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" Damas and his dragoons must be on the road, and will
arrive here soon."

"You are right," answered the king. Then, turning to
Sausse, he asked, "If our passports are all right, shall we
be allowed to continue our journey ? "

"Certainly."

"Then have the goodness to hunt for your passport,



THE TOLLGATE TOWER. 295

baroness, and give it to these gentlemen," said the king to
Madame de ïourzel.

That lady understood what the king meant by telling
her to look for her passport ; so she began to search, but in
places where she knew it was not to be found.

"There, you can see very plainly that they have no such
thing as a passport," exclaimed a threatening and impa-
tient voice.

"Indeed we have, gentlemen; but not knowing exactly
when and where we should have to show it, the Baroness
de Korfî put it away somewhere, and cannot recollect just
at this moment exactly where she put it."

A sort of howl went up from the crowd, indicating that
they were not to be deceived by this subterfuge.

" There is a very easy way out of this difficulty," said
Sausse. "Postilions, drive to my shop. The gentlemen
and ladies can enter my house, and the whole matter can
be settled there. Drive on, postilions ! Gentlemen of
the National Guard, you may act as escort for the coach, if
you wish."

This invitation sounded too much like a command to be
declined; besides, any attempt to resist would have been
worse than useless, for the alarm-bell was still ringing, the
drum beating, and the crowd around the carriage increas-
ing every minute. The coach started.

"Oh, Damas, Damas," muttered the king, "if j^ou
would only come before we reach that accursed house! "

The queen said never a word. She was thinking of
Charny.

They reached Sausse's store, but they saw nothing of
Damas.

What had happened to prevent this gentleman, upon
whose devotion the king relied so implicitly, from fulfill-
ing the orders he had received and the promises he had
made ?

We will explain, in order to cast as much light as
possible on every detail of this unfortunate journey, con-
cerning which Michelet says: —



296 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

" The true history of that tragical moraent wlien the king was
arrested has never been fully known. The chief historians of the
trip to Varennes knew nothing about it except from hearsay. The
Bouilles, father and son, were not present. Choiseul and Goguelat
did not arrive until an hour afterwards. Deslon did not come until
even later."

We left Damas ordering the bugler to sound the call,
" To saddle ! "

As the first blast sounded, he took some money from a
drawer in his desk, and at the same time drew out several
papers which he was not inclined to either take with him
or leave behind him. He was thus engaged when the door
of his room was suddenly thrown open, and several of the
municipal officers appeared upon the threshold.

One of them approached the count, who, surprised at this
unexpected visit, inquired what they desired of him;
changing his position as he spoke so as to conceal a brace
of pistols lying on the mantelpiece.

"We wish to know why you are leaving just at this time,
count? " replied one of the visitors politely, but firmly.

Monsieur de Damas gazed with astonishment at a man
who ventured to ask such a question of an officer of high
rank in the king's army, but replied, —

"My explanation is very simple, monsieur. I am
leaving just at this time because such are my orders."

"And where are you going, Monsieur le Colonel?'"'
persisted the questioner.

Damas looked more and more astonished " Where am I
going ? In the first place, I don't know; and in the
second place, if I did know, I would not tell you."

The officials exchanged glances and encouraging ges-
tures, and the man who had acted as spokesman at first,
said, —

"Monsieur le Colonel, it is the wish of the Town
Council that you should not leave Clermont this evening,
but remain here until to-morrow morning."

Monsieur de Damas smiled the contemptuous smile of a



THE TOLLGATE TOWER. 297

soldier when he is asked, either through ignorance or in the
hope of intimidating him, to do something contrary to
military discipline.

"Indeed!" said he, **so it is the wish of the Town
Council that I remain here until to-morrow morning ? "

"Yes, monsieur."

"Well, monsieur, do me the favour to say to the Town
Council that I deeply regret being obliged to disappoint
them, but no law that I ever heard of authorises the muni-
cipal authorities of Clermont to interfere with the move-
ments of troops. As for me, I receive orders only from my
superior officer, and here is his order for my departure."

As he spoke, he extended the order. The man nearest
him took the document and showed it to his companions;
meanwhile, Damas had seized the pistols on the mantel
behind him.

After examining the paper in company with his col-
leagues, the official who had previously spoken said, —

"Monsieur, the more explicit and peremptory this order
is, the more it becomes our duty to oppose it; for it
certainly commands you to do something which the best
interests of France forbid. In the name of the Nation I
declare you under arrest."

"And I, gentlemen," retorted the colonel, displaying his
pistols and pointing them at the two officials nearest him,
"tell you that I am going."

