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see the battle. I was much frightened, it is suffered, entreated as a favour to be killed. true, but curiosity prevailed.
The greater part remained motionless. While thus looking and trembling, the For the first time I had a full comprehenCroats were in the square. At the same sion of death; those men whom I had seen moment I heard the Commandant cry, two minutes before, full of life and strength, **Fire !" then a clap of thunder, then noth- charging their enemies with fury, and bounding but buzzing in my ears. All that side ing like wolves, there they were lying of the square turned toward the street had pell-mell, insensible as the stones of the fired at once; the glass from our windows road. fell like hail, the smoke came into the room, In the ranks of the Republicans also there with bits of cartridges, and the smell of were vacant places, bodies lying on their powder filled the air.
faces, and some wounded men, their cheeks My hair stood on end; I looked and saw and foreheads covered with blood, were the Croats upon their great horses, in the bandaging their heads, their guns at their grey smoke, leap, fall back, and leap again, feet, without leaving the ranks, while their as if to climb over the square, and those comrades assisted them to tie their handbehind coming, incessantly coming, howling kerchiefs and to put their hats on over them. with wild voices, “ Forwertz! Forwertz!" The Commandant, on horseback, near the
“Fire! the second rank,” cried the Com- fountain, one corner of his great plumed mandant, in the midst of perpetual snort- hat hanging down his back, and his sabre ings and cries.
in his hand, closed up the ranks; near him He spoke as he might have done in our the drummers formed a line, and at a little parlour, so calm was his voice. A fresh clap distance, close to the trough, was the canof thunder followed, and while the plastering tinière with her cart. The trumpets of the was falling, while the tiles were rolling from Croats were heard sounding the retreat. the roofs as if heaven and earth were coming At the corner of the street they had halted; together, Lisbeth, in the kitchen, uttered one of their sentinels waited there behind such piercing cries that even through this the corner of the town-house; only the tumult they could be heard like the hissing head of his horse could be seen. Some of a whistle.
shots were still firing. After the firing by platoons, began the "Stop firing !” exclaimed the Commandfiring hy files. Nothing was to be seen but ant. the guns of the second rank, lowered, fired, And all was still; nothing was heard but and raised again, while the first rank, kneel- the trumpet at a distance. The cantinière ing, crossed their bayonets, and the third then went round the ranks on the inside to loaded the guns and passed them to the sec- give some brandy to the men, while seven ond.
or eight stout fellows went to draw water The Croats whirled around the square, from the fountain in bowls for the wounded, striking at a distance with their great spears; who all begged piteously for drink. from time to time a hat fell, sometimes a I, hanging out of the window, looked man. One of these Croats, reining his horse down the deserted street, asking myself if back on his haunches, sprung so far that he those red cloaks would dare to return. leaped over the three ranks and fell within The Commandant also looked in the same the square; but then the Republican Com- direction and talked with a captain who was mandant threw himself upon him and with leaning on the saddle of his horse. All at one furious thrust nailed him, so to speak, once the captain crossed the square, broke upon the croup of his horse. I saw the Re- through the ranks, and hurried toward our publican draw out his sabre red even to the house crying, hilt; that sight made me shiver; I was just “ The master of the house ?" going to fly, but I was scarcely on my feet “ He is out." when the Croats turned face about and fled • Well, you, then, show me the way to away, leaving a great many men and horses your garret, - quick!” in the square.
