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List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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Baron d'Aygaliers found one day at the house of a friend a M. de
Paratte, a colonel in the king's army, and who afterwards became
major-general, but who at the time we are speaking of was commandant
at Uzes.  He was of a very impulsive disposition, and so zealous in
matters relating to the Catholic religion and in the service of the
king, that he never could find himself in the presence of a
Protestant without expressing his indignation at those who had taken
up arms against their prince, and also those who without taking up
arms encouraged the rebels in their designs.  M. d'Aygaliers
understood that an allusion was meant to himself, and he resolved to
take advantage of it.

So the next day he paid a visit to M. de Paratte, and instead of
demanding satisfaction, as the latter quite expected, for the
rudeness of his remarks on the previous day, he professed himself
very much obliged for what he had said, which had made such a deep
impression on him that he had made up his mind to give proof of his
zeal and loyalty by going to Paris and petitioning the king for a
position at court.  De Paratte, charmed with what he had heard, and
enchanted with his convert, embraced d'Aygaliers, and gave him, says
the chronicler, his blessing; and with the blessing a passport, and
wished him all the success that a father could wish for his son.
D'Aygaliers had now attained his object, and furnished with the lucky
safe-conduct, he set out for Paris, without having communicated his
intentions to anyone, not even to his mother.

On reaching Paris he put up at a friend's house, and drew up a
statement of his plan: it was very short and very clear.

"The undersigned has the honour to point out humbly to His Majesty:

"That the severities and the persecutions which have been employed by
some of the village priests have caused many people in the country
districts to take up arms, and that the suspicions which new converts
excited have driven a great many of them to join the insurgents.  In
taking this step they were also impelled by the desire to avoid
imprisonment or removal from their homes, which were the remedies
chosen to keep them in the old faith.  This being the case, he thinks
that the best means of putting an end to this state of things would
be to take measures exactly the contrary of those which produced it,
such as putting an end to the persecutions and permitting a certain
number of those of the Reformed religion to bear arms, that they
might go to the rebels and tell them that far from approving of their
actions the Protestants as a whole wished to bring them back to the
right way by setting them a good example, or to fight against them in
order to show the king and France, at the risk of their lives, that
they disapproved of the conduct of their co-religionists, and that
the priests had been in the wrong in writing to the court that all
those of the Reformed religion were in favour of revolt."

D'Aygaliers hoped that the court would adopt this plan; for if they
did, one of two things must happen: either the Camisards, by refusing
to accept the terms offered to them, would make themselves odious to
their brethren (for d'Aygaliers intended to take with him on his
mission of persuasion only men of high reputation among the
Reformers, who would be repelled by the Camisards if they refused to
submit), or else; by laying down their arms and submitting, they
would restore peace to the South of France, obtain liberty of
worship, set free their brethren from the prisons and galleys, and
come to the help of the king in his war against the allied powers, by
supplying him in a moment with a large body of disciplined troops
ready to take the field against his enemies; for not only would the
Camisards, if they were supplied with officers, be available for this
purpose, but also those troops which were at the moment employed in
hunting down the Camisards would be set free for this important duty.

This proposition was so clear and promised to produce such useful
results, that although the prejudice against the Reformers was very
strong, Baron d'Aygaliers found supporters who were at once
intelligent and genuine in the Duke de Chevreuse and the Duke de
Montfort, his son.  These two gentlemen brought about a meeting
between the baron and Chamillard, and the latter presented him to the
Marechal de Villars, to whom he showed his petition, begging him to
bring it to the notice of the king; but M, de Villars, who was well
acquainted with the obstinacy of Louis, who, as Baron de Peken says,
"only saw the Reformers through the spectacles of Madame de
Maintenon," told d'Aygaliers that the last thing he should do would
be to give the king any hint of his plans, unless he wished to see
them come to nothing; on the contrary, he advised him to go at once
to Lyons and wait there for him, M. de Villars; for he would probably
be passing through that town in a few days, being almost certain to
be appointed governor of Languedoc in place of M. de Montrevel, who
had fallen under the king's displeasure and was about to be recalled.
In the course of the three interviews which d'Aygaliers had had with
M. de Villars, he had become convinced that de Villars was a man
capable of understanding his object; he therefore followed his
advice, as he believed his knowledge of the king to be correct, and
left Paris for Lyons.

