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Port r Jit of Pet ion.
Photo- Etching". — From Engraving by Ratïet.



Illustrated Holiday edition



COMTESSE DE
CHARNY



VOLUME m



ALEXANDRE DUMAS




BOSTON

"DANA ESTES & COMPANY

PUBLISHERS



LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.



VOLUME III.



CONTENTS.



Chapter Page

I. A Peasant's Hatred 9

IL The Mabquis de Bouille 21

III. The Departure 31

IV. Via Dolorosa 40

V. Via Dolorosa 48

VI. Via Dolorosa 59

Vir. Via Dolorosa 68

Vlir. Via Dolorosa 77

IX. Calvary 87

X. The Arrival 98

XI. A Parthian Thrust 105

XII. Date Lilia 114

XIII. A Little Shade after Sunshine .... 125

XIV. The First Republicans 133

XV. An Important Interview 144

XVI. Aîî Eventful Day 155

XVII. In which we at last come to the Protest

Madame Roland was copying .... 163

XVIIL The Petition 171

XIX. The Red Flag 181

XX. After the Massacre 191

XXL "No more Masters! No more Mistresses ! " 205

XXII. Barnave's Farewell 215

XXIII. The Field of Battle 224

XXIV. The Hospital at Gros Caillou .... 229



VI



CONTENTS.



Chapter

XXV.
XXVI.

XXVII.
XXVIIl.

XXIX.



XXX.

XXXI.

XXXII.
XXXIII.
XXXIV.

XXXV.

XXXVI.

XXXVII.

XXXVIII.

XXXIX.

XL.

XLI.

XLII.

XLIII.

XLIV.

XLV.



Paob

Cathkrine 235

Father and Daughter 240

Mother and Daughter 248

In which Abbé Fortier carries out his

Threat 255

In which Abbé Fortier discovers that

IT IS NOT ALWAYS EASY TO KEEP ONE's

Word 261

Deputy Billot 269

The New Assembly 276

At Home and Abroad 283

War 300

A Minister after Madame de Staël's

OWN Heart 306

dumouriez 316

Behind the Tapestry 323

The Red Cap 332

Foreign and Domestic Relations . . 338

The Rue Guénégaud and the Tuileries 347

The Veto 354

The Opportunity 360

Monsieur de la Vauguyon's Pupil . .367

A Conference at Charenton . . . . 377

The Twentieth of June 383

In which the King discovers a Man

may don the Red Cap without being

A Jacobin 390



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



VOL. III.

P.\OE

Portrait of Pétion Frontispiece

Portrait of Madame Roland 125

Portrait of Bailly 183

Portrait of Necker 328

Portrait of Jean Marie Roland 367



LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.



CHAPTER I.



A PEASANT'S HATBED.



On finding themselves face to face, the two men looked
each other straight in the eye; but the gaze of the noble-
man did not make the peasant wince. Moreover, it was
Billot who was the first to speak.

" The count has done me the honour to say that he wishes
to speak with me," he remarked. "I am ready to hear
what he has to say."

" Billot, how does it happen that I find you here charged
with such a mission of vengeance? I believed you to be
our friend, as well as a good and faithful subject of the
king."

"I was a good and faithful subject of the king; and if
I was not the friend of you noblemen, — for a poor farmer
like me could scarcely aspire to such an honour, — I was at
least your humble servant."

*'Well?"

"But I am so no longer."

"I don't understand you, Billot."

"And why are you anxious to understand me? Do I
ask the reason of your fidelity to the king or your devotion
to the queen? No, I take it for granted that you have your



10 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

reasons for it, and that as you are an lionest and sensible
man your reasons must be sensible, or at least appear so
to your own mind. I bave not your high position, count,
or your learning, but you know that I am an honest and
sensible man too ; so you can take it for granted that I,
too, have reasons, which are equally good, at least in my
opinion."

"Billot," said Charny, who was entirely ignorant of the
real cause of the farmer's hatred of the nobility, "'Billot,
awhile ago, and not so very long ago either, you were a
very different man from what you are now."

