Two heroic deaths honor nobility of blood and nobility of soul

August 22, 2011

Tired of the guillotine, the French Revolutionaries turned to another horrible method of dying called noyades. Between 90 to 150 people being stowed in the hold of a vessel, the vessel was scuttled in mid-stream, and the victims drowned. This particular method was carried out by Jean-Baptiste Carrier. Priests and nuns were among those murdered in this barbaric manner.


Madame de Jourdain perished in the noyades with her three daughters. A republican rushed to save the youngest who was of remarkable beauty. He seized her as she was about to be precipitated from the boat, but she burst from his grasp into the river. Falling, however, on a heap of corpses, she cried to the executioners, “Push me in! Push me in! There is not enough water!” Her prayer was heard. This heroism was universal. A maid-servant of the Viscountess de Lespinay heard an officer say to her mistress, “Wait here till I return. I will fling my cloak over you, and save you.” He came back with his cloak; but by mistake threw it over the servant. The poor girl might have been saved; but with wonderful generosity pointed out to the republican the mistake he had made, and herself followed the executioners.


George J. Hill, The Story of the War in La Vendée and the Little Chouannerie (New York: D. & J. Sadlier & Co. n.d.), p. 133.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 102


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