Part 4 out of 5
in a few minutes, amongst a batch of other traitors, dragged back to
her own prison, and executed in the early dawn, before Déroulède has
had time to frame a plan for her safety or defence. If, then, he tries
to move heaven and earth to rescue the woman he loves, the mob of
Paris may,--who knows?--take his part warmly. They are mad where
Déroulède is concerned; and we all know that two devoted lovers have
ere now found favour with the people of France--a curious remnant of
sentimentalism, I suppose--and the popular Citizen-Deputy knows
better than anyone else on earth, how to play upon the sentimental
feelings of the populace. Now, in the case of a penal offence, mark
where the difference would be! The woman Juliette Marny, arraigned for
wantonness, for an offence against public morals; the burnt
correspondence, admitted to be the letters of a lover--her hatred for
Déroulède suggesting the false denunciation. Then the Minister of
Justice allows an advocate to defend her. She has none in court; but
think you Déroulède would not step forward, and bring all the fervour
of his eloquence to bear in favour of his mistress? Can you hear his
impassioned speech on her behalf?--I can--the rope, I tell you,
citizens, with which he'll hang himself. Will he admit in open court
that the burnt correspondence was another lover's letters? No!--a
thousand times no!--and, in the face of his emphatic denial of the
existence of another lover for Juliette, it will be for our clever
Public Prosecutor to bring him down to an admission that the
correspondence was his, that it was treasonable, that she burnt them
to save him."
He paused, exhausted at last, mopping his forehead, then drinking
large gulps of brandy to ease his parched throat.
A veritable chorus of enthusiasm greeted the end of his long
peroration. The Machiavelian scheme, almost devilish in its cunning,
in its subtle knowledge of human nature and of the heart-strings of a
noble organisation like Déroulède's, commended itself to these
patriots, who were thirsting for the downfall of a superior enemy.
Even Tinville lost his attitude of dry sarcasm; his thin cheeks were
glowing with the lust of the fight.
Already for the past few months, the trials before the Committee of
Public Safety had been dull, monotonous, uninteresting. Charlotte
Corday had been a happy diversion, but otherwise it had been the case
of various deputies, who had held views that had become too moderate,
or of the generals who had failed to subdue the towns or provinces of
But now this trial on the morrow--the excitement of it all, the trap
laid for Déroulède, the pleasure of seeing him take the first step
towards his own downfall. Everyone there was eager and enthusiastic
for the fray. Lenoir, having spoken at such length, had now become
silent, but everyone else talked, and drank brandy, and hugged his own
hate and likely triumph.
For several hours, far into the night, the sitting was continued.
Each one of the score of members had some comment to make on Lenoir's
speech, some suggestion to offer.
Lenoir himself was the first to break up this weird gathering of human
jackals, already exulting over their prey. He bad his companions a
quiet good-night, then passed out into the dark street.
After he had gone there were a few seconds of complete silence in the
dark and sordid room, where men's ugliest passions were holding
absolute sway. The giant's heavy footsteps echoed along the ill-paved
street, and gradually died away in the distance.
Then at last Foucquier-Tinville, the Public Prosecutor, spoke:
"And who is that man?" he asked, addressing the assembly of patriots.
Most of them did not know.
"A provincial from the north," said one of the men at last; "he has
been here several times before now, and last year he was a fairly
constant attendant. I believe he is a butcher by trade, and I fancy he
comes from Calais. He was originally brought here by Citizen Brogard,
who is good patriot enough."
One by one the members of this bond of Fraternity began to file out of
the Cheval Borgne. They nodded curt good-nights to each other, and
then went to their respective abodes, which surely could not be
dignified with the name of home.
Tinville remained one of the last; he and Merlin seemed suddenly to
have buried the hatchet, which a few hours ago had threatened to
destroy one of the other of these whilom bosom friends.
Two or three of the most ardent of these ardent extremists had
gathered round the Public Prosecutor, and Merlin, the framer of the
Law of the Suspect.
"What say you, citizens?" said Tinville at last quietly. "That man
Lenoir, meseems, is too eloquent--eh?"
"Dangerous," pronounced Merlin, whilst the others nodded approval.
"But his scheme is good," suggested one of the men.
"And we'll avail ourselves of it," assented Tinville, "but
He paused, and once more everyone nodded approval.
"Yes; he is dangerous. We'll leave him in peace to-morrow, but
With a gentle hand Tinville caressed the tall double post, which stood
in the centre of the room, and which was shaped like the guillotine.
An evil look was on his face: the grin of a death-dealing monster,
savage and envious. The others laughed in grim content. Merlin grunted
a surly approval. He had no cause to love the provincial coal-heaver
who had raised a raucous voice to threaten him.
Then, nodding to one another, the last of the patriots, satisfied with
this night's work, passed out into the night.
The watchman was making his rounds, carrying his lantern, and shouting
his customary cry:
"Inhabitants of Paris, sleep quietly. Everything is in order,
everything is at peace."
The close of day.
Déroulède had spent the whole of this same night in a wild,
impassioned search for Juliette.
Earlier in the day, soon after Anne Mie's revelations, he had sought
out his English friend, Sir Percy Blakeney, and talked over with him
the final arrangements for the removal of Madame Déroulède and Anne
Mie from Paris.
Though he was a born idealist and a Utopian, Paul Déroulède had never
for a moment had any illusions with regard to his own popularity. He
knew that at any time, and for any trivial cause, the love which the
mob bore him would readily turn to hate. He had seen Mirabeau's
popularity wane, La Fayette's, Desmoulin's--was it likely that _he_
alone would survive the inevitable death of so ephemeral a thing?
Therefore, whilst he was in power, whilst he was loved and trusted, he
had, figuratively and actually, put his house in order. He had made
full preparations for his own inevitable downfall, for that probable
flight from Paris of those who were dependent upon him.
He had, as far back as a year ago, provided himself with the necessary
passports, and bespoken with his English friend certain measures for
the safety of his mother and his crippled little relative. Now it was
merely a question of putting these measures into execution.
