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M. de Fromental et la guerre de Vendée - 1794 (2)  Texte en langue anglaise

Dans le précédent article «  M. de Fromental et la guerre de Vendée - 1794 », nous avons vu comment Jean-Baptiste-Pierre-Justin Fromental (1758-1799) a, en tant qu’officier républicain, sauvé la vie d’Eulalie Boguais qu’il a ensuite épousée.
Cette histoire apparaît effectivement véridique, selon les écrits de «  Une paroisse vendéenne sous la Terreur » en 1837 par Théodore de Quatrebarbes, même si elle sera romancée en 1848 par Emile Souvestre dans «  La chouannerie dans le Poitou ».

Mais il est encore plus surprenant de voir la presse catholique américaine reprendre, en 1896, une nouvelle de 1887, relatant la même histoire bien plus développée, pour édifier la jeunesse chrétienne de New-York. On y voit ainsi l'introduction de personnages fictifs, soit, comme dans le cas de Petronille Chevert, pour fustiger les mauvais sentiments républicains, soit, comme dans le cas du cousin chevalier vendéen, pour contrebalancer les bons sentiments de Fromental par ceux équivalents de la noblesse royaliste.

Copyright : D & J, SADLIER & CO. 1887.



If we are to believe an official dispatch written from Alencon in 1793 to the minister of war by citizen Moynault, commander of the forces, the mission with which the Committee of Public Safety had entrusted the conventional Garnier de Saintes was one of no small difficulty. It related to the organizing, in the department of the Sarthe, of the revolutionary government such as it had been decreed on the 10th of October; - "And," said Moynault in the declamatory language of the period, "Garnier will have trouble enough to find men to fill the vacant forts for the departments of Orne, Mayenne and Sarthe, are infested by fanaticism, aristocracy, and federalism."
Although it was in fact very true that the greater portion of the inhabitants of Mans were at heart attached to the ancient regime, it must nevertheless be allowed that the Revolution possessed at Mans, as in other towns of France, some zealous partizans, not alone among those who, without any fixed opinion of their own, are ever eager to build their private fortunes upon the ruins of the general prosperity, but even among men of honest principle who were either seduced by the high sounding words " fraternity" and " liberty," or carried away, unconsciously almost, by that paltry vanity which leads certain minds to envy the privileges of the higher classes.
Among the latter of these was an old bachelor named Chevert, who with his sister, a portly old spinster already past the meridian of life, inhabited a little dwelling in the Rue Basse.
They had inherited from their father, who carried on the business of a hosier in the Rue Petit-Pont-Neuf, a fortune of fifty thousand francs, scraped together by the daily profits of his trade ; but not content to enjoy this little treasure in peace, the brother and sister had given themselves up to projects of ambition which occupied their minds, to the absorption of every other idea. Mdlle. Petronille Chevert, brought up at school with young ladies of noble birth, among them, but not of them, had vainly dreamed of raising herself to an equality with them, and at fifteen years of age had registered a vow never to marry any one but a gentleman ; in consequence of which resolution, she was still single at fifty, no one suitable in her esteem, having as yet sought her hand, which unpardonable neglect had at length caused her to conceive an aversion for the higher classes altogether As for Chevert, the hobby which he complacently be strode, - his most ardent desire in short, - was to achieve the signal honor of being raised to the dignity of sheriff in his native city, which would at once have conferred upon him a position in the world, and the precious privilege of encircling his waist with a silken scarf trimmed with gold fringe. But lie had experienced numberless disappointments: he had had the pain and mortification of seeing Barbet des Granges and Pousset de la Voye preferred before him, and some years later the Advocate Delauney, till he had at length come to entertain profound disgust for a government which had been unable to recognize his merits, and he was therefore prepared to hail with enthusiasm the "rising sun of justice and liberty," - for thus he designated the decree of the assembly which renewed the establishment of the municipal administrations. His wounded ambition was still more revived when Garnier de Saintes seemed to have taken him into his friendly confidence, and even honored him at times with a fraternal pressure of the hand. Thus it was that the citizen Chevert passed for a zealous patriot when the report reached Mans that the Vendeans, after having seized upon Beauge and La Fleche, had put to the route a body of fifteen or sixteen thousand men whom Gen. Chabot had sent against then under Chapelain-Renaudin, leader of the National Guard.
This news, confirmed by numerous fugitives, had already caused the utmost alarm in the minds of citizen Chevert and his worthy sister, as well as in those of the civil and military authorities, when on the 10th of December, at nine o'clock in the morning, Mdlle. Petronille, while still at her toilet, saw her chamber door rudely burst open, and a man precipitate himself into her presence without the smallest explanation.
Shocked by the intruder's utter disregard of propriety, her first movement was a gesture of anger ; but recognizing her own brother in the pale and disordered personage who had thrown himself into an arm chair, and picturing to herself moreover that some great misfortune must have befallen them, her anger cooled, and forgetting the words of reproach which had risen to her lips, she ran to him hastily, and seizing his hand exclaimed :
"In the name of heaven, what has happened to you ?"
"We are lost!" murmured citizen Chevert, who could with difficulty pronounce a word, "the brigands are advancing rapidly, and by this evening perhaps will be masters of the town."
"Are you quite sure of what you say ?” demanded poor Petronille, growing pale in her turn.
"I am only too sure of it, since I heard the sad news from Gamier de Saintes himself, who came this moment to tell me ; and as unfortunately our political opinions are but too well known to our neighbors, we have everything to fear from the Whites, it they should enter the town as conquerors."
“We must fly, my brother, we must set out tbis very instant."
"All very easy to say, Petronille, but where are we to fly to ?"
"To Ballon, to the house of our cousin Grillot. We have, it is true, rather neglected him since the death of our father, because it was not very pleasant to have a shoemaker for a relation ; but now that we have a popular government, good republicans like ourselves should not look so closely into such things ; he will be flattered by our visit, and readily accord up hospitality if only in the hope of being remembered in our will."
"But how can we thus abandon all we possess to the rapacity of these brigands ?”
"Life is dearer than riches," replied Mdllle Petronille, who found a ready answer to every objection ; "besides we will carry away the greater part of our valuables."
Chevert suffered himself to be persuaded by this argument, and they set to work in haste to collect their money, papers, and jewels.
Already had their drawers been stripped of their contents, when a violent knocking was heard at the door; the servant hastened to open it, and a man, armed with a gun, entered the house.
"Look alive, neighbor," cried he in a loud voice, even before entering the chamber, "hast thou not heard the drum beat to arms ? The National Guard is assembling everywhere to fly to the succor of the country in danger ; I have called for thee as I passed better off than many others - we have guns and pistols; arm thyself and come !"
"Hang the busy meddler !" thought Chevert, whose face was blanched with terror. "I do not feel altogether well to-day," said he aloud. "I feel certain symptoms of the colic, and my sister was just persuading me to take some physic."
"It is a pretty time to talk of the colic, and taking physic, when the enemy is at the very gates ! Do you not perceive that it is a mere woman's subterfuge to detain you ? My wife, too, would fain have dissuaded me from taking up arms, but I sent her off and here I am. Zounds ! it is something to be a patriot in these days, and for my part I do not wish to see my native city given up to fire and sword, my house plundered, and my property destroyed."
"Oh ! Heaven ! citizen Boursel, do you really think us in such danger as all that ?" cried Petronille, changing color.
"That, and many other dangers beside. They say the rascals are frantic with rage since their habitations have been burnt down,"
"Heaven grant that they may not do the same by ours !"
"It is very likely to happen though.”
"But ought not the Government to protect us ! Of what use are the troops of the Republic ?"
"Just imagine, citizeness, that we have here at this moment only about a couple of hundred hussars, the remains of the battalion of Vincennes, and a battalion of young recruits who have never smelt powder; all this is quite insufficient for our protection, if the good patriots do not come to the succor as it is their bounden duty to do. Come, Chevert, art thou nearly ready ? Thy hesitation, man, inspires me with but a poor idea of thy patriotism.”
"One may be a good republican and yet have the colic," replied Chevert with a sullen air.
"Hum ! I very much doubt whether the citizen representative will be of the same opinion," growled the terrible neighbor ; " but I have already lost too much time in vain discourse ; once more, wilt thou come yes, or no?"
"I shall follow thee, of course," replied Chevert reflecting that formal refusal might perhaps cost him his life, or at all events hinder him from obtaining the honor to which he had so long aspired. "Besides this hateful man will not keep me always in his sight,” said he to himself in an under tone, " and I shall no doubt be able to find some means of escaping before the fighting begins."
Whilst making these heroic reflections, citizen Chevert was busily engaged in cleaning his gun, arming himself with his pistols and attaching to his girdle an old rusty sword.
"Forward !" cried he at length in a resolute tone, as though this warlike apparel had suddenly inspired him with some degree of bravery.
"What ! would you leave me all alone ! a poor defenceless woman!'' cried Petronille, half faint ing.
"Keep quiet, you goose, I shall not be long before I am back," whispered Chevert in her ear, pretending all the while to embrace her as though to bid her a last adieu ; “have Cocotte ready harnessed to the cart, and be prepared to set out at the first signal."
And with these words he followed his dreaded neighbor with a firm step.
The first care of Mdlle. Petronille, after the departure of the two National Guards, was to go down to the stable and order Cocotte to be supplied with a good feed of oats ; but judge of her grief when she learned from one of her servants, who was as terrified as herself, that under the pretext of requiring him for the "public service," two agents of the police had just been to fetch the poor beast, and had taken him unceremoniously away, together with the vehicle upon which the brother and sister had founded their hopes of safety. Citizeness Petronille no sooner heard these dismal tidings, than she carefully barricaded all the doors and windows, concealed in her palliasse the greater part of the things which she had at first resolved to carry away - then, at her wit's end, having exhausted all her resources, and no longer knowing what to think on the score of her own personal safety, she seated herself in her arm chair, and call ing her two servants to aid her as a body-guard, awaited in silence the course of events.


