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

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
holiday-making.

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!




CHAPTER IX

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

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