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Massacres of the South

Chapter 7
The Protestants, as we have said, hailed the golden dawn of the revolution with
delight; then came the Terror, which struck at all without distinction of creed. A
hundred and thirty-eight heads fell on the scaffold, condemned by the
revolutionary tribunal of the Gard. Ninety-one of those executed were Catholic,
and forty-seven Protestants, so that it looked as if the executioners in their desire
for impartiality had taken a census of the population.
Then came the Consulate: the Protestants being mostly tradesmen and
manufacturers, were therefore richer than the Catholics, and had more to lose;
they seemed to see more chance of stability in this form of government than in
those preceding it, and it was evident that it had a more powerful genius at its
head, so they rallied round it with confidence and sincerity. The Empire followed,
with its inclination to absolutism, its Continental system, and its increased
taxation; and the Protestants drew back somewhat, for it was towards them who
had hoped so much from him that Napoleon in not keeping the promises of
Bonaparte was most perjured.
The first Restoration, therefore, was greeted at Nimes with a universal shout of
joy; and a superficial-observer might have thought that all trace of the old
religious leaven had disappeared. In fact, for seventeen years the two faiths had
lived side by side in perfect peace and mutual good-will; for seventeen years
men met either for business or for social purposes without inquiring about each
other's religion, so that Nimes on the surface might have been held up as an
example of union and fraternity.
When Monsieur arrived at Nimes, his guard of honour was drawn from the city
guard, which still retained its organisation of 1812, being composed of citizens
without distinction of creed. Six decorations were conferred on it--three on
Catholics, and three on Protestants. At the same time, M. Daunant, M. Olivier
Desmonts, and M. de Seine, the first the mayor, the second the president of the
Consistory, and the third a member of the Prefecture, all three belonging to the
Reformed religion, received the same favour.
Such impartiality on the part of Monsieur almost betrayed a preference, and this
offended the Catholics. They muttered to one another that in the past there had
been a time when the fathers of those who had just been decorated by the hand
of the prince had fought against his faithful adherents. Hardly had Monsieur left
the town, therefore, than it became apparent that perfect harmony no longer
existed.
The Catholics had a favorite cafe, which during the whole time the Empire lasted
was also frequented by Protestants without a single dispute caused by the
difference of religion ever arising. But from this time forth the Catholics began to
hold themselves aloof from the Protestants; the latter perceiving this, gave up the
cafe by degrees to the Catholics, being determined to keep the peace whatever it
might cost, and went to a cafe which had been just opened under the sign of the
"Isle of Elba." The name was enough to cause them to be regarded as
Bonapartists, and as to Bonapartists the cry "Long live the king!" was supposed
 
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