"Oh, certainly, I do not deny it," replied Billot, smiling
bitterly. " Yes, a short while ago I was a very different
man from what I am now. I will tell you what I was,
count, I was a true patriot, devoted to two men and one
thing; those two men were the king and Dr. Gilbert, the
other was my country. One day the king's commissioners
came, — and I admit that this was the first thing that
alienated me from him, — well, one day his commissioners
came to my farm , and, partly by force and partly by taking
me unawares, they secured possession of a valuable casket
Monsieur Gilbert had intrusted to my keeping. As soon as
I could get away, I started for Paris. I arrived there on
the night of the 12th of July, when they were carrying the
busts of Necker and Orléans through the streets, and the
people were cheering them. This certainly could not have
done the king any great harm; but all of a sudden, the
king's soldiers charged upon us, and I saw poor devils, who
had committed no other crime than cheering for two men
they probably knew nothing about, falling around me,
some with their heads cut in twain, some with breasts
riddled by bullets. I saw Monsieur de Lambesc, one of
the king's dearest friends, hunt down women and children
who had not even hurrahed for Necker and Orleans, and
he trampled one poor old man of seventy under his horse's
feet. This made me even more out of sorts with the king.
The next day I went to little Sebastian's school to see him,



A peasant's hatked. 11

and learned from the poor child that his father was in the
Bastille, through an order from the king granted at the
solicitation of one of the ladies of the Court; and I said to
myself, if the king was really as kind-hearted as people
pretended, he must have moments of terrible ignorance or
forgetf ulness ; so in order to atone for these mistakes on
his part, I did everything in my power to capture the
Bastille. We succeeded in doing it, though not without
a good deal of trouble The king's soldiers fired upon
us, killing nearly two hundred men; and this gave me
more grounds for disagreeing with people generally in
regard to the wonderful kindness and goodness of the
king. The Bastille was taken at last, however, and in
one of the dungeons I found Monsieur Gilbert, for whose
sake I had just risked my life twenty times, though I
forgot all about that in my delight at seeing him again.
Well, Monsieur Gilbert still stoutly declared that the king
was thoroughly good at heart, that he had no knowledge
whatever of the many wrongs committed in his name, and
that it was not against him I should be wroth , but against
his ministers; and as I considered everything INIonsieur
Gilbert said to me in those days gospel truth, I believed
him, and seeing the Bastille razed to the ground, Monsieur
Gilbert free, and Pitou and myself safe and sound, I forgot
the fusillades on the Eue St. -Honoré, the charges upon
the people from the Tuileries, the one hundred and fifty
or two hundred men slaughtered by the Prince of Saxe,
and Monsieur Gilbert's imprisonment merely at the request
of a Court lady. But excuse me, Monsieur," said Billot,
suddenly checking himself, "all this can have no possible
interest for you; you did not ask an interview with me to
listen to the prating of a poor ignorant peasant, — you a
great nobleman, and a great scholar besides."

And Billot made a movement towards the door of the
room where the king was; but Charny stopped him.

Charny had two reasons for checking him. In the first
place, it might be well, under the circumstances, to ascer-



12 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

tain the causes of Billot's animosity; and in the second
place, he might be able to gain a little more time, so he
said, —

"No, no, tell me all, my dear Billot. You know the
friendly feeling we have always entertained for you, — my
poor brothers and myself, — and what you say interests me
greatly."

On hearing the words, "My poor brothers," Billot smiled
bitterly.

"Very well, I will tell you all, count," he said coldly.
" I only regret that your two brothers — Monsieur Isidore
especially — are not here to listen.

" When the king started for Paris , I saw in him only a
father returning to his children, and I marched with Dr.
Gilbert near the royal coach, making my body a rampart
for the protection of the royal family, and crying, 'Long
live the king!' until I had no voice left. This was the
king's first trip from Versailles to Paris, remember, —
when there was nothing behind him, or in front of him, or
around him, and even under his horses' feet and carriage
wheels, but flowers and benedictions. On our arrival at
the Hôtel de Ville it was noticed that though the king
no longer wore a white cockade, he had not yet put on a
tricoloured one, so the crowd shouted: *A cockade! A
cockade ! ' I took off the one I had on my hat and handed
it to him. He thanked me, and put it on his own hat amid
the deafening cheers of the multitude. I was intoxicated
with delight at seeing my cockade in the king's hat, and
hurrahed for the king more lustily than ever. I became
such an enthusiastic champion of this great and good king
that I remained in Paris. My crops were ready to harvest
and required my presence, but what did that matter? I was
rich enough to lose one year's crops, and if I could be of any
service to this great and good king, — this Father of his
People, and this Restorer of French Liberty, as we were
fools enough to call him in those days, — why, of course
I would remain in Paris. My harvest, which I intrusted



