Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Cavalier a new pang of regret, for he could not help recollecting
that he had once had under his command fifteen hundred men like
these.

The next day Cavalier and his comrades set out on their march without
knowing whither they were being taken, not having been able to obtain
any information as to their destination from their escort--a silence
which confirmed them in their resolution.  As soon, therefore, as
they reached Onnan, Cavalier declared that he considered that the
looked-for opportunity had arrived, asking them if they were still in
the same mind: they returned that they would do whatever he advised.
Cavalier then ordered them to hold themselves in readiness, Daniel
offered up a prayer, and the prayer ended, the whole company deserted
in a body, and, crossing Mont Belliard, entered Porentruy, and took
the road to Lausanne.

Meantime d'Aygaliers, in his turn, arrived at Versailles, with
letters from M. de Villars for the Duke of Beauvilliers, president of
the king's council, and for Chamillard.  The evening of his arrival
he delivered these letters to those to whom they were addressed, and
both gentlemen promised to present him to the king.

Four days later, Chamillard sent word to d'Aygaliers that he was to
be next day at the door of the king's chamber at the time when the
council entered.  D'Aygaliers was punctual, the king appeared at the
usual hour, and as he paused before d'Aygaliers, Chamillard came
forward and said

Baron d'Aygaliers, sire."

"I am very glad to see you, sir," said the king, "for I am very much
pleased with the zeal you have displayed in Languedoc in my service
--very much pleased indeed."

"Sire," answered d'Aygaliers, "I consider myself most unfortunate in
that I have been able to accomplish nothing deserving of the gracious
words which your Majesty deigns to address me, and I pray God of His
grace to grant me in the future an opportunity of proving my zeal and
loyalty in your Majesty's service more clearly than hitherto."

"Never mind, never mind," said the king.  "I repeat, sir, that I am
very much pleased with what you have done."

And he entered the room where the council was waiting.

D'Aygaliers went away only half satisfied: he had not come so far
only to receive commendation from the king, but in the hope of
obtaining some concession for his brethren; but with Louis XIV it was
impossible either to intercede or complain, one could only wait.

The same evening Chamillard sent for the baron, and told him that as
Marechal Villars had mentioned in his letter that the Camisards had
great confidence in him, d'Aygaliers, he wished to ask him if he were
willing to go once more to them and try and bring them back to the
path of duty.

"Certainly I am willing; but I fear things have now got so far that
there will be great difficulty in calming the general perturbation of
mind."

"But what can these people want?" asked Chamillard, as if he had just
heard them spoken of for the first time, "and by what means can we
pacify them?"

"In my opinion," said the baron, "the king should allow to all his
subjects the free exercise of their religion."

"What! legalise once more the exercise of the so-called Reformed
religion!" exclaimed the minister.  "Be sure you never mention such a
thing again.  The king would rather see his kingdom destroyed than
consent to such a measure."

"Monseigneur," replied the baron, "if that is the case, then I must
say with great regret that I know of no other way to calm the
discontent which will ultimately result in the ruin of one of the
fairest provinces in France."

"But that is unheard-of obstinacy," said the minister, lost in
astonishment; "these people will destroy themselves, and drag their
country down with them.  If they cannot conform to our religion, why
do they not worship God in their own way at home?  No one will
disturb them as long as they don't insist on public worship."

"At first that was all they wanted, monseigneur; and I am convinced
that if people had not been dragged to confession and communion by
force, it would have been easy to keep them in that submissive frame
of mind from which they were only driven by despair; but at present
they say that it is not enough to pray at home, they want to be
married, to have their children baptised and instructed, and to die
and be buried according to the ordinances of their own faith."

"Where may you have seen anyone who was ever made to communicate by
force?" asked Chamillard.

D'Aygaliers looked at the minister in surprise, thinking he spoke in
joke; but seeing he was quite serious, he answered:

"Alas, monseigneur, my late father and my mother, who is still
living, are both instances of people subjected to this indignity."

"Are you, then, not a Catholic?" asked Chamillard.

"No, monseigneur," replied d'Aygaliers.

"Then how did you manage to return to France?"