Within two hours of Juliette Marny's arrest, Madame Déroulède and Anne
Mie had quitted the house in the Rue Ecole de Médecine. They had but
little luggage with them, and were ostensibly going into the country
to visit a sick cousin.
The mother of the popular Citizen-Deputy was free to travel
unmolested. The necessary passports which the safety of the Republic
demanded were all in perfect order, and Madame Déroulède and Anne Mie
passed through the north gate of Paris an hour before sunset, on that
24th day of Fructidor.
Their large travelling chaise took them some distance on the North
Road, where they were to meet Lord Hastings and Lord Anthony Dewhurst,
two of The Scarlet Pimpernel's most trusted lieutenants, who were to
escort them as far as the coast, and thence see them safely aboard the
On that score, therefore, Déroulède had no anxiety. His chief duty
was to his mother and to Anne Mie, and that was now fully discharged.
Then there was old Pétronelle.
Ever since the arrest of her young mistress the poor old soul had been
in a state of mind bordering on frenzy, and no amount of eloquence on
Déroulède's part would persuade her to quit Paris without Juliette.
"If my pet lamb is to die," she said amidst heart-broken sobs, "then I
have no cause to live. Let those devils take me along too, if they
want a useless, old woman like me. But if my darling is allowed to go
free, then what would become of her in this awful city without me? She
and I have never been separated; she wouldn't know where to turn for a
home. And who would cook for her and iron out her kerchiefs, I'd like
Reason and common sense were, of course, powerless in face of this
sublime and heroic childishness. No one had the heart to tell the old
woman that the murderous dog of the Revolution seldom loosened its
fangs, once they had closed upon a victim.
All Déroulède could do was to convey Pétronelle to the old abode,
which Juliette had quitted in order to come to him, and which had
never been formally given up. The worthy soul, calmed and refreshed,
deluded herself into the idea that she was waiting for the return of
her young mistress, and became quite cheerful at sight of the familiar
Déroulède had provided her with money and necessaries. He had but few
remaining hopes in his heart, but among them was the firmly implanted
one that Pétronelle was too insignificant to draw upon herself the
terrible attention of the Committee of Public Safety.
By the nightfall he had seen the good woman safely installed. Then
only did he feel free.
At last he could devote himself to what seemed to him the one, the
only, aim of his life--to find Juliette.
A dozen prisons in this vast Paris!
Over five thousand prisoners on that night, awaiting trial,
condemnation and death.
Déroulède at first, strong in his own power, his personality, had
thought that the task would be comparatively easy.
At the Palais de Justice they would tell him nothing: the list of new
arrests had not yet been handled in by the commandant of Paris,
Citizen Santerre, who classified and docketed the miserable herd of
aspirants for the next day's guillotine.
The lists, moreover, would not be completed until the next day, when
the trials of the new prisoners would already be imminent.
The work of the Committee of Public Safety was done without much
Then began Déroulède's weary quest through those twelve prisons of
Paris. From the Temple to the Conciergerie, from Palais Condé to the
Luxembourg, he spent hours in the fruitless search.
Everywhere the same shrug of the shoulders, the same indifferent reply
to his eager query:
"Juliette Marny? _Inconnue._"
Unknown! She had not yet been docketed, not yet classified; she was
still one of that immense flock of cattle, sent in ever-increasing
numbers to the slaughter-house.
Presently, to-morrow, after a trial which might last ten minutes,
after a hasty condemnation and quick return to prison, she would be
listed as one of the traitors, whom this great and beneficent Republic
sent daily to the guillotine.
Vainly did Déroulède try to persuade, to entreat, to bribe. The
sullen guardians of these twelve charnel-houses knew nothing of
But the Citizen-Deputy was allowed to look for himself. He was
conducted to the great vaulted rooms of the Temple, to the vast
ballrooms of the Palais Condé, where herded the condemned and those
still awaiting trial; he was allowed to witness there the grim
farcical tragedies, with which the captives beguiled the few hours
which separated them from death.
Mock trials were acted there; Tinville was mimicked; then the Place de
la Révolution; Samson the headsman, with a couple of inverted chairs
to represent the guillotine.
Daughters of dukes and princes, descendants of ancient lineage, acted
in these weird and ghastly comedies. The ladies, with hair bound high
over their heads, would kneel before the inverted chairs, and place
the snowwhite necks beneath this imaginary guillotine. Speeches were
delivered to a mock populace, whilst a mock Santerre ordered a mock
roll of drums to drown the last flow of eloquence of the supposed
Oh! the horror of it all--the pity, pathos, and misery of this
ghastly parody, in the very face of the sublimity of death!
Déroulède shuddered when first he beheld the scene, shuddered at the
very thought of finding Juliette amongst these careless, laughing,
His own, his beautiful Juliette, with her proud face and majestic,
queen-like gestures; it was a relief not to see her there.
"Juliette Marny? _Inconnue,_" was the final word he heard about her.
No one told him that by Deputy Merlin's strictest orders she had been
labelled "dangerous", and placed in a remote wing of the Luxembourg
Palace, together with a few, who, like herself, were allowed to see no
one, communicate with no one.
Then when the _couvre-feu_ had sounded, when all public places were
closed, when the night watchman had begun his rounds, Déroulède knew
that his quest for that night must remain fruitless.
But he could not rest. In and out the tortuous streets of Paris he
roamed during the better part of that night. He was now only awaiting
the dawn to publicly demand the right to stand beside Juliette.
A hopeless misery was in his heart, a longing for a cessation of life;
only one thing kept his brain active, his mind clear: the hope of
The dawn was breaking in the far east when, wandering along the banks
of the river, he suddenly felt a touch on his arm.
"Come to my hovel," said a pleasant, lazy voice close to his ear,
whilst a kindly hand seemed to drag him away from the contemplation of
the dark, silent river. "And a demmed, beastly place it is too, but at
least we can talk quietly there."
Déroulède, roused from his meditation, looked up, to see his friend,
Sir Percy Blakeney, standing close beside him. Tall, débonnair,
well-dressed, he seemed by his very presence to dissipate the morbid
atmosphere which was beginning to weigh upon Déroulède's active mind.