The recall of M. de Montrevel had been brought about in the following
manner:--M. de Montrevel having just come to Uzes, learned that
Cavalier and his troops were in the neighbourhood of Sainte-Chatte;
he immediately sent M. de La Jonquiere, with six hundred picked
marines and some companies of dragoons from the regiment of Saint-
Sernin, but half an hour later, it having occurred to him that these
forces were not sufficient, he ordered M. de Foix, lieutenant of the
dragoons of Fimarqon, to join M. de La Jonquiere at Sainte-Chatte
with a hundred soldiers of his regiment, and to remain with him if he
were wanted; if not, to return the same night.

M. de Foix gave the necessary orders, chose a hundred of his bravest
men, put himself at their head, and joined M. de La Jonquiere,
showing him his orders; but the latter, confiding in the courage of
his soldiers and unwilling to share with anyone the glory of a
victory of which he felt assured, not only sent away M. de Foix, but
begged him to go back to Uzes, declaring to him that he had enough
troops to fight and conquer all the Camisards whom he might
encounter; consequently the hundred dragoons whom the lieutenant had
brought with him were quite useless at Sainte-Chatte, while on the
contrary they might be very necessary somewhere else.  M. de Foix did
not consider that it was his duty to insist on remaining under these
circumstances, and returned to Uzes, while M. de La Jonquiere
continued his route in order to pass the night at Moussac.  Cavalier
left the town by one gate just as M. de La Jonquiere entered at the
other.  The wishes of the young Catholic commander were thus in a
fair way to be fulfilled, for in all probability he would come up
with his enemy the next day.

As the village was inhabited for the most part by new converts, the
night instead of being spent in repose was devoted to pillage.

The next day the Catholic troops reached Moussac, which they found
deserted, so they went on to Lascours-de-Gravier, a little village
belonging to the barony of Boucairan, which M. de La Jonquiere gave
up to pillage, and where he had four Protestants shot--a man, a
woman, and two young girls.  He then resumed his route.  As it had
rained, he soon came on the trail of the Camisards, the terrible game
which he was hunting down.  For three hours he occupied himself in
this pursuit, marching at the head of his troops, lest someone else
less careful than he should make some mistake, when, suddenly raising
his eyes, he perceived the Camisards on a small eminence called Les
Devois de Maraignargues.  This was the spot they had chosen to await
attack in, being eager for the approaching combat.

As soon as Cavalier saw the royals advancing, he ordered his men,
according to custom, to offer up prayers to God, and when these were
finished he disposed his troops for battle.  His plan was to take up
position with the greater part of his men on the other side of a
ravine, which would thus form a kind of moat between him and the
king's soldiers; he also ordered about thirty horsemen to make a
great round, thus reaching unseen a little wood about two hundred
yards to his left, where they could conceal themselves; and lastly,
he sent to a point on the right sixty foot-soldiers chosen from his
best marksmen, whom he ordered not to fire until the royal forces
were engaged in the struggle with him.

M. de La Jonquiere having approached to within a certain distance,
halted, and sent one of his lieutenants named de Sainte-Chatte to
make a reconnaissance, which he did, advancing beyond the men in
ambush, who gave no sign of their existence, while the officer
quietly examined the ground.  But Sainte-Chatte was an old soldier of
fortune and not easily taken in, so on his return, while explaining
the plan of the ground chosen by Cavalier for the disposition of his
troops to M. de La Jonquiere, he added that he should be very much
astonished if the young Camisard had not employed the little wood on
his left and the lie of the ground on his right as cover for soldiers
in ambush; but M. de La Jonquiere returned that the only thing of
importance was to know the position of the principal body of troops
in order to attack it at once.  Sainte-Chatte told him that the
principal body was that which was before his eyes, and that on this
subject there could be no mistake; for he had approached near enough
to recognise Cavalier himself in the front rank.

This was enough for M. de La Jonquiere: he put himself at the head of
his men and rode straight to the ravine, beyond which Cavalier and
his comrades awaited him in order of battle.  Having got within a
pistol-shot, M. de La Jonquiere gave the order to fire, but he was so

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