List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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"'But where can we go?'

"'Wherever luck takes us. Let us start.'

"She was going to put on her bonnet, but I told her to leave it
behind; for it was most important that no one should think we
suspected anything, but were merely going for a stroll.  This
precaution saved us, for we learned the next day that if our
intention to fly had been suspected we should have been stopped.

"We walked at random, while behind us we heard musket shots from
every part of the town.  We met a company of soldiers who were
hurrying to the relief of their comrades, but heard later that they
had not been allowed to pass the gate.

"We recollected an old officer of our acquaintance who had quitted
the service and withdrawn from the world some years before, and had
taken a place in the country near the village of Saint-Just; we
directed our course towards his house.

"'Captain,' said I to him, 'they are murdering each other in the
town, we are pursued and without asylum, so we come to you.'  'That's
right, my children,' said he; 'come in and welcome.  I have never
meddled with political affairs, and no one can have anything against
me.  No one will think of looking for you here.'

"The captain had friends in the town, who, one after another, reached
his house, and brought us news of all that went on during that
dreadful day.  Many soldiers had been killed, and the Mamelukes had
been annihilated.  A negress who had been in the service of these
unfortunates had been taken on the quay.  'Cry "Long live the king!"'
shouted the mob.  'No,' she replied.  'To Napoleon I owe my daily
bread; long live Napoleon!'  A bayonet-thrust in the abdomen was the
answer.  'Villains!' said she, covering the wound with her hand to
keep back the protruding entrails.  'Long live Napoleon!'  A push
sent her into the water; she sank, but rose again to the surface, and
waving her hand, she cried for the last time, 'Long live Napoleon!' a
bullet shot putting an end to her life.

"Several of the townspeople had met with shocking deaths.  For
instance, M. Angles, a neighbour of mine, an old man and no
inconsiderable scholar, having unfortunately, when at the palace some
days before, given utterance before witnesses to the sentiment that
Napoleon was a great man, learned that for this crime he was about to
be arrested.  Yielding to the prayers of his family, he disguised
himself, and, getting into a waggon, set off to seek safety in the
country.  He was, however, recognised and brought a prisoner to the
place du Chapitre, where, after being buffeted about and insulted for
an hour by the populace, he was at last murdered.

"It may easily be imagined that although no one came to disturb us we
did not sleep much that night.  The ladies rested on sofas or in
arm-chairs without undressing, while our host, M_____ and myself took
turns in guarding the door, gun in hand.

"As soon as it was light we consulted what course we should take: I
was of the opinion that we ought to try to reach Aix by unfrequented
paths; having friends there, we should be able to procure a carriage
and get to Nimes, where my family lived.  But my wife did not agree
with me.  'I must go back to town for our things,' said she; 'we have
no clothes but those on our backs.  Let us send to the village to ask
if Marseilles is quieter to-day than yesterday.'  So we sent off a

"The news he brought back was favourable; order was completely
restored.  I could not quite believe this, and still refused to let
my wife return to the town unless I accompanied her.  But in that
everyone was against me: my presence would give rise to dangers which
without me had no existence.  Where were the miscreants cowardly
enough to murder a woman of eighteen who belonged to no-party and had
never injured anyone?  As for me, my opinions were well known.
Moreover, my mother-in-law offered to accompany her daughter, and
both joined in persuading me that there was no danger.  At last I was
forced to consent, but only on one condition.

"'I cannot say,' I observed, 'whether there is any foundation for the
reassuring tidings we have heard, but of one thing you may be sure:
it is now seven o'clock in the morning, you can get to Marseilles in
an hour, pack your trunks in another hour, and return in a third; let
us allow one hour more for unforeseen delays. If you are not back by
eleven o'clock, I shall believe something has happened, and take
steps accordingly.'  'Very well,' said my wife; 'if I am not back by
then, you may think me dead, and do whatever you think best.'  And so
she and her mother left me.

"An hour later, quite different news came to hand.  Fugitives,
seeking like ourselves safety in the country, told us that the
rioting, far from ceasing, had increased; the streets were encumbered
with corpses, and two people had been murdered with unheard-of

"An old man named Bessieres, who had led a simple and blameless life,
and whose only crime was that he had served under the Usurper,
anticipating that under existing circumstances this would be regarded
as a capital crime, made his will, which was afterwards found among
his papers.  It began with the following words:

"'As it is possible that during this revolution I may meet my death,
as a partisan of Napoleon, although I have never loved him, I give
and bequeath, etc., etc.

