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and noble thing from a human, though perhaps not from a
moral, standpoint. Humanity was one of the most popular
words of the day; and Pitou, who had often uttered it
without knowing precisely what it implied, now put his
humanity into practice, without really knowing what he
had done.

Instead of being Isidore de Charny's rival, he had now
become Catherine's confidant; so, instead of repulsing him
roughly, as she had done on his return from his first visit
to Paris, she petted him, and treated him with tender
familiarity. As her confidant, he had attained a place
in her regard to which he could never have aspired as
Isidore's rival; and, in order to insure a continuance of
these friendly relations, Pitou took to Mother Colombe an
almost illegible note given him by Catherine, authorising
him to call for any letters which might come addressed to
her. To this written order Pitou added Catherine's verbal
promise that she would give all the Pisseleu labourers a
treat of gingerbread and candy on Saint Martin's day;
and, thanks to this order and promise. Mother Colombe
agreed to hold any letters which might come for Catherine
until Pitou called for them.

This matter settled, Pitou wended his way homeward.

The gallant captain's return to Haramont was a public
event. His hasty departure for Paris had given rise to all


sorts of conflicting rumours; for ever since the arrival of
an order from one of Lafayette's aides for the seizure of
sundry guns at Abbé Fortier's, the inhabitants of the
village had entertained no doubts whatever of Pitou's
political importance.

Some persons declared that he had been summoned to
Paris by Doctor Gilbert ; others, that Lafayette had sent
for him ; and some few even declared that he had been sent
for by the king himself.

Though Pitou was ignorant of these rumours concerning
his personal importance, he unquestionably set his foot
upon his native heath with an air of dignity that made a
deep impression upon everybody.

He had scarcely reached home before the drummer called
to see him; and he ordered the lad to announce a dress-
parade on the village square the following Sunday.

That same evening he called on Master Dulauroy, the
tailor, to ascertain if he would undertake the job of pro-
viding the Haramont National Guards with uniforms, and
at what price. The tailor, after prolonged arithmetical
calculations of the length and breadth represented by the
thirty -three men , including officers, subalterns , and privates,
that composed this formidable body of troops, declared that
he could not furnish thirty-three coats and thirty-three
pairs of trousers for less than thirty-three louis ; and, even
then, Pitou must not expect entirely new cloth.

Pitou protested, declaring that he had it from Lafayette's
own lips that he had clothed the civic guard of France
at the rate of twenty-five francs per man, or seventy-five
millions for the entire number.

Master Dulauroy replied that, in such a large contract,
small losses might be retrieved in the grand total ; but the
very best he could do — if he were to hang for it — was to
uniform the Haramont Guards for twenty-two francs a
man : and, even then, a cash payment must be made in
advance, as he could not undertake such a large contract
on credit.


Pitou carelessly pulled a handful of gold from his pocket,
and remarked that there was no trouble about a cash settle-
ment, though he was limited as regards price; and if
Master Dulauroy would not furnish the thirty-three uni-
forms for twenty-five golden louis, the captain would be
obliged to apply to Master Bligny, — Dulauroy 's rival in
business, — though he had given him — Dulauroy — the
preference, on account of his being a personal friend of
Pitou's aunt; for Pitou was not sorry to have Aunt
Angelica hear in this roundabout way that he had his
pockets full of gold.

The threat of taking such a colossal order elsewhere had
the desired effect; and Master Dulauroy consented to the
proposed terms, and even acceded to Pitou's demand that
the captain's suit should be made of new cloth, and adorned
with epaulets without extra charge.

In case of a failure to deliver the goods punctually, the
tailor would be held personally responsible for causing the
postponement of the ceremony of the public confederation
of Villers-Cotterets and several neighbouring villages,
which was to take place one week from the following
day. The next morning, after parade, Pitou summoned
Lieutenant Desire Maniquet and Sergeant Claude Tellier,
and requested them to invite their men, in behalf of him-
self, Doctor Gilbert, General Lafayette, and the king, to
call upon Master Dulauroy, the tailor of Villers-Cotterets,
who had an important communication to make to them.

Five minutes later the thirty-one privates of the Hara-
mont National Guard, together with Sergeant Tellier and
Lieutenant Desire Maniquet, were hastening along the
road to Villers-Cotterets.

