« AnteriorContinuar »
when thy labour al done is to M. Lavergne, governor of LongAnd hast made al thy reckeninges, wy, when that fort surrendered to In stede of reste and of newe thinges, the Prussians. The moment Longwy Thou sittest at another boke,
was retaken by the French, the goTyl fully dased is thy loke.
vernor was arrested, and conducted Book II, ver. 144.
to one of the prisons of Paris : MaChaucer was a man of an enthu dame Lavergne followed to the capisiastic turn of mind. This may well tal. She was then scarcely twenty be inferred from the journey he ap- years of age, and one of the loveliest pears to have made, when already women of France. Her husband forty-six years old, and employed in was upwards of sixty, yet his amiable affairs of state, across the peninsula qualities first won her esteem, and of Italy, that he might have the plea- his tenderness succeeded to inspire sure of seeing and conversing with her with an affection as sincere and Petrarca.
fervent as that which he possessed Let us add to these features of the for her. personal character of Chaucer his That dreadful epocha of the revodescription of his own figure, at the lution had already arrived, when the time when he was writing the Can- scaffold reeked daily with the blood terbury Tales.
of its unfortunate victims; and while
Lavergne expected every hour to be Our hoste to * japen he began... summoned before the dreaded triAnd saiéd thus: What man art thou? bunal, he fell sick in his dungeon. quod he,
This accident, which at any other Thou lokest as thou woldest finde an
moment would have filled the heart hare,
of Madame Lavergne with grief and For ever on the ground I see thee inquietude, now elevated her to
hope and consolation. She could not Approché nere, and loke up merily!
believe there existed a tribunal so Now ware ye, #sires, and let this man barbarous, as to bring a man before have face !
the judgment-seat, who was sufferHe fin the waste is shap'n as well ing under a burning fever. A perias I.
lous disease, she imagined, was the This were a || popet in an arme to present safeguard of her husband's
enbrace For any woman smal and faire of the fluctuation of events would
life ; and she promised herself that face He semeth felvish by his contenance, change his destiny, and finish in his For unto no wight doth he ** daliance. favour, that which nature had so
ver. 13623. opportunely begun. Vain expectaTo be continued.
tion! the name of Lavergne had been irrevocably inscribed on the fatal list of the 11th Germinal, of
the second year of the republic (June THE FEMALE CHARACTER DIS. 25, 1794), and he must on that day PLAYED DURING THE FRENCH
submit to his fate. REVOLUTION.
Madame Lavergne, informed of
this decision, had recourse to tears Conjugal Affection.
and supplications. Persuaded that
she could soften the hearts of the MADAME LAVERGNE had representatives of the people, by a been married but a very short time faithful picture of Lavergne's situa
tion, she presented herself before gibe. sirs. tis as fat as a landlord. the committee of general safety :
poppet, poupée, Fr. fairy-like, she demanded that her husband's humoursome, mischievous: oftices of trial should be delayed, whom she courtesy.
represented as a prey to a dangerVOL. II. NO. VII.
ous and cruel disease, deprived of such an husband was an unnatural his strength, of his faculties, and of excess, and therefore the committee all those powers either of body or could not attend to her petition. mind, which could enable him to Horror, indignation, and despair confront his intrepid and arbitrary took possession of the soul of Ma
dame Lavergne ; she had heard the · Imagine, () citizens,” said the purest and most exalted affection agonized wife of Lavergne, “ such for one of the worthiest of men conan unfortunate being as I have de. temned and vilified as a degraded scribed, dragged before a tribunal appetite. She had been wantonly about to decide upon his life, while insulted, while demanding justice, reason abandons him, while he can- by the administrators of the laws of not understand the charges brought a nation, and she rushed in silence against him, nor has sufficient power from the presence of these inhuman of utterance to declare his inno- men, to hide the bursting agony of
His accusers in full posses- her sorrows. sion of their moral and physical One faint ray of hope yet arose strength, and already inflamed with to cheer the gloom of Madame Lahatred against him, are instigated vergne's despondency. Dumas was even by his helplessness to more one of the judges of the tribunal, and than ordinary exertions of malice; him she had known previous to the while the accused, subdued by bodi- revolution. Her repugnance to seek ly suffering, and mental infirmity, this man in his new career, was subis appalled or stupified, and barely dued by a knowledge of his power, sustains the dregs of his miserable and her hopes of his influence. She existence. Will you, O citizens of threw herself at his feet, bathed France, call a man to trial while in them with her tears, and conjured the frenzy of delirium? Will you him by all the claims of mercy and summon him, who perhaps at this humanity, to prevail on the tribunal moment expires upon the bed of to delay the trial of her husband till pain, to hear that irrevocable sen the hour of his recovery. Dumas tence which admits of no medium replied coldly, that it did not belong between liberty or the scaffold ; to him to grant the favour she soliand, if you unite humanity with jus- cited, nor should he chuse to make tice, can you suffer an old man such a request to the tribunal : then
At these words every eye in a tone somewhat animated by inwas turned upon Madame Lavergne, solence and sarcasm, he added, whose youth and beauty, contrasted « and is it then so great a misforwith the idea of an aged and infirm tune, madame, to be delivered from husband, gave rise to very different a troublesome husband of sixty, emotions in the breasts of the mem whose death will leave you at liberbers of the committee, from those ty to employ your youth and charms with which she had so eloquently more usefully ?” sought to inspire them. They inter Such a reiteration of insult roused rupted her with coarse jests and in- the unfortunate wife of Lavergne decent raillery. One of the mem to desperation, she shrieked with inbers assured her with a scornful supportable anguish, and, rising smile, that young and handsome as from her humble posture, she exshe was, it would not be so difficult tended her arms towards heaven, as she appeared to imagine, to find and exclaimed, “ Just God! will not means of consolation for the loss of the crimes of these atrocious men a husband, who, in the common awaken thy vengeance! Go, moncourse of nature, had lived already ster,” she cried to Dumas, “ I no long enough. Another of them, longer want thy aid, I no longer equally brutal and still more fero- need to supplicate thy pity : away cious, added, that the fervour with to the tribunal, there will I also apwhich she had pleaded the cause of pear: then shall it be known whe
ther I deserve the outrages which fore the tribunal, where she again thou and thy base associates have uttered her own accusation, and was heaped upon me.”
condemned to die. From that inFrom the presence of the odious stant the agitation of her spirits subDumas, and with a fixed determi- sided, serenity took possession of her nation to quit a life that was now mind, and her beautiful countenance become hateful to her, Madame La- announced only the peace and satisvergne repaired to the hall of the faction of her soul. tribunal, and mixing with the On the day of execution, Madame crowd, waited in silence for the hour Lavergne first ascended the cart, of trial. The barbarous proceeds and desired to be so placed that she ings of the day commence. M. La- might behold her husband. The unvergne is called for. The jailors fortunate M. Lavergne had fallen support him thither on a mattrass ; into a swoon, and was in that cona few questions are proposed to dition extended upon straw in the him, to which he answers in a fees cart, at the feet of his wife, without ble and dying voice, and sentence of any signs of life. On the way to the death is pronounced upon him. place of execution, the motion of the
Scarcely had the sentence passed cart had loosened the bosom of Lathe lips of the judge, when Madame vergne's shirt, and exposed his Lavergne cried with a loud voice, breast to the scorching rays of the Vive le Roi! The persons nearest sun, till his wife entreated the exe. the place whereon she stood, eager- cutioner to take a pin from her ly surrrounded, and endeavoured to handkerchief and fasten his shirt: silence her, but the more the asto- Shortly afterwards, Madame Lanishment and alarm of the multitude vergne, whose attention never wan. augmented, the more loud and ve dered from her husband for a single hement became her cries of Vive le ant, perceived that his senses reRoi! The guard was called, and turned, and called him by his name. directed to lead her away. She At the sound of that voice, whose was followed by a numerous crowd, melody had so long been withheld mute with consternation or pity; from him, Lavergne raised his eyes, but the passages and staircases still and fixed them on her with a look resounded every instant with Vive at once expressive of terror and af. le Roi ! till she was conducted into fection. “Do not be alarmed,” she one of the rooms belonging to the said, “it is your faithful wife who court of justice, into which the pub- called you; you know I could not lic accuser came to interrogate her live without you, and we are going on the motives of her extraordinary to die together.” Lavergne burst conduct.
into tears of gratitude, sobs and “ I am not actuated," she an tears relieved the oppression of his swered, “ by any sudden impulse of heart, and he became able once despair or revenge, for the condem more to express his love and admi. nation of M. Lavergne, but from the ration of his virtuous wife. The love of royalty, which is rooted in scaffold, which was intended to semy heart. I adore the system that parate, united them for ever. you have destroyed. I do not expect any mercy from you, for I am
Filial Affection. your enemy ; I abhor your republic, and will persist in the confession I During the war of La Vendee, the have publicly made, as long as I Duc de la Rochefoucault, condemned live."
to die, as was also his daughter, Such a declaration was without found in the resources of that affecreply: the name of Madame La tionate girl the means of concealing vergne was instantly added to the himself, till a period arrived more list of suspected persons: a few mi favourable to that justice which he nutes afterward she was brought be successfully claimed. His daughter's
first care was to place him under gering and painful....that of dying of the roof and protection of an arti- cold and hunger. zan, who had formerly been a do “ Be the judge, citizen general, of mestic in the duke's service, after the extent of my misfortune, and own which she procured an asylum for that it is worthy of pity. One reherself. They were thus both se source only is left to me.
