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movements were connected with the intended escape of the king. Two regiments had been secured, one of which formed the garrison of Rochelle; 80,000 men would have been ready at the signal, and the general disposition of the country was calculated upon with well-founded certainty. They were to have joined another confederacy, organized in like manner, who would have taken possession of the roads about Lyons, and entered Provence from Savoy, to put themselves at the head of the royalist armies. Drouet, the post-master of Varennes, prevented the success of a plan which would have accelerated the civil war, but might not improbably have prevented the most atrocious crimes of the French Revolution. Thus disappointed, the nobles of Poitou took the fatal resolution of emigrating;-it is to this emigration more than any other single cause, that the subsequent evils must be imputed. Lescure, unwillingly, as it appears, went with the current: he returned in consequence of his grandmother's illness, and learning, from diplomatic authority, that there was no likelihood of immediate war, and that he might remain in France during the winter the interval was chosen for his marriage! Above all other people the French seem to possess a faculty of putting off the thought of misery, and of escaping from its pressure when it
This inauspicious marriage was effected at the end of October, 1791, with emigration and civil war before his eyes! In the ensuing February, the new married couple prepared to quit the country, as almost all of their rank had done. They stopped at Paris on their way; there the queen saw the marchioness, and learning from her her husband's purpose, desired that he would remain in France. This happened immediately after the decree for confiscating the property of the emigrants; and the marchioness, fearful that her husband's character might suffer, (for his intention was known to the party, and he stood pledged to its performance,) entreated the Princess de Lamballe to represent this to the queen. The queen's answer was, 'I have nothing further to say to M. de Lescure; it is for him to consult his conscience, his duty and his honour: but he ought to remember, that the defenders of the throne are always in their place when they are near the king.' His reply when this was repeated to him marks his character-'I should become vile in my own eyes,' said he, if I could hesitate a moment between my reputation and my duty. I trust I shall be enabled to prove, that if I remain, it is neither from motives of fear nor of avarice; but if this should not happen, if my orders should for ever remain unknown, I shall have sacrificed my honour to the king, but I shall only have done my duty.' M. Bernard de Marigny, a kinsman and friend of Lescure's, had accompanied him to
Paris, meaning to partake his fortunes; seeing that his friend was continually at the court, he expressed his determination to follow his conduct, without requiring to be informed of the reasons by which it was governed. This confidence procured for him a similar order to remain in France. Marigny became afterwards one of the most distinguished leaders in La Vendée.
On the 9th of August, it was reported that the Tuileries would be attacked the following day. Lescure would have gone to pass the night there, and be ready to bear part in its defence, for which purpose he always went secretly armed; but M. de Montmorin came from the palace to assure him they were well informed that. the attack would not be made till the 12th, and that for the present all was safe, nothing more being intended by the revolutionists than an attempt upon the arsenal, which would be resisted by the national guards. About midnight the stir began; and Lescure saw from the window of his hotel, the armed force of the section assemble, with as little noise as possible. Between two and three in the morning, the tocsin was rung, and Lescure and Marigny apprehending that the court had been deceived, went out to repair to their posts. It was too late-all the avenues were guarded. They were separated in the crowd-Marigny was borne away by the press of the assailants into the midst of the attack, and must have borne a part in it if he had not escaped by carrying away a woman who was wounded by his side. After the fatal events of this day, they were no longer in safety at their hotel; so they disguised themselves and sought shelter at the house of an old servant, in a different part of the town. Victorine's father and mother went first and arrived safely; she herself was in the seventh month of her pregnancy, and followed with her husband, whom she prevailed upon to lay aside his pistols, lest he should be recognized for a Knight of the Poignard, the appellation by which the adherents of the royal family were marked for destruction. When they reached the Champs Elysées, a woman seized Lescure's arm and besought him to protect her from a fellow who meant to murder her; she hung upon one arm, his wife upon the other, and the SansCulotte, who was completely drunk, came up and told his story. He wanted to go and kill some Swiss, he said, and had asked this woman the way to the Tuileries; instead of answering him she had run away, and therefore she was an aristocrat: he had killed some of that breed already in the course of the day, and this would be one more. Lescure, with his usual coolness, told the man he was right, and that he himself was going to the Tuileries: the place where they were was lonely, and he could easily have overpowered this wretch, if the two women, whom fear had deprived of all reason, had not clung to him. Nothing therefore could be
done but to amuse the man, deceive him, and get rid of him; and in this he succeeded, at last, by appointing a place where they should meet when he had put his wife in safety, noticing her situation, and saying she was a poor coward. Satisfied with this arrangement, the fellow departed, but not without repeatedly expressing a suspicion that they were aristocrats themselves, and a great inclination to murder the woman. It was night: the barracks of the Tuileries were on fire-cannon and musketry were still heard at times, the streets were filled with wretches armed with pikes, covered with blood, and crying out for more. Many or most of them were drunk. In the midst of this infernal crowd, Victorine," completely bewildered with her fear, repeated mechanically the exclamations which she heard on all sides-Illuminate!--Break the windows!-Vivent les Sans-Culottes !
This was but a prelude to the scene through which Victorine was destined to pass. They effected their escape by means of Thomassin, the libertine tutor of Lescure; this man was a revolutionist, but he loved his former pupil, and being a commissary of police, and a captain in his section, obtained passports for the family, and escorted them himself to Clisson, their chateau in that part of Poitou, which in the country itself is called Le Pays du Bocage, and is now so well known in history by the name of La Vendée. But for Thomassin's assistance they could not have effected their journey, and according to all probability would have been massacred in Paris. Humanly speaking, death would have been better than the long-sufferings to which they were reserved; but those sufferings were the means of calling forth virtues which might else never have been unfolded, and those virtues have their reward here and hereafter.
