List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

As soon as he was free he set off to find his comrades, and told them
what had occurred: they, considering that an insult to one was an
insult to the whole company, determined on having satisfaction at
once, so about eleven o'clock P.M. they went to the cooper's house,
carrying with them a gallows and ropes ready greased.  But quietly as
they approached, Allien heard them, for his door being bolted from
within had to be forced.  Looking out of the window, he saw a great
crowd, and as he suspected that his life was in danger, he got out of
a back window into the yard and so escaped.  The militia being thus
disappointed, wreaked their vengeance on some passing Protestants,
whose unlucky stars had led them that way; these they knocked about,
and even stabbed one of them three times with a knife.

On the 22nd April, 1790, the royalists--that is to say, the
Catholics--assumed the white cockade, although it was no longer the
national emblem, and on the 1st May some of the militia who had
planted a maypole at the mayor's door were invited to lunch with him.
On the 2nd, the company which was on guard at the mayor's official
residence shouted several times during the day, "Long live the king!
Up with the Cross and down with the black throats!" (This was the
name which they had given to the Calvinists.) "Three cheers for the
white cockade!  Before we are done, it will be red with the blood of
the Protestants!"  However, on the 5th of May they ceased to wear it,
replacing it by a scarlet tuft, which in their patois they called the
red pouf, which was immediately adopted as the Catholic emblem.

Each day as it passed brought forth fresh brawls and provocations:
libels were invented by the Capuchins, and spread abroad by three of
their number.  Meetings were held every day, and at last became so
numerous that the town authorities called in the aid of the
militia-dragoons to disperse them.  Now these gatherings consisted
chiefly of those tillers of the soil who are called cebets, from a
Provencal word cebe, which means "onion," and they could easily be
recognised as Catholics by their red pouf, which they wore both in
and out of uniform.  On the other hand, the dragoons were all

However, these latter were so very gentle in their admonitions, that
although the two parties found themselves, so to speak, constantly
face to face and armed, for several days the meetings were dispersed
without bloodshed.  But this was exactly what the cebets did not
want, so they began to insult the dragoons and turn them into
ridicule.  Consequently, one morning they gathered together in great
numbers, mounted on asses, and with drawn swords began to patrol the

At the same time, the lower classes, who were nearly all Catholics,
joined the burlesque patrols in complaining loudly of the dragoons,
some saying that their horses had trampled on their children, and
others that they had frightened their wives.

The Protestants contradicted them, both parties grew angry, swords
were half drawn, when the municipal authorities came on the scene,
and instead of apprehending the ringleaders, forbade the dragoons to
patrol the town any more, ordering them in future to do nothing more
than send twenty men every day to mount guard at the episcopal palace
and to undertake no other duty except at the express request of the
Town Council.  Although it was expected that the dragoons would
revolt against such a humiliation, they submitted, which was a great
disappointment to the cebets, who had been longing for a chance to
indulge in new outrages.  For all that, the Catholics did not
consider themselves beaten; they felt sure of being able to find some
other way of driving their quarry to bay.

Sunday, the 13th of June, arrived.  This day had been selected by the
Catholics for a great demonstration.  Towards ten o'clock in the
morning, some companies wearing the red tuft, under pretext of going
to mass, marched through the city armed and uttering threats.  The
few dragoons, on the other hand, who were on guard at the palace, had
not even a sentinel posted, and had only five muskets in the guard-
house.  At two o'clock P.M. there was a meeting held in the Jacobin
church, consisting almost exclusively of militia wearing the red
tuft.  The mayor pronounced a panegyric on those who wore it, and was
followed by Pierre Froment, who explained his mission in much the
same words as those quoted above.  He then ordered a cask of wine to
be broached and distributed among the cebets, and told them to walk
about the streets in threes, and to disarm all the dragoons whom they
might meet away from their post.  About six o'clock in the evening a
red-tuft volunteer presented himself at the gate of the palace, and
ordered the porter to sweep the courtyard, saying that the volunteers
were going to get up a ball for the dragoons.  After this piece of
bravado he went away, and in a few moments a note arrived, couched in
the following terms:

"The bishop's porter is warned to let no dragoon on horse or on foot
enter or leave the palace this evening, on pain of death.

"13th June 1790."

