nard, Branche-d' Or, Brin-d'Amour and Grand-Francœur. All the rest were dead.
They had no ammunition. The cartridge boxes were exhausted. They counted the cartridges. How many shots for the seven had they? Four.
They had reached the moment when there was nothing left but to fall. They were driven to the very precipice, yawning and awful; it would have been difficult to be nearer the edge.
In the meantime, the attack was beginning; but slowly and all the more sure. The sound of the besiegers' gunstocks was heard as they hit against the staircase, step by step.
No means of escape. Through the library? There were six cannons on the plateau pointed at it, with matches lighted. Through the rooms above? what would be the use? They only lead to the plateau. Then their only means of escape would be to throw themselves from the top to the bottom of the tower.
The seven survivors of this epic band saw themselves inexorably imprisoned and held by this thick wall, which protected them and betrayed them. They were not yet taken; but they were already prisoners.
The marquis addressed them,—
"My friends, it is all over."
And after a silence he added,—
"Grand-Francœur, be the Abbé Turmeau once more."
All knelt down, with their rosaries in their hands. The knocking of the assailants' muskets came nearer. Grand-Francœur, covered with blood from the bullet which had grazed his skull and torn off the skin covered with hair, raised his crucifix in his right hand. The marquis, a skeptic at heart, placed one knee on the ground.
"Let each one," said Grand-Francœur, "confess his faults aloud. Monseigneur, speak."
The marquis replied,—
"I have killed."
"I have killed," said Hoisnard.
"I have killed," said Guinoiseau.
"I have killed," said Brin-d'Amour.
"I have killed," said Chatenay.
"I have killed," said l'Imânus.
And Grand-Francœur added,—