That night the Haramont National Guard gave their
captain a serenade. The air was alive with Roman can-
dles, pin-wheels, and powder crackers, and several voices —
slightly inebriated voices, to be sure — shouted vocifer-
ously, at intervals, "Long live Ange Pitou, the Father of
the People!"




The following Sunday the inhabitants of Villers-Cotterets
were awakened by the drummer vigorously beating his call
to arms at five o'clock in the morning. The ceremonies
were not to begin until ten ; but five hours would hardly
suffice for the completion of what still remained to be

A large platform had been erected in the middle of the
square. This structure was intended to serve as one of
those rauch-talked-of Patriot Altars, and Abbé Portier had
been invited to come and celebrate mass there on Sunday,
October 18th, instead of in his own church.

To make this stage worthy of its exalted purpose, it was
necessary to solicit donations from the well-to-do persons
in the community : and it must be admitted that every one
had responded most generously, — one person contributing
a carpet, another an altar-cloth, a third proffering silk
hangings, and the fourth a sacred picture; but, as the
weather was very variable at that season of the year, no
one liked to risk his contribution before the appointed
time. But the brightness and warmth of the sun when it
rose on the eventful morning indicated one of those beauti-
ful autumn days which rival the balmiest days of spring;
and by nine o'clock the altar was bedecked with a superb
Aubusson carpet, a lace-trimmed cloth, and a picture repre-
senting John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness. It
was surmounted, too, by a velvet canopy fringed with gold,
from which hung handsome brocade curtains.

All the young girls of the neighbourhood, dressed in
white, wearing tricoloured sashes, and carrying green

foktier's anti-revolutionary spirit. 55

boughs iu their hands, were to be grouped around the
altar; and after mass the men were to take the oath of
allegiance to the constitution.

The Villers-Cotterets National Guards, under arms since
eight o'clock, awaited the coming of similar organisations
from the surrounding villages; and it is needless to say
that, of all the companies expected, the one awaited most
impatiently was the Haramont Guards, — it having been
noised abroad that, thanks to Pitou's influence and the
king's bounty, the thirty-three men composing it would be
in uniform.

Master Dulauroy's shop had been thronged all the week
with inquisitive visitors, eager to watch the ten workmen
engaged upon this gigantic order, unparalleled in Villers-
Cotterets within the memory of man.

The last uniform, that of the captain, — for Pitou had
insisted that his men should be served first, — the last
uniform had been delivered, according to contract, at exactly
fifty-nine minutes past eleven o'clock Saturday night, and
Pitou had paid Master Dulauroy his twenty-five louis then
and there.

At nine o'clock precisely the sound of a fife and drum
was heard, accompanied with shouts of delight and admira-
tion; and in the distance Pitou could be seen, mounted upon
his white horse, or rather the white horse belonging to his
lieutenant, Desire Maniquet.

Aunt Angelica hardly recognised her nephew in this
martial guise, and narrowly escaped being trampled by the
white horse while she was endeavouring to inspect Pitou
from under that animal's very nose.

Pitou made a majestic salute with his sword, and, in
tones loud enough to be heard for twenty rods around,
called out, "Good-day, Madame Angelica!"

Completely crushed by this formal greeting, the anti-
quated maiden staggered back, and, lifting her eyes heaven-
ward, exclaimed, —

"Unfortunate boy! his honours have turned his head.
He no longer knows his own aunt! "


Pitou passed majestically along to tlie foot of the altar, —
the place of honour having been assigned to the Hararaont
Guards. There he dismounted, and intrusted his steed to
the care of an urchin, to whom he gave the munificent sum
of six sous; which fact being immediately reported to Aunt
Angelica, that lady muttered, "Simpleton! does he fancy
himself a millionaire?" But after a moment's reflection
she added, in milder tones: "I made a mistake, I do
believe, when I quarrelled with him. Aunts may inherit
property from nephews."

But neither of these remarks reached the ears of Pitou,
who was simply in ecstasy; for among the girls adorned
with tricoloured ribbons, and carrying green branches, he
saw Catherine. She was still very pale, for she had hardly
recovered from her illness ; but she was more beautiful in
her pallor than any other girl in the ruddiest health. She
was pale, but happy; for that very morning, thanks to
Pitou, she had found a letter in the willow-tree.