I slipped off my wooden shoes and began The horses atttempted to get up, then fell to climb up the stairs at the end of the down again. Five or six horsemen caught entry like a squirrel. The captain followed under their horses made efforts to disen- me. At the top he saw with the first glance gage their legs; others, covered with blood, of his eye the ladder to the pigeon-house, crawled on all fours, raising their hands and went up before me. In the pigeonand crying in a lamentable tone, “Pardone, house, putting both his elbows on the sill Françóse?” in fear of being massacred; of the dormer window, which was rather some of them, unable to endure what they low, he leaned out to look. I looked over
his shoulder. The whole of the road till it around, some darting their lances and withwas lost from sight was full of cavalry, in- drawing them; others discharged their great fantry, people, cannon, ammunition wagons, pistols into the ranks at four paces distance. red cloaks, green pelisses, white coats, hel It seemed to me that the square was mets, cuirasses, files of lances and of bayo- yielding; it was so indeed." nets, lines of horses, and all this was ad Close up the ranks! steady!” called vancing toward the village.
the Commandant in his calm voice. “ It is an army!” murmured the captain “ Close up the ranks! close up!” rein a low voice.
peated the officers from point to point. He turned hastily to go down again, but But the square yielded; it bent into a stopping at sudden thought he pointed half circle in the middle; the centre almost out to me along the village, within two mus- touched the fountain. At every stroke of ket-shots, a file of red cloaks which were the lance there was a gleam of bayonets like plunging into a hollow behind the orchards. lightning, but soinetimes a man sank down.
“Do you see those red cloaks ? ” said he. The Republicans had no longer time to re“ Yes."
load; they fired no more; and the Houlans “ Is there a carriage-road there ?" continued to pour in more numerous, bolder, “No, it is a foot-path.".
enveloping the square in their whirlwind, “ And that great ravine which cuts it in and already uttering shouts of triumph, for the middle, straight before us, is that deep?" they thought themselves conquerors. “Oh! yes."
I thought the Republicans were lost, “Carriages and horses never pass there?” when, in the hottest of the action, the ComNo, they cannot."
mandant, raising his hat on the point of his Then, without asking me anything more, sabre, began to sing a song which made he went backward down the ladder as fast one thrill all over, and the whole battalion, as possible, and threw himself down the like one man, began to sing with him. stairs. I followed him; we were soon at In the twinkling of an eye the whole the bottom, but we were not yet at the front of the square righted itself, crowding end of the passage-way when the approach back into the street all that mass of horseof a mass of cavalry made the houses shake. men, pressing them one against another In spite of this, the captain went out, with their great lances, like spikes of grain crossed the square, pushed between two in the fields. It seemed as if the Republimen in the ranks, and disappeared. cans were made furious by that song. I
Thousands of short, strange cries, resem- never beheld anything more terrible. And bling those of a flock of crows, “ Hurrah! I have thought many times since that men Hurrah!" then filled the street from one maddened in battle are more ferocious than end to the other, and almost muffled the wild beasts. heavy sound of the gallop.
But what was still more frightful was I, quite proud of having conducted the that the last ranks of the Austrian column, captain into the pigeon-house, had the im- quite at the end of the street, not seeing prudence to go forward to the door. The what was going on at the entrance to the Houlans, for this time they were Houlans, square, kept advancing all the time, crycame like the wind, lances in rest, their ing, -" Hurrah! Hurrah!" so that those sheep-skin capes floating on their shoulders, in the front rank, pushed back by the bay. their ears covered by their large fur caps, onets of the Republicans and being unable their eyes staring, their noses buried as it to retreat, struggled in inexpressible conwere in their moustaches, and large pistols fusion, and uttered cries of distress, while with brass blocks in their girdles. It was their great horses, their noses pricked, like a vision. I had only time to throw erected their manes straight, their eyes myself backwards; there was not a drop starting out of their heads, with shrill of blood in my veins, and it was only at the neighings and frightful kickings. I saw moment when the firing began again that I from a distance those unfortunate Houlans, awoke as from a dream, in the back part of wild with terror, turn round, striking their our room opposite to the broken windows. comrades with the butt of their lances, that
The air was darkened, the square of they might make room for themselves, and soldiers quite white with smoke. The Com- scampering away like hares. mandant alone was seen behind, motionless Two minutes afterward the street was on his horse, near the fountain ; he might empty. About twenty or thirty of these have been taken for a bronze statue through poor devils remained shut in the public that bluish cloud from which spirted hun- square. They had not seen the retreat, dreds of red flames. The Houlans, like and seemed utterly disconcerted, not knowmonstrous grasshoppers, were bounding all ing which way to fly; but this was soon
finished; a new discharge laid them on their hands black, their cheeks hollow. Two their backs, with the exception of two or drummers marched behind without drumthree who plunged into Tanner's lane. ming; the little one whom I had seen sleep
There was now nothing to be seen but ing under our shed was there; he had his heaps of dead horses and men, with blood drum over his shoulder, and his back bent flowing out from beneath them, and run- as he marched. Large tears flowed down ning down our little gutter quite to the his round cheeks, blackened by the smoke culvert.
