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fellow received twelve sabre wounds on the same spot; another, after killing a hussar, took up his wounded brother in his arms, placed him on the horse, and sent him out of the city; then returned to the combat; killed another hussar, and mounted himself on the prize. The republicans, irritated at the resistance they experienced, butchered all that came across them in that night of confusion! All order or discipline was lost in the darkness; and they hacked and fired at each other, or wrestled and fell, man to man, as they chanced to meet, and often without being able to distinguish friend from foe. An eminent leader of the insurrection was trampled under foot by a party of the republicans, who rushed past him to massacre the whole family where he lodged, who were all zealous republicans. The town was set on fire in fifty places, and was at last evacuated by both parties, in mutual fear and ignorance of the force to which they were opposed. When the day dawned, it was finally reoccupied by the insurgents.

273.-THE WAR IN LA VENDÉE.

PART III.

After some more successes, the insurgent chiefs found their armies sorely reduced, and their enemies perpetually increasing in force and numbers. M. de la Charette, upon some misunderstanding, withdrew his corps; and all who looked upon the present moment could not fail to perceive that disasters of the most fatal nature were almost inevitably approaching. A dreadful disaster, at all events, now fell on their fair historian. M. de L., in rallying a party of his men near Tremblaye, was struck with a musket ball on the eyebrow, and instantly fell senseless to the ground. He was not dead however; and was with difficulty borne through the route which was the immediate consequence of his fall. His wife, entirely ignorant of what had happened, was forced to move along with the retreating army; and in a miserable little village was called at midnight, from her bed of straw, to hear mass performed to the soldiers by whom she was surrounded. The solemn ceremony was interrupted by the approaching thunder of artillery, and the perpetual arrival of fugitive and tumultuary parties, with tidings of evil omen. Nobody had the courage to tell this unfore tunate woman the calamity that had befallen her, though the priest awakened a vague alarm by solemn encomiums on the piety of M. de L., and the necessity of resignation to the will of Heaven. Next night she found him at Chardron, scarcely able to move, or to articulate; but suffering more from the idea of her having fallen into the hands of the enemy, than from his own disasters.

The last great battle was fought near Chollet, where the insurgents, after a furious and sanguinary resistance, were at last borne down by the multitude of their opponents, and driven down into the low country on the banks of the Loire. M. de Bonchamp, who had always held out the policy of crossing this river, and the advantages to be derived from uniting themselves to the royalists of Brittany, was mortally wounded in this battle; but his counsels still influenced their proceedings in this emergency; and not only the whole débris and wreck of the army, but a great proportion of the men and women and children of the country, flying in consternation from the burnings and butchery of the government forces, flocked down in agony and despair to the banks of this great river. On gaining the heights of St. Florent, one of the most mournful, and at the same time most magnificent, spectacles, burst upon the eye. Those heights form a vast semicircle; at the bottom of which a broad bare plain extends to the edge of the water. Near a hundred thousand unhappy souls now blackened over that dreary expanse, -old men, infants, and women, mingled with the half-armed soldiery, caravans, crowded baggage-wagons and teams of oxen, all full of despair, impatience, anxiety, and terror. Behind were the smokes of their burning villages, and the thunder of the hostile artillery ;-before, the broad stream of the Loire, divided by a long low island, also covered with the fugitives—twenty frail barks plying in the stream-and, on the far banks, the disorderly movements of those who had effected the pasage, and were waiting there to be rejoined by their companions. Such, Madame de L. assures us, was the tumult and terror of the scene, and so awful the recollections it inspired, that it can never be effaced from the memory of any of those who beheld it; and that many of its awe-struck spectators have concurred in stating that it brought forcibly to their imaginations the unspeakable terrors of the great Day of Judgment! Through this dismayed and bewildered multitude, the disconsolate family of their gallant general made their way silently to the shore ; M. de L, stretched, almost insensible, on a wretched litter,—his wife, three months gone with child, walking by his side—and, behind her, her faithful nurse, with her helpless and astonished infant in her arms. When they arrived on the beach, they with difficulty got a crazy boat to carry them to the island ; but the aged monk who steered it would not venture to cross the larger branch of the stream—and the poor wounded man was obliged to submit to the agony of another removal.

