Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Complete Celebrated Crimes by Alexander Dumas, Pere

Part 9 out of 33

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 3.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

down. Froment fired his pistol, but missed. As he fell the captain
drew his sword, but it was torn from his hands, and he received a cut
from Froment's sword. Upon this the captain made a great effort, and
getting one of his arms free, drew a pistol from his pocket, drove
back his assassins, fired at Froment, and missed him. One of the men
by his side was wounded and disarmed.

A patrol of the regiment of Guienne, attached to which was M. Boudon,
a dragoon officer, was passing the Calquieres. M. Boudon was
attacked by a band of red-tufts and his casque and his musket carried
off. Several shots were fired at him, but none of them hit him; the
patrol surrounded him to save him, but as he had received two bayonet
wounds, he desired revenge, and, breaking through his protectors,
darted forward to regain possession of his musket, and was killed in
a moment. One of his fingers was cut off to get at a diamond ring
which he wore, his pockets were rifled of his purse and watch, and
his body was thrown into the moat.

Meantime the place-des-Recollets, the Cours, the place-des-Carmes,
the Grand-Rue, and rue de Notre Dame-de-l'Esplanade were filled with
men armed with guns, pitchforks, and swords. They had all come from
Froment's house, which overlooked that part of Nimes called Les
Calquieres, and the entrance to which was on the ramparts near the
Dominican Towers. The three leaders of the insurrection--Froment.
Folacher, and Descombiez--took possession of these towers, which
formed a part of the old castle; from this position the Catholics
could sweep the entire quay of Les Calquieres and the steps of the
Salle de Spectacle with their guns, and if it should turn out that
the insurrection they had excited did not attain the dimensions they
expected nor gain such enthusiastic adherents, it would be quite
feasible for them to defend themselves in such a position until
relief came.

These arrangements were either the result of long meditation or were
the inspiration of some clever strategist. The fact is that
everything leads one to believe that it was a plan which had been
formed with great care, for the rapidity with which all the
approaches to the fortress were lined with a double row of militiamen
all wearing the red tuft, the care which was taken to place the most
eager next the barracks in which the park of artillery was stationed,
and lastly, the manner in which the approach to the citadel was
barred by an entire company (this being the only place where the
patriots could procure arms), combine to prove that this plan was the
result of much forethought; for, while it appeared to be only
defensive, it enabled the insurrectionists to attack without much,
danger; it caused others to believe that they had been first
attacked. It was successfully carried out before the citizens were
armed, and until then only a part of the foot guard and the twelve
dragoons at the palace had offered any resistance to the

The red flag round which, in case of civil war, all good citizens
were expected to gather, and which was kept at the town hall, and
which should have been brought out at the first shot, was now loudly
called for. The Abbe de Belmont, a canon, vicar-general, and
municipal official, was persuaded, almost forced, to become
standard-bearer, as being the most likely on account of his
ecclesiastical position to awe rebels who had taken up arms in the
name of religion. The abbe himself gives the following account of
the manner in which he fulfilled this mandate:

"About seven o'clock in the evening I was engaged with MM. Porthier
and Ferrand in auditing accounts, when we heard a noise in the court,
and going out on the lobby, we saw several dragoons coming upstairs,
amongst whom was M. Paris. They told us that fighting was going on
in the place de-l'Eveche, because some one or other had brought a
note to the porter ordering him to admit no more dragoons to the
palace on pain of death. At this point I interrupted their story by
asking why the gates had not been closed and the bearer of the letter
arrested, but they replied to me that it had not been possible;
thereupon MM. Ferrand and Ponthier put on their scarfs and went out.

"A few instants later several dragoons, amongst whom I recognised
none but MM. Lezan du Pontet, Paris junior, and Boudon, accompanied
by a great number of the militia, entered, demanding that the red
flag should be brought out. They tried to open the door of the
council hall, and finding it locked, they called upon me for the key.
I asked that one of the attendants should be sent for, but they were
all out; then I went to the hall-porter to see if he knew where the
key was. He said M. Berding had taken it. Meanwhile, just as the
volunteers were about to force an entrance, someone ran up with the
key. The door was opened, and the red flag seized and forced into my
hands. I was then dragged down into the courtyard, and from thence
to the square.

"It was all in vain to tell them that they ought first to get
authority, and to represent to them that I was no suitable
standard-bearer on account of my profession; but they would not
listen to any objection, saying that my life depended upon my
obedience, and that my profession would overawe the disturbers of the
public peace. So I went on, followed by a detachment of the Guienne
regiment, part of the first company of the legion, and several
dragoons; a young man with fixed bayonet kept always at my side.
Rage was depicted on the faces of all those who accompanied me, and
they indulged in oaths and threats, to which I paid no attention.

"In passing through the rue des Greffes they complained that I did not
carry the red flag high enough nor unfurl it fully. When we got to
the guardhouse at the Crown Gate, the guard turned out, and the
officer was commanded to follow us with his men. He replied that he
could not do that without a written order from a member of the Town
Council. Thereupon those around me told me I must write such an
order, but I asked for a pen and ink; everybody was furious because I
had none with me. So offensive were the remarks indulged in by the
volunteers and some soldiers of the Guienne regiment, and so
threatening their gestures, that I grew alarmed. I was hustled and
even received several blows; but at length M. de Boudon brought me
paper and a pen, and I wrote:--'I require the troops to assist us to
maintain order by force if necessary.' Upon this, the officer
consented to accompany us. We had hardly taken half a dozen steps
when they all began to ask what had become of the order I had just
written, for it could not be found. They surrounded me, saying that
I had not written it at all, and I was on the point of being trampled
underfoot, when a militiaman found it all crumpled up in his pocket.
The threats grew louder, and once more it was because I did not carry
the flag high enough, everyone insisting that I was quite tall enough
to display it to better advantage.

"However, at this point the militiamen with the red tufts made their
appearance, a few armed with muskets but the greater number with
swords; shots were exchanged, and the soldiers of the line and the
National Guard arranged themselves in battle order, in a kind of
recess, and desired me to go forward alone, which I refused to do,
because I should have been between two fires.

"Upon this, curses, threats, and blows reached their height. I was
dragged out before the troops and struck with the butt ends of their
muskets and the flat of their swords until I advanced. One blow that
I received between the shoulders filled my mouth with blood.

"All this time those of the opposite party were coming nearer, and
those with whom I was continued to yell at me to go on. I went on
until I met them. I besought them to retire, even throwing myself at
their feet. But all persuasion was in vain; they swept me along with
them, making me enter by the Carmelite Gate, where they took the flag
from me and allowed me to enter the house of a woman whose name I
have never known. I was spitting such a quantity of blood that she
took pity on me and brought me everything she could think of as
likely to do me good, and as soon as I was a little revived I asked
to be shown the way to M. Ponthier's."

While Abbe de Belmont was carrying the red flag the militia forced
the Town Councillors to proclaim martial law. This had just been
done when word was brought that the first red flag had been carried
off, so M. Ferrand de Missol got out another, and, followed by a
considerable escort, took the same road as his colleague, Abbe de
Belmont. When he arrived at the Calquieres, the red-tufts, who still
adorned the ramparts and towers, began to fire upon the procession,
and one of the militia was disabled; the escort retreated, but M.
Ferrand advanced alone to the Carmelite Gate, like M. de Belmont, and
like him, he too, was taken prisoner.

He was brought to the tower, where he found Froment in a fury,
declaring that the Council had not kept its promise, having sent no
relief, and having delayed to give up the citadel to him.

The escort, however, had only retreated in order to seek help; they
rushed tumultuously to the barracks, and finding the regiment of
Guienne drawn up in marching order in command of Lieutenant-Colonel
Bonne, they asked him to follow them, but he refused without a
written order from a Town Councillor. Upon this an old corporal
shouted, "Brave soldiers of Guienne! the country is in danger, let us
not delay to do our duty." "Yes, yes," cried the soldiers; "let us
march" The lieutenant colonel no longer daring to resist, gave the
word of command, and they set off for the Esplanade.

As they came near the rampart with drums beating, the firing ceased,
but as night was coming on the new-comers did not dare to risk
attacking, and moreover the silence of the guns led them to think
that the rebels had given up their enterprise. Having remained an
hour in the square, the troops returned to their quarters, and the
patriots went to pass the night in an inclosure on the Montpellier

It almost seemed as if the Catholics were beginning to recognise the
futility of their plot; for although they had appealed to fanaticism,
forced the Town Council to do their will, scattered gold lavishly and
made wine flow, out of eighteen companies only three had joined them.
"Fifteen companies," said M. Alquier in his report to the National
Assembly, "although they had adopted the red tuft, took no part in
the struggle, and did not add to the number of crimes committed
either on that day or during the days that followed. But although
the Catholics gained few partisans among their fellow-citizens, they
felt certain that people from the country would rally to their aid;
but about ten o'clock in the evening the rebel ringleaders, seeing
that no help arrived from that quarter either, resolved to apply a
stimulus to those without. Consequently, Froment wrote the following
letter to M. de Bonzols, under-commandant of the province of
Languedoc, who was living at Lunel:

"SIR, Up to the present all my demands, that the Catholic companies
should be put under arms, have been of no avail. In spite of the
order that you gave at my request, the officials of the municipality
were of opinion that it would be more prudent to delay the
distribution of the muskets until after the meeting of the Electoral
Assembly. This day the Protestant dragoons have attacked and killed
several of our unarmed Catholics, and you may imagine the confusion
and alarm that prevail in the town. As a good citizen and a true
patriot, I entreat you to send an order to the regiment of royal
dragoons to repair at once to Nimes to restore tranquillity and put
down all who break the peace. The Town Council does not meet, none
of them dares to leave his house; and if you receive no requisition
from them just now, it is because they go in terror of their lives
and fear to appear openly. Two red flags have been carried about the
streets, and municipal officers without guards have been obliged to
take refuge in patriotic houses. Although I am only a private
citizen, I take the liberty of asking for aid from you, knowing that
the Protestants have sent to La Vannage and La Gardonninque to ask
you for reinforcements, and the arrival of fanatics from these
districts would expose all good patriots to slaughter. Knowing as I
do of your kindness and justice, I have full trust that my prayer
will receive your favourable attention.

"FROMENT, Captain of Company No. 39

"June 13, 1790, 11 o'c. p.m."

Unfortunately for the Catholic party, Dupre and Lieutaud, to whom
this letter was entrusted for delivery, and for whom passports were
made out as being employed on business connected with the king and
the State, were arrested at Vehaud, and their despatches laid before
the Electoral Assembly. Many other letters of the same kind were
also intercepted, and the red-tufts went about the town saying that
the Catholics of Nimes were being massacred.

The priest of Courbessac, among others, was shown a letter saying
that a Capuchin monk had been murdered, and that the Catholics were
in need of help. The agents who brought this letter to him wanted
him to put his name to it that they might show it everywhere, but
were met by a positive refusal.

At Bouillargues and Manduel the tocsin was sounded: the two villages
joined forces, and with weapons in their hands marched along the road
from Beaucaire to Nimes. At the bridge of Quart the villagers of
Redressan and Marguerite joined them. Thus reinforced, they were
able to bar the way to all who passed and subject them to
examination; if a man could show he was a Catholic, he was allowed to
proceed, but the Protestants were murdered then and there. We may
remind our readers that the "Cadets de la Croix" pursued the same
method in 1704.