Not being prepared for this warlike demonstration, a
feeling of fear, or perhaps of astonishment, caused the
officials to retreat out of the colonel's path as he darted
out of the room and across the ante-chamber, double lock-
ing the door behind him. Rushing downstairs, he found
his horse awaiting him at the door, and, jumping on his
back, rode at break-neck speed to the square, where, seeing
Monsieur de Floirac already in the saddle, he said to
him, —

"We must get out of here the best way we can; the
important thing now is to save the king."



298 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

Ignorant of Drouet's departure from Sainte Menehould,
and of tlie insurrection in Clermont, Damas felt sure the
king was safe, as he had passed Clermont and must be
nearly at Varennes, where Choiseul's relays were awaiting
him, as well as the Lauzan Hussars, under command of
Jules de Bouille and Raigecourt.

Still, to make assurance doubly sure, he called the
quartermaster of the regiment to him, and said, "Mon-
sieur Rémy, ride on towards Varennes. Ride as if the very
devil was after you, and overtake those carriages which
passed through here a little while ago. Your life shall
pay the forfeit if you fail to carry out my instructions."

Putting spurs to his horse, the quartermaster darted off,
accompanied by his assistants and four dragoons; but
when they reached a fork of the road they took the wrong
course.

Everything turned out disastrously on that fatal night.

Meanwhile, the cavalry was slowly forming in the
square. The officials whom Damas had locked up made
their escape without much difficulty by forcing open the
door. They stirred up the populace and the National
Guards, who assembled much more rapidly and in a much
more enthusiastic frame of mind than the dragoons.
Wherever Damas turned, he found himself confronted by
three or four muskets aimed straight at him ; and this was
not calculated to make him feel any less anxious.

He perceived that his men were out of sorts, and rode
up and down the line, trying to revive their devotion to the
king; but they only shook their heads. Though his men
were not all assembled, he thought it high time to depart,
and gave the order to advance ; but not a man moved.

All the while the municipal authorities were shout-
ing, —

" Soldiers, your officers are traitors ! they are leading
you on to slaughter ! The dragoons are true patriots!
Hurrah for the dragoons ! "

As for the National Guards and the populace, they
shouted lustily, —



THE TOLLGATE TOWER. 299

" Long live the Nation ! "

At first Damas, who had given the order to advance in
a rather low tone, supposed his men had not heard it; but
as he faced about, he saw the dragoons in tlie rear ranks
springing from their horses and mingling with the crowd.

Realising that he could hope for nothing from such men,
he summoned his officers with a glance, and said, —

"These troopers are betraying their king. I call upon
you, as soldiers and as gentlemen, to follow me to
Varennes."

And, plunging his spurs into his horse's sides, he dashed
through the crowd, followed by Floirac and three other
officers: Adjutant Foucq and Sergeants St. Charles and
La Potterie. Five or six loyal dragoons also left the
ranks and followed them.

A few bullets fired after the heroic fugitives were so
many bullets thrown away.

So now we understand why Colonel Damas and his
dragoons were not at hand to defend the king when he
was stopped under the archway of the old toll bridge at
Varennes and forced to leave his coach and take refuge
in the house of Monsieur Sausse, the town solicitor.



300 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.



CHAPTER XLIV.

AGAIN A PRISONER.

The îiouse of Monsieur Sausse, at least judging from
what the illustrious prisoners and their companions in
misfortune saw of it, consisted of a grocery shop, in the
rear of which, and connected with it by a glass door, was
a dining-room , where those seated at the table could see
any customers who entered the shop, though warning of
their entrance was likewise given by a bell, which was set
in motion by the opening of one of those small low doors,
with an oval pane of glass inserted in the middle of it,
which are still seen in provincial stores, where the owners,
either from a spirit of calculation or humility, seem to
feel they have no right to screen themselves from the gaze
of passers-by.

In one corner of the store was a stairway leading to the
floor above, which also seemed to be divided into two
rooms: the first apparently a sort of appendage to the
shop, it being filled from floor to ceiling with merchandise
of divers kinds. The adjoining room, the one over the
dining-room, was evidently the bed-chamber of the owner
of the establishment, who had been unceremoniously
aroused from slumber by Drouet, and whose room still
showed traces of the disorder occasioned by this sudden
awakening.

Madame Sausse emerged from this room half-dressed,
crossed the second, and presented herself at the head of
the stairs just as the royal party crossed the threshold of
the shop below.

The town solicitor, who had walked on a little in advance,
had already entered it.



