench, and
drag your musket to and fro, but it is no use; the weapon is jammed
between his ribs; you have not space nor time to extricate it; you are
obliged to leave it, and on you go unarmed, stumbling over the body of
your fallen enemy. Whether the man dies or lives, whether his wound be
mortal or no, you will never hear. And so you advance, till gradually
you begin to feel, rather than to see, that the blues are retreating
from you. You hear unarmed men asking for quarter, begging for their
lives, and the sound of entreaty again softens your heart; you think of
sparing life, instead of taking it; you embrace your friends as you meet
them here and there; you laugh and sing as you feel that you have done
your best and have conquered; and when you once more become sufficiently
calm to be aware what you are yourself doing, you find that you have a
sword in your hand, or a huge pistol; you know not from whom you took
them, or where you got them, or in what manner you have used them. How
can a man say then, whom he has killed in battle, or whether he has
killed any man? I do not recollect that I ever fired a shot at Varin
myself, and yet my musket was discharged and the pan was up. I will not
say that I ever killed a man; but I will say that I never struck a man
who asked for mercy, or fired a shot even on a republican, who had
thrown down his arms."

Henri's voice was now heard in the hall, loudly calling for Jacques, and
away he ran to join his master, as he finished his history.

"It makes my blood run cold," said the housekeeper, "to think of such
horrid things."

"Chapeau describes it very well, though," said the confidential maid;
"I'm sure he has seen it all himself. I'm sure he's a brave fellow."

"It's not always those who talk the most that are the bravest," said

Henri and his sister sat talking that night for a long time, after the
other inhabitants of the château were in bed, and though they had so
many subjects of interest to discuss, their conversation was chiefly
respecting Adolphe Denot.

"I cannot guess what has become of him," said Henri; "I made every
possible inquiry, short of that which might seem to compromise his
character. I do not think he can have returned to the Bocage, or we
should have heard of him."

"He must have gone to Fleury," said Agatha. "I am sure you will not find
that he is at his own house."

"Impossible, my love; we must have heard of him on the way; had he gone
round by Montrenil, he must still have passed over the bridge of
Fouchard, and we should have heard of him there."

"He must have ridden over in the night; you see he so evidently wanted
to conceal from you where he was going."

"My own impression is, that he is gone to Paris," said Henri; "but let
him have gone where he may, of one thing I am sure; he was not in his
right senses when he left the council-room, nor yet when he was speaking
to me in the street; poor Adolphe! I pity him with all my heart. I can
feel how miserable he must be."

"Why should he be miserable, Henri? The truth is, you mistake his
character. I do not wish to make you think ill of your friend; but
Adolphe is one of those men whom adversity will improve. You and our
father have rather spoilt him between you; he is too proud, too apt to
think that everything should bend to his wishes: he has yet to learn
that in this world he must endure to have his dearest wishes thwarted;
and till adversity has taught him that, his feelings will not be manly,
nor his conduct sensible."

"Poor fellow!" said Henri, "if adversity will teach him, he is likely
to get his lesson now. Did he part quietly with you, Agatha, on the day
before we started to Saumur?"

"Anything but quietly," said she. "I would not tell you all he said, for
on the eve of a battle in which you were to fight side by side, I did
not wish to make you angry with your friend and companion: but had a
raging madman, just escaped from his keepers, come to offer me his hand,
his conduct could not have been worse than Adolphe Denot's."

"Was he violent with you, Agatha?"

"He did not offer to strike me, nor yet to touch me, if you mean that:
but he threatened me; and that in such awful sounding, and yet
ridiculous language, that you would hardly know whether to laugh or to
be angry if I could repeat it."

"What did he say, Agatha?"

"Say! it would be impossible for me to tell you; he swung his arms like
a country actor in a village barn, and declared that if he were not
killed at Saumur, he would carry me away in spite of all that my friends
could do to hinder him."

"Poor fellow! poor Adolphe!" said Henri.

"You are not sorry I refused him? You would, indeed, have had to say,
poor Agatha! had I done otherwise."

"I am not sorry that you refused him, but I am sorry you could not love

"Why you say yourself he is mad: would you wish me to love a madman?"

