List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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As we see, for the Protestants, thanks to these numerous decrees,
persecution began at the cradle and followed them to the grave.

As a boy, a Huguenot could--enter no public school; as a youth, no
career was open to him; he could become neither mercer nor concierge,
neither apothecary nor physician, neither lawyer nor consul.  As a
man, he had no sacred house, of prayer; no registrar would inscribe
his marriage or the birth of his children; hourly his liberty and his
conscience were ignored.  If he ventured to worship God by the
singing of psalms, he had to be silent as the Host was carried past
outside.  When a Catholic festival occurred, he was forced not only
to swallow his rage but to let his house be hung with decorations in
sign of joy; if he had inherited a fortune from his fathers, having
neither social standing nor civil rights, it slipped gradually out of
his hands, and went to support the schools and hospitals of his foes.
Having reached the end of his life, his deathbed was made miserable;
for dying in the faith of his fathers, he could not be laid to rest
beside them, and like a pariah he would be carried to his grave at
night, no more than ten of those near and dear to him being allowed
to follow his coffin.

Lastly, if at any age whatever he should attempt to quit the cruel
soil on which he had no right to be born, to live, or to die, he
would be declared a rebel, his goads would be confiscated, and the
lightest penalty that he had to expect, if he ever fell into the
hands of his enemies, was to row for the rest of his life in the
galleys of the king, chained between a murderer and a forger.

Such a state of things was intolerable: the cries of one man are lost
in space, but the groans of a whole population are like a storm; and
this time, as always, the tempest gathered in the mountains, and the
rumblings of the thunder began to be heard.

First there were texts written by invisible hands on city walls, on
the signposts and cross-roads, on the crosses in the cemeteries:
these warnings, like the 'Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin' of Belshazzar,
even pursued the persecutors into the midst of their feasts and

Now it was the threat, "Jesus came not to send peace, but a sword."
Then this consolation, "For where two or three are gathered together
in My name, there am I in the midst of them."  Or perhaps it was this
appeal for united action which was soon to become a summons to
revolt, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that
ye also may have fellowship with us."

And before these promises, taken from the New Testament, the
persecuted paused, and then went home inspired by faith in the
prophets, who spake, as St. Paul says in his First Epistle to the
Thessalonians, "not the word of men but the word of God."

Very soon these words became incarnate, and what the prophet Joel
foretold came to pass: "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions,...
and I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and
fire,... and it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the
name of the Lord shall be delivered."

In 1696 reports began to circulate that men had had visions; being
able to see what was going on in the most distant parts, and that the
heavens themselves opened to their eyes.  While in this ecstatic
state they were insensible to pain when pricked with either pin or
blade; and when, on recovering consciousness, they were questioned
they could remember nothing.

The first of these was a woman from Vivarais, whose origin was
unknown.  She went about from town to town, shedding tears of blood.
M. de Baville, intendant of Languedoc, had her arrested and brought
to Montpellier.  There she was condemned to death and burnt at the
stake, her tears of blood being dried by fire.

After her came a second fanatic, for so these popular prophets were
called.  He was born at Mazillon, his name was Laquoite, and he was
twenty years of age.  The gift of prophecy had come to him in a
strange manner.  This is the story told about him:--"One day,
returning from Languedoc, where he had been engaged in the
cultivation of silkworms, on reaching the bottom of the hill of St.
Jean he found a man lying on the ground trembling in every limb.
Moved by pity, he stopped and asked what ailed him.  The man replied,
'Throw yourself on your knees, my son, and trouble not yourself about
me, but learn how to attain salvation and save your brethren.  This
can only be done by the communion of the Holy Ghost, who is in me,
and whom by the grace of God I can bestow on you.  Approach and
receive this gift in a kiss.'  At these words the unknown kissed the
young man on the mouth, pressed his hand and disappeared, leaving the
other trembling in his turn; for the spirit of God was in him, and
being inspired he spread the word abroad."

