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Title: Jacques Bonneval
Author: Manning, Anne, 1807-1879
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Jacques Bonneval" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



JACQUES BONNEVAL

Or, The Days of the Dragonnades

by

THE AUTHOR OF _MARY POWELL_, _THE FAIRE GOSPELLER_, ETC., ETC.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I.
  THE FAIR OF BEAUCAIRE

  CHAPTER II.
  THE FEAST OF ST. MAGDALEN

  CHAPTER III.
  LES ARÈNES

  CHAPTER IV.
  MY UNCLE CHAMBRUN

  CHAPTER V.
  THE PASSPORT

  CHAPTER VI.
  TRIAL BY FIRE

  CHAPTER VII.
  LA CROISSETTE

  CHAPTER VIII.
  PERSECUTED, YET NOT FORSAKEN

  CHAPTER IX.
  CAST DOWN, BUT NOT DESTROYED

  CHAPTER X.
  "MY NATIVE LAND, GOOD-NIGHT"



[Illustration]



CHAPTER I.

THE FAIR OF BEAUCAIRE.


There was magic, to my young ears, in the very name of the Fair of
Beaucaire. Beaucaire is only ten miles from Nismes, therefore no wonder
I heard plenty about it. It is true, that in my time, the world-famous
fair did not exercise so vast an influence on commercial affairs In
general, as in the old days, when it was the great market of France; and
not only France, but of all civilized countries. With what enjoyment
would I hear my grandfather relate how great caravans of wealthy
merchants would assemble for mutual protection, because of the audacious
outlaws, often headed by some powerful baron, who lay in wait for them
to despoil them of their merchandise, and often to carry them off
prisoners and extort heavy ransom. My grandfather would tell hew long
files of mules, laden with rich silks, cloths, serges, camlets, and
furs, from Montpelier, from Narbonne, from Toulouse, from Carcassonne,
and other places, would wend towards Beaucaire, as the day called the
Feast of St. Magdalene approached, on which the fair was opened. The
roads were then thronged with travelers; the city was choke-full of
strangers; not a bed to be had, unless long preëngaged, for love or
money. The shops exhibited the utmost profusion of rich goods;
hospitality was exercised without grudging; old friends met from year to
year; matches between their children were frequently concerted; bargains
were struck, and commercial bills were commonly made payable at the Fair
of Beaucaire. The crowd was immense while it lasted; a hundred thousand
strangers being generally present.

Thus, you can easily conceive what charms such a lively scene had for
the young; while to the old it was the crown of their industry during
the year. Those at a distance, finding communications difficult and
journeys expensive, were glad to make an annual pilgrimage serve their
turn, when they were certain of meeting their fellow-traders, and of
having under their notice goods from all parts of the world.

It was with great glee, therefore, that I, a youth of nineteen, started
with my family for the Fair of Beaucaire on the 21st of July, 1685.
Accommodation was promised us by my uncle Nicolas, and we went the day
before the festival in order to see it from the beginning. I drove a
large and commodious char-a-banc, in which were my father and mother, my
younger brothers and sisters, Monsieur Bourdinave, my father's partner,
his two fair daughters, Madeleine and Gabrielle, and their old servant
Alice, who was also their kinswoman in a distant degree.

I was held to be a smart youth in those days, by my family and friends,
and certainly I had made myself as fine as I could, in the hope of
pleasing Madeleine, who, to my mind, was the most charming girl in the
world. Nor was she behindhand in the way of ornament, for she and her
sister were dressed in their best, and looked as fresh as daisies. In
fact, we were, one and all, in holiday attire; even the horse being
tricked out with ribbons, tassels, fringes, and flowers, till he was
quite a sight.

My father opened the day with family worship, which always seemed to put
us in tune for the morning, and spread a balmy influence over us. I well
remember the portion of Scripture he read was the seventeenth chapter of
St. John's Gospel, which, I need not remind you, contains this verse--"I
pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou
shouldest keep them from the evil." My father dwelt on this in his
prayer, and said, "Lord, I know that these dear young people cannot pass
through life without hearing and seeing much of evil: but, oh, keep them
unspotted by it! Let an atmosphere of sanctity and safety surround them
even in the midst of the fires, that they receive no hurt. In their
allowed pleasures and pastimes, let them wear that spiritual hauberk
which is invulnerable to the darts of the wicked; let them steadfastly
set their faces against whatever thy word disallows; and, should fiery
trial and temptation beset them, enable them, having done all, to stand."

I am confident that these were as nearly as possible the very words of
my father; for they made an impression on me that I could hardly account
for: and as he had recently been explaining to the children the nature
of a hauberk, as a coat of defensive armor, and remarking on its pliancy
and being often worn out of sight, the metaphor fixed itself in my
memory.

We had a substantial breakfast of soup and bread before we started; and
then drove in state to M. Bourdinave's door, where I sprang out to help
the smiling girls into the char-a-banc. I would gladly have had
Madeleine next me, but, as ill-luck would have it, M. Bourdinave placed
himself at my side, and my father just behind; so that I was completely
shut out from her, to my great chagrin. However, if I could not see her,
unless by looking round, I knew she could see me; so I carried myself my
best, and flourished my whip in fine style.

And thus we went to the Fair of Beaucaire. As we passed Les Arènes, that
famous Roman amphitheatre in the centre of our city, I heard my father
and his old friend allude to its former uses, without paying much heed
to them. I believe they reminded one another that not only wild beasts
but Christians had formerly been put to death there, for the recreation
of those who were wild beasts themselves; and my father said how he
hated the Sunday bull-fights that took place there still, and never
would let me go near them; on which I put in soberly, "I never want to,
father."

"Thou art a steady lad, I'll warrant thee," said M. Bourdinave,
approvingly. "Hold fast the form of sound words which hath been given
thee in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."

"Ay, ay, sir," said I, whipping old Réné smartly. And in another minute
we were thumping and bumping over great paving-stones, too noisily for
conversation to be carried on, and getting into a mêlée of carts,
wagons, and horsemen, all bound for Beaucaire. The women were now in
great delight, looking from side to side, commenting on the dress of
one, the equipage of another, nodding to acquaintance, and crying "O,
look!" to each other, when they saw anything beyond common. I had enough
to do, I assure you, to steer a straight course; and M. Bourdinave
observing it, remarked that he hoped I should be equally vigilant in
steering a straight course through life, which made me cry "Ay, ay,
sir," and set me thinking.

When the road became a little quieter, I heard him and my father
discussing the price of cocoons, the superiority of good cocoons to
cocalons, dupions, and soufflons; which last, I need not tell you, are
very imperfect cocoons; dupions have two threads, and confuse one with
another; and pointed cocoons are apt to break in the winding. But all
these, as you know, are turned to account by the silk-spinner, and
worked up into stockings, sewing-silk, and handkerchiefs. But the good
cocoons that yield a strong, thick, compact filament, are appropriated
by the silk-throwsters.

But this trade-talk was interrupted by cries of amused delight from
the women, and on looking about to see what tickled their fancies, they
pointed out to us a most extraordinary figure, standing bolt upright
in a cart. He was tall and meagre, and wore a long black robe and tall
pointed cap, both of which appeared spangled with silver; instead of
which, they were studded with steel buttons, needles, and pins, of which
he was an itinerant vendor. I believe the women would have purchased
largely of him, had my father let me stop.

Next we came up with a little house upon wheels, drawn by a sorry horse,
and on the wooden wall of the said house was depicted, many sizes larger
than life, a great human tooth, with bleeding fangs. Beneath was an
inscription that the owner of the cart was a traveling dentist, who drew
teeth without the least pain.

Alice, the maid, had instantly a great desire to let him draw a
troublesome tooth of hers which, she took pains to assure us, was not
impaired by natural decay, but only accidentally broken in cracking
a cherry-stone. "The edge is so rough," said she, "that it hurts my
tongue; and since this honest gentleman can extract it painlessly,
I have a great mind to try his hand."

"Plenty of time for that when we get to Beaucaire," said M. Bourdinave.
"Sure, you would not have a tooth drawn in the middle of the high road?"

"Truly, I should not mind it, inside that nice little wooden house,"
said she.

But no, she was not allowed to do so; and, to console her, Madeleine
uncovered a little basket she carried on her arm, and discovered
cherries as red as her own lips, nestling in dark green leaves. "Here,"
said she, cheerfully, "are some stones to take your revenge on."

"Ah, what beauties," cried Alice, taking a few; and the basket being
handed round, we were soon all eating cherries; and Gabrielle asked me
if I did not wish she had the gift of St. Marguerite.

"I do not know what gift you mean," said I, turning half round, and
looking full at her.

"Once on a time," said the lively girl, "the foolish story goes, that
two saints, who were brother and sister, lived in separate monasteries;
but the brother was frequently visited by his sister, on the pretence
of seeking spiritual advice. Their names were St. Honorat and St.
Marguerite. At length the brother grew rather tired of his sister's
visits, and called them a waste of time. 'Henceforth, let it suffice
that I shall visit you occasionally, said he. 'When?' said St.
Marguerite. 'When the cherry-trees blossom,' said St Honorat. Thereupon,
St. Marguerite prayed that the cherry-trees might blossom once a month,
which they did; so her brother acknowledged himself outwitted."

"Fie for shame, daughter," said M. Bourdinave, with displeasure. "I am
grieved that you should remember and repeat such lying legends."

"Dear father, they exercise the fancy--"

"Exercise the fancy, indeed! Let fancy confine herself to her own
province. She is a good servant, but a bad mistress. The Jews exercised
their fancies in the wild Talmudical fables. What said our Saviour of
them? 'Ye make the word of God of none effect through your traditions.
Let me hear no more papistical fables."

Gabrielle hung her head, and stealing a glance that way, I saw Madeleine
pass her arm round her sister's waist, and look sweetly at her, which
made me think Madeleine more attractive than ever. M. Bourdinave did not
immediately recover his equanimity, but addressing my father, said it
more than ever behooved good Reformers to walk warily, and not give in
to any of the ensnaring practices of the surrounding Catholics. "Little
by little they are stealing in on us already," said he, "and, if our
sagacious men are to be believed, a time of trouble is preparing for us
that may perhaps not fall very short of the massacre on the day of St.
Bartholomew."

"Still," said my father, "we are under the protection of the Edict of
Nantes."

"Edicts may be set aside," said M. Bourdinave, in a lowered voice, which
yet I heard, being next him. "Only think how we have been annoyed and
injured the last two or three years, by edicts differing greatly from
the Edict of Nantes. That one, for instance, which rendered us liable to
the intrusion of Catholics into our temples, to spy at our observances,
pick up scraps of our sermons, and report them incorrectly. What
advantage the rabble have taken of it!"

"Too true," said my father, gravely.

"Last year," pursued M. Bourdinave, "that attempted confederacy for
mutual protection, when all our closed meetinghouses were reopened for
worship, showed what temper our adversaries were of."

"It was an ill-considered measure," said my father, slowly.

"Ill-conducted, rather," said M. Bourdinave. "The act should have been
simultaneous; whereas the want of concert among our people betrayed
their weakness, and laid them open to attack. The military at Bordeaux
acted with shocking barbarity."

"I do not like to think upon it," said my father. "I trust there will be
no recurrence of such lamentable scenes."

"I much fear there will be, though," said M. Bourdinave, gloomily.
"Satan desires to have us, that he may sift us like wheat. Let us hope
to abide the trial."

At this moment a burst of noisy music, drowned their voices; and the
needle-seller's horse, which was just before us, making a sudden start,
the poor needle-vendor was thrown off his balance, and jerked out of his
cart on to a heap of flints by the road-side, while his horse began to
kick. Giving the reins to my father, I jumped out, and ran to his
assistance; but he was so prickly all over, that it was difficult to lay
hold of him. His needles and pins ran into my fingers in a dozen places.
To make matters worse, his nose began to bleed, so that he was in a
pitiable plight. However, I picked him up at last, found he was not
seriously injured, gave him a clean handkerchief (which he promised to
return), and started him off again in his cart, in a sitting position
this time, and much crestfallen.

The throng increased as we approached Beaucaire, and when we got into
the streets there was frequently a complete stoppage. Oh, what a lively
scene it was! and what a noise! Music playing, bells ringing, people
talking at the top of their voices. What joyous meetings I what hearty
welcomes! what various smells of fried fish, hot soups, and roast meats!
Truly, the Fair of Beaucaire exceeded my liveliest imaginings, and yours
will certainly never come up to it.

The fair, you have perhaps heard, is held on a wide open ground between
the Rhone and the castle rock. This space was covered with streets of
booths and sheds, in which all kinds of merchandise were displayed.
The river was choked with heavily-freighted barges. As for the streets,
they were hung from their upper windows with the richest tapestries;
silks, damasks, velvets, and goldsmiths' work were displayed in the
richest abundance; the most costly valuables exposed, almost at the
mercy of jostling wayfarers; banners flaunting overhead, and casting
fleeting shadows beneath. Languages of all nations mingled in strange
medley--German, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Arabic, Russian. Ah, it was
like a dream!

My uncle Nicolas received us most heartily; and, while my father and
M. Bourdinave went about their affairs, I had the pleasing charge of the
women, and showing them what was to be seen. My mother, with a child
in each hand, Madeleine and I, each with another child, Gabrielle and
old Alice close behind us, formed such a phalanx that we made way for
ourselves, or had it made for us, wherever we went, and saw everything
we wanted to see. We even saw the dentist, and Alice would not be foiled
this time, but almost thrust herself on his notice. He made her sit on
the ground, put her head between his knees and dragged out the tooth by
main force. She screamed horribly, and said, "You engaged to give no
pain!" "To myself," said he, "but I could not engage for you." So there
was the laugh against her. However, the tooth was out, and he generously
gave it to her; so we walked away laughing.



CHAPTER II.

THE FEAST OF ST. MAGDALEN.


We looked about us till dinner, and after dinner we looked about us
again; for the women and children seemed as though they would never be
sated with sightseeing; and as for me, I was never sated of going about
with Madeleine. All at once she cried out in a frightened voice, "Where
is Gabrielle?"

We looked about and could see neither her nor Alice; and as it was
nearly the hour they call vesper, though the days were still pretty
long, we were greatly alarmed at their disappearance. Little Louison,
however, plucked my sleeve, and said, "I think they went in there,"
pointing to a church-door; so, although my father specially objected to
my setting foot within a Catholic place of worship, Madeleine and I went
in to look for her sister; but my mother kept the children outside. As
soon as we entered we found ourselves almost in darkness, what little
light there was proceeding from great wax candles; and there was a good
deal of tawdry finery and trumpery all about, and a strong smell of
incense. I was looking about me with curiosity and interest, mixed with
a certain repulsion, when Madeleine, in an eager undertone, exclaimed,
"There she is!" and pressed forward, I close following, to a little
side-altar, where Gabrielle and Alice were listening, with amused
wonder, to a priest, who was telling a group of people about him that
what he was exhibiting to them was one of Mary Magdalen's bones; and
that she and Lazarus, and Martha his sister, had put to sea in an old
boat, and in process of time, after being sorely buffeted by winds and
waves, had been cast ashore at Marseilles, where they preached the
gospel to the natives, and converted them all.

I did not believe one word of this, nor did Madeleine, who drew her
reluctant sister away; and when we got her into the open air, rebuked
her for doing what their father would not approve. Gabrielle looked
inclined to defend herself, and make a joke of it. However, a great bell
began to clang so near us as to drown her voice; people were pushing
past us into church, and we found ourselves going against the stream,
and made the best of our way out of it, and back to our quarters.
My father and M. Bourdinave were standing at the door, conversing with
my uncle, and when they saw us they smiled, and my father said, with
unwonted softness in his tone, "Well, children, are you come back? Have
you enjoyed yourselves?" and looked earnestly at Madeleine, whose eyes
sank under his.

My uncle Nicolas kept a mercer's shop, and his shelves and counters were
now so laden with goods that it was difficult to steer our way through
them to the steep stair which led to the floor above; and that, too, was
converted, for the time, into a kind of warehouse; but above that was
the living-room, and above that, again, numerous bedrooms with sloping
sides, and small windows piercing the steep roof. My aunt Jeanne was
good and hospitable to excess. She would not let M. Bourdinave and his
family return to their lodging till they had supped with her, though
there were other guests; so we were jammed rather closely around the
table with little elbow-room. Then ensued clinking of glasses, clatter
of plates, dishes, knives, forks, the buzzing of many tongues, savory
smells of hot viands, and much helping and pressing of one another; much
talk of the price of silks, velvets, and serges; of the credit of such
and such a house; of the state of trade; of the court; and of the
country. I, wedged between Madeleine and her sister, had the opportunity
of giving her many tender looks, though few words passed between us.
Among the strangers at table was a strangely unpleasant Englishman, who
prefaced every speech with "I want to know--" and would not be satisfied
with a short answer. At length my father mildly said--

"Sir, you seek to know trade secrets. You know there are secrets in all
trades."

