Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

66

the evening before, Monsieur le Sous-Pré- I became officers; those who knew somefet of Sarrebourg had come himself to ap- thing of war, like Mariet and Werner, point the officers of the National Guard. were privates, or at the most sergeants. This is what I had learnt at the Vacheron All this showed me that Cousin George brewery, where I had stopped, leaving my was right in saying that we should be drivcart outside at the corner of the • Trois en like beasts, and that our chiefs were void Pigeons."

of common sense. Everybody was talking about our vic- Looking at all these people coming and tory at Sarrebrück, especially those cuiras- going, the time passed away. About eight siers who were emptying bottles by the o'clock, as we were hungry, and I wished hundred, to allay the dust of the road. to keep my boy with me as long as I could They looked quite pleased, and were say- I sent for a good salad and sausages, and ing that war on a large scale was begin- we were eating together, with full hearts ning again, and that the heavy cavalry to be sure, but with a good appetite. But would be in deinand. It was quite a a few moments after the retreat, just when pleasure to look on them, with their red the cuirassiers were going to camp out, ears, and to hear them rejoic ng at the and their officers, heavy and weary, were prospect of meeting the enemy soon. going to rest in their lodgings, a few

In the midst of all these swarms of peo- bugle notes were sounded in the place ple, of servants running, citizens coming d'armes, and we heard a cry — " To horse ! and going, I could have wished to see to horse !" Jacob; but where was I to look for him ? Immediately all was excitement. А At last I recognized a lad of our village despatch had arrived — the officers put on Nicolas Maisse — the son of the wood-their helmets, fastened on their swords, turner, our neighbour, who immediately and came out running through the gate undertook to find him. He went out, of Germany. Counterances changed ; and in a quarter of an hour Jacob ap- every one asked, “What is the meaning peared.

of this?" The poor fellow would embrace me. The At the same time the police inspector tears came into my eyes.

came up; he had seen my cart, and cried, • Well now,” said I, “ sit down. Are you Strangers must leave the place — the pretty well ?

gates are going to be closed.” “I had rather be at home," said he. Then I had only just time to embrace

“Yes, but that is impossible now; you my son, to press Nicolas' hand, and to start must have patience.”

at a sharp gallop for the gate of France. I also invited yonng Maïsse to take a The drawbridge was just on the rise as I glass with us, and both complained bitter- passed it — five minutes after I was gally that Mathias Heitz, junior, had been loping along the white high-road by moonmade a lieutenant, who knew no more light, on the way to Metting. Outside of the science of war than they did, on the glacis, there was not a sound ; and who now had ordered of Kuhn, the the pickets had been drawn, and the tailor, an officer's uniform, gold-laced two regiments of cavalry were on the road up to the shoulders. Yet Mathias was to Saverne. a friend of Jacob's. But justice is jus- I arrived home late - everybody was tice.

asleep in our village; nobody suspected This piece of news filled me with indig- what was about to happen within a nation : what should Mathias Heitz be week. made an officer for? He had never learnt anything at college; he would never have been able to earn a couple of liards — The whole way I thought of nothing whilst our Jacob was a good miller's ap- but the cuirassiers. This order to march prentice.

immediately appeared to me to betoken no It was abominable. However, I made no good; something serious must have ocremark, I only asked if Jean Baptiste curred: and as, upon the stroke of eleven, Werner, who had a few days before joined I was putting my horses up, after having the artillery of the national guard, was an put my cart under its shed, the idea came officer too?

into my head that it was time now to hide Then they replied angrily that Jean my money. I was bringing back from Baptiste Werner, in spite of his African Saverne sixteen hundred livres: this heavy and Mexicay campaigns, was only a gun- leathern purse in my pocket was perhaps ner in the Mariet battery, behind the pow- what reminded me. I re'nembered what der magazines. Those who knew nothing cousin George had said about Ualan; and

[ocr errors]