of the powder. His comrade said to him, "Stop firing !” cried the Commandant Come, little Jean, have courage !” But for the second time. "Load!"
he did not seem to hear him. Horatius At the same instant nine o'clock sounded Cocles had disappeared and the cantinière from the church. The village at that mo- also. I followed that group with my eyes ment is not to be described; the houses to the turning of the street. riddled with balls, the shutters hanging by For some minutes the alarm-bell of the the hinges, the windows broken in, the town house had been ringing; and every chimneys shaking, the streets full of bro- where in the distance 'melancholy voices ken bricks and tiles, the roofs of the sheds were heard crying, “ Fire! Fire ! » pierced with holes, and that heap of dead, I looked toward the barricade of the Rethose horses topsy-turvy, struggling and publicans; the fire had caught the houses bleeding; one cannot picture it to himself. and mounted up to the sky; on the other
The Republicans, their numbers dimin- side a clattering of arms filled the street, and ished by half, their large hats hanging down already long black pikes were put out from upon their backs, their look stern and ter- the great windows of the neighbouring rible, paused, resting on their arms. Be- houses to throw down the blazing barrihind, a few steps from our house, the Com- cade. mandant was consulting with his officers. I overheard him easily.
“We have an Austrian army in front of AFTER the departure of the Republicans a us,” said he, abruptly; “our business is full quarter of an hour passed before any to get off with whole skins. In an hour one showed himself in the street on our side. we shall have twenty or thirty thousand All the houses seemed to be abandoned. men upon our heads; they will turn the On the other side of the barricade the village with their infantry and all will be tumult increased.
The cries of the peolost. I am about to have the retreat ple, “ Fire! Fire!” were mournfully prosounded. Has any one anything to say ?" | longed.
No, that is well advised,” replied the I had gone out under the shed, frightened others.
by the conflagration. Nothing stirred, nothThen they moved off, and two minutes ing was heard but the crackling of the fire afterward I saw a great number of soldiers and the groans of one of the wounded sitgo into the houses, throw out chairs, ta- ting against the wall of our stable; he had bles, wardrobes, in one heap; some of a ball in his back, and was supporting himthem from the lofts of the barns threw out self upon his two hands to keep himself uphay and straw, and others brought the right. He was a Croat; he looked at me carts and wagons from the back of the with dreadful and despairing eyes. A little sheds. Not more than ten minutes were farther off a horse, lying on his side, swung needed to have at the entrance of the street his head at the end of his long neck like a a barrier as liigh as the houses; hay and pendulum. straw were at the bottom and the top. And while I was there, thinking that these The rolling of the drum recalled those who Frenchmen must be great brigands to burn had done this work. At once fire began us up without any reason, I heard a slight to climb from piece bit to piece bit quite to noise behind me. I turned round and saw the top of the barricade, sweeping the in the shadow of the shed, under the sprays roofs on each side with its red flame and of straw falling from the beams, the door of spreading its black smoke like an immense our barn half open, and behind it the pale vault over the village.
face of our neighbour Spick with his eyes Loud cries were then heard at a distance, wide open. He put his head forward very gud-shots came from the other side; but gently and listened; then being convinced nothing could be seen, and the Command that the Republicans had sounded the reant gave the order to retreat.
treat, he sprung out, brandishing his hatchet I saw those Republicans defile in front like a madman, and crying, "Where are of our house with a slow and firm step, those scoundrels ? where are they? Let their eyes flashing, their bayonets red, me exterminate them all!”
