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Today's chapter is 3.1.5: "Leur vie en guerre," translated as "Their Life in Warfare" or "Their Life in Time of War."

Date: 2014-06-03 11:40 pm (UTC)
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From: [personal profile] primeideal
"The royalists compelled all able-bodied men to march, under pain of death." So they can be pretty uncompromising when they want.

"In the tabernacle of a priest who had taken the oaths, a préte jureur as he was called, they placed a large black cat which jumped out suddenly during the mass. "It is the devil!" cried the peasants, and the whole canton rose in revolt." Haha, this is a funny mental image.

"if they met a cross or a chapel on the battlefield, ail would fall on their knees, repeating their prayers under fire; as soon as their beads were told, those who were left jumped to their feet and rushed on the enemy." Again a sort of quaint take on religion. I’ve been thinking of Cimourdain and his backstory when noting all of these references among the other nameless characters—can’t exactly tell what it’s going for, but a really important facet of the counterrevolutionaries’ motivation.

"They could be made to believe anything;" Goes back to the beginning of this book, lumping in folk beliefs (the "White Lady") with Catholic teachings.

"then they recaptured Fontenay in order to recapture Marie-Jeanne," Portraying this as more of an emotional decision—"we’re so attached to this picture of the Virgin Mary that we’ll go fight for it"—than a tactical one ("hey, guys, we need a cannon and some modern technology to fight well…").

"Savages have vices. It was through these that civilization captured them later." Whoa now, pretty sure the organized Napoleonic troops had their pillaging moments too. And, like, lots of armies.

"Puysaye says, Vol. II., page 187…" Again Hugo actually citing his sources.

"They called the countrymen who joined the Blues, "the Jacobin crowd," and they made an end of these sooner than any others." Punishment needs to be harshest for the locals who have betrayed them, rather than the distant armies who are their natural opponents.

"they called it "se décarémer or unrelenting” More…inexorableness I guess?

"At Fontenay, one of their priests, the Curé Barbotin, struck down an old man with his sabre." We’ve gone past the "judging the peasants for being peasants" part. In terms of "the fighters are super merciless and destroy everyone" theme they’re fitting right into this book, on a par with all the other forces.

"At Machecoul, they cut down the Republicans regularly, at the rate of thirty a day for five weeks; each chain of thirty was called "the rosary."" Dark slang for acts of war. Sort of reminds me of the purported "republican marriages" (another form of killing people).

"One Good Friday, ten thousand peasants, cannonaded the town of the Sables with red hot balls." Using a religious calendar. (This one doesn’t even give a year, underlining how different this reference system is?)

"They wept when they lost sight of their own belfry." And we’re back to "look how backwoodsy they are."

"When the enemy drew near, if they had any wounded, they concealed them in the tall wheat or among the virgin ferns, and after the affair was ended came back to get them." That’s…nice? I’m not sure we got any details like that with the other armies so far.

"They had women in their ranks;" Huh, with more responsibilities than the vivandière? Seems pretty cool.

"This epic time was cruel. The people were mad. Madame de Lescure purposely made her horse walk over the disabled republicans lying on the ground; "dead," said she; perhaps they were only wounded." Even the women get to join in on being inexorable! I’m giving the counterrevolutionaries +1 for diversity.

"Sometimes the men were traitors; the women, never. Mademoiselle Fleury of the Théâtre Français left Rouarie for Marat, but from love." And maybe Hugo gets a -1 for just leaving women’s motivations as "they might switch sides out of love," because they’re emotional unlike men? Not sure, but wasn’t expecting great nuance here.

"The captains were often as ignorant as the soldiers; Monsieur de Sapinaud did not know how to spell; he wrote "orions" for aurions, "couté" instead of côté." Or the dialect could be an actual different dialect with its own standards, but Hugo probably isn’t going to tell us that.

"The leaders hated each other; the captains of the Marais cried: "Down with those of the High Country!"" We heard about equally petty rivalries among the republicans.

"mumble their prayers," And they’re still silent, or maybe just going through the motions.


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