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List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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surrounded during the night by the royals.  Faithful to his
principles, he offered no resistance, but held out his hands to be
bound.  He was taken in triumph to Nimes, and from there to the
citadel of Montpellier.  On the way he encountered his wife and his
son, who were going to the latter town to intercede for him.  When
they met him, they dismounted from their horse, for the mother was
riding on a pillion behind the son, and kneeling on the highroad,
asked for Boeton's blessing.  Unfeeling though the soldiers were,
they yet permitted their prisoner to stop an instant, while he,
raising his fettered hands to heaven, gave the double blessing asked
for.  So touched was Baron Saint-Chatte by the scene (be it remarked
in passing that the baron and Boeton were cousins by marriage) that
he permitted them to embrace one another, so for a few moments they
stood, the husband and father clasped to the hearts of his dear ones;
then, on a sign from Boeton, they tore themselves away, Boeton
commanding them to pray for M. de Saint-Chatte, who had given them
this consolation.  As he resumed his march the prisoner set them the
example by beginning to sing a psalm for the benefit of M. de

The next day, despite the intercession of his wife and son, Boeton
was condemned to torture both ordinary and extraordinary, and then to
be broken on the wheel.  On hearing this cruel sentence, he said that
he was ready to suffer every ill that God might send him in order to
prove the steadfastness of his faith.

And indeed he endured his torture with such firmness, that M. de
Baville, who was present in the hope of obtaining a confession,
became more impatient than the sufferer, and, forgetting his sacred
office, the judge struck and insulted the prisoner.  Upon this Baeton
raised his eyes to heaven and cried, "Lord, Lord! how long shall the
wicked triumph?  How long shall innocent blood be shed?  How long
wilt Thou not judge and avenge our blood with cries to Thee?
Remember Thy jealousy, O Lord, and Thy loving-kindness of old!"  Then
M. de Baville withdrew, giving orders that he was to be brought to
the scaffold.

The scaffold was erected on the Esplanade: being, as was usual when
this sort of death was to be inflicted, a wooden platform five or six
feet high, on which was fastened flat a St. Andrew's cross, formed of
two beams of wood in the form of an X.  In each of the four arms two
square pieces were cut out to about half the depth of the beam, and
about a foot apart, so that when the victim was bound on the cross
the outstretched limbs were easy to break by a blow at these points,
having no support beneath.  Lastly, near the cross, at one corner of
the scaffold an upright wooden post was fixed, on which was fastened
horizontally a small carriage wheel, as on a pivot, the projecting
part of the nave being sawn off to make it flat.  On this bed of pain
the sufferer was laid, so that the spectators might enjoy the sight
of his dying convulsions when, the executioner having accomplished
his part, the turn of death arrived.

Boeton was carried to execution in a cart, and drums were beaten that
his exhortations might not be heard.  But above the roll of drums his
voice rose unfalteringly, as he admonished his brethren to uphold
their fellowship in Christ.

Half-way to the Esplanade a friend of the condemned man, who happened
to be in the street, met the procession, and fearing that he could
not support the sight, he took refuge in a shop.  When Boeton was
opposite the door, he stopped the cart and asked permission of the
provost to speak to his friend.  The request being granted, he called
him out, and as he approached, bathed in tears, Boeton said, "Why do
you run away from me?  Is it because you see me covered with the
tokens of Jesus Christ?  Why do you weep because He has graciously
called me to Himself, and all unworthy though I be, permits me to
seal my faith with my blood?"  Then, as the friend threw himself into
Boeton's arms and some signs of sympathetic emotion appeared among
the crowd; the procession was abruptly ordered to move on; but though
the leave-taking was thus roughly broken short, no murmur passed the
lips of Boeton.

In turning out of the first street, the scaffold came in sight; the
condemned man raised his hands towards heaven, and exclaimed in a
cheerful voice, while a smile lit up his face, "Courage, my soul!  I
see thy place of triumph, whence, released from earthly bonds, thou
shah take flight to heaven."

