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" It is the last time that they will have this chance.
The Blues have taught us the habit of making no pris-


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oners. As for the number of our enemies, we do not care
for that; it is a mere matter of detail.*'

" If General Brune and his eight thousand prisoners,
aided by the twenty thousand soldiers whom he receives
from General H^douville, are not enough, the First Con-
sul has decided to march against you in person, with one
hundred thousand men."

Cadoudal smiled. " We will try,*' he said, " to prove
to him that we are worthy of fighting him."

" He will burn your towns.*'

"We will retire to our villages."

" He will burn your villages."

"We will live in our woods."

"You will reflect, General]"

"Do me the honor to remain with me forty-eight
hours, Colonel, and you will see that I have already

" I have a great mind to accept."

" Only, Colonel, do not ask more than I can give you,
— a bed under a thatched roof, or wrapped in a cloak
under the branches of an oak, one of my horses so that
you may follow me, and a safe conduct when you leave

"I accept."

" Give me your word, Colonel, not to oppose any orders
which I may give, nor try to interfere with any enterprise
which I may attempt."

" You have my word, General. 1 am too curious to see
your method of operation."

" Whatever may take place under your eyes ?"

" Whatever may take place under my eyes. I renounce
the role of actor to take up that of spectator. I want to
be able to say to the First Consul, " I have seen it."

Cadoudal smiled. " Well, you will see it," he said.


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Just then, the door opened, and two peasants brought
in a table already set, on which was smoking a cabbage-
soup and a piece of pork ; an enormous jug of cider which
had been freshly drawn was frothing between two glasses.
Some buckwheat cakes were destined for the dessert of
this modest repast. The table was laid for two.

" As you see, Monsieur de Montrevel," said Cadoudal,
" my people hope that you will do me the honor to eat
supper with me.**

" And they are not mistaken. I should have asked
some of you if you had not invited me ; and I should
have tried to take some from you by force if you had
refused me.''

'* Come then."

The young colonel seated himself gayly.

'* I ask your pardon for the meal which I offer yon,
said Cadoudal ; '* I have only what my soldiers can fur-
nish me. What have you to gtve us with this, Brise-Bleu 1 "

"Fricasseed chicken, General.**

'* There is the bill of fare of your dinner. Monsieur de

" It is a feast ! and I have only one fear, General."

" What is it ! "

" As long as we are eating, everything will be well ; but
when it comes to drinking — **

" You do not like cider t "

" Ah, you embarrass me.**

" Cider or water is all we have.'*

** That is not it ; but to whose health shall we drink 1 "

'*Is that all, sir]** said Cadoudal, with great dignity.
'* We will drink to the health of our common mother,
France. We each serve her in a different spirit, but I
hope with the same love. To France, Monsieur I *' he
added, filling up the two glasses.


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**To France, General!" replied Roland; touching his
glass to that of CadoudaL

And they both seated th^iiselves again gayly, and with
a «lear conscience attacked the soup with appetites which
were not yet thirty years old.

VOL. II. — 4


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**And now, General," said Roland, when supper was
over and the two young men, with their elbows on the
table before a great fire, began to feel that comfortable
condition which is the usual result of a meal that has
been seasoned by appetite and youth, — ** now you have
promised to show me some things that 1 can report to the
First Consul."

'^ And you on your part have promised not to oppose

" Yes ; but I reserve the privilege, if anything goes too
much against my conscience, of going away."

** You have only to throw the saddle on the back of
your horse, Colonel, or of mine in case yours is too tired,
and you are free."

"Very well."

" Certainly," said Cadoudal, *' things are in your favor.
I am here not only as a general, but as chief-justice ; and
it is a long time since I have held a trial. You told me,
Colonel, that General Brune was at Nantes. I knew it.
You told me that his advance guard was four leagues from
here, at Roche-Bernard« I knew that also. But some-
thing which your parties do not know is that this ad-
vanced guard is not commanded by a soldier like you and
me. It is commanded by citizen Thomas Milli^re, com-
missioner of the executive power. Another thing of which
you are perhaps ignorant is that citizen Thomas Milliire


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does not fight like us, with guns, bayonets, pistols, and
swords, but with an instrument invented by one of
your philanthropical republicans, which is called the
'guillotine.' "

'* It is impossible, sir, that under the First Consul they
can make that sort of war ! "

''Ah, let us understand each other. Colonel. I do not
say that the First Consul does it ; I only say that it is
done in his name."

