Imatges de pÓgina


definite; but there is a mournful myste- good, may be had in two places, and there rious vagueness about the following, that is a recondite instrument for sale cheap, in would seem to call for the interference of the shape of an "alamode potato cuttingthe authorities, but for the circumstance machine.” Goats, lathes, mangles, microthat the figures seem to afford evidence scopes, and mills, are all advertised for sale that, spite of affliction, reason is not yet in this column; and for a neat assortment tottering on its throne: “ General, sweets, of "sundries,” it would be difficult to beat

! twelve pounds; rent fourteen shillings, let this: “Gas cooking-stove, if needed, for off eight and sixpence, affliction of pro- one hundred persons; butter block and prietor.” A “ ladies' middle-class day- scale complete ; mahogany sideboard, single school,” which is vouched for as a genuine gun, two bedsteads, looking-glass, patent transaction, is to be had for twenty-five sausage machine.” Or this: “Bradford's pounds; a soup-shop in a business neigh- washing machine ; a large club-room mahobourhood for twelve pounds; and a com- gany table; a small quantity of vulcanite ; a prehensive concern described as a “music, French velocipede ; slate bagatelle table; news-agent, and tobacco business," must be and two large gin vats.” dirt cheap at forty-five pounds. But the pick of the paper is to be found

OLD STORIES RE-TOLD. in the curious miscellaneous reading under the heading, “to be sold." The oddest things are advertised for sale ; and could On a dark December night, in the year we see behind the scenes of which the 1797, twenty-nine brigands, or chauffeurs, sixpenny advertisement, hard, dry, and as they called themselves, assembled at a laconic, is the curtain, the smile that the great gipsy feast of stolen poultry in the perasal of it may haply raise would surely heart of the forest of Lifermeau (in the give place to the gravity of sincerest sym- district of Orgères), to plan an attack on a pathy. Such an advertisement as this is rich farmer named Fousset, at Millouard. the index to a very bitter pass : “Bible It was reported about Chartres that Fous(family devotional), illustrated, for sale.” set was one of the “Black Band,” who The children's birthdays may be recorded bought up the deserted châteaux of the in it, but it must go; and' if it finds a fugitive or guillotined aristocrats; that he purchaser the wedding-ring of the wife and had coffers full of louis-d'or, and chests mother may be respected a little longer. crammed with linen and plate. The greedy "Duplicate, fourteen yards of rich Magenta eyes of the murderous scoundrels glittered silk, and gold and amethyst necklace, at the prospect of such spoil. pledged this month for thirty-five shillings; The next night the robbers set out about ten shillings for the duplicate." This does eleven o'clock for the farm at Millouard. not read like duffer," somehow; and it The leader of these vagabonds was a man requires no ingenuity to picture to the named_Girodet, generally known as Le mind's


the sudden vicissitudes that Beau François. Originally an itinerant may have enforced the sacrifice. Who that seller of 'rabbit-skins, he had succeeded conld help it would advertise for sale his or the former chief, Fleur d'Epine, who had her“ parrot, fine grey talking, very gentle," perished in the massacres of September, or such a cherished relic as a pair of Lord as ruler of the band equally dreaded by Byron's duelling pistols”? Has the old the travellers of Chartres, Orleans, Pithistroller got too feeble to attend the village viers, and Etampes. He was a tall, handfairs, and take his stand of a Saturday some fellow of about thirty, with good night in Whitechapel, or has he made complexion and blue eyes. The second money and gone in for a bigger thing, that in command among these marauders was we find advertised, “a very pretty portable Thomas Roncin, alias the Big Dragoon, show, the “Mermaid's Cave,' price two a ferocious man with a red beard, who had pounds”? What but necessity can exact first been a cattle-dealer, then a soldier in the sale of . a mackintosh for carmen, the Queen's Dragoons. In serious expedicheap, a bargain seldom to be met with”?tions he usually carried a musket, a sabre, Norwich canaries can be heard in full song; and a pair of pistols. The rest of the band cocks five shillings, hens one and six- preferred loaded bludgeons, but there were pence, which difference in price is an insult two muskets among them, one of which to femininity; or if the investor would prefer had a bayonet, the other was doublea “dissolving view, apparatus complete,” he barrelled. "On arriving under the walls of can be accommodated. Dripping, warranted the farm-house, a man named Duchesne