"It is love that has made him mad. Adolphe is not like other men; his
passions are stronger; his feelings more acute; his regrets more

"He should control his passions as other men must do," said Agatha: "all
men who do not, are madmen." She remained silent for a few moments, and
then added, "you are right in saying that love has made him mad; but it
is the meanest of all love that has done so--it is self-love."

"I think you are too hard upon him, Agatha; but it is over now, and
cannot be helped."

"What did he say to you, Henri, when he left you in Saurnur?"

"His name had been mentioned you know in the council as one of the
leaders: Bonchamps, I believe, proposed it; but Charles objected, and
named Charette in his place, and Cathelineau and the rest agreed to it.
This angered Adolphe, and no wonder, for he is ambitious, and impatient
of neglect. I wish they would have let him been named instead of me, but
they would not, and when the list was finished, he was not on it. He got
up and said something; I hardly know what, but he complained of Stofflet
being one of the Generals; and then Charles rebuked him, and Adolphe in
a passion left the room."

"And you followed him?" asked Agatha.

"Yes, I followed him; but he was like a raging madman. I don't know how
it was; but instead of complaining about the Generals, he began
complaining about you. I don't know exactly whether I ought to tell you
what he said--indeed I had not intended to have done so."

"Nay, Henri; now you have raised my woman's curiosity, and you
positively must tell me."

"I hardly know how to tell you," said Henri, "for I really forget how
he said it. I don't know on earth how he introduced your name at all;
but he ended in accusing you of having a more favoured lover."

Agatha blushed slightly as she answered:

"He has no right whatever to ask the question; nor if I have a favoured
lover, should it be any ground of complaint to him. But to you, Henri,
if you wish a promise from me on the subject, I will readily and
willingly promise, that I will receive no man's love, and, far as I can
master my own heart, I will myself entertain no passion without your
sanction: and you, dear brother, you shall make me a return for my
confidence; you shall ask me to marry no man whom I cannot love."

"Don't for a moment think, dearest, that what he said, made me uneasy
as regarded you: but whom do you think he selected for you--of whom do
you think he is jealous?"

"I cannot attempt to guess a madman's thoughts, Henri."

"I will tell you then," said he; "but you will be shocked as well as
surprized. He is jealous of Cathelineau!"

"Cathelineau?" said Agatha, blushing now much more deeply than she had
done before.

"Yes, Cathelineau, the postillion."

"No, not Cathelineau the postillion; but Cathelineau the Saint of Anjou,
and the hero of St. Florent, and of Saumur. He at any rate has linked
my name with that of a man worthy of a woman's love."

"Worthy, Agatha, had his birth and early years been different from what
they were."

"Worthy as he is of any woman's love," said Agatha. "Great deeds and
noble conduct make birth of no avail, to give either honour or

"But, Agatha, surely you would not wed Cathelineau, were he to ask you?"

"Why should you ask that question, Henri?" said she: "are the words
which Adolphe Denot has uttered in his wild insanity of such weight, as
to make you regard as possible such an event? Have I not told you I
would wed no one without your sanction? Do you not know that Cathelineau
has never spoken to me but the coldest words of most distant respect?
Do you not know that his heart and soul are intent on other things than
woman's love? I, too, feel that this is not the time for love. While I
live in continual dread that those I most value may fall in battle;
while I fear that every messenger who comes to me in your absence, may
have some fatal news to tell, I do not wish to take upon me a fresh
burden of affection. Am I not best as I am, Henri, at present?" And she
put her arm affectionately through his. "When the wars are over, and the
King is on his throne, you shall bring me home a lover; some brave
friend of your's who has proved himself a gallant knight."

"I would have him be a gallant knight, certainly," said Henri, "but he
should also be a worthy gentleman."

"And is not Cathelineau a worthy gentleman?" forgetting in her
enthusiasm that she was taking the cause of one who was being spoken of
as her lover. "Oh, indeed he is; if valour, honesty, and honour, if
trust in God, and forgetfulness of self, if humanity and generosity
constitute a gentleman, then is Cathelineau the prince of gentlemen: but
do not, pray do not mistake me, Henri: a lover of scenery admires the
tops of distant mountains, and gazes on their snowy peaks with a
pleasure almost amounting to awe; but no one seeks to build his house
on the summit: so do I admire the virtues, the devotion, the courage of
Cathelineau; but my admiration is mixed with no love which would make
me wish to join my lot with his. I only say, that despite his birth and
former low condition, he is worthy of any woman's love."