Déroulède followed him readily enough through, the intricate mazes of
old Paris, and down the Rue des Arts, until Sir Percy stopped outside
a small hostelry, the door of which stood wide open.
"Mine host has nothing to lose from footpads and thieves," explained
the Englishman as he guided his friend through the narrow doorway,
then up a flight of rickety stairs, to a small room on the floor
above. "He leaves all doors open for anyone to walk in, but, la! the
interior of the house looks so uninviting that no one is tempted to
"I wonder you care to stay here," remarked Déroulède, with a momentary
smile, as he contrasted in his mind the fastidious appearance of his
friend with the dinginess and dirt of these surroundings.
Sir Percy deposited his large person in the capacious depths of a
creaky chair, stretched his long limbs out before him, and said
"I am only staying in this demmed hole until the moment when I can
drag you out of this murderous city."
Déroulède shook his head.
"You'd best go back to England, then," he said, "for I'll never leave
"Not without Juliette Marny, shall we say?" rejoined Sir Percy
"And I fear me that she has placed herself beyond our reach," said
"You know that she is in the Luxembourg Prison?" queried the
"I guessed it, but could find no proof."
"And that she will be tried to-morrow?"
"They never keep a prisoner pining too long," replied Déroulède
bitterly. "I guessed that too."
"What do you mean to do?"
"Defend her with the last breath in my body."
"You love her still, then?" asked Blakeney, with a smile.
"Still?" The look, the accent, the agony of a hopeless passion
conveyed in that one word, told Sir Percy Blakeney all that he wished
"Yet she betrayed you," he said tentatively.
"And to atone for that sin--an oath, mind you, friend, sworn to her
father--she is already to give her life for me."
"And you are prepared to forgive?"
"To understand _is_ to forgive," rejoined Déroulède simply, "and I
"Your madonna!" said Blakeney, with a gently ironical smile.
"No; the woman I love, with all her weaknesses, all her sins; the
woman to gain whom I would give my soul, to save whom I will give my
"She does not love me--would she have betrayed me else?"
He sat beside the table, and buried his head in his hands. Not even
his dearest friend should see how much he had suffered, how deeply his
love had been wounded.
Sir Percy said nothing, a curious, pleasant smile lurked round the
corners of his mobile mouth. Through his mind there flitted the vision
of beautiful Marguerite, who had so much loved yet so deeply wronged
him, and, looking at his friend, he thought that Déroulède too would
soon learn all the contradictions, which wage a constant war in the
innermost recesses of a feminine heart.
He made a movement as if he would say something more, something of
grave import, then seemed to think better of it, and shrugged his
broad shoulders, as if to say:
"Let time and chance take their course now."
When Déroulède looked up again Sir Percy was sitting placidly in the
arm-chair, with an absolutely blank expression on his face.
"Now that you know how much I love her, my friend," said Déroulède as
soon as he had mastered his emotions, "will you look after her when
they have condemned me, and save her for my sake?"
A curious, enigmatic smile suddenly illumined Sir Percy's earnest
"Save her? Do you attribute supernatural powers to me, then, or to
The League of The Scarlet Pimpernel?"
"To you, I think," rejoined Déroulède seriously.
Once more it seemed as if Sir Percy were about to reveal something of
great importance to his friend, then once more he checked himself. The
Scarlet Pimpernel was, above all, far-seeing and practical, a man of
action and not of impulse. The glowing eyes of his friend, his
nervous, febrile movements, did not suggest that he was in a fit state
to be entrusted with plans, the success of which hung on a mere
Therefore Sir Percy only smiled, and said quietly:
"Well, I'll do my best."
The day had been an unusually busy one.
Five and thirty prisoners, arraigned before the bar of the Committee
of Public Safety, had been tried in the last eight hours--an average
of rather more than four to the hour; twelve minutes and a half in
which to send a human creature, full of life and health, to solve the
great enigma which lies hidden beyond the waters of the Styx.
And Citizen-Deputy Foucquier-Tinville, the Public Prosecutor, had
surpassed himself. He seemed indefatigable.
Each of these five and thirty prisoners had been arraigned for treason
against the Republic, for conspiracy with her enemies, and all had to
have irrefutable proofs of their guilt brought before the Committee of
Public Safety. Sometimes a few letters, written to friends abroad, and
seized at the frontier; a word of condemnation of the measures of the
extremists; and expression of horror at the massacres on the Place de
la Révolution, where the guillotine creaked incessantly--these were
irrefutable proofs; or else perhaps a couple of pistols, or an old
family sword seized in the house of a peaceful citizen, would be
brought against a prisoner, as an irrefutable proof of his warlike
dispositions against the Republic.
Oh! it was not difficult!
Out of five and thirty indictments, Foucquier-Tinville had obtained
No wonder his friends declared that he had surpassed himself. It had
indeed been a glorious day, and the glow of satisfaction as much as
the heat, caused the Public Prosecutors to mop his high, bony cranium
before he had adjourned for the much-needed respite for refreshment.
The day's work was not yet done.
The "politicals" had been disposed of, and there had been such an
accumulation of them recently that it was difficult to keep pace with
And in the meanwhile the criminal record of the great city had not
diminished. Because men butchered one another in the name of Equality,
there were none the fewer among the Fraternity of thieves and petty
pilferers, of ordinary cut-throats and public wantons.
And these too had to be dealt with by law. The guillotine was
impartial, and fell with equal velocity on the neck of the proud duke
and the gutter-born _fille de joie,_ on a descendant of the Bourbons
and the wastrel born in a brothel.
The ministerial decrees favoured the proletariat. A crime against the
Republic was indefensible, but one against the individual was dealt
with, with all the paraphernalia of an elaborate administration of
justice. There were citizen judges and citizen advocates, and the
rabble, who crowded in to listen to the trials, acted as honorary
It was all thoroughly well done. The citizen criminals were given
The afternoon of this hot August day, one of the last of glorious
Fructidor, had begun to wane, and the shades of evening to slowly
creep into the long, bare room where this travesty of justice was
The Citizen-President sat at the extreme end of the room, on a rough
wooden bench, with a desk in front of him littered with papers.