A peasant's hatred. 13

to Catherine's supervision, was ruined. It seems that
Catherine had something else to attend to besides the
crops. But we won't talk about that. Well, people began
to say that the king was no friend to the Ilevolution in his
secret heart, that he had consented to it only under com-
pulsion, and that it was not the tricoloured cockade, but
the white, he wanted to wear in his hat. Those who said
this were slanderers, as was proved at the banquet of the
Royal Body-Guards, where the queen wore neither the
white nor the tricoloured cockade, but that of her brother,
Joseph II., — the Austrian cockade, the black cockade!
Well, I confess, my doubts began to return again after
that; but Monsieur Gilbert said, 'It was not the king
who did it, Billot, but the queen, and the queen is a
woman, and we must be charitable towards women; ' and
I believed him so thoroughly that when the mob came
from Paris to Versailles to make an attack upon the palace
I took sides with its defenders, — so much so, in fact, that
I was the first to run and wake Lafayette, and brought
him to the palace just in time to save the king. Ah! that
day I saw Madame Elizabeth embrace Lafayette, and saw
the queen offer him her hand to kiss, and heard the king
call him 'his dear friend; ' so I said to myself that per-
haps Gilbert was right after all. It certainly could not
have been fear that made a king and a queen and a royal
princess indulge in such demonstrations of affection as
these. If they did not share this man's sentiments, no
matter how useful he might have been to thorn in such an
emergency, they certainly would not stoop to deception like
this. So I again began to pity this poor queen who was
only rather imprudent, and this poor king who was only a
trifle weak. I let them return to Paris without me this
time, however, for I had something to attend to at Ver-
sailles, — you know what it was. Monsieur de Charny."

Charny sighed heavily.

" They say the king's second journey was not so gay as
the first," continued Billot. "They say there were curses



14 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

instead of blessings, and several heads carried on pikes
instead of bouquets. I know nothing about it, I was not
there. I remained at Versailles. All this time, my farm
was without a master, but what of that? I was rich
enough to lose the harvest of 1790 as well as that of 1789,
if need be. But one day Pitou came and told me that I
was on the point of losing something which no father is
ever rich enough to lose, — that is, my daughter! "

Charny started violently.

Billot scanned his face searchingly a moment, then
continued : —

" I must tell you, count, that only a few miles from us lived
a noble family, a family of powerful lords and immensely
rich. This family consisted of three brothers. When they
were children, the two younger brothers almost always
honoured me with a visit on their way from Boursonnes to
Villers-Cotterets. They said they had never tasted such
good milk as my cows gave, nor eaten such good bread as
Mother Billot made; and now and then, they added — and
I, poor fool, thought it was to repay me for my hospitality
— that they had never seen such a pretty child as my
daughter Catherine. And I — well I was grateful to them
for drinking my milk, and eating my bread, and thinking
my daughter pretty. And why not? If I could trust the
king, who is half German, they say, on his mother's side,
I could certainly trust them. So when the youngest
brothei-, who had left the country a long while before, and
whose name was George, was killed in the queen's door-
way at Versailles on that terrible night in October, while
bravely doing his duty as a gentleman, God only knows
how I grieved over it ! Ah, count, his brother saw me , —
his eldest brother, who had never visited at my house, not,
I will do him the justice to say, because he was too proud,
but because he had left home much earlier than George, —
saw me, I say, kneeling beside the lifeless body, pouring
out my tears as freely as he had poured out his blood.
Ah! I can see him now, at the end of that little damp



A peasant's hatred. 15

courtyard, where I had taken him in order that his body
should not be mutilated like those of his comrades, Vari-
court and Deshuttes. I had almost as much blood on my
clothing as you have on yours now, count. Oh, he was a
lovely boy; and if I was thinking only of him, I believe I
could mourn him as deeply as you do, but when I think of
the other one, I mourn no longer."

" The other one ! What do you mean? " inquired Charny.

