And thus the Herculean Inspector has sat all Thursday, among terror-struck Municipals, a centre of confused noise: all Thursday, Friday, and till Saturday towards noon. Chateau-Vieux, in spite of the notarial protest, will not march a step. As many as four thousand National Guards are dropping or pouring in; uncertain what is expected of them, still more uncertain what will be obtained of them. For all is uncertainty, commotion, and suspicion: there goes a word that Bouille, beginning to bestir himself in the rural Cantonments eastward, is but a Royalist traitor; that Chateau-Vieux and Patriotism are sold to Austria, of which latter M. de Malseigne is probably some agent. Mestre-de-Camp and Roi flutter still more questionably: Chateau-Vieux, far from marching, 'waves red flags out of two carriages,' in a passionate manner, along the streets; and next morning answers its Officers: "Pay us, then; and we will march with you to the world's end!"
Under which circumstances, towards noon on Saturday, M. de Malseigne thinks it were good perhaps to inspect the ramparts,--on horseback. He mounts, accordingly, with escort of three troopers. At the gate of the city, he bids two of them wait for his return; and with the third, a trooper to be depended upon, he--gallops off for Luneville; where lies a certain Carabineer Regiment not yet in a mutinous state! The two left troopers soon get uneasy; discover how it is, and give the alarm. Mestre-de-Camp, to the number of a hundred, saddles in frantic haste, as if sold to Austria; gallops out pellmell in chase of its Inspector. And so they spur, and the Inspector spurs; careering, with noise and jingle, up the valley of the River Meurthe, towards Luneville and the midday sun: through an astonished country; indeed almost their own astonishment.
What a hunt, Actaeon-like;--which Actaeon de Malseigne happily gains! To arms, ye Carabineers of Luneville: to chastise mutinous men, insulting your General Officer, insulting your own quarters;--above all things, fire soon, lest there be parleying and ye refuse to fire! The Carabineers fire soon, exploding upon the first stragglers of Mestre-de-Camp; who shrink at the very flash, and fall back hastily on Nanci, in a state not far from distraction. Panic and fury: sold to Austria without an if; so much per regiment, the very sums can be specified; and traitorous Malseigne is fled! Help, O Heaven; help, thou Earth,--ye unwashed Patriots; ye too are sold like us!
Effervescent Regiment du Roi primes its firelocks, Mestre-de-Camp saddles wholly: Commandant Denoue is seized, is flung in prison with a 'canvass shirt' (sarreau de toile) about him; Chateau-Vieux bursts up the magazines; distributes 'three thousand fusils' to a Patriot people: Austria shall have a hot bargain. Alas, the unhappy hunting-dogs, as we said, have hunted away their huntsman; and do now run howling and baying, on what trail they know not; nigh rabid!
And so there is tumultuous march of men, through the night; with halt on the heights of Flinval, whence Luneville can be seen all illuminated. Then there is parley, at four in the morning; and reparley; finally there is agreement: the Carabineers give in; Malseigne is surrendered, with apologies on all sides. After weary confused hours, he is even got under way; the Lunevillers all turning out, in the idle Sunday, to see such departure: home-going of mutinous Mestre-de-Camp with its Inspector captive. Mestre-de-Camp accordingly marches; the Lunevillers look. See! at the corner of the first street, our Inspector bounds off again, bull- hearted as he is; amid the slash of sabres, the crackle of musketry; and escapes, full gallop, with only a ball lodged in his buff-jerkin. The Herculean man! And yet it is an escape to no purpose. For the Carabineers, to whom after the hardest Sunday's ride on record, he has come circling back, 'stand deliberating by their nocturnal watch-fires;' deliberating of Austria, of traitors, and the rage of Mestre-de-Camp. So that, on the whole, the next sight we have is that of M. de Malseigne, on the Monday afternoon, faring bull-hearted through the streets of Nanci; in open carriage, a soldier standing over him with drawn sword; amid the 'furies of the women,' hedges of National Guards, and confusion of Babel: to the Prison beside Commandant Denoue! That finally is the lodging of Inspector Malseigne. (Deux Amis, v. 206-251; Newspapers and Documents (in Hist. Parl. vii. 59-162.)
Surely it is time Bouille were drawing near. The Country all round, alarmed with watchfires, illuminated towns, and marching and rout, has been sleepless these several nights. Nanci, with its uncertain National Guards, with its distributed fusils, mutinous soldiers, black panic and redhot ire, is not a City but a Bedlam.
The French Revolution -by- Thomas Carlyle