Meantime Descombiez, Froment, and Folacher remained masters of the
ramparts and the tower, and when very early one morning their forces
were augmented by the insurgents from the villages (about two hundred
men), they took advantage of their strength to force a way into the
house of a certain Therond, from which it was easy to effect an
entrance to the Jacobin monastery, and from there to the tower
adjoining, so that their line now extended from the gate at the
bridge of Calquieres to that at the end of College Street. From
daylight to dusk all the patriots who came within range were fired at
whether they were armed or not.

On the 14th June, at four o'clock in the morning, that part of the
legion which was against the Catholics gathered together in the
square of the Esplanade, where they were joined by the patriots from
the adjacent towns and villages, who came in in small parties till
they formed quite an army. At five A.M. M. de St. Pons, knowing that
the windows of the Capuchin monastery commanded the position taken up
by the patriots, went there with a company and searched the house
thoroughly, and also the Amphitheatre, but found nothing suspicious
in either.

Immediately after, news was heard of the massacres that had taken
place during the night.

The country-house belonging to M. and Mme. Noguies had been broken
into, the furniture destroyed, the owners killed in their beds, and
an old man of seventy who lived with them cut to pieces with a

A young fellow of fifteen, named Payre, in passing near the guard
placed at the Pont des files, had been asked by a red-tuft if he were
Catholic or Protestant. On his replying he was Protestant, he was
shot dead on the spot. "That was like killing a lamb," said a
comrade to the murderer. "Pooh!" said he, "I have taken a vow to
kill four Protestants, and he may pass for one."

M. Maigre, an old man of eighty-two, head of one of the most
respected families in the neighbourhood, tried to escape from his
house along with his son, his daughter-in-law, two grandchildren, and
two servants; but the carriage was stopped, and while the rebels were
murdering him and his son, the mother and her two children succeeded
in escaping to an inn, whither the assassins pursued them,
Fortunately, however, the two fugitives having a start, reached the
inn a few minutes before their pursuers, and the innkeeper had enough
presence of mind to conceal them and open the garden gate by which he
said they had escaped. The Catholics, believing him, scattered over
the country to look for them, and during their absence the mother and
children were rescued by the mounted patrol.

The exasperation of the Protestants rose higher and higher as reports
of these murders came in one by one, till at last the desire for
vengeance could no longer be repressed, and they were clamorously
insisting on being led against the ramparts and the towers, when
without warning a heavy fusillade began from the windows and the
clock tower of the Capuchin monastery. M. Massin, a municipal
officer, was killed on the spot, a sapper fatally wounded, and
twenty-five of the National Guard wounded more or less severely. The
Protestants immediately rushed towards the monastery in a disorderly
mass; but the superior, instead of ordering the gates to be opened,
appeared at a window above the entrance, and addressing the
assailants as the vilest of the vile, asked them what they wanted at
the monastery. "We want to destroy it, we want to pull it down till
not one stone rests upon another," they replied. Upon this, the
reverend father ordered the alarm bells to be rung, and from the
mouths of bronze issued the call for help; but before it could
arrive, the door was burst in with hatchets, and five Capuchins and
several of the militia who wore the red tuft were killed, while all
the other occupants of the monastery ran away, taking refuge in the
house of a Protestant called Paulhan. During this attack the church
was respected; a man from Sornmieres, however, stole a pyx which he
found in the sacristy, but as soon as his comrades perceived this he
was arrested and sent to prison.

In the monastery itself, however, the doors were broken in, the
furniture smashed, the library and the dispensary wrecked. The
sacristy itself was not spared, its presses being broken into, its
chests destroyed, and two monstrances broken; but nothing further was
touched. The storehouses and the small cloth-factory connected with
the monastery remained intact, like the church.

But still the towers held out, and it was round them that the real
fighting took place, the resistance offered from within being all the
more obstinate that the besieged expected relief from moment to
moment, not knowing that their letters had been intercepted by the
enemy. On every side the rattling of shot was heard, from the
Esplanade, from the windows, from the roofs; but very little effect
was produced by the Protestants, for Descombiez had told his men to
put their caps with the red tufts on the top of the wall, to attract
the bullets, while they fired from the side. Meantime the
conspirators, in order to get a better command of the besiegers,
reopened a passage which had been long walled up between the tower
Du Poids and the tower of the Dominicans. Descombiez, accompanied by
thirty men, came to the door of the monastery nearest the
fortifications and demanded the key of another door which led to that
part of the ramparts which was opposite the place des Carmes, where
the National Guards were stationed. In spite of the remonstrances of
the monks, who saw that it would expose them to great danger, the
doors were opened, and Froment hastened to occupy every post of
vantage, and the battle began in that quarter, too, becoming fiercer
as the conspirators remarked that every minute brought the
Protestants reinforcements from Gardonninque and La Vaunage. The
firing began at ten o'clock in the morning, and at four o'clock in
the afternoon it was going on with unabated fury.

At four o'clock, however, a servant carrying a flag of truce
appeared; he brought a letter from Descombiez, Fremont, and Folacher,
who styled themselves "Captains commanding the towers of the Castle."
It was couched in the following words:--

"To the Commandant of the troops of the line, with the request that
the contents be communicated to the militia stationed in the

"SIR,--We have just been informed that you are anxious for peace. We
also desire it, and have never done anything to break it. If those
who have caused the frightful confusion which at present prevails in
the city are willing to bring it to an end, we offer to forget the
past and to live with them as brothers.

"We remain, with all the frankness and loyalty of patriots and
Frenchmen, your humble servants,

"The Captains of the Legion of Nimes, in command of the towers of the

"FROMENT, DESCOMBIEZ, FOLACHER NIMES, the 14th June 1790, 4.00 P.M."

On the receipt of this letter, the city herald was sent to the towers
to offer the rebels terms of capitulation. The three "captains in
command" came out to discuss the terms with the commissioners of the
electoral body; they were armed and followed by a great number of
adherents. However, as the negotiators desired peace before all
things, they proposed that the three chiefs should surrender and
place themselves in the hands of the Electoral Assembly. This offer
being refused, the electoral commissioners withdrew, and the rebels
retired behind their fortifications. About five o'clock in the
evening, just as the negotiations were broken off, M. Aubry, an
artillery captain who had been sent with two hundred men to the depot
of field artillery in the country, returned with six pieces of
ordnance, determined to make a breach in the tower occupied by the
conspirators, and from which they were firing in safety at the
soldiers, who had no cover. At six o'clock, the guns being mounted,
their thunder began, first drowning the noise of the musketry and
then silencing it altogether; for the cannon balls did their work
quickly, and before long the tower threatened to fall. Thereupon the
electoral commissioners ordered the firing to cease for a moment, in
the hope that now the danger had become so imminent the leaders would
accept the conditions which they had refused one hour before; and not
desiring to drive them to desperation, the commissioners advanced
again down College Street, preceded by a bugler, and the captains
were once more summoned to a parley. Froment and Descombiez came out
to meet them, and seeing the condition of the tower, they agreed to
lay down their arms and send them for the palace, while they
themselves would proceed to the Electoral Assembly and place
themselves under its protection. These proposals being accepted, the
commissioners waved their hats as a sign that the treaty was

At that instant three shots were fired from the ramparts, and cries
of "Treachery! treachery!" were heard on every side. The Catholic
chiefs returned to the tower, while the Protestants, believing that
the commissioners were being assassinated, reopened the cannonade;
but finding that it took too long to complete the breach, ladders
were brought, the walls scaled, and the towers carried by assault.
Some of the Catholics were killed, the others gained Froment's house,
where, encouraged by him, they tried to organise a resistance; but
the assailants, despite the oncoming darkness, attacked the place
with such fury that doors and windows were shattered in an instant.
Froment and his brother Pierre tried to escape by a narrow staircase
which led to the roof, but before they reached it Pierre was wounded
in the hip and fell; but Froment reached the roof, and sprang upon an
adjacent housetop, and climbing from roof to roof, reached the
college, and getting into it by a garret window, took refuge in a
large room which was always unoccupied at night, being used during
the day as a study.

Froment remained hidden there until eleven o'clock. It being then
completely dark, he got out of the window, crossed the city, gained
the open country, and walking all night, concealed himself during the
day in the house of a Catholic. The next night he set off again, and
reached the coast, where he embarked on board a vessel for Italy, in
order to report to those who had sent him the disastrous result of
his enterprise.

For three whole days the carnage lasted. The Protestants losing all
control over themselves, carried on the work of death not only
without pity but with refined cruelty. More than five hundred
Catholics lost their lives before the 17th, when peace was restored.

For a long time recriminations went on between Catholics and
Protestants, each party trying to fix on the other the responsibility
for those dreadful three days; but at last Franqois Froment put an
end to all doubt on the subject, by publishing a work from which are
set forth many of the details just laid before our readers, as well
as the reward he met with when he reached Turin. At a meeting of the
French nobles in exile, a resolution was passed in favour of
M. Pierre Froment and his children, inhabitants of Nimes.

We give a literal reproduction of this historic document:

"We the undersigned, French nobles, being convinced that our Order
was instituted that it might become the prize of valour and the
encouragement of virtue, do declare that the Chevalier de Guer having
given us proof of the devotion to their king and the love of their
country which have been displayed by M. Pierre Froment, receiver of
the clergy, and his three sons, Mathieu Froment citizen, Jacques
Froment canon, Francois Froment advocate, inhabitants of Nimes, we
shall henceforward regard them and their descendants as nobles and
worthy to enjoy all the distinctions which belong to the true
nobility. Brave citizens, who perform such distinguished actions as
fighting for the restoration of the monarchy, ought to be considered
as the equals of those French chevaliers whose ancestors helped to
found it. Furthermore, we do declare that as soon as circumstances
permit we shall join together to petition His Majesty to grant to
this family, so illustrious through its virtue, all the honours and
prerogatives which belong to those born noble.

"We depute the Marquis de Meran, Comte d'Espinchal, the Marquis
d'Escars, Vicomte de Pons, Chevalier de Guer, and the Marquis de la
Feronniere to go to Mgr. le Comte d'Artois, Mgr. le Duc d'Angouleme,
Mgr. le Duc de Berry, Mgr. le Prince de Conde, Mgr. le Due de
Bourbon, and Mgr. le Duc d'Enghien, to beg them to put themselves at
our head when we request His Majesty to grant to MM. Froment all the
distinctions and advantages reserved for the true nobility.

"At TURIN, 12th September 1790."

The nobility of Languedoc learned of the honours conferred on their
countryman, M. Froment, and addressed the following letter to him:

"LORCH, July 7, 1792

"MONSIEUR, The nobles of Languedoc hasten to confirm the resolution
adopted in your favour by the nobles assembled at Turin. They
appreciate the zeal and the courage which have distinguished your
conduct and that of your family; they have therefore instructed us to
assure you of the pleasure with which they will welcome you among
those nobles who are under the orders of Marshal de Castries, and
that you are at liberty to repair to Lorch to assume your proper rank
in one of the companies.

"We have the honour to be, monsieur, your humble and obedient




The Protestants, as we have said, hailed the golden dawn of the
revolution with delight; then came the Terror, which struck at all
without distinction of creed. A hundred and thirty-eight heads fell
on the scaffold, condemned by the revolutionary tribunal of the Gard.
Ninety-one of those executed were Catholic, and forty-seven
Protestants, so that it looked as if the executioners in their desire
for impartiality had taken a census of the population.