Just above him, on the bare, whitewashed wall, the words: "La
République: une et indivisible," and below them the device: "Liberté,
To the right and left of the Citizen-President, four clerks were busy
making entries in that ponderous ledger, that amazing record of the
foulest crimes the world has ever known, the "Bulletin du Tribunal
At present no one is speaking, and the grating of the clerks' quill
pens against the paper is the only sound which disturbs the silence of
In front of the President, on a bench lower than his, sits Citizen
Foucquier-Tinville, rested and refreshed, ready to take up his
occupation, for as may hours as his country demands it of him.
On every desk a tallow candle, smoking and spluttering, throws a weird
light, and more weird shadows, on the faces of clerks and President,
on blank walls and ominous devices.
In the centre of the room a platform surrounded by an iron railing is
ready for the accused. Just in front of it, from the tall, raftered
ceiling above, there hangs a small brass lamp, with a green
Each side of the long, whitewashed walls there are three rows of
benches, beautiful old carved oak pews, snatched from Nôtre Dame and
from the Churches of St Eustache and St Germain l'Auxerrois. Instead
of the pious worshippers of mediaeval times, they now accommodate the
lookers-on of the grim spectacle of unfortunates, in their brief halt
before the scaffold.
The front row of these benches is reserved for those citizen-deputies
who desire to be present at the debates of the Tribunal
Révolutonnaire. It is their privilege, almost their duty, as
representatives of the people, to see that the sittings are properly
These benches are already well filled. At one end, on the left,
Citizen Merlin, Minister of Justice, sits; next to him
Citizen-Minister Lebrun; also Citizen Robespierre, still in the height
of his ascendancy, and watching the proceedings with those pale,
watery eyes of his and that curious, disdainful smile, which have
earned for him the nickname of "the sea-green incorruptible."
Other well-known faces are there also, dimly outlined in the
fast-gathering gloom. But everyone notes Citizen-Deputy Déroulède, the
idol of the people, as he sits on the extreme end of a bench on the
right, with arms tightly folded across his chest, the light from the
hanging lamp falling straight on his dark head and proud, straight
brows, with the large, restless, eager eyes.
Anon the Citizen-President rings a hand-bell, and there is a
discordant noise of hoarse laughter and loud curses, some pushing,
jolting, and swearing, as the general public is admitted into the
Heaven save us! What a rabble!
Has humanity really such a scum?
Women with a single ragged kirtle and shift, through the interstices
of which the naked, grime-covered flesh shows shamelessly: with bare
legs, and feet thrust into heavy sabots, hair dishevelled, and evil,
spirit-sodden faces: women without a semblance of womanhood, with
shrivelled, barren breasts, and dry, parched lips, that have never
known how to kiss. Women without emotion save that of hate, without
desire, save for the satisfaction of hunger and thirst, and lust for
revenge against their sisters less wretched, less unsexed than
themselves. They crowd in, jostling one another, swarming into the
front rows of the benches, where they can get a better view of the
miserable victims about to be pilloried before them.
And the men without a semblance of manhood. Bent under the heavy care
of their own degradation, dead to pity, to love, to chivalry; dead to
all save an inordinate longing for the sight of blood.
And God help them all! for there were the children too. Children--
save the mark!--with pallid, precocious little faces, pinched with
the ravages of starvation, gazing with dim, filmy eyes on this world
of rapacity and hideousness. Children who have seen death!
Oh, the horror of it! Not beautiful, peaceful death, a slumber or a
dream, a loved parent or fond sister or brother lying all in white
amidst a wealth of flowers, but death in its most awesome aspect,
violent, lurid, horrible.
And now they stare around them with eager, greedy eyes, awaiting the
amusement of the spectacle; gazing at the President, with his tall
Phrygian cap; at the clerks wielding their indefatigable quill pens,
writing, writing, writing; at the flickering lights, throwing clouds
of sooty smoke, up to the dark ceiling above.
Then suddenly the eyes of one little mite--a poor, tiny midget not
yet in her teens--alight on Paul Déroulède's face, on the opposite
side of the rooms.
"_Tiens!_ Papa Déroulède!" she says, pointing an attenuated litte
finger across at him, and turning eagerly to those around her, her
eyes dilating in wishful recollection of a happy afternoon spent in
Papa Déroulède's house, with fine white bread to eat in plenty, and
great jars of foaming milk.
He rouses himself from his apathy, and his great earnest eyes lose
their look of agonised misery, as he responds to the greeting of the
For one moment--oh! a mere fraction of a second--the squalid faces,
the miserable, starved expressions of the crowd, soften at sight of
him. There is a faint murmur among the women, which perhaps God's
recording angel registered as a blessing. Who knows?
Foucquier-Tinville suppresses a sneer, and the Citizen-President
impatiently rings his hand-bell again.
"Bring forth the accused!" he commands in stentorian tones.
There is a movement of satisfaction among the crowd, and the angel of
God is forced to hide his face again.
The trial of Juliette.
It is all indelibly placed on record in the "Bulletin du Tribunal
Révolutionnaire," under date 25th Fructidor, year I. of the
Anyone who cares may read, for the Bulletin is in the Archives of the
Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris.
One by one the accused had been brought forth, escorted by two men of
the National Guard in ragged, stained uniforms of red, white, and
blue; they were then conducted to the small raised platform in the
centre of the hall, and made to listen to the charge brought against
them by Citizen Foucquier-Tinville, the Public Presecutor.
They were petty charges mostly: pilfering, fraud, theft, occasionally
arson or manslaughter. One man, however, was arraigned for murder with
highway robbery, and a woman for the most ignoble traffic, which evil
feminine ingenuity could invent.
These two were condemned to the guillotine, the others sent to the
galleys at Brest or Toulon--the forger along with the petty thief,
the housebreaker with the absconding clerk.
There was no room in the prison for ordinary offences against the
criminal code; they were overfilled already with so-called traitors
against the Republic.
Three women were sent to the penitentiary at the Salpêtriere, and were
dragged out of the court shrilly protesting their innocence, and
followed by obscene jeers from the spectators on the benches.
Then there was a momentary hush.