As citizen Boursel had truly said, four or five thousand were found but a small body for the defence of such a town as Le Mans ; but remembering that a decree of the Convention condemned every city which did not offer resistance to the royalists to be razed to the ground, Garnier de Saintes and General Chabot resolved to take immediate steps for checking the progress of the enemy.
The town of Le Mans, built in the form of an amphitheatre, on the left bank of the Sarthe, a little above the confluence of that river, with the Huisne, contained at the period of our story from nineteen to twenty thousand souls, and though not so extensive as at the present day, it covered nevertheless a good space of ground. In the centre of the town stood and still stands the Place des Halles, to which most of the streets converge. The Rue Basse, in which the house of citizeness Chevert was, led in one direction to this Place des Halles, by the street of the Minimes, and on the other by the cross-road of the Mission to the town of Pontlieue, on the road to La Fleche, by which the Royalist army was advancing.
General Chabot ordered a redoubt, armed with four pieces of cannon, to be thrown up first beyond this latter town; another redoubt furnished with chevaux de fries, planks thickly studded with nails, and other implements of warfare, was erected at the foot of the bridge and a hundred feet off, a piece of cannon worked by artillerymen defended the pass of the Mission.
At the same time two arches of the old bridge of Pontlieue were hastily broken down to avoid the responsibility of defending it ; the trees by the Abbey of Epau were felled to supply that place with temporary fortifications, and at Gue de Maulny two guns were placed, together with a handful of soldiers of the battalion of Vincennes, twenty-five hussars, and several companies of recruits from the district of Ferte.
About two o'clock in the afternoon the Vendeans appeared, and attacked the first redoubt with such impetuosity, that it was carried in less than a quarter of an hour. They then turned their charge full upon the main defences, whilst the recruits who formed the outposts, driven in and pursued sword in hand, retreated in disorder upon Pontlieue; here they were met by the Republican hussars who drove the unfortunate men back with their swords in order to force them to an engagement with the enemy, But the greater part of them plunged into the river, all cold and swollen as it was with the rains, rather than encounter the formidable adversary whose impetuous ardor overthrew all obstacles. In vain did citizen Desmerres, who commanded the city artillery, send his grape-shot like hail among this brave troop of heroes ; the Vendeans, scarcely arrested a moment by this murderous discharge, rushed like infuriated lions upon the second redoubt ; the hussars, terrified in their turn, fled in disorder, the foot soldiers laid down their arms and escaped, some into the town, others into the country ; the veterans who guarded Epau surrendered at the first summons ; the troops of the Gue de Maulny beat a hasty retreat by the way of the Greffier, before even they were attacked, and at three in the afternoon the triumphant army made its entry into the capital of Maine, which General Chabot, Garnier de Saintes and all the Republican authorities had prudently evacuated, carrying with them the money of the public coffers, and part of the registers of the administration.
In the meantime Mdlle Petronille, more dead than alive, awaited in unspeakable terror, which the sound of the cannon and incessant firing augmented every moment, the denouement of the drama, which was acting almost beneath her window.
“What will become of us?" cried she starting at every fresh explosion ; "and my brother not yet returned ! Heaven grant no harm has befallen him !"
" My opinion, Mademoiselle, is that the best thing we can do is to say our prayers," said the elder of the two servants, proceeding to kneel down in a corner of the room, with her chaplet in her hand.
Her companion followed her example. As for citizeness Chevert, since she had embraced republican principles with ardor, she had somewhat relaxed from the pious instructions of the good ladies by whom she had been educated, but in this critical moment, terror and alarm leading her instinctively back to the habits of her youth, she began to repeat mechanically the Litanies of the Blessed Virgin, intermingling each ejaculation with some more mundane entreaties. The whole formed a curious jumble of the sacred and the profane.
Meantime the sound of voices and of footsteps, like the roaring of the waves of the sea, was heard in the street.
"What is the matter now ?" cried she - and curiosity surmounting her fear, she half opened the window gently, and ventured to take a peep through the blinds. A strange spectacle presented itself to her view; she perceived an immense crowd of men, of women, of children, and of old men, walking on pell-mell, some with arms, others carrying all they had most precious upon their backs: it was like the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt. This was the Vendean army defiling through the Rue Basse in order to gain the Place des Halles and then disperse themselves over the town and seek that repose which a long and tedious march and perilous conflicts had rendered indispensable. This army, composed of more than sixty thousand souls, scarcely counted twenty-five thousand combatants. The brave fellows had no uniform, but the greater part of them wore the white cockade. The leaders were almost all at tired in a round vest and chamois pantaloons ; they wore hats of the time of Henri Quatre ornamented with white rosettes, and in some eases with the lily embroidered in gold. A scarf or white girdle formed the distinctive mark of the superior officers; their solitary flag white and embroidered with the fleurs-de-lis. The cavalry were not distinguished from the foot soldiers by any uniform, but the first who could obtain possession of an enemy's horse, mounted it and became a horse soldier immediately.
The procession lasted more than three hours, so great was the multitude of these poor people whom fire and sword had driven from their homes.
Mdlle. Petronille had not examined very narrowly into all this, for no sooner did she perceive the white cockades of the Vendean soldiers, than she retreated hastily from the window, and with an affrighted air, took several turns round her chamber, as though seeking a place of refuge, all the while exclaiming in a doleful tone :
"Brother ! Brother ! have you then abandoned me ?”
She then sank into a chair pale and motionless as a statue. A rude knock at the street door soon shook the whole house. Petronille sprung from her seat, and would fain have forbidden the door to be opened, but the words died upon her lips, and she again sank back upon her seat. She heard the servants withdrawing the bolts, then a manly and sonorous voice, in no way resembling that of Chevert, resounded through the passage, and numerous steps were heard ascending the staircase. In a moment all the evils with which the citizen Boursel had recently threatened his trembling neighbor, presented themselves to the imagination of Petronille, and thinking the time for some dreadful catastrophe had arrived, she ended by falling into a dead faint.


When Mdlle. Petronille had recovered her senses, her astonishment was extreme on seeing herself surrounded by three graceful young girls, who were supporting her with the tenderest compassion, whilst a lady of more mature age held a smelling bottle of rock crystal to her nose.
"Thank Heaven she is coming to herself," said the silvery voice of the prettiest of these young girls.
"How do you find yourself now ?" asked the stranger lady, whose countenance was a mixture of gentleness and dignity.
" Better, much better," replied Petronille, recovering her speech.
Then casting looks of terror around :
"Where am I ?" said she, "and who are you ?"
"Poor exiles, who crave your hospitality for a few days."
"You Vendeans ! oh that cannot be."
In fact nothing less resembled the ideal portrait which Mdlle. Petronille had drawn of those whom she in common with others designated as brigands, than the four charming beings who were surrounding her with their cares and attentions.
Mme. Boguais, as the elder lady of the party was named, was a woman of about thirty-six or forty years of age. Grief and anxiety had somewhat deadened the freshness of her complexion, and sharpened the outlines of her gentle features, but she still possessed a noble and distinguished air ; as for her daughters, a poet of the period would not have failed to compare them to the three graces, and their charms and beauty would hardly have rendered the comparison an exaggerated one. Rosalie, the eldest, was about twenty; Eulalie, the next, scarcely eighteen; and Celeste, the youngest of the three, but fifteen. They might have been likened, on seeing them gracefully grouped around their mother, to three half-opened rose buds surrounding a full blown rose which had bent beneath the storm.
"Calm yourself, Madame," said Rosalie, scarcely able to help smiling at the terror depicted in the countenance of Petronille, " the brigands will not do you any harm."
"You will be answerable for them, my charming young lady, will you not ? But now speak - command - all that I possess is at your service."
"We only ask for beds to rest in, for my poor daughters and I stand in great need of repose," said the mother, "and a little refreshment, for which we will willingly repay you."
"Do not mention that," replied Petronille, charmed with the moderation of her beautiful guests, and trusting that their presence would be a protection to her from the dangers she so much dreaded : " I am only too happy to place myself wholly at the service of noble ladies like you. Here, Jeanneton, Françoise, lay the table, bring some of the oldest wine, and prepare everything that we have of the best !"
Whilst Petronille was engaged in making preparations for the comfort of the strangers, the latter dried their garments, which were saturated with rain, at the fire, and warmed their benumbed limbs.
"Poor dear children, how tired you must be," said the mother.
"Not as much as you, mamma," replied Rosalie, " for we are more accustomed to walking. How fortunate it was, too, that our uncle succeeded in procuring a carriage for us; but for this I do not know how you would ever have performed such a journey on foot !"
"We would have made a sedan chair for you with our hands," said Eulalie.
Mme. Boguais smiled sorrowfully.
"It was enough for you to carry yourselves, young and weak as you are," said she.
"Oh ! mamma, you forget what strength filial affection bestows !"
The poor mother looked at her children with eyes streaming with tears, and opening her arms to the young girls who rushed simultaneously into them, she pressed them fervently to her heart.
Almost at the same instant a man with grey hair, wearing the white scarf of the Vendean officers, and the cross of St. Louis at his button-hole, appeared at the threshold of the door.
"Well! how do you get on here?" said he in that deep voice which had so strongly excited the apprehension of Mdlle. Petronille an hour before.
"Come and warm yourself, my dear uncle," cried Rosalie, " it is so comfortable in this room."
"What are they doing now, and is there any news ?" asked Mme. Boguais eagerly.