Then came the Consulate: the Protestants being mostly tradesmen and
manufacturers, were therefore richer than the Catholics, and had more
to lose; they seemed to see more chance of stability in this form of
government than in those preceding it, and it was evident that it had
a more powerful genius at its head, so they rallied round it with
confidence and sincerity. The Empire followed, with its inclination
to absolutism, its Continental system, and its increased taxation;
and the Protestants drew back somewhat, for it was towards them who
had hoped so much from him that Napoleon in not keeping the promises
of Bonaparte was most perjured.

The first Restoration, therefore, was greeted at Nimes with a
universal shout of joy; and a superficial-observer might have thought
that all trace of the old religious leaven had disappeared. In fact,
for seventeen years the two faiths had lived side by side in perfect
peace and mutual good-will; for seventeen years men met either for
business or for social purposes without inquiring about each other's
religion, so that Nimes on the surface might have been held up as an
example of union and fraternity.

When Monsieur arrived at Nimes, his guard of honour was drawn from
the city guard, which still retained its organisation of 1812, being
composed of citizens without distinction of creed. Six decorations
were conferred on it--three on Catholics, and three on Protestants.
At the same time, M. Daunant, M. Olivier Desmonts, and M. de Seine,
the first the mayor, the second the president of the Consistory, and
the third a member of the Prefecture, all three belonging to the
Reformed religion, received the same favour.

Such impartiality on the part of Monsieur almost betrayed a
preference, and this offended the Catholics. They muttered to one
another that in the past there had been a time when the fathers of
those who had just been decorated by the hand of the prince had
fought against his faithful adherents. Hardly had Monsieur left the
town, therefore, than it became apparent that perfect harmony no
longer existed.

The Catholics had a favorite cafe, which during the whole time the
Empire lasted was also frequented by Protestants without a single
dispute caused by the difference of religion ever arising. But from
this time forth the Catholics began to hold themselves aloof from the
Protestants; the latter perceiving this, gave up the cafe by degrees
to the Catholics, being determined to keep the peace whatever it
might cost, and went to a cafe which had been just opened under the
sign of the "Isle of Elba." The name was enough to cause them to be
regarded as Bonapartists, and as to Bonapartists the cry "Long live
the king!" was supposed to be offensive, they were saluted at every
turn with these words, pronounced in a tone which became every day
more menacing. At first they gave back the same cry, "Long live the
king!" but then they were called cowards who expressed with their
lips a sentiment which did not come from their hearts. Feeling that
this accusation had some truth in it, they were silent, but then they
were accused of hating the royal family, till at length the cry which
at first had issued from full hearts in a universal chorus grew to be
nothing but an expression of party hatred, so that on the 21st
February, 1815, M. Daunant the mayor, by a decree, prohibited the
public from using it, as it had become a means of exciting sedition.
Party feeling had reached this height at Nimes when, on the 4th
March, the news of the landing of Napoleon arrived.

Deep as was the impression produced, the city remained calm, but
somewhat sullen; in any case, the report wanted confirmation.
Napoleon, who knew of the sympathy that the mountaineers felt for
him, went at once into the Alps, and his eagle did not as yet take so
high a flight that it could be seen hovering above Mount Geneve.

On the 12th, the Duc d'Angouleme arrived: two proclamations calling
the citizens to arms signalised his presence. The citizens answered
the call with true Southern ardour: an army was formed; but although
Protestants and Catholics presented themselves for enrolment with
equal alacrity, the Protestants were excluded, the Catholics denying
the right of defending their legitimate sovereign to any but

This species of selection apparently went on without the knowledge of
the Duc d'Angouleme. During his stay in Nimes he received
Protestants and Catholics with equal cordiality, and they set at his
table side by side. It happened once, on a Friday, at dinner, that a
Protestant general took fish and a Catholic general helped himself to
fowl. The duke being amused, drew attention to this anomaly,
whereupon the Catholic general replied, "Better more chicken and less
treason." This attack was so direct, that although the Protestant
general felt that as far as he was concerned it had no point, he rose
from table and left the room. It was the brave General Gilly who was
treated in this cruel manner.

Meanwhile the news became more disastrous every day: Napoleon was
moving about with the rapidity of his eagles. On the 24th March it
was reported in Nimes that Louis XVIII had left Paris on the 19th and
that Napoleon had entered on the 20th. This report was traced to its
source, and it was found that it had been spread abroad by M. Vincent
de Saint-Laurent, a councillor of the Prefecture and one of the most
respected men in Nimes. He was summoned at once before the
authorities and asked whence he had this information; he replied,
"From a letter received from M. Bragueres," producing the letter.
But convincing as was this proof, it availed him nothing: he was
escorted from brigade to brigade till he reached the Chateau d'If.
The Protestants sided with M. Vincent de Saint-Laurent, the Catholics
took the part of the authorities who were persecuting him, and thus
the two factions which had been so long quiescent found themselves
once more face to face, and their dormant hatred awoke to new life.
For the moment, however, there was no explosion, although the city
was at fever heat, and everyone felt that a crisis was at hand.

On the 22nd March two battalions of Catholic volunteers had already
been enlisted at Nimes, and had formed part of the eighteen hundred
men who were sent to Saint-Esprit. Just before their departure
fleurs-de-lys had been distributed amongst them, made of red cloth;
this change in the colour of the monarchical emblem was a threat
which the Protestants well understood.

The prince left Nimes in due course, taking with him the rest of the
royal volunteers, and leaving the Protestants practically masters of
Nimes during the absence of so many Catholics. The city, however,
continued calm, and when provocations began, strange to say they came
from the weaker party.

On the 27th March six men met in a barn; dined together, and then
agreed to make the circuit of the town. These men were Jacques
Dupont, who later acquired such terrible celebrity under the name of
Trestaillons, Truphemy the butcher, Morenet the dog shearer, Hours,
Servant, and Gilles. They got opposite the cafe "Isle of Elba," the
name of which indicated the opinion of those who frequented it. This
cafe was faced by a guard-house which was occupied by soldiers of the
67th Regiment. The six made a halt, and in the most insulting tones
raised the cry of "Long live the king!" The disturbance that ensued
was so slight that we only mention it in order to give an idea of the
tolerance of the Protestants, and to bring upon the stage the men
mentioned above, who were three months later to play such a terrible

On April 1st the mayor summoned to a meeting at his official
residence the municipal council, the members of all the variously
constituted administrative bodies in Nimes, the officers of the city
guards, the priests, the Protestant pastors, and the chief citizens.
At this meeting, M. Trinquelague, advocate of the Royal Courts, read
a powerful address, expressing the love, of the citizens for their
king and country, and exhorting them to union and peace. This
address was unanimously adopted and signed by all present, and
amongst the signatures were those of the principal Protestants of
Nimes. But this was not all: the next day it was printed and
published, and copies sent to all the communes in the department over
which the white flag still floated. And all this happened, as we
have said, on April and, eleven days after Napoleon's return to

The same day word arrived that the Imperial Government had been
proclaimed at Montpellier.

The next day, April 3rd, all the officers on half-pay assembled at
the fountain to be reviewed by a general and a sub-inspector, and as
these officers were late, the order of the, day issued by General
Ambert, recognising the Imperial Government, was produced and passed
along the ranks, causing such excitement that one of the officers
drew his sword and cried, "Long live the emperor!" These magic words
were re-echoed from every side, and they all hastened to the barracks
of the 63rd Regiment, which at once joined the officers. At this
juncture Marshal Pelissier arrived, and did not appear to welcome the
turn things had taken; he made an effort to restrain the enthusiasm
of the crowd, but was immediately arrested by his own soldiers. The
officers repaired in a body to the headquarters of General Briche,
commandant of the garrison, and asked for the official copy of the
order of the day. He replied that he had received none, and when
questioned as to which side he was on he refused to answer. The
officers upon this took him prisoner. Just as they had consigned him
to the barracks for confinement, a post-office official arrived
bringing a despatch from General Ambert. Learning that General
Briche was a prisoner, the messenger carried his packet to the
colonel of the 63rd Regiment, who was the next in seniority after the
general. In opening it, it was found to contain the order of the

Instantly the colonel ordered the 'gineyale' to sound: the town
guards assumed arms, the troops left the barracks and formed in line,
the National Guards in the rear of the regular troops, and when they
were all thus drawn up; the order of the day was read; it was then
snatched out of the colonel's hands, printed on large placards, and
in less time than seemed possible it was posted up in every street
and at every street corner; the tricolour replaced the white cockade,
everyone being obliged to wear the national emblem or none at all,
the city was proclaimed in a state of seige, and the military
officers formed a vigilance committee and a police force.

While the Duc d'Angouleme had been staying at Nimes, General Gilly
had applied for a command in that prince's army, but in spite of all
his efforts obtained nothing; so immediately after the dinner at
which he was insulted he had withdrawn to Avernede, his place in the
country. He was awoke in the night of the 5th-6th April by a courier
from General Ambert, who sent to offer him the command of the 2nd
Subdivision. On the 6th, General Gilly went to Nimes, and sent in
his acceptance, whereby the departments of the Gard, the Lozere, and
Ardeche passed under his authority.

Next day General Gilly received further despatches from General
Ambert, from which he learned that it was the general's intention, in
order to avoid the danger of a civil war, to separate the Duc
d'Angouleme's army from the departments which sympathised with the
royal cause; he had therefore decided to make Pont-Saint-Esprit a
military post, and had ordered the 10th Regiment of mounted
chasseurs, the 13th artillery, and a battalion of infantry to move
towards this point by forced marches. These troops were commanded by
Colonel Saint-Laurent, but General Ambert was anxious that if it
could be done without danger, General Gilly should leave Nimes,
taking with him part of the 63rd Regiment, and joining the other
forces under the command of Colonel Saint-Laurent, should assume the
chief command. As the city was quite tranquil, General Gilly did not
hesitate to obey this order: he set out from Nimes on the 7th, passed
the night at Uzes, and finding that town abandoned by the
magistrates, declared it in a state of siege, lest disturbances
should arise in the absence of authority. Having placed M. de
Bresson in command, a retired chief of battalion who was born in
Uzes, and who usually lived there, he continued his march on the
morning of the 8th.

Beyond the village of Conans, General Gilly met an orderly sent to
him by Colonel Saint-Laurent to inform him that he, the colonel, had
occupied Pont Saint-Esprit, and that the Duc d'Angouleme, finding
himself thus caught between two fires, had just sent General
d'Aultanne, chief of staff in the royal army, to him, to enter into
negotiations for a surrender. Upon this, General Gilly quickened his
advance, and on reaching Pont-Saint-Esprit found General d'Aultanne
and Colonel Saint-Laurent conferring together at the Hotel de la

As Colonel Saint-Laurent had received his instructions directly from
the commander-in-chief, several points relating to the capitulation
had already been agreed upon; of these General Gilly slightly altered
some, and approved of the others, and the same day the following
convention was signed:

"Convention concluded between General Gilly and Baron de Damas

"S.A.R. Mgr. le Duc d'Angouleme, Commander-in-Chief of the royal army
in the South, and Baron de Gilly, General of Division and
Commander-in-Chief of the first corps of the Imperial Army, being
most anxiously desirous to prevent any further effusion of French
blood, have given plenary powers to arrange the terms of a convention
to S.A.R. M. le Baron de Damas, Field-Marshal and Under-Chief of
Staff, and General de Gilly and Adjutant Lefevre, Chevalier of the
Legion of Honour, and Chief of the Staff of the first Army Corps;
who, having shown each other their respective credentials, have
agreed on the following terms:--

"Art. 1. The royal army is to be disbanded; and the National Guards
which are enrolled in it, under whatever name they may have been
levied, will return to their homes, after laying down their arms.
Safe conducts will be provided, and the general of division
commanding-in-chief guarantees that they shall never be molested for
anything they may have said or done in connection with the events
preceding the present convention.