66

other scamps of that sort, and I felt a cold, I let down the box, and laid it down level, shiver come over me.

first stamping soil down upon it with my Having, then, gone upstairs very softly, heavy shoes, then gravel, then large I awoke my wife : Get up, Catherine.” stones, then sand; the mud would cover “ What is the matter?

all over of itself; there is always plenty “Get up: it is time to hide our money." of mud in a mill-stream. “ But what is going on? ”

After this I came out again covered • Nothing. Be quiet - make po noise – with mud. I shut down the dam, and the Grédel is asleep. You will carry the water began to rise. About three o'clock basket: put into it your ring and your at the dawn of day the sluice was almost ear-rings, everything that we have got. full. I could have begun grinding again; You hear me! I am going to empty the and nobody would ever have imagined ditch, and we will bury everything at the that in this great whirling stream, nine bottom of it."

feet under water and three feet under Then, without answering, she arose. ground, lay a snug little square box of oak,

I went down to the mill, opened the mounted with iron, with a good padlock back-door softly, and listened. Nothing on it, and more than four thousand livres was stirring in the village; you might inside. I chuckled inwardly, and said: have heard a cat moving. The mill had “Now let the rascals come!” stopped, and the water was pretty high. And Catherine was well pleased too. I lifted the milldam, the water began to But about four, just as I was going up to rush, boiling, down the gulley; but our bed again, comes Grédel, pale with alarm, neighbours were used to this noise even in crying: “Where is the money? their sleep, so all remained quiet.

She had seen the cupboard open and the Then I went in again, and I was busy basket empty. Never had she had such a emptying into a corner the little box of tright in her life before. Thinking that oak in which I keep my tools — the pincers, her marriage-portion was gone, her ragged the hammer, the screwdriver, and the hair stood upon end, she was as pale as a nails, when my wife, in her slippers, came sheet. “ Be quiet,” I said, “ the money is downstairs. She had the basket under her in a safe place.” arm, and was carrying the lighted lantern. “ Where?I blew it out in a moment, thinking :

“ It is hidden." “Never was a woman such a fool.”

“ Where?Downstairs I asked Catherine if every- She looked as if she was going to seize thing was in the basket.

me by the collar, but her mother said to “Yes."

her: “ That is no business of yours.” “Right. But I have brought from Then she become furious, and said, that Saverne sixteen hundred francs : the if we came to die, she would not know wheat and the flour sold well.”

where to find her marriage-portion. I had put some bran into the box; The quarrel annoyed me, and I said to everything was carefully laid in the her: “We are not going to die; on the bottom; and then I put on a padlock, and contrary, we shall live a long while yet to we went out, after having looked to see if prevent you and your Jean-Baptiste from all was quiet in the neighbourhood. The inheriting our goods." sluice was already almost empty; there And thereupon I went to bed, leaving were only one or two feet of water. I Grédel and her mother to come to a settlecleared away the few stones which kept ment together. the rest of the water from running out, All I can say is that girls, when they and went into it with my spade and pick-have got anything into their heads, beaxe as far as just beneath the dam, where come too bold with their parents, and all I began to make a deep hole; the water the excellent training they have had ends was hindering me, but it was flowing still. in nothing. Thank God, I had nothing to

Catherine, above, was keeping watch: reproach myself with on that score, nor sometimes she gave a low “ Hush !” mother either. Grédel had had four times

Then we listened, but it was nothing as many blows as Jacob, because she the mewing of a cat, the noise of the run- deserved it on account of her wanting to ning water -- and I went on digging. If keep everything, putting it all into her any one had had the misfortune to sur- own cupboard, and saying, “ There, that's prise us, I should have been capable of mine!" doing him a mischief. Happily no one Yes, indeed, she had had plenty of corcame; and about two o'clock in the morn- rection of that kind: but you cannot beat ing the whole was three or four feet deep.' a girl of twenty, you cannot correct girls

