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List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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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
Protestants.

"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
Marseilles.

"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
evening.

"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,
SCOUNDREL!'

"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
one.'

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

"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
casualties.

"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.'

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