"The officers will retain their swords; the troops of the line who
form part of this army will repair to such garrisons as may be
assigned to them.

"Art. 2. The general officers, superior staff officers and others of
all branches of the service, and the chiefs and subordinates of the
administrative departments, of whose names a list will be furnished
to the general-in-chief, will retire to their homes and there await
the orders of His Majesty the Emperor.

"Art. 3. Officers of every rank who wish to resign their commissions
are competent to do so. They will receive passports for their homes.

"Art. 4. The funds of the army and the lists of the paymaster-
general will be handed over at once to commissioners appointed for
that purpose by the commander-in-chief.

"Art. 5. The above articles apply to the corps commanded by Mgr. le
Duc d'Angouleme in person, and also to those who act separately but
under his orders, and as forming part of the royal army of the South.

"Art. 6. H.R.H. will post to Cette, where the vessels necessary for
him and his suite will be waiting to take him wherever he may desire.
Detachments of the Imperial Army will be placed at all the relays on
the road to protect His Royal Highness during the journey, and the
honours due to his rank will be everywhere paid him, if he so desire.

"Art. 7. All the officers and other persons of His Royal Highness'
suite who desire to follow him will be permitted to do so, and they
may either embark with him at once or later, should their private
affairs need time for arrangement.

"Art. 8. The present treaty will be kept secret until His Royal
Highness have quitted the limits of the empire.

"Executed in duplicate and agreed upon between the above-mentioned
plenipotentiaries the 8th day of April in the year 1815, with the
approval of the general commanding-in-chief, and signed,

"At the headquarters at Pont-Saint-Esprit on the day and year above

"(Signed) LEFEVRE
Adjutant and Chief of Staff of the
First Corps of the Imperial Army
of the South

Field-Marshal and Under-Chief of

"The present convention is approved of by the General of Division
Commanding-in-Chief the Imperial Army of the South.

"(Signed) GILLY"

After some discussion between General Gilly and General Grouchy, the
capitulation was carried into effect. On the 16th April, at eight
o'clock in the morning, the Duc d'Angouleme arrived at Cette, and
went on board the Swedish vessel Scandinavia, which, taking advantage
of a favourable wind, set sail the same day.

Early in the morning of the 9th an officer of high rank had been sent
to La Palud to issue safe-conducts to the troops, who according to
Article I of the capitulation were to return home "after laying down
their arms." But during the preceding day and night some of the
royal volunteers had evaded this article by withdrawing with their
arms and baggage. As this infraction of the terms led to serious
consequences, we propose, in order to establish the fact, to cite the
depositions of three royal volunteers who afterwards gave evidence.

"On leaving the army of the Duc d'Angouleme after the capitulation,"
says Jean Saunier, "I went with my officers and my corps to
Saint-Jean-des-Anels. From there we marched towards Uzes. In the
middle of a forest, near a village, the name of which I have
forgotten, our General M. de Vogue told us that we were all to return
to our own homes. We asked him where we should deposit the flag.
Just then Commandant Magne detached it from the staff and put it in
his pocket. We then asked the general where we should deposit our
arms; he replied, that we had better keep them, as we should probably
find use for them before long, and also to take our ammunition with
us, to ensure our safety on the road.

"From that time on we all did what we thought best: sixty-four of us
remained together, and took a guide to enable us to avoid Uzes."

Nicholas Marie, labourer, deposed as follows:

"On leaving the army of the Duc d'Angouleme after the capitulation, I
went with my officers and my corps to Saint-Jean-des-Anels. We
marched towards Uzes, but when we were in the middle of a forest,
near a village the name of which I have forgotten, our general, M. de
Vogue, told us that we were to go to our own homes as soon as we
liked. We saw Commandant Magne loose the flag from its staff, roll
it up and put it in his pocket. We asked the general what we were to
do with our arms; he replied that we were to keep both them and our
ammunition, as we should find them of use. Upon this, our chiefs
left us, and we all got away as best we could."

"After the capitulation of the Duc d'Angouleme I found myself,"
deposes Paul Lambert, lace-maker of Nimes, "in one of several
detachments under the orders of Commandant Magne and General Vogue.
In the middle of a forest near a village, the name of which I do not
know, M. de Vogue and the other officer, told us we might go home.
The flag was folded up, and M. Magne put it in his pocket. We asked
our chiefs what we were to do with our arms. M. de Vogue told us
that we had better keep them, as we should need them before very
long; and in any case it would be well to have them with us on the
road, lest anything should happen to us."

The three depositions are too much alike to leave room for any doubt.
The royal volunteers contravened Article I of the convention.

Being thus abandoned by their chiefs, without general and without
flag, M. de Vogue's soldiers asked no further counsel of anyone but
themselves, and, as one of them has already told us, sixty-four of
them joined together to hire a guide who was to show them how to get
by Uzes without going through it, for they were afraid of meeting
with insult there. The guide brought them as far as Montarem without
anyone opposing their passage or taking notice of their arms.

Suddenly a coachman named Bertrand, a confidential servant of Abbe
Rafin, former Grand-Vicar of Alais, and of Baroness Arnaud-Wurmeser
(for the abbe administered the estate of Aureillac in his own name
and that of the baroness), galloped into the village of
Arpaillargues, which was almost entirely Protestant and consequently
Napoleonist, announcing that the miquelets (for after one hundred and
ten years the old name given to the royal troops was revived) were on
the way from Montarem, pillaging houses, murdering magistrates,
outraging women, and then throwing them out of the windows. It is
easy to understand the effect of such a story. The people gathered
together in groups; the mayor and his assistant being absent,
Bertrand was taken before a certain Boucarut, who on receiving his
report ordered the generale to be beaten and the tocsin to be rung.
Then the consternation became general: the men seized their muskets,
the women and children stones and pitchforks, and everyone made ready
to face a danger which only existed in the imagination of Bertrand,
for there was not a shadow of foundation for the story he had told.

While the village was in this state of feverish excitement the royal
volunteers came in sight. Hardly were they seen than the cry, "There
they are! There they are!" arose on all sides, the streets were
barricaded with carts, the tocsin rang out with redoubled frenzy, and
everyone capable of carrying arms rushed to the entrance of the

The volunteers, hearing the uproar and seeing the hostile
preparations, halted, and to show that their intentions were
peaceful, put their shakos on their musket stocks and waved them
above their heads, shouting that no one need fear, for they would do
no harm to anyone. But alarmed as they were by the terrible stories
told by Bertrand, the villagers shouted back that they could not
trust to such assurances, and that if they wanted to pass through the
village they must first give up their weapons. It may easily be
imagined that men who had broken the convention in order to keep
their weapons were not likely to give them up to these villagers--in
fact, they obstinately refused to let them out of their hands, and by
doing so increased the suspicions of the people. A parley of a very
excited character took place between M. Fournier for the royal guards
and M. Boucarut, who was chosen spokesman by the villagers. From
words they came to deeds: the miquelets tried to force their way
through, some shots were fired, and two miquelets, Calvet and
Fournier, fell. The others scattered, followed by a lively
discharge, and two more miquelets were slightly wounded. Thereupon
they all took to flight through the fields on either side of the
road, pursued for a short distance by the villagers, but soon
returned to examine the two wounded men, and a report was drawn up by
Antoine Robin, advocate and magistrate of the canton of Uzes, of the
events just related.

This accident was almost the only one of its kind which happened
during the Hundred Days: the two parties remained face to face,
threatening but self-controlled. But let there be no mistake: there
was no peace; they were simply awaiting a declaration of war. When
the calm was broken, it was from Marseilles that the provocation
came. We shall efface ourselves for a time and let an eye-witness
speak, who being a Catholic cannot be suspected of partiality for the

"I was living in Marseilles at the time of Napoleon's landing, and I
was a witness of the impression which the news produced upon
everyone. There was one great cry; the enthusiasm was universal; the
National Guard wanted to join him to the last man, but Marshal
Massena did not give his consent until it was too late, for Napoleon
had already reached the mountains, and was moving with such swiftness
that it would have been impossible to overtake him. Next we heard of
his triumphal entry into Lyons, and of his arrival in Paris during
the night. Marseilles submitted like the rest of France; Prince
d'Essling was recalled to the capital, and Marshal Brune, who
commanded the 6th corps of observation, fixed his headquarters at

"With quite incomprehensible fickleness, Marseilles, whose name
during the Terror had been, as one may say, the symbol of the most
advanced opinions, had become almost entirely Royalist in 1815.
Nevertheless, its inhabitants saw without a murmur the tricolour flag
after a year's absence floating once more above the walls. No
arbitrary interference on the part of the authorities, no threats,
and no brawling between the citizens and the soldiers, troubled the
peace of old Phocea; no revolution ever took place with such
quietness and facility.

"It must, however, be said, that Marshal Brune was just the man to
accomplish such a transformation without friction; in him the
frankness and loyalty of an old soldier were combined with other
qualities more solid than brilliant. Tacitus in hand, he looked on
at modern revolutions as they passed, and only interfered when the,
voice of his country called him to her defence. The conqueror of
Harlem and Bakkun had been for four years forgotten in retirement, or
rather in exile, when the same voice which sent him away recalled
him, and at the summons Cincinnatus left his plough and grasped his
weapons. Physically he was at this period a man of about fifty-five,
with a frank and open face framed by large whiskers; his head was
bald except for a little grizzled hair at the temples; he was tall
and active, and had a remarkably soldierly bearing.

"I had been brought into contact with him by a report which one of my
friends and I had drawn up on the opinions of the people of the
South, and of which he had asked to have a copy. In a long
conversation with us, he discussed the subject with the impartiality
of a man who brings an open mind to a debate, and he invited us to
come often to see him. We enjoyed ourselves so much in his society
that we got into the habit of going to his house nearly every

"On his arrival in the South an old calumny which had formerly
pursued him again made its appearance, quite rejuvenated by its long
sleep. A writer whose name I have forgotten, in describing the
Massacres of the Second of September and the death of the unfortunate
Princesse de Lamballe, had said, 'Some people thought they recognised
in the man who carried her head impaled on a pike, General Brune in
disguise,' and this accusation; which had been caught up with
eagerness under the Consulate, still followed him so relentlessly in
1815, that hardly a day passed without his receiving an anonymous
letter, threatening him with the same fate which had overtaken the
princess. One evening while we were with him such a letter arrived,
and having read it he passed it on to us. It was as follows:

"'Wretch,--We are acquainted with all your crimes, for which you will
soon receive the chastisement you well deserve. It was you who
during the revolution brought about the death of the Princesse de
Lamballe; it was you who carried her head on a pike, but your head
will be impaled on something longer. If you are so rash as to be
present at the review of the Allies it is all up with you, and your
head will be stuck on the steeple of the Accoules. Farewell,

"We advised him to trace this calumny to its source, and then to take
signal vengeance on the authors. He paused an instant to reflect,
and then lit the letter at a candle, and looking at it thoughtfully
as it turned to ashes in his hand, said,--Vengeance! Yes, perhaps by
seeking that I could silence the authors of these slanders and
preserve the public tranquillity which they constantly imperil. But
I prefer persuasion to severity. My principle is, that it is better
to bring men's heads back to a right way of thinking than to cut them
off, and to be regarded as a weak man rather than as a bloodthirsty

"The essence of Marshal Brune's character was contained in these

"Public tranquillity was indeed twice endangered at Marseilles during
the Hundred Days, and both times in the same manner. The garrison
officers used to gather at a coffee-house in the place Necker, and
sing songs suggested by passing events. This caused an attack by the
townspeople, who broke the windows by throwing stones, some of which
struck the officers. These rushed out, crying, 'To arms!' The
townspeople were not slow to respond, but the commandant ordered the
'geneydle' to beat, sent out numerous patrols, and succeeded in
calming the excitement and restoring quietness without any

"The day of the Champ du Mai orders for a general illumination were
given, and that the tricolour flag should be displayed from the
windows. The greater number of the inhabitants paid no attention to
the desires of the authorities, and the officers being annoyed at
this neglect, indulged in reprehensible excesses, which, however,
resulted in nothing mare serious than some broken windows belonging
to houses which had not illuminated, and in some of the householders
being forced to illuminate according to order.

