As Chapeau had said, great preparations were made at Durbelliere for the coming campaign. The old Marquis had joined with his son in furnishing everything which their limited means would admit of, for the wants of the royalists. Durbelliere had become quite a depot; the large granaries at the top of the house were no longer empty; they were stored with sacks of meal, with pikes and muskets, and with shoes for the soldiers. Agatha’s own room looked like an apartment in a hospital; it was filled with lint, salves, and ointments, to give ease to those whom the wars should send home wounded; all the contents of the cellars were sacrificed; wine, beer, and brandy, were alike given up to aid the spirits of the combatants; the cattle were drawn in from the farms, and kept round the house in out-houses and barns, ready to be slaughtered, as occasion might require, an abattoir was formed in the stable yard, and a butcher kept in regular employment; a huge oven was built in an outhouse attached to the stables, and here bakers, from neighbouring parishes, were continually kept at work: they neither expected, or received wages; they, and all the others employed got their meals in the large kitchen of the chateau, and were content to give their work to the cause without fee or reward. Provisions, cattle, and implements, were also sent from M. de Lescure’s house to Durbelliere, as it was considered to be more central, and as it was supposed that there were still some republicans in the neighbourhood of Bressuire, whereas, it was well known that there were none in the rural districts; the more respectable of the farmers also, and other country gentlemen sent something; and oxen, sheep, and loads of meal; jars of oil, and casks of wine were coming in during the whole week before the siege of Saumur, and the same horses took them out again in the shape of bread, meat, and rations, to the different points where they would be required.
As soon as M. de Lescure had left home, on his recruiting service in the south of La Vendee, the ladies of his house went over to Durbelliere, to remain there till Henri Larochejaquelin should start for Saumur, and give their aid to Agatha in all her work. Adolphe Denot was also there: he, too, had been diligently employed in collecting the different sinews of wars; and as far as his own means went had certainly not begrudged them. There was still an unhappy air of dissatisfaction about him, which was not to be observed with any one else: his position did not content his vanity; the people did not talk of him as they did of Cathelineau, and Henri Larochejaquelin; he heard nothing of La Vendee relying on his efforts; the nanes of various men were mentioned as trustworthy leaders, but his own was never among them. De Lescure, Charette, d’Elbee, Stofflet, were all talked of; and what had they done more than he had; or what, indeed, so much: the two latter were men of low origin, who had merely shown courage in the time of need: indeed, what more had Cathelineau done; whereas, he had never failed in courage, and had given, moreover, his money, and his property; yet he felt that he was looked on as a nobody. Jacques Chapeau was almost of more importance.