Juliette Marny had been brought in.
She was quite calm, and exquisitely beautiful, dressed in a plain grey
bodice and kirtle, with a black band round her slim waist and a soft
white kerchief folded across her bosom. Beneath the tiny, white cap
her golden hair appeared in dainty, curly profusion; her child-like,
oval face was very white, but otherwise quite serene.
She seemed absolutely unconscious of her surroundings, and walked with
a firm step up to the platform, looking neither to the right nor to
the left of her.
Therefore she did not see Déroulède. A great, a wonderful radiance
seemed to shine in her large eyes--the radiance of self-sacrifice.
She was offering not only her life, but everything a woman of
refinement holds most dear, for the safety of the man she loved.
A feeling that was almost physical pain, so intense was it, overcame
Déroulède, when at last he heard her name loudly called by the Public
All day he had waited for this awful moment, forgetting his own
misery, his own agonised feeling of an irretrievable loss, in the
horrible thought of what _she_ would endure, what _she_ would think,
when first she realised the terrible indignity, which was to be put
Yet for the sake of her, of her chances of safety and of ultimate
freedom, it was undoubtedly best that it should be so.
Arraigned for conspiracy against the Republic, she was liable to
secret trial, to be brought up, condemned, and executed before he
could even hear of her whereabouts, before he could throw himself
before her judges and take all guilt upon himself.
Those suspected of treason against the Republic forfeited, according
to Merlin's most iniquitous Law, their rights of citizenship, in
publicity of trial and in defence.
It all might have been finished before Déroulède knew anything of it.
The other way was, of course, more terrible. Brought forth amongst
the scum of criminal Paris, on a charge, the horror of which, he could
but dimly hope that she was too innocent to fully understand, he dared
not even think of what she would suffer.
But undoubtedly it was better so.
The mud thrown at her robes of purity could never cling to her, and at
least her trial would be public; he would be there to take all infamy,
all disgrace, all opprobrium on himself.
The strength of his appeal would turn her judges' wrath from her to
him; and after these few moments of misery, she would be free to leave
Paris, France, to be happy, and to forget him and the memory of him.
An overwhelming, all-compelling love filled his entire soul for the
beautiful girl, who had so wronged, yet so nobly tried to save him. A
longing for her made his very sinews ache; she was no longer madonna,
and her beauty thrilled him, with the passionate, almost sensuous
desire to give his life for her.
The indictment against Juliette Marny has become history now.
On that day, the 25th Fructidor, at seven o'clock in the evening, it
was read out by the Public Prosecutor, and listened to by the accused
--so the Bulletin tells us--with complete calm and apparent
indifference. She stood up in that same pillory where once stood poor,
guilty Charlotte Corday, where presently would stand proud, guiltless
And Déroulède listened to the scurrilous document, with all the
outward calm his strength of will could command. He would have liked
to rise from his seat then and there, at once, and in mad, purely
animal fury have, with a blow of his fist, quashed the words in
Foucquier-Tinville's lying throat.
But for her sake he was bound to listen, and, above all, to act
quietly, deliberately, according to form and procedure, so as in no
way to imperil her cause.
Therefore he listened whilst the Public Prosecutor spoke.
"Juliette Marny, you are hereby accused of having, by a false and
malicious denunciation, slandered the person of a representative of
the people; you caused the Revolutionary Tribunal, through this same
mischievous act, to bring a charge against this representative of the
people, to institute a domiciliary search in his house, and to waste
valuable time, which otherwise belonged to the service of the
Republic. And this you did, not from a misguided sense of duty towards
your country, but in wanton and impure spirit, to be rid of the
surveillance of one who had your welfare at heart, and who tried to
prevent your leading the immoral life which had become a public
scandal, and which has now brought you before this court of justice,
to answer to a charge of wantonness, impurity, defamation of
character, and corruption of public morals. In proof of which I now
place before the court your own admission, that more than one citizen
of the Republic has been led by you into immoral relationship with
yourself; and further, your own admission, that your accusation
against Citizen-Deputy Déroulède was false and mischievous; and
further, and finally, your immoral and obscene correspondence with
some persons unknown, which you vainly tried to destroy. In
consideration of which, and in the name of the people of France, whose
spokesman I am, I demand that you be taken hence from this Hall of
Justice to the Place de la Révolution, in full view of the citizens of
Paris an its environs, and clad in a soiled white garment, emblem of
the smirch upon your soul, that there you be publicly whipped by the
hands of Citizen Samson, the public executioner; after which, that you
be taken to the prison of the Salpêtriere, there to be further
detained at the discretion of the Committee of Public Safety. And now,
Juliette Marny, you have heard the indictment preferred against you,
have you anything to say, why the sentence which I have demanded shall
not be passed upon you?"
Jeers, shouts, laughter, and curses greeted this speech of the Public
All that was most vile and most bestial in this miserable, misguided
people struggling for Utopia and Liberty, seemed to come to the
surface, whilst listening to the reading of this most infamous
The delight of seeing this beautiful, ethereal woman, almost unearthly
in her proud aloofness, smirched with the vilest mud to which the
vituperation of man can contrive to sink, was a veritable treat to the
The women yelled hoarse approval; the children, not understanding,
laughed in mirthless glee; the men, with loud curses, showed their
appreciation of Foucquier-Tinville's speech.
As for Déroulède, the mental agony he endured surpassed any torture
which the devils, they say, reserve for the damned. His sinews cracked
in his frantic efforts to control himself; he dug his finger-nails
into his flesh, trying by physical pain to drown the sufferings of his
He thought that his reason was tottering, that he would go mad if he
heard another word of this infamy. The hooting and yelling of that
filthy mob sounded like the cries of lost souls, shrieking from hell.
All his pity for them was gone, his love for humanity, his devotion to
the suffering poor.
A great, an immense hatred for this ghastly Revolution and the people
it professed to free filled his whole being, together with a mad,
hideous desire to see them suffer, starve, die a miserable, loathsome
death. The passion of hate, that now overwhelmed his soul, was at
least as ugly as theirs. He was, for one brief moment, now at one with
them in their inordinate lust for revenge.
