Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Injured by the reckless conduct of the refugee's grants of land. In fact, in these territories, whom they had hospitably received ; and lately desolated by war, their industrious orders were issued that they should no longer moral habits, and their knowledge of agriculhave a shelter so near their native mountains. ture, made them valuable citizens. It now The Waldenses marched in a body through seemed as if their troubles were at an end. the town of Bern ; and the interesting specta- One detachment was settled in distant Brancle of so many exiles again wandering in denburg — the others, though nearer their search of a home, drew tears from the specta- old homes, were too far dispersed to join in tors, and give them, at least, the consolation any common movement. Again, however, of knowing that they did not depart without the calamities of war drove them forth. The the sympathy of the people who were obliged progress of the French arms threatened an to cast them forth. They went first to the immediate sweep of the Palatinate and its cantons of Zurich and Schaffhausen - the neighborhood by the insatiable enemies of parts of Switzerland most distant from Savoy. the Waldenses. They were obliged to leave When there, however, it was intimated to the grain they had sown to be reaped by them that they were only to have a tempo- other sickles, take what they could carry on rary asylum, and must seek a permanent rest- their backs, and again seek an asylum whereing-place elsewhere. They looked to the ever they might find a friendly door opened to neighboring dukedom of Würtemberg, where them. They could find none but among the the soil and method of cultivation in some Swiss, with whom they had in a manner measure resembled those of their own valleys ; quarrelled. It was not caprice, however, but but though the duke treated them with con- dire necessity, which now actuated them ; sideration, he was afraid to make arrange and the generous Swiss forgot their cause of inents for the settlement of so large u body. complaint, and received the friendless wanMeanwhile, their Swiss neighbors, from hints derers open-armed as before. The Waldenses and intimations, proceeded to specific measures afterwards said that the approach of the for getting rid of them. An arrangement French was providential, as it drove them to was made for their reception as permanent have recourse to the step in which they were settlers in the distant state of Brandenburg, so signally successful, where they would be too far from their native It must be mentioned that in the mean valleys to be troublesome. Some of their time their movements attracted the attention number went as a deputation to inspect the of the Prince of Orange, afterwards William country, but brought back an unfavorable III. of England. It was the great policy of account of it. While it contained no lofty that monarch to use every practical means for mountains like those among which they had checking the aggrandizement of France; and been reared, there was the more substantial throughout the whole of his busy life he disadvantage, that the soil was uniformly of never omitted any opportunity, great or small, a sterile character, and contained none of the which held out a hope of contributing to this rich patches of alluvium which they were end. He liked the firmness of the Waldenses, accustomed to cultivate. The habits of the and thought it would be useful to the cause people, the method of agriculture, and many he had at heart, if their separate existence other characteristics of the country, were so could be preserved as near as might be to displeasing to them, that they sternly refused their native place, which lay in that souththe overture. It cannot be surprising that eastern direction in which French aggranthis fastidiousness laid them open to a charge dizement was pressing. lle sent them a of caprice. The exile who seeks a resting- considerable sum of money ; and it was probplace to be providod by the charity of his ably through his influence that they obtained neighbor, should be content with the fate he similar pecuniary aid from England. They tinds awarded to others of his species. The sent deputies to the prince, who recommended Waldenses, however, were not philosophers, them to keep in a compact body. They had nor did they know the world ; they were full been for a short time settled as a component of prejudices, and predilections, with which it part of the Swiss population, when the news was in vain to argue. The Swiss clergy preached of the British Revolution of 1688, which had against their unreasonableness from the pul- elevated their friend to the throne of a great pits; and all classes, partly by persuasion, and empire, rung joyfully in their ears. They partly by threats and churlishness, tried to make ascertained also that the Duke of Savoy had them adopt the plan arranged for their settle- removed the frontier army, established to ment, but for a long time in vain. At length, prevent their return, if they should attempt a colony of 800 agreed to depart for Branden- it. New explorers, too, sent to repeat the burg ; and were thus separated from their former inquiries, brought them more distinct brethren.

information about the passes. It was then Those who remained were for the most they said one to another, “ Let us return to part received into the Palatinate and Würtem- our valleys ;” and a simultaneous feeling berg, where they obtained privileges and seemed to possess them, that there only

were they to find rest for the sole of their | by the discernment of Marlborough, and befoot.

