American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, March 1838.
The Cork Leg
by William E. Burton

“I have told my story, frank and free,
And now I’m singing its L. E. G.”
                                       Song of the Cork Leg.

  one of the most remarkable episodes in French history, unequalled in the ferocity of its character and termination. On the 10th of March, 1793, the peasantry were assembled on the lawn of the chateau by sound of drum, and directed by the officer of a detachment of gendarmerie to draw lots for their chances of escaping the hateful conscription, levied to fill the armies of the revolutionary convention. The peasantry refused to acknowledge the power of the distant rebels, and when the gendarmes endeavored to force them to the enrolment, they rushed upon the mercenaries, and deprived them of their weapons. A wagoner, named Cathelineau, headed the insurgent Vendeans, who scarcely numbered a hundred individuals, and drove the conventional force not only from the village of St. Florent, but from several of the military posts in the neighborhood. The success of the first operations induced similar risings in other parts of the district. Gaston, a wig maker, and a gamekeeper named Stofflet, raised hands of . . .


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    [The following little sketch is not translated from the French, although, from the nature of its construction, such an origin might have been surmised. The principal incident was related to me in France, and, I believe, actually occurred during some portion of the French Revolution, but the location of time and place is my own arrangement.]

ABOUT a quarter of a mile from the main street of the village of St. Florent, near Ancenis, in the old French province of Poictou, now forming the department of La Vendee, stands an antiquated chateau, or rather did stand in the fall of the year 1816, which the reader will please to notice as the date of this little tale. The neighborhood of the chateau was consecrated ground. In that quiet and rural spot commenced the sanguinary war of La Vendee,




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