List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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which he wore, his pockets were rifled of his purse and watch, and
his body was thrown into the moat.

Meantime the place-des-Recollets, the Cours, the place-des-Carmes,
the Grand-Rue, and rue de Notre Dame-de-l'Esplanade were filled with
men armed with guns, pitchforks, and swords.  They had all come from
Froment's house, which overlooked that part of Nimes called Les
Calquieres, and the entrance to which was on the ramparts near the
Dominican Towers.  The three leaders of the insurrection--Froment.
Folacher, and Descombiez--took possession of these towers, which
formed a part of the old castle; from this position the Catholics
could sweep the entire quay of Les Calquieres and the steps of the
Salle de Spectacle with their guns, and if it should turn out that
the insurrection they had excited did not attain the dimensions they
expected nor gain such enthusiastic adherents, it would be quite
feasible for them to defend themselves in such a position until
relief came.

These arrangements were either the result of long meditation or were
the inspiration of some clever strategist.  The fact is that
everything leads one to believe that it was a plan which had been
formed with great care, for the rapidity with which all the
approaches to the fortress were lined with a double row of militiamen
all wearing the red tuft, the care which was taken to place the most
eager next the barracks in which the park of artillery was stationed,
and lastly, the manner in which the approach to the citadel was
barred by an entire company (this being the only place where the
patriots could procure arms), combine to prove that this plan was the
result of much forethought; for, while it appeared to be only
defensive, it enabled the insurrectionists to attack without much,
danger; it caused others to believe that they had been first
attacked.  It was successfully carried out before the citizens were
armed, and until then only a part of the foot guard and the twelve
dragoons at the palace had offered any resistance to the

The red flag round which, in case of civil war, all good citizens
were expected to gather, and which was kept at the town hall, and
which should have been brought out at the first shot, was now loudly
called for.  The Abbe de Belmont, a canon, vicar-general, and
municipal official, was persuaded, almost forced, to become
standard-bearer, as being the most likely on account of his
ecclesiastical position to awe rebels who had taken up arms in the
name of religion.  The abbe himself gives the following account of
the manner in which he fulfilled this mandate:

"About seven o'clock in the evening I was engaged with MM. Porthier
and Ferrand in auditing accounts, when we heard a noise in the court,
and going out on the lobby, we saw several dragoons coming upstairs,
amongst whom was M. Paris.  They told us that fighting was going on
in the place de-l'Eveche, because some one or other had brought a
note to the porter ordering him to admit no more dragoons to the
palace on pain of death.  At this point I interrupted their story by
asking why the gates had not been closed and the bearer of the letter
arrested, but they replied to me that it had not been possible;
thereupon MM. Ferrand and Ponthier put on their scarfs and went out.

"A few instants later several dragoons, amongst whom I recognised
none but MM. Lezan du Pontet, Paris junior, and Boudon, accompanied
by a great number of the militia, entered, demanding that the red
flag should be brought out.  They tried to open the door of the
council hall, and finding it locked, they called upon me for the key.
I asked that one of the attendants should be sent for, but they were
all out; then I went to the hall-porter to see if he knew where the
key was.  He said M. Berding had taken it.  Meanwhile, just as the
volunteers were about to force an entrance, someone ran up with the
key.  The door was opened, and the red flag seized and forced into my
hands.  I was then dragged down into the courtyard, and from thence
to the square.

"It was all in vain to tell them that they ought first to get
authority, and to represent to them that I was no suitable
standard-bearer on account of my profession; but they would not
listen to any objection, saying that my life depended upon my
obedience, and that my profession would overawe the disturbers of the
public peace.  So I went on, followed by a detachment of the Guienne
regiment, part of the first company of the legion, and several
dragoons; a young man with fixed bayonet kept always at my side.
Rage was depicted on the faces of all those who accompanied me, and
they indulged in oaths and threats, to which I paid no attention.

