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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 9, 1864

During the Civil War, people on the home front relied on Harper's Weekly for news of the War. The paper was the most popular newspaper of the day, and was distributed across the country. Today, it is popular with students and researchers seeking a better understanding of the important people and issues in the war.

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[JULY 9, 1864.






EDGAR was left to enjoy the remainder of his Chambertin alone. He did ample justice to it, and was further privileged to smoke his cigar—a favor not extended to any other male visitor. It was perhaps as well, for the sake of peace and quiet, that the baroness did not " receive" when Edgar favored the establishment with his presence. To tell the truth, he rather alarmed the feeble old ladies and gentlemen who composed his grand-aunt's social circle. He was a little too boisterous, and a little too insolent; and the old ladies and gentlemen, who were high-spirited, albeit feeble, declined, sometimes with considerable warmth, to bow to his dictation. But to his aunt he must always be Lord Paramount. She invariably deferred to him. He could never be in the wrong. Was he not her grand-nephew, the only being upon earth left to remind her of her English kindred ?

The outbreak of the great French revolution had found Madame de Kergolay young, beautiful, and the wife of a nobleman of ancient descent and great wealth, distinguished in arms, and high in his sovereign's favor. In the haughty province of Brittany there was no estate better tended, and no chateau more stately, than belonged to the Kergolays of Vieux Sablons. The baroness bore her husband two daughters. They were destined to mate with nobles of as illustrious a line as their own. The revolution came sweeping down like a crimson deluge on society, and all was engulfed beneath its waves. M. de Kergolay emigrated leaving his wife and infant children concealed in a convent in Paris. The

manor-house of Vieux Sablons was sacked by 'the revolutionary troops, taken by a band of Chouan peasants, besieged, captured, its defenders slaughtered, itself at last gutted, fired, and demolished from basement to coping-stone. The convent in which Madame de Kergolay and her daughters had taken refuge was suppressed by the Convention, and the nuns were driven forth with blows and insults, some to perish of starvation, many to die on the Place de la Revolution. The Baron de Kergolay left the emigrant camp of Conde in disguise, and sought his wife in Paris. He was discovered, flung into the Conciergerie, and guillotined. Her husband's brothers, and scores of her relatives and friends, had already undergone the same fate. Her widowhood was yet green upon her when she, too, was arrested and cast into the Abbaye. There, after a short time, both her children died of malignant fever. The smell of so much blood, the poor woman said, choked them. When Fouquier Tinville denounced the femme Kergolay before the revolutionary tribunal, she was half frantic, and a far fitter subject for a cell at Bicetre than for the judgment of a criminal court. But she was condemned to death nevertheless. The revolutionary tribunal did not stick at trifles. All was fish that came to the net of terrorism. The Baronne de Kergolay was arrayed in the fatal camisole, and was mounting the cart which was to convey her to the scaffold, when the fall of Robespierre obtained for her a temporary reprieve, ultimately enlarged into a pardon. But she was not the less a proscribed and ruined ci-devant. She herself used to describe how she had begged for alms on the Quai des Orfevres. After a period of unutterable privation and destitution, a friend found her out and stealthily helped her. That friend was her former footman from Vieux Sablons, Thomas Prudence. He had prospered, and grown wealthy even. The shipwreck had cast him, too, on the waves, but he had been

strong and buoyant, and battled with them, and, clinging to spars and hen-coops, had been saved. A portion of the sequestrated manor of Vieux Sablons was bestowed upon him by the Convention. He was looked upon with horror by the loyalist peasants as an acquirer of the national domains. Half a dozen attempts were made to assassinate him. He took army contracts, and waxed rich, and was hated by the Chouannerie. His house was decorated with fragments of the rich furniture and fittings of the chateau of Vieux Sablons. He was a stanch republican. He contrived, however, to furnish his old mistress with funds enabling her to reach England, and during her lengthened residence there, from 1796 to the fall of Napoleon, nearly twenty years, he conveyed to her no Jess a sum than ten thousand pounds sterling. It was but a mere trifle, he said—a wreck, a windfall--but \it was all hers. Nay, he took advantage of the peace of Amiens to freight a sloop at Nantes with the articles he had saved from the dismantled chateau, and send them to her whom he still called his chatelaine and benefactress.

Madame de Kergolay went down into Lancashire and abode for a long time at Preston, much beloved and respected by the old Catholic families in those parts. But the race to which she herself belonged, the Greyfaunts, she found decayed and almost extinct. One nephew, a country gentleman with estates mortgaged to their last rood, she discovered. The son of that nephew was Edgar Greyfaunt, who was born just be-fore Waterloo.

When all was over with Napoleon, the Baronne de Kergolay, who had been living on the interest of the money sent her by Thomas Prudence, and who had even managed to put by some twenty hundred pounds of savings from her income, returned to France. It was not long before she heard of Thomas. The collapse . of the Empire, which had restored her to socie

ty, had ruined him. On the profits of his army contracts he had started a cotton manufactory. He might have become a second Richard Lenoir; but peace came, and Manchester, all prohibitive and protective enactments notwithstanding, poked its nose of smoking brick into France, and Thomas Prudence was ruined. Madame de Kergolay hastened to the succor of the man who had saved her from starvation. But Thomas was old, and wanted little. " I am sick of commerce," he said. "My failure is a punishment for having taken contracts under the usurper. Diantre ! how the rouleaux used to roll in, though ! But that is all over now. I am growing old and foolish. Let me come back to you, Madame la Baronne, and be your footman. Promote me to he your butler, if you like. I have my old livery still by me, and I will serve you as faithfully as I did in the days when you were the Chatelaine of Vieux Sablons."

" You shall be my friend and adviser in the evening of my days," cried Madame de Kergolay, clasping the old man's hand.

And so, indeed, Thomas Prudence, otherwise Vieux Sablons, was ; but he would never con-sent to divest himself of his livery, or to consider himself as any thing but an attached and favored menial of the great house of Vieux Sablons.

In this light—the menial light—without the attachment or the favor, the octogenarian was regarded by the superb young gentleman now sipping his Chambertin and smoking his cigar. This high and mighty prince, precisely as he thought it the most natural thing in the world that his grand-aunt should spoil and idolize him-self, deemed it a matter of course that Vieux Sablons should be his very obedient, humble, , obsequious, and contemned servant. A hundred times he had heard from his grand-aunt the story of the old man's devotion and self-sacrifice. He thought that a very natural thing too. He knew perfectly well that every sou the baroness

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