"To speak the truth, sir, I only came back to help my mother to
escape; but she never could make up her mind to leave France, as such
a step was surrounded by many difficulties which she feared she could
never surmount.  So she asked my other relations to persuade me to
remain.  I yielded to their importunities on condition that they
would never interfere with my beliefs.  To accomplish this end they
got a priest with whom they were intimate to say that I had changed
my views once more, and I did not contradict the report.  It was a
great sin on my part, and I deeply repent it.  I must add, however,
that whenever anyone has asked me the question your Excellency asked
me just now I have always given the same reply."

The minister did not seem to take the baron's frankness in bad part;
only he remarked, when dismissing him, that he hoped he would find
out some way of ridding the kingdom of those who refused to think in
religious matters as His Majesty commanded.

D'Aygaliers replied that it was a problem to which he had given much
thought, but without ever being able to find a solution, but that he
would think about it more earnestly in future.  He then withdrew.

Some days later, Chamillard sent ward to d'Aygaliers that the king
would graciously give him a farewell audience.  The baron relates
what took place at this second interview, as follows.

"His Majesty," says he, "received me in the council chamber, and was
so good as to repeat once more in the presence of all his ministers
that he was very much pleased with my services, but that there was
one thing about me he should like to correct.  I begged His Majesty
to tell me what the fault was, and I should try to get rid of it at,
the peril of my life."

"'It is your religion,' said the king.  'I should like to have you
become a good Catholic, so that I might be able to grant you favours
and enable you to serve me better.'  His Majesty added that I ought
to seek instruction, and that then I should one day recognise what a
great benefit he desired to bring within my reach.

"I answered that I would esteem myself happy if at the cost of my
life I could prove the burning zeal with which I was filled for the
service of the greatest of earthly kings, but that I should be
unworthy of the least of his favours if I obtained it by hypocrisy or
by anything of which my conscience did not approve, but that I was
grateful for the goodness which made him anxious for my salvation.
I told him also that I had already taken every opportunity of
receiving instruction, and had tried to put aside the prejudices
arising from my birth, such as often hindered people from recognising
the truth, with the result that I had at one time almost lost all
sense of religion, until God, taking pity on me, had opened my eyes
and brought me out of that deplorable condition, making me see that
the faith in which I had been born was the only one for me.  'And I
can assure your Majesty,' I added, 'that many of the Languedoc
bishops who ought, it seems to me, to try to make us Catholics, are
the instruments which Providence uses to prevent us from becoming so.
For instead of attracting us by gentleness and good example, they
ceaselessly subject us to all kinds of persecutions, as if to
convince us that God is punishing us for our cowardice in giving up a
religion which we know to be good, by delivering us up to pastors
who, far from labouring to assure our salvation, use all their
efforts to drive us to despair."

"At this the king shrugged his shoulders and said, 'Enough, do not
say any more.' I asked for his blessing as the king and father of all
his subjects.  The king burst out laughing, and told me that M. de
Chamillard would give me his orders."

In virtue of this intimation d'Aygaliers went next day to the
minister's country house; for Chamillard had given him that address,
and there he learned that the king had granted him a pension of 800
livres.  The baron remarked that, not having worked for money, he had
hoped for a better reward; as far as money was concerned, he desired
only the reimbursement of the actual expenses of his journeys to and
from, but Chamillard answered that the king expected all that he
offered and whatever he offered to be accepted with gratitude.  To
this there was no possible reply, so the same evening d'Aygaliers set
out on his return to Languedoc.

Three months later, Chamillard forwarded him an order to leave the
kingdom, telling him that he was to receive a pension of four hundred
crowns per annum, and enclosing the first quarter in advance.

As there was no means of evading this command, D'Aygaliers set out
for Geneva, accompanied by thirty-three followers, arriving there on
the 23rd of September.  Once rid of him, Louis the Magnificent
thought that he had done his part nobly and that he owed him nothing
further, so that d'Aygaliers waited a whole year in vain for the
second quarter of his pension.

At the end of this time, as his letters to Chamillard remained
unanswered, and finding himself without resources in a foreign
country, he believed himself justified in returning to France and
taking up his residence on his family estate.  Unfortunately, on his

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com