Suddenly a great hubbub was heard in the direction of
the Rue Soissons, and the cause of this tumult, as well as
the threatening tones that were distinctly audible, was
this: Everybody knew that Abbé Portier had been re-
quested to celebrate mass at this patriot altar, and that
the sacred vessels and other accessories were to be brought
from the church for that purpose.

Monsieur de Longpré, the mayor of Villers-Cotterets,
was not on very friendly terms with Abbé Portier, having
had quite a heated controversy with him on the occasion
of the forcible seizure of the arms concealed in the abbe's
house; so, knowing that gentleman's obstinate and irascible
temperament, he had contented himself with merely send-
ing him the following notice, taken from the official pro-
gramme for the ceremonial : —

" Mass will be celebrated at the Patriot Altar by Abbé Portier,
beginning at ten o'clock in the morning.

" The sacred vessels and other articles needed for the service will
be transported from the church to the Patriot Altar under the
supervision of Abbé Portier."

fortier's anti-revolutionary spirit. 57

By nine o'clock the Patriot Altar, as we have previously-
remarked, was decked out with its carpet, curtains, and
linen, and its picture of John the Baptist preaching in the
wilderness; only the candles, crucifix, the tabernacle con-
taining the consecrated wafer, and such other vessels as
are needed in the celebration of the mass were lacking.
At half-past nine these articles had not appeared ; the
mayor, scenting trouble in the air, despatched his secretary
to the priest's house. The messenger soon returned with
the intelligence that the priest had been seized with a
severe attack of gout; that the beadle had sprained his
foot ; that the two choristers were quite ill ; and that the
church doors were locked and barred.

An ominous murmur began to rise from the populace,
and there was even talk of battering down the church
doors to secure possession of the sacred vessels, and of
dragging the priest by force to the altar. But the mayor,
being of a peaceable disposition, protested against any
resort to violence, and offered to go in person to treat with
the abbé.

He accordingly hastened to the Rue Soissons, but found
the priest's door as securely bolted as the doors of the
church. Having no battering-ram or catapult at hand to
force the door, a locksmith was sent for; but, as he was
about to begin operations, the door opened, and Fortier
appeared upon the threshold.

"Back, renegades!" he shouted; "back, ye Amalekites
and Sodomites ! Do not set your impious feet upon the
threshold of God's servant! "

"Pardon me," interposed the mayor, in his most con-
ciliatory manner, — " pardon me ; we only came to inquire
whether you will or will not celebrate mass upon our
country's altar."

"Celebrate mass at that altar!" shouted the priest,
relapsing into one of those fits of holy wrath to which he
was so prone. "Do you expect me to sanction revolt,
rebellion, and ingratitude; to ask God to curse virtue and


bless crime? Scarcely, Monsieur le Maire. You wish to
know whether I will celebrate your sacrilegious mass or
not. Very well, then; no, no, no, I will not!^'

"Very well; you are a free citizen. Monsieur Abbé, and
no one can compel you to do it against your will."

" It is very fortunate for me that I am, and that there
is no way of compelling me to do it, as you say. You are
very kind, really too kind, Monsieur le Maire; " and, with a
most insolent sneer, he began to close the door in the very
faces of the authorities.

But just at that moment a man darted out from the
crowd, and, with one violent blow, dashed open the door,
almost overturning the priest, so vigorous was the attack.

The man was Billot.

A profound silence followed. Every one felt that a
terrible scene was about to ensue between the two men;
but, though he was obliged to exert all his strength to hold
the door open, it was in a perfectly calm, almost gentle,
voice that he asked, turning to the mayor, —

"Pardon me, but what did you say, Monsieur le Maire?
Did you say that if the abbé here was unwilling to per-
form the duties of his office, he could not be compelled to
do it?"

"Yes," stammered Monsieur Longpré; "yes, I did say
something to that effect, I believe."

" Then you made a great mistake. Monsieur le Maire; and
a mistake it is not well to make too often in times like

" Back , sacrilegious monster ! Back, impious man ! Back,
renegade! Back, heretic! " cried the abbé.