"Every one has endeavored to instal themselves as well as they could, some in one quarter, some in another," said the chevalier, seating himself by the fire ; in some of the houses sixty of our fellows have billeted themselves together."
"And have any precautions been taken for the safety of the army ?”
"Bah ! all the men in the town have taken to flight, and nothing is to be met with but women and children."
" Yes ! but the army of Westerman, which is always upon our heels ! They should, at all events, have organized guards to support and relieve the sentinels."
"You talk like a consummate general, my fair cousin; but how make the necessity of these wise measures understood by poor peasants, so overwhelmed with fatigue that they can think of nothing but obtaining a little rest ? They have performed prodigies of valor to-day, - they will do as much tomorrow, if need be. - but no human power would
keep them on duty in a guard-house while they can eat and sleep tranquilly in the houses of the town.”
"And for this unpardonable carelessness, we may perhaps be all surprised and massacred in the night."
“What would you have, my dear cousin ? the generals are powerless to help it."
"Then, Heaven protect and guard us ! And if it enters into the mysterious designs of God to let our holy cause be overthrown, may He take pity on our souls, and grant us in heaven that repose which we shall probably never more taste on earth ! For, shall I confess to you, all hope of success seems to abandon me at last ! I see misfortune enclosing us on all sides. We are in a circle, out of which we cannot pass, and which presses us closer and closer within its limits, and we cannot fail sooner or later to be ground to powder."
"The moment when we have just rendered ourselves masters, almost without a blow struck, of a large and beautiful town, in which we find abundance of provisions, is a strange one to choose for making such reflections !"
"Divine Providence can doubtless direct the course of events, so as to baffle all human foresight ; but, according to all probability, whither can this conquest, precious as it seems at the present moment, lead us ? Do you think the republicans will have us long at peace in this asylum ? The easier this town, open on all sides, has been to take, the more easily shall we be driven hence by a superior force. What will then become of us, decimated as we are by sickness, with no place strong enough to shelter us, and give our soldiers time to recover from their fatigues, with no fixed plan, and without any communication with the royalists of the other provinces ?"
"Well, mamma, we will die like martyrs, if we cannot live like faithful subjects!" exclaimed Eulalie
“All very fine talking, niece," said the chevalier, while the poor mother fixed upon her children eyes which seemed to say :
"It is on your account alone that I fear sufferings, danger, and death !"
"Besides," continued the chevalier, "with men like ours we may expect impossibilities, for prodigies are familiar to them. Only imagine, for instance, just now, at the attack on Pontlieue, one of our soldiers rushed in pursuit of about thirty republicans who were flying towards the woods of Fune ; he shot five, and brought back seven others whom he had succeeded in capturing.” [This extraordinary fact is cited in the report of the Society des Arts. The seven republicans who were made prisoners paid their ransom to the royalist soldier with sundry bottles of wine, which he made them quaff with him to the health of Louis the 17th.]
" Wonderful, indeed !" cried mother and daughters in a breath, while their gentle faces beamed with enthusiasm.
" And you have not heard either of the splendid combat of that noble Prince de Talmont, whom my little Celeste admired so much the other day ?"
"What has he done, now ?” asked the three sisters.
"This morning as we were quitting La Fleche, closely followed by Westerman, who pitilessly massacred every straggler he could lay hands on, the prince, at the head of a party of his cavalry, was riding in the rear of the army to protect its retreat, when a republican hussar, who recognized him by his white scarf, dared to challenge him at a distance with the point of his sabre. In a moment De Talmont detached himself from his troop ; 'I am with thee,’ cried he to the hussar, and immediately a singular combat worthy of the best age of chivalry commenced. The cavalry of both parties remained motionless with eyes stramed, watching the two champions whose swords crossed each other furiously. The weapons sparkled ; even the coursers, sharing the animosity of their masters, neighed and strove to bite each other. One of them did not obey quickly enough the behest of his rider - it was that of De Talmont - who was slightly wounded; but almost immediately with a vigorous stroke of the sabre, he felled his adversary's horse to the earth, and with a second blow, equally well directed, cleft his rider's head to the very shoulder blade."
"Oh! how dreadful!" said Celeste.
"On the contrary, magnificent !" replied the old chevalier," and I assure you both royalists and republicans mingled their plaudits and shouts of admiration at this brilliant passage of arms,"
At this moment, Mdlle. Petronille re-entered the apartment, and Mme. Boguais presented her cousin with that grace that distinguished all her actions, and the old royalist saluted his hostess less like a proud conqueror than as a courteous knight, who prides himself on showing respect to ladies of all parties.
"Supper is ready," said Petronille, making a profound obeisance ; "have the kindness to follow me into the dining-room."
Good news for famished creatures like us,"replied the chevalier," but I hope, Madame, that you will be good enough to render this repast still more agreeable by doing the honors of the table yourself," added he, offering her his hand.
“Oh!" murmured the elderly lady, enchanted with so much courtesy, and slily casting a scrutinizing glance on the still fresh countenance of the chevalier, and at the cross of St. Louis which glittered at his button-hole. "This brigand," thought she, "is more polite and amiable than all our sans-culottes put together. He is very good-looking, too, and cannot be much older than myself."
And, perhaps, the hopes and dreams of her youth were about to revive in her bosom, when all at once the recollection of Chevert, absent since the morning, recurred to her mind.
Though vain, selfish, and cowardly, Mdlle. Petronille had, nevertheless, a very sincere attachment to her brother, and the desire of hearing of him, and of rescuing him, perhaps from some great danger, overcoming every other feeling, she threw herself with all her might at the feet of the royalist, assuring him with tears in her eyes that she would never sit at table, and would remain in her present humble posture until she had obtained the pardon of Chevert who had been forced much against his will to take up arms against the Vendeans, and who was in all probability made prisoner, even supposing no greater harm had befallen him.
"Be calm, Madame,” answered the chevalier, employing all the force of his muscular arm to raise her ;
“if your brother is our prisoner, I will undertake to restore him to you speedily."
And forgetting the hunger and fatigue with which he must have been overpowered, the excellent man quitted the house in an instant, spite of the cold and continued rain, and returned in two hours accompanied by citizen Chevert, half dead with fright, and astonished at finding himself once more safe and sound beneath his own roof.


On the morrow, at daybreak, the Vendean leaden wearing their Henri Quatre hats, and decorated with the white scarf, the distinctive mark of command, visited every part of the town, and were only too well convinced of the impossibility of defending it against the numerous troops now in hot pursuit of them. The best thing to be thought of, therefore, was to abandon as soon as possible this brilliant but useless conquest, and again set in motion, cold and rainy as was the weather, those poor creatures worn out with fatigue and privation, and to whom repose would have been as acceptable as it was really necessary.
The council, presided over by the Bishop of Agra, assembled that very day at the Hotel de la Biche in the Place des Halles ; they had a long and anxious discussion upon the road which it would be most desirable for them to take; the Prince de Talmont was for marching direct upon Paris, in the hope of swelling the royalist army by the numerous partizans they might expert to meet with in the plains of La Beauce ; Henri de La Rochejacquelin, on the contrary, thought it more advisable to recross the Loire, and conduct the Vendeans back to their dear Bocage, the scene of their first exploits. They separated without coming to a conclusion; night arrived ; - night peaceable enough to the unthinking multitude, reckless of the future, and delightedly enjoying the comforts of which they had so long been deprived, but full of anxiety for the leaders of the army, who, while they knew the imminence of the peril, knew not at the same time what steps to take to ward it off.
The next day, Thursday, the 12th of December, the Vendean officers issued orders for the horses to be saddled, and every one to be in readiness to start at the first signal ; but about eleven in the morning, the hussars composing the vanguard of Westerman's army suddenly appeared on the heights of Pontlieue.
Then the cry "To arms ! to arms ! the enemy !” re-echoed throughout the city ; the most intrepid soldiers, to the number of about three thousand, under the command of La Rochejacquelin, assembled in haste, and taking their muskets in one hand and their chaplets in the other, advanced in close order against the redoubtable army of Mayence and proudly awaited it in the open country. The combat soon commenced ; the shock of the Vendeans was so terrible that the Mayencais recoiled and fled in disorder, some by the way of Luce and Saint Calais, the others into the fields and open commons. The royalist peasants casting away their sabots pursued the fugitives with incredible ardor, imprudently leaving their guns nearly a league behind them ; but at that moment a column of the division of Marceau, sent to the relief of the main body, encountered the Vendeans dispersed along the road, and suddenly attacking them, forced them to turn and fall back upon Le Mans. In vain did the Vendean leaders endeavor to defend the redoubt established at Pontlieue ; neither prayers nor threats sufficed to check the headlong course of the peasants ; the enemy pursued them in close columns to the entrance of the town, where they found barricades hastily erected by the Prince de Talmont, who, at the head of his own followers, vigorously repulsed the troops of Westerman. During this time, La Rochejacquelin, returning at full gallop into Le Mans, did all in his power to collect the scattered Vendeans and lead them on to the attack. The greater part having lost by bodily suffering every feeling save the instinct of self preservation, had eaten and drunk with a voracity increased by several weeks of scarcity and privation, and now lay extended on the Place des Halles, sleeping so heavily that it was found impossible to arouse them.
La Rochejacquelin, his heart sinking with despair, could with difficulty assemble twelve thousand men in a state to bear arms. At the head of this brave troop, he advanced against an enemy possessing far greater numbers. They fought furiously in the streets of the town, the battery of the wall of Quatre-Basse being taken and retaken several times The Vendeans occupied the houses, and fired from the windows upon the assailants, while by order of the general-in-chief, the oflicer commanding the artillery directed his cannon against the streets leading out of the Place des Halles.