" And who is the wretch who thus abuses the authority
which is intrusted to him, and who makes war with a staff
of executioners]"

" I have told you. He is called citizen Thomas Mil-
li^re. If you will make inquiries, Colonel, you will find
that there has been in all la Vendue and la Bretagne only
one opinion about this man since the day of the first
Vendeean and Breton insurrection six years ago. This
Milliere has always been one of the most active agents
of the Terror. For him the Terror did not end with
Robespierre. He denounced to the superior authorities the
Breton or Vendeean soldiers, their parents, their sisters,
their wives, their daughters, even their wounded and
dying, and ordered them all to be shot or guillotined with-
out a trial. At Daumeray, for example, he left a trail of
blood which is not yet effaced, and which never will be.
More than eighty inhabitants had their throats cut before
his eyes. Sons were struck in the arms of their mothers,
who, vainly demanding vengeance, raised them bleeding
to Heaven. When peace has been declared in la Vendee
or la Bretagne it has not soothed the thirst for murder
which burns in him. In 1800 he is just as he was in
1793. Well, this man — "

Ronald looked at the general.

'' Since this man," continued Cadoudal, with the great-


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est calmness, "has not been condemned by society, I have
condemned him myself. He will die.'*

" What ! he will die at Roche-Bernard 1 In the midst
of the Republicans, in spite of his gufird of assassins, in
spite of his escort of executioners? *'

" His hour has sounded, and he will die."

Cadoudal pronounced these words with such solemnity
that not a doubt remained in Roland's mind, not only con-
cerning the judgment but concerning the execution of it.
He remained thoughtful for a moment.

" And you think you have a right to condemn this man,
however guilty he may be 1"

" Yes ; for this man has judged and condemned, not the
guilty, but the innocent."

" Suppose I should tell you that on my return to Paris
I would ask for the arrest and trial of this man, would
you not have faith in my word 1 "

" I should have faith in your word ; but I should tell
you that a savage beast can escape from its cage, and a
murderer can escape from his prison. All men are sub-
ject to error ; tliey have sometimes condemned innocent
ones, and it is possible that they might spare the guilty
one. My justice is surer than yours, Colonel, for it is the
justice of God. This man will die."

" And by what right do you say that your justice, the
justice of a man liable to error like other men, is the justice
of God?"

" Because I have shared it with God. His judgment is
not of recent date.'*

" What do you mean ? "

" In the midst of a storm, when the thunder rolled
without ceasing and the lightning shone constantly, I
raised my arms to Heaven and I said, ' God ! God I Thou
of whom this lightning is the glance, this thunder the


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voice, if this man ought to die, cause thy thunder and
thy lightning to cease for ten minutes. The silence and
the darkness will be thy answer.' And with my watch in
my hand I counted eleven minutes without lightning or
thunder. — I saw from a hill, in a terrible tempest, a vessel
manned by a single person, which threatened each moment
to be lost. A wave took it as the breath of a child lifts a
feather, and let it fall back again on the rock. The ship
was broken in pieces, and the man crouched upon the
rock. Everybody cried, * He is lost I ' His father was
there and his two brothers, and neither brothers nor father
dared attempt to help him. I raised my arms to the Lord,
and I said, * If Milliere is condemned by you as by me,

God ! I will save this man ; and without other help
tlian yours I will save myself.' I took off my clothes
and tied the end of a rope around my arm, and swam out
to the rock. It seemed as if the sea grew quiet under
my breast. I reached the man ; his father and brothers
held the other end of the rope ; he reached the bank. I
could have returned as he did, by tying the rope around
the rock. I threw it away from me and confided myself
to God ; the waves carried me to the bank as gently and
surely as the waters of the Nile brought Moses* cradle
towards the daughter of Pharoah. — A hostile sentinel
had been placed before the village of St.-Nolf. I was
concealed in the woods of Grandchamp with fifty men.

