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This imaginative and eloquent life lasted only a few weeks. Simoulin was insensitive to bad news. They were, according to him, inventions of the enemies. But alas! reality was responsible for waking him up one day, with a rude slap. The Germans had spread through Belgium and were going to pass the neighboring frontier at any moment, entering France. Many residents of the city fled. Some prudent burghers suggested to the poet the advisability of retiring to Paris, believing that the government would need the collaboration of such a famous man.

His sons were in the army; the women of the family had gone to an inland city with all the grandchildren. Simoulin, all alone, considered himself ready for all kinds of heroism.

The commander considered it a felony to leave the city. When war was declared, he had suffered a bitter disappointment when he was not accepted to fight at the front, because of his illnesses as a former colonial soldier. In the end, so that he would not insist on his complaints, they made him director of a modest military administration service in the same city.

And as the Minister of War, concerned about the provisioning and the fate of the retreating armies towards the Marne, did not remember that there is a Pierrefonds commander in charge of a few hundred old capes, the bellicose numismatist could see from a window of his house how the first platoons of Hulans arrived in the city.

The mistress of the government had to kneel before him, hugging his legs and reminding him of the sweet intimacies of bygone times. Only in this way was he able to pry the old revolver from his hands with which he intended to shoot the invaders. Because of him, many residents of the city could be shot, according to his old companion. In addition, he remembered the teacher’s advice:

“Pierrefonds, when they come (if they do come), let us show ourselves great and haughty in disgrace.” A heroism that is sacrificed is many times more powerful than a heroism that conquers.

The illustrious Simoulin had numerous occasions to know this sacrifice preached by him. When he tried to present himself to the invading generals to formulate an eloquent protest against the abuses committed by his troops, he could only see one officer, who replied sarcastically, ending up threatening him with execution. Nobody paid attention to his name; Those warriors dressed in greenish gray seemed to hear it for the first time.

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