had been a kermesse in this house: relatives had come to feast on waffles,
hams, and custards. At the sound of the smashing of windows they crouched
together behind the table, still laden with jugs and dishes.
soldiers went to the kitchen and after a savage fight in which many were
wounded, they seized all the small boys and girls, and a little servant who had
bitten the thumb of one soldier, left the house and closed the door behind them
to prevent their being followed.
who had no children cautiously came forth from their houses and followed the
soldiers at a distance. They could see them throw down their victims on the
ground before the old man, and cold-bloodedly massacre them with lances or
men and women crowded the windows of the blue farmhouse and the barn, cursing
and raising their arms to heaven as they contemplated the pink, red, and white
clothes of their motionless children on the ground among the trees. Then the
soldiers hanged the servant from the Half Moon Inn on the other side of the
street. There was a long silence in the village.
had now become a general massacre. Mothers escaped from their houses, trying to
flee through vegetable and flower gardens out into the open country, but
mounted soldiers pursued them and drove them back into the street. Peasants,
with caps held tight between their hands, fell to their knees before the
soldiers who dragged off” their little ones, and dogs barked joyously amid
curl, his hands raised heavenward, rushed back and forth from house to house
and out among the trees, praying in desperation like a martyr. The soldiers,
trembling from the cold, whistled in their fingers as they moved about, or
stood idly with their hands in their pockets, their swords under their arms, in
front of houses that were being entered.
groups in all directions, seeing the fear of the peasants, were entering the
farmhouses, and in every street similar scenes were enacted. The
market-gardener’s wife, who lived in an old hut with pink tiles near the
church, pursued with a chair two soldiers who were carrying off her children in
a wheelbarrow. She was terribly sick when she saw her children die, and made to
sit on a chair against a tree.
soldiers climbed into the lime trees in front of a farmhouse painted the color
of lilacs, and made their way in by taking off the tiles. When they reappeared
on the roof, the parents with extended arms followed them until the soldiers
forced them back, finding it necessary finally to strike them over the head
with their swords before they could shake themselves free and return again to
the street below.