List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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inasmuch as he has showed mercy to our brethren we must show mercy to

Whether this fact had been miraculously revealed to Seguier, or
whether he had gained his information from other sources, the newly
released prisoners confirmed its truth, calling out that the man had
indeed treated them with humanity.  Just then a roar as of a wild
beast was heard: one of the fanatics, whose brother had been put to
death by the abbe, had just caught sight of him, the whole
neighbourhood being lit up by the fire; he was kneeling in an angle
of the wall, to which he had dragged himself.

"Down with the son of Belial!" shouted the crowd, rushing towards the
priest, who remained kneeling and motionless like a marble statue.
His valet took advantage of the confusion to escape, and got off
easily; for the sight of him on whom the general hate was
concentrated made the Huguenots forget everything else:

Esprit Seguier was the first to reach the priest, and spreading his
hands over him, he commanded the others to hold back. "God desireth
not the death of a sinner,'" said he, "'but rather that he turn from
his wickedness and live.'"

"No, no!" shouted a score of voices, refusing obedience for the first
time, perhaps, to an order from the prophet; "let him die without
mercy, as he struck without pity.  Death to the son of Belial,

"Silence!" exclaimed the prophet in a terrible voice, "and listen to
the word of God from my mouth.  If this man will join us and take
upon him the duties of a pastor, let us grant him his life, that he
may henceforward devote it to the spread of the true faith."

"Rather a thousand deaths than apostasy!" answered the priest.

"Die, then!" cried Laporte, stabbing him; "take that for having burnt
my father in Nimes."

And he passed on the dagger to Esprit Seguier.

Duchayla made neither sound nor gesture: it would have seemed as if
the dagger had been turned by the priest's gown as by a coat of mail
were it not that a thin stream of blood appeared.  Raising his eyes
to heaven, he repeated the words of the penitential psalm: "Out of
the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord!  Lord, hear my voice!"

Then Esprit Seguier raised his arm and struck in his turn, saying,
"Take that for my son, whom you broke on the wheel at Montpellier."

And he passed on the dagger.

But this blow also was not mortal, only another stream of blood
appeared, and the abbe said in a failing voice, "Deliver me, O my
Saviour, out of my well-merited sufferings, and I will acknowledge
their justice; far I have been a man of blood."

The next who seized the dagger came near and gave his blow, saying,
"Take that for my brother, whom you let die in the 'ceps.'"

This time the dagger pierced the heart, and the abbe had only time to
ejaculate, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy!"
before he fell back dead.

But his death did not satisfy the vengeance of those who had not been
able to strike him living; one by one they drew near and stabbed,
each invoking the shade of some dear murdered one and pronouncing the
same words of malediction.

In all, the body of the abbe received fifty-two dagger thrusts, of
which twenty-four would have been mortal.

Thus perished, at the age of fifty-five, Messire Francois de Langlade
Duchayla, prior of Laval, inspector of missions in Gevaudan, and
Arch-priest of the Cevennes and Mende.

Their vengeance thus accomplished, the murderers felt that there was
no more safety for them in either city or plain, and fled to the
mountains; but in passing near the residence of M. de Laveze, a
Catholic nobleman of the parish of Molezon, one of the fugitives
recollected that he had heard that a great number of firearms was
kept in the house.  This seemed a lucky chance, for firearms were
what the Huguenots needed most of all.  They therefore sent two
envoys to M. de Laveze to ask him to give them at, least a share of
his weapons; but he, as a good Catholic, replied that it was quite
true that he had indeed a store of arms, but that they were destined
to the triumph and not to the desecration of religion, and that he
would only give them up with his life.  With these words, he
dismissed the envoys, barring his doors behind them.

But while this parley was going on the conspirators had approached
the chateau, and thus received the valiant answer to their demands
sooner than M. de Laveze had counted on.  Resolving not to leave him
time to take defensive measures, they dashed at the house, and by
standing on each other's shoulders reached the room in which M. de
Laveze and his entire family had taken refuge.  In an instant the
door was forced, and the fanatics, still reeking with the life-blood
of Abbe Duchayla, began again their work of death.  No one was
spared; neither the master of the house, nor his brother, nor his
uncle, nor his sister, who knelt to the assassins in vain; even his
old mother, who was eighty years of age, having from her bed first
witnessed the murder of all her family, was at last stabbed to the
heart, though the butchers might have reflected that it was hardly
worth while thus to anticipate the arrival of Death, who according to
the laws of nature must have been already at hand.