Only Juliette throughout all this remained calm, silent, impassive.
She had heard the indictment, heard the loathsome sentence, for her
white cheeks had gradually become ashy pale, but never for a moment
did she depart from her attitude of proud aloofness.
She never once turned her head towards the mob who insulted her. She
waited in complete passiveness until the yelling and shouting had
subsided, motionless save for her finger-tips, which beat an impatient
tattoo upon the railing in front of her.
The Bulletin says that she took out her handkerchief and wiped her
face with it. _Elle s'essuya le front qui fut perlé de sueur._ The
heat had become oppressive.
The atmosphere was overcharged with the dank, penetrating odour of
steaming, dirty clothes. The room, though vast, was close and
suffocating, the tallow candles flickering in the humid, hot air threw
the faces of the President and clerks into bold relief, with curious
caricature effects of light and shade.
The petrol lamp above the head of the accused had flared up, and begun
to smoke, causing the chimney to crack with a sharp report. This
diversion effected a momentary silence among the crowd, and the Public
Prosecutor was able to repeat his query:
"Juliette Marny, have you anything to say in reply to the charge
brought against you, and why the sentence which I have demanded should
not be passed against you?"
The sooty smoke from the lamp came down in small, black, greasy
particles; Juliette with her slender finger-tips flicked one of these
quietly off her sleeve, the she replied:
"No; I have nothing to say."
"Have you instructed an advocate to defend you, according to your
rights of citizenship, which the Law allows?" added the Public
Juliette would have replied at once; her mouth had already framed the
No with which she meant to answer.
But now at last had come Déroulède's hour. For this he had been
silent, had suffered and had held his peace, whilst twice twenty-four
hours had dragged their weary lengths along, since the arrest of the
woman he loved.
In a moment he was on his feet before them all, accustomed to speak,
to dominate, to command.
"Citiziness Juliette Marny has entrusted me with her defence," he
said, even before the No had escaped Juliette's white lips, "and I am
here to refute the charges brought against her, and to demand in the
name of the people of France full acquittal and justice for her."
Intense excitement, which found vent in loud applause, greeted
"_Ça ira! ça ira! vas-y Déroulède!_" came from the crowded benches
round; and men, women, and children, wearied with the monotony of the
past proceedings, settled themselves down for a quarter of an hour's
If Déroulède had anything to do with it, the trial was sure to end in
excitement. And the people were always ready to listen to their
The citizen-deputies, drowsy after the long, oppressive day, seemed to
rouse themselves to renewed interest. Lebrun, like a big, shaggy dog,
shook himself free from creeping somnolence. Robespierre smiled
between his thin lips, and looked across at Merlin to see how the
situation affected him. The enmity between the Minister of Justice and
Citizen Déroulède was well known, and everyone noted, with added zest,
that the former wore a keen look of anticipated triumph.
High up, on one of the topmost benches, sat Citizen Lenoir, the
stage-manager of this palpitating drama. He looked down, with obvious
satisfaction, at the scene which he himself had suggested last night
to the members of the Jacobin Club. Merlin's sharp eyes had tried to
pierce the gloom, which wrapped the crowd of spectators, searching
vainly to distinguish the broad figure and massive head of the
The light from the petrol lamp shone full on Déroulède's earnest, dark
countenance as he looked Juliette's infamous accuser full in the face,
but the tallow candles, flickering weirdly on the President's desk,
threw Tinville's short, spare figure and large, unkempt head into
curious grotesque silhouette.
Juliette apparently had lost none of her calm, and there was no one
there sufficiently interested in her personality to note the tinge of
delicate colour which, at the first word of Déroulède, had slowly
mounted to her pale cheeks.
Tinville waited until the wave of excitement had broken upon the
shoals of expectancy.
Then he resumed:
"Then, Citizen Déroulède, what have _you_ to say, why sentence should
not be passed upon the accused?"
"I have to say that the accused is innocent of every charge brought
against her in your indictment," replied Déroulède firmly.
"And how do you substantiate this statement, Citizen-Deputy?" queried
Tinville, speaking with mock unctuousness.
"Very simply, Citizen Tinville. The correspondence to which you refer
did not belong to the accused, but to me. It consisted of certain
communications, which I desired to hold with Marie Antoinette, now a
prisoner in the Conciergerie, during my state there as
lieutenant-governor. The Citizeness Juliette Marny, by denouncing me,
was serving the Republic, for my communications with Marie Antoinette
had reference to my own hopes of seeing her quit this country and take
refuge in her own native land."
Gradually, as Déroulède spoke, a murmur, like the distant roar of a
monstrous breaker, rose among the crowd on the upper benches. As he
continued quietly and firmly, so it grew in volume and in intensity,
until his last words were drowned in one mighty, thunderous shout of
horror and execration.
Déroulède, the friend and idol of the people, the privileged darling
of this unruly population, the father of the children, the friend of
the women, the sympathiser in all troubles, Papa Déroulède as the
little ones called him--he a traitor, self-accused, plotting and
planning for an ex-tyrant, a harlot who had called herself a queen,
for Marie Antoinette the Austrian, who had desired and worked for the
overthrow of France! He, Déroulède, a traitor!
In one moment, as he spoke, the love which in their crude hearts they
bore him, that animal primitive love, was turned to sudden, equally
irresponsible hate. He had deceived them, laughed at them, tried to
bribe them by feeding their little ones!
Bah! the bread of the traitor! It might have choked the children.
Surprise at first had taken their breath away. Already they had
marvelled why he should stand up to defend a wanton. And now, probably
feeling that he was on the point of being found out, he thought it
better to make a clean breast of his own treason, trusting in his
popularity, in his power over the people.
Not one extenuating circumstance did they find in their hardened
hearts for him.
He had been their idol, enshrined in their squalid, degraded minds,
and now he had fallen, shattered beyond recall, and they hated and
loathed him as much as they had loved him before.
And this his enemies noted, and smiled with complete satisfaction.
Merlin heaved a sigh of relief. Tinville nodded his shaggy head, in
token of intense delight.
What that provincial coal-heaver had foretold had indeed come to pass.