1 went alone out of the wood, recommending my soul to
God, and saying, * O God ! if you have decided upon
Milli^re^s death, this sentinel will fire upon me and miss
me, and I will go back to my men without harm, for you
will have been with me for a moment.' I marched upon
the Republican at twenty paces ; he fired upon me and
missed, — here is the bullet-hole in my hat, a thumb's
breadth from my head. The hand of God himself aimed


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the weapon. This thing happened yesterday. I thought
Milli^re was at Nantes ; this evening they came to tell me
that he and his guillotine were at Roche- Bernard. Then
I said God has helped me, and he will die."

Roland had listened with a certain respect to the super-
stitious narrative of the Breton chief. It did not astonish
him to find this feith and poetry in a man who lived face
to face with the wild sea and in the midst of the Dolmens
of Karnac. He understood that Milliere was really con-
demned, and that God, who had seemed to approve of his
judgment three times over, alone could save him. But he
asked a final question.

** How will you kill him 1 " he asked.

" Oh,'' said Cadoudal, " he will be killed ; I do not care
anything about the method."

One of the two men who had brought the supper-table
entered just then.

" Brise-Bleu," said Cadoudal, " tell Coeur-de-Roi that I
want to speak to him for a moment."

Two minutes afterwards the Breton stood before the

"Coeur-de-Roi," asked Cadoudal, "did you not tell me
that the assassin Thomas Milliere was at Roche-Bernard V

" I saw him enter it, side by side with a Republican,
who did not seem to feel very much pleasure at bis

" Did you not add that he was followed by his
guillotine 1 '*

" I told you that his guillotine was following between
two cannon, and I think that if the cannon could have
rolled away from him, they would have done it all alone."

"What precautions does Milliere take in the towns
which he inhabits 1 "

" He has around him a special guard ; the streets lead-


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ing to his house are barricaded ; and he always has a pair
of pistols within reach of his hand/'

*^ In spite of this guard, in spite of this barricade^ in
spite of these pistols, do you agree to reach him ) "

" I agree to do it, General.'*

^' Because of his crimes I have condemned this man.
He must die I "

"Ah,'* cried Coeur-de-Roi, "the day of justice has
come ! "

" Will you execute my order, Coeur-de-Roi 1 "

'*I will execute it, General"

"Go, Coeur-de-Eoi ; take as many men as you want;
employ any stratagem which you like, — but reach him
and kill him."

" If I should die, General — "

" Make your mind easy. The cur^ of Leguemo will
say enough Masses for you, so that your poor soul will not
remain in Purgatory. But you will not die, Coeur-de-

" Well, well, General, one can ask no more than Masses.
I have a plan."

*<When willyougol"


" When will he be dead 1 "

" To-morrow."

" Go ; and let three hundred men be ready to follow me
in half an hour."

Coeur-de-Roi went out as quietly as he had entered.

** You see," said Cadoudal, "these are the men whom I
command. Is your First Consul as well served as I, Mon-
sieur de MontreveH"

" By some, yes."

" Well, with me it is not a few, — it is everybody."

Ben6dicit^ entered and cast an inquiring look at


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" Yes/' he replied, nodding his head.

Benedicite went out.

" You did not see any one on your way here ? " asked

"No one."

" I have sent for three hundred men to be here in half
an hour. They will be here. If I had asked for five
hundred, a thousand, or two thousand, they would have
been ready as promptly."

" But," said Roland, " you have, in numbers at least,
limits which you cannot exceed."

" Would you like to know the extent of my forces 1
It is a very simple matter ; but I shall not tell you my-
self, for you would not believe me. But wait, and you
shall listen." He opened a door and called : " Branche-
d'Or ! "

Two seconds later Branche-d'Or appeared.

" This is my major-general/' said Cadoudal, laughing.
" He fulfils for me the ofl&ce which General Berthier fills
for the First Consul. Branche-d'Or I "

" General ! "

** How many men are scattered along the road between
Roche-Bernard and this place, — I mean the road which
this gentleman came over just now 1 "

" Six hundred on the moors of Arzal, six hundred on
the heaths of Marzen, three hundred at P6aule^ and
three hundred at Billiers."

"Total, eighteen hundred. How many are there be-
tween Noyal and Muzillaci"

" Four hundred."

" Twenty-two hundred. How many are there between
here and Vannes ? "

" Fifty at Theix, three hundred at la Trinity, six hun-
dred between la Trinity and Muzillac."