“Ah,” said I, “they have gone, but by Houlans, dragoons, hussars, the cannon, running you may yet overtake them at the carts, gun-carriages, powder wagons; then, end of the village.”
about three o'clock, the general in chief, a He looked at me with a doubtful glance, large old man, in the midst of his officers, and seeing that I meant no harm he ran to with a three-cornered hat and a long white the fire.
polonaise so covered with fringe and gold Other doors opened at the same time; embroidery that by his side the Republican men and women came out, looked, then Commandant with his worn hat and uniforin raised their hands to heaven, crying, “Curses would have looked only like a simple coron them! Curses on them!” and each one poral. hurried to get his bucket to extinguish the The burgomaster and the counsellors of fire.
Anstatt, in drugget coats with large sleeves, The fountain was soon encumbered with and with uncovered heads, waited for him people; there was no longer any room in the square. He stopped there two minaround it; they formed a line both sides utes, looked at the dead bodies heaped quite to the entrance of the threatened houses. around the fountain, and asked Some soldiers standing on the roof poured “How many were there of the French ? " water on the flames, but all that could be “A battalion, your excellency," replied done was to preserve the neighbouring the burgomaster, bent into a semicircle. houses. Towards eleven o'clock a jet of blu- The general said nothing. He raised his ish flame rose up to the sky; among the hat and pursued his route. number of wagons piled up was the canti- Then came the second brigade, some Tyronière's; her two casks of brandy bad just lese chasseurs at the head, with their green exploded.
coats, their black hats, the brims turned Uncle Jacob too was in the line on the back, and their small Innspruck rifles; then, other side under the guard of two Austrian other infantry in white coats and sky-blue sentinels; he succeeded, however, in escap- breeches, large gaiters reaching up to their ing by crossing a court, and returned home knees; then, the heavy cavalry, men six through the garden.
feet tall, enclosed in their cuirasses, and of “Lord God!” exclaimed he, “ Fritzel is whom we saw only the chin and the long red safe."
moustaches under the visor of the helmet: I saw from this circumstance that he loved then, at last, the large ambulances covered me very much, for he embraced me, asking with grey clotb stretched over hoops, and
Where were you, my poor child ? " behind, the lame, the stragglers, and the At the window," I said.
poltroons. Then he turned quite pale, and called The surgeons of the army made the cir“ Lisbeth! Lisbeth !
cuit of the square. They lifted up the But she did not answer and it was quite wounded, placed them on their ambulances, impossible for us to find her; we went into and one of their chiefs, a little old man with all the rooms, even looking under the beds; a white wig, said to the burgomaster, pointand we thought she had taken refuge with ing to the dead, some neighbour.
** You will have them all buried as soon During this interval the fire had been as possible." mastered, and suddenly we heard the Aus- *Your orders shall be executed," replied trians crying outside,
the burgomaster grevely. “Make room! make room! back!” At length the last ambulances had gone.
At the same instant a regiment of Croats It was about six o'clock in the evening. thundered by our house. They pushed for- Night had come. Uncle Jacob was on the ward in pursuit of the Republicans; but we threshold of the house with me. Before us, learned the next day that they had arrived fifty steps off, against the fountain lay all the too late; the enemy had gained the wood dead ranged on the steps, their faces turned of Rothalps, which extends quite behind up, with open eyes. They were white as Pirmasens. It was thus we understood, at wax, having lost all their blood. The last, why these people had barricaded the women and children of the village were walkstreet and set the houses on fire: they wished ing around. to delay the pursuit of the cavalry ; and this And as the grave-digger, Jeffers, with plainly shows their great experience in the his two boys, Karl and Ludwig, came up business of war.