[ocr errors]

at that age ; and that was just my misfor-| pleased them, everything that helped to tune. It ought to go on for ever! deceive people — like that peaceful plébisWell, it can't be helped.

cite -- was truth! She upset the house and the mill from Let us change the subject : the thought top to bottom, she visited the garden, and of these things turns me sick! her mother said to her, “ You see, we have Michel went away, and all that day got it in a safe place; since you cannot might be noticed a stir of excitement in find it the Uhlans won't.”

our village; men coming and going, woI remember that just as we were going men watching, people going into the wood up to sleep, that day, the 5th of August, each with a bag, spade and pickaxe; early in the morning, Catherine and I had stables clearing out; a great movement scen Cousin George in his char-à-bancs with faces full of care, and I have always coming down the valley of Dosenheim, and thought that at that moment, every one it seemed to us that he was out very early. was hiding, burying anything he could The village was waking up; other people hide or bury. I was sorry I had not betoo were going to work; I lay down, and gun to sell my corn sooner, when my about eight o'clock my wife woke me to cousin had cautioned me a week before ; tell me that the postman, Michel, was but my duties as mayor had prevented there. I came down, and I saw Michel me; we must pay for our honours. I had standing in our parlour with his letter-bag still at least four cart-loads of corn in my under his arm. He was thoughtful, and barn - now where could I put them ? told me that the worst reports were And the cattle, and the furniture, the bedabroad; that they were speaking of a ding, provisions of every sort ? Never great battle near Wissembourg, where we will our people forget those days, when had been defeated ; that several main- every one was expecting, listening, and tained that we had lost ten thousand men, saying: “We are like the bird upon the and the Germans seventeen thousand, but twig. We have toiled, and sweated, and that there was nothing certain, because it saved for fifty years, to get a little propwas not known whence these rumours pro- erty of our own; to-morrow shall we have ceeded, only that the commanding officer anything left ? And next week, next of Phalsbourg, Taillant, had proclaimed month

shall we not be starving to that morning that the inhabitants would death? And in those days of distress, be obliged to lay in provisions for six shall we be able to borrow a couple of weeks; and, naturally, such a proclama- liards upon our land, or our house ? Who tion set people a-thinking, and they said : will lend to us ? And all this on account “ Have we a siege before us? Have we of whom? Scoundrels who have taken us gone back to the times of the great retreat in. and downfall of the first Emperor ? Ah! if there is any justice above, as Ought that for ever to end in the same every honest man believes, these abominafashion?

ble beings will have a heavy reckoning to My wife, Grédel and I, stood listening pay. So many miserable men, women, to Michel with lips compressed, without children await them there; they are there interrupting him.

to deinand satisfaction for all their suffer“ And you, Michel,” said I, when he had ings. Yes, I believe it. But they – oh! done,“ what do you think of it all ?” they believe in nothing! There are in

“ Monsieur le Maire, I am a poor post- deed dreadful brigands in this world ! man; I want my place; and if my five All that day was spent thus in weariness hundred francs a year were taken from and anxiety. Nothing was known. We me, what would become of my wife and questioned the people who were coming children?

from Dosenheim, Neuviller, or from furThen I saw that he considered our pros-ther still, but they gave no answer but pects were not good. He handed me a this : “ Make your preparations ! The letter from Monsieur le Sous-Préfet - it enemy is advancing ! was the last — telling me to watch false And then my stupid fool of a deputy, reports; that false news should be severely Placiard, who for fifteen years did nothing punished, by order of our préfet, Monsieur but cry for tobacco licenses, stamp offices, Podevin.

promotion for his sons, for his son-in-law, We could have wished no better than and even for himself – a sort of beggar that the news had been false! But at who spent his life in drawing up petitions that time, everything that displeased the and denunciations — he came into the mill, sous-préfets, the préfets, the ministers, and saying, “ Monsieur le Maire, every thing the Emperor, was false, and everything that is going on well — ça marche — the enemy

1

are being drawn into the plain; they are bourg, and that they were there quietly coming into the net. To-morrow we shall bathing in the Lauter, and washing their hear that they are all exterminated, every clothes, right in front of fifty thousand one!”

Germans, hidden in the woods, without And the municipal councillors, Arnold, mentioning eighty thousand more on our Frantz Sépel, Baptiste Dida, the wood-right, who were only waiting for a good monger, came crowding in, saying that the opportunity to cross the Rhine. They had enemy must be exterminated, that fire been posted, as it were, in the very jaws must be set to the forest of Haguenau to of a wolf, which had only to give a snap roast them, and so on! Every one had to catch them every one and this had his own plan. What louts men can be ! not failed to take place!

But the worst of it was when my wife, The Germans had surprised our small having learnt from Michel the proclama- army corps the morning before; fierce entions in the town, went up into our bacon counters had taken place in the vines stores, to send a few provisions to Jacob; around Wissembourg ; our men were short and she perceived our two best hams were of artillery; the Turcos, the light-armed missing, with a cheek, and some sansages men, and the line had fought like lions, which had been smoked six weeks.

one to six; they had even taken eight guns Then you should have seen her flying in the beginning of the action; but Gerdown the stairs, declaring that the house man supports coming up in heavy masses was full of thieves; that there was no had at last cut them to pieces; they had trusting anybody; and Grédel crying bombarded Wissembourg, and set fire to louder than she, that surely Frantz, that the town; only a few of ours had been thief of a Badener, had made off with able to retreat to the cover of the woods them. But mother had visited the bacon- of Bitche going up the Vosse. It was room a couple of days after Frantz had said that a general had been killed, and left; she had seen that everything was that villages were lying in ruins. straight; and her wrath redoubled.

It was at Bouxviller that my cousin had Then said Grédel that perhaps Jacob, heard of this disaster, some of the light before leaving home, had put the hams horsemen having arrived the same eveninto his bag with all the rest ; but

ing. There was also a talk of deserters, screamed, " It is a falsehood! I should as if soldiers, after being routed, without have seen it. Jacob has never taken any- knowledge of a woody country full of thing without asking for it. He is an mountains, going straight before them to honest lad.”

escape from the enemy, should be deThe clatter of the mill was music com-nounced as deserters. This is one of the pared to this uproar. I could have wished abominations that we have seen since that to take to flight.

time. Many heartless people preferred About seven my cousin came back upon crying out that these poor soldiers had dehis char-à-bancs. He was returning from serted to giving them bread and wine : it Alsace ;

and I immediately ran into his was more convenient and cheaper. house to hear what news he had. George, “Now,” said George, “ all the army of in his large parlour, was pulling off his Strasbourg, and that of the interior, who boots and putting on his blouse when I should have been in perfect order, fresh, entered.

rested, and provided with everything at “ Is that you Christian ?” said he. “Is Haguenau, but the rear of which is still your money safe?

lagging behind on the railways as far as “ Yes."

Luneville; all these are running down “ Very well. I have just heard fine there, to check the invasion. Fourteen news at Bouxviller. Our affairs are in regiments of cavalry, principally cuirassplendid order! We have famous gen- siers and chasseurs, are assembling at erals! Oh, yes! here is rather a queer Brumath. Something is expected there; beginning; and, if matters go on in this MacMahon is already on the heights of way, we shall come to a remarkable end." Reichshoffen, with the commander of en

His wife, Marie Anne, was coming in from gineers, Mohl of Haguenau, and other staff the kitchen; she laid upon the table a leg of officers, to select his position. As fast as miutton, bread, and wine. George sat the troops arrive they extend before down, and, whilst eating, told me that two Niederbronn. I heard this from some regiments of the line, a regiment of Tur- people who were flying with wives and cos, a battalion of light infantry, and a children, their beds and other chattels on regiment of light horse, with three guns, carts, as I was leaving Bouxviller about had been posted in advance of Wissem-'three o'clock. They wanted to reach the fort of Petite Pierre ; but hearing that the , worked up his materials so skilfully, that fort is occupied by a company, they have his book is quite as attractive to the genmoved towards Strasbourg. I think they eral public, as to those who are within the were right. A great city, like Strasbourg, veil of the temple of science. If we were has always more resources than a small to find any fault with these volumes, it place, where they have only a few pali- would be that the connecting statements sades stuck up to hide fifty men.”

as to the matter showing Faraday's progThis was what Cousin George had learnt ress year by year are somewhat stiff and that very day.

formal, although we must confess that they Hearing him speak, my first thought are given with great clearness and brevity, was to run to the mill, load as much fur- and very materially assist the reader in niture as I could upon two waggons, and understanding the succession of events. drive at once to Phalsbourg; but my For a fuller account of Faraday's discovcousin told me that the gates would be eries we must refer to Dr. Tyndall's little closed; that we should have to wait out- book. This is written in his well-known side until the re-opening of the barriers; style, which renders even the most aband that we must hope that it would be struse things clear to those who have made time enough to-morrow.

but little advance in scientific attainments. Acording to him, the great battle would | However, the ordinary antipathy to exerpot be fought for two or three days yet, cising thought will, we fear, make this because a great number of Germans had book “caviare tu the general,” although yet to cross the river, and that they would, the personal reminiscences interspersed no doubt, be opposed. It is true that the aniong the dry details of scientific pursuits fifty thousand men

who had made them- are most interesting. selves masters of Wissembourg might de- Michael Faraday was one of the four scend the Sauer; but then we should be children of a journeyman blacksmith, who nearly equal, and it was to the interest of lived for some time at Newington and the Germans only to fight when they were afterwards in rooms over a coachhouse three to one. George had heard some of- in Jacob's Well Mews, near Manchester ficers discussing this point at the inn, in Square, in London. His education conthe presence of many listeners, and he sisted of little more than the rudiments of believed, according to this, that the 5th reading, writing, and arithmetic at a army corps, which was extending in the common day school. His hours out of direction of Metz, by Bitche and Sarre-school were passed at home and in the guemines, under the orders of General de streets. At the present day, when everyFailly, would have time to arrive and sup- body's attention is so much engrossed by port MacMahon. I thought so, too. It the subject of education, it is perhap3 seemed a matter of course.

superfluous to notice what great results were produced by this simple instruction in the three R's. Still it is well to remember that but for this Faraday would never

have been able to educate himself by readFrom The Westminster Review.

ing the books in his master's shop, and FARADAY.

would probably have remained a bookbindWe are much indebted to Dr. Bence er all bis life. Jones for his delightful volumes. Notwithstanding his modest disclaimer as to his

“ Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air!". fitness for the task, we think that no one could be more eminently qualified to write At the age of thirteen he was engaged the life of Faraday, than one who was a as errand boy by a Mr. Riebau, a bookmost intimate friend of his, and who, seller, of No. 2, Blandford Street. llere moreover, is so thoroughly able to appre- one of his duties was to carry round the ciate the great advances made by him in the papers that were lent out by his master. region of science. And our expectation His kindness to newspaper boys throughhas not been disappointed. The life of a out his life is a pleasing trait of his characman of science is frequently of interest to ter. “I always feel,” he said, a tendermen of science only. But Dr. Jones has ness for those boys, because I once carried been so fortunate in his subject and has newspapers myself.” The next year, 1805,

he was bound

an apprentice without * 1. The Life and Letters of Faraday. By Dr. premium to Mr. Riebau for seven years.

2. Faradny as a Discoverer. By J. TYNDALL. Faraday was not one to be contented with New Edition. London:1.70.

learning in this long time the arts of book

66

« ZurückWeiter »