came serviceable in the most memorable It is now time, however, to give some of his battles. account of the remarkable leader under whose The first ohject to be accomplished was the guidance the scattered Waldenses were con- general assemblage of those who were to centrated and organized, and who conducted participate in the expedition, at some place them through the adventurous campaign to well suited for making a sudden movement. be presently described. This leader was There were several conditions necessary for Henry Arnaud, one of their clergymen. It such a spot. It must be on the way to Savoy would not be easy to decide at the present it must be a place where they could be easily day how far he was a skilful and faithful pastor, concealed -- and yet it inust be in the midst or to discover the extent of his learning as a of population, that they might obtain prodivine. Of one thing, however, he has left visions without becoming too conspicuous. us unquestionable evidence, and that is, of The selected spot was near the town of Nyon, his skill and daring as a military leader. on the north bank of the Lake of Geneva, and The most trustworthy authorities say that he about twenty miles south of Lausanne. There, was born at La Tour, in Savoy, in the year at the period of the Revolution of 1688, á 1641. If so, he must have been in his forty- dense forest existed, in wbich above 1000 ninth year when he commanded the expedi- people could conceal themselves, gathering tion. "Inquiries have naturally been made as their supplies from the fruitful country to the early history of so remarkable a man, around, without exciting a degree of attenbut without success. It is not known at tion which, by arousing the suspicion of the what time he became one of the pastors of representatives of the despotic powers, might the Waldenses. It is believed, and indeed be fatal to their project. Of course, it was seems almost certain, that he had some quite well known to the neighbors' in the military training before he undertook his canton of Vaud that the Waldenses, whose expedition ; and it has been said that he history was so strange and romantic, were was a soldier under William III. while he was lurking in the wood of Nyon. The news Prince of Orange - a circumstance probable, spread, indeed, so far among the Swiss, that but not authenticated. The history we have many of them sailed across the Lake of Gennow to tell of the return of the wanderers is, eva to see the adventurers - a circumstance in a manner, from Arnaud's own lips. The which, as we shall presently see, was of great curious old French work known to book-col-importance. But their proceedings were not lectors as the Glorieuse Rentrée the Glori- watched solely by friends. A young gentleous Return of the Waldenses to their Valleys man named Prangin, who had but lately

- is generally attributed to him. The title- acquired an estate in the canton, heard of the page, indeed, bears his name, apparently as strange gathering of men in the forest, and, author; but it is said by some critics that anxious to gratify his curiosity, he penetrated this is an erroneous interpretation, and that its recesses till he saw them engaged in their it is merely meant to intimate that the re- devotions, with Arnaud officiating as their turn or märch, of which the book gives an clergyman. The young man posted to Geneva, account, was conducted by Arnaud. We to inform the French resident there of what need not take any part in this inquiry. It he had seen; and the resident, who apparentmay be sufficient to state that we believe ly knew much better how to account for the Arnaud wrote the substance of the book, gathering and their forest devotions than his while it seems likely that it was touched and inexperienced informant, sent a despatch to edited by some other person. It is thus, Lyon for troops. The Waldenses, who were somewhat after the example of Cæsar's Com- under skilful guidance, and had excellent mentaries, a history of its author's own ex- information, heard of this step of the French ploits ; and it has all the truthfulness of its resident, and knew that it would have forprototype, and more. In fact, Arnaud's midable consequences. In their wrath, they heroic merits are not told by himself — they compared the young gentleman to Judas, are only to be inferred. His Glorieuse Rentrée though, as he was no follower of theirs, the is faithfully devoted to a history of the endur- reproach was inapplicable. But they wisely ance and heroism of the ordinary followers, considered that they had more serious busiwhether we call them army or congregation ; ness before them than calling names, and they and it is only from the compact order in resolved immediately to commence the enterwhich they proceeded, their constant state prise for which they were assembled. of preparation for the strange difficulties of They embarked on the night of Friday, the the route, and the skill with which they 10th of August, 1689, on the Lake of Geneva. fought their enemies, that we become aware In doing so they were as fortunate as they of the great capacity of their commander - were audacious. Some boats they had hired a capacity which was afterwards discovered (or impressed, but these were not nearly suffi

