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List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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took place at Marseilles in the excitement of the moment was repeated
at Nimes with deliberation and method, inspired by hate and the
desire of vengeance.  A revolt broke out which followed the ordinary
course: first pillage, then fire, then murder, laid waste the city.

M. V_____'s house, which stood in the middle of the town, was sacked
and then burnt to the ground, without a hand being raised to prevent
the crime.

M. T_____'s house, on the road to Montpellier, was sacked and wrecked
and a bonfire made of the furniture, round which the crowd danced; as
if it had been an occasion of public rejoicing.  Then cries were
raised for the proprietor, that he might be killed, and as he could
not be found the baffled fury of the mob vented itself on the dead.
A child three months buried was dragged from its grave, drawn by the
feet through the sewers and wayside puddles, and then flung on a
dung-heap; and, strange to say, while incendiarism and sacrilege thus
ran riot, the mayor of the place slept so sound that when he awoke he
was "quite astonished," to use his own expression, to hear what had
taken place during the night.

This expedition completed, the same company which had brought this
expedition to a successful issue next turned their attention to a
small country house occupied by a widow, whom I had often begged to
take refuge with us.  But, secure in her insignificance, she had
always declined our offers, preferring to live solitary and retired
in her own home.  But the freebooters sought her out, burst in her
doors, drove her away with blows and insults, destroyed her house and
burnt her furniture.  They then proceeded to the vault in which lay
the remains of her family, dragged them out of their coffins and
scattered them about the fields.  The next day the poor
woman-ventured back, collected the desecrated remains with pious
care, and replaced them in the vault.  But this was counted to her as
a crime; the company returned, once more cast forth the contents of
the coffins, and threatened to kill her should she dare to touch them
again.  She was often seen in the days that followed shedding bitter
tears and watching over the sacred relics as they lay exposed on the
ground.

The name of this widow was Pepin, and the scene of the sacrilege was
a small enclosure on the hill of the Moulins-a-Vent.

Meantime the people in the Faubourg des Bourgades had invented a new
sort of game, or rather, had resolved to vary the serious business of
the drama that was being enacted by the introduction of comic scenes.
They had possessed themselves of a number of beetles such as
washerwomen use, and hammered in long nails, the points of which
projected an inch on the other side in the form of a fleur-de-lis.
Every Protestant who fell into their hands, no matter what his age or
rank, was stamped with the bloody emblem, serious wounds being
inflicted in many cases.

Murders were now becoming common.  Amongst other names of victims
mentioned were Loriol, Bigot, Dumas, Lhermet, Heritier, Domaison,
Combe, Clairon, Begomet, Poujas, Imbert, Vigal, Pourchet, Vignole.
Details more or less shocking came to light as to the manner in which
the murderers went to work.  A man called Dalbos was in the custody
of two armed men; some others came to consult with them.  Dalbos
appealed for mercy to the new-comers.  It was granted, but as he
turned to go he was shot dead.  Another of the name of Rambert tried
to escape by disguising himself as a woman, but was recognised and
shot down a few yards outside his own door.  A gunner called Saussine
was walking in all security along the road to Uzes, pipe in mouth,
when he was met by five men belonging to Trestaillon's company, who
surrounded him and stabbed him to the heart with their knives.  The
elder of two brothers named Chivas ran across some fields to take
shelter in a country house called Rouviere, which, unknown to him,
had been occupied by some of the new National Guard.  These met him
on the threshold and shot him dead.

Rant was seized in his own house and shot.  Clos was met by a
company, and seeing Trestaillons, with whom he had always been
friends, in its ranks, he went up to him and held out his hand;
whereupon Trestaillons drew a pistol from his belt and blew his
brains out.  Calandre being chased down the rue des Soeurs-Grises,
sought shelter in a tavern, but was forced to come out, and was
killed with sabres.  Courbet was sent to prison under the escort of
some men, but these changed their minds on the way as to his
punishment, halted, and shot him dead in the middle of the street.

A wine merchant called Cabanot, who was flying from Trestaillons, ran
into a house in which there was a venerable priest called Cure
Bonhomme.  When the cut-throat rushed in, all covered with blood, the
priest advanced and stopped him, crying:

"What will happen, unhappy man, when you come to the confessional
with blood-stained hands?"

