List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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round me.

"M_____  went out to try to pick up some news, but in an instant we
heard him running back, and he dashed into the room, calling out

"'They are coming!  There they are!'

"'Who are coming?' we asked.

"'The assassins!'

"My first feeling, I confess, was one of joy.  I pounced upon a pair
of double-barrelled pistols, resolved not to let myself be
slaughtered like a sheep.  Through the window I could see some men
climbing over the wall and getting down into the garden.  We had just
sufficient time to escape by a back staircase which led to a door,
through which we passed, shutting it behind us.  We found ourselves
on a road, at the other side of which was a vineyard.  We crossed the
road and crept under the vines, which completely concealed us.

"As we learned later, the captain's house had been denounced as a
Bonapartist nest, and the assassins had hoped to take it by surprise;
and, indeed, if they had come a little sooner we had been lost, for
before we had been five minutes in our hiding-place the murderers
rushed out on the road, looking for us in every direction, without
the slightest suspicion that we were not six yards distant.  Though
they did not see us I could see them, and I held my pistols ready
cocked, quite determined to kill the first who came near.  However,
in a short time they went away.

" As soon as they were out of hearing we began to consider our
situation and weigh our chances.  There was no use in going back to
the captain's, for he was no longer there, having also succeeded in
getting away.  If we were to wander about the country we should be
recognised as fugitives, and the fate that awaited us as such was at
that moment brought home to us, for a few yards away we suddenly
heard the shrieks of a man who was being murdered.  They were the
first cries of agony I had ever heard, and for a few moments, I
confess, I was frozen with terror.  But soon a violent reaction took
place within me, and I felt that it would be better to march straight
to meet peril than to await its coming, and although I knew the
danger of trying to go through Saint-Just again, I resolved to risk
it, and to get to Marseilles at all costs.  So, turning to M____, I

"'You can remain here without danger until the evening, but I am
going to Marseilles at once; for I cannot endure this uncertainty any
longer.  If I find Saint-Just clear, I shall come back and rejoin
you, but if not I shall get away as best I can alone.'

"Knowing the danger that we were running, and how little chance there
was that we should ever see each other again, he held out his hand to
me, but I threw myself into his arms and gave him a last embrace.

"I started at once: when I reached Saint-Just I found the freebooters
still there; so I walked up to them, trolling a melody, but one of
them seized me by the collar and two others took aim at me with their

"If ever in my life I shouted 'Long live the king!' with less
enthusiasm than the cry deserves, it was then: to assume a rollicking
air, to laugh with cool carelessness when there is nothing between
you and death but the more or less strong pressure of a highwayman's
finger on the trigger of a musket, is no easy task; but all this I
accomplished, and once more got through the village with a whole skin
indeed, but with the unalterable resolution to blow my brains out
rather than again try such an experiment.

"Having now a village behind me which I had vowed never to re-enter,
and there being no road available by which I could hope to get round
Marseilles, the only course open to me was to make my way into the
city.  At that moment this was a thing of difficulty, for many small
bodies of troops, wearing the white cockade, infested the approaches.
I soon perceived that the danger of getting in was as great as ever,
so I determined to walk up and down till night, hoping the darkness
would come to my aid; but one of the patrols soon gave me to
understand that my prowling about had aroused suspicion, and ordered
me either to go on to the city, in which by all accounts there was
small chance of safety for me, or back to the village; where certain
death awaited me.  A happy inspiration flashed across my mind, I
would get some refreshment, and seeing an inn near by, I went in and
ordered a mug of beer, sitting down near the window, faintly hoping
that before the necessity for a final decision arrived, someone who
knew me would pass by.  After waiting half an hour, I did indeed see
an acquaintance--no other than M_____, whom I had left in the
vineyard.  I beckoned him, and he joined me.  He told me that, being
too impatient to await my return, he had soon made up his mind to
follow me, and by joining a band of pillagers was lucky enough to get
safely through Saint-Just.  We consulted together as to what we had
better do next, and having applied to our host, found he could supply
us with a trusty messenger, who would carry the news of our
whereabouts to my brother-in-law.  After an anxious wait of three
hours, we saw him coming.  I was about to run out to meet him, but
M____ held me back, pointing out the danger of such a step; so we sat
still our eyes fixed on the approaching figure.  But when my
brother-in-law reached the inn, I could restrain my impatience no
longer, but rushing out of the room met him on the stairs.

