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on a visit to the camp. Orange declined the request, and sent an earnest prayer to the duke not to leave the city that morning. The duke dined as usual at noon. While at dinner he received a letter, was observed to turn pale on reading it, and to conceal it hastily in a muff which he wore on his left arm. The repast finished, the duke ordered his horse. The anir. al was restive, and so strenuously resisted being mounted, that although it was his usual charger, it was exchanged for another. This second horse started in such a flurry that the duke lost his cloak, and almost his seat. He maintained his self-possession, however, and, placing
himself at the head of his body-guard and some troopers, numbering in all three hundred mounted men, rode out of the palace-yard towards the Kipdorp gate.
This portal opened on the road towards Borgerhout, where his troops were stationed, and at the present day bears the name of that village. It is on the side of the city farthest removed from and exactly opposite the river. The town was very quiet, the streets almost deserted; for it was one o'clock, the universal dinner-hour, and all suspicion had been
, disarmed by the energetic protestations of the duke. The guard at the gate looked listlessly upon the cavalcade as it approached, but as soon as ;
Anjou had crossed the first drawbridge, he rose in his stirrups and waved his hand. “There is your city, my lads," said he to the troopers behind him; “ go and take possession of it!"
At the same time he set spurs to his horse, and galloped off towards the camp at Borgerhout. Instantly afterwards, a gentleman of his suite, Count Rochepot, affected to have broken his leg through the plunging of his horse, by which he had been violently pressed against the wall as he entered the gate. Kaiser, the commanding officer at the guardhouse, stepped kindly forward to render him assistance, and his reward was a desperate thrust from the Frenchman's rapier. As he wore a steel cuirass, he fortunately escaped with a slight wound.
The expression “broken leg” was the watchword, for at one and the same instant the troopers and guardsmen of Anjou set upon the burgher watch at the gate, and butchered every man.
A sufficient force was left to protect the entrance thus easily mastered, while the rest of the Frenchmen entered the town at full gallop, shrieking “Ville gagnée, ville gagnée! vive la messe! vive le Duc d'Anjou!” They were followed by their comrades from the camp outside, who now poured into the town at the preconcerted signal; at least six hundred cavalry and three thousand musketeers, all perfectly appointed, entered Antwerp at once. From the Kipdorp gate two main arteries—the streets called the Kipdorp and the Meer-led quite through the heart of the city, towards the Town-house and the river beyond. Along these great thoroughfares the French soldiers advanced at a rapid pace; the cavalry clattering furiously in the van, shouting, “ Ville gagnée, ville gagnée ! vive la messe, vive la messe! tue, tue, tue!”
The burghers, coming to door and window to look for the cause of all this disturbance, were saluted with volleys of musketry. They were for a moment astonished, but not appalled, for at first they believed it to be merely an accidental tumult. Observing, however, that the soldiers, meeting with but little effective resistance, were dispersing into dwellings and warehouses, particularly into the shops of the goldsmiths and lapidaries, the citizens remembered the dark suspicions which had been so rife, and many recalled to mind that distinguished French officers had, during the last few days, been carefully examining the treasures of the jewellers, under pretext of purchasing, but, as it now appeared, with intent to rob intelligently.
The burghers, taking this rapid view of their position, flew instantly to arms. Chains and barricades were stretched across the streets; the trumpets sounded through the city; the municipal guards swarmed to the rescue.
An effective rally was made, as usual, at the Bourse, whither a large detachment of the invaders had forced their way. Inhabitants of all classes and conditions, noble and simple, Catholic and Protestant, gave each other the hand, and swore to die at each other's side in defence of the city against the treacherous strangers. The gathering was rapid and enthusiastic. Gentlemen came with lance and cuirass, burghers with musket and bandoleer, artizans with axe, mallet, and other implements of their trade. A bold baker, standing by his oven-stark naked, according to the custom of bakers at that day—rushed to the street as the sound of the tumult reached his ear. With his heavy bread shovel, which he held in his hand, he dealt a French cavalry officer, just riding and screaming by, such a hearty blow that he fell dead from his horse. The baker seized the officer's sword, sprang, all unattired as he was, upon his steed, and careered furiously through the streets, encouraging his countrymen everywhere to the attack, and dealing dismay through the ranks of the enemy. His services in that eventful hour were so signal that he was publicly thanked afterwards by the magistrates for his services, and rewarded with a pension of three hundred florins for life.