"That is precisely why I want to know them," said he, laughing.

"But a good reason why we should not tell them," said my father; who
then turned from him, and addressed some one else. Gabrielle whispered,
"I shall call that man Monsieur I-want-to-know."

"Ah, well, I know already what I chiefly want," pursued the Englishman,
who, had he not been drinking more freely than was good for him, would
probably have been less communicative. "I've been to Italy, and have
seen the Italian machinery for throwing silk, and shall carry back a
pretty good idea of the process."

"That man shall never carry anything back," whispered a
vindictive-looking Italian, whose eyes glittered like fire.

"Hush! he is only an empty boaster."

"We want no empty boasters. We will not let him steal our trade
secrets."

That night, going home to his lodging, the Englishman was set upon by
the Italian, and pricked with his stiletto, narrowly escaping with his
life. He gave him what he called "a good English black-eye," and bawled
loudly for justice. The Italian ran off, and was no more seen; and the
Englishman, whose ugly name was Hogg, talked big about applying to his
ambassador, Sir William Trumbull, but was induced to let the matter
drop. The ambassador shortly had worse things to complain of.

The next day was the Catholic Feast of St. Magdalen, which, though we
Huguenots felt no manner of respect for, we were obliged to conform to
outwardly, by not selling or working in open shops, till the services
of the day were over. We made up to ourselves for it by having a
prayer-service of our own in-doors, followed by a long exposition and
exhortation from a godly minister named Brignolles, who warned us of
times of trial that should soon be revealed, and adjured us to put on
the whole armor of God, that we might be able to withstand in the evil
day, and having done all, to stand. Then, after our mid-day meal, we
went forth to see the show.

This time I had the care of Gabrielle, and wished I had not, for she was
in her giddiest humor, and a young man, whose appearance I did not like,
continually hung about us, and looked attentively at her, which I
resented, but she was evidently pleased with. At length, some waxwork
attracting our notice, a change took place in the disposition of our
party. I shifted the charge of Gabrielle to her father, and got
Madeleine instead. My memories of the rest of the day are more about
Madeleine than anything else.

I remember, though, that we fell in with our neighbors the Lefevres at
a waxwork stall, and while Madeleine and I were admiring some fruit that
exactly imitated nature, little Jules Lefevre stretched out his hand to
touch a little waxen boy with a lamb, saying, "Pretty, pretty!"

"Dear child, you shall have it!" cried a honeyed voice behind; and a
lady nicely dressed put the image into his hand, and stooped down to
kiss him. When Marie Lefevre turned round, and saw what her little boy
held, she looked displeased, and made him lay it on the stall again, for
it was one of those papistical images which we hold in detestation.

At night, when all had dispersed but our own immediate party, there was
a pause, and I saw that the elders had something on their minds that
they were about to unfold. I felt a strange emotion that presaged what
was coming, for not a hint had been dropped.

"Son," said my father--and I looked towards him with awe--"you are now
on the confines of manhood, and it behooves us to consider your future.
At your time of life I was betrothed to your mother, and a share was
promised me of my father's business. What are your own views respecting
your course in life?"

All the elder people fixed their eyes on me with gravity, and Madeleine
afterwards told me her heart stopped beating; while Gabrielle struggled
with a disposition to laugh.

"My views are," returned I, boldly, "to follow my honored father,
step by step, and, his concurrence obtained, to get betrothed as fast
as I can."

"Well said, my boy," said my father, heartily, while every face wore
a broad smile but one, which was mantling with blushes.

"Provided," continued I, "that I may choose the young lady."

"Let us know where your choice will fall," said my father, trying to
keep the corners of his mouth in order, while M. Bourdinave scarcely
suppressed a chuckle.

I stepped across the room, and took Madeleine's hand. "Here is my
choice," said I, "if she will have me. We have known each other from
childhood."

Madeleine instantly snatched her hand away, and covered her face.
However, the next moment her father joined our hands, and gave us his
blessing; and then we were bewildered with congratulations and good
auguries; and Master Brignolles gave us a world of good advice, and
offered a prayer; and my father gave me a ring of betrothal to put on
her finger, and thus we became plighted to one another.

The rest of our stay at Beaucaire passed like a dream, and its
brightness yet remained while we pursued our homeward journey. Madeleine
sat close behind me this time, and on her knee was little Jules Lefevre,
whom we had taken in charge of because his father's wagon was over-full.
He had something clasped tight in his hand, which he unclosed for a
moment at Madeleine's request, and gave her a glimpse of a little "Agnus
Dei," which he said had been given him by "the pretty lady." How or when
she had done so, we never made out. Madeleine tried to get it from him;
but he resisted with all his might, saying it was "his own."

"It must be confessed," said Gabrielle, "that the Catholic churches have
much more in them to attract the eye than our plain temples."

"Who denies it?" said I. "Their appeals are to the outward senses, which
never influence the heart."

"I think my heart would be very much influenced by them," said
Gabrielle, "if I had not been brought up to think them wrong."

"I cannot bear to hear you talk in that way, sister," said Madeleine.
"Pray, do not seem indifferent to the blessings of a purer faith."

Gabrielle pouted, and said, "Indifferent? no; but perhaps if you and I
had been brought up Catholics, we might have been as positive we held
the purer faith as we are now that we are of the Reformed."

"A very good thing, then, that you were not so brought up," said I,
"for then I should not have been betrothed to Madeleine;" and to prevent
her pursuing so unpleasant a subject, I lifted up my voice and sang.
Little Jules presently dropped asleep in Madeleine's arms, and his
little fat fingers unclosing, the dangerous bauble dropped from them,
and, by a dexterous touch of my whip, I flicked it into the road.
By-and-by, awaking, he cried for it, and beat Madeleine with his tiny
fists; nor was pacified till his attention was diverted by an almost
interminable file of mules, with their five or six olive-faced muleteers
in brown jackets and red sashes.



CHAPTER III.

LES ARÈNES.


When we got back, we found my uncle Chambrun, my mother's only brother,
standing at the door. He was the minister of a small town near Avignon,
and did not care to go to the Fair; nevertheless he was very glad to
hear all about it from those who had been there. We were well pleased
to have so ready a listener; and when we had said our say, he fell into
grave talk with my father and mother of the signs of the times, which
he thought very threatening.

"What can we expect otherwise," said he, "with Louis the Fourteenth
for king and Louvois for his minister, and Père la Chaise for his
confessor, and Madame de Maintenon for his confidante and adviser?
A storm is gathering overhead, but never mind--there is a heaven higher
than all." These words checked us; but youthful spirits soon rise, and
the impression did not last long. I now seemed walking on air, for I
loved and was loved by Madeleine.

A few days after our return from Beaucaire, Marie Lefevre burst in on us
with troubled looks, and exclaimed,

"Have you seen my boy?"

"No!" exclaimed we all.

"Then something has befallen him," cried she, wringing her hands. "We
have lost sight of him."

We gathered about her, full of pity, and asked where he had last been
seen.

"Near Les Arènes."

"He may have fallen into some pit, or lost himself among the dungeons,"
said my mother. "We will go and help you to find him."

So she and I accompanied Marie, who was crying bitterly, and made
frequent inquiries for him by the way.

When we got inside that vast, circular inclosure, we agreed that Marie
should explore one side and we the other, and thus meet at the other
end. This took us some time, for you must know that it consists of two
stories, each of sixty arcades, seventy feet high; and under its great
arches and pillars are many vaulted chambers and passages, wherein good
Christians have been confined; and again, wherein other good Christians
have found asylums in time of hot persecution. Within the amphitheatre
were originally thirty-two rows of seats, which would accommodate at
least twenty thousand spectators that had a mind to feast their eyes on
scenes of blood in the central arena. I looked with curiosity at this
place, which I had never so thoroughly visited before. Some of the dens
were still in use for the bulls that were baited on Sundays, and others
seemed lairs for rogues and vagabonds; but there was many a corner
which, as I said to my mother, would afford a good hiding-place in time
of danger, and one, especially, in which I thought a fugitive might defy
detection (though _I_ had detected it).

Well, we hunted high and low, but could not find little Jules. His
mother was distracted: we feared she would lose her reason altogether.
Madeleine devoted herself to her like an angel; neighbors were full of
compassion--those of our own persuasion, I mean; for the Catholics
mocked her and said, "Go seek him in the Jews' quarter. The Jew baker's
daughter has, doubtless, made him into pies. Go seek him in their secret
assemblies--in their cellars--in their slaughter-houses--doubtless they
are fattening him for their Passover." Conceive the anguish of the
mother.

At length she found he was not dead. Her heart leaped for joy. But
when she found how the case stood with him, she was ready to wish
him dead and numbered among the little children that follow the Lamb
whithersoever he goeth. Jules had been kidnapped and tampered with by
the Catholics. The little apostate had been taught to curse his parents.

The case occasioned a great deal of talk in Nismes at the time;
unhappily, similar kidnappings made it soon forgotten, except by the
family.

One day, when I had been hunting for him, I came suddenly on the young
man who had stared so rudely at Gabrielle at Beaucaire. I was sorry to
see him in Nismes. I did not like the look of him, with his narrow head,
low forehead, and eyes too near his nose, though otherwise he was well
enough. Returning to our factory, I found him just coming out of it.
I said to my father, "Who is that?" He said, "A troublesome fellow,
I think, but he brought a message from your uncle Nicolas. He is called
Martin Prunevaux. He asked me all manner of impertinent questions, and,
if he fall in with you, may ask you as many; but remember Jaques Coeur's
motto,

  "'En close bouche
  N'entre mouche--'

"And again, 'Dire, faire, taire.'"

"Ay, ay, father, you may depend on me," said I, heartily.

Sometimes, before I went to bed, I stepped out to get a glimpse of the
light in Madeleine's window. I should observe, it was also Gabrielle's,
for the sisters shared the same room. The moon cast strong lights and
shadows, and I kept in the shade till close to the house, when what was
my disgust to hear the wretched tinkle of a guitar under the window!
Serenades might be all very well for Italy, but we did not favor them
in Nismes; and stepping briskly up to the musician, I said abruptly,
"We want none of this miserable noise!"

He started as if shot, saying, "Pardon, monsieur," evidently taking
me for one of the family; a mistake which I favored by knocking at the
door. As I was in deep shadow he did not recognize me, but the moonlight
fell full on his face, and I saw it was Martin Prunevaux. I felt
exceedingly inclined to fall on him and beat him for daring to tune his
wretched pipes under Madeleine's window; but a second thought assured me
that Gabrielle must be his object; the more so that I was sure I saw her
shadow (which was shorter than her sister's) fall on the curtain, and
I could even fancy her making merry behind it. Still, I liked not such a
fellow to come prowling about either of the sisters. I stood my ground,
that I might not be guilty of a runaway knock, and when Alice came to
the door I made a bungling speech and said, "Oh, I suppose the family
are all gone to bed. I am late tonight." She said, "They are so, sir,"
and looked surprised. I said, "There was a street musician of some sort
before the house when I came up. I think I have chased him away." She
said, "All the better, sir; we are much obliged to you; we never
encourage such people."

When I rallied Madeleine, next day, on having been serenaded, tears
sprang into her eyes, and she assured me it was not her fault, adding
that she feared Gabrielle, in her thoughtlessness, must have given some
encouragement to a presumptuous young man. "However, when my father
returns, he will take measures," she added, "to prevent our being
further troubled with him." Monsieur Bourdinave was at this time
traveling on business.

The sisters spent that evening at our house as was not unusual. On these
occasions we often sang hymns; and I had just set the tune of "Chantez
de Dieu le renom"--


  "Chantez de Dieu le renom,
  Vous serviteurs du Seigneur!
  Venez pour lui faire honneur,
  Vous qui avez eu ce don"--


and was lifting up my voice on high, followed by the sweet treble of the
girls, when a shower of stones rattled against the casement, and a flint
passed close to Madeleine and hit my father on the cheekbone. Hot with
anger, I rushed into the street, and found a group of unmannerly fellows
outside, who, instead of taking to their heels, gathered round me with
defiant looks.

"What is the meaning of this?" cried I in anger.

"What is the meaning of your disturbing the neighborhood with your
uproar?" cried one of them, saucily.

"Uproar! We were singing to the praise and glory of God. Do you know
that you have hurt my father?"

"We neither know nor care; and if you don't keep a quiet tongue in your
head, will slit it as soon as not."

"Come in, son, come in," said my father, whose cheek was covered with
blood. "As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men"--drawing
me indoors as he spoke.

"Excellent advice! Take care that he follows it," cried they,
tauntingly, as my father shut-to the door. I was burning with rage;
Madeleine was in tears; the children, with scared looks, were gathered
round my mother. My father, with gentle force, drew me into the little
circle, and made me sit down beside him.

"My children," said he, "we have been warned that evil times are coming,
and this may be the beginning. If it prove otherwise, we shall have the
more reason to praise the Lord; but if it please Him to try and to prove
us, let us not be found unprepared. Our strength lies in prayer, in not
giving offence, and in not being easily offended."

"We gave no offence, father," said I.

"But you were too easily offended. If any one had cause of complaint, it
was I; but I do not take it up."

My mother was meanwhile bathing his cut cheek and applying a plaster.

"Sure, it would make any son's blood boil, to see his father hit!" cried
I; and I saw that Madeleine sympathized with me.

"Why, then, let his blood cool again," said my father, jocularly. "Tush,
many a school-boy gets a worse hurt than this, and makes no moan. There!
your mother has made all right, and I feel no smart. Let us say no more
about it."

I thought he strikingly acted on our Lord's axiom of "If thine enemy
smite thee on the one cheek, offer him the other," but could not just
then enter into it. I longed to give those rascals a good beating.

"Now, then, I'll set the tune again," said I, affecting composure.

But, "No, no," said the girls simultaneously; and "No, no," said my dear
mother. "Don't you see," she continued, "I have all this broken glass to
pick up? If you will do me a real kindness, you will step round to the
glazier, the first thing in the morning, and get him to mend the window
before breakfast."

"I'll go at once," said I; but "No, no," was again the word. My father
laid his hand firmly on my right arm, and Madeleine hers on my left.
Though her touch was as light as a snow-flake, I would not have shaken
it off for the world.

"The streets are unquiet to-night," said my father, "and I mean no one
to go forth till the girls return home, when we will see them safely to
their door; going out the back way."

So we spent the next hour in a sober, subdued manner. Madeleine shyly
let me steal her hand and hold it some minutes, as though she knew it
would calm me. And so it did; there was much sweetness in that hour,
after all.

At length it was time to see them home; my mother kissed and blessed
them as if they were going further than into the next street. We went
out the back way, my father taking Gabrielle and I Madeleine, and we met
with no evil by the way. Being rather high-wrought, I would willingly
have faced a little danger for Madeleine's sake.

I kissed her soft cheek unrebuked, and followed my father through the
dark with a happy heart Mechanically, rather than from either devotion
or defiance, I began to hum "Chantez de Dieu," when my father's warning
hand plucked my sleeve, and, at the same instant, a rough voice beside
me said, "Hold your peace! Have you not heard of the _arrêt?_" and
passed on.

We had heard nothing of any _arrêt_; but next morning, when I went
to the glazier's, he told me that an order had been issued forbidding
the Reformed to sing psalms in the streets and public walks, or even
within their own houses loud enough to be heard outside. And he told
me he was so full of work that he hardly knew which way to turn, in
consequence of the many windows broken over night by evil-disposed men
suborned to interrupt psalmody. I asked him, half jesting, if he thought
any of the suborned men were glaziers; but it hurt him, for he was as
good a Huguenot as any in Nismes.

Going home with him, I saw a horrid sight--a dead body that had been
some time buried, torn from the grave, stripped of its shroud, and lying
in the gutter. I shuddered, and asked the glazier if we had not better
tell the authorities; but he hurried on, saying, "Better let it be. The
authorities doubtless know all about it." So there had we to leave the
ghastly object, though its remaining there was equally prejudicial to
decency and to health.

Men's tongues were very busy that day; every one foreboding calamity and
nobody knowing how to meet it.

My mother sent me, after breakfast, to visit my uncle Chambrun, who had
fallen sick; and as the distance was about seven leagues, I went to him
on a small but active horse. On my arrival, I found him in bed, with a
royal commissioner seated beside him, who was talking to him with great
show of courtesy, while my uncle looked much wearied. The bishop of
Valence was on the other side of his bed. Finding myself in such high
company, I fell back, and awaited a better opportunity of presenting
myself.