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was sent out to reconnoitre. In slinking to pass into the road by a hole in the stable round the house, Duchesne saw a light at wall, was driven back by the blows of a a loophole. Climbing a tree he looked in cudgel; he then hid himself in the manger and saw three men, one of whom was under some horse-collars, and was there counting money. These men were Fousset, caught. The shepherd, burrowing in the his son, and a notary, who had come to hayloft, was pricked out and thrashed back receive some money for a mortgage, and to the stable. All safe now, so the gang was sleeping at the farm. As Duchesne chose the oldest, and weakest, and richest slid down from a tree some dogs in the to talk to. Le Père Fousset, garotted, court-yard barked. A shepherd whistled, and with his cotton cap drawn down over and Duchesne heard a door open, and the his nose, so that he should recognise no clatter of sabots. The spy returned and one, was cudgelled into the parlour, where

, made his report. “ We must wait an his legs being tied, they threw him on the hour,” said Beau François. At the end ground. The wretches lighting wisps of of an hour Beau François went to recon- straw passed them quickly over the body noitre. The light was out; he whistled of the old man. softly, and the band joined him; but all “Where is your money ?” they shouted. at once a dog flew at the door, sniffing “Quick, if you do not want to be put on the and barking. Presently the notary's dog spit.” roused the farm dog, and the two bărked The

poor man, blinded, sore with blows, furiously all night at intervals. “No and nearly suffocated with smoke and flame,

. good," said the chief, and the attack was had no heart to reply. Then half stripping postponed till the 14th of January. About him, and taking off his shoes and stockings

, twenty-six armed scoundrels assembled on the chauffeurs scorched the naked flesh that night by different routes in the forest till he screamed in agony. of Goury. They started at nine o'clock at “Cry out as much as you like, but tell night and surrounded Millouard, according us where the money is,” said Le Beau to strict military tactics. A pistol fired by François. Beau François was the signal of attack. “ There are three hundred francs in the A field-roller, swung as a battering-ram by little bureau in the kitchen,” moaned the six of the brigands, shattered the court- old man. yard gate. The second door was stove in The bag was found in the place indicated. with equal ease.

The farmer and his “Now the rest,” roared Le Beau Franfamily had already, in their abject terror, çois ; “you won't make us believe that you fled to the stable and barricaded the door. haven't more. There are at least twenty The robbers, leaving a vedette at the front thousand francs." door, and sentinels outside the walls, rushed The miserable man made a gesture of into the house shouting, “Forward; thirty denial. of you here, forty there,” to give an ex- " You won't speak !" cried the enraged aggerated impression of their numbers. chief. “Then warm him, my children." The next moment the barred stable-door Again they lit the straw, and blazed it was dashed open, and the gang rushed over him. As he still uttered only halfin with threats and curses, one of them stifled groans, they drew out a long sharp carrying an ominous red-hot coal and a needle and pierced the soles of his feet

, wisp of straw. The moment the door and passed the flame over the wounds of gave way the farmer and his son and this martyr of Mammon. Still no confession the servant-girl had hidden themselves could be burnt out of him. In spite of all in the stable litter. The chauffeurs drove their cruelty, nothing more could be found. them out by pricking them with knives and In vain they ripped mattresses and feather bayonets. One of the thieves, his knife beds, and split open cupboards and chests between his teeth, wanted at once to cut of drawers." In his insane rage, Le Beau their throats, but Bean François cried very François trampled on the half-dead man, considerately :

and, regarding him as a mere wortbless “And the yellow boys, Sans Pouce, who corpse, threw on him a heap of ripped-up will tell us then where they are hidden ? beds and counterpanes.

Then, tying the No, we must have a talk with the old clothes and linen in bundles, Le Beau man."

