Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/162

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110
THE CEVENNES

whose châteaux are now in ruins or turned into farmhouses. They lived sociably, giving dances, meeting for shooting-parties or games of tennis.

One of these was the Monsieur de Cachard. On June 24th, 1786, he gave a dance to his neighbours, but found a difficulty in getting musicians. He applied to the garrison at Valence, and was offered the drummer of the regiment, who could also play the fife, and courteously he extended the invitation to any of the officers who would care to take a part in the entertainment. A young lieutenant accepted, his name was Napoleon Bonaparte, and he brought with him the drummer, Victor Beausoleil. Towards the conclusion of the ball, M. de Cachard went to the musician and asked how he could repay his services. "Only by letting me have a dance with mademoiselle your daughter." "By all means," replied the master of the house, and Beausoleil led out the young lady.

The Revolution came. The family of Cachard was dispersed; some were guillotined, some emigrated. At the Restoration, the head of the family went to Paris to solicit the restitution of some of the confiscated and sold estates. He solicited an audience with Marshal Victor, Duke of Belluno, minister of war. No sooner was he introduced, than the Duke started forward, grasped his hand and said: "Monsieur! we have not met since Midsummer Day, 1786, when I piped, and had the honour to dance with mademoiselle." The minister was, in fact, the drummer from Valence. He interested himself in the case and obtained for M. de Cachard the recovery of the ancient château and a portion of his lands. The Duke was wont to joke over his title. "As a drummer-boy I was Beausoleil. I have lost, not