"In Marseilles as in the rest of France, people began to despair of
the success of the royal cause, and those who represented this cause,
who were very numerous at Marseilles, gave up annoying the military
and seemed to resign themselves to their fate. Marshal Brune had
left the city to take up his post on the frontier, without any of the
dangers with which he was threatened having come across his path.

"The 25th of June arrived, and the news of the successes obtained at
Fleurus and at Ligny seemed to justify the hopes of the soldiers,
when, in the middle of the day, muttered reports began to spread in
the town, the distant reverberations of the cannon of Waterloo. The
silence of the leaders, the uneasiness of the soldiers, the delight
of the Royalists, foretold the outbreak of a new struggle, the,
results of which it was easy to anticipate. About four o'clock in
the afternoon, a man, who had probably got earlier information than
his fellow-townspeople, tore off his tricoloured cockade and trampled
it under foot, crying, "Long live the king!" The angry soldiers
seized him and were about to drag him to the guard-house, but the
National Guards prevented them, and their interference led to a
fight. Shouts were heard on all sides, a large ring was formed round
the soldiers, a few musket shots heard, others answered, three or
four men fell, and lay there weltering in their blood. Out of this
confused uproar the word "Waterloo" emerged distinct; and with this
unfamiliar name pronounced for the first time in the resounding voice
of history, the news of the defeat of the French army and the triumph
of the Allies spread apace. Then General Verdier, who held the chief
command in the absence of Marshal Brune, tried to harangue the
people, but his voice was drowned by the shouts of the mob who had
gathered round a coffee-house where stood a bust of the emperor,
which they insisted should be given up to them. Verdier, hoping to
calm, what he took to be a simple street row, gave orders that the
bust should be brought out, and this concession, so significant on
the part of a general commanding in the emperor's name, convinced the
crowd that his cause was lost. The fury of the populace grew greater
now that they felt that they could indulge it with impunity; they ran
to the Town Hall, and tearing down and burning the tricoloured,
raised the white flag. The roll of the generale, the clang of the
tocsin were heard, the neighbouring villages poured in their
populations and increased the throng in the streets; single acts of
violence began to occur, wholesale massacres were approaching. I had
arrived in the town with my friend M____ the very beginning of the
tumult, so we had seen the dangerous agitation and excitement grow
under our eyes, but we were still ignorant of its true cause, when,
in the rue de Noailles, we met an acquaintance, who, although his
political opinions did not coincide with ours, had always shown
himself very friendly to us. 'Well,' said I, 'what news?' 'Good for
me and bad for you,' he answered;' I advise you to go away at once.'
Surprised and somewhat alarmed at these words, we begged him to
explain. 'Listen,' said he; 'there are going to be riots in the
town; it is well known that you used to go to Brune's nearly every
evening, and that you are in consequence no favourite with your
neighbours; seek safety in the country.' I addressed some further
question to him, but, turning his back on me, he left me without
another word.

"M_____ and I were still looking at each other in stupefaction, when
the increasing uproar aroused us to a sense that if we desired to
follow the advice just given we had not a moment to lose. We hastened
to my house, which was situated in the Allees de Meilhan. My wife was
just going out, but I stopped her.

"'We are not safe here,' I said; 'we must get away into the country.'

"'But where can we go?'

"'Wherever luck takes us. Let us start.'

"She was going to put on her bonnet, but I told her to leave it
behind; for it was most important that no one should think we
suspected anything, but were merely going for a stroll. This
precaution saved us, for we learned the next day that if our
intention to fly had been suspected we should have been stopped.

"We walked at random, while behind us we heard musket shots from
every part of the town. We met a company of soldiers who were
hurrying to the relief of their comrades, but heard later that they
had not been allowed to pass the gate.

"We recollected an old officer of our acquaintance who had quitted
the service and withdrawn from the world some years before, and had
taken a place in the country near the village of Saint-Just; we
directed our course towards his house.

"'Captain,' said I to him, 'they are murdering each other in the
town, we are pursued and without asylum, so we come to you.' 'That's
right, my children,' said he; 'come in and welcome. I have never
meddled with political affairs, and no one can have anything against
me. No one will think of looking for you here.'

"The captain had friends in the town, who, one after another, reached
his house, and brought us news of all that went on during that
dreadful day. Many soldiers had been killed, and the Mamelukes had
been annihilated. A negress who had been in the service of these
unfortunates had been taken on the quay. 'Cry "Long live the king!"'
shouted the mob. 'No,' she replied. 'To Napoleon I owe my daily
bread; long live Napoleon!' A bayonet-thrust in the abdomen was the
answer. 'Villains!' said she, covering the wound with her hand to
keep back the protruding entrails. 'Long live Napoleon!' A push
sent her into the water; she sank, but rose again to the surface, and
waving her hand, she cried for the last time, 'Long live Napoleon!' a
bullet shot putting an end to her life.

"Several of the townspeople had met with shocking deaths. For
instance, M. Angles, a neighbour of mine, an old man and no
inconsiderable scholar, having unfortunately, when at the palace some
days before, given utterance before witnesses to the sentiment that
Napoleon was a great man, learned that for this crime he was about to
be arrested. Yielding to the prayers of his family, he disguised
himself, and, getting into a waggon, set off to seek safety in the
country. He was, however, recognised and brought a prisoner to the
place du Chapitre, where, after being buffeted about and insulted for
an hour by the populace, he was at last murdered.

"It may easily be imagined that although no one came to disturb us we
did not sleep much that night. The ladies rested on sofas or in
arm-chairs without undressing, while our host, M_____ and myself took
turns in guarding the door, gun in hand.

"As soon as it was light we consulted what course we should take: I
was of the opinion that we ought to try to reach Aix by unfrequented
paths; having friends there, we should be able to procure a carriage
and get to Nimes, where my family lived. But my wife did not agree
with me. 'I must go back to town for our things,' said she; 'we have
no clothes but those on our backs. Let us send to the village to ask
if Marseilles is quieter to-day than yesterday.' So we sent off a

"The news he brought back was favourable; order was completely
restored. I could not quite believe this, and still refused to let
my wife return to the town unless I accompanied her. But in that
everyone was against me: my presence would give rise to dangers which
without me had no existence. Where were the miscreants cowardly
enough to murder a woman of eighteen who belonged to no-party and had
never injured anyone? As for me, my opinions were well known.
Moreover, my mother-in-law offered to accompany her daughter, and
both joined in persuading me that there was no danger. At last I was
forced to consent, but only on one condition.

"'I cannot say,' I observed, 'whether there is any foundation for the
reassuring tidings we have heard, but of one thing you may be sure:
it is now seven o'clock in the morning, you can get to Marseilles in
an hour, pack your trunks in another hour, and return in a third; let
us allow one hour more for unforeseen delays. If you are not back by
eleven o'clock, I shall believe something has happened, and take
steps accordingly.' 'Very well,' said my wife; 'if I am not back by
then, you may think me dead, and do whatever you think best.' And so
she and her mother left me.

"An hour later, quite different news came to hand. Fugitives,
seeking like ourselves safety in the country, told us that the
rioting, far from ceasing, had increased; the streets were encumbered
with corpses, and two people had been murdered with unheard-of

"An old man named Bessieres, who had led a simple and blameless life,
and whose only crime was that he had served under the Usurper,
anticipating that under existing circumstances this would be regarded
as a capital crime, made his will, which was afterwards found among
his papers. It began with the following words:

"'As it is possible that during this revolution I may meet my death,
as a partisan of Napoleon, although I have never loved him, I give
and bequeath, etc., etc.

"The day before, his brother-in-law, knowing he had private enemies,
had come to the house and spent the night trying to induce him to
flee, but all in vain. But the next morning, his house being
attacked, he yielded, and tried to escape by the back door. He was
stopped by some of the National Guard, and placed himself under their

"They took him to the Cours St. Louis, where, being hustled by the
crowd and very ineffectually defended by the Guards, he tried to
enter the Cafe Mercantier, but the door was shut in his face. Being
broken by fatigue, breathless, and covered with dust and sweat, he
threw himself on one of the benches placed against the wall, outside
the house. Here he was wounded by a musket bullet, but not killed.
At the sight of his blood shrieks of joy were heard, and then a young
man with a pistol in each hand forced his way through the throng and
killed the old man by two shots fired point blank in his face.

"Another still more atrocious murder took place in the course of the
same morning. A father and son, bound back to back, were delivered
over to the tender mercies of the mob. Stoned and beaten and covered
with each other's blood, for two long hours their death-agony
endured, and all the while those who could not get near enough to
strike were dancing round them.

"Our time passed listening to such stories; suddenly I saw a friend
running towards the house. I went to meet him. He was so pale that
I hardly dared to question him. He came from the city, and had been
at my house to see what had become of me. There was no one in it,
but across the door lay two corpses wrapped in a blood-stained sheet
which he had not dared to lift.

"At these terrible words nothing could hold me back. I set off for
Marseilles. M_____ who would not consent to let me return alone,
accompanied me. In passing through the village of Saint-Just we
encountered a crowd of armed peasants in the main street who appeared
to belong to the free companies. Although this circumstance was
rather alarming, it would have been dangerous to turn back, so we
continued our way as if we were not in the least uneasy. They
examined our bearing and our dress narrowly, and then exchanged some
sentences in a low, voice, of which we only caught the word
austaniers. This was the name by which the Bonapartists were called
by the peasants, and means 'eaters of chestnuts,' this article of
food being brought from Corsica to France. However, we were not
molested in any way, for as we were going towards the city they did
not think we could be fugitives. A hundred yards beyond the village
we came up with a crowd of peasants, who were, like us, on the way to
Marseilles. It was plain to see that they had just been pillaging
some country house, for they were laden with rich stuffs, chandeliers
and jewels. It proved to be that of M. R____, inspector of reviews.
Several carried muskets. I pointed out to my companion a stain of
blood on the trousers of one of the men, who began to laugh when he
saw what we were looking at. Two hundred yards outside the city I
met a woman who had formerly been a servant in my house. She was
very much astonished to see me, and said, 'Go away at once; the
massacre is horrible, much worse than yesterday.'