"The day before, his brother-in-law, knowing he had private enemies,
had come to the house and spent the night trying to induce him to
flee, but all in vain.  But the next morning, his house being
attacked, he yielded, and tried to escape by the back door.  He was
stopped by some of the National Guard, and placed himself under their

"They took him to the Cours St. Louis, where, being hustled by the
crowd and very ineffectually defended by the Guards, he tried to
enter the Cafe Mercantier, but the door was shut in his face.  Being
broken by fatigue, breathless, and covered with dust and sweat, he
threw himself on one of the benches placed against the wall, outside
the house.  Here he was wounded by a musket bullet, but not killed.
At the sight of his blood shrieks of joy were heard, and then a young
man with a pistol in each hand forced his way through the throng and
killed the old man by two shots fired point blank in his face.

"Another still more atrocious murder took place in the course of the
same morning.  A father and son, bound back to back, were delivered
over to the tender mercies of the mob.  Stoned and beaten and covered
with each other's blood, for two long hours their death-agony
endured, and all the while those who could not get near enough to
strike were dancing round them.

"Our time passed listening to such stories; suddenly I saw a friend
running towards the house.  I went to meet him.  He was so pale that
I hardly dared to question him.  He came from the city, and had been
at my house to see what had become of me.  There was no one in it,
but across the door lay two corpses wrapped in a blood-stained sheet
which he had not dared to lift.

"At these terrible words nothing could hold me back.  I set off for
Marseilles.  M_____ who would not consent to let me return alone,
accompanied me.  In passing through the village of Saint-Just we
encountered a crowd of armed peasants in the main street who appeared
to belong to the free companies.  Although this circumstance was
rather alarming, it would have been dangerous to turn back, so we
continued our way as if we were not in the least uneasy.  They
examined our bearing and our dress narrowly, and then exchanged some
sentences in a low, voice, of which we only caught the word
austaniers.  This was the name by which the Bonapartists were called
by the peasants, and means 'eaters of chestnuts,' this article of
food being brought from Corsica to France.  However, we were not
molested in any way, for as we were going towards the city they did
not think we could be fugitives.  A hundred yards beyond the village
we came up with a crowd of peasants, who were, like us, on the way to
Marseilles.  It was plain to see that they had just been pillaging
some country house, for they were laden with rich stuffs, chandeliers
and jewels.  It proved to be that of M. R____, inspector of reviews.
Several carried muskets.  I pointed out to my companion a stain of
blood on the trousers of one of the men, who began to laugh when he
saw what we were looking at.  Two hundred yards outside the city I
met a woman who had formerly been a servant in my house.  She was
very much astonished to see me, and said, 'Go away at once; the
massacre is horrible, much worse than yesterday.'

"'But my wife,' I cried, 'do you know anything about her?'

"'No, sir,' she replied; 'I was going to knock at the door, but some
people asked me in a threatening manner if I could tell them where
the friend of that rascal Brine was, as they were going to take away
his appetite for bread.  So take my advice,' she continued, 'and go
back to where you came from.'

"This advice was the last I could make up my mind to follow, so we
went on, but found a strong guard at the gate, and saw that it would
be impossible to get through without being recognised.  At the same
time, the cries and the reports of firearms from within were coming
nearer; it would therefore have been to court certain death to
advance, so we retraced our steps.  In passing again through the
village of Saint-Just we met once more our armed peasants.  But this
time they burst out into threats on seeing us, shouting, 'Let us kill
them!  Let us kill them!'  Instead of running away, we approached
them, assuring them that we were Royalists.  Our coolness was so
convincing that we got through safe and sound.

"On getting back to the captain's I threw myself on the sofa, quite
overcome by the thought that only that morning my wife had been
beside me under my protection, and that I had let her go back to the
town to a cruel and inevitable death.  I felt as if my heart would
break, and nothing that our host and my friend could say gave me the
slightest comfort.  I was like a madman, unconscious of everything

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