Towards midnight, both parties, worn out with fatigue, suspended the action, as though by mutual consent ; but the booming of the cannon which continued to resound at intervals, seemed to proclaim at each moment that the combat was not over, and that the morrow's sun would rise again on all the horrors of war. In short, no sooner had day begun to dawn than the republicans, reinforced by thirty thousand men of Kleber's army who had arrived during the night, advanced to the charge under fire of the royalists, who had maintained their positions, and at seven in the morning arrived at the Place des Halles, by the adjacent streets. Then began the most horrible butchery that can be imagined; the streets literally flowed with blood, and the cries of the dying mingled with the shouts of victory. In vain did the royalist leaders strive to organize the retreat which had now become indispensable. Their voices were lost in the appalling tumult ; the Whites fled in disorder by the back streets leading upon the Place des Halles to the Place de l’Eperon, in order to gain the bridge of La Sarthe and the road to Laval.
Like all the rest of the poor Vendean women, who had not even the excitement caused by the smell of the powder and the heat of the combat to divert their minds from their own misfortunes, Madame Boguais and her daughters had spent in the intensest anguish this dreadful day and yet more dreadful night of Thursday.
The old chevalier of St. Louis, brave and loyal like all the rest of these ancient noblesse of which he formed an honorable member, had flown at the first cry of alarm to the side of the Prince de Talmont, and since then his cousin and terrified nieces had vainly expected his return.
The affliction was general in the house of Chevert, Mdlle. Petronille shared nearly all the anxiety of the Boguais family. To the uneasiness caused her by the lively interest with which the chevalier had from the first inspired her, were now added the unspeakable torments of a fear still greater even than that which she had experienced at the first alarm of the approach of the Vendeans. It seemed to her as though she had not appreciated the humanity and moderation of the royalist soldiers, that it was madness on her part even to have doubted their triumph, but that the danger would in reality commence when the republicans should be masters of the town, for they would doubtless consider it a crime in the people of Le Mans to have afforded shelter to the Whites. So that in spite of every good possible feeling towards her guests, Mdlle. Chevert yet made no effort to detain them, when these unhappy females, a prey to the dreadful perplexity, announced their intention of quitting the abode which had served them as a temporary refuge, and following the shattered remains of their army.
"I shall be happy to keep you longer with me,” said the old lady, "but neither your lives nor mine would be safe if you were found here ; you had much better quit the town with your friends than remain at the mercy of the republicans. When you meet the chevalier again, if he is still in this world," added she with a profound sigh, "make my best compliments and beg him to come and see me when the times are more tranquil. As the preserver of my brother, I shall always be delighted to see him."
So saying, she conducted them with eager haste to the street door, which she then immediately locked.
The poor women were hardly in the street when they perceived at some paces distant a mother and a daughter, Madame Gourreau, and Madame de la Fouchere, two of their royalist friends, who had been driven from the house in which they had taken shelter. All these unhappy fugitives flew to each other, embraced, and without uttering a word began to reascend the Rue Basse, walking at random in the hope of meeting with royalists whom they knew, and whose protection they could claim. They were wandering thus at hazard beneath a heavy rain of icy coldness, but which was yet not copious enough to obliterate the traces of blood which they encountered at each step, when they found themselves surrounded by a troop of republicans, emerging from the place de Quatre Rous. The poor women felt their hearts congealed with terror; in vain would they have quickened their steps to escape the fangs of this brutal soldiery, drunk with wine and carnage, but their trembling limbs refused their office.
“Brigandes! and pretty ones, too!" said a soldier with a wine-inflamed countenance, seizing Eulalie with his great hand stained with blood and powder, whilst one of his comrades, not less hideous than himself, passed his arm audaciously round the slender waist of Celeste.
The young girls uttered shrieks of terror, and struggled vehemently in the grasp of the ruffians, while Mme. Boguais, like that weak and timorous bird which suddenly receives from its maternal instincts incredible power to defend its young ones, threw herself furiously upon the cowardly assailants.
"Wretches !" cried she, repulsing them with all her strength, "kill them, if you will, but do not insult them !"
And as they still retained their hold of their prizes :
"Have you, then, neither mothers nor sisters, the memory of whom should bring the blush of shame to your cheeks added she, her whole frame shaken with convulsive sobs.
But the monsters, laughing at her despair, were on the point of seizing Madame Boguais herself when an officer, suddenly making his appearance on the scene, rode into the middle of the group, and with a loud voice :
"Stop !" cried he, drawing his sword, "the first who touches them shall answer to me."
“They are brigandes,” replied one of the soldiers.
“What of that,'' answered the officer, "it is for the tribunal to judge them and to condemn them if they are guilty, but it would be unworthy of brave men like you to offer insult to defenceless women."
And as deep murmurs began to make themselves heard :
"Sergeant," the officer hastened to add, addressing an old soldier, whose grey moustache inspired a certain confidence, "take six men, conduct these brigandes to prison, and remember that thou shalt answer for them with thy head. As for you," said he to the rest of the troop, " follow me to headquarters, I am going thither immediately."
Mme. Boguais cast upon the young officer a look full of gratitude. Prison, which in those dreadful times was almost always the stepping-stone to the scaffold, now seemed to her but a haven of refuge where honor might, at least, be safe from peril. The officer soon disappeared with the rest of the soldiery, and the six Vendean females, half dead with fright, followed, with trembling footsteps, those who were charged with the office of conducting them.
After walking for some time, Mme. Gourreau, in taking her handkerchief from her pocket, unfortunately let fall some pieces of gold, which, in the hurry of departure, she had not had sufficient time to conceal. The sight of this gold suddenly aroused the feelings of cupidity rife in this little troop of republicans, unworthy of the name of French soldiers; more base and cowardly than highway robbers, they flung themselves all at once upon this poor woman, whom they were commissioned to protect, and proceeded to institute a brutal search of her person with a view of possessing themselves of whatever might be found upon her.
“I will die with you," cried Mme. de La Fouchere, mistaking their intentions, and flinging herself wildly into the arms of her mother, whom she vainly strove to cover with her own body.
The republicans repulsed her; she resisted with wonderful courage, and in the unequal struggle, a hair chain which she wore round her neck unfortunately gave way, and the portrait of her young brother escaped from her bosom.
"Here is the face of an aristocrat !" said one of the soldiers, picking up the miniature, "one would think it was the leader of the brigands himself."
"Yes ! yes, it is the portrait of the leader of the brigands, I recollect him well," added his comrade, "and this woman belongs to him, no doubt. Death to the wife of the leader of the brigands cried he, plunging his sabre into her heart.
Death to the wife of the leader of the brigands !" was echoed with zealous emulation by all the others as they fell upon her with their bayonets.
It was the work of an instant; a few moments later and both mother and daughter had breathed their last sigh in each other's arms, whilst their sanguinary executioners were greedily occupied in dividing the spoil, which consisted of a sum of six hundred francs, in gold, and some valuable jewels which they had taken from the persons of their unhappy victims.
"Ten thousand thunders !" at length exclaimed the old sergeant, who had taken care to have his share of the horrid booty, " my opinion is that we are in a nice scrape ! Did not the adjutant-general say that we should answer for these women with our heads ?"
"Oh ! a brigande more or less - what does it matter ?" replied he who had struck the first blow ; " let us convey those that remain to prison, I dare say he will not come there to count them !"
" Come, then, march, and quickly, too ; I shall be glad to have done with this job," replied the sub-officer with a disquietude in which a slight trace of remorse might be distinguished ; "come, march, do you hear, brigandes ?"
But the poor women, dumb with horror, with eyes closed, and faces bathed in a cold perspiration, remained motionless as statues, in a state which it is impossible to describe. The soldiers, perceiving that they were quite incapable of moving of their own accord, began to drag them along and drive them in the midst of them to the prison, which soon enclosed them within its gloomy walls.


Two days after the enactment of this tragic scene, a commissioner, followed by five or six military officials, entered the same house in the Rue Basse which had been occupied by the Boguais family. He was a man in the very prime of life, tall, finely formed, and of a grave but withal pleasing countenance.
"Silence !" he cried to his subordinates, - whose loud voices and blustering oaths made poor Petronille quake with fear, - "take care that no one has cause of complaint against you here ; whoever commits the slightest outrage shall answer for it to me."
Petronille was certainly well off under the circumstances, - for not only had her dwelling escaped the cannon shot and bullets, with which almost every other house from the Mission to the Place des Halles was riddled, but she had been singularly fortunate in the character of the parties who had sought refuge beneath her roof, a piece of rare good luck, since few of the republican officers gave themselves much trouble about the conduct of their men.
Encouraged by the reassuring words of the commissioner, the old lady summoned up resolutions to
advance and welcome him, at the same time proffering her services.
M. de Fromental, for so this officer was named although he did not treat his hostess with the exquisite courtesy of the Chevalier de St. Louis, nevertheless showed towards her all the respect due to her age and sex, and after having seen that his men were supplied with all they wanted, he was conducted to the chamber occupied the preceding evening by the Ladies Boguais.
“Pardon ! citizen,” said Petronille, hastily snatching up several articles of female apparel scattered here and there ; - "we have been so bewildered these two or three days that no one has had time to put things to rights here, but it will be done in a moment."
So saying, she flung into a large trunk which stood open a motley collection of gowns and neckerchiefs, with the honest intention of restoring them to their owners should she ever meet with them again.
M. de Fromental, who was impatient to be alone, was aiding her in her work of clearing away the things which were lying about, when he perceived at the bottom of a drawer an object which soon engrossed his whole attention. It was an ebony frame beautifully carved and encircling a most beautiful painting.
This little picture, above fifteen inches in height, represented a lovely woman, half reclining on a luxurious couch, holding between her white and plump palms the chubby hands of two little sweet girls who, leaning upon their mother's shoulder in an attitude replete with careless grace, were tenderly smiling in her face, whilst a third still younger was seated on a stool at her feet, with her head resting upon her mother's knees.
Astonished at seeing her guest absorbed in mute contemplation, and unable to resist the desire to know the cause of it, Mlle. Petronille approached softly from behind, and stepping on the points of her toes to obtain a single sight of the picture which he held in his hand, she could not restrain her admiration, and exclaimed involuntarily :
"Good Heavens ! how like Mlle. Eulalie, especially!"
"They are real portraits, then, ?" said M. de Fromental; "I took this for a mere fancy picture: an admirable painting upon my word !"
"No, no, I knew them in a moment ; it is Mme. Boguais and her three daughters."
"Who is this Madame Boguais ?" asked he, endeavoring to revive his recollection, as though the name was not altogether unfamiliar to him.
Mile. Petronille hesitated for an instant ; she almost regretted having said so much; but as the officer, still retaining the picture in his hand, appeared to await a reply, she stammered out, blushing as she spoke :
"She is a brigande citizen, but quite unlike the others of the party ; she is a good woman, you may believe me. We cannot always do as we would in this world ; when the brigands entered the town, they took possession of our houses, and we were obliged to put up with it, whether we liked it or not. The Boguais family lodged with me; I am a good patriot, citizen commissionaire, and my principles are well known in the neighborhood, but I must nevertheless confess that these people behaved as well to me as the best republicans could possibly have done; the mother was polite and affable, the young girls mild and gentle as lambs, and as for their uncle, the chevalier, he was indeed a fine man ! and still young for his age; he was everything that was kind and amiable !"
"And what has become of these poor women ?” inquired the officer, interrupting Petronille.
"Alas ! the unhappy creatures left yesterday morning in the hope of escaping with such of the brigands as succeeded in quitting the town. I went up to the loft to watch them out of sight, for it was sad to see them go away thus without any one to protect them ; they were joined by two other brigands who came out of a neighboring house, and I soon lost sight of them, but I heard afterwards that they had been taken by the soldiers and put in prison, and it is a great pity truly, for I will put my right hand in the fire if those unfortunate women are not as innocent as newborn babes. What shall I do with this picture, citizen ? Shall I put it in the trunk ?"
"Rather hang it on this nail, it will be less likely to be injured, which would be a pity, for it was painted by the hand of an artist."
Mile. Petronille hastened to comply with this request, and as the officer did not appear disposed to renew the conversation, she quitted the apartment, begging him to consider himself at home in her house, but at the same time to have the kindness to continue to maintain good order among his subordinates.
No sooner did M. de Fromental find himself alone than he took down the picture and examined it again with attention.
“How charming !” said he, contemplating particularly the likeness of that one of the three sisters who had been pointed out to him by the name of Eulalie.
“Boguais, her name is Boguais ! I ought certainly to know that name; my uncle has spoken to me a hundred times of a Boguais of Angers, with whom he was at one time closely connected, and who emigrated at the commencement of the revolution; he is doubtless the father of these young ladies, for he had three daughters to the best of my recollection. In prison too. Ah well ! it is better perhaps than to be tracked like wild beasts on the road to Laval, or in any of the neighboring farms ! Good Heavens, what fearful times! What crimes ! what misfortunes.”
Saying these words, the young man sank into the only arm-chair in the apartment, and leaning his head upon the table, gave himself up to the most sorrowful reflections.
Although an officer in the service of the French republic, M. de Fromental was far from approving of its excesses. Born of one of the most distinguished families of Lorraine, he had at first welcomed with joy those earliest cries of liberty which found so ready an echo in the breasts of the generous spirits, whose judgment years and experience had not yet ripened; but soon disenchanted by the crimes of the Revolution, he remembered his former sympathy with these brilliant theories, whose fruits proved so bitter, and the 10th of August found him faithful to his post in the constitutional guard of Louis XVI., of which he was then a member. After having been twenty times on the point of being massacred on that fatal day, he nevertheless succeeded in regaining, a short time after, the little town of Blamont, his native place, where he lived, plunged in the deepest melancholy, bewailing at once his own lost illusions, the fall of the monarchy, and the misfortunes of France. Under this sanguinary code, however, which had been created in the derisive name of "liberty," none could remain passive spectators of the internal straggles by which the country was rent asunder ; M. de Fromental was forced to choose between the scaffold and the post of commissioner general in the army of the republic. Whatever spark of French honor still remained, had sought refuge in the camp. After some hesitation, M. de Fromental resolved upon accepting the situation offered to him and it was thus that, dispatched to the army of the East, he had arrived at Le Mans three days after the battle of which we have already spoken.
Midnight Bounded from the clock placed in a corner of the room, and whether it was that the twelve successive strokes had, by interrupting the young man's reverie, reminded him that he had a duty to fulfill or that a sudden idea presented itself at that moment to his mind, he rose abruptly, and pushing away the table which had served him for a support, tools his sword and hat from the bed where he had deposited them, and hastily quitted the apartment.
Having gained the street, the commissioner general seemed to hesitate for a moment as to the road he should take, then turning to the right, he rapidly proceeded down the Rue Basse, and in a few minutes arrived at the seminary of the Mission, formerly the hospital of Coeffort. [Coeffort was an hospital, founded about the year 1180, by Henry the Second, King of England. In later times It was reunited to the hospital general of Le Mans, and confided to the direction of the Lazarist Brothers, of whom Coeffort became the seminary; it was then that it first received the title of the Mission.]
On seeing the insignia of his rank, which conferred upon him the right of inspection in the military establishments, the sentinels presented arms, and every door flew open before him. He trod with repressed emotion the precincts of this vast building, whose walls had resounded for so many ages with the praises of God. A melancholy spectacle presented itself to his sight ; he beheld human beings pale, in rags, wanting common clothing, and frozen with cold, infirm old men heaped together, a mass of living misery upon a little damp straw. And yet no murmur escaped their pallid lips, and their calm and resigned countenances announced that peace which a good conscience could alone bestow.
"What men are these ?" asked the commissioner general of the turnkey who served him as a guide.
"They are priests, who have refused to take the oath," replied the latter.
Willingly would M. de Fromental have bared his head before these noble sufferers, but this simple mark of respect would have sufficed to compromise him; he therefore carefully concealed his feelings, visited the other parts of the building, which were crowded with poor Vendean peasants, so exhausted with fatigue that a great number of them were buried in a profound sleep on the bare stones, while awaiting their sentence of death, and then proceeded on his way to visit the Oratory of St. Croix and the Ursuline Convent, which he knew were also crowded with prisoners. He had scarcely gone a few paces when the noise of musketry fell on his ear. This sound, coming from the direction of Pontlieue, decided him upon retracing his footsteps, and he rapidly directed his course towards this quarter, which had for several days been the scene of many a sanguinary conflict. The alley, planted with trees, which led to it, was still thickly strewn with dead bodies; conquerors and conquered lay stretched together upon the humid soil, without the possibility of distinguishing one from the other, for all had been despoiled of their clothing. Accustomed as he was to the horrors of war, the officer could not refrain from shuddering at this sight. But on this side of the bridge, where pitchforks and such simple implements of husbandry were wont to be seen, a spectacle still more affecting presented itself to his view.
About fifty Vendeans of all ages and of both sexes had just been shot, not killed, sword in hand, in the heat of battle, but ruthlessly murdered in cold blood. A great number of them, mortally wounded, but in whom life was still not extinct, writhed and struggled in the convulsions of mortal agony. A young mother, with her head shattered by a bullet, pressed to her tortured bosom her helpless infant, who rent the air with its cries, while a poor little girl of twelve or thirteen, slightly wounded on the right side, and covered with the blood of her friends and relatives, wildly implored mercy on her knees.
Swifter than lightning M. de Fromental rushed into the midst of this scene of carnage, and seizing the arm of the ruthless soldier at the moment when the latter was preparing to put the finishing stroke to his tender victim with the butt end of his gun :
"Stop !" cried he; "this child has not yet reached the age prescribed by the law."
"Very well !" muttered the republican carelessly " do as you like citizen, it's the same thing to me after all !'
And he retreated with the rest of his troop.
M. de Fromental gently raised the little girl, and speaking to her kindly, did his best to soothe and comfort her, greatly embarrassed all the while as to where he should procure a shelter for his interesting charge, when an old woman, who had been a witness of the scene, advanced, and in a voice trembling with emotion :
"Sir," said she, "I had an only son ; he was drawn in the conscription, and died on the field of battle ; if you will only intrust these two orphans to my care, ' (pointing to the little girl, and the little boy whose mother had just breathed her last,) "I will take care of them for the sake, and in memory of my poor lost Augustus."
"Take them away quickly then, my good woman," replied he in an under tone, "and may God reward you for this good action !"
And his spirit somewhat calmed by this act of benevolence, which came so opportunely to prove to him that humanity was not yet banished from the human heart, he pursued his way, and hastily returned towards the city.


After having visited in vain the Presbytery of Saint Croix, and the Convent of the Ursulines, without discovering those of whom he was in search, the commissioner arrived at length at the Place des Jacobins, which was still strewn with the mutilated corpses of about thirty women and children, whom the execrable Pottier La Morandiere had that morning caused to be dragged from the houses of detention in the city, stripped of their clothes in his presence, and then beaten to death with swords and sticks.
M. de Fromental turned his head aside, shuddering with horror, and hastened onwards, directing his course with rapid strides towards a vast building composed of two unequal parts, which was easily recognizable as a monastery, the chapel being surmounted by a cross which had, as yet, escaped the rage of the republicans. This was the house of the Oratory, where numbers of the Vendean women were confined. Violently torn from their husbands and brothers, exhausted with fatigue, and overwhelmed with grief, they were all thrust indiscriminately into the church, with no food but a little coarse black bread, no place on which to rest their aching limbs but the damp stones of the prison, and nothing to shield them from the piercing cold of December save garments mostly in rags. Many of them were attacked with a terrible epidemic, (the result of the privations they had endured,) which at that time decimated the Vendean army. Thus, when the commissioner general entered this dismal abode, he felt almost suffocated by the infected atmosphere; his heart sickened within him, as he contemplated the depth of misery to which these poor females were reduced, some of whom, reared in the bosom of opulence, had formerly held a distinguished position in the world. The countenance of the brave officer, usually so calm and dignified, no doubt betrayed the deep compassion with which his whole soul was filled, for a young captive, overcoming the timidity natural to her age, ventured to approach him, and with eyes swimming in tears :
“Sir," said she, clasping her hands, "my mother is very ill, and it is very cold ; would you order them to give us some coverings to warm us ?”
M. de Fromental regarded the poor child who had just addressed to him this humble request, and whose noble and pure brow was suddenly suffused with crimson:
"Where is your mother ?" asked he.
"There !" replied she, with her soft and gentle voice, pointing to a lady pale as death lying under the dome of the sanctuary, whom two other young girls were supporting in their arms.
The commissioner general hesitated a few seconds, examining alternately the young supplicant and the group she designated ; then, approaching the invalid, and leaning down to her ear :
“Are you not Mme. Boguais ?" he asked in a low voice.
"Yes, sir.”
"Well, then,'' added he, still whispering, "do not let it appear that any one recognizes you here, but, at the same time, keep up your courage; there are those who take an interest in your fate."
" Ah !" replied the poor mother, with an energetic expression of impassioned tenderness, " if there be any one who is interested in me, let him save my children, sir."
“Them and you, if possible."
"Them first, that is all-important. Besides," added she in a low voice, which the officer only could hear, " as for me, I have not much longer to live."
" Keep up your courage, and rely on the devotion of a friend."
He withdrew at once, leaving Mme. Boguais in a state of mind more easy to imagine than describe.
"What has he been saying to you, mamma ?” cried the three young girls as soon as M. de Fromental was gone.
Their mother then repeated with the greatest animation, and almost word for word, what the young officer had said, gathering from this slight and newly conceived hope strength that had seemed almost extinct.
"Who can this friend be who protects us, then ?" they earnestly demanded.
"I do not know, my children ; I know no one here."
"Oh!'' said Celeste, joyfully clapping her hands, " do you not see that it must be my uncle, the chevalier, who, having returned from seeking us, and finding us no longer in the house of the old lady, has begged this republican officer to inquire after us ?"
"Alas!" replied Mme. Boguais, sorrowfully shaking her head, " if my poor cousin is still in this world, which I greatly doubt, he must have left Le Mans with the scattered remains of the army, without its being possible for him to return thither."
"But after all, mamma, this mysterious personage, who interests himself in our fate, as this officer pretends - "
"I will wager anything he is speaking of himself," said Eulalie.
"Oh ! no," replied the mother, " his countenance is quite strange to me, and besides, I have no friends among the republicans.”
"Nevertheless, I observed him look at us attentively, as if he were striving to recollect us ; and then he seemed so sorry at seeing your suffering ! Republican as he is, I am quite sure he is a worthy man, and has a good heart."
Eulalie was thus speaking when the door of the chapel grated anew upon its hinges, and two of the turnkeys entered bearing bundles of straw, which they began to distribute among the prisoners according to the orders they had just received from the commissioner general. When it came to the turn of the Boguais family, as the poor mother was rising to receive her portion, the elder of the men said to her in a rough tone :
"As for you, citizeness, you must follow me directly."
"Whither would you lead us ?" asked she in a voice choked with agony.
"You will know all in good time," replied the fellow.
During the three days that the Vendeans had been prisoners, bayonets and the guillotine had several times thinned their ranks; a certain number had been taken at random and led to execution. Mme. Boguais asked herself if her turn had arrived to meet death face to face. Had she been alone in the world, she would have welcomed death as a blessing, but she trembled for her beloved daughters, still so young, in the full flower of their youth and beauty ! Would the poor mother have to endure the horrible misery of seeing the blood of these loved ones flow ? or was she then about to bid them an eternal adieu, and leave them in that abode of horror exposed without guide or protection to perils of every description ?
These racking thoughts, which chased each other through the poor mother's burning brain, almost deprived her of her senses, and she would have sunk, fainting on the ground if her daughters had not hastened to her assistance.
"Come, none of your tricks," said the brutal gaoler, who looked like an executioner himself, "you must make yourself scarce here, you and all your brood."
Rosalie and one of her sisters took their mother by the arm, and led her away without a word. They followed the gaoler through two or three long passages, and at last stopped before a little door half hidden by a projecting wall, whilst he leisurely chose from the huge bunch of keys which hung at his side, that which opened this nook, and then introduced the captives into a species of closet into which air and light were only allowed to penetrate by a narrow window strongly secured with iron bars.
"There, my chickens ! you will live like queens here," said he, in a tone which he meant to be friendly, "to say nothing of your being allowed mattresses and quilts, and some famous soup made of cabbage and bacon. Don't you think yourselves lucky to be treated like this ?"
And, indeed, in a quarter of an hour, he had brought all he promised, and even more in the shape of a little deal table and two common chairs. The soup, so much vaunted, was, it must be admitted, nothing but a mixture of hot water and cabbage leaves, in which some large pieces of black bread were soaked ; but such as it was, Mme. Boguals contrived to swallow a few spoonfuls, and the three sisters, who were suffering from hunger, consumed the remainder with a good appetite. The air of this closet, much less noxious than that of the chapel, was already felt as a real blessing to these unhappy females, and as for the mattresses and quilts, they made them almost joyful. The young girls hastened to prepare a bed for the invalid ; then after offering up their heartfelt thanks to God for this unhoped-for solace to their misery, they likewise betook themselves to their pallets, and were soon buried in profound slumber.
The day had long dawned, when the grating of the door and the rough voice of the gaoler suddenly aroused them.
"What ! not up yet, lazy ones !" cried he jestingly; "how is the little mother? here is something that will make her well at once, and besides that, a box which I am desired to give to you : if it were only as full of money as it is of women's rags, there would be a pretty little sum !"
With these words he deposited against the wall a little trunk, placed upon the table a smoking bowl of soup, and then withdrew.
He was hardly out of the room when the three sisters jumped up, and running to the trunk to see what it contained, what was their surprise and joy to find there all the things they had been obliged to leave at the house of the citizeness Chevert ; - everything in fact, with the exception of the picture destined long since for their absent father, but which, never having been enabled to convey to him, they had taken with them when they fled from Angers.
"But, after all, to whom are we indebted for this fresh indulgence?" asked they of each other; "what can be the name of this mysterious benefactor
When the gaoler revisited them in the evening, the young girls overwhelmed him with questions as to who had sent them the trunk ; but whether the man was really ignorant of the name of their generous protector, or whether he had been strictly ordered to keep the secret, he contented himself with giving some vague information which only served to excite, while it failed to satisfy, the curiosity of the captives.
In the meantime M. de Fromental, for it will be easily guessed that it was he who had induced the gaoler to transfer the four prisoners to this little closet, in order that they might stand a chance of being forgotten by the purveyors for the guillotine - and who had besides managed that the articles left behind at the Cheverts should be conveyed to them - M. de Fromental was planning a still greater enterprise in their behalf. Ardent and generous by nature, he never did anything by halves ; having voluntarily undertaken the mission of protecting these hapless beings, he earnestly desired to rescue them from impending death, and restore them to liberty, although he well knew the peril of such an attempt.
He spared no means in order to induce the gaoler to consent to their escape ; but he had to deal with a man at once cowardly and avaricious, who, either from the fear of compromising himself, or else in the hope of selling his compliance yet more dearly, constantly started fresh objections to the plan he proposed.
A month passed by in this manner, when one morning the commissioner general received orders to set out immediately for Nantes. There was no longer a moment to lose; he must accomplish his generous design within the next twenty-four hours, or renounce it forever.
His heart filled with anxiety, and his brain almost on fire, he hastily quitted his chamber and set off at almost a running pace in the direction of the Oratory. Fortunately the air soon restored to him the self-possession and reflection of which he stood so much in need; he felt the necessity of slackening his pace, and controlling his emotion in order to avoid suspicion. He had besides a difficult game to play with the gaoler ; to be liberal with his gifts, and at the same time keep that individual in proper awe of him.
"And how do our protegees get on, citizen Scevola ?" said he, accosting the Cerberus in the most friendly tone he could assume.
"Rather say your protegees, citizen," responded the gaoler in a bantering way.
"Well, mine, then, if you like, although it was only the other day you confessed that the three children - for these young girls are nothing but children - did you good to see them, they were so pretty and so good-humored."
"It is true they are well enough for aristocrats, especially when they say to me in their coaxing way:
"’My good sir, (they call me sir, the same as in former times,) do tell us who sent us this, who sent us that?’"
And for my part I am obliged to tell them the first thing that comes into my head ; but I do them justice, I take good care of them, and if it costs you a trifle too much, citizen, you may make your mind easy that they are excellently well looked after in their hole ; and as for that, they never complain, but are singing away all day long just like so many linnets."
"All very well, but linnets, you know, do not live long in a cage ; we must have the air of the fields for them, and that without delay."
"Ay, ay, there it is again ; always singing the same tune; a little patience ; and the plague -"
"I tell you, once for all, my patience is at an end, and I can wait no longer," cried the commissioner general, abandoning in spite of himself the tone of moderation he had at first assumed. "You have been cajoling me with fine words for the last month ; it is time now we should have something more !"