"'But my wife,' I cried, 'do you know anything about her?'

"'No, sir,' she replied; 'I was going to knock at the door, but some
people asked me in a threatening manner if I could tell them where
the friend of that rascal Brine was, as they were going to take away
his appetite for bread. So take my advice,' she continued, 'and go
back to where you came from.'

"This advice was the last I could make up my mind to follow, so we
went on, but found a strong guard at the gate, and saw that it would
be impossible to get through without being recognised. At the same
time, the cries and the reports of firearms from within were coming
nearer; it would therefore have been to court certain death to
advance, so we retraced our steps. In passing again through the
village of Saint-Just we met once more our armed peasants. But this
time they burst out into threats on seeing us, shouting, 'Let us kill
them! Let us kill them!' Instead of running away, we approached
them, assuring them that we were Royalists. Our coolness was so
convincing that we got through safe and sound.

"On getting back to the captain's I threw myself on the sofa, quite
overcome by the thought that only that morning my wife had been
beside me under my protection, and that I had let her go back to the
town to a cruel and inevitable death. I felt as if my heart would
break, and nothing that our host and my friend could say gave me the
slightest comfort. I was like a madman, unconscious of everything
round me.

"M_____ went out to try to pick up some news, but in an instant we
heard him running back, and he dashed into the room, calling out

"'They are coming! There they are!'

"'Who are coming?' we asked.

"'The assassins!'

"My first feeling, I confess, was one of joy. I pounced upon a pair
of double-barrelled pistols, resolved not to let myself be
slaughtered like a sheep. Through the window I could see some men
climbing over the wall and getting down into the garden. We had just
sufficient time to escape by a back staircase which led to a door,
through which we passed, shutting it behind us. We found ourselves
on a road, at the other side of which was a vineyard. We crossed the
road and crept under the vines, which completely concealed us.

"As we learned later, the captain's house had been denounced as a
Bonapartist nest, and the assassins had hoped to take it by surprise;
and, indeed, if they had come a little sooner we had been lost, for
before we had been five minutes in our hiding-place the murderers
rushed out on the road, looking for us in every direction, without
the slightest suspicion that we were not six yards distant. Though
they did not see us I could see them, and I held my pistols ready
cocked, quite determined to kill the first who came near. However,
in a short time they went away.

" As soon as they were out of hearing we began to consider our
situation and weigh our chances. There was no use in going back to
the captain's, for he was no longer there, having also succeeded in
getting away. If we were to wander about the country we should be
recognised as fugitives, and the fate that awaited us as such was at
that moment brought home to us, for a few yards away we suddenly
heard the shrieks of a man who was being murdered. They were the
first cries of agony I had ever heard, and for a few moments, I
confess, I was frozen with terror. But soon a violent reaction took
place within me, and I felt that it would be better to march straight
to meet peril than to await its coming, and although I knew the
danger of trying to go through Saint-Just again, I resolved to risk
it, and to get to Marseilles at all costs. So, turning to M____, I

"'You can remain here without danger until the evening, but I am
going to Marseilles at once; for I cannot endure this uncertainty any
longer. If I find Saint-Just clear, I shall come back and rejoin
you, but if not I shall get away as best I can alone.'

"Knowing the danger that we were running, and how little chance there
was that we should ever see each other again, he held out his hand to
me, but I threw myself into his arms and gave him a last embrace.

"I started at once: when I reached Saint-Just I found the freebooters
still there; so I walked up to them, trolling a melody, but one of
them seized me by the collar and two others took aim at me with their

"If ever in my life I shouted 'Long live the king!' with less
enthusiasm than the cry deserves, it was then: to assume a rollicking
air, to laugh with cool carelessness when there is nothing between
you and death but the more or less strong pressure of a highwayman's
finger on the trigger of a musket, is no easy task; but all this I
accomplished, and once more got through the village with a whole skin
indeed, but with the unalterable resolution to blow my brains out
rather than again try such an experiment.

"Having now a village behind me which I had vowed never to re-enter,
and there being no road available by which I could hope to get round
Marseilles, the only course open to me was to make my way into the
city. At that moment this was a thing of difficulty, for many small
bodies of troops, wearing the white cockade, infested the approaches.
I soon perceived that the danger of getting in was as great as ever,
so I determined to walk up and down till night, hoping the darkness
would come to my aid; but one of the patrols soon gave me to
understand that my prowling about had aroused suspicion, and ordered
me either to go on to the city, in which by all accounts there was
small chance of safety for me, or back to the village; where certain
death awaited me. A happy inspiration flashed across my mind, I
would get some refreshment, and seeing an inn near by, I went in and
ordered a mug of beer, sitting down near the window, faintly hoping
that before the necessity for a final decision arrived, someone who
knew me would pass by. After waiting half an hour, I did indeed see
an acquaintance--no other than M_____, whom I had left in the
vineyard. I beckoned him, and he joined me. He told me that, being
too impatient to await my return, he had soon made up his mind to
follow me, and by joining a band of pillagers was lucky enough to get
safely through Saint-Just. We consulted together as to what we had
better do next, and having applied to our host, found he could supply
us with a trusty messenger, who would carry the news of our
whereabouts to my brother-in-law. After an anxious wait of three
hours, we saw him coming. I was about to run out to meet him, but
M____ held me back, pointing out the danger of such a step; so we sat
still our eyes fixed on the approaching figure. But when my
brother-in-law reached the inn, I could restrain my impatience no
longer, but rushing out of the room met him on the stairs.

"'My wife?' I cried. 'Have you seen my wife?'

"'She is at my house,' was the reply, and with a cry of joy I threw
myself into his arms.

"My wife, who had been threatened, insulted, and roughly treated
because of my opinions, had indeed found safety at my

"Night was coming on. My brother-in-law, who wore the uniform of the
National Guard, which was at that moment a safeguard, took us each by
an arm, and we passed the barrier without anyone asking us who we
were. Choosing quiet streets, we reached his house unmolested; but
in fact the whole city was quiet, for the carnage was practically at
an end.

"My wife safe! this thought filled my heart with joy almost too
great to bear.

"Her adventures were the following:

"My wife and her mother had gone to our house, as agreed upon, to
pack our trunks. As they left their rooms, having accomplished their
task, they found the landlady waiting on the staircase, who at once
overwhelmed my wife with a torrent of abuse.

"The husband, who until then had known nothing of their tenant's
return, hearing the noise, came out of his room, and, seizing his
wife by the arm, pulled her in and shut the door. She, however,
rushed to the window, and just as my wife and her mother reached the
street, shouted to a free band who were on guard across the way,
'Fire! they are Bonapartists!' Fortunately the men, more merciful
than the woman, seeing two ladies quite alone, did not hinder their
passage, and as just then my brother-in-law came by, whose opinions
were well known and whose uniform was respected, he was allowed to
take them under his protection and conduct them to his house in

"A young man, employed at the Prefecture, who had called at my house
the day before, I having promised to help him in editing the Journal
des Bouches-du-Rhone, was not so lucky. His occupation and his visit
to me laid him under suspicion of possessing dangerous opinions, and
his friends urged him to fly; but it was too late. He was attacked
at the corner of the rue de Noailles, and fell wounded by a stab from
a dagger. Happily, however, he ultimately recovered.

"The whole day was passed in the commission of deeds still more
bloody than those of the day before; the sewers ran blood, and every
hundred yards a dead body was to be met. But this sight, instead of
satiating the thirst for blood of the assassins, only seemed to
awaken a general feeling of gaiety. In the evening the streets
resounded with song and roundelay, and for many a year to come that
which we looked back on as 'the day of the massacre' lived in the
memory of the Royalists as 'the day of the farce.'

"As we felt we could not live any longer in the midst of such scenes,
even though, as far as we were concerned, all danger was over, we set
out for Nimes that same evening, having been offered the use of a

"Nothing worthy of note happened on the road to Orgon, which we
reached next day; but the isolated detachments of troops which we
passed from time to time reminded us that the tranquillity was
nowhere perfect. As we neared the town we saw three men going about
arm in arm; this friendliness seemed strange to us after our recent
experiences, for one of them wore a white cockade, the second a
tricolour, and the third none at all, and yet they went about on the
most brotherly terms, each awaiting under a different banner the
outcome of events. Their wisdom impressed me much, and feeling I had
nothing to fear from such philosophers, I went up to them and
questioned them, and they explained their hopes to me with the
greatest innocence, and above all, their firm determination to belong
to what ever party got the upper hand. As we drove into Orgon we saw
at a glance that the whole town was simmering with excitement.
Everybody's face expressed anxiety. A man who, we were told, was the
mayor, was haranguing a group. As everyone was listening, with the
greatest attention, we drew near and asked them the cause of the

"'Gentlemen,' said he, 'you ought to know the news: the king is in
his capital, and we have once more hoisted the white flag, and there
has not been a single dispute to mar the tranquillity of the day; one
party has triumphed without violence, and the other has submitted
with resignation. But I have just learned that a band of vagabonds,
numbering about three hundred, have assembled on the bridge over the
Durance, and are preparing to raid our little town to-night,
intending by pillage or extortion to get at what we possess. I have
a few guns left which I am about to distribute, and each man will
watch over the safety of all.'

"Although he had not enough arms to go round, he offered to supply
us, but as I had my double-barrelled pistols I did not deprive him of
his weapons. I made the ladies go to bed, and, sitting at their
door, tried to sleep as well as I could, a pistol in each hand. But
at every instant the noise of a false alarm sounded through the town,
and when day dawned my only consolation was that no one else in Orgon
had slept any better than I.

"The next day we continued our journey to Tarascon, where new
excitements awaited us. As we got near the town we heard the tocsin
clanging and drums beating the generale. We were getting so
accustomed to the uproar that we were not very much astonished.
However, when we got in we asked what was going on, and we were told
that twelve thousand troops from Nimes had marched on Beaucaire and
laid it waste with fire and sword. I insinuated that twelve thousand
men was rather a large number for one town to furnish, but was told
that that included troops from the Gardonninque and the Cevennes.
Nimes still clung to the tricolour, but Beaucaire had hoisted the
white flag, and it was for the purpose of pulling it down and
scattering the Royalists who were assembling in numbers at Beaucaire
that Nimes had sent forth her troops on this expedition. Seeing that
Tarascon and Beaucaire are only separated by the Rhone, it struck me
as peculiar that such quiet should prevail on one bank, while such
fierce conflict was raging on the other. I did not doubt that
something had happened, but not an event of such gravity as was
reported. We therefore decided to push on to Beaucaire, and when we
got there we found the town in the most perfect order. The
expedition of twelve thousand men was reduced to one of two hundred,
which had been easily repulsed, with the result that of the
assailants one had been wounded and one made prisoner. Proud of this
success, the people of Beaucaire entrusted us with a thousand
objurgations to deliver to their inveterate enemies the citizens of

"If any journey could give a correct idea of the preparations for
civil war and the confusion which already prevailed in the South, I
should think that without contradiction it would be that which we
took that day. Along the four leagues which lie between Beaucaire
and Nimes were posted at frequent intervals detachments of troops
displaying alternately the white and the tricoloured cockade. Every
village upon our route except those just outside of Nimes had
definitely joined either one party or the other, and the soldiers,
who were stationed at equal distances along the road, were now
Royalist and now Bonapartist. Before leaving Beaucaire we had all
provided ourselves, taking example by the men we had seen at Orgon,
with two cockades, one white, and one tricoloured, and by peeping out
from carriage windows we were able to see which was worn by the
troops we were approaching in time to attach a similar one to our
hats before we got up to them, whilst we hid the other in our shoes;
then as we were passing we stuck our heads, decorated according to
circumstances, out of the windows, and shouted vigorously, 'Long live
the king!' or 'Long live the emperor!' as the case demanded. Thanks
to this concession to political opinions on the highway, and in no
less degree to the money which we gave by way of tips to everybody
everywhere, we arrived at length at the barriers of Nimes, where we
came up with the National Guards who had been repulsed by the
townspeople of Beaucaire.