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" Thirty-two hundred. And from Amhon to Leguerno 1 "

" Twelve hundred."

"Forty-four hundred. How many in this very city,
around me, in the houses, gardens, and cellars f "

** Five or six hundred, General.**

** Thanks, Branche-d'Or." He made a sign with his
head, Branche-d'Or went out, " You see," said Cadoudal,
simply, " there are ahout five thousand men. Well, with
these five thousand men, all helonging to the region, who
know each tree, each stone, each bush, I can make war
upon the hundred thousand men whom the First Consul
threatens to send against me."

Roland smiled.

" Yes, — you think that is putting it rather strong 1 "

*' I think you are boasting a little, General .*'

'^ No, for I have the whole population as an extra force.
One of your generals cannot make a movement without
my knowing it ; he cannot send a message without my
surprising it ; he cannot find a refuge where I will not
pursue him. The very laud is royalist and Christian. If
there were no inhabitants, it would speak and say to me,
* The Blues passed here, and are concealed there,' But at
last you are about to judge of it."


" We are going to make an expedition to a place six
leagues from here. What time is itl"

Both young men drew out their watches at the same
time. " A quarter of twelve," they said.

" Good ! " returned CadoudaL " Our watches mark the
same hour, and that is a good sign. Perhaps one day our
hearts will be as nearly in accord as our watches."

" You were saying. General — "

" I was saying that it is a quarter of twelve. Colonel,
and that at six o'clock, before daylight, we must be seven
leagues from here. Do you need any rest 1 "


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" Yes ; you may sleep an hour.**

" Thanks ; but there is no need of it.'*

'' Then we will start as soon as you like.*'

" And your men 1 "

" Oh, my men are ready."

<* Where are they r'


** I would like to see them.*'

" You will see them/'


" When you like. Oh, my men are very discreet, and
they do not show themselves unless I make a sign to them
to do so."

*'So that if I desire to see them — '*

" You will say so to me. I will make a sign, and they
will show themselves."

" Let us go, General"

"Let us go."

The two young men wrapped themselves in their cloaks
and went out. At the door Koland ran against a little
group of &ve men. These five men had on the Eepublican
uniform. One of them had upon his sleeves a sergeant's

•' What is that 1 " asked Roland.

" Nothing," replied Cadoudal, laughing.

"But these men, what are theyl"

" Coeur de Roi and his men, who are starting on the
expedition that you know about."

" Then they intend, by means of these uniforms — "

" Oh, you shall know everything, ColoneL I have no
secrets horn you." And turning towards the group he
said: " Coeur de Roi ! "

The man whose sleeves were ornamented with the


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gold lace stepped out of the group and came towards

** Did you call me, General 1 '* he asked.

" Yes. I want to know your plan."

" Oh, it is a very simple one."

" Let me judge of it."

" I will take this paper — " Coeur de Roi showed a
large envelope sealed with a red seal, which had doubtless
contained some Eepublican order that had been surprised
by the Chouans. *^ I shall say to the sentinels, * Here is
an order from the general of division.' I shall enter the
first station, and ask them to tell me which house belongs
to the citizen commissioner. They will point it out to me,
and I will thank them ; for we must always be polite. I
shall come to the house and find there a second sentinel,
and I shall tell him the same story that I told the first.
I shall go up or down to citizen Milli^rf^, according to
whether he lives in the garret or cellar. I shall enter
without any difficulty, for you understand I shall be carry-
ing an order from the general of division. I shall find
him in his private office or elsewhere ; I shall give him
my paper, and while he unseals it I shall kill him with
this dagger which is concealed in my sleeve.**

" Yes, but you and your men ] "

" Oh, we shall be in God's care. We are defending his
cause, and he will look out for us."

** Well ; you see, Colonel, there is nothing difficult about
it," said Cadoudal. " To horse I Good luck, Coeur de

"Which of the two horses shall I takel" asked

" It makes no difference ; one is as good as the other,
and each one carries an excellent pair of pistols of Eng-
lish make."


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"All loaded]"

" And well loaded, ColoneL That is something which
I trust to no one."