AGAIN A PRISONER. 301

More than a hundred persons had followed the coach,
and were now assembled in front of the house, which
faced a small public square.

"Well ?" said the king, as he entered.

" You say you have a passport, monsieur. If the lady
who claims to be the owner of this coach will be kind
enough to produce the document, I will take it to the town
hall, where the Council is now in session, and see if it is
valid."

As the passport was perfectly regular in every respect,
the king motioned Madame de Tourzel to produce it.

She accordingly drew the precious document from her
pocket and handed it to Monsieur Sausse, who charged his
wife to do the honours of the house to his m^^sterious
guests, and then set out for the town hall.

The municipal authorities were intensely excited, for
Drouet was taking part in their deliberations; but when
Sausse came in with the passport a breathless silence
ensued, for every one present knew that the strangers had
been taken to the solicitor's house.

He laid the passport on the table in front of the mayor.

As we have already given the contents of this document,
the reader is aware that there is no necessity to repeat it
here.

After reading it, the mayor said: "The passport fulfils
the requirements in every particular, and is consequently
perfectly legal."

" Legal ? " repeated seven or eight astonished voices,
while as many hands were eagerly outstretched to seize
the paper.

"Yes, perfectly legal, as the king's signature too is
appended to it." And he pushed the document towards
the hands extended for it.

But Drouet almost snatched it from their grasp.
"Signed by the king, — that may be," he exclaimed; "but
is it indorsed by the National Assembly?"

"Yes," said one of his neighbours, who was looking over



302 LA COMTESSE DE CHAENY.

his shoulder, "for there is the signature of the members
of one of the committees."

"Granted; but does it bear the president of the Assem-
bly's signature ? Besides, that is not the question," con-
tinued the youthful patriot. "These travellers are not
a Russian lady named Korff, her children, steward, and
servants. These travellers are the king and queen and
dauphin, Madame Royale, Madame Elizabeth, some other
ladies belonging to the palace, and three couriers ; in fact,
the entire royal family. Now, will you, or will you not,
allow the royal family to leave France?"

The question was a difficult one for the officials of a
third-rate town like Varennes ; and as their deliberations
on the subject seemed likely to be prolonged far into the
night, the solicitor determined to leave the Council to de-
cide the matter as best it could, and return home.

He found the travellers still standing in the shop.
Madame Sausse had urged them to come upstairs, or at
least to be seated and have something to eat; but they had
declined all these hospitable attentions, for it seemed to
them they would somehow be making concessions to those
who had checked their progress towards the eagerly
desired goal, and they were resolved to suspend all action
until the master of the house returned, and reported the
decision of the authorities on the important subject of the
passport.

At last they saw him making his way through the crowd
around the door.

The king advanced a few steps to meet him, and, with an
anxiety he vainly endeavoured to conceal, inquired, "Well,
how about the passport ? "

" The passport has caused a heated discussion, which was
still going on when I left."

" And why ? It is hardly possible that they can ques-
tion its validity ? "

"No, but they seem disposed to doubt whether it is in
the hands of the real Madame Korff; for it is rumoured



AGAIN A PRISONER. 303

that we have the honour of receiving the king and his
family within our walls."

Louis XVI. hesitated a moment, and then, as if he had
suddenly decided what action to take, replied, —

"Well, monsieur, I am the king. This lady is the
queen, and these are our children ; and I beg you to treat
us with that respect which the French people have always
shown to their sovereigns."

As we have already remarked, a large number of people
had congregated around the door, and the king's words
were consequently distinctly heard by some outside as
well as by those within.

But though the king uttered the words with dignity,
this dignity did not seem to accord with his grey coat,
dimity vest, g^ey breeches and stockings, and the little
E-ousseau periwig he wore. Think of seeing the King of
France in such a guise! The queen noted the unfavour-
able impression produced upon the crowd, and the blood
mounted to her face.

"Let us accept JMadame Sausse's invitation, and go
upstairs," she remarked.

Monsieur Sausse took a lamp and walked to the stair-
way to show his illustrious guests the way.

Meanwhile, the news had spread through the town that
it was really the king who was in Varennes. There could
not be the slightest doubt of the fact, as the stranger him-
self liad admitted it. A few minutes afterwards a man
rushed wildly into the council chamber at the town-hall,
exclaiming, —

"Gentlemen, the travellers at Monsieur Sausse's house
are really the king and the royal family. I just had it
from the king's own lips."

"What did I tell you?" cried Drouet.

The greatest confusion prevailed in the streets. The
drums were still beating, and the alarm-bells still ringing.