cient for their purpose. The vessels, how- rope. The scanty inhabitants of the remote ever, of the people, who, led by curiosity valley of Chamouni, of course, knew the vastfrom the other side of the lake, had come to ness and the dangerous character of the mouninquire about the mysterious strangers in the tains around them ; but so far as the rest of forest of Nyon, were at hand, and were seized the world was concerned, they were no better for the purpose of the expedition. They con- known than the recesses of the Rocky Mounsidered this success, as well as many other tains in America. Thus the districts now wonderful circumstances in their career, to be swarming with tourists, would be solitary prooss of a special Providence working in their enough at the time of Aroaud's march. In favor. The marvellous successes they after- passing, however, through the lower country wards achieved seem, indeed, to have been in that leads to the mountains, the little army some measure the result of such belief; but had to cross much rich and fruitful soil, with their assemblage in the wood of Nyon, with here and there feudal castles and fortified the other skilful arrangements for their em- towns. The country, in all probability, exbarkation, may be safely attributed to the cept that it is now inore crowded with truvmilitary sagacity of Arnaud, aided by the ellers, has undergone little change since that funds placed at his disposal by King William. day. It contained, perhaps, the same luxuriIn fact, the assemblage was not a complete ous gardens, full of apple and plum trees and one ; for about one hundred and fifty of the spreading vines ; altogether, the small towns exiles, who were upon their march from some of to-day, still surrounded by their primitive of the more distant spots occupied by the fortifications, have a hoary appearance, which refugees, were seized at the instance of the rep-carries their date much further back than even resentative of Spain or of France, and marched the days of Arnaud. The scenery is beautias prisoners to Turin. Nor was the move- ful; the rich garden-fields sometimes leading ment of the little deet of boats across the lake to the base of huge perpendicular' limestone quite complete. Some boatmen, who were cliffs, from which waterfalls, of great height, hired or impressed, escaped, and prevented a but of small bulk, leap into the air, and reach part of the body from joining their comrades. the ground in scattered showers, dispersing The whole number who landed were thus con- clouds of dew, tinted with ever varying rainsiderably short of 1000.

bows. But although they passed in the midOn his arrival at the other side of the lake dle of August, when the tourist finds these Arnaud converted himself at once from the beauties all in their highest perfection, it pastor into the general. To complete the may be easily believed that the little band had change, he took the feudal-sounding name of too many important matters in view to devote Latour, from the place of his birth. He their thoughts to the scenery. placed sentinels or detachments at the spots In the first day's march they reached the near the landing-places from which any dan- bridge of Marigni. The feudal gentry and the gerous surprise might seem probable. He peasantry, as they passed, looked at them then proceeded to arrange and officer his little with astonishinent. One of the former, soearnıy according to the military rules of the ing that they were peasants, and not under day. It consisted of three main bodies any feudal banner, rode up to the head of the van-guard, centre, and rear-guard -- and was column, and haughtily told them to throw formed into nineteen companies, provided with down their arms. They laughed at him, and separate captains. The object now to be ac- seized him as a hostage. As they proceeded complished was to march onwards through a little further on, they were met by some routes so unfrequented that the army might gentlemen at the head of a band of armed be liable to meet no greater force than it could peasants. Seeing only the van-guard of the with prudence encounter. On the main routes Waldenses, they thought themselves a suffithere were great fortifications and abundant cient force to offer resistance ; but when the troops. A compromise had thus to be made centre came up, they discovered their mistake, between the natural difficulties of the route and desired to retreat. The peasants were and the dangers from the enemy. Had they permitted to do so, but their leaders were been peaceful travellers they would have pro- seized as hostages, and compelled to warch ceeded up the Valley of the Rhône, and crossed in front of the army. They thus, from the by the St. Bernard, accomplishing the journey first, adopted the singular and bold policy through a single great pass. They found it which afterwards quided their moveinents necessary, however, to take the less frequented - that of keeping always within their power route by the banks of the Arve towards Sal- several hostages of importance, whose safety lanches. It is now well known as the ap- would be compromised by any attempt to proach to Chamouni. But neither were the interrupt them. With calculating forethought, picturesque glories of this valley then known they used the power thus obtained to facilitate to the world, nor had it been discovered that their progress. They told these hostages, the vast mountain-range, which overshadows facetiously, that they were only required to it, is crowned by the loftiest suminit in Eu-l accompany the army, to testify to its orderly

conduct and its honesty in paying for every-| army defiled through. When they came out thing taken. They did not leave this, how- at the further extremity, a young gentleman ever, to be attested afterwards, but made their of the district, called La Rochette, courteously hostages assist at the moment in spreading asked the officers to dine with him. They the desired impression. Thus having caught were not diping-men, but they contrived to one man, as we have seen, of great local im- extract hospitality from him on a more exportance on their first day's march, they made ded scale. Keeping him in conversation him write a letter, exaggerating their num- till they had advanced some distance beyond bers, and testifying to their moderation. the town, they took him into custody, and This was sent on iù advance, and contained told him he could only obtain his freedom on the following passage :

condition of a cask of wine and five hundred“ These people have arrived here, amount- weights of bread being sent to the army withing to 2000. They have requested us to go in half an hour. Young La Rochette wrote along with them, that we may certify our to his father, and the demand was immediately opinion of their conduct, which, we are able complied with. Arnaud says he gave ample to assure you, is perfectly reasonabls. They compensation for what he thus obtained, but give compensation for everything they take, of course the amount would be of his own und desire only to have a free passage. We fixing. therefore entreut you not to sound the tocsins The position of the little troop was now esor beat the drums; and to dismiss any men tremely critical. Though still among the who may be under arms."

inhabited districts, through which there was Next morning, which was Sunday, they every risk that information of their expedition reached, about ten o'clock, the ancient town would be carried onwards, they were now enof Cluses, the capital of Faucigny, just then tering narrow defles where a petty force well beginning to acquire its reputation for making arranged could annihilate them. Through the the works of watches. The inhabitants were bottom of the valley rushes the deep, unfordwarlike, and, by the grant of ancient privi- able Arve, that glacier torrent which issues leges, were feudally attached to the House of full-born from the very bosom of Mont Blanc. Savoy. They manned their walls, and showed Swollen with recent rain, it sometimes overthemselves resolved to defend their town, and flowed the narrow road, which ran at the foot dispute the passage. Situated as it is in the of lofty precipices, sometimes overhanging it. narrow gorge of the Arve, where the spurs The great anxiety of the leader, at this juncture, of the Alps shoot out, it was impossible to was to intercept any possible warning to the pass through the valley without traversing the next town, Sallanches, which might have the town. Not being possessed of cannon, it was effect of drawing out an intercepting party. impossible that the expedition should take the They saw some children running in the direcwell-fortified place by assault. But here the tion of Sallanches, and, fearing that the errand influence of their system of hostages was might be to give information, they turned the brought to bear. It was given out, that, if a urchins back. They discovered that a servant peaceful passage through the town were de- in the employment of one of their hostages nied, these hostages would be put to death ; had insinuated himself among their ranks ; and men under the powerful impulses which and having searched him, they found letters influenced these Waldenses would, beyond a addressed to the chief persons of Sallanches, doubt, have been as good as their word. desiring them to attack the expedition in front, One of the hostages, named De Fova, sent a while the citizens of Cluses fell upon it in message, begging that the town would comply the rear. with the demand, pathetically representing Having taken possession of one or two more their own danger, and testifying to the peace- hostages, they came to a critical part of the ful and moderate conduct of the Waldenses march — the approach to Sallanches. Here when not meddled with. Three gentlemen they must cross a fortified bridge, with or came out to treat with the army, which, ac- without a permission. Their hostages had cording to its usual practice, took possession now reached the considerable number of twenof two of them as desirable hostages, and ty; all men of importance in the district. allowed the third to return to the town, ac- The army was divided into platoons, to force companied by one of its own officers. This the bridge, and in the centre of one of them, officer was asked to show the order of march kept in reserve, stood the hostages. Six of for the corps according to the practice in the principal persons of the place approuched regular armies ; but he haughtily answered, to parley, and, according to the established that the Waldenses carried it on the points practice, were seized. Two of them, however, of their swords. The permission to pass were sent back, to offer the citizens half an through the town was now granted. Arnaud hour to make up their minds. It was again posted his own sentinels at the gate of exit, intimated that the hostages would be put to to prevent treachery, and while the people death, and they were prompted to urge lined the main street on either side, the little strongly their desperate condition, by the ap

pearance of 600 men turning out to guard the tique an air, that one might imagine them to bridge. Matters now grew serious. If an be the same that witnessed the passage of actual conflict occurred, the hostages would Arnaud and his band. Coming to some of be slain beyond a doubt. Arnaud and his men these châlets, the fatigued adventurers rewere beginning to have a confidence in their freshed themselves with milk and cheese, fur predestined success, and treated all opposition which, their historian vouches, they would with scorn.