"This is what had taken place just before we arrived in the city:

"The National Guard of Nimes and the troops of which the garrison was
composed had resolved to unite in giving a banquet on Sunday, the
28th of June, to celebrate the success of the French army. The news
of the battle of Waterloo travelled much more quickly to Marseilles
than to Nimes, so the banquet took place without interruption. A
bust of Napoleon was carried in procession all over the town, and
then the regular soldiers and the National Guard devoted the rest of
the day to rejoicings, which were followed by no excess.

"But the day was not quite finished before news came that numerous
meetings were taking place at Beaucaire, so although the news of the
defeat at Waterloo reached Nimes on the following Tuesday, the troops
which we had seen returning at the gates of the city had been
despatched on Wednesday to disperse these assemblies. Meantime the
Bonapartists, under the command of General Gilly, amongst whom was a
regiment of chasseurs, beginning to despair of the success of their
cause, felt that their situation was becoming very critical,
especially as they learnt that the forces at Beaucaire had assumed
the offensive and were about to march upon Nimes. As I had had no
connection with anything that had taken place in the capital of the
Gard, I personally had nothing to fear; but having learned by
experience how easily suspicions arise, I was afraid that the
ill-luck which had not spared either my friends or my family might
lead to their being accused of having received a refugee from
Marseilles, a word which in itself had small significance, but which
in the mouth of an enemy might be fatal. Fears for the future being
thus aroused by my recollections of the past, I decided to give up
the contemplation of a drama which might become redoubtable, asked to
bury myself in the country with the firm intention of coming back to
Nimes as soon as the white flag should once more float from its

"An old castle in the Cevennes, which from the days when the
Albigenses were burnt, down to the massacre of La Bagarre, had
witnessed many a revolution and counter revolution, became the asylum
of my wife, my mother, M_____ , and myself. As the peaceful
tranquillity of our life there was unbroken by any event of interest,
I shall not pause to dwell on it. But at length we grew weary, for
such is man, of our life of calm, and being left once for nearly a
week without any news from outside, we made that an excuse for
returning to Nimes in order to see with our own eyes how things were
going on.

"When we were about two leagues on our way we met the carriage of a
friend, a rich landed proprietor from the city; seeing that he was in
it, I alighted to ask him what was happening at Nimes. 'I hope you
do not think of going there,' said he, 'especially at this moment;
the excitement is intense, blood has already flowed, and a
catastrophe is imminent.' So back we went to our mountain castle,
but in a few days became again a prey to the same restlessness, and,
not being able to overcome it, decided to go at all risks and see for
ourselves the condition of affairs; and this time, neither advice nor
warning having any effect, we not only set out, but we arrived at our
destination the same evening.

"We had not been misinformed, frays having already taken place in the
streets which had heated public opinion. One man had been killed on
the Esplanade by a musket shot, and it seemed as if his death would
be only the forerunner of many. The Catholics were awaiting with
impatience the arrival of those doughty warriors from Beaucaire on
whom they placed their chief reliance. The Protestants went about in
painful silence, and fear blanched every face. At length the white
flag was hoisted and the king proclaimed without any of the disorders
which had been dreaded taking place, but it was plainly visible that
this calm was only a pause before a struggle, and that on the
slightest pretext the pent-up passions would break loose again.

"Just at this time the memory of our quiet life in the mountains
inspired us with a happy idea. We had learned that the obstinate
resolution of Marshal Brune never to acknowledge Louis XVIII as king
had been softened, and that the marshal had been induced to hoist the
white flag at Toulon, while with a cockade in his hat he had formally
resigned the command of that place into the hands of the royal

"Henceforward in all Provence there was no spot where he could live
unmarked. His ultimate intentions were unknown to us, indeed his
movements seemed to show great hesitation on his part, so it occurred
to us to offer him our little country house as a refuge where he
could await the arrival of more peaceful times. We decided that
M____ and another friend of ours who had just arrived from Paris
should go to him and make the offer, which he would at once accept
all the more readily because it came from the hearts which were
deeply devoted to him. They set out, but to my great surprise
returned the same day. They brought us word that Marshal Brune had
been assassinated at Avignon.

"At first we could not believe the dreadful news, and took it for one
of those ghastly rumours which circulate with such rapidity during
periods of civil strife; but we were not left long in uncertainty,
for the details of the catastrophe arrived all too soon."


For some days Avignon had its assassins, as Marseilles had had them,
and as Nimes was about to have them; for some days all Avignon
shuddered at the names of five men--Pointu, Farges, Roquefort,
Naudaud, and Magnan.

Pointu was a perfect type of the men of the South, olive-skinned and
eagle-eyed, with a hook nose, and teeth of ivory. Although he was
hardly above middle height, and his back was bent from bearing heavy
burdens, his legs bowed by the pressure of the enormous masses which
he daily carried, he was yet possessed of extraordinary strength and
dexterity. He could throw over the Loulle gate a 48-pound cannon
ball as easily as a child could throw its ball. He could fling a
stone from one bank of the Rhone to the other where it was two
hundred yards wide. And lastly, he could throw a knife backwards
while running at full speed with such strength and precision of aim
that this new kind of Parthian arrow would go whistling through the
air to hide two inches of its iron head in a tree trunk no thicker
than a man's thigh. When to these accomplishments are added an equal
skill with the musket, the pistol, and the quarter-staff, a good deal
of mother wit, a deep hatred for Republicans, against whom he had
vowed vengeance at the foot of the scaffold on which his father and
mother had perished, an idea can be formed of the terrible chief of
the assassins of Avignon, who had for his lieutenants, Farges the
silk-weaver, Roquefort the porter, Naudaud the baker, and Magnan the
secondhand clothes dealer.

Avignon was entirely in the power of these five men, whose brutal
conduct the civil and military authorities would not or could not
repress, when word came that Marshal Brune, who was at Luc in command
of six thousand troops, had been summoned to Paris to give an account
of his conduct to the new Government.

The marshal, knowing the state of intense excitement which prevailed
in the South, and foreseeing the perils likely to meet him on the
road, asked permission to travel by water, but met with an official
refusal, and the Duc de Riviere, governor of Marseilles, furnished
him with a safe-conduct. The cut-throats bellowed with joy when they
learned that a Republican of '89, who had risen to the rank of
marshal under the Usurper, was about to pass through Avignon. At the
same time sinister reports began to run from mouth to mouth, the
harbingers of death. Once more the infamous slander which a hundred
times had been proved to be false, raised its voice with dogged
persistence, asserting that Brune, who did not arrive at Paris until
the 5th of September, 1792, had on the 2nd, when still at Lyons,
carried the head of the Princesse de Lamballe impaled on a pike.
Soon the news came that the marshal had just escaped assassination at
Aix, indeed he owed his safety to the fleetness of his horses.
Pointu, Forges, and Roquefort swore that they would manage things
better at Avignon.

By the route which the marshal had chosen there were only two ways
open by which he could reach Lyons: he must either pass through
Avignon, or avoid it by taking a cross-road, which branched off the
Pointet highway, two leagues outside the town. The assassins thought
he would take the latter course, and on the 2nd of August, the day on
which the marshal was expected, Pointu, Magnan, and Naudaud, with
four of their creatures, took a carriage at six o'clock in the
morning, and, setting out from the Rhone bridge, hid themselves by
the side of the high road to Pointet.

When the marshal reached the point where the road divided, having
been warned of the hostile feelings so rife in Avignon, he decided to
take the cross-road upon which Pointu and his men were awaiting him;
but the postillion obstinately refused to drive in this direction,
saying that he always changed horses at Avignon, and not at Pointet.
One of the marshal's aides-de-camp tried, pistol in hand, to force
him to obey; but the marshal would permit no violence to be offered
him, and gave him orders to go on to Avignon.

The marshal reached the town at nine o'clock in the morning, and
alighted at the Hotel du Palais Royal, which was also the post-house.
While fresh horses were being put to and the passports and safe-
conduct examined at the Loulle gate, the marshal entered the hotel to
take a plate of soup. In less than five minutes a crowd gathered
round the door, and M. Moulin the proprietor noticing the sinister
and threatening expression many of the faces bore, went to the
marshal's room and urged him to leave instantly without waiting for
his papers, pledging his word that he would send a man on horseback
after him, who would overtake him two or three leagues beyond the
town, and bring him his own safe-conduct and the passports of his
aides-de-camp. The marshal came downstairs, and finding the horses
ready, got into the carriage, on which loud murmurs arose from the
populace, amongst which could be distinguished the terrible word
'zaou!' that excited cry of the Provencal, which according to the
tone in which it is uttered expresses every shade of threat, and
which means at once in a single syllable, "Bite, rend, kill,

The marshal set out at a gallop, and passed the town gates
unmolested, except by the howlings of the populace, who, however,
made no attempt to stop him. He thought he had left all his enemies
behind, but when he reached the Rhone bridge he found a group of men
armed with muskets waiting there, led by Farges and Roquefort. They
all raised their guns and took aim at the marshal, who thereupon
ordered the postillion to drive back. The order was obeyed, but when
the carriage had gone about fifty yards it was met by the crowd from
the "Palais Royal," which had followed it, so the postillion stopped.
In a moment the traces were cut, whereupon the marshal, opening the
door, alighted, followed by his valet, and passing on foot through
the Loulle gate, followed by a second carriage in which were his
aides-de-camp, he regained the "Palais Royal," the doors of which
were opened to him and his suite, and immediately secured against all

The marshal asked to be shown to a room, and M. Moulin gave him
No. 1, to the front. In ten minutes three thousand people filled the
square; it was as if the population sprang up from the ground. Just
then the carriage, which the marshal had left behind, came up, the
postillion having tied the traces, and a second time the great yard
gates were opened, and in spite of the press closed again and
barricaded by the porter Vernet, and M. Moulin himself, both of whom
were men of colossal strength. The aides-de-camp, who had remained
in the carriage until then, now alighted, and asked to be shown to
the marshal; but Moulin ordered the porter to conceal them in an
outhouse. Vernet taking one in each hand, dragged them off despite
their struggles, and pushing them behind some empty barrels, over
which he threw an old piece of carpet, said to them in a voice as
solemn as if he were a prophet, "If you move, you are dead men," and
left them. The aides-de-camp remained there motionless and silent.

At that moment M. de Saint-Chamans, prefect of Avignon, who had
arrived in town at five o'clock in the morning, came out into the
courtyard. By this time the crowd was smashing the windows and
breaking in the street door. The square was full to overflowing,
everywhere threatening cries were heard, and above all the terrible
zaou, which from moment to moment became more full of menace.
M. Moulin saw that if they could not hold out until the troops under
Major Lambot arrived, all was lost; he therefore told Vernet to
settle the business of those who were breaking in the door, while he
would take charge of those who were trying to get in at the window.
Thus these two men, moved by a common impulse and of equal courage,
undertook to dispute with a howling mob the possession of the blood
for which it thirsted.