"Hold your tongue, or it will be the worse for you!"
responded Billot. "I am not disposed to insult you; 1
merely wish to discuss the matter. The mayor here seems
to think you cannot be compelled to say mass. I claim
that you can, and I can prove it. I say that any man who
receives a salary is obliged to perform the work for which
this salary is paid. For instance, here is the mayor's

foktier's anti-eevolutioxary spirit. 59

secretary; his honour sends him to you with the pro-
gramme for these ceremonies. Very well; it would never
enter his brain to tell the mayor he would rather not take
this programme to Monsieur Fortier, would it?"

"No, Monsieur Billot; no, of course not," responded the
secretary, naively.

"And here is our friend the chief of police," continued
Billot; "when his honour the mayor sent for him just
now, do you suppose that official even so much as thought
of replying, ' Maintain order if you like, but you must
maintain it without any help of mine!' Did you make
any such answer as that, Mr. Chief of Police?"

"Of course not. It was my duty to come, and I came,"
replied that functionary, promptly.

"Do you hear that. Monsieur Abbé?" inquired Billot.
"Very well, then; bow does it happen that you, who are
expected to set a good example, should alone consider your-
self exempt from duty? And you not only do that, but set
us an example of disorder and wrongdoing as well."

"Oh! but the Church is independent," responded the
priest, seeing that some defence was absolutely necessary;
"the Church obeys nobody, and is accountable only to

"That's the mischief of it," responded Billot. "You
set up another power in the country; you are either a
citizen or not a citizen, a Frenchman or a foreigner. If
you get your pay from Pitt of England, from Cobourg or
Kaunitz, obey Pitt or Cobourg or Kaunitz, as the case may
be; but if you are a Frenchman, if you are a citizen of
France, if it is the nation that pays you, — why, obey the

"Yes, yes!" cried three hundred voices approvingly.

"So, in the name of the nation, priest," continued Billot,
placing a powerful hand on the abbe's shoulder, — "so,
in the name of the nation, I call upon you to fulfil your
mission of peace, and ask that the blessing of Heaven,
the bounty of Providence, and the mercy of Christ the


Lord may descend upon your fellow citizens and your
country. Come, come, I say!"

"Bravo, Billot, bravo!" resounded from every side.
"To the altar with the priest! To the altar with him! "

Encouraged by these shouts of approval, the farmer
dragged the priest from the shelter of his doorway, — this
man who was probably the first priest in all France to
openly give the signal for a counter-revolution.

The abbé saw that resistance was an impossibility.

"Ah, well, martyrdom, then! " he exclaimed. "I ask for
martyrdom; I desire martyrdom; I demand martyrdom! "

Then, in a full, resonant voice, he intoned the Libera nos,

It was this strange procession which was noisily approach-
ing the public square a few moments after Pitou had proudly
stationed himself with his men near the Patriot Altar.




Pitou, almost believing that he was about to be called
upon to defend some new Foulon or Berthier, shouted,
" To arms ! " and placed himself at the head of his men ;
but, as the crowd divided, he saw Abbé Fortier approach-
ing, dragged along by Billot, and lacking only a palm-
branch to make him look like one of the Christian martyrs
forced into the arena in ancient times; and it was only
natural that Pitou should rush to the defence of his former
teacher, of whose offence he was as yet ignorant.

"Oh, Monsieur Billot!" he exclaimed, throwing himself
in front of the farmer.

"Oh, father!" cried Catherine, with a movement so
exactly like Pitou's that one might have supposed they had
been trained by the same stage manager.

But it required a glance only from Billot to check both
of them; for there was something alike of the lion and the
eagle in this man, who seemed the very incarnation of the
national uprising.

