“Well, I don’t know,” said the other, “but I am sure he was eight feet high; didn’t you see his back as he ran into the house.”
Soon after the mysterious entry into the house, Henri left it, and went out to the fields beyond the town, where most of the men were still resting after the long fatigue of the night; much discontentment had been expressed by them, and many had already declared their intention of returning home. Every measure had been taken to comfort them; they had been supplied with provisions and tobacco from the town, and every effort had been used to renew their hopes and courage. Cathelineau had passed the greater portion of the morning among them, going from one quarter to another, assuring the men that their loss was most trifling, that their future victory was certain—it was nearly in vain; they declared that they could do nothing without ‘Marie Jeanne.’
Henri now went among them, and as he did so, Jacques Chapeau proceeded through the town, imploring all the men who were in it, to go out and join the rest of the army, as a holy man had been sent direct from Rome by the Pope, to tell the people of La Vendee what it was their duty to do.
Henri did not say quite so much as this, but he told the men that a friend of theirs—a bishop of the Church—one especially appointed by the King before he died, to provide for the spiritual comfort of his poor people in the west of France, was now among them, and would soon address them. He directed them to stay where they were till this man of God should be among them, and he besought them strictly to follow any advice which he might give them.
Every one in the town flocked out to the army—men, women and children were soon in the fields, and the report was spread abroad through them all, that the mysterious carriage which had rattled through the streets of Montreuil, had brought to that favoured town a holy bishop, sent expressly by their father the Pope to give good advice to his dear children in La Vendee.
About four o’clock in the afternoon the stranger walked among them. Father Jerome walked on his right hand, and Cathelineau on his left. M. de Lescure followed immediately behind them. He was a very tall man—nearly seven feet high; and his peculiar costume added in appearance to his real height—he was dressed in the gorgeous robes of a bishop of the Church of Rome as he would appear at the altar of his cathedral when about to celebrate high mass; he had his mitre on his head and his crozier in his hand; and as he walked through the crowd, the men and women everywhere kneeled down and bowed their heads to the earth; the people were delighted to have so holy a man among them—to see a bishop in La Vendee. The bells were all rung, and every sign of joy was shewn; the peasants were already beginning to forget their defeat of the previous night.