Both dashed to their posts, one in the hall, the other in the
dining-room, and found door and windows already smashed, and several
men in the house. At the sight of Vernet, with whose immense
strength they were acquainted, those in the hall drew back a step,
and Vernet, taking advantage of this movement, succeeded in ejecting
them and in securing the door once more. Meantime M. Moulin, seizing
his double-barrelled gun, which stood in the chimney-corner, pointed
it at five men who had got into the dining-room, and threatened to
fire if they did not instantly get out again. Four obeyed, but one
refused to budge; whereupon Moulin, finding himself no longer
outnumbered, laid aside his gun, and, seizing his adversary round the
waist, lifted him as if he were a child and flung him out of the
window. The man died three weeks later, not from the fall but from
the squeeze.

Moulin then dashed to the window to secure it, but as he laid his
hand on it he felt his head seized from behind and pressed violently
down on his left shoulder; at the same instant a pane was broken into
splinters, and the head of a hatchet struck his right shoulder.
M. de Saint-Chamans, who had followed him into the room, had seen the
weapon thrown at Moulin's head, and not being able to turn aside the
iron, had turned aside the object at which it was aimed. Moulin
seized the hatchet by the handle and tore it out of the hands of him
who had delivered the blow, which fortunately had missed its aim. He
then finished closing the window, and secured it by making fast the
inside shutters, and went upstairs to see after the marshal.

Him he found striding up and down his room, his handsome and noble
face as calm as if the voices of all those shouting men outside were
not demanding his death. Moulin made him leave No. 1 for No. 3,
which, being a back room and looking out on the courtyard, seemed to
offer more chances of safety than the other. The marshal asked for
writing materials, which Moulin brought, whereupon the marshal sat
down at a little table and began to write.

Just then the cries outside became still more uproarious. M. de
Saint-Chamans had gone out and ordered the crowd to disperse,
whereupon a thousand people had answered him with one voice, asking
who he was that he should give such an order. He announced his rank
and authority, to which the answer was, "We only know the prefect by
his clothes." Now it had unfortunately happened that M. de Chamans
having sent his trunks by diligence they had not yet arrived, and
being dressed in a green coat; nankeen trousers, and a pique vest, it
could hardly be expected that in such a suit he should overawe the
people under the circumstances; so, when he got up on a bench to
harangue the populace, cries arose of "Down with the green coat! We
have enough of charlatans like that!" and he was forced to get down
again. As Vernet opened the door to let him in, several men took
advantage of the circumstance to push in along with him; but Vernet
let his fist fall three times, and three men rolled at his feet like
bulls struck by a club. The others withdrew. A dozen champions such
as Vernet would have saved the marshal. Yet it must not be forgotten
that this man was a Royalist, and held the same opinions as those
against whom he fought; for him as for them the marshal was a mortal
enemy, but he had a noble heart, and if the marshal were guilty he
desired a trial and not a murder. Meantime a certain onlooker had
heard what had been said to M. de Chamans about his unofficial
costume, and had gone to put on his uniform. This was M. de Puy, a
handsome and venerable old man, with white hair, pleasant expression,
and winning voice. He soon came back in his mayor's robes, wearing
his scarf and his double cross of St. Louis and the Legion of Honour.
But neither his age nor his dignity made the slightest impression on
these people; they did not even allow him to get back to the hotel
door, but knocked him down and trampled him under foot, so that he
hardly escaped with torn clothes and his white hair covered with dust
and blood. The fury of the mob had now reached its height.

At this juncture the garrison of Avignon came in sight; it was
composed of four hundred volunteers, who formed a battalion known as
the Royal Angouleme. It was commanded by a man who had assumed the
title of Lieutenant-General of the Emancipating Army of Vaucluse.
These forces drew up under the windows of the "Palais Royal." They
were composed almost entirely of Provenceaux, and spoke the same
dialect as the people of the lower orders. The crowd asked the
soldiers for what they had come, why they did not leave them to
accomplish an act of justice in peace, and if they intended to
interfere. "Quite the contrary," said one of the soldiers; "pitch
him out of the window, and we will catch him on the points of our
bayonets." Brutal cries of joy greeted this answer, succeeded by a
short silence, but it was easy to see that under the apparent calm
the crowd was in a state of eager expectation. Soon new shouts were
heard, but this time from the interior of the hotel; a small band of
men led by Forges and Roquefort had separated themselves from the
throng, and by the help of ladders had scaled the walls and got on
the roof of the house, and, gliding down the other side, had dropped
into the balcony outside the windows of the rooms where the marshal
was writing.

Some of these dashed through the windows without waiting to open
them, others rushed in at the open door. The marshal, thus taken by
surprise, rose, and not wishing that the letter he was writing to the
Austrian commandant to claim his protection should fall into the
hands of these wretches, he tore it to pieces. Then a man who
belonged to a better class than the others, and who wears to-day the
Cross of the Legion of Honour, granted to him perhaps for his conduct
on this occasion, advanced towards the marshal, sword in hand, and
told him if he had any last arrangements to make, he should make them
at once, for he had only ten minutes to live.

"What are you thinking of?" exclaimed Forges. "Ten minutes! Did he
give the Princesse de Lamballe ten minutes?" and he pointed his
pistol at the marshal's breast; but the marshal striking up the
weapon, the shot missed its aim and buried itself in the ceiling.

"Clumsy fellow!" said the marshal, shrugging his shoulders, "not to
be able to kill a man at such close range."

"That's true," replied Roquefort in his patois. "I'll show you how
to do it"; and, receding a step, he took aim with his carbine at his
victim, whose back was partly towards him. A report was heard, and
the marshal fell dead on the spot, the bullet which entered at the
shoulder going right through his body and striking the opposite wall.

The two shots, which had been heard in the street, made the howling
mob dance for joy. One cowardly fellow, called Cadillan, rushed out
on one of the balconies which looked on the square, and, holding a
loaded pistol in each hand, which he had not dared to discharge even
into the dead body of the murdered man, he cut a caper, and, holding
up the innocent weapons, called out, "These have done the business!"
But he lied, the braggart, and boasted of a crime which was committed
by braver cutthroats than he.

Behind him came the general of the "Emancipating Army of Vaucluse,"
who, graciously saluting the crowd, said, "The marshal has carried
out an act of justice by taking his own life." Shouts of mingled
joy, revenge, and hatred rose from the crowd, and the king's attorney
and the examining magistrate set about drawing up a report of the

Now that all was over and there was no longer any question of saving
the marshal, M. Moulin desired at least to save the valuables which
he had in his carriage. He found in a cash box 40,000 francs, in the
pockets a snuff-box set with diamonds, and a pair of pistols and two
swords; the hilt of one of these latter was studded with precious
stones, a gift from the ill-starred Selim. M. Moulin returned across
the court, carrying these things. The Damascus blade was wrenched
from his hands, and the robber kept it five years as a trophy, and it
was not until the year 1820 that he was forced to give it up to the
representative of the marshal's widow. Yet this man was an officer,
and kept his rank all through the Restoration, and was not dismissed
the army till 1830. When M. Moulin had placed the other objects in
safety, he requested the magistrate to have the corpse removed, as he
wished the crowds to disperse, that he might look after the aides-de
camp. While they were undressing the marshal, in order to certify
the cause of death, a leathern belt was found on him containing 5536
francs. The body was carried downstairs by the grave-diggers without
any opposition being offered, but hardly had they advanced ten yards
into the square when shouts of "To the Rhone! to the Rhone!"
resounded on all sides. A police officer who tried to interfere was
knocked down, the bearers were ordered to turn round; they obeyed,
and the crowd carried them off towards the wooden bridge. When the
fourteenth arch was reached, the bier was torn from the bearers'
hands, and the corpse was flung into the river. "Military honours!"
shouted some one, and all who had guns fired at the dead body, which
was twice struck. "Tomb of Marshal Brune" was then written on the
arch, and the crowd withdrew, and passed the rest of the day in

Meanwhile the Rhone, refusing to be an accomplice in such a crime,
bore away the corpse, which the assassins believed had been swallowed
up for ever. Next day it was found on the sandy shore at Tarascon,
but the news of the murder had preceded it, and it was recognised by
the wounds, and pushed back again into the waters, which bore it
towards the sea.

Three leagues farther on it stopped again, this time by a grassy
bank, and was found by a man of forty and another of eighteen. They
also recognised it, but instead of shoving it back into the current,
they drew it up gently on the bank and carried it to a small property
belonging to one of them, where they reverently interred it. The
elder of the two was M. de Chartruse, the younger M. Amedee Pichot.

The body was exhumed by order of the marshal's widow, and brought to
her castle of Saint-Just, in Champagne; she had it embalmed, and
placed in a bedroom adjoining her own, where it remained, covered
only by a veil, until the memory of the deceased was cleansed from
the accusation of suicide by a solemn public trial and judgment.
Then only it was finally interred, along with the parchment
containing the decision of the Court of Riom.

The ruffians who killed Marshal Brune, although they evaded the
justice of men, did not escape the vengeance of God: nearly every one
of them came to a miserable end. Roquefort and Farges were attacked
by strange and hitherto unknown diseases, recalling the plagues sent
by God on the peoples whom He desired to punish in bygone ages. In
the case of Farges, his skin dried up and became horny, causing him
such intense irritation, that as the only means of allaying it he had
to be kept buried up to the neck while still alive. The disease
under which Roquefort suffered seemed to have its seat in the marrow,
for his bones by degrees lost all solidity and power of resistance,
so that his limbs refused to bear his weight, and he went about the
streets crawling like a serpent. Both died in such dreadful torture
that they regretted having escaped the scaffold, which would have
spared them such prolonged agony.

Pointu was condemned to death, in his absence, at the Assizes Court
of La Drome, for having murdered five people, and was cast off by his
own faction. For some time his wife, who was infirm and deformed,
might be seen going from house to house asking alms for him, who had
been for two months the arbiter of civil war and assassination. Then
came a day when she ceased her quest, and was seen sitting, her head
covered by a black rag: Pointu was dead, but it was never known where
or how. In some corner, probably, in the crevice of a rock or in the
heart of the forest, like an old tiger whose talons have been clipped
and his teeth drawn.

Naudaud and Magnan were sentenced to the galleys for ten years.
Naudaud died there, but Magnan finished his time and then became a
scavenger, and, faithful to his vocation as a dealer of death, a
poisoner of stray dogs.

Some of these cut-throats are still living, and fill good positions,
wearing crosses and epaulets, and, rejoicing in their impunity,
imagine they have escaped the eye of God.

We shall wait and see!


It was on Saturday that the white flag was hoisted at Nimes. The
next day a crowd of Catholic peasants from the environs marched into
the city, to await the arrival of the Royalist army from Beaucaire.
Excitement was at fever heat, the desire of revenge filled every
breast, the hereditary hatred which had slumbered during the Empire
again awoke stronger than ever. Here I may pause to say that in the
account which follows of the events which took place about this time,
I can only guarantee the facts and not the dates: I relate everything
as it happened; but the day on which it happened may sometimes have
escaped my memory, for it is easier to recollect a murder to which
one has been an eye-witness, than to recall the exact date on which
it happened.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest