The Massacre of the Innocents part 7

One
family, who had concealed themselves in the cellar of a large house, stood at
the gratings and wildly lamented, while the father desperately brandished his
pitchfork through the grating. Outside, an old bald-headed fellow sat on a
manure-heap, sobbing to himself. In the square a woman dressed in yellow had
fainted away, her weeping husband holding her up by the arms against a
pear-tree.

Another
woman, in red, clutched her little girl, whose hands had been cut off, and
lifted the child’s arms to see whether she could move. Still another woman was
escaping toward the open country, the soldiers running after her among the
haystacks, which stood out in sharp relief against the snow-covered fields.

Before
the Four Sons of Aymon confusion reigned. The peasants had made a barricade
while the soldiers encircled the inn, unable to effect an entrance. They were
trying to climb up to the sign-board by means of the vines, when they caught
sight of a ladder behind the garden gate. Setting this against the wall, they
scaled it, one after another. But the landlord and his family threw down at
them tables and chairs, crockery and cradles from the window, upsetting ladder
and soldiers together.

Two soldiers carried off

In
a wooden cottage at the outskirts of the village another group of soldiers came
upon an old woman washing her children in a tub before the open fire. She was
old and deaf, and did not hear them when they entered. Two soldiers carried off
the tub with the children in it, while the bewildered old woman set off in
pursuit, carrying the clothes which she had been about to put on the infants.

Out
in the village she saw traces of blood, swords in the orchard, smashed cradles
in the open streets, women praying and wringing their hands over their dead
children, and began to scream and strike the soldiers who had to set down the
tub in order to defend themselves. The curd hurried over to her, his hands
still folded over his chasuble, and entreated the Spaniards for mercy, in the
presence of the naked children screaming in the tub. Other soldiers came up,
bound the distracted mother to a tree, and went off with the children.

The
butcher, having hidden his baby girl, leaned against the front of his shop with
apparent unconcern. A foot-soldier and one of the armed horsemen entered his
home and found the child in a copper pot. The butcher desperately seized a
knife and rushed off in pursuit, but the soldiers disarmed him and suspended
him by the hands from some hooks in the wall, where he kicked and wriggled
among his dead animals until evening.

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