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List Of Contents | Contents of Murat, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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the brother came in; Maroum smiled at him; believing the king to be
safe, but by the new-comer's expression he saw that some fresh
misfortune was in the wind.  In the first moment's respite given him
by his visitors he went up to his brother.

"Well," he said, "I hope the king is on board?"

"The king is fifty yards away, hidden in the outhouse."

"Why did he come back?"

"The fisherman pretended he was afraid of a sudden squall, and
refused to take him off to the brig."

"The scoundrel!"

The soldiers came in again.

They spent the night in fruitless searching about the house and
buildings; several times they passed within a few steps of the king,
and he could hear their threats and imprecations.  At last, half an
hour before dawn, they went away.  Marouin watched them go, and when
they were out of sight he ran to the king.  He found him lying in a
corner, a pistol clutched in each hand.  The unhappy man had been
overcome by fatigue and had fallen asleep.  Marouin hesitated a
moment to bring him back to his wandering, tormented life, but there
was not a minute to lose.  He woke him.

They went down to the beach at once.  A morning mist lay over the
sea.  They could not see anything two hundred yards ahead.  They were
obliged to wait.  At last the first sunbeams began to pierce this
nocturnal mist.  It slowly dispersed, gliding over the sea as clouds
move in the sky.  The king's hungry eye roved over the tossing waters
before him, but he saw nothing, yet he could not banish the hope that
somewhere behind that moving curtain he would find his refuge.
Little by little the horizon came into view; light wreaths of mist,
like smoke, still floated about the surface of the water, and in each
of them the king thought he recognised the white sails of his vessel.
The last gradually vanished, the sea was revealed in all its
immensity, it was deserted.  Not daring to delay any longer, the ship
had sailed away in the night.

"So," said the king, "the die is cast.  I will go to Corsica."

The same day Marshal Brune was assassinated at Avignon.




II

CORSICA

Once more on the same beach at Bonette, in the same bay where he had
awaited the boat in vain, still attended by his band of faithful
followers, we find Murat on the 22nd August in the same year.  It was
no longer by Napoleon that he was threatened, it was by Louis XVIII
that he was proscribed; it was no longer the military loyalty of
Marshal Brune who came with tears in his eyes to give notice of the
orders he had received, but the ungrateful hatred of M. de Riviere,
who had set a price [48,000 francs.] on the head of the man who had
saved his own.[Conspiracy of Pichegru.]  M. de Riviere had indeed
written to the ex-King of Naples advising him to abandon himself to
the good faith and humanity of the King of France, but his vague
invitation had not seemed sufficient guarantee to the outlaw,
especially on the part of one who had allowed the assassination
almost before his eyes of a man who carried a safe-conduct signed by
himself.  Murat knew of the massacre of the Mamelukes at Marseilles,
the assassination of Brune at Avignon; he had been warned the day
before by the police of Toulon that a formal order for his arrest was
out; thus it was impossible that he should remain any longer in
France.  Corsica, with its hospitable towns, its friendly mountains,
its impenetrable forests, was hardly fifty leagues distant; he must
reach Corsica, and wait in its towns, mountains, and forests until
the crowned heads of Europe should decide the fate of the man they
had called brother for seven years.

At ten o'clock at, night the king went down to the shore.  The boat
which was to take him across had not reached the rendezvous, but this
time there was not the slightest fear that it would fail; the bay had
been reconnoitred during the day by three men devoted to the fallen
fortunes of the king--Messieurs Blancard, Langlade, and Donadieu, all
three naval officers, men of ability and warm heart, who had sworn by
their own lives to convey Murat to Corsica, and who were in fact
risking their lives in order to accomplish their promise.  Murat saw
the deserted shore without uneasiness, indeed this delay afforded him
a few more moments of patriotic satisfaction.

On this little patch of land, this strip of sand, the unhappy exile
clung to his mother France, for once his foot touched the vessel
which was to carry him away, his separation from France would be
long, if not eternal.  He started suddenly amidst these thoughts and
sighed: he had just perceived a sail gliding over the waves like a
phantom through the transparent darkness of the southern night.  Then
a sailor's song was heard; Murat recognised the appointed signal, and
answered it by burning the priming of a pistol, and the boat
immediately ran inshore; but as she drew three feet of water, she was
obliged to stop ten or twelve feet from the beach; two men dashed
into the water and reached the beach, while a third remained
crouching in the stern-sheets wrapped in his boat-cloak.