An incident in wbich the chief have paid, had.they found any one authorized showed, by his own account, somewhat questo receive the money. The first very high tionable morality, now occurred. Two friars ground they had to pass was the Haute-Luce ; came to say, that if the hostages already in and this being covered with mist at the time, custody were given up, two eminent men of they maintained that it was so for the purthe city would be given in their stead. Ar- pose of concealing their route from their enenaud avows that he encouraged the proposi- mies, and they bore the cold and the danger tion, not with the least intention of giving up to which it exposed them with heroism. The their valuable body of hostages, but that he pass was at that time without any track, and might seduce the two eminent men of the city could only be threaded by the aid of an er. into his ranks, and take possession of them. perienced guide. A carriage-road over it When they made their appearance, they were was recently projected, for the convenience at once detected, by the quick-sighted Arnaud, of tourists who have here many fine views not to be by any means inen of condition, but of Mont Blanc and the surrounding scenery very humble citizens, one of them not having - and this has perhaps ere now been finished. succeeded in concealing the indications of his The guide they first obtained bluddered, Occupation as a miller. Arnaud, while glory- wandered in the mist; and they then sent : ing in the cleverness of the much deeper trick detachment to bring up some peasants to act which he himself designed to play, expressed in that capacity. They, too, adopted circuithimself in terms of the highest indignation at ous paths, and their good faith seened questhe treachery and dishonesty of this act. In tionable. Arnaud, however, who never heshis wrath, he resolved to seize the friars, to itated at a strong measure, assured them make the hostages up to the expected value. that if they did not act fairly, he would at These brothers becoining alarmed at the state once hang them. After having, with great of affairs, took to their heels, and an amusing fatigue and risk, passed the ridge of the hill, scene was afforded by their pursuit and cap- they came to a narrow upland valley, where, ture. These were the most valuable hostages darkness descending, they had to pass the they had yet caught ; for when any of the night in the cold and rain. There stood in Savoyard peasantry offered resistance, the the valley a few shepherds' huts, and, havfriars, threatened with instant death if any ing only the choice of seeking their scanty violence were committed, prayed most lustily shelter, or pulling them down for firewood, that the expedition might be allowed to and sleeping in the open air, they chose the proceed in safety. The troops now marched latter. The valleys here are extremely forward. No attempt was made to hold the narrow; and they thus look so deep, that it bridge, but the armed citizens of Sallanches might be thought it were scarcely possible for being drawn up on either side of the road, the the sun to reach them. One pities the scanty Waldenses marched between them. They population whose lot is cast in such a place. proceeded onwards to a village called Cablao, The tourists who penetrate thither are the where they slept, after a fatiguing day's march. young, strong, and adventurous ; for it

They had now passed the open and more generally demands a considerable amount of populous country, and had to encounter the exertion to get at them. But the adventure new dangers of the passes of the Alps ; dan- is extremely interesting, since it brings one gers such as modern travellers can only faintly in a few hours to the two extremes, as it were, conceive, by supposing themselves under the of human existence ; warmth, verdure, plumnecessity of climbing the precipices, instead trees loaded with fruit, vines, and handsome, of following the paths cut through them. On comfortable inns, are left behind, and in a the lower slopes of these mountains the few hours the adventurer is among stones traveller at this day passes in clusters the and ice, a cold, misty, stormy sky, and a chülets, or cottages, of those who keep cows people little further advanced in civilization and goats. Their strange blackness makes and enjoyment than the inhabitants of Kamtthem look like so many hearses, or like the schatka. The people of the valleys have impictures one sees of a South-sea maori. The roofs stretch over the walls, like great * The hamlet is called, in the Rentrée, St. Nichblack bonnets, and huge stones are fastened olas de Verose ; but Mr. Brockedon, the author on them, to prevent them from being carried of the Passes of the Alps, who traced the journey off by the mountain tempests. Some of the of the Waldenses, post by post, says there is pre

cisely such a desolate valloy near the pass, but beams of these buildings bear old quaint in- that St. Nicholas de Verose is a pleasantly-situated scriptions, and they have in general so an- | town further down the valley.

« PoprzedniaDalej »