There had been a kermesse in this house: relatives had come to feast on waffles, hams, and custards. At the sound of the smashing of windows they crouched together behind the table, still laden with jugs and dishes.The soldiers went to the kitchen and after a savage fight in which many were wounded, they seized all the small boys and girls, and a little servant who had bitten the thumb of one soldier, left the house and closed the door behind them to prevent their being followed.Those who had no children cautiously came forth from their houses and followed the soldiers at a distance. They could see them throw down their victims on the ground before the old man, and cold-bloodedly massacre them with lances or swords.Meanwhile men and women crowded the windows of the blue farmhouse and the barn, cursing and raising their arms to heaven as they contemplated the pink, red, and white clothes of their motionless children on the ground among the trees. Then the soldiers hanged the servant from the Half Moon Inn on the other side of the street. There was a long silence in the village.It had now become a general massacre. Mothers escaped from their houses, trying to flee through vegetable and flower gardens out into the open country, but mounted soldiers pursued them and drove them back into the street. Peasants, with caps held tight between their hands, fell to their knees before the soldiers who dragged off” their little ones, and dogs barked joyously amid the disorder.The curl, his hands raised heavenward, rushed back and forth from house to house and out among the trees, praying in desperation like a martyr. The soldiers, trembling from the cold, whistled in their fingers as they moved about, or stood idly with their hands in their pockets, their swords under their arms, in front of houses that were being entered.
Small groups in all directions, seeing the fear of the peasants, were entering the farmhouses, and in every street similar scenes were enacted. The market-gardener`s wife, who lived in an old hut with pink tiles near the church, pursued with a chair two soldiers who were carrying off her children in a wheelbarrow. She was terribly sick when she saw her children die, and made to sit on a chair against a tree.Other soldiers climbed into the lime trees in front of a farmhouse painted the color of lilacs, and made their way in by taking off the tiles. When they reappeared on the roof, the parents with extended arms followed them until the soldiers forced them back, finding it necessary finally to strike them over the head with their swords before they could shake themselves free and return again to the street below.
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