The commissioner was inquiring very sedulously after my uncle's health,
and assuring him he respected him greatly, and wished to show him favor.

"We have been constrained," said he, "to subject several of your
colleagues to temporary confinement, but I have great hope that nothing
of the kind will be necessary in your case, if you are a man of wisdom
who know how to comply with exigencies as they arise, and thereby set an
example to those around you. To this end the bishop has come to put a
few easy interrogations. It is a mere form, and I am sure you will make
no difficulty."

My uncle thanked him for his kind expressions, but said he had a Master
in heaven to whom he owed his first duty.

"So have we all," interposed the bishop. And that he should make answer
with that end in view and nothing else.

The bishop then took up the word, and very little can I remember of what
he said, so hampered was I by his presence; but it was plain that he
sought to entangle my uncle in his talk. That was no easy thing to do,
my uncle was so temperate and logical, and so much more conversant with
the Holy Scriptures than the bishop was.

The commissioner, perceiving that the bishop was getting the worst of
it, broke in with--

"All this is beside the mark. The king is determined that you, Monsieur
Chambrun, should be a good Catholic; so it is no good begging off. You
had much better accept the good offer made you, which I trust you will
do on thinking it over."

"The only offer I desire," replied my uncle, "is of a passport, to
enable me, as soon as I am well enough, to follow my brother ministers
to Holland. My reason tells me--"

"A truce with your reason," interrupted the bishop, rising to go away.
"You have too much rhetoric by half. I advise you to reflect and to
obey."

"Monseigneur, I am sure you think you are giving me the best advice,"
said my uncle, feebly. "Nephew, see the noble and reverend gentlemen
out."



CHAPTER IV.

MY UNCLE CHAMBRUN.


Having done so, I returned to my uncle, and said to him,--"Uncle, the
bishop has gone away in great wrath, vowing that you shall repent of
your conduct."

"And when I would have made way for him," said my aunt, indignantly,
"he called me a bad name, and looked as if I were the very scum of
the earth."

"Ah, he does not recognize marriages among the clergy," said my uncle,
calmly. "Never mind him, my good Dorothée; he'd be glad enough to have a
wife of his own, and seeing me so much better off than he is, makes him
captious and querulous. Come and shake up my pillow, for my poor head
aches sadly. I will try to get a little sleep."

At that instant, a loud trampling of horses' feet was heard, together
with the jingling of spurs and the clanking of armor.

"What's that?" cried Aunt Dorothée, running from the bed to the window,
and pulling back the little curtain, "Ah, le beau spectacle! Look out,
Jacques!"

It was indeed a fine spectacle, as far as mere outward splendor went,
to see a troup of cavalry in blue and burnished steel, on powerful black
horses, ride proudly by, making the very earth shake under them; and
many children, attracted by the sight, ran towards them, shouting and
throwing up their caps; but when I looked at the ferocious faces of
these men, seamed with many an ugly scar--their lowering brows, their
terrible eyes, their sour aspect--I felt they might be as dreadful to
face in peace as in war. I watched them out of sight, and then placed
myself beside my uncle, who, with closed eyes and folded hands, was
endeavoring to sleep. My aunt went below to baste the poulet for his
dinner. The house was very still; nothing was to be heard but the
ticking of the clock.

All at once I heard heavy feet tramping towards the house, and a
confused medley of rough voices. The next instant, the house door was
battered as if to break it in, which, being of solid oak, was no easy
matter. The door being opened, I heard a faint cry of terror from my
aunt, and a brawling and trampling impossible to describe. I looked down
from the stair-head and counted forty-two dragoons, trampling in one
after another, till, the house being of moderate size, there was hardly
room for them to stand. Yet they continued to pour in, jostling,
pushing, and elbowing one another, each trying to shout louder than his
comrades, "Holà! holà! House! house!--Give us to eat! Give us to drink!"
with frightful oaths and curses.

"Good sirs, a moment's patience, and you shall be waited on," cried my
terrified aunt.

"To Jericho with your patience! We wait for nobody. I decide for this
poulet," said one, taking it up hot in his hands, and bawling because
they were burnt; "dress two dozen more--cook all you have in the
poultry-yard, or we will cook you."

"I claim my share of that poulet," says one.

"Why not have one apiece?" said another. "Who would make two bites of a
cherry? He has gnawn off all the best mouthfuls already. Come, be quick,
mistress housewife! Where are the cellar keys?"

"I've mislaid them, good sirs," said the poor terrified woman.

"We'll kick the door open, then. Here's a ham! here are two hams! Ha!
ha! ham is good--we will heat the copper and boil them."

"No, slice them and fry them," says another; "they take too long to
boil. Bread!--where's the bread? Where's the oven? If it were big
enough, goody, we'd put you into it."

"Ha! ha! what have I found here!--a bag of money."

"Divide! divide!" shouted two dozen voices.

"It's mine, I found it!" cried the first. Then they fell to blows,
and some of them fell sprawling to the ground, and were kicked, the bag
was snatched from the finder, and the money scattered on the floor;
then they scrambled for it, as many as could get near it, laughing and
cursing; while others ransacked drawers, cupboards, and shelves, and
others broke open the cellar door, and began to drink.

Terrified beyond expression, I went back to my uncle, and saw, to my
surprise and relief, that he had fallen into a heavy sleep, which was
a restorative he particularly needed. On looking from the window,
I say my aunt, almost incapacitated by her fears, attempting to catch
the poultry, in which the dragoons alternately helped and hindered her,
roaring with laughter when a hen flew shrieking over their heads, and
then abusing my aunt. They were quickly caught and plucked, and set,
some to roast, some to broil, according to their capricious mandates;
and then, when everything was in as fair train for their disorderly
feast as it well could be (two or three additional fires having been
kindled), one of them said, "Let us divert the time with a little good
music;" and began to beat a drum.

"Louder! louder!" cried his comrades. "Let's have a chorus of drums!"
How they came to have so many, I know not, except that they were brought
for the special purpose of tormenting; but they produced six or eight,
slung them round their necks, and began to beat them, crying,--

"Now for the tour of the house!"

"Sure my uncle must be dead!" thought I, leaning over him anxiously. But
no, his breath came and went, though inaudibly, and had he been allowed
to finish his sleep in peace it might have been for his healing.

Instead of this, I heard the dragoons come stamping upstairs, producing
a muffled roll on their drums that sounded like muttering thunder. They
went into one room after another, and speedily reached that of my uncle,
on catching sight of whom they triumphantly exclaimed, "Hah! ha! v'lâ
notre ami! Here is he whom we seek, and for whom we prepare the
reveille." And ranging themselves round his bed in a moment of time, in
spite of a warning gesture from me, it being impossible for my voice to
be heard, they simultaneously beat their drums with a clangor that might
have waked the dead. No wonder, therefore, that my poor uncle started
from his sleep bewildered, terrified, and looking as if he believed
himself in some horrid dream. In vain he moved his lips, in vain he
raised his clasped hands to one and another, as if in supplication; the
more distress he showed the more noise they made, till it seemed to me
as if my eardrums would split. In the midst of it all up came my aunt,
whose fortitude and presence of mind at that moment I can never
sufficiently admire; and with forced smiles and courteous gestures made
them to understand, in dumb show, that the first course of their meal
was served. Instantly the drums ceased; one of them seized her by the
shoulders, and hurried her down stairs before him, the others clattering
after him. I turned, and saw my uncle raise his eyes and hands to
heaven, and fall back on his pillow.

There was now a lull, while the viands were being consumed; but soon a
new uproar arose--the supply was inadequate for the demand: every morsel
of food in the house was consumed at one sitting, and yet there was not
nearly enough. The dragoons were furious: they gathered about my aunt,
pulling her hair, threatening her with their fists, threatening to boil
her in her own copper, and set fire to the house, with her sick husband
in it, if she did not procure an ample supply. With matchless patience
she looked one after another in the face, said, "Attendez, attendez,
messieurs, s'il vous plait;" and then, calling me down, bid me go forth
and beg of my neighbors as much food as I could.

When wondering much at my aunt's fortitude and self-possession, she
afterwards told me that she lifted her heart to God in earnest prayer,
and there came to her the comforting remembrance of these words.
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Alas! what a scene presented itself out of doors. The people were
running up and down in despair; a woman rushed wildly out of her house,
and seized me by the arm, crying, "They are batooning my husband!"
Another shrieked from a window, 'Help, help, they are killing my
father!' Children ran about the streets, crying, "Oh, my father!--oh,
my mother!" It seemed a heartless task to be going from one to another
begging something to eat under such piteous circumstances; and yet how
knew I that as bad or worse a tragedy might be acted at my uncle's if
I failed to supply what was wanted?

At length I returned, staggering under the weight of a huge cheese and a
bag of chestnuts. And though I was reviled for not bringing them better
cheer, yet I pacified them by smiling like my aunt, and echoing her
"Attendez, messieurs, s'il vous plait;" and started forth again on my
foraging expedition, though very doubtful of having anything to bring
back.

How long were these horrible men going to stay? How could we go on
supplying their wants at this rate? If their orders were to eat my uncle
out of house and home, and drive him and my aunt to distraction, would
it not be just as well to let them do so at once, and have done with it?

One and another to whom I applied were so full of their own griefs that
I had to listen to what they had to say before they would or could hear
a word from me in return. One had been hung up by his feet over a
chimney; another had a knife held to his throat; one had seen her little
infant nearly strangled; another had been dragged along the ground by
her hair. I could not help pitying them sincerely, but not so much as
I should have done, but for the sad plight of my uncle. When I, with a
kind of wrench, forced the talk into the subject of what was going on at
his house, they, through their great love for him, forgot for a moment
their own trials in thinking of his; and those who had anything to
contribute brought it out, and those who had nothing to spare made up
for it in pity. All this consumed so much time that when I got back it
was nearly dark, and the house was all in a blaze with lights, for the
dragoons had lighted candles all over the house; and some of them were
stupid with drink, and lying in heaps; others were rendered quarrelsome
by it, and fighting and abusing one another; but as for the drummers,
they never ceased. They were at it when I set forth, they were at it
while I was away, they were at it when I came back again, and stared at
the good things I spread out before them without once staying their
drumsticks. I was so sick of it by this time, and so unable to disguise
my disgust and anger, that I persuaded myself I might as well return
home, for that I could do no good where I was, and things could get no
worse without me. So I went up to my aunt, who was then sitting like
a stone image, without seeming able to hear or see anything, and made
signs of leave-taking. She grasped my hand in both hers, and looked up
so piteously at me, her lips moving as if with the words "do not go,"
that I felt I must stay by her, come what would. For was she not my
mother's sister-in-law? and was not my uncle my mother's brother? I made
a sign I would remain, on which she kissed my hands; and then I patted
her on the shoulder, and could not help letting fall a tear. Then she
got up, and bestirred herself for the men, hoping, no doubt, they would
intermit their drumming if she could but conciliate them. But as soon
as one relay ceased drumming another took it up; and thus, shameful to
relate, they continued the whole night without intermission, crowding
round my uncle's bed, making his room intolerably hot and close, and
pushing in and out of the room and up and down the stairs.

My uncle now lay in a kind of torpor; the expression of his face painful
to witness; his wan hands lying outside the counterpane, and now and
then slightly moving, which showed me he still lived. Towards daybreak
I was so worn out that I dropped asleep as I sat beside him with my
face on the edge of his pillow--such deep sleep that I neither heard
nor dreamed of the drumming. When I woke, with a strangely confused,
unrefreshed feeling, the daylight was faintly making its way into the
room, which had no one in it but my uncle, my aunt, and me. She seemed
to have crawled with difficulty to the foot of his bed, and there sunk
and fallen asleep I went out on the landing--candles were burning in
their sockets with a vile smell--the house was full of vile smells
and of confusion and disorder--the house-door stood ajar--one or two
dragoons lay sleeping heavily on the ground. I went up again to tell
my aunt, and found her straightening my uncle like a corpse. At the
same moment a dragoon came up behind me. He was going to recommence the
disturbance, when I pointed to the bed, and said, sternly, "See what you
have done. You may now go away satisfied with having made this lately
peaceful family completely wretched. God grant you forgiveness ere you
are laid out like those cold remains."

The dragoon looked confounded. He muttered something, turned on his
heel, said something to his companions below, and we presently saw them
run out of the house. I went and shut the door. On returning I saw my
uncle was not dead. Their thinking him so was a mercy, since it gave
him a little respite. He was too weak to be moved, but he begged me to
return home and tell what had happened to my parents: adding, as I left
him, "Do not make the affair worse than it is." I thought it would be
difficult to do that.



CHAPTER V.

THE PASSPORT.


When I reached home it was some hours after sunrise. The dragoons, just
recalled from the Spanish frontier, where they were no longer wanted,
were spreading themselves over the country with the express commission
to harass the Huguenot inhabitants as much as possible, short of death,
but had not yet reached Nismes.

I entered my father's house. Contrary to custom, he was not at the
factory, but awaiting my return. He rose when I appeared, and stood
silently looking at me, while my mother put her hands on my shoulders,
and looked piteously in my face.

"Son, thou hast been out all night."

"At my uncle's, mother. He was ill in bed; the dragoons were there; and
my aunt begged me to stay as a safeguard."

"You did quite right to comply, my boy," said my father, heartily.
"I trust the dragoons did not misuse thy good uncle."

"I know not what you call misusing," replied I, "if beating their
drums round his bed all night did not deserve that term. They almost
killed him with their clamor--ate everything in the house--called for
more--reviled my aunt--scrambled for her money--broke open the cellar,
and drank every drop it contained."

I spoke this so fast as to be almost unintelligible; they listened in
silent dismay. My father, then bidding me be seated, desired me to go
over the whole matter from the beginning, with composure and method.
Having drunk a cup of water, I did so; and we then held a family
council, in which it was decided that my uncle, in his precarious
health, would probably sink under a similar attack of the dragoons,
and that it would be expedient for me to return to him at dusk with a
covered cart, well supplied with hay, and to place him thereon and bring
him back with me, to be kept at our house, in secresy and safety, till
he should be able to escape from the kingdom--"though this would have
been an easier matter to effect," observed my father, "before he had
made himself personally obnoxious to the bishop."

My father then went to his daily business at the silk-factory, while I
remained behind awhile with my mother, to assist her in clearing out a
loft for my uncle's reception, the entrance to which could be concealed.

I then paid a hasty visit to Madeleine, whom I found bathed in tears,
as she had learnt from my mother that I had been away all night; and
though this at another time would have occasioned no alarm, yet at
a season of so much uneasiness she had foreboded some sad calamity.
My sudden appearance caused a fresh flow of tears, but they were of
thankfulness for my safety. A few tender words reassured her. I then
gave her a short account of what had passed, taking care, as my uncle
desired me, not to make things worse than they were. But still it was
evident that he was marked for the victim of a persecution he was not
in a condition to support; and as Madeleine had a sincere regard for
him, which his character justly merited, she commended me for standing
by him, and rejoiced that I was going to fetch him to our house.

"We have not been quite undisturbed, even during your short absence,"
said she. "Our evening service was yesterday interrupted, just as the
congregation were in the middle of a psalm, by several officials rudely
entering the temple, and commanding us to desist, because the Host was
being carried by."

"In the temper in which those in authority seem to be at present," said
I, "it is to be feared that things will grow worse before they mend."

"Meanwhile, remember your father's admonition, I entreat you," said
Madeleine; "and, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."

"Rely on it, sweet Madeleine," said I. "I am a man of peace, not of war."

Cheered by my little interview with her, I proceeded to my usual work,
and, after supping with my family, stole quietly forth on my mission.

I reached the neighboring town without misadventure, and, leaving the
cart out of sight, raised my uncle's latch and went in. He and my aunt
had the house to themselves (for their only servant had gone to her
friends); and she was sitting on the bed, supporting his head on her
shoulder.

"Here's Jacques," said she, looking up.

"Jacques, my good lad," said my uncle, holding out his feeble hand,
"I thank you for this visit, and yet more for staying with us last
night."

"You have not noticed any of the dragoons lurking about outside,
I hope?" said my aunt, anxiously.

"No," said I, "all seems quiet at present; but there is no knowing
when they will return, and my parents have sent me to fetch you away.
My mother declares she shall know no peace till she has you under her
roof."

"My good boy, I can no more go to her than I can fly," said my uncle.

"Oh yes, uncle, you can. I have brought you a nice covered cart, filled
with hay, on which you will lie quite easily, and I will carry you down
to it on my back."

