Page:Ninety-three.djvu/30

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26
NINETY-THREE

And la Vieuville replied: "Of course! a beak and talons."

"We shall see."

"Yes," replied la Vieuville, "it is time there was a leader. I am of Tinténiac's opinion: 'A leader and powder!' Wait, commander, I know nearly all the leaders, possible and impossible; those of to-day, of yesterday, and to-morrow; but not one is the figure-head needed. In this devilish la Vendée, a general is needed who is at the same time an attorney; he must annoy the enemy, dispute the mills, the thickets, the ditches, the pebbles with them, have serious quarrels with them, take advantage of everything, be constantly on the watch, make examples of them; he must neither sleep nor show pity. At the present time, there are heroes in this army of peasants, but there are no captains. D'Elbée is nobody; Lescure is ill, Bonchamps is tender-hearted, he is good, he is stupid; La Rochejacquelin is a splendid sub-lieutenant; Silz is an officer for the open field, unequal to a war of expedients; Cathelineau is an innocent wagoner; Stoffier is a tricky gamekeeper; Bérard is silly; Boulainvilliers is absurd; Charette is horrible; and I will say nothing at all of Gaston the barber. For, by thunder! what is the good of a revolution, and what difference is there between the republicans and ourselves, if we are to let noblemen be commanded by wig-makers?"

"This beastly revolution has taken hold of us, as well."

"An itch that France has caught!'"

"Itch of the Third Estate," replied Boisberthelot.

"England alone can save us from it."

"She will do it without doubt, captain."

"At any rate, it is hideous."

"Certainly, louts everywhere! The monarchy which has Stoffiet for general-in-chief, M. de Maulevrier's gamekeeper, has nothing to envy the republic, with Pache, son of the Duke de Castries's porter, for minister. What counterparts in this war of la Vendée! On one side Santerre, the brewer; on the other, Gaston, the hairdresser!"

"My dear la Vieuville, I make an exception of this Gaston. He hasn't acted badly in his command at Guéménée. He shot three hundred Blues very prettily, after making them dig their own graves."

"Very good; but I could have done just as well myself."