This note being brought to the lieutenant, he came out, and reminded
the volunteer that nobody but the town authorities could give orders
to the servants at the palace.  The volunteer gave an insolent
answer, the lieutenant advised him to go away quietly, threatening if
he did not to put him out by force.  This altercation attracted a
great many of the red-tufts from outside, while the dragoons, hearing
the noise, came down into the yard; the quarrel became more lively,
stones were thrown, the call to arms was heard, and in a few moments
about forty cebets, who were prowling around in the neighbourhood of
the palace, rushed into the yard carrying guns and swords.  The
lieutenant, who had only about a dozen dragoons at his back, ordered
the bugle to sound, to recall those who had gone out; the volunteers
threw themselves upon the bugler, dragged his instrument from his
hands, and broke it to pieces.  Then several shots were fired by the
militia, the dragoons returned them, and a regular battle began.  The
lieutenant soon saw that this was no mere street row, but a
deliberate rising planned beforehand, and realising that very serious
consequences were likely to ensue, he sent a dragoon to the town hall
by a back way to give notice to the authorities.

M. de Saint-Pons, major of the Nimes legion, hearing some noise
outside, opened his window, and found the whole city in a tumult:
people were running in every direction, and shouting as they ran that
the dragoons were being killed at the palace.  The major rushed out
into the streets at once, gathered together a dozen to fifteen
patriotic citizens without weapons, and hurried to the town hall:
There he found two officials of the town, and begged them to go at
once to the place de l'Eveche, escorted by the first company, which
was on guard at the town hall.  They agreed, and set off.  On the way
several shots were fired at them, but no one was hit.  When they
arrived at the square, the cebets fired a volley at them with the
same negative result.  Up the three principal streets which led to
the palace numerous red-tufts were hurrying; the first company took
possession of the ends of the streets, and being fired at returned
the fire, repulsing the assailants and clearing the square, with the
loss of one of their men, while several of the retreating cebets were

While this struggle was going on at the palace, the spirit of murder
broke loose in the town.

At the gate of the Madeleine, M. de Jalabert's house was broken into
by the red-tufts; the unfortunate old man came out to meet them and
asked what they wanted.  "Your life and the lives of all the other
dogs of Protestants!" was the reply.  Whereupon he was seized and
dragged through the streets, fifteen insurgents hacking at him with
their swords.

At last he managed to escape from their hands, but died two days
later of his wounds.

Another old man named Astruc, who was bowed beneath the weight of
seventy-two years and whose white hair covered his shoulders, was met
as he was on his way to the gate of Carmes.  Being recognised as a
Protestant, he received five wounds from some of the famous
pitchforks belonging to the company of Froment.  He fell, but the
assassins picked him up, and throwing him into the moat, amused
themselves by flinging stones at him, till one of them, with more
humanity than his fellows, put a bullet through his head.

Three electors--M. Massador from near Beaucaire, M. Vialla from the
canton of Lasalle, and M. Puech of the same place-were attacked by
red-tufts on their way home, and all three seriously wounded. The
captain who had been in command of the detachment on guard at the
Electoral Assembly was returning to his quarters, accompanied by a
sergeant and three volunteers of his own company, when they were
stopped on the Petit-Cours by Froment, commonly called Damblay, who,
pressing the barrel of a pistol to the captain's breast, said,
"Stand, you rascal, and give up your arms."  At the same time the
red-tufts, seizing the captain from behind by the hair, pulled him
down.  Froment fired his pistol, but missed.  As he fell the captain
drew his sword, but it was torn from his hands, and he received a cut
from Froment's sword.  Upon this the captain made a great effort, and
getting one of his arms free, drew a pistol from his pocket, drove
back his assassins, fired at Froment, and missed him.  One of the men
by his side was wounded and disarmed.

A patrol of the regiment of Guienne, attached to which was M. Boudon,
a dragoon officer, was passing the Calquieres.  M. Boudon was
attacked by a band of red-tufts and his casque and his musket carried
off.  Several shots were fired at him, but none of them hit him; the
patrol surrounded him to save him, but as he had received two bayonet
wounds, he desired revenge, and, breaking through his protectors,
darted forward to regain possession of his musket, and was killed in
a moment.  One of his fingers was cut off to get at a diamond ring

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: