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108

TENTH OF AUGUST.

Queen herself not to go farther; and thought it his duty to obey. The summer was passed in the greatest anxieties and agitations; and at last came the famous Tenth of August. Madame de L. assures us, that the attack on the palace was altogether unexpected on that occasion, and that M. Montmorin, who came to her from the King late in the preceding evening, informed her, that they were perfectly aware of an intention to assault the royal residence on the night of the 12th; but that, to a certainty, nothing would be attempted till then. At midnight, however, there were signs of agitation in the neighbourhood; and before four o'clock in the morning, the massacre had begun. M. de Lescure rushed out on the first symptom of alarm to join the defenders of the palace, but could not obtain access within the gates, and was obliged to return and disguise himself in the garb of a Sansculotte, that he might mingle with some chance of escape in the croud of assailants. M. de Montmorin, whose disguise was less perfect, escaped as if by a miracle. After being insulted by the mob, he had taken refuge in the shop of a small grocer, by whom he was immediately recognised, and where he was speedily surrounded by crowds of the National Guards, reeking from the slaughter of the Swiss. The good-natured shopkeeper saw his danger, and, stepping quickly up to him, said with a familiar air, “Well, cousin, you scarcely expected, on your arrival from the country, to witness the downfal of the tyrant — Here, drink to the health of those brave assertors of our liberties." He submitted to swallow the toast, and got off without injury.

The street in which M. Lescure resided, being much frequented by persons of the Swiss nation, was evidently a very dangerous place of retreat for royalists; and, soon after it was dark, the whole family, disguised in the dress of the lower orders, slipped out, with the design of taking refuge in the house of an old femme-de-chambre, on the other side of the river. M. de Donnison and his wife went in one party; and Madame Lescure, then in the seventh month of her pregnancy, with her husband, in another. Intending to cross by the lowest of the bridges,

FIDELITY OF FRENCH DOMESTICS.

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they first turned into the Champs-Elysées. More than a thousand men had been killed there that day; but the alleys were now silent and lonely; though the roar of the multitude, and occasional discharges of cannon and musketry, were heard from the front of the Tuilleries, where the conflagration of the barracks was still visible in the sky. While they were wandering in these horrid shades, a woman came flying up to them, followed by a drunken patriot, with his musket presented at her head. All he had to say was, that she was an aristocrat, and that he must finish his day's work by killing her. M. Lescure appeased him with admirable presence of mind, by professing to enter entirely into his sentiments, and proposing that they should go back together to the attack of the palace — adding only, " But you see what state my wife is in — she is a poor timid creature—and I must first take her to her sister's, and then I shall return here to you.” The savage at last agreed to this, though, before he went off, he presented his piece several times at them, swearing that he believed they were aristocrats after all, and that he had a mind to have a shot at them. This rencontre drove them from the lonely way; and they returned to the public streets, all blazing with illuminations, and crowded with drunken and infuriated wretches, armed with pikes, and in many instances stained with blood. The tumult and terror of the scene inspired Madame de L. with a kind of sympathetic frenzy; and, without knowing what she did, she screamed out, Vive les Sansculottes ! à bas les tyrans ! as outrageously as any of them. They glided unhurt, however, through this horrible assemblage; and crossing the river by the Pont Neuf, found the opposite shore dark, silent, and deserted, and speedily gained the humble refuge in search of which they had ventured.

The domestic relations between the great and their dependants were certainly more cordial in old France, than in any other country — and a revolution, which aimed professedly at levelling all distinction of ranks, and avenging the crimes of the wealthy, armed the hands of but few servants against the lives or liberties

110

M. DE L.

TAKES REFUGE IN LA VENDÉE.

of their masters. M. de Lescure and his family were saved in this extremity by the prudent and heroic fidelity of some old waiting-women and laundresses - and ultimately effected their retreat to the country by the zealous and devoted services of a former tutor in the family, who had taken a very conspicuous part on the side of the Revolution. This M. Thomasin, who had superintended the education of M. Lescure, and retained the warmest affection for him and the whole family, was an active, bold, and good-humoured man—a great fencer, and a considerable orator at the meetings of his section. He was eager, of course, for a revolution that was to give every thing to talents and courage; and had been made a captain in one of the municipal regiments of Paris. This kind-hearted patriot took the proscribed family of M. de Lescure under his immediate protection, and by a thousand little stratagems and contrivances, not only procured passports and conveyances to take them out of Paris, but actually escorted them himself, in his national uniform, till they were safely settled in a royalist district in the suburbs of Tours. When tumult or obstruction arose on the journey, M. Thomasin leaped from the carriage, and assuming the tone of zeal and authority that belonged to a Parisian officer, he harangued, reprimanded, and enchanted the provincial patriots, till the whole party went off again in the midst of their acclamations. From Tours, after a cautious and encouraging exploration of the neighbouring country, they at length proceeded to M. Lescure's château of Clisson, in the heart of the district afterwards but too well known by the name of La Vendée, of which the author has here introduced a very clear and interesting description.

A tract of about 150 miles square, at the mouth and on the southern bank of the Loire, comprehends the scene of those deplorable hostilities. The most inland part of the district, and that in which the insurrection first broke out, is called Le Bocage; and seems to have been almost as singular in its physical conformation, as in the state and condition of its population. A series of

When any

DESCRIPTION OF THAT COUNTRY.

111

detached eminences, of no great elevation, rose over the whole face of the country, with little rills trickling in the hollows and occasional cliffs by their sides. The whole space was divided into small enclosures, each surrounded with tall wild hedges, and rows of pollard trees; so that, though there were few large woods, the whole region had a sylvan and impenetrable appearance. The ground was mostly in pasturage; and the landscape had, for the most part, an aspect of wild verdure, except that in the autumn some patches of yellow corn appeared here and there athwart the green enclosures. Only two great roads traversed this sequestered region, running nearly parallel, at a distance of more than seventy miles from each other. In the intermediate space, there was nothing but a labyrinth of wild and devious paths, crossing each other at the extremity of almost every field — often serving, at the same time, as channels for the winter torrents, and winding so capriciously among the innumerable hillocks, and beneath the meeting hedgerows, that the natives themselves were always in danger of losing their way when they went a league or two from their own habitations. The country, though rather thickly peopled, contained, as may be supposed, few large towns; and the inhabitants, devoted almost entirely to rural occupations, enjoyed a great deal of leisure. The noblesse or gentry of the country were very generally resident on their estates; where they lived in a style of simplicity and homeliness which had long disappeared from every other part of the kingdom. No grand parks, fine gardens, or ornamented villas; but spacious clumsy châteaus, surrounded with farm offices and cottages for the labourers. Their manners and way of life, too, partook of the same primitive rusticity. There was great cordiality, and even much familiarity, in the intercourse of the seigneurs with their dependants. They were followed by large trains of them in their hunting expeditions, which occupied a great part of their time. Every man had his fowlingpiece, and was a marksman of fame or pretensions. They were posted in various quarters, to intercept or drive back the game; and were thus

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LA VENDÉE

-CHARACTER OF ITS POPULATION.

trained, by anticipation, to that sort of discipline and concert in which their whole art of war was afterwards found to consist. Nor was their intimacy confined to their sports. The peasants resorted familiarly to their landlords for advice, both legal and medical; and they repaid the visits in their daily rambles, and entered with interest into all the details of their agricultural operations. They came to the weddings of their children, drank with their guests, and made little presents to the young people. On Sundays and holidays, all the retainers of the family assembled at the château, and danced in the barn or the court-yard, according to the season. The ladies of the house joined in the festivity, and that without any airs of condescension or of mockery; for, in their own life, there was little splendour or luxurious refinement. They travelled on horseback, or in heavy carriages drawn by oxen; and had little other amusement than in the care of their dependants, and the familiar intercourse of neighbours among whom there was no rivalry or principle of ostentation.

From all this there resulted, as Madame de L. assures us, a certain innocence and kindliness of character, joined with great hardihood and gaiety,- which reminds us of Henry IV. and his Bearnois, - and carries with it, perhaps on account of that association, an idea of something more chivalrous and romantic — more honest and unsophisticated, than any thing we now expect to meet with in this modern world of artifice and derision. There was great purity of morals accordingly, Madame de L. informs us, and general cheerfulness and content throughout the whole district ;— crimes were never heard of, and lawsuits almost unknown. Though not very well educated, the population was exceedingly devout;—though theirs was a kind of superstitious and traditional devotion, it must be owned, rather than an enlightened or rational faith. They had the greatest veneration for crucifixes and images of their saints, and had no idea of any duty more imperious than that of attending on all the offices of religion. They were singularly attached also to their curés; who were almost

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