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dred must soon encounter their outposts. But the heroic band advanced, says Arnand, "with intrepid courage." They attempted to evade the garrison of Exilles through a lateral ravine, but the French troops and peasants fired from the steeps upon them, and rolled down rocks; the way became impassable; they lost several men, and had to retire, and attempt to turn, in another direction, the heights occupied by the enemy. They soon heard drums, and saw the garrison marching to intercept them. Descending the valley of the Doire, they saw before them, on and beyond a bridge, nearly four times their own number, twenty-five hundred troops, with all the provisions of war. What was now to be done \ They must pass through this force or go back. The night was falling; could they dare to rush across the guarded bridge and plunge into this armed host in the darkness? They counseled and prayed together. Forward was the final, the only, word. They advanced in the darkness, and encountered a formidable body of French at the bridge, under the command of Colonel de Larrey. They heeded not a shout from the enemy to halt; they received a volley, and three fell; they rushed on the bridge, sweeping all before them. Arnaud's sharp eye saw on the other side the main body preparing to fire, and quickly cried out, "Down!" They bowed, and the volley passed over them. "Forward, the bridge is ours!" cried one of his captains, and the Vaudois leaped to their feet, and pressed onward under the fire of the whole French force. They threw themselves upon it, broke its line, and prostrated it every-where. The day, or rather the night, was gloriously won. The whole two thousand five hundred French were dispersed or killed, for no quarter could be given. "Is it possible," cried the commander, a French marquis, "that I have lost both the battle and my honor!" He escaped wounded, and was carried to Brianc.on. Seven hundred of the enemy lay dead on the earth when the moon, breaking through the night, enabled the victors to survey the field—one for every man of their own force. The latter had lost but fifteen killed and twelve wounded. Valor and impetuosity had made up for their lack of numbers. They had taken the camp of the enemy, and were thus supplied abundantly with ammunition and other provisions. And now occurred a memorable scene. The Greeks erected monumental trophies on the fields of their victories; these mountaineers cared for no such commemorations; but there, under the shadow of the everlasting hills, in the moonlight, they threw up a trophy befitting the occasion—a pyramid of all the baggage and arms of the enemy beyond what they could carry, over barrels of powder, and withdrawing, after touching a match, saw the heavens illuminated and felt the earth tremble under an explosion which sent among the heights reverberation such as the Alps probably never echoed before, nor since. It was heard, says the history, even in the city of Brianc/ra,
. in France. As the echoes rolled along the mountain peaks the trumpets sounded, and the victors "threw," writes Arnaud, "their hats toward heaven, and made the air resound with the shout, 'Glory be to the God of armies, who hath given us the victory over all our enemies !'"
All but six of their forty hostages escaped in the confusion of this battle. The little troop needed rest, for during three days they had marched "day and night;" but there might arrive
, new foes at any hour; they employed, therefore, the remainder of "this glorious night to climb, by the favor of the moon, the mountain of Sci," and penetrate to the valley of Pragelas. They would thus be in the Vaudois mountains.
They had, in one week and one day, made their way through a hostile country, through the most difficult mountain passes, through rains and snows, and through armed enemies, to the very gates of their own mountains. On the ninth day, Sunday morning, they stood far up on the heights, looking down upon Fenestrelles, and before them lay their ancient homes, their consecrated valleys, now occupied by Papists, and desecrated by more than twenty thousand French and Italian troops waiting for their coming. Arnaud ordered the force to be gathered around him, and pointed to the peaks of their beloved mountains, "exhorting them to thank God, who, after they had passed through such miraculous deliverances, permitted them once more to see their old homes." He then offered a prayer "which animated them all anew." Forthwith they marched down into the valley of Pragelas, and encamped before the church. Though it is the Sabbath, there is no mass to-day in all the valley, for the "priests, thinking only of their own safety, had taken to flight." They march on toward the valley of St. Martin, driving before them some of the dragoons of the enemy, and spend the night on the highest settled point of the Col du Pis. The next morning they discover, at the foot of" the mountain, Italian troops, "well arrayed." They pause that Arnaud may pray, which he does "with loud voice and great devotion," and then they move in three columns on the enemy, who take to flight, leaving all their baggage to the Vaudois. The pass was thus opened to the strongest hold in all their mountains, the "famous Balsille," a natural mountain fortification, with but a single approach, with three almost inaccessible terraces, with caverns cut into its rocky sides, the old asylums of the persecuted mountaineers, now convenient barracks and magazines, and with fountains of good water. Hardly had they reached this important refuge when they perceived a company of Italian troops appearing in another part of the valley to hold the pass. The Vaudois rushed upon them, took them, and, after a council of war, "exhorting them to pray to God," slew them all—a half hundred men, lacking two. It was a grim, an atrocious policy, but the enemy had necessitated it by establishing it. All the Vaudois who had been taken prisoners had been immediately hanged; no rights of war were allowed them. If they were not disposed to retaliate, they nevertheless had no means of guarding their prisoners, and to release them was only to reinforce the enemy.