The invaders had been forced from the Bourse, while another portion of them had penetrated as far as the Market-place. The resistance which they encountered became every instant more formidable, and Fervacques, a leading French officer, who was captured on the occasion, acknowledged that no regular troops could have fought more bravely than did these stalwart burghers. Women and children mounted to roof and window, whence they hurled, not only tiles and chimney-pots, but tables, ponderous chairs, and other bulky articles, upon the heads of the assailants, while such citizens as had used all their bullets loaded their pieces with the silver buttons from their doublets, or twisted gold and silver coins with their teeth into ammunition. With a population so resolute, the four thousand invaders, however audacious, soon found themselves swallowed up. The city had closed over them like water, and within an hour nearly a third of their whole number had been slain. Very few of the burghers had perished, and fresh numbers were constantly advancing to the attack. The Frenchmen, blinded, staggering, beaten, attempted to retreat. Many threw themselves from the fortifications into the moat.
The rest of the survivors struggled through the streets-falling in large numbers at every step-towards the point at which they had so lately entered the city. Here at the Kipdorp gate was a ghastly spectacle, the slain being piled up in the narrow passage full ten feet high, while some of the heap, not quite dead, were striving to extricate a hand or foot, and others feebly thrust forth their heads to gain a mouthful of air.
From the outside, some of Anjou's officers were attempting to climb over the mass of bodies in order to enter the city; from the interior, the baffled and fugitive remnant of their comrades were attempting to force their passage through the same horrible barrier; while many dropped every instant upon the heap of slain, under the blows of the unrelenting burghers. On the other hand, Count Rochepot himself, to whom the principal command of the enterprise had been intrusted by Anjou, stood directly in the path of his fugitive soldiers, not only bitterly upbraiding them with their cowardice, but actually slaying ten or twelve of them with his own hands, as the most effectual mode of preventing their retreat. Hardly an hour had elapsed from the time when the Duke of Anjou first rode out of the Kipdorp gate before nearly the whole of the force which he had sent to accomplish his base design was either dead or captive. Two hundred and fifty nobles of high rank and illustrious name were killed ; recognised at once as they lay in the streets by their magnificent costume. A larger number of the gallant chivalry of France had been sacrificed—as Anjou confessed—in this treacherous and most shameful enterprise than had often fallen upon noble and honourable fields. Nearly two thousand of the rank and file had perished, and the rest were prisoners. It was at first asserted that exactly fifteen hundred and eighty-three Frenchmen had fallen, but this was only because this number happened to be the date of the year, to which the lovers of marvellous coincidences struggled very hard to make the returns of the dead correspond. Less than one hundred burghers lost their lives.
Anjou, as he looked on at a distance, was bitterly reproached for his treason by several of the high-minded gentlemen about his person, to whom he had not dared to confide his plot. The Duke of Montpensier protested vehemently that he washed his hands of the whole transaction, whatever might be the issue. He was responsible for the honour of an illustrious house, which should never be stained, he said, if he could prevent it, with such foul deeds. The same language was held by Laval, by Rochefoucauld, and by the Maréchal de Biron, the last gentleman,
whose two sons were engaged in the vile enterprise, bitterly cursing the duke to his face, as he rode through the gate after revealing his secret undertaking.
Meanwhile, Anjou, in addition to the punishment of hearing these reproaches from men of honour, was the victim of a rapid and violent fluctuation of feeling. Hope, fear, triumph, doubt, remorse, alternately swayed him. As he saw the fugitives leaping from the walls, he shouted exultingly, without accurately discerning what manner of men they were, that the city was his, that four thousand of his brave soldiers were there, and were hurling the burghers from the battlements. On being made afterwards aware of his error, he was proportionably depressed ; and when it was obvious at last that the result of the enterprise was an absolute and disgraceful failure, together with a complete exposure of his treachery, he fairly mounted his horse, and fled conscience-stricken from the scene.
The attack had been so unexpected, in consequence of the credence that had been rendered by Orange and the magistracy to the solemn protestatiors of the duke, that it had been naturally out of any one's power to prevent the catastrophe. The prince was lodged in a part of the town remote from the original scene of action, and it does not appear that information had reached him that anything unusual was occurring until the affair was approaching its termination. Then there was little for him to do. He hastened, however, to the scene, and, mounting the ramparts, persuaded the citizens to cease cannonading the discomfited and retiring foe. He felt the full gravity of the situation, and the necessity of diminishing the rancour of the inhabitants against their treacherous allies, if such a result were yet possible. The burghers had done their duty, and it certainly would have been neither in his power nor his inclination to protect the French marauders from expulsion and castigation.
Such was the termination of the French Fury, and it seems sufficiently strange that it should have been so much less disastrous to Antwerp than was the Spanish Fury of 1576, to which men could still scarcely allude without a shudder. One would have thought the French more likely to prove successful in their enterprise than the Spaniards in theirs. The Spaniards were enemies against whom the city had long been on its guard. The French were friends in whose sincerity a somewhat shaken confidence had just been restored. When the Spanish attack was made, a large force of defenders was drawn up in battle array behind freshlystrengthened fortifications. When the French entered at leisure through