My uncle and aunt were most thankful for this, and, after very little
preparation, closed the shutters of the little dwelling, and turned the
key on it. My uncle was made tolerably comfortable, with my aunt seated
beside him; and in this way we stealthily quitted the neighborhood.
I could hear uproarious voices in the distance, and occasionally a faint
scream or wail, but gradually left these painful sounds behind. To say
truth, I was by no means sure of our performing this journey in safety,
and had many alarms by the way; and as for my uncle, my aunt afterwards
told me he was in prayer the whole of the way, to which might probably
be ascribed our safety; for ours is a God that heareth prayer, not
when it is a mere babble of words, in a language we do not understand,
repeated over and over again, and made a merit of; but His ears are
attent unto the cry of the contrite heart, and the prayer of them that
are sorrowful.

It was far into the night, or rather near morning, when we reached our
journey's end. My father cautiously admitted us; my mother received the
fugitives with the tenderest affection. A hot supper awaited them, after
partaking which they were thankful to retire to the loft; and not even
the children were to know they were there, and the youngest of our two
servants had been sent to her home; for my father told me that the
dragoons were expected to pay us a visit shortly, when the premises
would doubtless be ransacked; "and since your uncle has borne the
journey better than might have been expected," said he, "the sooner
we can get him out of the country the better."

He then told me what plans he had been devising for this purpose, and
that if my uncle were equal to it on the morrow, I should set him and my
aunt on their way to a certain point, which, if they reached in safety,
they would then be cared for.

"The greatest difficulty," said he, "is about a passport; but that may
possibly be procured on the frontier, for the great object of government
seems to be to chase all our godly ministers out of the kingdom, that
their flocks, deprived of their strengthening exhortations, may fall an
easier prey."

While he thus spoke, a noise at the door, as if some one were hammering
on it with his fist, made us start.

"Who's there?" said my father, without withdrawing the bolt.

"Your neighbor Romilly," returned the other; and we, knowing his voice,
let him in.

"Neighbor, I have traveled far and fast," said he, "and would not go
home without looking in to tell you the bad news. They are carrying
things hardly at Arles and Uséz, and you had better warn M. Chambrun
he is in danger."

My father changed countenance.

"He and his wife are with us at this moment," said he.

"They must depart, then," said Romilly, "and without loss of time, or
she will not be allowed to go with him. See, here is a passport," said
he, dubiously smiling, "which will do for him as well as the person for
whom it was intended. He shall have it."

We thanked him warmly, and after a little more eager talk, he hurried
homeward. Day was now breaking, and I threw myself on my bed for a short
sleep. When I awoke, my dear mother was beside me.

"Your uncle is awake, and talking to your father," said she, softly. "He
refuses the passport, because it was not made out for himself, saying he
will not do an evil that good may come."

"This is sheer madness," said I, springing up.

"It is consistency," said my mother. "We are now on the brink of a great
struggle between the powers of light and darkness. Those who feel they
have no strength of their own to meet it with, and do not care to seek
it from above, will probably give in at the very first word--certainly
do so sooner or later; but those whose adhesion to God's cause is of any
worth, will brace themselves for the encounter, knowing that He can and
will arm them for the fight."

"You approve my uncle's making a point of conscience, then, of this?"

"I must say I do, though your father is angry with him for it. Perhaps,
during the day, we may yet get him a proper passport; for if the
authorities are so anxious to get rid of our godly ministers, surely
they will not hinder their departure. However that may be, you are to
convey your uncle and aunt towards the coast tonight."

"She goes with him, then?"

"She will not leave him. They have lost all their money, but we have
made a little purse for them. Oh, my child, what times are these! You
have scarcely had any rest these two nights; but do not forget to say
your morning prayers."

And kissing my forhead, she left me, that I might obey her injunction.

It may be said that trade was at a standstill that day. The weaver at
his loom, the jeweler behind his counter, the baker at his
kneading-trough, all thought and talked but of one subject, the expected
visitation of the dragoons.

My father, with vexation, gave me back the passport, saying, "Your uncle
will not use it, so you must return it to Romilly."

Romilly raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders when I did so,
saying, "What will he do, then?"

"I know not. Take his chance, I suppose."

"Here, take you it," said he, thrusting it into my pocket "He may be
glad of it at the end."

It was a sad day. Mothers were weeping over their new-born infants; men
were talking to one another in anger and sorrow. The Catholics were
already carrying their heads high, and smiling scornfully as we passed
them. I thought, "Oh that we were in a desert, all to ourselves, with
none to impugn our faith!" But then I called to mind that without
needing to be in a desert, people might dwell in happy countries where
each man's faith is respected and tolerated. I hoped my uncle would
safely reach one of these happy countries; but yet one's native land is
very dear after all!

Twilight came; the parting took place amid tears and embraces and
benedictions; and soon I was driving my good uncle and aunt towards the
coast. We had gone some miles, when a man, scarcely distinguishable in
the dark, emerged from a corner and said, "Who goes there?"

I was greatly alarmed, but my uncle, recognizing the voice, said, "Oh,
Joseph, is it thou? Whither art thou bound?"

"Fleeing for my life," said Joseph, "as I take it you are doing. It is
well you have escaped, though I cannot make out how you come to be so
far on the road. I have just left your neighborhood; the dragoons are
turning your house out of window."

"Give him a lift, Jacques," said my uncle to me; "the poor man is
weary." Finding him to be one of my uncle's flock, I readily did so;
the more that his tone and words betokened honesty.

"Sir, you are doubtless going to join your brother-ministers," said
Joseph. "Have you a passport?"

"I have not, but I hope to get one on the frontier, or find some other
path open to me," said my uncle.

"Let us trust the 'other path' may open, then," said Joseph, "for most
vexatious obstacles are being thrown in the way of our ministers on the
frontier; they are either refused passports altogether, or such as they
are provided with are declared worthless."

"Romilly's passport, then, will be no good," thought I, and I was musing
on the moral advantage to my uncle of his having refused to use it from
the first, when Joseph in alarm cried--

"Hist--I hear some one galloping hard after us. Let us whip on as fast
as we can."

But we had just reached the foot of a heavy ascent, and the pursuer
gained upon us, and presently came up panting.

"Is Minister Chambrun here?" cried he, breathlessly.

"Who are you that ask?" returned I. At the same instant my uncle cried--

"Yes, here I am. What is it?"

"What a dance you have led me!" cried the messenger. "I come from the
commissioner, who sends you a passport, and desires you to go to
Bordeaux as fast as you can."

What a smile broke over my uncle's face!

"Said I not," cried he, joyfully, "that a path would doubtless open for
me? Henceforth, my children, never distrust the Lord."

His course was now altered. Instead of making for the nearest coast,
now within a few miles, on the borders of the Mediterranean, he decided
to proceed with all convenient speed to Montauban, where my aunt had
friends, thence down the Garonne, and so to Bordeaux. I could but set
him on his way and trust his future course to the same good Providence
that had hitherto protected him. My aunt was decided to follow his
fortunes, happen what would.



CHAPTER VI.

TRIAL BY FIRE.


Day was far spent before I got back, my horse having gone lame. There
seemed unusual disturbance in the town; I distinguished a distant hum of
many voices, and all at once a shrill cry that made me shudder, followed
by the passionate wailing of children, and the incessant barking of
dogs. I took the back way to our house, where lay our stable, and
entering the little yard, saw to my dismay six or eight cavalry horses
standing in it. I sprang from my cart and hurried into the house, on the
threshold of which my little brother Charles met me all in tears, and
cried, "Oh, they're burning mamma!"

I burst into the kitchen; there was a roaring fire on the hearth, which
a dragoon was feeding with handfuls of paper torn from our great family
Bible; but there were also great billets of wood burning, which threw
out intense heat, and close in front of it was placed my mother, penned
in with heavy pieces of furniture, while two dragoons in front of her
were thrusting their clenched fists in her face, saying, "Now then, you
obstinate woman! will you roast like a pig, or say where he is gone?"

My mother looked immovable as stone, but directly I entered, I saw her
change countenance a little. My father lay on the ground, bound hand and
foot, while a dragoon was preparing to beat him with a heavy bridle.

"Ah, ah, here is the young cub," cried they as I entered; "here is the
young fellow that was attending on his uncle!" Then, with more bad
language than I choose to repeat, they bade me tell where I had carried
him, unless I would see my mother roasted alive.

"Out of your reach," said I, boldly; "so now let my mother go free," and
springing towards her, I released her before they could throw themselves
upon me. The next minute, we were rolling on the ground, but, as my
mother for the moment was safe, I did not mind the blows I was getting,
but returned them with a fire-iron that lay within reach. I dealt blows
with such a will that for a time I had the advantage, never ceasing to
shout, "Never fear, mother! All's safe! he's on the wide sea. Fly with
the children and leave me to deal with these gentry."

This so enraged them that they redoubled their violence; no wonder,
then, that I was got down at last, bound hand and foot, and my feet made
bare to receive the bastinado. Before they laid it on, they put the
question to me:

"Wilt thou now, then, recant thine accursed doctrines?"

"What doctrines?" said I, to gain time.

"Those that are falsely called reformed."

"Oh yes, all that are falsely called reformed."

They stood at pause on this, and looked at one another.

"He gives in," muttered one.

"Not a bit," replied another. "He is only lying."

"Well but, mark you, that's no matter of ours," said the first.

"I tell you it is!" roared the second, pushing him aside. "Let me take
him in hand. You don't know how to question him." Then accosting me, in
a defiant sort of way (he was far from sober), he said,

"Hark ye, young man. Now answer for your life. Give us no double
meanings. What is your religion?"

"That which was brought us and taught us by our Lord Jesus Christ."

"Do you believe in St. Peter?"

"Of course."

"And in the Virgin Mother of God?"

"The angel Gabriel called her blessed among women."

"But do you worship her?"

"I reverence her, and worship her Divine Son."

"Do you worship her, I say?" threatening me with the stirrup-leather.

"Son, son," put in my father.

"Silence, old man!" and they hit him on the mouth.

"Do you worship her?"

"I do not."

Then they beat the soles of my feet, till my father in anguish cried,
"Oh, I cannot bear this--" but had to bear it. And so had I. But on
their burning my soles with a red-hot iron, a merciful Providence took
me out of their hands, by bringing me insensibility. How long they
pursued their barbarities after I fainted, I know not; but when I came
to myself, it was in cold and darkness, lying in the open street, where
I suppose they had cast me, thinking me dead. How long a time must have
passed! for the stars were shining above me. Where were my parents, my
brothers and sisters? I tried to raise myself a little and look around,
but was beaten and bruised so that I was in agonies of pain, and sank
back on the ground. The cold made my wounded feet smart indescribably;
but while, with closed eyes, I was inwardly murmuring, "Lord, help thy
poor servant, for I cannot help myself;" something that made me wince
with pain, but the next moment gave exquisite relief, was applied to
the soles of my feet, and the next instant I heard the hushed voices of
those who were dearest to me on earth, my mother and Madeleine "Can it
be that we are too late?" said Madeleine. "No, his pulse yet beats,
though as feebly as possible. Oh, what he must have suffered, and how
I love him for not having given in!"

In pain though I was, a smile of joy broke over my face on this, and
I opened my eyes.

"Praise the Lord, he revives!" said my mother. "How art thou, my son?"

"I shall do well, my mother--," but I could not speak another word.
I closed my eyes, and felt about to faint.

"Jacques, dear Jacques," said Madeleine, whispering energetically and
distinctly, close to my ear, "be of good courage, and God will help
thee. I have found a place of safety in the vaults of Les Arènes,
whither Gabrielle has already taken the children; and now, if you can
but master the pain enough to get there with such help as we can give
you, before the dragoons return, we shall all be safe."

"Oh, most certainly I will," said I, trying to rise; but when I
attempted to set my feet to the ground, I was in such anguish that
I nearly fell down; but what will not "needs must" effect? The poor
galley-slaves at Marseilles and Dunkirk can tell how, when it seems
impossible for them to pull another stroke, the taskmaster's whip,
mercilessly applied, proves that they not only can pull still, but pull
well too. I am ashamed to say how these two beloved women had almost to
carry me, a stout youth; and even all their strength might have been
insufficient but for the potent spur of the dragoons' return. With an
arm round the neck of each, and resting almost my entire weight on their
shoulders, I managed to scuffle along, very slowly and with fearful
pain, towards Les Arènes. We paused now and then, under the deep shadow
of a wall, for me to regain my strength. I was astonished at my mother's
utter forgetfulness of herself in her care for me; and said, "Were you
much burnt, my mother?"

"No, my son; no," she answered, cheerfully; but in truth she was sadly
seared and blistered, and her heroism under suffering might be likened
to that of the martyrs of old.

"What took place after I fainted?" said I.

"They believed you were dead, and threw you into the road," said my
mother, "saying they hoped the dogs would come and lick your blood like
Ahab's. After that a trumpet was blown, and there seemed something going
on in the town, and they all ran off. The children had meanwhile taken
refuge with Madeleine; and I then took the opportunity of raising your
father, after cutting his bonds, and sending him off to the factory,
whence he was to return with men to carry you away, but they have never
come, and I fear some mischief may have befallen him. I would fain have
gone to see, but you were my first object. I could not carry you, and
went to Madeleine for help. She had just gone with Gabrielle and the
children to Les Arènes; but while I was preparing bandages and a
liniment for your poor feet, she returned and accompanied me back."

"Madeleine is a good angel," said I, pressing my arm more closely to
her.

"What is your case to-day, may be ours to-morrow," said she.

We continued our painful and tedious course, "lurking in the thievish
corners of the streets," like evil-doers, if we saw any one coming. The
moon was dangerously bright, but the shadows were proportionately dark,
and at length we reached Les Arènes, with their depths of mysterious
shadow, and solemn pillars and arches silvered by the white beams.
Though the amphitheatre is in the heart of the city, the neighborhood
seemed unusually deserted. People had fled, or were cowering in
hiding-places, or were flocking to see what was going on elsewhere.
I cannot otherwise account for it. Only that as we passed near the
house of good old Monsieur de Laccassagne, we could hear the abominable
uproar of drums within it, and it would seem as if all the drummers in
Nismes must have been congregated to drive the poor old gentleman to
distraction. We had also seen in the distance, floods of light streaming
from the windows of the cathedral, and heard a strange murmur of cries,
and we afterwards learnt that multitudes of poor people of the baser
sort had been driven like oxen or silly sheep into the church, pricked
on by the dragoons' swords and shouts of "Kill! kill!" to be present
at mass.

But now, as we gained a spot where, at the end of a street, we could
gain a distant glimpse of our factory, we perceived the sky red with
flurid flames bursting from it.

"The factory is on fire!" I exclaimed.

Then my mother wrung her hands, crying, "Oh, my husband! you are ruined,
perhaps sacrificed! I must go in quest of thee, and leave my son with a
faithful friend."

Then she hastened off towards the factory, and I could not blame her
nor wonder at her, though my heart misgave me that she might fall into
mischief.

Madeleine's support was insufficient for me now; but I set my teeth like
a flint, and commanded the pain I was in every time I set foot to the
ground. Was it not alleviation enough to have her dear arm for my stay,
and her tender hand wiping from my brow the drops forced forth by my
suffering?

Then we came to some steps. These gave me much trouble to descend,
especially as we were so nearly in the dark, but Madeleine seemed to
know them pretty well.

"I have often been here already," whispered she, "only not after dark,
and have laid in stores of many things necessary for our subsistence."

We were now groping along a chill stone passage, and were presently
brought up by a wall right in front, against which we violently hit
our heads.

"I fear I have missed the way," said Madeleine, in alarm. "Hark! I hear
the children laughing. Nothing damps the spirits at their age."

The next turn brought us to the entrance of a chamber, or rather den,
for it had probably been built for wild beasts, and formerly tenanted
by them. A ruddy fire burned in the middle, and circles of smoke escaped
through crannies and fissures, for of course there was no chimney.
A savory steam arose from a large black pot suspended over this fire,
and round it was gathered a motley and unruly group, not Gabrielle and
the children, but of tramps, gipsies, peddlers, and very likely thieves.
Swarthy Morescoes, Basques, I know not how many nations, were there
represented. They were singing, carousing, and making much noise.

"Here's a pretty lady," cried a gipsy woman, as Madeleine shrank back
affrighted.

"Welcome, welcome!" cried one or two voices. "Come and make one of us."

"Not so fast," said a dissentient voice. "There's a young man with her.
How do we know he is not a spy?"

"Good sir, I am lame on both feet," said I, and was turning away with
Madeleine, both of us anxious to plunge into the darkness, out of their
sight, when a threatening, swarthy man, of great strength, prevented our
departure.