"In passing through the rue des Greffes they complained that I did not
carry the red flag high enough nor unfurl it fully.  When we got to
the guardhouse at the Crown Gate, the guard turned out, and the
officer was commanded to follow us with his men.  He replied that he
could not do that without a written order from a member of the Town
Council.  Thereupon those around me told me I must write such an
order, but I asked for a pen and ink; everybody was furious because I
had none with me.  So offensive were the remarks indulged in by the
volunteers and some soldiers of the Guienne regiment, and so
threatening their gestures, that I grew alarmed.  I was hustled and
even received several blows; but at length M. de Boudon brought me
paper and a pen, and I wrote:--'I require the troops to assist us to
maintain order by force if necessary.'  Upon this, the officer
consented to accompany us.  We had hardly taken half a dozen steps
when they all began to ask what had become of the order I had just
written, for it could not be found.  They surrounded me, saying that
I had not written it at all, and I was on the point of being trampled
underfoot, when a militiaman found it all crumpled up in his pocket.
The threats grew louder, and once more it was because I did not carry
the flag high enough, everyone insisting that I was quite tall enough
to display it to better advantage.

"However, at this point the militiamen with the red tufts made their
appearance, a few armed with muskets but the greater number with
swords; shots were exchanged, and the soldiers of the line and the
National Guard arranged themselves in battle order, in a kind of
recess, and desired me to go forward alone, which I refused to do,
because I should have been between two fires.

"Upon this, curses, threats, and blows reached their height.  I was
dragged out before the troops and struck with the butt ends of their
muskets and the flat of their swords until I advanced.  One blow that
I received between the shoulders filled my mouth with blood.

"All this time those of the opposite party were coming nearer, and
those with whom I was continued to yell at me to go on.  I went on
until I met them.  I besought them to retire, even throwing myself at
their feet.  But all persuasion was in vain; they swept me along with
them, making me enter by the Carmelite Gate, where they took the flag
from me and allowed me to enter the house of a woman whose name I
have never known.  I was spitting such a quantity of blood that she
took pity on me and brought me everything she could think of as
likely to do me good, and as soon as I was a little revived I asked
to be shown the way to M. Ponthier's."

While Abbe de Belmont was carrying the red flag the militia forced
the Town Councillors to proclaim martial law.  This had just been
done when word was brought that the first red flag had been carried
off, so M. Ferrand de Missol got out another, and, followed by a
considerable escort, took the same road as his colleague, Abbe de
Belmont.  When he arrived at the Calquieres, the red-tufts, who still
adorned the ramparts and towers, began to fire upon the procession,
and one of the militia was disabled; the escort retreated, but M.
Ferrand advanced alone to the Carmelite Gate, like M. de Belmont, and
like him, he too, was taken prisoner.

He was brought to the tower, where he found Froment in a fury,
declaring that the Council had not kept its promise, having sent no
relief, and having delayed to give up the citadel to him.

The escort, however, had only retreated in order to seek help; they
rushed tumultuously to the barracks, and finding the regiment of
Guienne drawn up in marching order in command of Lieutenant-Colonel
Bonne, they asked him to follow them, but he refused without a
written order from a Town Councillor.  Upon this an old corporal
shouted, "Brave soldiers of Guienne! the country is in danger, let us
not delay to do our duty."  "Yes, yes," cried the soldiers; "let us
march" The lieutenant colonel no longer daring to resist, gave the
word of command, and they set off for the Esplanade.

As they came near the rampart with drums beating, the firing ceased,
but as night was coming on the new-comers did not dare to risk
attacking, and moreover the silence of the guns led them to think
that the rebels had given up their enterprise.  Having remained an
hour in the square, the troops returned to their quarters, and the
patriots went to pass the night in an inclosure on the Montpellier

It almost seemed as if the Catholics were beginning to recognise the
futility of their plot; for although they had appealed to fanaticism,
forced the Town Council to do their will, scattered gold lavishly and
made wine flow, out of eighteen companies only three had joined them.
"Fifteen companies," said M. Alquier in his report to the National
Assembly, "although they had adopted the red tuft, took no part in
the struggle, and did not add to the number of crimes committed
either on that day or during the days that followed.  But although
the Catholics gained few partisans among their fellow-citizens, they
felt certain that people from the country would rally to their aid;
but about ten o'clock in the evening the rebel ringleaders, seeing
that no help arrived from that quarter either, resolved to apply a
stimulus to those without.  Consequently, Froment wrote the following

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