On reaching the foot of the altar he let go his hold upon
the priest of his own accord, and, pointing to the platform,
said: "There is the altar of thy country, at which thou
hast refused to officiate, but which I now declare thee
unworthy to approach. To ascend these sacred steps, the
heart should be filled with a love of liberty, devotion to
country, and love of humanity. Priest, dost thou desire
the enfranchisement of the world? Priest, art thou devoted
to thy country? Priest, lovest thou thy neighbour? If
thou dost, then ascend the steps of the altar, and implore


the blessing of God upon our cause ; if not, yield thy place
to one more worthy, and get thee hence ! "

" Wretch ! " exclaimed the priest, shaking his fist threat-
eningly at Billot; "thou knowest not upon whom thou hast
declared war ! "

"But I do know!" retorted Billot. "It is against
wolves, and foxes, and serpents, — against whatsoever
bites, and stings, and stabs in the dark! Well," smiting
his broad breast with both his powerful hands as he spoke,
" stab, sting, bite ! Here I am ! "

A breathless silence followed; for all were spell-bound
with admiration and awe at Billot's audacity in thus offer-
ing himself as a target for the shafts of that dread power,
which, at that epoch, still held more than half the world in
its thrall, — the Church.

There was no longer any such thing as a mayor, or
assistant mayor, or municipal officers; there was no one
but Billot.

Monsieur de Longpré approached.

"But what are we to do, — we have no priest?" he re-
marked; for Abbé Fortier had walked away, — the crowd
dividing in silence to let him pass, and then closing in

"And what of that?"

"Having no priest, we can have no mass."

" I will tell you what we will have in place of the mass ! "
cried Billot, like one truly inspired. " Ascend to the altar
of your country with me, Monsieur le Maire, and you, too,
Pitou, — one on my right hand, the other on my left. And
now, what we will have in place of the mass — give ear,
each one of you — is the Declaration of Human Rights, the
Creed of Liberty, the Gospel of the Future."

There was an enthusiastic clapping of hands ; for these
people, only just released from bondage, were more eager
for a knowledge of the rights they were to enjoy than for
that which Fortier called the Heavenly Word.

Standing between the representatives of civic and mill-


tary power, Billot, extending his hand, repeated from
memory — for it will be remembered that the worthy
farmer did not know how to read — the following lines:

" Declaration op the Rights of Man.

** 1. Men are born aud should remain free and with equal rights.

" 2. The object of all political associations should be the preservation
of the natural and inalienable rights of the man and citizen. These
rights are: hberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression."

The words "resistance to oppression" were uttered as
by a man who had seen the walls of the Bastile totter and
fall, and who knew that no one can resist the power of the
people when they choose to exert it.

" 3. The principle of sovereignty resides in the nation. No legis-
lative body or individual can rightfully exercise authority that does
not emanate directly from the nation.

" 4. Liberty consists in the power to do anything that is not inju-
rious to others.

" 5. The law has the right to forbid only such actions as are detri-
mental to society. Anything not forbidden by law cannot be
prevented ; and no one can be compelled to do what the law does
not ordain he shall do.

"6. Law is the expression of the popular will."

Then, pausing, and lifting his finger impressively, he con=
tinned, "Listen to this, fellow-citizens; listen attentively:

" All citizens have a right to concur personally, or through their
representatives, in the formation of the law, which should be the
same for all, whether it protects or whether it punishes. All
citizens, being equal before the law, are equally admissible to all
dignities and public offices, according their to individual capacity, and
with no other distinctions than those arising from their talents and

" 7. No man can be arrested or imprisoned, except in cases defined
by law, and in accordance with such formalities as it prescribes. All
persons who incite or execute unlawful commands, or cause them to


Le executed, shall be punished ; but every citizen summoned or ar-
rested iu the name of the law must instantly obey the summons.

"8. The law should establish only such penalties as are strictly
and manifestly necessary, and no one should be punished except
in accordance with a law established and promulgated prior to the

" 9. Every man being supposed to be innocent until he has been
found guilty, all severity not absolutely necessary for the safe custody
of his person shall be strictly forbidden by law.

" 10. No man shall be molested on account of his opinions, even
in religion, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public
order established by law.

"11. The free expression of thoughts and opinions is one of the
most precious of the rights of man. Each and every citizen may
consequently speak, write, and pnnt freely, though he should be held
accountable for any abuse of this right in cases determined by law.

" 12. The protection of the rights of men and citizens necessitates
a public force ; but this force is instituted for the benefit of all, and
not for the aggrandisement of a favoured few.

" 13. For the maintenance of public authority and the defrayal of
the expenses of the government a general tax is indispensable ; but
it should be levied equally upon all citizens, in proportion to their

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