"Wait, you will know soon enough," replied Billot.
"Pitou came up to Paris and let fall a few words which
convinced me that it was not only my harvest that was in
danger, but my child. I left the king in Paris. If he was
really acting in good faith as Monsieur Gilbert declared,
everything would come out all right whether I was there
or not, so I returned to the farm. On arriving there I
found Catherine very ill, and for awhile I feared she was
going to die. She was threatened with brain fever, and I
felt very uneasy about her, especially as the doctor would
not allow me to enter her room. A half -frantic father
forbidden to enter his sick daughter's room, think of it!
I considered that I had a right to listen at her door, how-
ever, and I did listen, and learned that she was almost
crazy because her lover had gone away. I myself had
been away a whole year, but instead of mourning, she had
rejoiced over my absence; for had not my departure left
her free to see her lover at any time? Well, Catherine
regained her health, but not her cheerfulness. One month,
three months, six months passed without any ray of happi-
ness brightening the face I watched so closely. But one
morning I saw her smile, and I trembled. Was her lover
coming back, and was that why she smiled? It was even
so. The very next day a shepherd who had seen him pass
that morning, told me of it. I did not doubt that he would
come to my house on the evening of that same day, so
when evening came I loaded ray gun and lay in wait for
him."

"You did that. Billot?" exclaimed Charny.



16 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

"And why not? I hide in order to kill the wild boar
that uproots my potatoes, the wolf that devours my lambs,
and the fox that steals my chickens; so why should I not
lie in wait for the man who comes to rob me of my peace
of mind, the lover who has brought dishonour upon my
only daughter ? "

"But when he came your heart failed you, did it not? "
asked Charny.

"No, not my heart, but my eye and hand. Spots of
blood here and there convinced me that I had not failed
entirely, however. But of course as you can very readily
understand," added Billot, with increasing bitterness,
"where a father and a lover were concerned, my daughter
did not hesitate. When I entered Catherine's room,
Catherine had fled."

"And you have not seen her since?" inquired Charny.

"No, why should I? She knows very well that if I
should see her again, I should kill her."

Charny started back, gazing with feelings of mingled
terror and admiration at the powerful nature before him.

"I went to work again on my farm," continued Billot.
" What did my personal griefs matter, so long as France
was happy ! Was not the king walking bravely along in
the right path? Did n't he take part in the great Federa-
tion? It was pleasant to again behold the good king to
whom I had given my tricoloured cockade, and whom I
had helped to defend on the sixth of October. How it
must rejoice his heart to see all Frenchmen assembled on
the Champ de Mars, pledging fidelity as one man to their
common country. As I stood there, I forgot everything
else for a moment, even Catherine ! No, that is false. A
father never forgets his daughter. The king, too, took
the oath in his turn, but somehow it seemed to me that he
did it in a half-hearted fashion, that it was mere lip serv-
ice. But, nonsense ! he had taken the oath, and that was
the essential thing. An oath is an oath, whether he took
it in his seat or at the altar of his country; it is not the



A peasant's hatred. 17

place where it is taken that makes an oath binding. When
an honest man takes an oath, he keeps it, and the king
had taken it, so he wouhi keep it. When I returned to
Villers-Cotterets, having a daughter no longer, I turned my
attention to political matters. Then I heard it rumoured
that the king had been more than willing to be abducted
by the Marquis de Favras, only that scheme had been
promptly nipped in the bud. Later, I heard the king had
tried to leave the country with his aunts, but that project,
too, had failed; then that he had attempted to go to St.-
Cloud, with the intention of going from there to Ilouen, but
that the people prevented it. I heard all these things, I
say, but I did not believe them. Had I not seen him with
my own eyes raise his hand and take the oath on the
Champ de Mars? Could I believe that a king who had
taken an oath in the presence of three hundred thousand
citizens would consider it less sacred than those other men
take? It was not at all likely. Well, the day before yester-
day I went to attend market in Meaux, and slept at the
house of the superintendent of the post-station, who is a
very particular friend of mine. Well, yesterday morning
I was utterly amazed to see the king and the queen and the
dauphin in a coach that stopped for fresh horses. I could
not be mistaken, for I had seen them often before, and in a
carriage, too. Had n't I accompanied them from Versailles
to Paris on the sixteenth of July ? Then I heard one of
their men, dressed in buff, give the order to drive to
Chalons. The voice had a familiar sound. I turned and
recognised the man who had stolen Catherine from me, — a
noble gentleman who was now doing duty as a lackey by
running on ahead of the king's carriage ! "

As he uttered these words, Billot looked searchingly at
Charny to see if he understood him; but Charny wiped
the sweat from his brow with his handkerchief, and said
never a word.