" Then let us go.'*

The two young men mounted their horses and took the
road to Vannes, Cadoudal serving as guide to Roland, and
Branche d'Or, the major-general of the army, as Cadoudal
had called him, marching twenty steps behind. When
they had reached the extremity of the village, Roland
looked along the road, which extends almost in a straight
line from Muzillac to la Trinity. The road, entirely hare,
seemed to be perfectly deserted. They went thus for
about half a league. At the end of this half league Ro-
land asked, —

" But where the devil are your men 1 "

" At our right, at our left, before us, and behind us."

** Oh, that is a good joke ! " said Roland.

** It is no joke, Colonel. Do you think that I am mad-
man enough to risk myself thus without scouts 1 "

" You told me, I think, that if I wanted to see your
men I had only to say so to you."

"That is what I said."

" Very well, I should like to see them."

" All, or only a part of them ] "

"How many did you say you were to take with

** Three hundred."

" Well, I should like to see one hundred and fifty."

"Halt! "said Cadoudal.

Bringing his two hands to his mouth, Cadoudal imitated
first the hooting of the screech-owl, and then the cry of
the owl ; but he turned to the right for the hooting, and
to the left for the other. Almost instantly, from the sides
of the road, human forms could be seen moving. Each


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leaped the ditch which separated the road from the fields,
and came and stood on hoth sides of the horses.

"Who commands on the right 1" asked CadoudaL

'' I, Moustache/' replied a peasant, approaching.

" Who commands on the left ) " repeated the general.

" I, Chante-en-Hiver," replied another peasant, drawing

" How many men have you, Moustache 1 "

« One hundred.**

'*llow many men have you, Chante-eu-Hiver 1 '*


" One hundred and fifty in all, then 1 " asked Cadoudal.

" Yes," replied the two Breton chiefs.

" Do you make it out so. Colonel 1 " asked Cadoudal,

" You are a magician, General ! "

" No, I am only a poor peasant like themselves ; hut I
command a troop in which each brain keeps account of
what it does, and each heart beats for the two great prin-
ciples of this world, — religion and loyalty." Then
turning towards his men, he asked : " Who commands the
advance guard 1 "

" Fend-l'Air," replied the two Chouans.

** And the rear guard 1 "

" La Giberne."

"Then we can continue quietly on our wayl"

" Ah, General, just as if you were going to Mass in
your own village church I "

" Then let us go on. Colonel," said Cadoudal to Roland.
And turning towards his men, he said : *' You may go,
my good fellows."

At the same instant each man leaped the ditch and dis-
appeared. For a few moments the rustling of branches in
the thickets and the sound of steps in the underbrush
could be heard ; then all was silent.


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** Well,*' asked Cadoudal, ** do you think that with such
men I have any need to fear your Blues, however hrave
they may be ] "

Roland uttered a sigh. He was entirely of Cadoudal's

They continued to advance. About a league from la
Trinite they saw in the road a black speck, which rapidly
grew larger. When it had become more distinct it sud-
denly seemed to pause.

"What is thatr* asked Eoland.

** As you see," replied Cadoudal, " it is a man."

" Of course ; but who is this man 1 "

" You may have guessed by the rapidity of his advance
that he is a messenger."

" Why has he stopped 1 "

** Because he has seen us, and does not know whether
to advance or draw back.**

" What is he going to do?"

" He is waiting to decide."


** A signal."

" And will he answer the signal 1 "

" He will not only answer it, but he will obey it. Do
you want him to come, or do you want him to go back,
or do you want him to go to one side ? "

'* I should like to have him come forwards, as that is
the best way to learn the news which he bears."

Cadoudal imitated a cuckoo's notes with such perfec-
tion that Eoland looked around him.

« It is I/* said Cadoudal. " Do not look for it."

" Then the messenger is going to come 1 "

" He is not going to come, he is coming."

In fact, the messenger was approaching rapidly* In a
few seconds he was near his generaL


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"Ah," said the latter, "is it you, Monte-H-FAssaut T '

The general leaned over. Monte-^-rAssaut said a few
words in his ear.

" Yes, B^n^dicit^ has already told me/' said CadoudaL
Then, turning towards Roland, he said : " In a quarter
of an hour a very important event will take place in the
village of la Trinity, which you should witness. Let us

Setting the example, he put spurs to his horse ; and
Eoland followed him. When they reached the village
they could distinguish a multitude moving ahout the place
by the light of their pine torches. The cries and the
movements of this multitude did in fact announce some

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