And how did it happen that all this hubbub did not
sooner attract to the centre of the town our young friends



304 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

Jules de Bouille ^ and Monsieur de Raigecourt, wlio were
stationed in the Lower Town to await the king's coming.

We will proceed to explain. The two young officers
were sitting in the Grand Monarque Inn about nine o'clock,
when they heard the sound of carriage-wheels. They
rushed to the window. The vehicle was only a cabriolet;
nevertheless, the young men prepared to order out the re-
lays if necessary. The traveller, however, was not the
king, but a peculiar-looking individual attired in a broad-
brimmed hat and a huge overcoat. The officers were about
to retire from the window, when the new-comer called out
to them, "Say, gentlemen, isn't one of you Monsieur
Jules de Bouille?"

That gentleman hesitated an instant, then replied,
"Yes, monsieur, I am he."

" In that case I have something important to say to you."

" I am ready to listen, though I have not the honour of
your acquaintance ; but allow me to suggest that it would
be better for you to alight and enter the inn."

" Certainly, certainly," responded the traveller, promptly.

And he leaped from the vehicle and rushed into the
tavern.

Monsieur de Bouille noticed that the stranger seemed
much frightened, or at least greatly excited,

"You will let me have the horses you have here, will
you not ? " he asked, immediately upon his entrance.

"The horses I have here?" exclaimed Monsieur de
Bouille, considerably alarmed in his turn.

"Yes, yes. You will give them to me, I am sure. You
need not conceal anything from me, I know all about it.
I am one of the party."

"Permit me to say that my surprise prevents me from
replying," answered young Bouille. " I really have no idea
what you are talking about."

^ It may be well to call the reader's attention to the fact that this is not
the Bouille' who has already figured in this narrative, and who succeeded
in gaining access to the king's workshop in disguise, but his brother.



AGAIN A PRISONER.. 305

"I repeat that I know everything," insisted the new-
comer. " The king left Paris last night, but there is no
possibility of his completing his journey. I have informed
Damas of the condition of affairs; but he can be of no
assistance, for his men have mutinied, and there has been
almost a riot at Clermont. Why, I could hardly make
my way through the place, — I, who am now talking to
you."

"But who are you, anyway?" asked Jules, impatiently.

"I am Léonard, the queen's hair-dresser. Is it possible
you do not know me ? The duke carried me off in spite of
my protests. I took the queen's and Madame Elizabeth's
diamonds to him; and when I think, monsieur, that my
brother, whose coat and hat I appropriated, has no idea
what has become of me, and that poor Madame de I'Aage,
who expected me to come and dress her hair yesterday, is
still waiting for me, — oh, Heavens ! what a dreadful
condition of affairs all this is ! " And Léonard strode up
and down the floor, wringing his hands in the most frantic
manner.

Young Bouille was beginning to understand the situation.

"Ah, you are Monsieur Léonard," he exclaimed.

"Certainly I'm Léonard," replied the traveller, —
eschewing the monsieur, after the fashion of other great
men, — "and as you know me now, you will give me your
horses, I am sure."

"Monsieur Léonard," responded the young officer,
persisting in classing the hair-dresser with ordinary
mortals, — " the horses I have are for the king, and no
one but the king shall have them."

"But as I tell you that there is no likelihood of the
king's getting this far — "

"But the king may, Monsieur Léonard; and if he should
come and not find his horses, and I should have to confess
that I had given them to you, it is quite likely that he
would make me pay dearly for my indiscretion."

"Indiscretion ? Why, do you suppose, in the critical

VOL. II. — 20



306 LA COMTESSE DE CHAENY.

situation in which we find ourselves, the king would blame
me for taking his horses ? "

Young Bouille could not help smiling. "I don't say
that the king would blame you for taking the horses, but
I 'm dead sure he would blame me for letting you have them."
"The devil ! I hadn't looked at the matter from that
point of view. So you absolutely refuse to let me have
the horses?"

"Absolutely."

Léonard sighed heavily.

" But you '11 certainly do your best to get me some? " he
said, returning to the charge.

"With the greatest pleasure, my dear Monsieur
Leonard."

To tell the truth, Léonard was a very troublesome guest.
He not only talked very loud, but accompanied his words
with a very energetic pantomime which, thanks to the
flapping brim of his big hat and the immense size of his
coat, gave him a ridiculous appearance which rather
reflected upon his companions.

Jules de Bouille was consequently anxious to get rid of
him; so he sent for the landlord forthwith, and begged
him to find some horses that would take Léonard at least
as far as Dun; and having done this, he left the hair-
dresser to his fate, telling him he really must go and find
out what was going on, which was true enou


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