A third fanatic, a prophetess, raved about the parishes of St.
Andeol de Clerguemont and St. Frazal de Vantalon, but she addressed
herself principally to recent converts, to whom she preached
concerning the Eucharist that in swallowing the consecrated wafer
they had swallowed a poison as venomous as the head of the basilisk,
that they had bent the knee to Baal, and that no penitence on their
part could be great enough to save them.  These doctrines inspired
such profound terror that the Rev. Father Louvreloeil himself tells
us that Satan by his efforts succeeded in nearly emptying the
churches, and that at the following Easter celebrations there were
only half as many communicants as the preceding year.

Such a state of licence, which threatened to spread farther and
farther, awoke the religious solicitude of Messire Francois Langlade
de Duchayla, Prior of Laval, Inspector of Missions of Gevaudan, and
Arch-priest of the Cevennes.  He therefore resolved to leave his
residence at Mende and to visit the parishes in which heresy had
taken the strongest hold, in order to oppose it by every mean's which
God and the king had put in his power.

The Abbe Duchayla was a younger son of the noble house of Langlade,
and by the circumstances of his birth, in spite of his soldierly
instincts, had been obliged to leave epaulet and sword to his elder
brother, and himself assume cassock and stole.  On leaving the
seminary, he espoused the cause of the Church militant with all the
ardour of his temperament.  Perils to encounter; foes to fight, a
religion to force on others, were necessities to this fiery
character, and as everything at the moment was quiet in France, he
had embarked for India with the fervent resolution of a martyr.

On reaching his destination, the young missionary had found himself
surrounded by circumstances which were wonderfully in harmony with
his celestial longings: some of his predecessors had been carried so
far by religious zeal that the King of Siam had put several to death
by torture and had forbidden any more missionaries to enter his
dominions; but this, as we can easily imagine, only excited still
more the abbe's missionary fervour; evading the watchfulness of the
military, and regardless of the terrible penalties imposed by the
king, he crossed the frontier, and began to preach the Catholic
religion to the heathen, many of whom were converted.

One day he was surprised by a party of soldiers in a little village
in which he had been living for three months, and in which nearly all
the inhabitants had abjured their false faith, and was brought before
the governor of Bankan, where instead of denying his faith, he nobly
defended Christianity and magnified the name of God.  He was handed
over to the executioners to be subjected to torture, and suffered at
their hands with resignation everything that a human body can endure
while yet retaining life, till at length his patience exhausted their
rage; and seeing him become unconscious, they thought he was dead,
and with mutilated hands, his breast furrowed with wounds, his limbs
half warn through by heavy fetters, he was suspended by the wrists to
a branch of a tree and abandoned.  A pariah passing by cut him down
and succoured him, and reports of his martyrdom having spread, the
French ambassador demanded justice with no uncertain voice, so that
the King of Siam, rejoicing that the executioners had stopped short
in time, hastened to send back to M.  de Chaumont, the representative
of Louis XIV, a mutilated though still living man, instead of the
corpse which had been demanded.

At the time when Louis XIV was meditating the Revocation of the Edict
of Nantes he felt that the services of such a man would be invaluable
to him, so about 1632, Abbe Duchayla was recalled from India, and a
year later was sent to Mende, with the titles of Arch-priest of the
Cevennes and Inspector of Missions.

Soon the abbe, who had been so much persecuted, became a persecutor,
showing himself as insensible to the sufferings of others as he had
been inflexible under his own.  His apprenticeship to torture stood
him in such good stead that he became an inventor, and not only did
he enrich the torture chamber by importing from India several
scientifically constructed machines, hitherto unknown in Europe, but
he also designed many others.  People told with terror of reeds cut
in the form of whistles which the abbe pitilessly forced under the
nails of malignants; of iron pincers for tearing out their beards,
eyelashes, and eyebrows; of wicks steeped in oil and wound round the
fingers of a victim's hands, and then set on fire so as to form a
pair of five-flamed candelabra; of a case turning on a pivot in which
a man who refused to be converted was sometimes shut up, the case
being then made to revolve rapidly till the victim lost
consciousness; and lastly of fetters used when taking prisoners from
one town to another, and brought to such perfection, that when they
were on the prisoner could neither stand nor sit.

Even the most fervent panegyrists of Abbe Duchayla spoke of him with
bated breath, and, when he himself looked into his own heart and
recalled how often he had applied to the body the power to bind and

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