"Ho ! ho !" replied the gaoler impatiently," you take a good deal upon you, master commissioner ! a word more, and I reconduct your protegees, as you
call there, to prison; since you are so anxious they should breathe the fresh air, that will be the shortest cut to it,''
"Listen !" said the officer, seizing the fellow by the arm, I have no time to lose in idle words ; do you see this purse ? it contains in gold the five hundred pieces agreed upon between us ; now I will double this sum if the persons are given up to me this very evening."
" First let go my arm, for you squeeze it hard enough to break the bones," said Scevola, casting a longing look upon the pieces of gold which glistened through the silken network of the purse. "I do not object to enter into arrangements, but at the same time we must be reasonable ; I cannot accomplish all that you desire."
“Oh ! you cannot ! - wretch !" cried the officer beside himself with passion ; "you cannot, and yet with half the sum I now offer, no later than the day before yesterday, you favored the escape of the citizeness Foubert with her two nieces; and for a still less sum you suffered a poor old brigande, for whom a small ransom was paid by an inhabitant of the town, to depart ! You see I am well informed, citizen Scevola, and I now say that if you refuse to do as much for these ladies as you have done for so many others, I will denounce you at once to the revolutionary tribunal."
"Ah! citizen," said he in a more subdued tone, turning somewhat pale, "you would not be the ruin of a poor wretch like me, the father of a large family, who has already done everything in his power to serve you. I am very willing to oblige you still farther; but you know there are things which are not. Listen to me in my turn, and you shall see if I lie," added he quickly, seeing that his interlocutor made a gesture of impatience. "Although you have played a very cunning game with me, and have never told me the name of these aristocrats, I have known it for a very long time, and unfortunately I am not the only one, for it was already inscribed on the prison register when you first spoke of them to me !"
It was now M. de Fromental's turn to change color.
“The proof of what you state,'' said he quickly.
"The proof ! see here !" replied the gaoler, opening the fatal book, and pointing to the name of Mme.
The commissioner general was struck dumb at this discovery, for he perceived fully that it was impossible to expect Scevola to expose himself to certain death by conniving at the escape of prisoners whose identity had been established.
“Why did you not tell me this sooner ?" said he.
"Why ? why, because I did not want to vex you beforehand."
He did not care to avow his real object, which was to extract from M. de Fromental as large a sum of money as possible.
"So then, all hope is lost !" said the young man in an under tone, and as if speaking to himself. "Farewell to all my dreams."
“Oh ! you despair too soon," rejoined Scevola, who had been attentively observing him - thinking as he did so of the purse of gold, the hope of obtaining which he could not bring himself to relinquish.
"What say you ?” quickly replied the officer starting up.
"I will explain myself shortly," replied the gaoler, for I hear some one knocking at the door, and we must not be seen conferring together. Step into this closet while I will get rid of this troublesome visitor ; and when I return we will see whether we cannot come to an understanding together."


It was eleven o'clock in the morning; the sky was without a cloud, and the sun, almost arrived at the meridian, penetrated even into the dismal abode tenanted by the Boguais family.
The three young girls, seated by the side of their mother, contemplated with melancholy joy the solitary sunbeam which illumined the wall of their dungeon.
"The fine weather has returned again," said Celeste ; "how delightful it would be now to take a walk in the open air !"
Eulalie touched her elbow to remind her that this was a forbidden subject ; for the three sisters had tacitly refrained from any expression of regret, which could only augment the grief of their mother ; but the movement was perceived by Mme. Boguais, who readily divined the cause, and a tear shone through her half-closed eyelids.
"Let poor Celeste speak her mind, my dear," said she ; " at her age it is but natural that she should pine for fresh air and liberty."
"Oh, mamma !" said Celeste, striving to force a smile, I am not unhappy here, I assure you, since I am with you. Besides," added she, “the time will come, and is not far off, I dare say, when we shall all go out together to walk in the park. What a pleasure it will be to see the beautiful country again, and the little birds, flying among the branches of the trees, and the flowers in my garden which will be so lovely in the spring ! The very thought of it makes me full of joy!"
Mme. Boguais imprinted a fervent kiss on the forehead of her child, but she remained silent, for she was far from sharing her hope.
At this moment the sound of footsteps was heard in the passage.
"I hear some one coming," said Eulalie, " but it is not dinner time yet ; what can Scevola want ?"
"It sounds like several persons," observed the eldest sister.
The door softly opened, and a man entered the chamber alone, but it was not Scevola.
In spite of the large cloak which enveloped the person of the new comer, Eulalie instantly recognized the republican officer, who had spoken to them in the chapel.
"Madame," said the stranger, bowing profoundly, “the favor of paying my respects to you is only accorded for a few moments. Suffer, me, therefore, to come at once to the object of my visit. I am the nephew of M. de Fromental, an old friend of M. Boguais."
"I knew the viscount well," replied Mme. Boguais, with a gentle inclination of her head in return ; " he was an excellent man whom we highly esteemed, what has become of him, pray ?”.
“He was killed in the army of the prince, Madame, and in our days, it is a blessing thus to die in the field of battle ; but it is not of him that I would now speak. My uncle has often spoken to me of you and your family, and, ever since by a lucky chance I came to know you were taken prisoners, I have strained every nerve in the hope of being serviceable to you."
"Ah ! Sir, you are then that friend, that unknown benefactor, of whom a republican officer spoke in mysterious terms to us, in the early part of our captivity. lt is to you we are indebted for being still in this world, and for being less miserable than our companions in misfortune ! Oh, a thousand blessings on you for all your kindness."
"The republican officer and myself, Madame, are one and the same person," said M. de Fromental, slightly coloring, and half opening his cloak to allow his uniform to appear. "The slight services I have been enabled to render you are few, indeed, compared with what I would have wished to have done. My object has been to restore you and these young ladies to liberty ; for a long time I thought I could attain my aim, but an unfortunate circumstance which has only just become known to me, has disconcerted all my plans ; you have been recognized under your own name, and inscribed on the prison register, together with one of your daughters, from the first period of your confinement. It is therefore impossible to persuade the gaoler to connive at your escape, since he can only do so at the risk of his own head ; but I can save two of these young ladies. Scevola, won over by my entreaties, will come for them to-morrow morning; a highly respectable lady, whom I have known for some time, will with pleasure receive them into her house, where they will be treated with every kindness and attention. We will then consult together as to the best means of providing for your own safety, and that of the one among your daughters who remains with you."
Mme. Boguais could not refrain her tears.
"Pardon me, Sir," said she, using all her efforts to overcome her emotion, " if I fail in expressing all the gratitude with which my heart is overflowing ; but you can understand," added she in an under tone, how difficult it must be for a mother to select a victim from amongst her own children ! Ah ! if you could but save all three ! I should then die happy ! I feel, however, it is impossible, and that it is my duty as a mother to avail myself of the chance of safety you offer for two of them. I accept, therefore, Sir, your generous offer, and I confide to your protection treasures more precious to me than all the riches of the earth."
"I thank you for this mark of confidence, Madame," hastily interrupted the young man ; " I will do all in my power to prove myself worthy of it ; may this cruel separation be but of short duration !"
He took the hand the poor lady extended to him with an emotion which he no longer sought to conceal, carried it respectfully to his lips, and withdrew.
He was no sooner gone than the young girls threw themselves all at once into their mother's arms.
“Mamma," said Eulalie, after a long embrace “Celeste greatly needs to leave this place and breathe a purer air, for she grows paler and paler every day. Rosalie, who possesses more discretion than any of us, will be best able to take care of her, and I shall remain with you.'
“No, no," cried Rosalie, " as eldest, this privilege belongs to me ; I claim my right of birth."
"The right of birth has nothing to do with it," said Celeste, in her turn ; " you are very quick in your decisions, you two ; you manage everything your own way; but I claim to remain with mamma.What would become of me without her ?”
This touching debate was prolonged for some time in the same strain, each of the three bringing forward every reason she could think of why she should be the one to be left. Madame Boguais could only shed tears of grief and affection. She had not the courage to decide; the very idea of a separation rent her motherly heart with anguish.
"It is not till to-morrow," said she at length ; " let us endeavor, meanwhile, to seek a little repose."
Their evening devotions being first performed, they threw themselves on their pallets without undressing.
The three young girls were soon asleep, but the poor mother could not close her eyes. About four in the morning she thought she heard sounds like that of footsteps in the passage, which gradually became more distinct, until at last the door of the prison wad softly opened.
The gaoler entered the prison, carrying a dark lantern
"Come ; up with you ! there is not a moment to lose," said he. "Eulalie and Celeste, come along, both of you."
"My dear sisters ! it is you who are called," cried Rosalie.
"You are mistaken, sister," cried Eulalie, starting up " Mamma must decide," objected Celeste
" Well, will you have done with all this bother ?" said Scevola, growing impatient ; " I was told the two youngest ; I know my orders, I hope."
"Eulalie, Celeste ! go, go, my beloved children," said Madame Boguais, straining them both to her heart ; "go, in the name of the duty and obedience you owe your mother; go, and may God watch over and protect you !"
"Mother! sister! when shall we meet again?" cried the two youngest, sobbing convulsively, and again embracing them by turns.
"Zounds ! are you coming at all ?” said Scevola, stamping with impatience ; would not any one think to see you that you were going to be burnt alive ? Are you mad ? The citizen commissioner must be in a perfect fever down there by this time ; to say nothing of the fact that it will soon be daylight, and if any one should see us pass, both he and I might have reason to repent it."
And with these words he dragged them away almost by main force.
Mme. Boguais leant against the door to catch the last sound of the retreating footsteps of her two children; a prolonged sob reached her ear, and once more a profound silence reigned throughout the corridor.