Henri did not quite like his sister's enthusiasm, though he hardly knew
why it displeased him. He had thought of Cathelineau only as a soldier
and a General, and had found nothing in him that he did not approve of;
but he felt that be could not welcome him as his darling sister's
husband; "if Adolphe should have prophesied rightly," said he, to
himself as he went from his sister's room to his own chamber, "but no!
whatever her feelings may be, she is too good to do anything that would
displease me."



On the Sunday morning, after Henri's return to Durbellière, Jacques
Chapeau, with Jean and Peter Stein, left the château very early, and
started for Echanbroignes. Word had been sent to the old smith by some
of the neighbours, who had been at Saumur, that his two sons were safe
and sound, and that they had behaved well at the siege, and a message
at the same time reached Annot, informing her that Jacques meant to
spend his next Sunday at the village; the party was therefore expected,
and great preparations were made for a fête at Echanbroignes. The heroes
of that place considered that they had somewhat celebrated themselves;
in the first place, on final inquiry, it appeared, that not one person
from the village, who was at all able to go to Saumur, had neglected to
do so. In the next place, many of the villagers were among the number
of the red scarfs, and they claimed to themselves the privilege of being
considered peculiarly valiant and particularly loyal; and lastly, though
many of them had gone to Saumur, without arms, every man on his return
had a musket with him, which the old men and women regarded as absolute
trophies, taken by each man individually from some awful rebel whom he
had slain in single combat. There were to be great rejoicings,
therefore, at Echanbroignes, which were postponed for the arrival of
Chapeau and the two Stems.

The old smith was very angry at his sons' behaviour. As Chapeau had
said, he was a very black man, and when he was angered, it wasn't easy
to smooth him; the operation, however, was attempted by some of his
neighbours, and though they were not altogether successful, they
succeeded in making the old man a little proud of his family.

"Yes, Paul Rouel;" he said to the village innkeeper, who was an ancient
crony of his, "it's very well to talk of King and Church; but if King
and Church are to teach sons to fly against their fathers, we may, I
think, have a little too much of them; didn't I again and again tell the
boys not to go?"

"But, Michael Stein, how could you expect them to stay here, with a
score of old men like us, and a number of women and girls, when every
young fellow in the parish had gone to the wars? besides, they say, they
did gallantly at the wars, and gained great honour and glory."

"Gained a great fiddle-stick," said the smith.

"But, Michael Stein," said another old friend, named Gobelin, "you
wouldn't have your children disgraced, would you? think how sheepish
they would have looked, hiding themselves in the smithy here, when all
the other young men were parading round the green with the guns and
swords they have taken from the rebels, and the women and girls all
admiring them. Why, neighbour, not a girl in the parish would have
spoken to them."

"Girls spoken to them, indeed! I tell you, Gobelin, in the times now
coming, any girl will be ready enough to speak to a young man that has
a house over his head, and a five-franc piece in his pocket. No,
neighbour Gobelin; I gave my boys a good trade, and desired them to
stick to it; they have chosen instead to go for soldiers, and for
soldiers they may go. They don't come into my smithy again, that's all."

"You don't mean you won't speak to the lads, and after their fighting
so bravely and all!" said Paul Rouel, in a voice of horror.

"I didn't say I wouldn't speak to them, Rouel," said the father, "I am
as fond of my sons as another man; and as they were resolved to disobey
my commands, and to go fighting, why I'll not say but I'm glad they
didn't disgrace themselves. I'd have been sorry to hear that they'd run
away, or been the last to face the enemy; but they had no right to go,
when there was work for them to do at home; they are welcome now to come
and take the best I can give them, till their new trade calls them away
again, and then they'll be welcome to go soldiering again; not a hammer
shall they raise on my anvil, not a blast shall they blow in my smithy,
not an ounce of iron shall they turn in my furnace."

"You'll think better of these things after a day or two, neighbour,"
said Gobelin.

"When I think once about a thing, Gobelin, I'm not much given to think
again. But I tell you, I wish the boys no harm; let them be soldiers
now, and I pray God they may be good soldiers; only, if I save a little
money by hard work, I won't have them spend it among their comrades in
strong drink; it'll be all the better for Annot, when I die, that's

In this resolution he remained fixed, and in this frame of mind he
received his truant sons on their return to Echanbroignes on the Sunday
morning. They entered the village together with Chapeau, about nine in
the morning, having been met about a mile from the town, by four or five
friends, who escorted them back. Annot was not there, for she was very
busy at home, preparing breakfast for her brothers and lover. She at any
rate was determined that the prodigal sons should be received with a
fatted calf.