The populace, that most fickle of all fickle things in this world, had
turned all at once against its favourite. This Lenoir had predicted,
and the transition had been even more rapid than he had anticipated.
Déroulède had been given a length of rope, and, figuratively speaking,
had already hanged himself.
The reality was a mere matter of a few hours now. At dawn to-morrow
the guillotine; and the mob of Paris, who yesterday would have torn
his detractors limb from limb, would on the morrow be dragging him,
with hoots and yells and howls of execration, to the scaffold.
The most shadowy of all footholds, that of the whim of a populace, had
already given way under him. His enemies knew it, and were exulting in
their triumph. He knew it himself, and stood up, calmly defiant, ready
for any event, if only he succeeded in snatching her beautiful head
from the ready embrace of the guillotine.
Juliette herself had remained as if entranced. The colour had again
fled from her cheeks, leaving them paler, more ashen than before. It
seemed as if in this moment she suffered more than human creature
could bear, more than any torture she had undergone hitherto.
He would not owe his life to her.
That was the one overwhelming thought in her, which annihilated all
others. His love for her was dead, and he would not accept the great
sacrifice at her hands.
Thus these two in the supreme moment of their life saw each other, yet
did not understand. A word, a touch would have given them both the key
to one another's heart, and it now seemed as if death would part them
for ever, whilst that great enigma remained unsolved.
The Public Prosecutor had been waiting until the noise had somewhat
subsided, and his voice could be heard above the din, then he said,
with a smile of ill-concealed satisfaction:
"And is the court, then, to understand, Citizen-Deputy Déroulède, that
it was you who tried to burn the treasonable correspondence and to
destroy the case which contained it?"
"The treasonable correspondence was mine, and it was I who destroyed
"But the accused admitted before Citizen Merlin that she herself was
trying to burn certain love letters, that would have brought to light
her illicit relationship with another man than yourself," argued
Tinville suavely. The rope was perhaps not quite long enough;
Déroulède must have all that could be given him, ere this memorable
sitting was adjourned.
Déroulède, however, instead of directing his reply straight to his
enemy, now turned towards the dense crowd of spectators, on the
benches opposite to him.
"Citizens, friends, brothers," he said warmly, "the accused is only a
girl, young, innocent knowing nothing of peril or of sin. You all have
mothers, sisters, daughters--have you not watched those dear to you
in the many moods of which a feminine heart is capable; have you not
seen them affectionate, tender, and impulsive? Would you love them so
dearly but for the fickleness of their moods? Have you not worshipped
them in your hearts, for those sublime impulses which put all man's
plans and calculations to shame? Look on the accused, citizens. She
loves the Republic, the people of France, and feared that I, an
unworthy representative of her sons, was hatching treason against our
great mother. That was her first wayward impulse--to stop me before I
committed the awful crime, to punish me, or perhaps only to warn me.
Does a young girl calculate, citizens? She acts as her heart dictates;
her reason but awakes from slumber later on, when the act is done.
Then comes repentance sometimes: another impulse of tenderness which we
all revere. Would you extract vinegar from rose leaves? Just as
readily could you find reason in a young girl's head. Is that a crime?
She wished to thwart me in my treason; then, seeing me in peril, the
sincere friendship she had for me gained the upper hand once more. She
loved my mother, who might be losing a son; she loved my crippled
foster-sister; for _their_ sakes, not for mine--a traitor's--did she
yield to another, a heavenly impulse, that of saving me from the
consequences of my own folly. Was _that_ a crime, citizens? When you
are ailing, do not your mothers, sisters, wives tend you? when you are
seriously ill, would they not give their heart's blood to save you?
and when, in the dark hours of your lives, some deed which you would
not openly avow before the world overweights your soul with its burden
of remorse, is it not again your womenkind who come to you, with
tender words and soothing voices, trying to ease your aching
conscience, bringing solace, comfort, and peace? And so it was with
the accused, citizens. She had seen my crime, and longed to punish it;
she saw those who had befriended her in sorrow, and she tried to ease
their pain by taking _my_ guilt upon her shoulders. She has suffered
for the noble lie, which she had told on my behalf, as no woman has
ever been made to suffer before. She has stood, white and innocent as
your new-born children, in the pillory of infamy. She was ready to
endure death, and what was ten thousand times worse than death,
because of her own warm-hearted affection. But you, citizens of
France, who, above all, are noble, true, and chivalrous, you will not
allow the sweet impulses of young and tender womanhood to be punished
with the ban of felony. To you, women of France, I appeal in the name
of your childhood, your girlhood, your motherhood; take her to your
hearts, she is worthy of it, worthier now for having blushed before
you, worthier than any heroine in the great roll of honour of France."
His magnetic voice went echoing along the rafters of the great, sordid
Hall of Justice, filling it with a glory it had never known before.
His enthusiasm thrilled his hearers, his appeal to their honour and
chivalry roused all the finer feelings within them. Still hating him
for his treason, his magical appeal had turned their hearts towards
They had listened to him without interruption, and now at last, when
he paused, it was very evident, by muttered exclamations and glances
cast at Juliette, that popular feeling, which up to the present had
practically ignored her, now went out towards her personality with
Obviously at the present moment, if Juliette's fate had been put to
the plebiscite, she would have been unanimously acquitted.
Merlin, as Déroulède spoke, had once or twice tried to read his friend
Foucquier-Tinville's enigmatical expression, but the Public
Prosecutor, with his face in deep shadow, had not moved a muscle
during the Citizen-Deputy's noble peroration. He sat at his desk, chin
resting on hand, staring before him with an expression of
indifference, almost of boredom.
Now, when Déroulède finished speaking, and the outburst of human
enthusiasm had somewhat subsided, he rose slowly to his feet, and said
"So you maintain, Citizen-Deputy, that the accused is a chaste and
innocent girl, unjustly charged with immorality?"
"I do," protested Déroulède loudly.
"And will you tell the court why you are so ready to publicly accuse
yourself of treason against the Republic, knowing full well all the
consequences of your action?"
"Would any Frenchman care to save his own life at the expense of a
woman's honour?" retorted Déroulède proudly.