It is to cured from the immediate power of cast myself upon your generosity. their persecutors; but as the duke's I offer you my head, I undertake to property was confiscated, and as
go, and to go willingly, to the scafcompassion is apt to grow weary of fold, but give immediate succour to its good ofices, the means of their my dying father. Below I give you bare subsistence were soon worn out. the name of my place of concealWhile the daughter was suffering ment, there I will expect death with under the extreme of poverty, she pleasure, if I may promise myself learnt that her father's health was that you will be touched with my declining, for want of due nourish- prayers, and will relieve my old and ment. She now saw no way but to destitute parent.” devote her life to save her father's, The soldier had no sooner read and she instantly made the resolve. this letter than he hastened to the
A general of the republic at that asylum of Madame de Rochefouvery time was passing through the cault, and not only relieved her facity' in which was her place of con- ther, but secretly protected both, and cealment, and to him she wrote the after the 9th Thermidor, procured following letter:
the restoration of M. de Rochefou.
cault's property by a revision of their CITIZEN GENERAL,
sentence. « Wherever the voice of nature is heard, a daughter may be allowed Affection of sisters to brothers. to claim the compassion of men in behalf of her father. Condemned It was the practice at Nantes and to death at the same time with him other places, to put a number of conwho gave me being, I have success demned persons on board a vessel, fully preserved him from the sword and sink them in the river. During of the executioner, and have pre- these terrible drownings, a young served myself to watch over his girl, whose brother had been arrestsafety. But, in saving his life, I ed, repaired to the house of Carrier have not been able to furnish all to implore his protection in behalf that is necessary to support him. of her brother. "What age is he?" My unhappy father, whose entire asked Carrier. « Thirty-six years." property is confiscated, suffers at “ So much the worse ; he must die, this moment the want almost of and three-fourths of the persons in every thing. Without clothes, with- the same prison with him.” out bread, without friend to save At this horrible answer, him from perishing of want, he has girl knelt before the pro-consul, and not even the resource of the beggar, declaimed emphatically against the which still furnishes a little hope, barbarity of his conduct. Carrier that of being able to appeal to the ordered her to leave the house, and compassionate, and to present his even brutally struck her with the white hairs to those that might be scabbard of his sabre. Scarcely, moved to give him aid: my father, however, had she left his apartment, if he is not speedily succoured, will when he called her back to inform die in his place of concealment, and her, that if she would yield to his thus, after snatching him from a desires, he would spare the life of violent death, I shall have to sus her brother. His proposition filled tain ihe mournful reflection of hav- her with disdain, and restored her ing betrayed him to one more line to courage ; she replied, that « she
had demanded justice, and justice doned herself to despair. One idea was not to be bought with infamy." arose in her mind, which she expres
She retired, and learning that her sed to her husband with so much brother was on the point of being tenderness and courage, that it alconducted to one of those dreadful most instantly restored his mind to boats at Paimbeuf, she ran again to tranquillity. the pro-consul, hopeless now of his “ All is not lost,” she said, “I have life, and entreating only that she health and our five children also. might be allowed to give something Let us leave this town, and retire to her brother that might support to some place where we are not him on the way.
known, and I and my children will “ Begone,” replied Carrier, “he labour to support their father.” She has no need of any support." added, that if their labour was insuf
The brother of this unfortunate ficient, she would privately beg alms girl went to Paimbeuf, but before he for his support. The husband rumihad perished his sister was no more. nated awhile over this proposition,
and took this re wit Fortitude.
stancy worthy of the honourable life
he has since led. During the disastrous reign of the “No,” he said, “I will not reduce assignats, a family formerly opulent, you to the disgrace of beggary for consisting of a father, mother, and me; but since you are capable of five children, pined in want in a such attachment to me, I know what small cottage at the extremity of a remains to render me worthy of it.” town.
The father, whose temper He then lost no time in collecting was violent, supported his misfor- together the remnants of his protune with an impatience difficult to perty, which produced a hundred express. He frequently considered pistoles, and quitted the town with whether he should not put an end to his family, taking the road to a dishis life. His wife, observing the tant department; and in the first agitation of his mind, and knowing place where he thought he was not him capable of a rash act, meditated known, he changed his dress for the on the means of withdrawing him coarse dress of a peasant, making from his project. But the difficulty his whole family do the same; and was to find motives sufficiently continuing his route, arrived at a strong. His affection for herself and town which he thought fit for his his children, was rather calculated purpose, in the neighbourhood of to push him to extremity ; for it which he hired a cabin, with a field, was evident, he never thought on and a small vineyard. He then them without anguish bordering on bought some wool and flax to employ despair. To propose to him to have the girls, and tools to cultivate the recourse to the charity of his neigh- land for himself and the boys, the bours, she knew would wound his use of which he hired a peasant to pride, which was excessive. Be- teach him. sides, she was not certain of the suc
A few weeks sufficed to conquer cess of that expedient ; and she all difficulties. The example of the knew, that a refusal would be a father and mother excited emula, thousand times more cruel than any tion among the children; and acspecies of torture. Even the re- quiring a competence from its labour source of consolation was not left and constancy, originating in the her, for her husband would not listen courage of the virtuous mother, this to any topic that might afford hope, family lived perfect patterns of peace but impatiently pressed her to die and domestic union. with him, and to persuade their children to the same resolution.
Gratitude. Surrounded by so many subjects of During the unhappy days of Scpdiscouragement, the wife never aban- tember, 1792, a woman conceived