He felt that he had been betrayed. This was on October 26th. The defiance was followed by a descent of the mountaineers upon Alsace, which Charles had not yet released from his grasp. Stephen von Hagenbach prepared to defend Burgundian interests at Héricourt, a good strategic position on the tiny Luzine.
That one was to L'Ouverture's aide, Fontaine, at Cap Francais. It contained the following: "It is said that General Leclerc is in a bad state of health at Tortuga. Of this you will inform me. If you see the Captain-General, be sure to tell him that the cultivators are no longer disposed to obey me, for the planters wish to set them to work at Hericourt; which they certainly ought not to do.
Ah! all those who love children must fight in this deadly war, and struggle for peace: The creed which Mme. de Héricourt sets forth in her book, "La Femme Affranchie," about the time of the French Revolution, is very eloquent. "Mothers, you admonish your children, saying, 'Do not tell lies, because this is unworthy of a person who respects himself.
Six thousand men in the duke's pay, too, were to be ready to meet Edward IV., and swell his escort as he marched to Rheims for his coronation. Other matters also demanded Charles's personal attention. Months had elapsed and Héricourt was unpunished Berne had not been reproved.
"She only is dignified and pure," cries Madame de Héricourt, "who is capable of bringing up her son in such a way that he will never have anything shameful to confess to his mother." The mother who has lost all her authority is herself lost. Maternal dignity, on the other hand, is great and powerful. Behold in ancient times the Roman matron, Veturia, the mother of Coriolanus!
Charles, too, seems to have desired an accord rather than hostilities, even though he still bore the Swiss a bitter grudge for Héricourt. It was probably appeals from Yolande of Savoy that decided him to open a campaign in midwinter. He is importuned by the Duchess of Savoy and the Count of Romont for aid against the Swiss who respect no treaty, and do not cease increasing their forces.
Upon this the Marquis de Villars, who seconded Nemours, challenged Hericourt, the second of the Duke de Beaufort, a man whom he had never before seen; and the challenge being accepted, they fought even more desperately than their principals. This combat, being with swords, lasted longer than the first, and was more exciting to the six remaining gentlemen who stayed to witness it.
The weather was most severe in the region of his operations, and the sufferings of his men were quite as great as if not greater than those of Chanzy's troops. There were nights when men lay down to sleep, and never awoke again. On January 15,16, and 17 there was a succession of engagements on the Lisaine, known collectively as the battle of Hericourt.
The result was fatal to Hericourt, who fell pierced to the heart by the sword of De Villars. Anything more savage than this can hardly be imagined. Voltaire says such duels were frequent, and the compiler of the "Dictionnaire d'Anecdotes" informs us, that the number of seconds was not fixed.
I had hitherto been entirely among the Liberal set. How it came that I was invited to dine with M. Héricourt de Thury, I do not remember. M. de Thury was simple in his manners, and full of information; he had been Director of the Mines under Napoleon, and had charge of the Public Buildings under Louis XVIII. and Charles X., but resigned his charges at the Revolution of July.