François whistled together his men from In the mean time the two other servants the court and the stable. were hunted for, in the dread of any fugi- “We had better settle with these," said tive giving the alarm. The carter, trying one of the gang, pointing to the three

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farm-servants and the girl ; “I don't like with his head. At length the labourer's leaving godfathers and godmothers behind wife came with a candle and found the

miserable man half dead on the threshold. The gang, opening the trap-door of the With the help of a neighbour, the good cellar, now thrast in Bernard Fousset, the woman unbound the old farmer, dressed his old man's son, the carter, and the shepherd. feet, and put him on a bed. At daybreak Catherine, the maid, who stayed behind, the two women, taking a lantern, went to paralysed with terror, was hurled down the the farm and released the imprisoned farmsteps headlong by Borgne le Mans, one of servants. The next day they went to seek the most brutal of the band, amid shouts a justice of the Canton d’Artenay. The of cruel laughter. Le Beau François and officers arrived, and found the straw and Le Gros Normand barred up the trap, the beds still smouldering. A surgeon and loaded it with casks of flour. The found the old man dying; his legs below troop then formed in two files—the men the knee almost roasted; the chest terriwith muskets preceding, and Le Beau bly burnt. He expired eight days after François, Sans Pouce, and Le Gros Nor- the robbery, of his wounds. The only mand guarding the rear. They passed the traces the thieves had left behind them houses of Pourpry, and made for the wood. were two old three-cornered hats, a pair of There they divided the spoil. They lit a iron-heeled sabots, a pipe, and an old bivouac fire of dead boughs, threw their blouse. These things were carefully old shirts and rags in the flames, and put guarded by the gendarmes. on the clean linen from the farm; the There was nothing more dreadful in the clothes were equally shared, and the silver attack on Fousset than in dozens of other cups, bowls, shoe-buckles, and brooches set crimes perpetrated by the same band, and apart for sale at the receivers, near D'An- the state of things had now become ingerville. As he stretched himself to sleep, tolerable. The small farmers were afraid Le Bean François muttered, “That old to combine, and the country people were rascal of a Fousset robbed us after all.” too often in league with the thieves. Severe

In spite of all the tortures heaped upon measures were rendered necessary. The him, the old farmer was not dead. Re-wound that cannot be healed must be cut covering from his swoon, and hearing no out.. Suchy, the commissary of Chartres, sound, he tried to disengage himself from found a stern and staunch lieutenant the superincumbent load. He succeeded in a simple maréchal des logis of genby a terrible exertion, and, by the dim darmes, Pierre Pascal Vasseur. This man light of the almost burnt-out embers, seeing was à resolute and untiring pursuer. that the feather bed covering him still He seemed to take as much pleasure in smouldered, he tore it from him with his choking a brigand as a good terrier does teeth. His hands were tied, but the flames in killing a rat. To ferret out these had burnt through the cords round his vermin, and to introduce them to the guilfeet and thighs, and he raised himself with lotine, was the one end and aim of his restpain on his bleeding feet. Crawling to less life. This was not his first hunt; the door, he called out, in a feeble voice, some years before he had cleared the forest · Bernard, Bernard !" No voice replied. of Senonches with fire and sword. He knew * They have killed him.” He crawled on the habits of the brigands and their motley to the outer door, supporting himself by language, old as the wars of the League. the walls. There was no light in Pourpry, The National Guards were utterly useless. no light on the plain; the night was That was visible at the very outset. On the gloomy and dark. He tried to reach the 17th of January a detachment had orders cottage of a labourer, about a hundred to search on the farm of Stas, in the canton yards from the farm. What an hour of of Bazoches les Gallerand, for seven or agony !

