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should be sent to the citadel; that the city should be held by himself under the command of the Spanish general ; that no German troops should be admitted, and no orders obeyed received from the Council of State. In fact the whole disposition of the city was without reservation to be given to the Spaniards.
Count Oberstein endeavoured to find some means of escape from the error into which he had been trapped. The only remedy which occurred to him was not to keep his promise. The citizens were therefore permitted to retain their weapons; and the Spanish officer, concerning himself but little on this account, secretly dispatched messengers for reinforcements. He had fully resolved on the sack of Antwerp.
Before the arrival of the Spanish reinforcements a large force of Walloons and Germans, under the command of the Marquis of Havré, appeared under the walls of the city. The troops consisted of twentythree companies of infantry, and fourteen of cavalry, amounting to five thousand foot and twelve hundred horse. The governor of Antwerp, Champagny, was unwilling to admit them. Oberstein had confessed to him the blunder into which he had been betrayed, and Champagny saw in the admission of these troops an immediate cause of quarrel with the Spaniards. But Havré was so peremptory, and the citizens so solicitous, that the governor at last complied, and at ten o'clock on the morning of November 3rd, the Walloons and Germans marched in and began to make themselves comfortable.
The Walloonish notion of being comfortable, consisted in living at free quarters, drinking as much good liquor and pocketing as much coin as they could get. Without waiting for instructions, they no sooner entered Antwerp, than they took possession of the best houses, called for the best, took the best, and behaved very much as they might have done had they taken the city by storm. This happened while the Governor, , the Marquis of Havré and other great people of the city were holding solemn conclave as to what was to be done.
Havré had brought with him some intercepted letters, and from these they ascertained that the Spaniards meant to make short work with Antwerp. It was plainly necessary to put the city into an immediate state of defence, and no time was lost in carrying out this resolution.
As to the Walloons, they were ill-disposed for labour, but well disposed to eat, drink, sleep on feather beds, and rail at the citizens. It was no easy matter to rouse up these fellows, and set them to labour. The citizens knowing their danger worked bravely-young and old, rich and poor, women as well as men, all swarming together and piling up a rampart on the side of the city exposed to the castle. A ditch and breast work, extending from the gate of the Bequins to the street of the Abbey St. Michael, were soon in rapid progress. While this was going on, a few Spanish and Italian merchants fled from the city and took refuge in the castle, from which, shortly afterwards, a letter was received by Oberstein from D'Avila, calling upon him to fulfil the treatydismiss the troops, disarm the people, and the rest of it.
Oberstein answered their demand with the contempt it merited, nay more, he defied the Spaniards to do their worst.
His answer was received with well assumed indignation on the part of the Spaniards, who immediately opened fire on the city. But the work of defence went on bravely. The walls were strengthened with bales of merchandize ; barricades hastily formed of casks of earth, upturned waggons and similar bulky things were erected in the streets. In some parts the rampart was sixteen feet high, but the November day closed before the works were half completed.
Full orbed rose the moon that night, lighting the citizens as they still wrought busily at the defences. A heavy fire was maintained by the Spaniards, and the risk of those who toiled was great.
The Walloon troops so far from rendering assistance were afraid to lift their heads above the ramparts ; but rich men, poor men, women, even little children worked hard, as if- and in reality--for life! Champagny hurried from post to post, inspiring courage when his heart sinking. His personal servants assisted him in planting cannon on a spot where they might be brought to tell upon the citadel, and still the castle maintained its heavy fire, and the flash and roar of the guns broke the awful silence that prevailed. God save us all from such a night as that! Those who escaped, and they were very few, remembered it with horror-mere children then in after years grown old and grey could tell of the strange and terrible sense of coming doom which oppressed all Antwerp on that terrible night. The clear and deep blue sky, the moon and shining stars, the murmur of the river beating against the wooden quays, the
very music of the bells from out the old cathedral tower, awakened the memory of that awful eve.
Champagny, as we have seen, hurried from place to place and lightened labour by his presence. He knew how frail were the best defences that
could be raised that night—a mere overturned waggon defending the street of the Bequins !—but still all that could be done was accomplished. The council met at Oberstein's quarters in the early grey of the morning, and then it was ascertained that nearly all Champagny's directions with regard to the troops had been neglected. He had desired that strong detachments should be placed during the night at various places for security on the outskirts of the town. This arrangement would have cut off those Spanish troops which were expected to reinforce the garrison within the citadel. Not even scouts had been stationed in sufficient numbers to obtain information of what was occurring outside the walls.