At length they were landed on the opposite bank; where wretchedness and desolation appeared still more conspicuous. Thousands of helpless wretches were lying on the grassy shore, or roaming about in search of the friends from whom they had been divided. There was a general complaint of cold and hunger; and nobody in a condition to give any directions, or administer any relief. M. de L. suffered excruciating pain from the piercing air which blew

upon his feverish frame; the poor infant screamed for food, and the helpless mother was left to minister to both, while her attendant went among the burnt and ruined villages, to seek a drop of milk for the baby. At length they got again in motion for the adjoining village of Varades,-M. de L., borne in a sort of chair upon the pikes of his soldiers, with his wife and the maid. servant walking before him, and supporting his legs, wrapped up in their cloaks. With great difficulty they procured a little room in a cottage swarming with soldiers-most of them famishing for want of food, and yet still so mindful of the rights of their neighbors, that they would not take a few potatoes from the garden of the cottage, till Madame de L. had obtained leave of the proprietor.

M. de Bonchamp died as they were taking him out of the boat; and it became necessary to elect another commander. M. de L. roused himself to recommend Henri de Larochejaquelein; and he was immediately appointed. When the election was announced to him, M. de L. desired to see and congratulate his valiant cousin. He was already weeping over him in a dark corner of the room, and now came to express his hopes that he should soon be super. seded by his recovery.

“No," said M. de L., “that, I believe, is out of the question : but, even if I were to recover, I should never take the place you have now obtained, and should be proud to serve as your aide-de-camp." The day after, they advanced towards Rennes. M. de L. could find no other conveyance than a baggage-wagon; at every jolt of which he suffered such anguish, as to draw forth the most piercing shrieks, even from his manly bosom. After some time an old chaise was discovered : a piece of artillery was thrown away to supply it with horses, and the wounded general was laid in it-his head being supported in the lap of Agatha, his mother's faithful waiting-woman, and now the only attendant of his wife and infant. In three painful days they reached Laval;-Madame de L. frequently suffering from absolute want, and sometimes getting nothing to eat the whole day but one or two sour apples. M. de L. was nearly insensible during the whole journey. He was roused but once, when there was a report that a party of the enemy were in sight. He then called for his musket, and attempted to get out of the carriage, addressed exhortations and reproaches to the troops that were flying around him, and would not rest till an officer in whom he had confidence came up and restored some order to the detachment. The alarm turned out to be a false one.

At Laval they halted for several days; and he was so much recruited by the repose, that he was able to get for half an hour on horseback, and seemed to be fairly in the way of recovery, when his excessive zeal, and anxiety for the good behavior of the troops, tempted him to premature exertions, from the consequences of which he never afterwards recovered. The troops being all collected and refreshed at Laval, it was resolved to turn upon their pursuers, and give battle to the advancing army of the republic. The conflict was sanguinary, but ended most decidedly in favor of the Vendeans. The first encounter was in the night, and was characterized with more than the usual confusion of night attack. The two armies crossed each other in so extraordinary a manner, that the artillery of each was supplied, for a part of the battle, from the caissons of the enemy'; and one of the Vendean leaders,

VOL. IV.

after exposing himself to great hazard in helping a brother officer, as he took him to be, out of a ditch, discovered, by the next flash of the cannon, that it was an enemy—and immediately cut him down. After day-break the battle became more orderly, and ended in a complete victory. This was the last grand crisis of the insurrection. The way to La Vendée was once more open; and the fugitives had it in their power to return triumphant to their fastnesses and their homes, after rousing Brittany by the example of their valor and success. M. de L. and Henri both inclined to this course ; but other counsels prevailed. Some were for marching on to Nantes—others for proceeding to Rennes—and some, more sanguinary than the rest, for pushing directly for Paris. Time was irretrievably lost in these deliberations; and the republicans had leisure to rally, and bring up their reinforcements, before anything was definitively settled.

In the meantime, M. de L. became visibly worse, and one morning, when his wife alone was in the room, he called her to him, and told her that he felt his death was at hand ;—that his only regret was for leaving her in the midst of such a war, with a helpless child, and in a state of pregnancy. For himself, he added, he died happy, and with humble reliance on the Divine mercy ;-but her sorrow he could not bear to think of;—and he entreated her pardon for any neglect or unkindness he might ever have shown her. He added many other expressions of tenderness and consolation; and, seeing her overwhelmed with anguish at the despairing tone in which he spoke, concluded by saying that he might perhaps be mistaken in his prognosis; and hoped still to live for her. Next day they were under the necessity of moving forward; and, on the journey, he learned accidentally from one of the officers the dreadful details of the Queen's execution, which his wife had been at great pains to keep from his knowledge. This intelligence seemed to bring back his fever,-though he still spoke of living to avenge her. "If I do live," he said, "it shall now be for vengeance only—no more mercy from me!" That evening, Madame de L., entirely overcome with anxiety and fatigue, had fallen into a deep sleep on a mat before his bed : and, soon after, his condition became altogether desperate. He was now speechless, and nearly insensible ;—the sacraments were ad

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