A hundred yards; it seemed eight suspected beggars, among whom was twenty miles. Often he fell, for his feet Sans Pouce, one of Fousset's torturers. were swollen and sore, and his thighs were The distrustful rustic soldiers, whose musblistered, and almost fleshless. His breath, kets were rusty, and some of them without too, failed him, and it seemed as if his very flints, were mocked by the sturdy beggars, lungs had been laid open. After midnight whose cudgels they shunned. “Tell your he reached the labourer's door. He called, master,” said Sans Pouce, to the farmer's but his voice was too weak to be heard. milk-maid, “that if he is afraid of his Collecting all his strength, he rolled his crowns we will take care of them.” body into the doorway, and struck the door But the daring rascals did not long defy justice. Vasseur, surrounding the suspected of detention at Chartres he found a young region, drawing his nets in narrowing circle man of St. Brigaud, one of the gang who after circle, sending out his spies and scouts had been wounded in 1796, after attacking from farm to farm, striking every bush, a farm. They also captured Le Borgne probing every wood, chatting with farmers, Quatre Sous, who had joined Rouge d'Ancarters, and vine-dressers, met at last with neau in a murder and robbery, in 1797, of two shepherds and a farm-girl who had a poor_schoolmaster and beadle named seen the suspected beggars in the wood of Lampe Trop. In the prison of Neuville they Goury, about a league and a half from met with the notorious Rouge d'Auneau, Fousset's farm. There the ashes of their again in trouble for not having a passport. bivouac fires were found, and some huts It was now resolved to filter all the prisons and shelters they had constructed. The between Chartres and Orléans, to discover farm - girl told the keen gendarme that the dregs of the Orgères gang, who were three days before the sack of Millouard she constantly being arrested. Vasseur found had seen Jacques d'Etampes and others an honest, brave, and unflinching coadjutor of the gang pass by in rags. Eight days in Armand François Fougeron, the magisafter, she saw them again pass well- trate and head of the police for the Canton dressed, and Jacques d'Etampes had on a Orgères at Ville-Prevost. The captain com. red carmagnole bandkerchief, ornamented mandant of the National Gendarmerie for with cannons and caps of liberty. He took the Department of the Eure and Loire put off this, flourished it before the girl, who at the disposal of Vasseur as many deadmired it, and offered it to her for a tachments as he might need, and lent “beau louis-d'or.”

him in addition the hussars quartered at The girl mocking him, Jacques untwisted Chartres and Neuville. the handkerchief and showed her a louis From the deserters of the band Vasseur tied up in one corner.

gradually obtained the fullest details. The “I gained that,” he said, “at the last bands of robbers that in Cartouche's time harvest."

had infested the forests near Paris, Rouvray, In a stable of a farm in the canton of Bondy,and Senart, had gradually been driven Orgères, Vasseur and his men found a into the woods of the Isle of France, Beauce, beggar-woman and her husband. They had Berry, and Picardy. In a vast triangle no passports, and were at once arrested. The formed of the three departments now known man, Germain Bouscaut, alias Le Borgne as Eure and Loire, Loire and Cher, and de Jouy, aged twenty-eight years, had been Loiret, these robbers ruled supreme. The for nine years one of the most dreaded woods were large, the plains rich, and chiefs of the Orgères band. After some scantily inhabited. Vast caves, the quarries reticence he made the fullest and minutest of mediæval churches and fortresses, natural revelations of the names of all his infamous or artificial retreats, known to the brigands companions, and drew up a complete and by traditions, served to shelter their families terrible list of their various crimes.

and conceal their spoil. “You seek,” he said to Vasseur, “the The chauffeurs formed an organised assassins of Millouard. I was there. I association. They had their curé, an old have never been a murderer, but I was Norman mason, who in a priest's dress compelled to associate with these men, or performed the mock marriages.

Their they would have killed me. There are one schoolmaster and lawyer, Jacques de hundred and twenty men, and nearly as Pithiviers, was an old carter who had many women. They scour all the plain of been a clerk to a procureur. He taught Beauce, from the high road from Orléans the children and lads how to plan and carry to Paris, as far as the great road from out a robbery, and when to use violence Châteaudun to Epernay, the plain Gâtinais, judiciously. Their patriarch, Le Père Elouis, the plain of Gomert, and the plain of was an old villain eighty years old, who Picardy. Most of them wear round had known the survivors of Cartouche's slouched hats, woollen caps, or three- gang. It was he who had revived the crael cornered hats à la militaire. They seldom torture by fire of more barbarous times. have visible weapons, but they carry short, The surgeon Baptiste gained access to farms heavy bludgeons. The assassins of Fousset as a quack and juggler. These brigands you will find near Pithiviers, in such and had also their spies who became farm such farms, but you must go in force, or servants, and who ran away and rejoined the you'll very likely never return."

band when they had obtained the required Vasseur was close upon them. In the house information. In all the towns and villages


round the forest in which they lurked the simultaneous burning and plunder of there were receivers, who bought their three farms. But first he resolved to attack plunder. Their chief cave was in a wood the château of Faronville, the residence of a near Goudreville. This huge vault, ap- ci-devant abbé, near Toury.