"You are neither of you going," said he, defiantly, "till you give some
account of yourselves and your object."

"We are harmless people; we have only mistaken our way," interposed
Madeleine.

"Soho! Only mistaken your way? And how come harmless people to be abroad
at this time of night, groping about among the vaults of Les Arènes?"

Before there was time to answer, a tall, lean man in black, with a
bottle in his hand, which he had just removed from his lips, came
forward from a corner, and said. "Hold, there, enough has been said.
I know this young man, and, I dare say, this young maiden. We are
very good friends. Don't you remember me?" looking sharply at me.

"Not exactly," said I, straining my memory.

"Oh, come, don't deny it. Last time you had the best of it; this time
I have. Don't you remember the Fair of Beaucaire?"

"Yes, of course, sir," said Madeleine, readily, "and your beautiful
needles and pins and pretty equipage."

The needle-vender looked pleased, and said, "You have a better memory
than the young fellow; however, I owe him a good turn. You saved me from
the hoofs of le Docteur Jameray's horse, and lent me your handkerchief.
I have had it in keeping for you ever since," drawing it from his
breast. Then, turning to his companions, he said, "Excuse me; I attend
these young persons a little way. They are friends, and the young man
is ill."

In fact, my head swam round, and I swooned again, and have no
remembrance but of a confused babble of sounds. When I came to,
Madeleine and the needle-seller, whose name was La Croissette, were
conveying me between them; or, in fact, he was chiefly carrying me, and
she supporting my feet. I said, "Set me down, I'll try to walk," but
found I could not. Then she said, "Wait here; I'll run on a little, and
find where Gabrielle is."

I would have stayed her, but she was gone. La Croissette said, "You seem
in trouble; what is it?"

I said, "Don't you know the dragoons are in Nismes? They have tried to
burn my mother, have bound and beaten my father, destroyed our property,
and cudgelled and burnt me till I cannot stand."

He drew in his breath, and said, "Any one of those things is trouble
enough. Is that pretty girl your sister?"

"No; my affianced wife."

"And you have taken to Les Arènes for safety, and left your father and
mother behind?"

"Not willingly, you may be sure. My mother and Madeleine half carried me
hither. Then we saw my father's silk factory in flames, and she ran to
find him."

Madeleine here returned, and said, encouragingly, "I have found where
they are; it is a very little way, and they look so comfortable!"

With her help and La Croissette's I dragged myself along, and though it
seemed a long way off, we got there at last; and very snug did the old
vault look, with the little brazier and the lamp, and the curtain to
keep off the draught, and food and bedding on the floor. I sank down on
the straw they had prepared for me, and never was couch of down more
grateful to a luxurious man than this poor pallet to me. La Croissette
viewed the whole party with keenness, then, putting his bottle to my
lips, said, "Take this; there's a little left." Whatever it was, it
revived me; and then he nodded, said "Bon soir," and went away.

I now became anxious for my parents, though Madeleine assured me they
knew the way to our retreat. A long time passed; the children fell
asleep; we remained in anxious suspense. At length we heard footsteps.
Were they of friend or foe? Madeleine went out to see. I could not bear
her taking on herself every office that ought to devolve upon me, but
could not help it. In a few instants she guided my father and mother
into our dungeon, holding a hand of each. As they entered, the red
fire-light leaped up and showed their grave faces. The first thing my
father did, after taking us in at a glance, was to say, "Children, let
us pray!"

Even the little ones, roused from their slumber, and but half awake,
put up their hands. My mother and the girls knelt; my father stood.
His prayer began with earnest thanksgiving that we were all together
again, and that, though his worldly substance had been taken from him,
there was no loss of life or limb. Then he returned hearty thanks that,
in this our day of spiritual trial and temptation, there had been no
apostacy, no temporizing cowardice, no falling short. But, he added,
he knew, and we all knew, that this was but the beginning of sorrows;
that many a sore trial and temptation remained behind; that we had
no strength of our own wherewith to meet it; but that there was
all-sufficient strength in the great Captain of our salvation. Then
he prayed the Lord to give us his strength, sufficient for our day,
whatever it might be, even as He had strengthened Daniel in the lions'
den, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and Peter
and Paul and Silas in prison, and John in Patmos; and that we might have
grace to rejoice at being accounted worthy to suffer for his name's
sake, and be strengthened to bear testimony even before kings if need
were; and to cast all our burden upon Him, not caring much for the
things of this life, knowing that he could reduplicate them if it
were his will, at any time, as he had done to Job.

While he thus prayed, an ineffable calm and sweetness took possession of
me, my eyes involuntarily closed, or, if opened at intervals, only saw
vague, uncertain forms, and thus a deep, deep sleep fell on me, without
even a dream, that lulled all sense of pain, and loss, and fear, and
sorrow, until morning.

"For so he giveth his beloved sleep." Words how beautiful, and true, and
reassuring! They that expend all their little strength for him, and lay
their little substance at his feet, are his beloved. There is no need
to be afraid we are not; we know it; we feel it; we have the witness in
ourselves, just as the child, nestling in his father's arms, knows that
he loves and is beloved. I have heard persons say, "Have you the faith
of assurance?" Yes, thank God, I have it, and have had it ever since He
was first graciously pleased to call me to Him, and that was long, long
ago. But all have not this faith; just as a man, wanting to go to
Bordeaux, may not be assured he is on the road to Bordeaux, and yet he
may be on the way thither nevertheless. Then if you have not the faith
of assurance, practise at least the faith of adherence. That, at least,
is in your own power. Cleave to God exactly as if you were certain of
being accepted by Him at last; and thus, fulfilling his own conditions,
you will be accepted by Him whether you are assured of it beforehand or
not. "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out."



CHAPTER VII.

LA CROISSETTE.


How chill and painful was my awaking! The soles of my feet were raw
with so much walking after they were blistered, and the inflammation
irritated my whole frame, which was likewise stiffened with so much
beating. When I opened my eyes, I saw the anxious face of my dear
mother, as she examined my wounds, and prepared with light hand to dress
them. Nor would anybody have guessed she herself was terribly burnt, had
not one of the children, inadvertently running against her, caused a
sudden wince, but without any audible expression of pain. The thought
of what she was enduring with such stoicism, or rather, let me say,
with such Christianity, enabled me, better than any stimulant would
have done, to endure without murmuring; and she said to me, with strong
approval in her kind eyes, "Your wounds tell me, my poor boy, how much
you have to bear; therefore there is no need to cry out. Our light
affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

"Yes, that is true indeed," said my father, "and things might have gone
much worse with us."

"Can you say that, my father," said I, "when you have lost all?"

"I have not lost all," replied he. "Before the factory was attacked,
I had time to disperse the workmen, dispatch a hasty line to an English
correspondent, and secrete certain bills of exchange; so that if we can
but find our way to England we shall, indeed, have to begin life again,
but with God's blessing, shall not fare badly. And with that blessing,
my son, we shall not fare badly even here."

"No, indeed, father." And as I spoke I looked towards where the
lamp-light (for we had no other) fell on the bending head of Madeleine,
as she talked in a low voice to the children, and kept them amused.
Not a glimpse of the sun's light could penetrate our refuge, and thus
it always seemed night with us when, in fact, it was bright day.
Doubtless this was tedious to all; but no one, even the children, so
much as murmured at it, except Gabrielle, who was inexpressibly wearied,
and now and then gave a long yawn, which set others yawning, and
procured her a good-humored rebuke.

"How long is this to last?" said she.

"Till the dragoons find us out, perhaps," said my father, gravely; which
silenced her for a little while.

"Our provisions will not last long," said she presently.

"Then we must procure more," said my mother. "We have enough for the
present."

"Yes, we have cheese and wine and flour; but what good is flour unless
it is cooked?"

"Do not make mountains of molehills, Gabrielle," said Madeleine, aside;
"it is such a bad example for the children."

"Well, but they are not molehills," returned Gabrielle, in rather a
lower tone, which, however, we could hear well enough. "I suppose we
cannot starve."

"Has your endurance so soon ceased, my dear girl?" said my father.
"Think of the believers of old. They had trials of cruel mockings and
scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned;
they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they
wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted,
tormented (of whom the world was not worthy); they wandered in deserts
and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And yet none of
these, though they obtained a good report in God's own word for their
faith, had received the explicit promises through Christ, God having
provided those better things for us; wherefore we surely should be
ashamed to show less constancy than they did."

"Oh, of course," said Gabrielle.

"Think of what Jacques is bearing without a murmur," said Madeleine.
"I'm sure he sets an example to us all."

"And as to minding what we eat," said little Charles, "I'm sure I don't
mind it a bit. Do I, mamma?"

"Oh, if you are all going to be against me, I shall say no more," said
Gabrielle.

"That's right," said my mother. "Put a brave heart on it, my dear;
I know you have it in you."

Gabrielle bit her lip, but took out a comb, and began to arrange little
Louison's hair. "Now," she whispered, "I'll make you as smart as the
young lady we saw with Madame de Laccassagne;" and in this way she
amused herself and the child, talking nonsense with her, and inventing
imaginary scenes and people, all in a hushed voice, that my father might
not hear.

Suddenly, some one at the entrance of our dungeon wishing us "Bon jour,"
made us start violently and look towards him in alarm.

"You need not shrink from me," said La Croissette, advancing among us
when he had looked around. "I may not be as good as yourselves, or I
may be--that's neither here nor there. I'm not quite a bad fellow, I
believe, though at times I am driven to keep indifferent company. Still,
I am not very fond of those I'm among at present, so I thought I'd look
in on you. Your servant, sir," to my father. "A votre service, madame,"
very politely to my mother. "You were not here last night, when your son
and that young lady rather unexpectedly looked in on us. To speak the
truth, there are reasons why some of us don't relish being looked in
on unexpectedly."

"Quite natural," said my father; "no more do we."

"Ah, but you need not be afraid of me," said La Croissette, "I'm no
traitor, I! It might be rash, though, to say as much of some of my
companions, and therefore I advise you not to be too familiar with
them."

"My good friend, we have not the least intention of being so."

"Age is wary, and youth is full of trust," said La Croissette. "Not
knowing that you, respected sir, and you, madame, were here to look
after the younger persons, I ventured to do so myself, to bid them
beware of their neighbors."

"That was very friendly, and I thank you heartily for it," said my
father.

"Shall you remain here long?" said La Croissette.

"That depends entirely on circumstances."

"Doubtless you are hiding from the dragoons."

"Is it necessary to tell you?"

"Why, no; but you might do so without fear. I have no love for them
myself, but nothing to fear; I am certainly not a Huguenot; but neither
would I betray one. Come, I see you would rather I went away. I am going
into town. There is nothing I can do for you, then?"

"Nothing; we thank you very much."

When he was gone, Gabrielle exclaimed, "Now that is what I call an
opportunity wasted."

"We must beware, my child, who we trust," said my mother.

"Of course; but he was so evidently a harmless, good sort of man."

"We had no occasion to trouble him."

Gabrielle plainly thought there was a good deal of occasion. Indeed,
had she known she was actually doomed to spend a few days in the
vaults of Les Arènes, I am persuaded she would have fitted them up
with upholstery and eatables, even to pickles and preserves. Meanwhile
Madeleine was beguiling the time to the children by setting them easy
sums on the wall, scratched with a nail, and drawing pictures for them
with the same implement, accompanied with stories, as thus:--"Once on a
time there was a poor Christian captive in this very dungeon--here he is
(drawing his picture)--sentenced to be thrown to the lions (picture).
Once he had been a little boy like this (picture), fond of playing with
other little boys (picture), and ready to carry his mother's pitcher to
the well (picture), or sweep her floor (picture), or make himself useful
to her in any way whatever. One day,"--and so forth. Gabrielle's fancy
was tickled with this, and when Madeleine desisted she continued it,
though now and then with a furtive yawn. Meanwhile my father was
pondering over the papers he had about him, and sitting immersed in
thought, or now and then saying a little to my mother. By-and-by he
ventured out a little without quitting the precincts of the
amphitheatre, and returned, saying several tramps were loitering about,
whose attention it would not be prudent to attract. The day, which
seemed the longest I ever knew, at length drew to a close, which we only
learnt by my father's watch, for we were out of hearing of the town
clocks. He said it would make time pass less heavily if we divided it
methodically, and had our set hours for meals, rest, prayer, and mutual
improvement, whether by exhortation, discussion, or general discourse,
We followed his lead as well as we could, but our thoughts were chiefly
with the outer world.

Just after the women and children had retired for the night to a little
inner dungeon, La Croissette once more presented himself uninvited.

"I thought, messieurs, you might like to hear the news of the day,"
said he.

"Most certainly," said my father. "Pray be seated. I wish I had a better
seat to offer you. What is stirring?"

"The news, then, is, that Nismes is being converted as fast as
possible," said La Croissette. "No persuader, sirs, like fire and sword.
Dragoons are quartered on every Protestant. They are destroying whatever
they cannot make booty of. Some are littering their fine black horses
with bales of broadcloth, silk, and cotton; others with fine Holland
cloths. The common people are being driven to church at the sword's
point, and conforming by shoals. The gentry give more trouble, but end
by coming round."

"Some may--some weak-hearted persons," said my father, reluctantly.

"Well, they may be weak-hearted; I'm sure I should be, in their place,"
said La Croissette. "In fact, what is it?--a mere form. They just slur
over a few words--cross themselves--kiss a relic, or some little matter
of that sort. No more is required; the bishop lets them off easy."

"Will the Lord let them off easy?" said my father. "Christianity admits
of no such temporizing. The early Christians might have saved their
lives by burning a handful of incense before the Roman Emperor's statue;
but they did not hold it a mere form. And the Romanists admit in
principle what they dissent from in practice; for they almost deify
those early martyrs for their constancy to the truth, and yet would
martyr us for doing the very same thing."

"Well, I don't mean them to martyr me," said La Croissette, "I've an
elastic creed, I!--it stretches or collapses like an easy stocking."

"Beware, beware, my friend, of fancying a creed like that of any worth
at all."

"Sir, we all have our weak points and our strong ones. I'm no polemic,
I!--I prefer meddling with things that will not bring me into trouble.
There was a factory burnt down last night--"

"Ah!" groaned my father.

"Some say both the partners were burnt; others that one of them is at a
distance. Some think the factory was set on fire on purpose; others that
it was an accident. Nothing remains of it but the outer walls and a
smoking heap of ruins."

My father covered his face with his hand.

"Then, again," pursued La Croissette, "that worthy old Monsieur
Laccassagne, unable to stand the deprivation of sleep any longer, has
conformed--"

"Has he, though!" cried my father, with a start. "Oh, how sad a fall!"

"Outwardly, only outwardly," said La Croissette. "The poor old gentleman
was driven almost out of his senses by that deafening drumming. 'You
shall have rest now,' said the bishop. 'Alas!' replied he, 'I look for
no rest on this side heaven; and may God grant that its doors may not be
closed against me by this act.'"

"Poor old man! poor Monsieur Laccassagne!" ejaculated my father. "Well
might he say so."

"Yes, but what reasonable person can suppose the doors of heaven will
be closed against him by it?" said La Croissette. "The Lord is a God of
mercy--"

"But will by no means clear the guilty," said my father.

"And He looketh not to the outward appearance, but to the heart," said
La Croissette.

"That expression applies to the personal, bodily appearance, which none
of us can help," said my father, "not to the pretence of believing one
thing, when we believe, its opposite. I mourn over the backsliding of
my old friend. Better had it been to suffer affliction for a season.

"So the virtuous lady his wife thought," said La Croissette. "She
escaped in the disguise of a servant, and is now wandering in the open
fields."

"Ah, what sorrow! May the good Lord support her under it!"

"Ay, and the many other women who are in similar case. Numbers of them
are at this instant cowering in the cold and darkness in ditches and
under hedges."

"Monsieur Laccassagne might well say he could hope for no rest on this
side heaven," said my father, bitterly. "How can he rest, knowing that
his excellent wife, accustomed to every comfort, is now an outcast for
her faith--the faith which he has denied?"

"Well, I wish I could have brought you more cheerful news," said La
Croissette, rising. "In truth, you need it, in this dismal hole, to keep
up your spirits. Tell me, now, good sir, how long do you expect to be
able, you and yours, to hold out?"

"Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof," said my father. "Thanks be
to God, He does not require us to dwell on what may be in store for our
chastening. He says explicitly, 'Take no thought for the morrow--the
morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.' Words how kind and
how wise!"

This seemed to strike La Croissette a good deal. He remained in thought
a few minutes, and then said, "Well, it is time I should take my leave.
I respect you very much." Then, resuming his bantering tone, "Since
you are so willing to hazard the disturbance which poor old Monsieur
Laccassagne found it so hard to bear, I advise you to sleep day and
night while you are here, and lay in a good stock of repose against
the time when you will be deprived of it."