Chapeau marched up through the village at the head of the little
procession to bear the brunt of the father's anger, as his station in
life, and standing in the army made him feel superior even to the fury
of old Michael Stein. As they approached the door of the smith's house,
they saw him sitting in the little porch with a pipe in his mouth, for
Michael was never found without one or two implements; he had always
either his hammer or his pipe in lull activity.

"Welcome back to Echanbroignes, M. Chapeau, welcome back," said the old
man. "I am heartily glad to see so brave a soldier in my poor cabin!"
and he gave his hand to Jacques.

"And here be two other brave soldiers, Michael Stein, who, I hope, are
also welcome to Echanbroignes; and this I will say, any father in Poitou
might be proud to own them for his Sons: for gallanter fellows there are
not in the whole army of La Vendée, and that is saying a long word."

There was a little crowd round the smith's house, and in spite of his
unmilitary predilections, he could not help feeling proud at the public
testimony that was paid to his sons' merits: he showed this by the tear
that stood in his eye, as he said:

"They are welcome too, M. Chapeau; they are very welcome too. I am glad
to see ye, safe and sound from the wars, lads. I am glad to see thee,
Jean: I am glad to see thee, Peter," and he gave a hand to each of the
two young men, who were delighted with their unexpected kind reception.
"And this I will say before the neighbours here, as ye would go to the
wars, and make soldiers of yourselves, I am well pleased to hear ye
behaved yourselves like gallant brave men should do. I'd sooner that
your friends should have had to tell me that ye were both stiff and
cold, than that ye should have returned yourselves with shamed faces to
own that ye had disgraced the trade ye have chosen to take up with."

"Bravo! Bravo!" said Chapeau, "I am glad in my heart, Michael Stein, to
hear you speak so kindly to the lads; and so will M. Henri be glad to
hear it, for they are two of his own especial troop--they are two of the
gallant red scarfs, who swam into Saumur with their muskets tucked under
their arms."

"But understand me, boys," continued the smith, still speaking so that
the neighbours standing round could hear him. "I am right glad to see
both of you, as I am to see M. Chapeau, or any other gallant friend who
is kind enough to visit me and Annot. But mind, it is as visitors I
receive you; in a few days, doubtless, you must go away to the wars
again; till then ye shall have the best I can give, both to eat and to
drink. Ye shall have your own way, and never be asked to do a turn of
work. Ye shall have gay holyday times, and holyday fare, and anything
the old man can do, and anything the old man can give to make you merry,
he will do, and he will give, because you have come back gallantly, and
have not brought dishonour to the roost where ye were hatched--but more
than this I will not agree to. Ye would not abide at home, as I desired,
and this therefore is no longer a home for you; ye would not be content
to be forgers of weapons, but ye must e'en use them too, and ye have had
your way. Now, lads, I must have my way; and for the rest of the time
I must have it alone. This is no longer your home, lads, and I m no
longer your master. Ye would be soldiers when I did not wish it; now let
ye be soldiers, and I'm the less sorry for it, as it seems like that
you'll prove good soldiers. And now, Peter and Jean, you're welcome both
of you. Jacques Chapeau you are most heartily welcome--come Annot, let
the lads have a swinging breakfast, for I know these soldiers fight not
well unless they be fed well," and so finishing his speech, he led the
way into the cottage.

The three men were too well pleased with their reception to grumble at
the smith's mode of expressing his feeling. Jean and Peter were
delighted to find that they were to be entertained with the best their
father could afford, instead of with black looks and hard words, and
that the only punishment to be immediately inflicted on them, was that
they were to do no work; the party, therefore, entered the cottage
tolerably well pleased with each other.

It is not to be supposed that Annot remained in the back-ground during
the whole of her father's oration. She had come out of the cottage, and
kissed her two brothers, and shaken hands with her lover; she then
returned in again, and Chapeau had followed her, and as the two were
left alone together, for a minute or two, I think it very probable that
she kissed him also; but I cannot speak positively on this point.

