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List Of Contents | Contents of Murat, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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a man in the waves swimming to the vessel.  As soon as he was within
hearing the lieutenant hailed him.  The swimmer immediately made
himself known: it was Luidgi.  They put out the boat, and he came on
board.  Then he told them that Ottoviani had been arrested, and he
had only escaped himself by jumping into the sea.  Murat's first idea
was to go to the rescue of Ottoviani; but Luidgi made the king
realise the danger and uselessness of such an attempt; nevertheless,
Joachim remained agitated and irresolute until two o'clock in the
morning.

At last he gave the order to put to sea again.  During the manoeuvre
which effected this a sailor fell overboard and disappeared before
they had time to help him.  Decidedly these were ill omens.

On the morning of the 7th two vessels were in sight.  The king gave
the order to prepare for action, but Barbara recognised them as
Cicconi's felucca and Courrand's lugger, which had joined each other
and were keeping each other company.  They hoisted the necessary
signals, and the two captains brought up their vessels alongside the
admiral's.

While they were deliberating as to what route to follow, a boat came
up to Murat's vessel.  Captain Pernice was on board with a
lieutenant.  They came to ask the king's permission to board his
ship, not wishing to remain on Courrand's, for in their opinion he
was a traitor.

Murat sent to fetch him, and in spite of his protestations he was
made to descend into a boat with fifty men, and the boat was moored
to the vessel.  The order was carried out at once, and the little
squadron advanced, coasting along the shores of Calabria without
losing sight of them; but at ten o'clock in the evening, just as they
came abreast of the Gulf of Santa-Eufemia, Captain Courrand cut the
rope which moored his boat to the vessel, and rowed away from the
fleet.

Murat had thrown himself on to his bed without undressing; they
brought him the news.

He rushed up to the deck, and arrived in time to see the boat, which
was fleeing in the direction of Corsica, grow small and vanish in the
distance.  He remained motionless, not uttering a cry, giving no
signs of rage; he only sighed and let his head fall on his breast: it
was one more leaf falling from the exhausted tree of his hopes.

General Franceschetti profited by this hour of discouragement to
advise him not to land in Calabria, and to go direct to Trieste, in
order to claim from Austria the refuge which had been offered.

The king was going through one of those periods of extreme
exhaustion, of mortal depression, when courage quite gives way: he
refused flatly at first, and there at last agreed to do it.

Just then the general perceived a sailor lying on some coils of
ropes, within hearing of all they said; he interrupted himself, and
pointed him out to Murat.

The latter got up, went to see the man, and recognised Luidgi;
overcome with exhaustion, he had fallen asleep on deck.  The king
satisfied himself that the sleep was genuine, and besides he had full
confidence in the man.  The conversation, which had been interrupted
for a moment, was renewed: it was agreed that without saying anything
about the new plans, they would clear Cape Spartivento and enter the
Adriatic; then the king and the general went below again to the lower
deck.

The next day, the 8th October, they found themselves abreast of
Pizzo, when Joachim, questioned by Barbara as to what he proposed to
do, gave the order to steer for Messina.  Barbara answered that he
was ready to obey, but that they were in need of food and water;
consequently he offered to go on, board Cicconi's vessel and to land
with him to get stores.  The king agreed; Barbara asked for the
passports which he had received from the allied powers, in order, he
said, not to be molested by the local authorities.

These documents were too important for Murat to consent to part with
them; perhaps the king was beginning to suspect: he refused.  Barbara
insisted; Murat ordered him to land without the papers; Barbara
flatly refused.

The king, accustomed to being obeyed, raised his riding-whip to
strike the Maltese, but, changing his resolution, he ordered the
soldiers to prepare their arms, the officers to put on full uniform;
he himself set the example.  The disembarkation was decided upon, and
Pizzo was to become the Golfe Juan of the new Napoleon.

Consequently the vessels were steered for land.  The king got down
into a boat with twenty-eight soldiers and three servants, amongst
whom was Luidgi.  As they drew near the shore General Franceschetti
made a movement as if to land, but Murat stopped him.

"It is for me to land first," he said, and he sprang on shore.

He was dressed in a general's coat, white breeches and riding-boots,
a belt carrying two pistols, a gold-embroidered hat with a cockade
fastened in with a clasp made of fourteen brilliants, and lastly he
carried under his arm the banner round which he hoped to rally his
partisans.  The town clock of Pizzo struck ten.  Murat went straight
up to the town, from which he was hardly a hundred yards distant.  He
followed the wide stone staircase which led up to it.