Stepping back again, just as he seemed going, he said, "You fancy
yourselves very safe here; and, indeed, the dragoons unless with a guide
to you, might possibly take some time to find you out; but depend on it,
Les Arènes will be well searched some day--perhaps very soon; it is too
well known as having been an old hiding-place. Every corner--this among
the rest--is known to outcasts, many of them of bad reputation, who, for
a morsel of bread, would give up St. Paul or St. Peter. All are not so,
however, and those I am now among have a kind of the honor which exists
among thieves. Do not depend too much on it, however."

And with this very unsatisfactory speech, he left us. My father, after
brooding on what he had said for some time, knelt down, and was long in
prayer: then he murmured, "I will both lay me down in peace and sleep:
for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety." And I knew soon, by
his breathing, that he had indeed found rest in sleep. For me, I could
not close my eyes: the text that dwelt in my mind was, "My soul is
among lions." I thought of Madame Laccassagne and the other poor
women wandering in the fields, and pictured a thousand distressing
circumstances. Our solitary oil-lamp was beginning to languish for want
of trimming, and I thought, "What if it should leave us in darkness
altogether, and we should never know when it is day?" and dwelt on the
Egyptians in the plague of darkness, when none of them rose from his
place for three days. I was so feverish that it seemed to me a darkness
like that would madden me--I must dash my head against the wall, or do
something desperate; and I thought of Jonah in the whale's belly, when
the waters compassed him round about, and his soul fainted in that
hideous darkness; and again it was "three days." Then I thought, "Why
three days?" Was it because the Son of Man was three days in the heart
of the earth? And shall we remain here in this subterranean darkness
three days?

Just as the lamp seemed going out my loved mother stole out of the inner
dungeon, and trimmed it; then noiselessly stole to my side, and, seeing
my eyes open, smiled on me and kissed me, and then lay down beside my
father. Oh, the peace, the security of her presence! I sank into
dreamless sleep.

I was awakened by the most horrid noise I ever heard in my life. It
seemed like the roar of a lion close to my ear, and I started up in wild
affright, fancying myself a Christian prisoner about to be thrown to the
wild beasts. All around was dark as pitch--the lamp had gone out! The
frightful bellowing continued without intermission; and, besides, there
were sobs and screams, brutal laughter and cursing. Dreadful moment!
Presently a spark of light momentarily illumined our cell, and showed
the anxious face of my mother, as she re-kindled the lamp, surrounded by
the terrified children and girls, roused from their sleep by the hideous
uproar.

"Oh, what is it?--what is it?" cried I. My mother's lips moved, but she
could not make herself heard. Having succeeded in lighting the lamp, she
came close to me, and said--

"They seem to have put one of the bulls of La Camargue into the
adjoining den for the next bull-baiting, and to have lashed it to frenzy
with their goads. The noise is terrific, but I do not suppose the animal
can break loose."

La Croissette now appeared among us, suffocating with laughter. "Are you
frightened out of your lives?" said he. "'Tis nothing."

"Nay, sir," said my mother, "'tis something, I think, to be raised up in
the middle of the night by such a dreadful noise."

"Night? 'tis broad daylight! No wonder you were frightened. I can hardly
hear myself speak; but I felt impelled to come and see how you took it.
They have put an enormous bull in the adjoining den; and if you don't
like his company, you will have to change your quarters, which I advise
you to do at any rate; for the Basques who have him in charge are brutal
fellows, whose jargon I don't understand. Ten to one they will discover
you before the day's out; and then what will you do?"

"Truly, our case is hard," said my mother, looking wistfully at my
father.

"It is so, my dear wife," replied he; "and I do not see my way clearly.
Let us ask God to make it a little clearer to us."

La Croissette looked amazed when he saw the whole family kneel down,
and made a movement to go, but paused at the entrance and looked back
on us. Though the bellowing still continued, it was neither so loud nor
so frequent; but still only snatches of my father's voice could be
heard. But his very look and attitude was a prayer; and there were the
two sweet sisters, with their clasped hands and bent heads, and the
little ones crowded about my mother. Now and then such broken sentences
were heard as--"Lord, thou hast been our refuge from one generation to
another--Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in
the light of thy countenance--The dead bodies of thy servants have they
given to be meat unto the fowls of the air, and the flesh of thy saints
to the beasts of the land--We are become an open shame to our enemies,
and a very scorn to them that hate us. Return, O Lord! how long? and let
it repent thee concerning thy servants--Oh, satisfy us with thy mercy,
and that soon; so will we rejoice, and give thanks to thee all the days
of our life--Make thy way plain before us, O Lord, because of our
enemies."

I could not help furtively watching the workings of La Croissette's
face as he listened to these words of the Psalmist, so appropriate and
pathetic. He started as if shot when touched by some one behind; and
the next instant M. Bourdinave stood among us.



CHAPTER VIII.

PERSECUTED, YET NOT FORSAKEN.


"My father!" exclaimed the girls, and flew into his arms. The next
instant the bellowing recommenced.

"What is that?" cried M. Bourdinave, starting.

"One of the bulls intended for baiting," said my father.

"Ah, what a vicinity to find you in?" said M. Bourdinave.

"Better, my dear friend, than the captives of old had in this very
dungeon. And now, what news? Where have you been?"

"I'd better go; I'm not wanted." muttered La Croissette, heard only by
me, and then retiring.

"I bring the worst of news," returned M. Bourdinave, sitting down. "The
Edict of Nantes is revoked."

"Ah!" and a general cry broke from us.

"What signifies it," said my mother, bitterly, "when already its
provisions have been set at nought? Are we any the better for it?"

"We may be yet worse for losing it," said M. Bourdinave. "Every Reformed
meeting-house in France is to be demolished; no private assemblages for
devotional purposes are to be allowed on any pretext whatever. All
Huguenot schools are to be suppressed; all children born of Huguenot
parents to be baptized and educated as Catholics; all non-conforming
ministers to quit the country within fifteen days, on pain of the
galleys."

"Let us rise, my children," cried my father in great agitation, "and
leave this country, which is no longer a mother to us, shaking the dust
off our feet. Alas, what am I saying? Whither can we go?"

"To England," replied M. Bourdinave. "I have already taken measures for
it."

"Heaven be praised!" cried we simultaneously.

"But it will be under circumstances of great hardship, difficulty, and
danger."

"Never mind; we willingly encounter them. Yes, yes," said one after
another.

"Have you the courage, my daughters?" looking earnestly at them.

Madeleine threw herself into his arms.

"I knew what your answer would be," said he, fondly kissing her; "but
my little Gabrielle--"

"Oh, fear me not, father," cried Gabrielle, hastily. "Anything to get
out of this horrid place. I believe I have seemed too impatient of it
to those around me, but that was because inaction is always so trying
to me."

"My love, you may yet be exposed to it. I have known one of our brethren
put into a chest, with very few air-holes, and lowered into the hold of
a merchant-vessel, with considerable roughness, where he was left many
hours before he could be released."

Gabrielle changed color. "Never mind," said she, in a low voice, and
pressing her father's hand. "What man has done man may do, though I am
but a woman who say it."

"That's my brave girl!" fondly kissing her. "Well, my friends, if we
can but get to Bordeaux, we shall escape; that is provided for. It was
this which kept me from you so long. And what a return has been mine!
I got no answers from you to my letters; I heard the persecution here
was raging with fury; I came to snatch you from it, and found my home
deserted, the factory burnt, the workmen scattered, no tidings of you
to be found. At length I got news of you from one of the men, who told
me of your retreat, and that he, under cover of night, brought you
bread. We planned how to remove you hence to-night, but it must be in
detachments. At a place agreed on there will be a small cart that will
convey the children and perhaps their mother."

"I prefer walking," interposed my mother. "Jacques is unable to do so."

"Impossible! I am sure you have not the strength for it," said we all.

"Never fear," said she, stoutly.

"No, no; it must not be," said I.

"And you, my son?"

"I will undertake for him," said La Croissette, who, it now appeared,
had been listening behind the doorway all this time.

"Who are you, my man?" said M. Bourdinave, in surprise and some
distrust.

"An honest fellow, though I say it that shouldn't," was his answer.
"I am one of those who deal in deeds more than words. I cannot patter
Ave Marias with a Catholic, nor sing interminable psalms like a
Huguenot, but neither can I endure the ways the Catholics are taking to
compel the Huguenots to submission. I take my own way, d'ye see, and am
fettered by nobody. No one would molest La Croissette the needle-seller,
not even a dragoon. And I have learnt to esteem you all; I admire the
young ladies, and respect the old lady and gentleman. Therefore, there's
my hand; you may take it or not. 'Tis not over soft; but there's no
blood on it, and it never took a bribe. Let those say so who can.
And what I say next is this: Dr. Jameray has fallen sick, and I've
undertaken to drive his little wagon, with the sign of the bleeding
tooth, from hence to Montauban. As far as that I'll give my young friend
here a cast, and he may thence easily take boat down the Garonne to
Bordeaux. At least, if he cannot of himself, I'll manage it for him."

How grateful we were to the worthy La Croissette! Not one of us
distrusted him in the least; at any rate, if M. Bourdinave did so at
first, he was soon reassured by us, and took the honest fellow heartily
by the hand. A good deal more was now said than I have space to recount
or memory to recall. Indeed, my head was in a confused state, and I was
conscious of little but of the tender pressure of dear Madeleine's hand,
from whom I must so soon part.

We were to start as soon as night afforded us its friendly cover; but
some hours of daylight remained. My father and M. Bourdinave had many
business affairs to discuss, and Madeleine kept the children quiet,
that they might not interrupt them. I never thought Gabrielle so pretty
as now that she had spoken with resolution, and seemed strengthening
herself to keep up to it. Nevertheless, we have no real strength
of our own; it all comes from God; but He gives it to all who ask it
faithfully. Madeleine whispered to me, "Let us pray that strength for
her duty may be given her." I nodded and smiled.

Meanwhile my mother went out to the appointed place where, it seems,
Raoul had daily placed a loaf. We, who were not in the secret, had much
wondered where our bread came from, and how it lasted out. This time she
returned with a large sausage as well; so we ate our meal with gladness
and thankfulness of heart, La Croissette insisting on passing round his
bottle, which, somehow, he always kept well filled. And had this man had
a mind to betray us, how easily he might have done so! He overheard our
plans, might have drugged our wine, and stretched us all powerless;
might have told his comrades to make sport of us, and kept out of sight
himself; or might openly have led the dragoons to our hiding-place with
torches and weapons. Our blessed Lord had more reason, humanly speaking,
to trust Judas, than we to trust La Croissette; but you see this man was
honest; you could not have tempted him to sell us for thirty pieces of
silver.

When he went forth, though, after supper, my mind misgave me for a
while, thinking, "What if he be gone to betray us?" I wronged his worthy
heart. So many people are worse than we think them, that it is a comfort
when some prove better than we think them. Worthy La Croissette! I have
thy tall, meagre form and lantern jaws now before me. Many a showy
professor might be bettered by having as true a heart.

When he was gone, my father said, "Let us join once more in family
worship, and then get a little sleep before our night-journey begins."

I think he and M. Bourdinave and the children actually did sleep, but
not my mother or the girls. I certainly did not. My mother dressed and
bandaged my wounded feet for the last time. They were healing, but too
tender for walking or standing without injury to the newly-formed skin.
Then she sat beside me, with looks of love, and was presently joined
by Madeleine. We knew so well what was passing in each other's minds,
that we did not need to say much. Then my father awoke, with all his
faculties about him, looked at his watch, and said it was time to start.
M. Bourdinave went out, and after what seemed to our impatience rather a
long time, returned, and said Raoul reported unusual disturbance in the
city, but that now all was ready. We took leave of one another, agreed
on places of rendezvous (if we were ever enabled to reach them), and had
a valedictory prayer. Still they did not like to go and leave me without
La Croissette. At length he appeared, and, addressing my father, said:

"You had better avoid the precincts of your famous temple, La Calade: it
has been completely demolished, and crowds are yet hanging about their
beloved place of worship, regardless of danger, but the military will
presently disperse them."

"Ah, what desecration!" exclaimed my mother.

"Keep your regrets for the sufferings of living people, my good lady,"
said La Croissette. "Stones have no feeling, and are not prone to
revenge insult. 'Tis said, walls have ears. The walls of La Calade have,
at all events, a tongue; for on the summit of the ruins lies a stone
with these words on it, 'Lo, this is the house of God; this is the gate
of heaven!'"

Then addressing my father, he said. "The very fact of the public
attention being drawn to this point makes other parts of the city
comparatively deserted, and therefore favors your escape. Lose no time,
I advise you, in availing yourselves of it."

We exchanged our last embraces in tears, and they went forth, he
following them. I felt inexpressibly lonely and sad.

Just as I was beginning to get uneasy at his absence, and to think,
"What if he should never come back?" he returned.

"They are safely off now," said he, "and little know what peril they
have been in here. Another twelve hours, and they would all have been
taken. Now, then, let us bestir ourselves, young man. They call you
Jacques; but I shall call you Jean, after my younger brother."

Helped on by him, I hobbled along, though in pain. How chill, but how
fresh and pleasant, felt the open air! It seemed the breath of life to
me, and revived me like a potent medicine. There was a distant, sullen
murmur in the city, but around us all was still. Above us were bright
stars, but no moon.

At length we got among low dwellings, some of which had twinkling
lights. We entered a dark, narrow passage, smelling powerfully of fried
fish and onions. Some one from above said cautiously, "Who goes there?"

"La Croissette."

"Who else?"

"My brother Jean."

"Advance, brothers La Croissette."

We ascended a mean staircase and entered a room where we found a man and
woman standing beside a large basket.

"Now get you into this," said La Croissette to me, "and we will lower
you from the window. Stay, I will go first; it will give you
confidence."

Twisting his long frame into the basket, he clasped his arms round his
knees, and the others began to raise him by well-secured pulleys. The
woman grew quite red in the face with the exertion of getting him over
the window-ledge, and I own I trembled for him.

"All is right, he is safely down," said she, at length, and helped to
pull up the basket. "Now, young man; you're not afraid?"

"Oh no; only don't let me down too fast."

"That must depend on how heavy you are. We can't keep dangling you
between sky and earth all night. Come; you are not nearly as heavy as
your brother. Adieu, mon cher; bon voyage!"

"Adieu, madame; mille remerciments."

I thought of St. Paul in the basket, and the two Israelitish spies.
La Croissette eased my descent a good deal, by steadying the basket,
and helped me out of it to our mutual satisfaction. It was then swiftly
drawn up, and taken in.

"Thank heaven, we are safe!" said I. "That was very cleverly managed."

"Do you suppose it the first time?" said La Croissette. "Far from it, I
can tell you. Many things are done in Nismes that the authorities know
nothing of, for all their vigilance. Now we are fairly outside the city,
and, with ordinary good luck, shall perform our night-journey in safety."

"With God's blessing we may," said I.

"Make that proviso with all my heart," said La Croissette. "some trust
in Providence and some in luck. I have nothing to say against either.
Now get into the cart."

He led the horse a little out of the shadow as he spoke, and helped me
inside the little house on wheels, where I found a mattress that proved
a most acceptable rest; and then we drove slowly and quietly off, and
gradually got among fields and hedges.

"How are you getting on?" said La Croissette, at length. "Do you mind
the shaking?"

"Oh," said I, "I have so many things on my mind that I take no thought
for the body."

"All the better; though some say that pain of the mind is the worst to
bear of the two."

"I have little doubt of it," said I, "though each are bad enough. But
all I meant was that my mind is preoccupied and anxious, and prevents
my noticing any mere discomforts; for I cannot say I am miserable."

"Indeed I think you ought not to be, for you have had an escape from
that troubled city that many would rejoice at."

"Tell me truly; do you think I have actually escaped?"

"What know I? You have escaped from the evils behind; you may not
escape from the evils before. Yesterday was cloudy, to-morrow may be
rainy, the day after may be fine; none of us knows. At least there is a
weather-prophet at Arles whom some of the fools believe in; but he broke
his leg a little while ago, and his spirit of prophecy did not enable
him to foresee that, therefore I doubt his knowing about the weather."

"There have always been those who dealt in lying signs and wonders,"
said I, "from the days of Moses, when the magicians feigned to change
their rods into serpents, which of course they could not do really."