When he got to the foot of the scaffold, it was found he could not
mount without assistance; for his limbs, crushed in the terrible
"boot," could no longer sustain his weight.  While they were
preparing to carry him up, he exhorted and comforted the Protestants,
who were all weeping round him.  When he reached the platform he laid
himself of his own accord on the cross; but hearing from the
executioner that he must first be undressed, he raised himself again
with a smile, so that the executioner's assistant could remove his
doublet and small-clothes.  As he wore no stockings, his legs being
bandaged the man also unwound these bandages, and rolled up Boeton's
shirts-sleeves to the elbow, and then ordered him to lay himself
again on the cross.  Boeton did so with unbroken calm.  All his limbs
were then bound to the beams with cords at every joint; this
accomplished, the assistant retired, and the executioner came
forward.  He held in his hand a square bar of iron, an inch and a
half thick, three feet long, and rounded at one end so as to form a

When Boeton saw it he began singing a psalm, but almost immediately
the melody was interrupted by a cry: the executioner had broken a
bone of Boeton's right leg; but the singing was at once resumed, and
continued without interruption till each limb had been broken in two
places.  Then the executioner unbound the formless but still living
body from the cross, and while from its lips issued words of faith in
God he laid it on the wheel, bending it back on the legs in such a
manner that the heels and head met; and never once during the
completion of this atrocious performance did the voice of the
sufferer cease to sound forth the praises of the Lord.

No execution till then had ever produced such an effect on the crowd,
so that Abbe Massilla, who was present, seeing the general emotion,
hastened to call M. de Baville's attention to the fact that, far from
Boeton's death inspiring the Protestants with terror, they were only
encouraged to hold out, as was proved by their tears, and the praises
they lavished on the dying man.

M, de Baville, recognising the truth of this observation, ordered
that Boeton should be put out of misery.  This order being conveyed
to the executioner, he approached the wheel to break in Boeton's
chest with one last blow; but an archer standing on the scaffold
threw himself before the sufferer, saying that the Huguenot had not
yet suffered half enough.  At this, Boeton, who had heard the
dreadful dispute going on beside him, interrupted his prayers for an
instant, and raising his head, which hung down over the edge of the
wheel, said, "Friend, you think I suffer, and in truth I do; but He
for whom I suffer is beside me and gives me strength to bear
everything joyfully."  Just then M. de Baville's order was repeated,
and the archer, no longer daring to interfere, allowed the
executioner to approach.  Then Boeton, seeing his last moment had
come, said, "My dear friends, may my death be an example to you, to
incite you to preserve the gospel pure; bear faithful testimony that
I died in the religion of Christ and His holy apostles."  Hardly had
these words passed his lips, than the death-blow was given and his
chest crushed; a few inarticulate sounds, apparently prayers, were
heard; the head fell back, the martyrdom was ended.

This execution ended the war in Languedoc.  A few imprudent preachers
still delivered belated sermons, to which the rebels listened
trembling with fear, and for which the preachers paid on the wheel or
gibbet.  There were disturbances in Vivarais, aroused by Daniel
Billard, during which a few Catholics were found murdered on the
highway; there were a few fights, as for instance at Sainte-Pierre-
Ville, where the Camisards, faithful to the old traditions which had
come to them from Cavalier, Catinat, and Ravenal, fought one to
twenty, but they were all without importance; they were only the last
quiverings of the dying civil strife, the last shudderings of the
earth when the eruption of the volcano is over.

Even Cavalier understood that the end had come, for he left Holland
for England.  There Queen Anne distinguished him by a cordial
welcome; she invited him to enter her service, an offer which he
accepted, and he was placed in command of a regiment of refugees; so
that he actually received in England the grade of colonel, which he
had been offered in France.  At the battle of Almanza the regiment
commanded by Cavalier found itself opposed by a French regiment.  The
old enemies recognised each other, and with a howl of rage, without
waiting for the word of command or executing any military evolutions,
they hurled themselves at each other with such fury that, if we may
believe the Duke of Berwick, who was present, they almost annihilated
each other in the conflict.  Cavalier, however, survived the
slaughter, in which he had performed his part with energy; and for
his courage was made general and governor of the island of Jersey.
He died at Chelsea in May 1740, aged sixty years.  "I must confess,"
says Malesherbes, "that this soldier, who without training became a
great general by means of his natural gifts; this Camisard, who dared
in the face of fierce troopers to punish a crime similar to those by
which the troopers existed; this rude peasant, who, admitted into the
best society; adopted its manners and gained its esteem and love;
this man, who though accustomed to an adventurous life, and who might
justly have been puffed up by success, had yet enough philosophy to
lead for thirty-five years a tranquil private existence, appears to

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