The twelfth day is entitled in the history the "Day of Consolation," for they advanced to Pralis, and, after burning a new Catholic chapel, took possession of one of their own old churches, and, divesting it of its Romish paraphernalia, worshiped there again the God of their fathers for the first time since their expulsion. They sung the Seventy-fourth Psalm, an appropriate war-song. Arnaud stood in the door-way, addressing them, within and without, from the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Psalm: "Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say: many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me. . . . Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion." Arnaud writes, It was remarkable that this first public worship of the returned Vaudois was in the temple served by Pastor Leidet, who three years before was hanged
Fourth Series, Vol. XXXII.—15
for the faith in the fort of St. Michael. The whole force sang the Psalm upon which Arnaud preached, and prepared to march onward.
On the next day, August 29, after prayer, they advanced for the valley of Luzerne, and had to pass over the Col Julian. They captured on the way the Marquis de Parelle, an important officer of the enemy. All the country was now swarming with the hostile troops. They soon met their vanguard, who shouted to them, " Come on, come on, ye barbets of the devil; we have seized all the forts, and are more than thirty thousand." But the Vaudois drove them back, charged on the fortified position of their main force, and in half an hour dispersed them all, taking their camp, baggage, and ammunition, even to the "rich habits" of their commanders, and losing but one of their own heroes, whose name the historian deems worthy to be recorded, Joshua Mandan, a "valiant man," whom they buried with honors "under a rock." The victors pursued the flying foe as far as the "Passarelles de Julien," and took and slew thirty-one of them. They found, also, the horse of the commander, with his pistols yet on the saddle; the overthrow was complete. The pursuit was continued on the next day, driving them out of Bobi, where the heroes took possession of their ancient homes, expelling the Catholic intruders who had occupied them some three years. "Thus," says Smiles, their English historian, "thus, after a lapse of only fourteen days, this little band of heroes had marched from the shores of the Lake of Geneva, by difficult mountain passes, through bands of hostile troops, which they had defeated in two severe fights, and at length reached the very center of the Vaudois valleys, and entered into possession of the promised land."
Here an impressive solemnity ensued. The next day was Sunday, September 1; a pulpit was extemporized on the rocks, and one of the pastors, (Montaux,) mounting it, preached on Luke xvi, 16. Arnaud then proclaimed "with a loud voice" an oath, to which all responded, "lifting their hands to God," and swearing "before the face of the living God and at the damnation of our souls " not to succumb, " even if reduced to three or four men," but to persist in "re-establishing the reign of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, even unto death." They stood on the hill of Silaoud, and the surrounding mountains— the witnesses, through centuries, of the persecutions of their fathers—reverberated their chant of the Seventy-fourth Psalm, "sung to the clash of arms."
Meanwhile they knew that their worst trials were yet before them. The enemy was pressing in upon them from all sides. It would not do for them to shut themselves up yet in any stronghold; not even in the nearly impregnable Balsille, for they could be starved out. They must march and fight through all the country; either they or the multitudinous enemy must apparently be utterly overthrown before the unparalleled struggle could end. The latter was the only alternative they thought of amid the tremendous odds. The combined armies of France and Italy were not only more than twenty thousand strong, but the Catholic peasants were impressed into their service. The little force must fight back nearly thirty-five times their own number. Their only commissariat must be f oragings on the herds and stores of the Catholic usurpers of their old lands. They must fight the enemy with the enemy's own ammunition, won by incessant assaults. Never did heroes confront worse odds than those now before them. The narrator may well wax dithyrambic over such a story. But how can we go on with it in our restricted limits? We have been, thus far, gleaning only salient facts from a hundred and fifty pages of Arnaud, the pastor-colonel; more than two hundred of his most thrilling pages remain; but we have followed the gallant little army into the very heart of their old mountain homes; we can only summarize the remaining and the bravest part of their campaign.
They had struggled through half a month; they were to struggle on through nearly ten months more. "The war now became," says Smiles, "one of reprisals and mutual devastations, the two parties seeking to deprive each other of shelter and the means of subsistence. Armies concentrated on the Vaudois from all points. They were pressed by the French on the north and west, by the Piedmontese on the south and east, furnished with all the munitions of war." They fight from valley to valley, from cliff to cliff, "now in one place, and perhaps the next day some twenty miles across the mountains, in another, with almost invariable success. It seems little short of miraculous." They divide their small force to carry