"They were clever at sleight-of-hand, I suppose," said La Croissette.
"So is Doctor Jameray. He can do many wonderful things. I can do some
of them myself. You see, some of his conjuring tricks require a second
person, who must not be known for his assistant; so that when he sets
out on his tours through the provinces, I generally do the same, and
contrive to cross his path, as if by accident. Then we play off on a
new set of people the tricks we have played twenty times before in
other places."

"Then needle-selling is only a blind?" said I.

"I turn a little money by it; the more, that I am careful always to sell
the best needles and pins. Thus I have acquired a name--the housewives
trust me; I have a character to support. And my character supports me."

"A good character always does so in the long run," said I.

"Well, I don't know what to say about that. You are too young to have
any authority of weight. It must be your father's wisdom, and I am not
sure it will stand the test."

"I feel sure of it," said I.

'What, when you are this very moment a houseless wanderer, without
having done any wrong? How does your good character support you now?"

"For example, it has secured me your good offices," said I. "You would
not have given me this good turn if I had been a worthless villain."

"Well, perhaps not; supposing I had known you for such--though worthless
villains often escape deserved punishment, and sometimes are very
plausible, and pay very well. And sometimes not"--reflectively.

"You seem to remember a case in point," said I, smiling.

"Well, I do," said La Croissette. "There was a young lord who led a sad
course, and nearly fell into the hands of justice. He had a dashing,
off-hand manner, that made friends till he was found out for what he
was; and partly because he talked me over, and partly for high pay,
I smuggled him beyond the reach of his enemies. But the pay never came.
He won't get me to help him another time."

"He'll miss the want of a good character in the long run, then," said I.

"Oh, he has done so already; he lies in prison now. But so do many of
you Huguenots, who have done nothing amiss. It seems to me there is one
event to the good and to the wicked."

"Oh no, do not believe it," said I. "In the first place, none of us
are righteous; no, not one; our merits only comparative. Thus, there is
something in every one of us to punish; and sometimes the Lord sees fit
to chasten His best-loved servants so severely, that it is difficult to
distinguish their chastisement from His judgments on the wicked."

"That comes to what I was saying," said La Croissette; "that there is
but one event to the good and to the bad."

"It seems so, though it is not so," said I. "But don't you perceive in
this a grand argument in favor of a future life?"

"I am no scholar, I;--you must explain it to me," said La Croissette.

"If the Lord lets his dear children fall into the same afflictions here
as the rebellious and impenitent, it is because He knows that in the
long run, it will be to their advantage rather than otherwise: that they
will turn their trials to such good account as actually to be the better
for them; and that their light affliction, which is but for a moment,
will work for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
So that hereafter they shall look back on their present pains, not only
with indifference but with thankfulness. But ah! where shall then the
unrighteous and sinner appear?"

"You seem to have a natural gift for preaching," said La Croissette,
after a pause. "Where will they appear, say you? Why, if our priests
are to be believed, those of them, even the very worst, who have money
enough to pay for masses and indulgences, may buy themselves off from
purgatory, and shine in glory with the best."

"Does not that carry incredibility and absurdity on the very face of
it?"

"It seems very hard on the poor man who can't buy himself off," said La
Croissette. "You Huguenots, then, don't believe in it?"

"Most assuredly not. God accepts no prayers that do not spring from a
lowly and contrite heart: and they may be offered by a poor man as well
as a rich one."

"But does not a poor man's soul require those purgatorial fires?"

"Oh no, my dear La Croissette! The Son of God told of no purgatory--only
of heaven and hell. And He was so truthful that He would not have told
of a hell if there had not been one--nor have failed to tell of a
purgatory if there had been one. The end would not have been
commensurate with the means, had He laid down his life to save us from
anything short of condign punishment, or to save us only incompletely.
If there were a purgatory to endure at any rate, where would be the
all-sufficiency of his sacrifice once offered?"

He bade us believe in him and be saved. He did not say, 'believe also in
my mother, and my brethren, and my apostles, and ask them to ask me to
save you.' He said, 'Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.'"

"No! did he, though?" said La Croissette, suddenly checking his horse.

At the same moment, a woman sprang from the hedge and laid her hand on
the shaft, saying:

"Good sir, save us! we perish!"

"What is the matter?" said he, starting.

"We are fugitives from Nismes; we were beaten, we were burnt, we were
pillaged."

"My poor good woman, there are numbers in like case."

"But we starve," said she, bursting into tears. "My aged mother and my
little ones."

"I am very sorry for you, but I am a poor man myself--here, take this
trifle."

"Alas, we cannot eat money!" in a tone of such mournful reproach.

"No, true; it will buy a little bread--but there are no shops. Jean," in
a lower voice to me, "I've a loaf in the cart, shall we part with it?"

"Give it to her by all means," said I.

Before he did so, he said to her, "True, you cannot eat money, but money
will buy you bread in Nismes. Why not return there? The authorities are
welcoming all that conform."

"Death rather than that!" said she, clasping her hands to her heart, and
turning away.

"Stay, stay. Here is bread for you. It is all we have."

"Ah! bless--." She could say no more, but sobbed bitterly. La Croissette
turned his face away.

"There are many of us, many!" sobbed she. "We shall so bless you. We
will pray for you."

"Do so; do," said he, affecting composure, and whipping on.



CHAPTER IX.

CAST DOWN, BUT NOT DESTROYED.


The moon had now risen, and shone full on our road, which was completely
exposed; but happily we met with no hindrance. The motion of the cart
now made me very drowsy, and I fell into deep dreamless sleep. When I
woke, feeling stiff and chilled, I wondered where I was. The cart had
stopped, I was alone, the gray light of morning was forcing its way
through the chinks of my little lodging-house, but the door was locked.
I thought my position a curious one, and wondered whether La Croissette
was going to give me up after all, to my enemies, but could not readily
distrust a fellow apparently so kind-hearted. I lay still and listened
to the sounds about me; the clucking of hens, gobbling of turkeys,
stamping of horses, and lowing of calves, told me I was in a farm-yard.
Then I heard voices, including that of La Croissette, and presently a
sharp cry and then a laugh. By-and-by, the key turned in the lock and
he looked in on me.

"So ho, you are awake after a famous long nap," said he. "Do you want
your breakfast?"

"If I do, want must be my master," said I, returning his smile. "We gave
away our only loaf."

"But what if I have earned another, and a good bowl of milk?" rejoined
La Croissette, producing both as he spoke. "There, sit up and eat your
fill; I've had my share in the house."

"Where are we?" said I, readily obeying his instructions.

"At a wayside farm-house, where the honest people have given my horse
a good feed, and you and me a good breakfast."

"How did you earn it, then?"

"By pulling out a tooth for a great lubberly boy, whose cheek had
swollen enormously with toothache. Did you not hear him cry out? You
might almost have heard him from here to Nismes."

"Yes, I heard him cry and then laugh."

"Because he was so glad to have got rid of it."

"Can you draw teeth, then?"

"I never drew one before, but I went at it as if it was a regular thing
with me."

"How could you venture?"

"Psha! it is good to show confidence; and every one must have a
beginning. Which of us would let a doctor try his hand on us, if we knew
it was for the first time?"

I smiled and shook my head at him, but said no more. When I had
swallowed the delicious milk, he said,

"Now I will return the bowl, and bring out my horse. I told them I had a
sick brother in the cart, recovering from a burning fever, or you would
have had some visitors. To make doubly sure, I locked you up."

"Would not that have been enough without the other?" I said, grieved at
his want of truth.

"No, I think not, and I'm not as particular as you are."

Presently we were driving off again, and for a mile or so in silence.
Then La Croissette, looking back at me, said,

"There are certainly good people on both sides. That poor wretch to
whom we gave the loaf was undoubtedly a good Huguenot; she would rather
starve and die than abjure her faith. But here, again, are a family of
Catholics, who are good, too, and believed every word I said, and
liberally supplied my wants."

"Doubtless there are good people on both sides," said I; "and if the
Catholics would believe it of us, we might yet live in peace and
quietness together. We have not harmed them--it is they who harm us."

"For your good, they will tell you."

"They may tell us, but we cannot believe it. Their compulsions are not
in the spirit of love."

La Croissette softly whistled, and presently talked of other things.
By-and-by he said,

"Now we are coming to a town, and you shall see some fun."

"Will it be quite safe?"

"Safer than anything else. It is a fair-day; I shall drive straight
into the market-place, blow my horn, and play the quack doctor. Nay,
you shall be my accomplice and blow the horn. Let me put you in costume
at once."

Saying which, he fished out a soiled scarlet cloak, gaily spangled,
which he threw over my shoulders, produced a half-mask with an enormous
red nose, with which he concealed the upper part of my face, covered my
head with a Spanish hat and feather, and gave me a horn.

"Now blow as much as you like," said he; "be as brazen as your trumpet."

I laughed, and entered into the joke; no one would suspect me for a
Huguenot.

La Croissette then disguised himself in Dr. Jameray's long black gown,
and added a pair of green spectacles, which certainly heightened the
effect. Having driven into the market-place, he placed a little table
before him and spread it with boxes and phials, I blowing the horn from
time to time in a way which he called quite original, and which speedily
drew people about us. Then, with wonderful self-possession, he harangued
them on the merits of his medicines. For instance, taking up a phial
which contained a pink-colored fluid, he descanted on its virtues in
this style:

"My friends, this small bottle contains a famous specific, for those who
know how to use it prudently. When I say prudently, I mean that there
are certain things it will do and others it will not. This remedy is for
increasing the strength, improving the appetite, and clearing the head.
Will it, therefore, set a broken arm or draw a tooth? Most certainly
not. I can draw a tooth for you, if you like it (by-the-by, some think
I have a gift that way, but self-praise is no recommendation); I can
draw a tooth, I say, no matter with how many fangs; but this medicine
cannot. Does it follow, then, that it will cure a cough or sore throat?
Not at all. Here, if you like (taking up another bottle) is something
that will, but what is that to the purpose? Will it cure sore eyes? No;
or sprains? Far from it. No, no, my most excellent ladies and gentlemen,
let us not form unreasonable expectations; day is not night; summer is
not winter; nor is a horse-medicine a febrifuge. It is useless to assert
such trash to sensible, well-informed people, Here is an opportunity,
such as most of you may possibly never have again, of buying a most
delightful and effectual medicine, sweet, not nauseous (strongly
reminding one of cherry-brandy), gently exhilarating, and very difficult
to be procured; indeed, I have only three small doses of it--three, did
I say? I'm afraid I have only two--let me see--Oh, yes, here are three;
and the price is merely nominal--"

The extreme frankness and moderation of this harangue of course met with
great success; and purchasers speedily bought, not only his three pink
bottles, but his green ones, his blue ones, his pills, his pomades, and
his perfumed medicinal soaps that were to soften the skin, strengthen
the joints, and promote longevity. After this, he sang a comic song of
innumerable verses (with horn obligato) and delivered a discourse, in
which he said there had never been more than three great men in the
world, Louis the Fourteenth, Alexander the Great, and Hippocrates, the
father of physic.

It was surprising to me how he carried on this game hour after hour,
apparently without fatigue, and always to the delight of his audience,
new-comers continually pressing around him, and old ones lingering in
the distance with broad smiles on their faces. A little of it was well
enough, but I thought that to be always at it must be harder work than
the hardest handywork trade I knew. At last the day closed in, the
people departed, we supplied ourselves with food, and departed like
the rest.

"Now, then, have I not come off with flying colors?" said La Croissette,
complacently.

"Assuredly you have: but you must be very tired."

"Tired as can be--you know I had no sleep last night--we are coming to
a little thicket where we will roost for the night."

We had scarcely drawn up under the trees, which were thinning of leaves,
when we heard a distant hollow sound gradually growing louder as it
approached. "The dragoons," said La Croissette, in a low voice. "I trust
we shall escape their notice."

They passed by like a whirlwind, taking the direction we had just left,
and we congratulated ourselves on having quitted their path.

"These wretches, look you," said La Croissette, "know neither mercy
nor justice; they know they are let loose on the country to do all the
mischief they can, and if they find a Paradise, they leave it a howling
wilderness."

Of this we had proof next day, when we came on their track, and found
wretched women and children in tears and lamentations impossible for us
to assuage: men that had been cudgelled within an inch of their lives,
or hung up by their wrists or their heels till they swooned, lying on
the ground uncared for and dying. Ah, what wickedness! and all under
pretence of doing God service! I cannot dwell on the terrible scenes we
saw in crossing the country. Sometimes La Croissette did some trifling
act of kindness, but the evils demanded more potent remedies.

"This unfits me for my calling," said he, one day, as he scrambled into
the cart and drove off. "How can one play the merry-andrew under such
circumstances? What will become of these poor creatures as winter comes
on, even if they can last till then? It is impossible they should all
escape from the country--they will have to conform after all, and had
they not better do so now?"

I replied, "It is written, 'Fear not, little flock; for it is the
Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.'"

"The kingdom of France?"

"No, the kingdom of heaven."

"To whom were the words spoken?"

"To the early Christians, whose praise is in all the churches--whom the
Catholics not only reverence but worship."

"Hum. Well, if they weathered such persecution as this, perhaps these
may; but I could not stand it, I!--Do you know (with great awe) there
are dungeons called Hippocrates' Sleeves, the walls of which slope like
the inside of a funnel tapering to a point, so that those who are put
inside them can neither lie, sit, nor stand? They are let down into them
with cords, and drawn up every day to be whipped."

"And have any come forth alive from such places?"

"I grant you; but sometimes without teeth or hair."

"O, what glorious faith, to survive such a test!" exclaimed I.

"But some don't survive."

"O, what hallelujahs their freed spirits must sing as they find
themselves suddenly released and soaring upward with myriads of
rejoicing angels, to receive their welcome at the throne of God!"

"Jean, I never knew anything like you!" said La Croissette. "The worse
the stories I tell you, the greater the triumph and exultation you cap
them with."

I answered, "They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of
their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." Rev.
xii. II.

"Do you think you could bear being put into a Hippocrates' Sleeve?"

"I am not called on to think what I could bear: only to bear what is put
on me."

"Your father, every word! As the old cock crows, so does the young one.
But after all, 'tis a fearful thing to lie at the mercy of those that
can devise and carry out such tortures."

"It is written, 'I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that
kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; but I will
forewarn you whom ye shall fear. Fear Him which after He hath killed,
hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear Him.'"

"You seem to have all the texts on this particular head at the tips of
your fingers. Did you learn them for this particular purpose?"

"My dear mother used to repeat to me a text every night, and expect me
to repeat it to her the next day."

"An excellent plan," said La Croissette, whipping his horse. And he
hummed a tune.

When we reached Montauban, he said,

"I must now begin my old tricks, to earn a little money;" and he drew
up in the market-place. But the people had been as heavily visited as
at Nismes, and were in no mood for jesting. When he began to vend his
nostrums, an old man of severe aspect held up his hand, and said:

"Peace, unfeeling man--you bring your senseless ribaldry to the wrong
market. Here are only lamentations, and mourning, and woe."

"My good sir, one must live," said La Croisette.

"And how? tell me that!" retorted the old man, indignantly. "They that
fed delicately are desolate in the streets; they that were clad in
scarlet are cast on dunghills; the tongue of the suckling child cleaves
to the roof of its mouth for thirst; the young children ask for bread,
and no man giveth unto them."

Then, with a wail that was almost like a howl, he tore his hair and
cried, "For this, for this mine eyes run down with water and mine
eyelids take no rest. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?"

"Jean, I cannot stand this," said La Croissette, as the old man hurried
away. "All the people seem with broken hearts--it takes all spirit out
of me. I cannot even hawk needles and pins among the starving--who would
buy?"

I could only say, "How dreadful is this place! The Lord seems to have
forsaken his sanctuary."

"Let us seek another place as soon as we can--"

"You forget: I am to be met here by an agent of my father's at La Boule
d'Or."

"Ah, well, we will go thither."

When we drove into the inn-yard, however, we could hear unruly voices in
the house, and feared we might fall into bad company. A man immediately
came up to us, and said to me, in a low voice:

"Are you M. Jacques Bonneval?"

"I am. Are you Antoine Leroux?"

"Hist!--yes. There are ill-disposed people in the inn; you had better
not go in-doors. Can you walk a little way?"

"Yes."

"Come with me, then."

"I must bid my companion farewell." Turning to La Croissette, I took his
hand in both mine, and pressed it fervently, saying:

"My dear La Croissette, adieu. May God bless you in this world and the
next. I wish I could make some return for your exceeding kindness, but,
unfortunately, can give you nothing but my prayers."