"I wanted to follow him, but he was some distance ofE
before I recovered from my astonishment. He was armed



18 LA COMTESSE DE CHARXY.

too, and I was not; he was on horseback, and I afoot. For
an instant 1 ground my teeth at the thought that the king
was escaping from France, and my daughter's seducer was
escaping me. Then I said to myself that I, too, had taken
an oath, and that though the king was breaking his, I would
not break mine. It was only four o'clock in the morning,
and I was but a few leagues from Paris. With a good
horse, it would take me only a couple of hours to get there.
I would see Monsieur Bailly, an honest man, it seemed to
me, who would be likely to take sides with persons who
kept their oaths, and against those who broke them. This
point settled, I asked my friend — without telling him
what I intended to do, you understand — to lend me his
uniform, for he, too, belongs to the National Guards, and
also his sword and pistols. I asked, too, for the best horse
in the stable, and then started off at a gallop for Paris.
They had only just discovered the king's flight when I
arrived there, and nobody had any idea which way he had
gone. Eomeuf had been sent down the Valenciennes road
to investigate, by Lafayette. And now see what a won-
derful thing chance is! He was stopped at the barrier;
but he persuaded them to take him back to the National
Assembly, and entered the hall just as Bailly was telling
the members what I had told him. It was only necessary
to draw up an order and change Roraeuf's route. This
took but a minute or two. Romeuf was sent down the
Chalons road, and I was ordered to accompany him, — an
order I obeyed, as you see. I have overtaken the king,
who has so deceived and disappointed me, and he will not
escape me again. Now there only remains for me to over-
take the man who has so deeply wronged me as a father,
and I swear that he, too, shall not escape me."

"Alas ! my dear Billot, you are mistaken," said Charny,
with a sigh.

"And why?"

"Because the unfortunate man of whom you speak has
escaped you."



A peasant's hatred. 19

"He has fled!" cried Billot, while an indescribable
expression of rage overspread his features.

"No, but he is dead."

"Dead?" repeated Billot, shuddering in spite of himself.

"Dead! This blood you see on my clothing is his. If
you doubt it, go downstairs, and you will find his body
lying in a little courtyard, — very much like the one at
Versailles, — a victim to the same cause for which our
brother George gave his life."

Billot gazed with haggard eyes and terror-stricken face
at Charny, who spoke so quietly, though great tears were
streaming down his cheeks.

"Ah, so there is some justice in heaven, after all! " he
exclaimed suddenly. Then, as he turned to leave the
room, he added : —

"I believe what you say, count. Still, I must see for
myself that justice has been done."

Charny, smothering a sigh and wiping his eyes, watched
the farmer as the latter descended the stairs. Then, know-
ing he had no time to lose, he hastened back into the adjoin-
ing room, went straight to the queen's side, and asked softly :

"How about Monsieur de Eomeuf ? "

"He is on our side."

"So much the better, for there is nothing to hope for
from the other man."

"What are we to do?"

"Gain as much time as possible, in expectation of
Bouille's arrival."

" Will he come? Are you sure? "

"Yes, for I am going after him."

"But the streets are blocked, the house is guarded.
You cannot do it. You will be killed ! "

Charny made no reply, but, walking to the window,
opened it, gave a glance of encouragement to the king,
bowed to the queen, and leaped to the ground, fully fifteen
feet below.

The queen uttered a cry of terror, and buried her face



20 LA COMTESSE DE CHAENY.

in her hands, but the young men ran to the window and
responded to the queen's cry of terror with one of delight,
for Charny had already scaled the garden wall, and dis-
appeared from sight on the other side.

It Avas time, for at that very instant Billot reappeared
upon the threshold.



THE MARQUIS DE BOUILLE. 21



CHAPTER II.

THE MARQUIS DK BOUILLE.

Let us see what had happened to the Marquis de Bouille
during these long hours of agonised suspense, — the mar-
quis, whose coming was so eagerly expected, and upon
whom the last hope of the royal family depended.

At nino o'clock in the evening, that is to say, about the
time the fugitives were entering Clermont, the Marquis de
Bouille left Stenay in company with his son Louis, and
rode towards Dun in order to be nearer the king.

Fearing his presence in that town might create uneasi-
ness, however, he halted when within about three-quarters
of a mile of the town, and he and his companion estab-
lished themselves in a sort of ravine near the road, tether-
ing their horses behind them.

There they waited. It was about time, as they supposed,
for the royal courier to make his appearance; and under



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