Then they all sat down to breakfast, and Paul Rouel and old Gobelin, who
had contrived to be of the party, were greatly surprised to hear and to
see how civil Michael was to his sons. He pressed them to eat of the
very best, as he did to Chapeau, and talked to them about the war,
listened to all their tales, and had altogether lost the domineering
authoritative tone of voice, with which he usually addressed his own
family; it was only in talking to Annot that he was the same
hot-tempered old man as ever. The two young men themselves were hardly
at their ease; but they eat their breakfast, and made the best they
could of it.

"Smothered fire burns longest, neighbour Gobelin," said Rouel, as he
left the house. "Take my word, Michael will never forgive those two boys
of his the longest day he has to live."

After breakfast, Michael Stein and his whole party went to mass, as did
all the soldier peasants, who had returned from Saumur; and the old Curé
of the parish, who had now recovered possession of his own church, with
much solemnity returned thanks to God for the great victory which the
Vendeans had gained, and sung a requiem for the souls of the royalists
who had fallen in the battle. When they left the church, the peasants
all formed themselves into a procession, the girls going first, and the
men following them; and in this manner they paraded round the green,
carrying a huge white flag, which had been embroidered in the village,
and which bore in its centre, in conspicuous letters of gold, those
three words, the loyal Shibboleth of La Vendée, "Vive le Roi!"

This flag they fixed on a pole erected in the centre of the green, and
then they set to work to amuse themselves with twenty different games.
The games, however, did not flourish--the men were too eager to talk of
what they had done, and the girls were too willing to listen--they
divided themselves into fifty little parties, in which fifty different
accounts were given of the taking of Saumur, and in each party three or
four different warriors were named as having been the most conspicuous
heroes of the siege. Each narrator had some especially esteemed leader
or chief, who in his eyes greatly exceeded the other leaders, and the
prodigious feats of valour performed by this favoured warrior was the
first and most wonderful subject of discourse. Then, but at a modest
distance, as regards the glory of the achievements related, each peasant
told what he had done himself; two or three probably made out their
little history together, and told of each other's valour: that homely
and somewhat vulgar Scotch proverb, "you scratch my back, and I'll
scratch yours," was certainly unknown to them, but nevertheless they
fully recognized the wise principle of mutual accommodation which that
proverb teaches.

"It's no use talking, but there isn't one of them able to hold a candle
to our M. Henri--is there, Louis? that is, for a downright thundering

This was said by Jean Stein to two or three of the village girls, by
whom he was looked on as a great hero, in consequence of his having gone
to the war in spite of his father's commands, as well as on account of
Chapeau's honourable testimony in his favour; and the man referred to,
was one Louis Bourdin, who, as well as Jean, had been of the party who
followed Henri through the moat.

"That there is not, Jean; that is, for positive standup fighting; not
one. And we ought to know, for we have seen most of 'em. There's
Cathelineau is a very good man at leading on the men."

"Oh, yes I" said Jean, "Cathelineau is a fine fellow too, and a very
holy man; but somehow I don't think he's quite so forward as M. Henri.
M. Henri is always the first."

"But doesn't he get dreadfully knocked about by the guns and bullets?"
asked one of the girls.

"He doesn't matter that a pinch of snuff," said Louis.

"No, not a pinch of snuff," said Jean. "Do you mind, Louis, how he leapt
off his horse, and dashed through the trenches, that first night at
Varin? wasn't it beautiful?"

"You may say that, Jean," answered Louis; "it was beautiful. And what
a night that was--you were along with him, Jean, and so was Chapeau. M.
Henri was up first, I can swear to that; but it would puzzle any one to
say who was second."

"Yourself Louis, was as quick as any one--I marked you well. Indeed
then, said I to myself, if all our men are as forward as Louis Bourdin,
the village will have a great name before the war is over."

"But tell me truly now, Louis Bourdin," said a little girl, who was
listening intently all the time, "when you went up into that place, were
there real soldiers in armour, with guns and cannon firing at you all
the time?"

"Truly then there were, Lolotte, hundreds of them," said Bourdin.

"Well, that is horrible!" said the girls all at once.

"And do you remember, Jean," continued Bourdin, "when M. Henri dashed
down again, how the traitor rebels hallooed out, 'Fire upon the red
scarf!' Well, I did think it was all up with him then. You were close
to him, Jean; nearer than I am to Lolotte now."