The morning was heavy, dull, foggy; a white mist rose from the river and hung over the doomed city. This almost impenetrable veil assisted the Spaniards. The clatter of horses, the clang of military accoutrements, the tramp of men could be distinctly heard by the Antwerpers ; but nothing could be seen as troop after troop arrived and marched into the citadel.
The whole available force in the city was mustered early in the morning. The lines opposite the citadel, a post of responsibility and honour, were held by the troops of Havré-the whole body of Walloons and a few German companies. This living wall of six thousand men would it was hoped withstand the attack of the Spaniards should the ramparts fail ; but, alas ! for the citizens, they little knew the coward hearts that trembled beneath those steel breastplates.
The remainder of the German troops occupied the central streets and squares. The cavalry took up their position in the Horse-market on the opposite side of the city, and every preparation was made to receive the besiegers warmly.
While these preparations were going on the fighting began between a band of citizens and a reconnoitring party from the citadel. In this—a mere skirmish—the Antwerpers got the better of the Spaniards, who were compelled to retreat; but Champagny, who watched the action, saw that the retreat was only the signal for a general onslaught.
Ten o'clock was sounding from the church clocks sharp and clear, when the citizens beheld as strange a sight as that which startled Macbeth, king of Scotland-Birnam Wood was coming to Dunsinane. It seemed as if a forest were approaching-green branches waving in the wind; but soon they saw that this arcadia was an army three thousand strong-fresh reinforcements for the citadel.
Navarette was the commander of these troops-a man familiar with blood, but a stranger to mercy. They had been marching since three in the morning, but when they reached the citadel refused to take rest or refreshment beyond a draught of wine.
“We will dine," said they, “in Antwerp, or sup in Paradise !”
Eleren o'clock. Every man in the city mustered for the attack. Hardly men enough were left behind to guard the gates. Five thousand foot-soldiers, six hundred cavalry-all men of war from their youth. They had a banner emblazoned on the one side with the Crucified Saviour, and on the other with the Mother of our Lord—the Virgin Mary. The priests performed a mass before they went forth, imploring the God of all Peace, of His Infinite Goodness to bless and prosper the work they had before them-work which should set at nought all His commands, make angels shudder and the fiends rejoice.
The whole mass is in motion—a forest of spears—steadily forward—but increasing in speed as it comes nearer to the ramparts. The Walloons watch its coming with straining eyes—they give no heed to the last words of their officersmall attention is absorbed on that close mass of iron.
A brief space of time, and then—then it strikes the barrier as the thunderbolt descends from the cloud. There was scarcely a struggle. The Walloons, not waiting to look their enemy in the face, abandoned the post which they had themselves claimed. The Spaniards crashed through the bulwark as though it had been a wall of glass. The Eletto, he who led the reinforcement, was first to mount the rampart; the next instant he was shot dead, while his followers, undismayed, sprang over his body and poured into the streets. The fatal gaps, due to timidity and carelessness, let in the destructive tide.
Champagny, seeing that the enemies had all crossed the barrier, leaped over a garden wall, passed through a house into a narrow lane, and thence to the nearest station of the German troops. Hastily collecting a small force, he led them in person to the
The Germans fought well, died well, but they could not reanimate the courage of the Walloons, and all were now in full retreat, pursued by the ferocious Spaniards. In vain Champagny stormed among them; in vain he strove to rally their broken ranks. With his own hand he seized a banner from a retreating ensign, and called upon the nearest soldiers to make a stand against the foe. It was to bid the clouds pause before the tempest. Torn, broken, aimless, the scattered troops whirled through the streets before the pursuing wrath. Champagny, not yet despairing, gallopped hither and thither, calling upon the burghers everywhere to rise in defence of their homes; nor did he call in vain. They came forth from every place of rendezvous, from every alley, from every house. They fought as men fight to defend their hearths and altars; but what could individual devotion avail against the compact, disciplined, resistless mass of their foes ? The order of defence was broken; there was no system, no concert, no rallying point, no authority. So soon as it was known that the Spaniards had crossed the rampart, that its six thousand defenders were in full retreat, it was inevitable that a panic should seize the city.
There was terror, dismay, confusion everywhere. The reports of fugitives added to the general consternation. The Antwerpers lost all power of resistance. It was as though a pack of wolves had broken into a sheepfold. As to the Spaniards, all of them veteran soldiers, they, acting on orders previously received, separated into two divisions, one half charging up the long street of St. Michael, the other forcing its way through the street of St. Jain. “Santiago, Santiago ! Espana, Espana ! à sangre, à carne, à fuego, à sacco!” Saint James, Spain, blood, flesh,