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Massacre And Pillage At Nismes

Nismes now exhibited a most awful scene of outrage and carnage, though
many of the protestants had fled to the Convennes and the Gardonenque.
The country houses of Messrs. Rey, Guiret, and several others, had been
pillaged, and the inhabitants treated with wanton barbarity. Two parties
had glutted their savage appetites on the farm of Madame Frat: the
first, after eating, drinking, and breaking the furniture, and stealing
what they thought proper, took leave by announcing the arrival of their
comrades, "compared with whom," they said, "they should be thought
merciful." Three men and an old woman were left on the premises: at the
sight of the second company two of the men fled. "Are you a catholic?"
said the banditti to the old woman. "Yes." "Repeat, then, your Pater and
Ave." Being terrified she hesitated, and was instantly knocked down with
a musket. On recovering her senses, she stole out of the house, but met
Ladet, the old valet de ferme, bringing in a salad which the
depredators had ordered him to cut. In vain she endeavoured to persuade
him to fly. "Are you a protestant?" they exclaimed; "I am." A musket
being discharged at him, he fell wounded, but not dead. To consummate
their work, the monsters lighted a fire with straw and boards, threw
their yet living victim into the flames, and suffered him to expire in
the most dreadful agonies. They then ate their salad, omelet, &c. The
next day, some labourers, seeing the house open and deserted, entered
and discovered the half consumed body of Ladet. The prefect of the Gard,
M. Darbaud Jouques, attempting to palliate the crimes of the catholics,
had the audacity to assert that Ladet was a catholic; but this was
publicly contradicted by two of the pastors at Nismes.

Another party committed a dreadful murder at St. Cezaire, upon Imbert la
Plume, the husband of Suzon Chivas. He was met on returning from work in
the fields. The chief promised him his life, but insisted that he must
be conducted to the prison at Nismes. Seeing, however, that the party
was determined to kill him, he resumed his natural character, and being
a powerful and courageous man advanced and exclaimed, "You are
brigands--fire!" Four of them fired, and he fell, but he was not dead;
and while living they mutilated his body and then passing a cord round
it, drew it along, attached to a cannon of which they had possession. It
was not till after eight days that his relatives were apprized of his
death. Five individuals of the family of Chivas, all husbands and
fathers, were massacred in the course of a few days.

Near the barracks at Nismes is a large and handsome house, the property
of M. Vitte, which he acquired by exertion and economy. Besides
comfortable lodgings for his own family, he let more than twenty
chambers, mostly occupied by superior officers and commissaries of the
army. He never inquired the opinion of his tenants, and of course his
guests were persons of all political parties; but, under pretence of
searching for concealed officers, his apartments were overrun, his
furniture broken, and his property carried off at pleasure. The houses
of Messrs. Lagorce, most respectable merchants and manufacturers M.
Matthieu, M. Negre, and others, shared the same fate: many only avoided
by the owners paying large sums as commutation money, or escaping into
the country with their cash.

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