But already proached by intricate paths, was one hun. Vasseur was close upon his heels. 'At the dred feet long and thirty wide. The en- farm of Goudreville he had arrested a trance, hidden by bushes, could be closed beggar, who turned out to be the famous on the inside by a massive bar of iron and Sans Pouce, who confessed that he had a very strong secret

lock. You descended been at Millonard, and soon after was capinto this cave of Roland by a flight of tured, at another farm, Le Rouge d'Auneau. sixteen steps. The huge hearth had a chim- A few days later he laid hands on Le Borgne ney up which any one could escape with de Mans, who pretended to be a runaway ease, and its outer orifice was concealed by man-of-war's man from Brest. One mida growth of thorn - bushes and brambles. night, halting at an auberge at Artenay, This place was the pandemonium of the Lambert, one of the gendarmes, laid down chauffeurs, and there they held their shame his loaded pistols for a moment on the less orgies. Their bank and store-house chimney-piece. At one bound Le Borgne at Apreux was kept by an old hag whom de Jouy seized the pistols, presented one they called La Bonne Mère d'Apreux. at Lambert, and threatened death with the Her cellars were honeycombed with secret other to whoever opposed his flight. But passages, and in her chests she kept stolen in a moment Vasseur had slipped behind goods and assorted parcels of money, the him, and crushed him in his arms till he property of her various clients. Their dropped the pistols and begged for mercy, council chamber was a rough but in the This unsuccessful attempt at escape brought forest of Muette. The chauffeurs, beside on a fit of madness, followed by a collapse, their other officers, had their surgeons, that compelled Vasseur to tie him on a their barbers, and their tailors, who could horse during the march. When his reason make disguises and alter costumes. The returned Le Borgne offered to help Vasseur, gang had certain receivers, who sold the who had spared his life, to trap Le Beau cattle and sheep-dogs they stole, and they François and all his gang at one swoop. had other agents at Chartres who procured They were to be found in a rendezvous in passports when necessary. Coiners also the forest of Meriville, in a place hitherto worked for them, so complete was their thought inaccessible. He would undertake organisation.

to`pincer les marrons” in three movements. From the deserters he had enlisted, Vasseur's heart leaped up at this; the next Vasseur obtained a detailed list of the morning his column of inquiry, avoiding the various crimes the Orgères gang had com- high roads, marched eighteen leagues. Demitted. They had attacked a farm in the filing silently, and with extreme caution, Valley of St. Cyr-en-Val. There they along the woodmen's paths, he shunned stole thirty thousand francs, one hun- the farms, and pressed towards the brigand dred and thirty-one louis, and some church camp. What he most feared was the plate, and tortured the servants. For this chauffeurs taking alarm before his sabres robbery two of the gang afterwards suf- were at them. Worn out at last, neither fered at Chartres. Soon after this the horses nor men could budge a foot further. chauffeurs broke into a house at Montgon, By the advice of a spy, Vasseur reluctantly killed the farmer, his wife, and a carter in resolved to encamp for the night in a chesta cruel manner, and carried off a board of nut wood near a spring, and to resume the

a louis that had been hidden in a pot of lard. march an hour after midnight, when the In March, 1796, the same band robbed and brigands would be sunk into their first killed a farmer at Grillons. A few days sleep. later they tortured a farmer's daughter, At the appointed hour Vasseur, who disand a woman of the gang, La Grande Marie, dained sleep, touched the sleeping men, disguised as a man, stabbed a farmer and prepared for the march. The genand his wife ; but as the catalogue of the darmes rolled up their cloaks, muffled their chauffeur murders and assassinations would sabres, and felted the horses' feet. Le fill whole pages, let us pass on to the final Borgne de Jouy, Vasseur carried on his own destruction of these wretches.

powerful charger; and as they started on Le Beau François, irritated at the pur- their march, the gendarme whispered in suit of the gendarmes, had determined on the rogue's ear : striking a vigorous blow, and had planned “You understand, mon garçon, that I

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