" Protect them, my God !” cried the poor mother,"and if it be Thy will that I should never see them more on earth, grant that we may all meet again one day in Heaven !"
Rosalie added a fervent "Amen !" while she made the sign of the cross.
Then throwing themselves into each other's arms, the two captives remained long absorbed in prayers and tears.


Morning had hardly dawned when a convoy of provisions, with divers military equipments, slowly traversed a portion of the city on its way to Angers.
The escort of soldiers was numerous, and well armed ; the men marched on gaily, indifferent of fatigue and danger, whistling, and singing snatches of joyous songs.
The officer in command was an old red-faced captain, who armed himself against the nipping morning air by frequent applications to a well-filled gourd which hung at his side. Another officer of superior rank - a young and handsome man, habited in the uniform of a commissioner general, brought up the rear of the army, and followed at a slow pace the last wagon in the cavalcade, although he had some difficulty in restraining the ardor of his beautiful bay charger, who snorted with impatience.
"Well, Parisian," said a young sergeant to one of his comrades, as soon as they had passed the town of Pontlieue, you who have usually so much to say, have you managed to leave your tongue in the city as well as your heart ?"
"I have neither left one nor the other," replied the Parisian.
" What is this fresh mood then ? how comes it that you are as mute as a fish to-day, you who generally chatter faster than a hundred magpies at a time ? Why, you are as preoccupied as a commander-in-chief the night before a battle ?"
"Preoccupied as I may be, comrade, there is some one not very far off who is a great deal more so. Look, Fier a Bras, just look at the commissioner I have been amusing myself for the last half hour with, watching him all the way along ; he seems ready to devour the last wagon with his eyes, and follows like a shadow."
"That is true," said Fier a Bras, after having made his own observations ; "but what does that prove ? Is that any reason why we should not converse a little, if only to while away the time ?"
"It proves, my boy, that there must be more gold in that chest than either your purse or mine has ever contained ; and my opinion is that if that same chest were just to come to smash on the road, it would be worth one's while to pick up the bits."
"I should rather think that there were arms inside.”
"And for my part I feel sure that it contains nothing more or less than good solid coin."
"I wager you a dozen glasses of the best brandy that it contains muskets."
"Stay; - there is the commissioner just stopping his dear wagon, and unlocking the enest ; we shall be just in time to see what he takes from it."
"Oh ! see, he is off again. What can he have taken out of the chest ? I did not see anything for my part."
"Nor I either, and yet the chest is not quite shut; by getting a little nearer, we might, without seeming to notice anything, contrive to learn which of us two is to have the honor of paying for the cognac ?"
" Leave me alone to manage it," said Fier a Bras, "before another quarter of an hour I shall have found out all about it. We have just arrived at Arnage, where we halt, and you shall see."
"Well, who is the winner, you or I, old fellow ?" said the Parisian, when the convoy had resumed its march.
"Let us speak of it no more," replied his companion with a thoughtful air.
"Ah! is it not gold then after all that you saw?” Never mind, don't be downhearted - if funds are low, I will willingly give you credit."
"Do you really then imagine you have won ?" said Fier a Bras, shrugging his shoulders. "Undeceive yourself; there is no more gold in that chest than there are sabres or firearms.”
"Why, what is there then ?"
"Hush ! strange things happen every day," said Fier a Bras, almost in the ear of his friend : "I know not if there be witchcraft in the affair, but I had no sooner approached the chest, than I heard the sound of groans which proceeded from it: it sounded for all the world like a woman's voice."
"Ah! is the commissioner such a gay fellow?- as for witchcraft, I for one do not believe a word of it. But, after all, if it really should be a woman, why should he take so much pains to conceal it ?"
“That is exactly what I said to myself at first."
"The commissioner is an aristocrat, for certain. I have suspected that for a long time," said the Parisian, after a moment's reflection : "he is quite capable of having hidden some royalist dame, to get her out of trouble, for the air of the city is not wholesome for such persons just now.”
"It may be so, certainly,” replied Fier a Bras, somewhat reassured, "but in either case it will not be I that shall denounce him, for aristocrat or not, he is a good fellow ; - a man after my own heart."
The two sergeants had guessed rightly ; the chest contained Eulalie and Celeste Boguais. M. de Fromental could find no better means of concealing them from the vigilance of the republican gendarmes than by locking them up in his chest, which was supposed to contain a quantity of luggage. An intelligent and faithful servant was alone let into the secret ; once arrived at the first stage of their journey, he was to release the young girls from this rolling prison, and conduct them to Chateaubriand where they were expected. M. de Fromental's duty obliging him to repair at once to Nantes, he quitted the cavalcade at the end of a few hours' march, after repeating to the good Jerome the instructions he had before given him.
Arrived at the end of his journey, he anxiously awaited the return of his domestic, who had orders to rejoin him as soon as he had accomplished his mission. The young officer had calculated that six days would suffice for Jerome to conduct the two ladies to Chateaubriand, and afterwards return to him at Nantes. The eighth day arrived, but no Jerome appeared. M. de Fromental, a prey to the most anxious solicitude, could neither eat nor sleep.
"If I should only have snatched them from their prison, to plunge them into yet greater dangers !" said he despairingly to himself.
At length one evening, as he was alone in his room, seated before the fire, with his head resting on his hands, buried in a reverie, Jerome suddenly presented himself before him.
"Ah ! here you are at last !" exclaimed the young man. Have you had a prosperous journey ? How are they all at Chateaubriand ?"
"Sir," replied the domestic, with an embarrassed air, "what I have to relate will give you pain. An accident has befallen us by the way."
"What has happened ? Speak - "
"Well, then, honored sir ! the young ladies you know ? I had no sooner released them from the chest than I perceived that one of them was as pale as a corpse, and unable to stand. I supported her on my arm to the best room the inn afforded, sent to fetch a doctor immediately, and in the meantime both her sister and myself tended her with every possible care ; but it was all in vain, in the course of a few hours the poor creature breathed her last. The other young lady took on so, it made one sad to see her. At last we managed to get her safely housed, but still very melancholy, with the old lady, who received her like her own daughter."
"Which of the two have survived ?" asked the officer, scarcely able to breathe with anxiety.
“The tallest, Mademoiselle Eulalie, she who has such rosy cheeks, and such a stately figure, you know ! She gave me a letter for you.''
"Hand it to me," replied M. de Fromental, a little relieved by this explanation, for if all the Boguais family inspired him with a tender interest, and generous devotion, it was Eulalie who had the most impressed him.
He eagerly perused the lines addressed to him, which the fair writer had traced with a trembling hand. She related to her benefactor in the most affecting terms the almost sudden death of Celeste ; she poured out to him the deep grief with which her heart was filled, thanked him for all his goodness, and concluded by conjuring him with tears not to limit his benefits to what he had already done, but to endeavor to procure if possible the deliverance of her mother and eldest sister.
"Yes," said the young man to himself, as he placed the letter in his bosom, "my first care shall be to obey her; it is thus that I will strive to render myself worthy of her affection."
He solicited and obtained leave of absence for a few days, and set out instantly for Le Mans.
Arrived there, his first visit was to the prison of the Oratory, where Scevola received him like a good client, from whom future favors might be expected.
“Well, citizen," said he, "I have given you satisfaction I hope ; I fulfilled all your wishes. Did your linnets arrive without meeting with any disaster?"
“And those who were left behind ?" demanded M. de Fromental without replying to the question of the gaoler.
"The young one is all right ; but it is all over with the old lady : she was buried the day before yesterday."
And, as cry of surprise and grief escaped the young man's lips, he continued :
"Do not suppose that it was any fault of mine, citizen commissioner. I let her want for nothing, as you told me ; but typhus is stronger even than gold : it is the fifteenth prisoner that it has carried off since the commencement of this decade."
M. de Fromental was in despair. "I shall never have the courage to announce these sad tidings to her myself," thought he.
He requested to see Rosalie for an instant. The young captive gave him the details of the illness and death of her mother; she informed him also that a charitable lady of the town, Mme. Legris de Pommeraye, having heard of her misfortunes, had come to visit and console her, and was now taking active steps to procure her liberty.
M. de Fromental went away from this interview a little comforted as to the fate of this poor young girl ; and his mind then reverted to her sister Eulalie whom he had left with his kind old friend, and with whom it was necessary now to communicate at once. In his dreams for the future, he had indulged the hope of shortly offering his hand for the acceptance of Mlle. Eulalie, but he had hoped to do so armed with the consent of her mother, and now he had to break to her the sad intelligence of the death of that revered parent. Besides, he scrupled, in his exquisite sense of delicacy, to take advantage of his title of liberator to urge his acceptance as a suitor on a girl still so young, and deprived of the support and counsel of her parents. After serious reflection, he resolved first to solicit the consent of M. Boguais, who was then in exile in Germany, as well as those of the grandmother of Eulalie, who was still alive. He wrote at once to both, requesting permission to declare himself, and then returned to Nantes, where he awaited with impatience the answer to these two letters.
Three months after this, M. de Fromental married, with the consent of all her remaining relatives, Eulalie Boguais whose admiration for the noble character of her husband was equal to the fervor of his attachment.
Immediately after the marriage, which was celebrated at Chateaubriand, M. de Fromental conducted his young bride into Touraine, where Rosalie, freed from prison through the exertions of the courageous. Mme Legris de la Pommeraye, was soon enabled to rejoin her sister.
As for Mlle. Petronille Chevert, if any one desires to know what became of her, they may be informed that she was alive and as brisk as ever at the restoration, having so completely repudiated her republican tendencies that she really and truly believed she had always remained faithfull to the cause of the Bourbons.


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