with their spades over their shoulders, the From that moment till five o'clock in the burgomaster said to them, evening, two Austrian brigades defiled • Take twelve men with you, and make a through the village under our windows; large pit in the field of Wolithal for all these
people, do you understand? And all who all these things gravely, and all at once, have carts and wagons must lend them with toward the end of the meal, he said to me, their teams; for it is a public service.” stretching out his hand,
Jeffer bowed and went off at once to the “ See! This is war, Fritzel. Look and field of Wolfthal with his boys and the men remember! Yes, this is war, death and whom he had chosen.
destruction, fury and hate, forgetfulness "We really must find Lisbeth,” said my of all human feelings. When the Lord uncle to me.
smites us with his maledictions, when he We again began our search from the sends pestilence and famine, these are, at yard to the cellar, and only at the very least, inevitable scourges decreed by his last, just as we were coming up, we saw wisdom; but here it is man himself who behind our cask of sour-crout, between the decrees misery to his fellow-creatures, and two air-holes, a bundle of linen in the it is he who pitilessly carries his ravages shadow, which my uncle began to shake. afar. Lisbeth directly cried out, in a plaintive “ Yesterday we were at peace; we asked voice, — “Don't kill ine! In the name of nothing of any one; we had done no harm ; Heaven, have pity on me!”
all at once strangers have come to smite, to “Stand up," said my uncle, kindly. ruin, and destroy us. Ah! may those who “ It is all over."
promote such calamities through a spirit of But Lisbeth was still so troubled that she ambition be cursed ! may they be the execould scarcely put one foot before the cration of ages! other, and I had to lead her up like a “ Fritzel, remember, there is nothing child. Then, seeing the light again in her upon earth more abominable. Men who kitchen, she sat down at the corner of the do not know each other, who have never hearth, and burst into tears, praying and seen each other, all at once rush to tear thanking the Lord for having saved her; each other to pieces. That alone should which proves that old people hold to life as make us believe in God, for there must be much as the young.
an avenger of such iniquities.” The hours of desolation which followed, Thus spoke my uncle, gravely; he was and the activity my uncle was obliged to much moved, and I listened with my head exercise in answering the calls of the unfor- bowed down, retaining each of his words tunate persons who claimed his care, will and engraving them on my memory. remain always present to my memory. After we had been sitting thus for half Not a moment passed that a woman or a an hour, a sort of dispute arose outside child did not enter our house, calling upon the square; we heard a dog growl out,
hoarsely, and the voice of our neighbour "Monsieur doctor, quick, come! my Spick say, in an irritated tone,husband — my brother — my sister
Stop, stop, you scamp of a dog, till I ill."
give you a blow on the head with my matOne had been wounded, another had be- tock! There! that is just the same sort come wild from terror, another, stretched of animal as his masters; they pay you at length, gave no signs of life. My uncle with assignats and he with bites; but he could not be everywhere.
will come to harm." “You will find him in such a house,” I The dog growled still louder. And other said to these unfortunate persons; “be voices said, in the midst of the stillness of quick!"
the night, And they went away.
“ But it is odd all the same.
See, he It was not till very late, about ten will not quit that woman. Perhaps she is o'clock, that he at last returned. Lisbeth not quite dead.” had rallied a little; she had made up a fire Then my uncle rose quickly and went on the hearth, and prepared the table as out. I followed him. There is nothing usual, but the plaster from the ceiling and more dreadful than to look at the dead unthe splinters of glass and of wood still cov- der the red light of torches. There was no ered the floor. In the midst of all this we wind, but yet the flame wavered, and all seated ourselves at table and ate in silence. those pale creatures, with their eyes open,
From time to time my uncle raised his seemed to be moving. head, looking out upon the square, upon
· Not dead !” cried Spick. the torches which moved about among the mad, Jeffer? Do you think
know dead. The black carts which were stationed more than the army surgeons ? No, no, in front of the fountain, with their little she has gone to her account, and that is all country ponies, the grave-diggers, the curi- right, for she is the woman who paid for ous; all this in the dim light. He observed my brandy with paper. Come, get out
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