"'My wife?' I cried.  'Have you seen my wife?'

"'She is at my house,' was the reply, and with a cry of joy I threw
myself into his arms.

"My wife, who had been threatened, insulted, and roughly treated
because of my opinions, had indeed found safety at my

"Night was coming on.  My brother-in-law, who wore the uniform of the
National Guard, which was at that moment a safeguard, took us each by
an arm, and we passed the barrier without anyone asking us who we
were.  Choosing quiet streets, we reached his house unmolested; but
in fact the whole city was quiet, for the carnage was practically at
an end.

"My wife safe!  this thought filled my heart with joy almost too
great to bear.

"Her adventures were the following:

"My wife and her mother had gone to our house, as agreed upon, to
pack our trunks.  As they left their rooms, having accomplished their
task, they found the landlady waiting on the staircase, who at once
overwhelmed my wife with a torrent of abuse.

"The husband, who until then had known nothing of their tenant's
return, hearing the noise, came out of his room, and, seizing his
wife by the arm, pulled her in and shut the door.  She, however,
rushed to the window, and just as my wife and her mother reached the
street, shouted to a free band who were on guard across the way,
'Fire!  they are Bonapartists!'  Fortunately the men, more merciful
than the woman, seeing two ladies quite alone, did not hinder their
passage, and as just then my brother-in-law came by, whose opinions
were well known and whose uniform was respected, he was allowed to
take them under his protection and conduct them to his house in

"A young man, employed at the Prefecture, who had called at my house
the day before, I having promised to help him in editing the Journal
des Bouches-du-Rhone, was not so lucky.  His occupation and his visit
to me laid him under suspicion of possessing dangerous opinions, and
his friends urged him to fly; but it was too late.  He was attacked
at the corner of the rue de Noailles, and fell wounded by a stab from
a dagger.  Happily, however, he ultimately recovered.

"The whole day was passed in the commission of deeds still more
bloody than those of the day before; the sewers ran blood, and every
hundred yards a dead body was to be met.  But this sight, instead of
satiating the thirst for blood of the assassins, only seemed to
awaken a general feeling of gaiety.  In the evening the streets
resounded with song and roundelay, and for many a year to come that
which we looked back on as 'the day of the massacre' lived in the
memory of the Royalists as 'the day of the farce.'

"As we felt we could not live any longer in the midst of such scenes,
even though, as far as we were concerned, all danger was over, we set
out for Nimes that same evening, having been offered the use of a

"Nothing worthy of note happened on the road to Orgon, which we
reached next day; but the isolated detachments of troops which we
passed from time to time reminded us that the tranquillity was
nowhere perfect.  As we neared the town we saw three men going about
arm in arm; this friendliness seemed strange to us after our recent
experiences, for one of them wore a white cockade, the second a
tricolour, and the third none at all, and yet they went about on the
most brotherly terms, each awaiting under a different banner the
outcome of events.  Their wisdom impressed me much, and feeling I had
nothing to fear from such philosophers, I went up to them and
questioned them, and they explained their hopes to me with the
greatest innocence, and above all, their firm determination to belong
to what ever party got the upper hand.  As we drove into Orgon we saw
at a glance that the whole town was simmering with excitement.
Everybody's face expressed anxiety.  A man who, we were told, was the
mayor, was haranguing a group.  As everyone was listening, with the
greatest attention, we drew near and asked them the cause of the

"'Gentlemen,' said he, 'you ought to know the news: the king is in
his capital, and we have once more hoisted the white flag, and there
has not been a single dispute to mar the tranquillity of the day; one
party has triumphed without violence, and the other has submitted
with resignation.  But I have just learned that a band of vagabonds,
numbering about three hundred, have assembled on the bridge over the
Durance, and are preparing to raid our little town to-night,
intending by pillage or extortion to get at what we possess.  I have
a few guns left which I am about to distribute, and each man will
watch over the safety of all.'

"Although he had not enough arms to go round, he offered to supply

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