"And that's quite near enough," said Lolotte, giving him a push.

"Why I'm sure I was doing nothing; I was only wanting to show you. Jean
Stein there, was, as I was saying, quite close to M. Henri; and as they
leapt out of the camp together, twenty voices roared out at once, 'Fire
upon the red scarf! fire upon the red scarf!' Oh! that was a fearful
evening; it was dark then, and the light of the smoking, glaring torches
made it five times more horrible. I thought we were as good as dead men
then. I'm sure I for one can't guess how we ever got out alive."

"And yet, M. Henri wasn't wounded," said Jean; "well it was wonderful.
After all, General d'Elbée must be right; Providence must give a shake
to a rebel's arm, just as he's firing, so as to send his bullet anywhere
but where it's meant to go."

"Yes," said Bourdin, "and it directs the shot of a royalist right into
a rebel's heart."

Well, if that be so," said Lolotte, "I'm sure I for one wouldn't like
to fight on the rebel's side. They must be wonderful brave men to hold
out at all, when Providence goes against them in that way."

"But they don't hold out, girl," said Jean, "they always run away; how
they did run, Bourdin, when M. Henri led us into the town, through the
broken wall; well, I believe they all thought at that time, the devil
himself was coming for them out of the moat."

"Only think, girls, three or four thousand men running away as fast as
their feet could carry them, from two hundred fellows, who hadn't a
charge of dry powder among them, and who were all themselves dripping
wet through; well that was fine."

Jacques Chapeau and Annot Stein had not joined any of these parties;
they had disappeared soon after mass, and were not heard of for three
or four hours afterwards; they took a long ramble by themselves, down
by the mill-stream, and far beyond the mill; sitting down, every now and
then among the willows, and then getting up and strolling on a bit
further; they did not, this day, waste their time in foolish quarrels
and fond reconciliations; but discoursed together, sundry serious
matters of important business, as becomes people to do, when they think
of arranging a partnership concern, from which each intends to get a
comfortable means of living for the remainder of his or her life; upon
the whole, they had but very few subjects of difference, and by their
return to the smith's house at supper-time, they had fully agreed that
no further time ought to be lost, in establishing a firm under the name
of Jacques and Annot Chapeau and Co. The Co. being left to come
afterwards or not, as God might please.

After supper was over, Annot had no difficulty in inducing her brothers
to leave the house, and thus the coast was left clear for Jacques to ask
the father's consent to his intended marriage. Neither he nor Annot
expected much difficulty in persuading Michael to accept of so promising
a son-in-law; but they were both determined that if they could not marry
with his consent, they would do so without it. So Chapeau lighted his
pipe, and sat himself down opposite the smith, and Annot retired to her
own little sleeping chamber, where she might conveniently hear what her
father and lover said to each other, respecting her intended nuptials.

"Well, Michael Stein, my old friend," said Jacques; "these are glorious
times, are they not? The rebels beaten hollow, till they haven't a face
to shew for themselves, and the King coming to La Vendée, to enjoy his
own again; it will be a fine thing to see the King riding into the
village of Echanbroignes to thank the gallant peasants, with his own
mouth, for what they have done for him!"

"Yes, M. Chapeau! those will be fine times when they come; pray God you,
and other young fellows like you, may live to see them; an old fellow
like me has little chance of such happiness."

"And why not, my friend? what is to make those days so far off? I tell
you, Michael Stein, the rebels were dead beaten at Saumur; they are
scattered like chaff; their very best soldiers are altogether hors de
combat; the war is as good as over. We may have to make a little trip
or two, just to receive the English, who are coming to help us; we may
have to go and meet them on the coast; or perhaps to Parthenay, to ask
M. Santerre what he wants in that part of the world; but that is all,
literally all; I tell you the rebels are clean beaten."

"I only wonder then, M. Chapeau, why you want the English to come and
help you, if, as you say, you have conquered all the republicans

"Just to pay their respects to the King, and, perhaps, to lend us a hand
in driving those Jacobins out of Paris--that's all. Till that's done the
King is to live at Saumur."

"To live at Saumur, is he?"

"That's what those say who know most about it, and you know I'm in the
way to know what's really going forward. He's to hold his court at
Saumur, and Henri Larochejaquelin is to be commandant of the town, and
have the command of all the forces there. I tell you, Michael Stein, we,
that wear the red scarfs, will not be the worse off then."