The massacre finished, the fanatics spread over the castle, supplying
themselves with arms and under-linen, being badly in need of the
latter; for when they left their homes they had expected soon to
return, and had taken nothing with them.  They also carried off the
copper kitchen utensils, intending to turn them into bullets.
Finally, they seized on a sum of 5000 francs, the marriage-portion of
M. de Laveze's sister, who was just about to be married, and thus
laid the foundation of a war fund

The news of these two bloody events soon reached not only Nimes but
all the countryside, and roused the authorities to action.  M. le
Comte de Broglie crossed the Upper Cevennes, and marched down to the
bridge of Montvert, followed by several companies of fusiliers.  From
another direction M. le Comte de Peyre brought thirty-two cavalry and
three hundred and fifty infantry, having enlisted them at Marvejols,
La Canourgue, Chiac, and Serverette.  M. de St. Paul, Abbe Duchayla's
brother, and the Marquis Duchayla, his nephew, brought eighty
horsemen from the family estates.  The Count of Morangiez rode in
from St. Auban and Malzieu with two companies of cavalry, and the
town of Mende by order of its bishop despatched its nobles at the
head of three companies of fifty men each.

But the mountains had swallowed up the fanatics, and nothing was ever
known of their fate, except that from time to time a peasant would
relate that in crossing the Cevennes he had heard at dawn or dusk, on
mountain peak or from valley depths, the sound going up to heaven of
songs of praise.  It was the fanatic assassins worshipping God.

Or occasionally at night, on the tops of the lofty mountains, fires
shone forth which appeared to signal one to another, but on looking
the next night in the same direction all was dark.

So M. de Broglie, concluding that nothing could be done against
enemies who were invisible, disbanded the troops which had come to
his aid, and went back to Montpellier, leaving a company of fusiliers
at Collet, another at Ayres, one at the bridge of Montvert, one at
Barre, and one at Pompidon, and appointing Captain Poul as their

This choice of such a man as chief showed that M. de Broglie was a
good judge of human nature, and was also perfectly acquainted with
the situation, for Captain Poul was the very man to take a leading
part in the coming struggle.  "He was," says Pere Louvreloeil, priest
of the Christian doctrine and cure of Saint-Germain de Calberte, "an
officer of merit and reputation, born in Ville-Dubert, near
Carcassonne, who had when young served in Hungary and Germany, and
distinguished himself in Piedmont in several excursions against the
Barbets, [ A name applied first to the Alpine smugglers who lived in
the valleys, later to the insurgent peasants in the Cevennes.--
Translator's Note.] notably in one of the later ones, when, entering
the tent of their chief, Barbanaga, he cut off his head.  His tall
and agile figure, his warlike air, his love of hard work, his hoarse
voice, his fiery and austere character, his carelessness in regard to
dress, his mature age, his tried courage, his taciturn habit, the
length and weight of his sword, all combined to render him
formidable.  Therefore no one could have been chosen more suitable
for putting down the rebels, for forcing their entrenchments, and for
putting them to flight."

Hardly had he taken up a position in the market town of Labarre,
which was to be his headquarters, than he was informed that a
gathering of fanatics had been seen on the little plain of Fondmorte,
which formed a pass between two valleys.  He ordered out his Spanish
steed, which he was accustomed to ride in the Turkish manner--that
is, with very short stirrups, so that he could throw himself forward
to the horse's ears, or backward to the tail, according as he wished
to give or avoid a mortal blow.  Taking with him eighteen men of his
own company and twenty-five from the town, he at once set off for the
place indicated, not considering any larger number necessary to put
to rout a band of peasants, however numerous.

The information turned out to be correct: a hundred Reformers led by
Esprit Seguier had encamped in the plain of Fondmorte, and about
eleven o'clock in the morning one of their sentinels in the defile
gave the alarm by firing off his gun and running back to the camp,
shouting, "To arms!"  But Captain Poul, with his usual impetuosity,
did not give the insurgents time to form, but threw himself upon them
to the beat of the drum, not in the least deterred by their first
volley.  As he had expected, the band consisted of undisciplined
peasants, who once scattered were unable to rally.  They were
therefore completely routed.  Poul killed several with his own hand,
among whom were two whose heads he cut off as cleverly as the most

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