“Well, my girl, may heaven take care of you!” said he, kissing his daughter, “and of you too, Jacques,” and he extended the caress to his son-in-law. “I won’t say but what I wish you were a decent shoe-maker, or—”
“Oh, laws, father,” said Annot, “I’m sure I should never have had him, if he had been.”
“The more fool you, Annot; but I wish it all the same; and that Annot had had a couple of cows to mind, and half-a-dozen pigs to look after; but it’s too late to think of that now; they’ll soon have neither a cow nor a pig in La Vendee; and they’ll want neither smiths nor shoemakers; however, my boy, God bless you! God bless you! ladies and gentlemen, God bless you all!” and then the smith completed the work he had commenced, and got as tipsy as he could have done, had his daughter been married in Poitou.
We have told our tale of La Vendee; we have married our hero and our heroine; and, as is usual in such cases, we must now bid them adieu. We cannot congratulate ourselves on leaving them in a state of happy prosperity, as we would have wished to have done; but we leave them with high hopes and glorious aspirations. We cannot follow the Vendeans farther in their gallant struggle, but we part from them, while they still confidently expect that success which they certainly deserved, and are determined to deserve that glory, which has since been so fully accorded to them.
In the foregoing pages much fiction has been blended with history, but still the outline of historical facts has been too closely followed to allow us now to indulge the humanity of our readers by ascribing to the friends we are quitting success which they did not achieve, or a state of happiness which they never were allowed to enjoy. It would be easy to speak of the curly haired darlings, two of course, who blessed the union of Henri Larochejaquelin and Marie de Lescure; and the joy with which they restored their aged father to the rural delights of his chateau at Durbelliere. We might tell of the recovery of that modern Paladine, Charles de Lescure, and of the glorious rebuilding of the house of Clisson, of the ecclesiastical honours of Father Jerome, and of the happy marriage, or with more probability, the happier celibacy of the divine Agatha. But we cannot do so with propriety: facts, stern, untoward, cruel facts, stare us in the face, and would make even the novelist blush, were he, in total disregard of well-thumbed history, to attempt so very false a fiction.
Still it is necessary that something should be said of the subsequent adventures of those with whom we have for a while been so intimate, some short word spoken of the manner in which they adhered to the cause which was so dear to them. We cannot leave them in their temporary sojourn at Laval, as though a residence there was the goal of their wishes, the end of their struggle, the natural and appropriate term of their story; but as, unfortunately, their future career was not a happy one, we will beg the reader to advance with us at once over many years; and then, as he looks back upon La Vendee, through the softening vista of time, the melancholy termination of its glorious history will be lees painful.