La Vendée eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 646 pages of information about La Vendée.

“Indeed I was, Monsieur, for a year and eight months.”

“Never mind now, Auguste, you can tell the gentleman by and bye; but, as I was saying, M. Henri was left all but alone on the southern bank of the river—­there were, perhaps, twenty with him altogether—­not more; and there were as many hundreds hunting those twenty from day to day.”

“And you were one of them, Chapeau?”

“I was, Monsieur.  My wife here remained with her father in Laval; he was a crafty man, and he made the blues believe he was a republican; but, bless you, he was as true a royalist all the time as I was.  Well, there we were, hunted, like wolves, from one forest to another, till about the middle of winter, we fixed ourselves for a while in the wood of Vesins, about three leagues to the east of Cholet, a little to the south of the great road from Saumur.  From this place M. Henri harassed them most effectually; about fifty of the old Vendeans had joined him, and with these he stopped their provisions, interrupted their posts, and on one occasion, succeeded in getting the despatches from Paris to the republican General.  We. were at this work for about six weeks; and he, as he always did, exposed himself to every possible danger.  One morning we came upon two republican grenadiers; there were M. Henri, two others and myself there, and we wanted immediately to fire upon them; but M. Henri would not have it so; he said that he would save them, and rushed forward to bid them lay down their arms; as he did so, the foremost of them fired, and M. Henri fell dead without a groan.”

“And the two men—­did they escape?”

“No, neither of them,” said Chapeau; and for a moment, a gleam of savage satisfaction flashed across his face; “the man who fired the shot had not one minute spared him for his triumph; I had followed close upon my master, and I avenged him.”

“And where was his young wife all this time?”

“She was with Madame de Lescure, in Brittany; and so was Mademoiselle Agatha; they were living disguised almost as peasants, at an old chateau called Dreneuf; after that they all escaped to Spain; they are both still alive, and now in Poitou; and I am told, that though they have not chosen absolutely to seclude themselves, they both pass the same holy life, as though they were within the walls of a convent.”

It was long before Chapeau discontinued his narrative, but it is unnecessary for us to follow farther in the sad details which he had to give of the loss of the brave Vendean leaders.  The Prince de Talinont, Charette, Stofflet, Marigny, all of them fell:  “And yet,” said Chapeau, with a boast, which evidently gave him intense satisfaction, “La Vendee was never conquered.  Neither the fear of the Convention, nor the arms of the Directory, nor the strength of the Consul, nor the flattery of the Emperor could conquer La Vendee, or put down the passionate longing for the return of the royal family,

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La Vendée from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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