It was Sunday.  Mass was about to be celebrated, and the whole
population had assembled in the Great Square when he arrived.  No one
recognised him, and everyone gazed with astonishment at the fine
officer.  Presently he saw amongst the peasants a former sergeant of
his who had served in his guard at Naples.  He walked straight up to
him and put his hand on the man's shoulder.

"Tavella," he said, "don't you recognise me?"

But as the man made no answer:

"I am Joachim Murat, I am your king," he said.  "Yours be the honour
to shout 'Long live Joachim!' first."

Murat's suite instantly made the air ring with acclamations, but the
Calabrians remained silent, and not one of his comrades took up the
cry for which the king himself had given the signal; on the contrary,
a low murmur ran through the crowd.  Murat well understood this
forerunner of the storm.

"Well," he said to Tavella, "if you won't cry 'Long live Joachim!'
you can at least fetch me a horse, and from sergeant I will promote
you to be captain."

Tavella walked away without answering, but instead of carrying out
the king's behest, went into his house, and did not appear again.

In the meantime the people were massing together without evincing any
of the sympathy that the king had hoped for.  He felt that he was
lost if he did not act instantly.

"To Monteleone!" he cried, springing forward towards the road which
led to that town.

"To Monteleone!" shouted his officers and men, as they followed him.

And the crowd, persistently silent, opened to let them pass.

But they had hardly left the square before a great disturbance broke
out.  A man named Giorgio Pellegrino came out of his house with a gun
and crossed the square, shouting, "To your arms!"

He knew that Captain Trenta Capelli commanding the Cosenza garrison
was just then in Pizzo, and he was going to warn him.

The cry "To arms!" had more effect on the crowd than the cry "Long
live Joachim!"

Every Calabrian possesses a gun, and each one ran to fetch his, and
when Trenta Capelli and Giorgio Pellegrino came back to the square
they found nearly two hundred armed men there.

They placed themselves at the head of the column, and hastened
forward in pursuit of the king; they came up with him about ten
minutes from the square, where the bridge is nowadays.  Seeing them,
Murat stopped and waited for them.

Trenta Capelli advanced, sword in hand, towards the king.

"Sir," said the latter, "will you exchange your captain's epaulettes
for a general's?  Cry 'Long live Joachim!' and follow me with these
brave fellows to Monteleone."

"Sire," said Trenta Capelli, "we are the faithful subjects of King
Ferdinand, and we come to fight you, and not to bear you company.
Give yourself up, if you would prevent bloodshed."

Murat looked at the captain with an expression which it would be
impossible to describe; then without deigning to answer, he signed to
Cagelli to move away, while his other hand went to his pistol.
Giotgio Pellegrino perceived the movement.

"Down, captain, down!" he cried.  The captain obeyed.  Immediately a
bullet whistled over his head and brushed Murat's head.

"Fire!" commanded Franceschetti.

"Down with your arms!" cried Murat.

Waving his handkerchief in his right hand, he made a step towards the
peasants, but at the same moment a number of shots were fired, an
officer and two or three men fell.  In a case like this, when blood
has begun to flow, there is no stopping it.

Murat knew this fatal truth, and his course of action was rapidly
decided on.  Before him he had five hundred armed men, and behind him
a precipice thirty feet high: he sprang from the jagged rock on which
he was standing, and alighting on the sand, jumped up safe and sound.
General Franceschetti and his aide-de-camp Campana were able to
accomplish the jump in the same way, and all three went rapidly down
to the sea through the little wood which lay within a hundred yards
of the shore, and which hid them for a few moments from their
enemies.

As they came out of the wood a fresh discharge greeted them, bullets
whistled round them, but no one was hit, and the three fugitives went
on down to the beach.

It was only then that the king perceived that the boat which had
brought them to land had gone off again.  The three ships which
composed the fleet, far from remaining to guard his landing, were
sailing away at full speed into the open sea.

The Maltese, Barbara, was going off not only with Murat's fortune,
but with his hopes likewise, his salvation, his very life.  They
could not believe in such treachery, and the king took it for some
manoeuvre of seamanship, and seeing a fishing-boat drawn up on the
beach on some nets, he called to his two companions, "Launch that
boat!"

They all began to push it down to the sea with the energy of despair,
the strength of agony.

No one had dared to leap from the rock in pursuit of them; their

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