"Well, my good friends," said the king, going towards Blancard and
Langlade until he felt the waves wet his feet "the moment is come, is
it not?  The wind is favourable, the sea calm, we must get to sea."

"Yes, answered Langlade, "yes, we must start; and yet perhaps it
would be wiser to wait till to-morrow."

"Why?" asked Murat.

Langlade did not answer, but turning towards the west, he raised his
hand, and according to the habit of sailors, he whistled to call the
wind.

"That's no good," said Donadieu, who had remained in the boat.  "Here
are the first gusts; you will have more than you know what to do with
in a minute....  Take care, Langlade, take care!  Sometimes in
calling the wind you wake up a storm."

Murat started, for he thought that this warning which rose from the
sea had been given him by the spirit of the waters; but the
impression was a passing one, and he recovered himself in a moment.

"All the better," he said; "the more wind we have, the faster we
shall go."

"Yes," answered Langlade, "but God knows where it will take us if it
goes on shifting like this."

"Don't start to-night, sire," said Blancard, adding his voice to
those of his two companions.

"But why not?"

"You see that bank of black cloud there, don't you?  Well, at sunset
it was hardly visible, now it covers a good part of the sky, in an
hour there won't be a star to be seen."

"Are you afraid?" asked Murat.

"Afraid!" answered Langlade.  "Of what?  Of the storm?  I might as
well ask if your Majesty is afraid of a cannon-ball.  We have
demurred solely on your account, sire; do you think seadogs like
ourselves would delay on account of the storm?"

"Then let us go!" cried Murat, with a sigh.

"Good-bye, Marouin....  God alone can reward you for what you have
done for me.  I am at your orders, gentlemen."

At these words the two sailors seized the king end hoisted him on to
their shoulders, and carried him into the sea; in another moment he
was on board.  Langlade and Blancard sprang in behind him.  Donadieu
remained at the helm, the two other officers undertook the management
of the boat, and began their work by unfurling the sails. Immediately
the pinnace seemed to rouse herself like a horse at touch of the
spur; the sailors cast a careless glance back, and Murat feeling that
they were sailing away, turned towards his host and called for a last
time--

"You have your route as far as Trieste.  Do not forget my wife!...
Good-bye-good-bye----!"

"God keep you, sire!" murmured Marouin.

And for some time, thanks to the white sail which gleamed through the
darkness, he could follow with his eyes the boat which was rapidly
disappearing; at last it vanished altogether.  Marouin lingered on
the shore, though he could see nothing; then he heard a cry, made
faint by the distance; it was Murat's last adieu to France.

When M. Marouin was telling me these details one evening on the very
spot where it all happened, though twenty years had passed, he
remembered clearly the slightest incidents of the embarkation that
night.  From that moment he assured me that a presentiment of
misfortune seized him; he could not tear himself away from the shore,
and several times he longed to call the king back, but, like a man in
a dream, he opened his mouth without being able to utter a sound.
He was afraid of being thought foolish, and it was not until one
o'clock that is, two and a half hours after the departure of the
boat-that he went home with a sad and heavy heart.

The adventurous navigators had taken the course from Toulon to
Bastia, and at first it seemed to the king that the sailors'
predictions were belied; the wind, instead of getting up, fell little
by little, and two hours after the departure the boat was rocking
without moving forward or backward on the waves, which were sinking
from moment to moment.  Murat sadly watched the phosphorescent furrow
trailing behind the little boat: he had nerved himself to face a
storm, but not a dead calm, and without even interrogating his
companions, of whose uneasiness he took no account, he lay down in
the boat, wrapped in his cloak, closing his eyes as if he were
asleep, and following the flow of his thoughts, which were far more
tumultuous than that of the waters.  Soon the two sailors, thinking
him asleep, joined the pilot, and sitting down beside the helm, they
began to consult together.

"You were wrong, Langlade," said Donadieu, "in choosing a craft like
this, which is either too small or else too big; in an open boat we
can never weather a storm, and without oars we can never make any way
in a calm."

"'Fore God!  I had no choice.  I was obliged to take what I could
get, and if it had not been the season for tunny-fishing I might not
even have got this wretched pinnace, or rather I should have had to
go into the harbour to find it, and they keep such a sharp lookout
that I might well have gone in without coming out again."

"At least it is seaworthy," said Blancard.

"Pardieu, you know what nails and planks are when they have been

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