"I hope not; in truth, M. Chapeau, I hope not; though they do say that
they be not wise who put their trust in princes."

"Princes!" said Jacques, "I am not talking of princes, I am talking of
the King himself, God bless him!"

"Well, perhaps, that does make a difference; and I say, God bless him
too, with all my heart."

"I suppose you've heard, Michael Stein, that our young General, M.
Henri, is going to be married?"

"Is he then?" said Michael. "No, truly, I did not hear a word of such
a matter; to some grand lady of the court, I suppose?"

"No, but to his own beautiful young cousin, Mademoiselle de Lescure, the
sister of our other General, you know."

"Well, may they be happy, both of them; I mind their fathers well; the
old Marquis is still alive, but greatly ailing they tell me. I have much
to be thankful for, and I do thank the Lord!" and as he spoke, Michael
Stein crossed himself. "Now, I'm as old in a manner as the Marquis
himself and yet you see I can still make the big hammer clink on the

"Indeed you can, Michael, and better too than many a young fellow. But,
as we were saying, here is M. Henri going to be married, and his lady
will surely be wanting some nice, tidy, handy, good-looking, smart young
woman to be about her, more as a sort of a companion, you know, than a
servant; in the same way, you mind, as I am now to M. Henri: now,
wouldn't that be a nice berth for your daughter, Annot Stein?"

As Chapeau described the nice, tidy, smart, pretty young woman, that the
future Madame de Larochejaquelin would be sure to require, Annot
smoothed down her little apron with both her hands, gave a complaisant
glance at her own neat little feet, and her bright holiday shoes, and
then listened eagerly for her father's answer.

"I am sure, M. Chapeau, that Annot Stein is very thankful for your good
wishes," said he, "and so is her father, very thankful; but she has not
court-breeding enough for that sort of work; she has never learnt to
speak smooth, and say pretty little flattering sayings, such as ladies
like to hear. Nor when Madame would be out of sorts and ruffled, as
great. ladies will be sometimes, would she know how to say the right
word just at the right time; and then Annot has too much of her father's
rough blood, and if Madame scolded at all, it's ten chances to one, but
she would scold again, and that, you know, wouldn't do. No, M. Chapeau,
Annot had better remain as she is, and keep her father's house, till she
marries some honest tradesman, like myself, when these deadly wars be

"Well, but my dear friend," said Chapeau, "I had another little
proposition I wanted to make, which would fit in so well with what I
suggested; and I can assure you Madame Henri, that is Mademoiselle de
Lescure as she is now, you know, is the softest, sweetest-tempered
creature living--she wouldn't quarrel with any one, much less with such
a little angel as your daughter."

"I'm sure," said Michael, making a low bow to his guest, and pressing
the handle of his pipe to his breast. "I'm sure my daughter will be
very thankful for the great interest you take respecting her."

"But as I was saying, you know, about this other little proposition of

"Well, M. Chapeau, I'm listening with all my ears, and very thankful for
your kind friendship."

"You see," said Jacques, "M. Henri is going to change his condition;
we've both been young fellows together; we've had our amusements and our
pleasures like other young men, and, maybe, been as fortunate as most.
Well, my friend, M. Henri is going to settle down, and marry the girl
of his heart, whom he loves better than all the world; and what can I
do better than follow his example? The truth is, I mean to settle down
too, Michael Stein."

"Well," said Michael, scratching his head, and listening for the
remainder of Chapeau's little proposition.

"And I want to marry the girl of my heart, whom I love better than all
the world, and her name is Annot Stein, and there's an end of it; and
now you know all about it."

Annot's heart beat quickly as she heard him make the last important
declaration; and beautifully she thought he made it. When Chapeau called
her a little angel, she swore to herself that he was the dearest fellow
that ever lived and when he finished by protesting that she was the girl
of his heart, and that he loved her better than all the world, she
longed to run out and throw her arms about his neck.

Michael Stein took a long pull at his pipe, and blew out a huge cloud
of tobacco before he made any answer, and then he said:

"M. Chapeau, I am sensible how great an honour you propose to do me and
my poor daughter; but I am not a proud man, no one can say that Michael
Stein was ever proud or ambitious; my only wish is to see my little girl
married to a decent hard-working fellow, like her father."

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