"Pray say nothing of it," said he, cordially. "Your prayers are the very
thing I should like to have, for, unfortunately, I am not good at them
myself. As I pass a Calvary by the roadside I pull off my hat, in token
of respect, you know, for what it represents; and had I had a bringing
up like yours I might have had as pretty a turn for psalmody; but as the
matter stands, why, you will be Jacques Bonneval, and I Bartholomé La
Croissette to the end of the chapter. As for what I have done for you,
why, it's nothing! I was coming this way, at any rate, and I've given
you a lift; that's all."

"You may make light of it, if you will," said I, "but I know you have
continually run risks for me; and depend on it, I shall never forget
you. Adieu, my friend."

"Farewell, then," said he, "and take my best wishes with you. I hope you
will now slip safely out of the country, but a good piece of it remains
before you yet. Nor are your feet in good condition for walking."

"That has been provided for," said Antoine. "As soon as we get to the
waterside we shall find a boat awaiting us, which will carry us to
Bordeaux."

"But you are some way from the water.'

"Yes, but I have a cart."

We then parted, La Croissette kissing me on both cheeks with the utmost
kindness; and I turned away with Antoine. Looking round as we quitted
the court, I had my last glimpse of his tall, meagre figure, as he stood
with his hand on his hip, looking after me; and I thought how strange
and disproportionate a return his kindness to me had been for mine to
him, in lifting him up and saving him from a kicking horse on the way
to Beaucaire. The whole scene at once started up before me--our family
party in the wagon--the girls' blooming faces and gay dresses--the
crowded road--the music--the bustle. Then my thoughts flew on to what
followed--the humors of the fair--the crowded table at my uncle's--my
betrothal to Madeleine. What a different future then seemed to lie
before us to what awaited us now! Where was she? Should we meet soon?
Might we not be separated for ever? I cannot tell how many thoughts like
these passed through my mind as I limped after Antoine, who was himself
somewhat awkward in his gait, like many of the silk-weavers from sitting
so constantly at the loom.

Thus we passed through some of the by-ways of Montauban, and entered a
small house.



CHAPTER X.

"MY NATIVE LAND, GOOD-NIGHT"


The room we entered was destitute of furniture and blackened with smoke.
Heaps of broken fragments impeded our entrance and lay on the floor.
A man sitting on the ground was restlessly taking up one piece after
another, and laying them down again, muttering to himself, without
noticing us.

"I know not why they should have done so," he said hurriedly; "the poor
chairs and tables could not hurt. And, after all, when they hung me up
I gave in, and kissed the cross made by their swords; and they knocked
me about after that. If that was justice, I don't know what justice is.
They hurt my wife, too, or she would not have shrieked out so. And her
word always had been--'Hold out; pain may be borne; and they dare not
kill us!' But when she saw them tie me up, she cried out, 'Oh, Pierre,
Pierre, give in--give in!' So what was I to do? Answer me that."

"This poor fellow has lost his senses," said Antoine, softly. "Wait here
a minute. I will soon return."

I stood where I was. It seemed to me from the charred remains that the
furniture had been just broken up and then partially burnt. There was
a great beam across the ceiling, with large iron hooks on which to hang
bacon, onions, and such-like. From one of these hooks dangled a strong
chain.

"They drew me up with that," said he, turning his dull eyes on me, and
the next instant looking away. "They passed the chain under one of my
armpits, and so suspended me; and then beat me. I was not going to stand
that, you know. My wife ran away, calling on me to give in; so what
could I do? Could I help it? Am I a renegade?"

I said, "Let us remember David's words--'Have mercy on me, O Lord, for
my sin is great.' He did not say, 'for my sin is little--a very little
one--the first I ever sinned;' but 'my sin is great;' and therefore have
mercy on me. Say it after me. 'Have mercy on me, for my sin is great.'"

--"For my sin is great," repeated he, melting into tears. And again and
again he repeated, weeping, "For my sin is great--my sin is great. Have
mercy on me, O Lord, for my sin is great."

"He also hath forgiven the wickedness of thy sin," said I. "Let us turn
unto the Lord, for he will heal us, and not be angry with us for ever."

Antoine drew me away. We left the poor man in tears, and went into the
yard, where stood a cart, with a sorry horse in it, and a heap of loose
fagots and pieces of broken furniture beside it.

"Get you in here, sir, and lie down," said he. "I will pile the wood
over you as lightly as I can."

I did as he desired. He bestowed the wood over me as carefully as he
could, and then led the horse out.

"Whither away?" said somebody, passing.

"To dispose of this rubbish," said he, carelessly. "Poor Pierre's
chattels have been reduced to mere firewood. If a trifle can be got
for them, it may buy him bread."

I thought of the two messengers to King David, whom a woman concealed
in a well at Bahurim, spreading a covering over the well's mouth, and
spreading ground corn thereon. I was startled when the man said,

"I have a mind to buy it of you: it will do to heat my oven."

"But this load is engaged already," said Antoine.

"Why did you not say so at first? You said you were going to see if you
could get a trifle for it."

"I confess I expressed myself badly. My poor brother's sad state has
bewildered me. Go you, and look in on him, and see what a pitiable
object he is."

"Well, I think I will. What is the value of this load, as it stands?"

Antoine seemed so disposed to haggle for it that I confess I quaked;
however, he set such a high value on it that the other demurred.

Happily we got out of the town without further molestation. I was very
much cramped, but that was no matter. The church-bells began to ring;
and Antoine said, in a low voice, "How pitiable are the poor people who
are now going to vespers on compulsion! Where will all this end? Can it
be that he who now goeth forth weeping, and bearing good seed, shall
return again in joy, bringing his sheaves with him?"

I said, "The Lord's hand is not straitened, that he cannot save. What
is impossible with man is possible with God."

"Oh that we may live to see it, sir."

We came up with a wagon, with the driver of which Antoine fell into
conversation for some time, but what they said I could not well hear.
At length we reached the water-side, at a landing-place where a boat
laden with kitchen stuff was awaiting us. Here Antoine saw me safely
placed in charge of the boatman, who bade me never fear, for he would
safely carry me to Bordeaux. We pushed off: the moon shone cold and
bright; the air on the river felt fresh and chill. The boatman threw a
warm covering on me, bade me sleep, and began a monotonous boat-song.
I soon slept.

When I awoke it was late in the morning, for the bright October sun
overhead was making the rapid Garonne quiver in a sheen of golden light.
I found we had made good progress, and were not many hours from our
destination. I found it inexpressibly pleasant to float down that
bright river, as it carried me to new scenes, which love, hope, and
inexperience painted in pleasing colors. My feet were sufficiently
painful for me to be glad to lie idly among the piles of cabbages and
while the time in day-dreams. Aged confessors might go forth sighing,
"How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" but to the young
and buoyant, change of occupation and foreign travel have great
allurement, even when rudely come by.

The boatman seemed an honest poor fellow. Sometimes he exchanged
greetings and jokes with other boatmen; sometimes he sang snatches
of plaintive songs, such as

  "N'erount très frères
  N'erount très frères
    N'haut qu'une soeur à marida:"


for his mother was from Languedoc. At other times he talked to me
quietly.

"Yours seems a contented, merry life, said I.

"Well, I make it so," said he. "Where is the good of picking up
troubles? they come sure enough. Once I was foolish enough to think
'What a poor lot is this, to be pulling a market-boat up and down
stream, with greens for the seafaring men, while others go riding on
horseback or in carriages, wear fine clothes, feast every day, and go to
theatres at night.' But when the dragoons came I was thankful to be what
I was. Did you hear what happened to Collette at our place? Collette was
the prettiest girl of our village, and a good girl, but a thought too
vain. Perhaps it is too much to expect a woman not to be vain when she
is pretty, but all are not. Collette's skin was like lilies and roses.
When the dragoons were let loose on us they burnt her father's
furniture, and beat him within an inch of his life. They asked Collette
if she would go to mass: she said, 'I will not.' They pulled her hair,
beat her, pinched her, but she only said the more, 'I will not.' Then a
dragoon said, 'This girl is too pert, her conceit must be lowered a
little.' And he took a comb off her toilette, and drew it down her face
two or three times, quite hard, till it was scratched and scored all
over. Conceive how the poor thing was cut up! She burst into tears, and
said, 'Take me to a convent; I don't care where I go now, so that I am
not seen. I shall never be worth looking at again.'"

"But what an unworthy motive for an unworthy act!" cried I.

"But only think how she was goaded to it!" said he. "Women think so much
of their looks. I am told the dragoons have tried that trick with many
ladies of quality."

"If they deserved the name of men they would be ashamed of it."

"Well, I think so too; but see how they treat the men! Have you seen
a chain of galley-slaves on their way to Marseilles? Certainly no
treatment can be too bad for the infamous, but that nobles and gentlemen
should be fettered along with felons, forgers, murderers, and
such-like--ah, 'tis too bad!"[1]...

[Footnote 1: See "Autobiography of a French Protestant." Religious
Tract Society. A thrilling narrative, of which the Quarterly Review
says:--"The facts are more interesting than fiction, and the incidents
not less strange."]

"But now we come to Bordeaux," said he, at length; and in fact, the
increase of traffic on the water was sufficient of itself to tell us
that we were approaching an important commercial city, while in the
distance were seen the masts of ships of many nations. Nearer at hand
the richly-wooded heights were studded with the country seats of opulent
merchants, many of whom either were Huguenots or had made their fortunes
by Huguenots. It was to be supposed, therefore, that we had many friends
here; and, indeed, many were favoring our escape as much as they could
without compromising themselves; but such jealous watch was being kept
on the port that this was extremely difficult. Soon my companion ran his
boat in between two others similarly laden--as far as vegetables when,
that is, for I know not they held any fugitives; and a great war of
words ensued, in which it was difficult to know whether they were really
quarrelling or not.

At length I got ashore, and found my way to the counting-house of my
father's correspondent, Monsieur Bort. He was a very business-looking
man, with a short, hard, dry way of speaking. I found him immersed in
his books. Directly he saw me, he said, abruptly.

"You are young Bonneval. You come too late. The others are gone."

"Oh" And I dropped into a seat, quite stunned by this reverse.

"Mais que voulez-vous?" said he. "They could not wait. The opportunity
would have been lost."

"Are they really off, and safe?"

"Off they are, but whether safe--." He shrugged his shoulders and raised
his eyebrows. However, seeing my chagrin, he added, "I imagine they are
in the river Thames by this time."

"Do you mean they are ascending the river to London?"

"Precisely. It may not be so, but we may hope the best. And
you?"--eyeing me inquiringly.

"What am I to do, sir? Did my father leave me no word of direction?"

"He left you his blessing, and bade you be a good boy, and submit
yourself to my direction."

"That I will gladly do, if you will direct me."

"Well, I am pledged to do the best I can for you. But, unhappily, the
surveillance is now so strict that I know not how to smuggle you on
board."

"In a box--in a cask," said I, desperately.

"Have you really courage to be packed in that manner?"

"Yes, if there is no alternative."

"Come, you are un brave garçon! I respect you for your resolution. There
is a vessel of mine being loaded now, and if you will really go on board
in such a way as you propose I think we can manage it, and your durance
will not last more than a few hours. You will be a Regulus without the
nails."

Smiling grimly at this allusion, he went out, and left me to meditate
on what lay before me. It was not pleasant, certainly; but then the
incentive was so great!--to join all whom I held dear, in a free land!
The light affliction would be but for a moment.

Monsieur Bort returned. "All is arranged," said he complacently.
"I have taken the porter who will roll you into the secret. He promises
to be as careful of you as he can. An officer on board is likewise in my
confidence: he engages you shall be released as soon as the vessel is
fairly under weigh. So take heart; it will be but a short trial compared
with what many Huguenots are put to. Take this money and these papers--"

After some business directions he accompanied me to the warehouse, where
the cask awaited me, with some hay to soften my journey in it.

"You are a pipe of Bordeaux, going as a present to my particular friend
in London," said he, smiling. "Now, behave yourself as a good pipe of
wine should; and don't cry out even if you are hurt. See, there are some
air-holes. You won't stifle."

"They are very small--"

"How can that be helped? Who would have doors and windows in a
wine-cask? You will get on board alive, will be released when well
to sea, and must not mind a little discomfort."

We shook hands, and I stepped in and settled myself as well as I could,
with my mouth close to one of the air-holes; and the cask was closed
upon me. The next minute I was rolled slowly off; and a most odd
sensation it was! I advise you to try it, if you would like something
perfectly new; but have bigger air-holes if you can; and even then let
your experiment be short.

I verily believe the porter did his best for me; but how slowly
he rolled: and even then what bumps and jolts I had when we came to
uneven ground! Now and then he stopped, to wipe his face and rest,
seemingly--then on we trundled again Meanwhile I was getting exceedingly
hot; all the blood in my body seemed mounting into my head: and
unpleasant ideas of smothering obtruded themselves. The noises around me
told me we were on the wharf; then the jolting and bumping became worse
than before: I fancied I could tell we passed up a sloping plank and
were on shipboard. Then, without the least warning, I was rolled over
and over, and then set upon my head! but a loud cry outside drowned a
smothered cry within; and I was placed in a horizontal position again,
with feelings impossible to describe.

I think I became sleepy after that; or else in a painless state of
insensibility. When I woke I was numb all over, and had to rub my
dazzled eyes as the bright daylight broke in on them.

"He seems to like his quarters so well as to have no mind to turn out,"
said a rough voice.

"He wants assistance," said some one, in a kinder tone; and a handsome,
frank-looking man laid hold of my arm, and helped me to rise. Above me
were the sails and cordage of a ship; all around me the sparkling blue
waves, leaping in freedom. I clasped my hands, and raised them to
heaven.

"You do well to give thanks where thanks are due," said the mate. "Now
come into the cabin."

Seeing me stagger, he took me by the arm, and kindly assisted me into
the presence of the captain, saying, "Here is one of the noble army of
martyrs."

The captain gave me a most kind reception, made me dine with him, and
asked me a great many questions. He then told me many moving stories of
other Huguenots who had escaped or tried to escape to England; and he
related such instances of the kindness of the English to the fugitives
that my heart warmed towards them with gratitude and hope.

After this I suffered much from seasickness, and lay two or three days
in my cot, where we were buffeted of the winds, and tossed. We were
chased by a strange ship, and had to put on all the sail we could to
escape being overhauled; and this led to our being driven out of our
course; so that, what with one thing and another, we we did not reach
Gravesend till the 8th of November. Then the captain went ashore with
his ship's papers, and, after transacting business, started for London,
and took me with him.

What a day it was for forming one's first impressions of that
much-longed-for capital! There was a thick November fog, through which
street-lamps sent an imperfect light; and shops were lighted up with
candles. Vehicles ran against one another in the streets, in spite of
link-boys darting between the horses, fearless of danger, and scattering
sparks from their fiery torches. The noise, the unknown language,
the strange streets and lanes bewildered me. The captain called a
hackney-coach, and in this we made our way to Fenchurch street,
where lived his shipping agent, Mr. Smith. We went upstairs to his
counting-house, and found him talking to some one, who turned round
as we entered.

I exclaimed "Oh, my father!" and precipitated myself into his arms.
He embraced me with transport.

"Where is my mother? Where is Madeline?"

"Safe and well, at the country-house of our esteemed friend Mr. Smith.
Thither I will speedily take you, my dear boy. I came here to gather
tidings of you."

"How long it seems since we lost sight of one another!"

"Long, indeed! And how much we have to tell each other! But we are
in smooth water now. In this free, happy land people are no longer
persecuted for their faith. We must begin the world again, my son; but
what does that signify? You have youth and energy; I have experience
and patience."

The captain and Mr. Smith looked on with sympathy at our mutual
felicitations. Soon I was with my father in a stage-coach on our way to
Walthamstow. There, in an old-fashioned red-brick mansion, I found my
mother, brothers and sisters, my Madeleine, and Gabrielle. What joy!
What affection!

In short, we were all, without one exception, among the four hundred
thousand persons who forsook France rather than renounce their faith.
Of that number, a very great many perished of famine, hardships, and
fatigue; but we were among the many who safely reached this hospitable
country and commenced life anew. Many of us settled without the city
walls in the open ground of Spital Fields, which we gradually covered
with houses and silk-factories. Here we spoke our own language, sang our
own songs, had our own places of worship, and built our dwellings in the
old French style, with porticoes and seats at the doors, where our old
men sat and smoked on summer evenings, and conversed with one another
in their own tongue.

At first our starving refugees were relieved by a Parliamentary grant of
£15,000 a year; but, God prospering our industry our trade went on
steadily increasing till that, now, in 1713, three hundred thousand of
us are maintained by it in England. And many others of us in friendly
countries abroad, where we have been driven. Prosperity to those among
whom we have settled has followed. The native land that cast us forth
has been impoverished. Happy are the people whom the Lord hath blessed.
Yea, happy are they who have the Lord for their God.





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