"Pooh!" replied Trestaillons, "you must put on your wide gown; the
sleeves are large enough to let everything pass."

To the short account given above of so many murders I will add the
narrative of one to which I was an eye-witness, and which made the
most terrible impression on me of, anything in my experience.

It was midnight.  I was working beside my wife's bed; she was just
becoming drowsy, when a noise in the distance caught our attention.
It gradually became more distinct, and drums began to beat the
'generale' in every direction.  Hiding my own alarm for fear of
increasing hers, I answered my wife, who was asking what new thing
was about to happen, that it was probably troops marching in or out
of garrison.  But soon reports of firearms, accompanied by an uproar
with which we were so familiar that we could no longer mistake its
meaning, were heard outside.  Opening my window, I heard
bloodcurdling imprecations, mixed with cries of "Long live the king!"
going on.  Not being able to remain any longer in this uncertainty, I
woke a captain who lived in the same house.  He rose, took his arms,
and we went out together, directing our course towards the point
whence the shouts seemed to come.  The moon shone so bright that we
could see everything almost as distinctly as in broad daylight.

A concourse of people was hurrying towards the Cours yelling like
madmen; the greater number of them, half naked, armed with muskets,
swords, knives, and clubs, and swearing to exterminate everything,
waved their weapons above the heads of men who had evidently been
torn from their houses and brought to the square to be put to death.
The rest of the crowd had, like ourselves, been drawn thither by
curiosity, and were asking what was going on.  "Murder is abroad,"
was the answer; "several people have been killed in the environs, and
the patrol has been fired on."  While this questioning was going on
the noise continued to increase.  As I had really no business to be
on a spot where such things were going on, and feeling that my place
was at my wife's side, to reassure her for the present and to watch
over her should the rioters come our way, I said good-bye to the
captain, who went on to the barracks, and took the road back to the
suburb in which I lived.

I was not more than fifty steps from our house when I heard loud
talking behind me, and, turning, saw gun barrels glittering in the
moonlight.  As the speakers seemed to be rapidly approaching me, I
kept close in the shadow of the houses till I reached my own door,
which I laid softly to behind me, leaving myself a chink by which I
could peep out and watch the movements of the group which was drawing
near.  Suddenly I felt something touch my hand; it was a great
Corsican dog, which was turned loose at night, and was so fierce that
it was a great protection to our house.  I felt glad to have it at my
side, for in case of a struggle it would be no despicable ally.

Those approaching turned out to be three armed men leading a fourth,
disarmed and a prisoner.  They all stopped just opposite my door,
which I gently closed and locked, but as I still wished to see what
they were about, I slipped into the garden, which lay towards the
street, still followed by my dog.  Contrary to his habit, and as if
he understood the danger, he gave a low whine instead of his usual
savage growl.  I climbed into a fig tree the branches of which
overhung the street, and, hidden by the leaves, and resting my hands
on the top of the wall, I leaned far enough forward to see what the
men were about.

They were still on the same spot, but there was a change in their
positions.  The prisoner was now kneeling with clasped hands before
the cut-throats, begging for his life for the sake of his wife and
children, in heartrending accents, to which his executioners replied
in mocking tones, "We have got you at last into our hands, have we?
You dog of a Bonapartist, why do you not call on your emperor to come
and help you out of this scrape?" The unfortunate man's entreaties
became more pitiful and their mocking replies more pitiless.  They
levelled their muskets at him several times, and then lowered them,
saying; "Devil take it, we won't shoot yet; let us give him time to
see death coming," till at last the poor wretch, seeing there was no
hope of mercy, begged to be put out of his misery.

Drops of sweat stood on my forehead.  I felt my pockets to see if I
had nothing on me which I could use as a weapon, but I had not even a
knife.  I looked at my dog; he was lying flat at the foot of the
tree, and appeared to be a prey to the most abject terror.  The
prisoner continued his supplications, and the assassins their threats
and mockery.  I climbed quietly down out of the fig tree, intending
to fetch my pistols.  My dog followed me with his eyes, which seemed
to be the only living things about him.  Just as my foot touched the
ground a double report rang out, and my dog gave a plaintive and
prolonged howl.  Feeling that all was over, and that no weapons could
be of any use, I climbed up again into my perch and looked out.  The
poor wretch was lying face downwards writhing in his blood; the

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