The Bocage is an appellation of local fitness which has been disregarded in the political divisions of the country. Under the old monarchy it made part of Poitou, of Anjou, and of the Comté Nantais; under the revolutionary distribution, it lies in the four departments of the Lower Loire, the Maine and Loire, the two Sèvres, and La Vendée. The nature of the country and the character and circumstances of the inhabitants were alike peculiar; the whole surface consists of low hills and narrow valleys, scarcely a single eminence rises above the other sufficiently to give a commanding view, and there is no extent of level ground. These valleys are watered with innumerable brooklets flowing in different directions, some towards the Loire, some making their way to the sea, others winding till they reach the Plain, a slip of land on the south border of the Bocage, where they form small rivers.-Such is the general appearance of the country. Along the Sèvre toward Nantes it assumes a wilder character; farther east, toward the
Loire, the valleys expand, and the declivities fall in wider sweeps. There are few forests, but the whole region has the woody appearance of a Flemish landscape. The enclosures are small and always surrounded with quick hedges, in which trees stand thickly; these trees are pollarded every fifth year, a stem of twelve or fifteen feet being left standing. Only one great road, that from Nantes to Rochelle, traverses the country. Between this, and the road from Tours to Bordeaux by way of Poitiers, an interval of nearly 100 miles, there are only cross roads of the worst description. The bye-ways are like those in Herefordshire, where the best account which a traveller hears is, that there is a good bottom when you come to it. They are narrow passes worn in a deep soil between high hedges, which sometimes meet over head; miry in the wet season, and rugged in summer; upon a descent, the way usually serves both for a road and the bed of a brook. One of these ways is like another; at the end of every field you come to a cross-road, and the inhabitants themselves are bewildered in this endless laby. rinth if they go a few miles from their own home,
The Bocage includes about seven-ninths of the Vendean country. There are two other natural divisions; the Plain, which has already been slightly mentioned, and which took no direct part in the war; and the Marsh, or the sea coast, a track intersected with innumerable ditches and canals, where the inhabitants bear all the external marks of sickliness and misery: yet have they enjoyments of their own; and charms might be found in the region itself, were it not for its insalubrity. M. Berthre de Bourniseaux, a Vendean, compares his native country to a vast body covered with arteries-but without a heart; without roads, without navigable rivers, without any means of exportation-it had no trade to stimulate, no centre to enliven, no cities to civilize it. The largest towns contained not more than from 2 to 3000 inhabitants: the villages were small and at wide intervals, and the country was divided into small farms, rarely any one exceeding 600 francs in rent. The chief wealth was in cattle, and the landholders usually divided the produce with the tenant. A property which consisted of five and twenty or thirty such farms was thought considerable. There was therefore no odious inequality in La Vendée, and the lord and vassals were connected by ties which retained all that was good of the feudal system, while all that was evil had past away. The French writers lament the unimproved state of the people, their ignorance, their prejudices and their superstitions; but no where in France were the peasantry more innocent or more contented, no where have they shown themselves capable of equal exertions and equal heroism. There was little pride among the gentry, and no ostentation; they dwelt more upon their estates than was usual
in other provinces, and thus for the most part escaped the leprous infections of Paris. Their luxury lay in hospitality, and the chase was their sole amusement; in this the peasantry had their share. When the wolf, the boar, or the stag was to be hunted, the Curé gave notice in the church, and the country turned out at the time and place appointed, every man with his gun, with the same alacrity and obedience which they afterwards displayed in war. On Sundays the peasantry danced in the court of the Chateau, and the ladies of the family joined them. The lords seem to have been their own stewards; they went about their farms, talked with their tenants, saw things with their own eyes, shared in the losses as well as the gains, attended at the weddings and drank with the guests. It was not possible that revolutionary principles could mislead a people thus circumstanced.
There are historical grounds for supposing that the Vendeans are descended from the Huns, Vandals and Picts who subdued the western parts of France; their form and complexion support this opinion, giving strong indications that they are neither of Gallic nor Frank descent. Perhaps nothing distinguishes them more from Frenchmen in general than their remarkable taciturnity, unless it be the purity of manners for which their countrymen extol them. Drunkenness is the sin which most easily besets them; worse vices are said to have been almost unknown to them before the civil wars, and the Vendeans in general were said to be good fathers, good sons and good husbands. Few quarrels occurred among them, and no law-suits; they had a wholesome proverb, that no saint had ever been a lawyer, and their disputes therefore were always referred and easily accommodated by friendly arbitration. Among their sports, there are two which seem deserving of notice. Commune would challenge commune to a trial of strength, like that which concludes the game of Steal-clothes in the West of England-a line is drawn, an equal number of picked men lay hold of a long rope, and the party which pulls the other out of its own ground is victorious. The other sport is of an intellectual character. He who kills a pig usually invites his neighbours to a feast, which is called les rilles; after the supper, when their spirits are all raised by wine, some one of the company mounts the table and delivers a satirical sermon. La manière de faire l'amour tient un peu dans ce pays de celle des chats, says M. Bourniseaux. The men pinch the girls, untie their aprons, and steal kisses, for all which the girls box their ears in return. At marriages, the bridemaids present the bride with a distaff and spindle, to remind her of her domestic duties; and with a branch of thorn, ornamented with ribands and fruit or sweetmeats, emblematical of the sorrows as well as pleasures of the state which she is about to enter: at the