A murmur of approval greeted these words, and Tinville remarked
"Quite so, quite so. We esteem your chivalry, Citizen-Deputy. The
same spirit, no doubt, actuates you to maintain that the accused knew
nothing of the papers which you say you destroyed?"
"She knew nothing of them. I destroyed them; I did not know that they
had been found; on my return to my house I discovered that the
Citizeness Juliette Marny had falsely accused herself of having
destroyed some papers surreptitiously."
"She said they were love letters."
"It is false."
"You declare her to be pure and chaste?"
"Before the whole world."
"Yet you were in the habit of frequenting the bedroom of this pure and
chaste girl, who dwelt under your roof," said Tinville with slow and
"It is false."
"If it be false, Citizen Déroulède," continued the other with the same
unctuous suavity, "then how comes it that the correspondence which you
admit was treasonable, and therefore presumably secret--how comes it
that it was found, still smouldering, in the chaste young woman's
bedroom, and the torn letter-case concealed among her dresses in a
"It is false."
"The Minister of Justice, Citizen-Deputy Merlin, will answer for the
truth of that."
"It is the truth," said Juliette quietly.
Her voice rang out clear, almost triumphant, in the midst of the
breathless pause, caused by the previous swift questions and loud
Déroulède now was silent.
This one simple fact he did not know. Anne Mie, in telling him the
events in connection with the arrest of Juliette, had omitted to give
him the one little detail, that the burnt letters were found in the
young girl's bedroom.
Up to the moment when the Public Prosecutor confronted him with it, he
had been under the impression that she had destroyed the papers and
the letter-case in the study, where she had remained alone after
Merlin and his men had left the room. She could easily have burnt them
there, as a tiny spirit lamp was always kept alight on a side table
for the use of smokers.
This little fact now altered the entire course of events. Tinville
had but to frame an indignant ejaculation:
"Citizens of France, see how you are being befooled and hoodwinked!"
Then he turned once more to Déroulède.
"Citizen Déroulède..." he began.
But in the tumult that ensued he could no longer hear his own voice.
The pent-up rage of the entire mob of Paris seemed to find vent for
itself in the howls with which the crowd now tried to drown the rest
of the proceedings.
As their brutish hearts had been suddenly melted on behalf of
Juliette, in response to Déroulède's passionate appeal, so now they
swiftly changed their sympathetic attitude to one of horror and
Two people had fooled and deceived them. One of these they had
reverenced and trusted, as much as their degraded minds were capable
of reverencing anything, therefore _his_ sin seemed doubly damnable.
He and that pale-face aristocrat had for weeks now, months, or year
perhaps, conspired against the Republic, against the Revolution, which
had been made by a people thirsting for liberty. During these months
and years _he_ had talked to them, and they had listened; he had
poured forth treasures of eloquence, cajoled them, as he had done just
The noise and hubbub were growing apace. If Tinville and Merlin had
desired to infuriate the mob, they had more than succeeded. All thas
was most bestial, most savage in this awful Parisian populace rose to
the surface now in one wild, mad desire for revenge.
The crowd rushed down from the benches, over one another's heads, over
children's fallen bodies; they rushed down because they wanted to get
at him, their whilom favourite, and at his pale-faced mistress, and
tear them to pieces, hit them, scratch out their eyes. They snarled
like so many wild beasts, the women shrieked, the children cried, and
the men of the National Guard, hurrying forward, had much ado to keep
back this food-tide of hate.
Had any of them broken loose, from behind the barrier of bayonets
hastily raised against them, it would have fared ill with Déroulède
The Pesident wildly rang his bell, and his voice, quivering with
excitement, was heard once or twice above the din.
"Clear the court! Clear the court!"
But the people refused to be cleared out of court.
"_A la lanterne les traîtres! Mort à Déroulède. A la lanterne!
And in the thickest of the crowd, the broad shoulders and massive
head of Citizen Lenoir towered above the others.
At first it seemed as if he had been urging on the mob in its fury.
His strident voice, with its broad provincial accent, was heard
distinctly shouting loud vituperations against the accused.
Then at a given moment, when the tumult was at its height, when the
National Guard felt their bayonets giving way before this onrushing
tide of human jackals, Lenoir changed his tactics.
"_Tiens! c'est bête!_" he shouted loudly, "we shall do far better with
the traitors when we get them outside. What say you, citizens? Shall
we leave the judges here to conclude the farce, and arrange for its
sequel ourselves outside the 'Tigre Jaune'?"
At first but little heed was paid to his suggestion, and he repeated
it once or twice, adding some interesting details:
"One is freer in the streets, where these apes of the National Guard
can't get between the people of France and their just revenge. _Ma
foi!_" he added, squaring his broad shoulders, and pushing his way
through the crowd towards the door, "I for one am going to see where
hangs the most suitable _lanterne._"
Like a flock of sheep the crowd now followed him.
"The nearest _lanterne!_" they shouted. "In the streets--in the
streets! _A la lanterne!_ The traitors!"
And with many a jeer, many a loathsome curse, and still more loathsome
jests, some of the crowd began to file out. A few only remained to see
the conclusion of the farce.
Sentence of death.
The "Bulletin du Tribunal Révolutionnaire" tells us that both the
accused had remained perfectly calm during the turmoil which raged
within the bare walls of the Hall of Justice.
Citizen-Deputy Déroulède, however, so the chroniclers aver, though
outwardly impassive, was evidently deeply moved. He had very
expressive eyes, clear mirrors of the fine, upright soul within, and
in them there was a look of intense emotion as he watched the crowd,
which he had so often dominated and controlled, now turning in hatred
He seemed actually to be seeing with a spiritual vision, his own
popularity wane and die.
But when the thick of the crowd had pushed and jostled itself out of
the hall, that transient emotion seemed to disappear, and he allowed
himself quietly to be led from the front bench, where he had sat as a
privileged member of the National Convention, to a place immediately
behind the dock, and between two men of the National Guard.
From that moment he was a prisoner, accused of treason against the
Republic, and obviously his mock trial would be hurried through by his
triumphant enemies, whilst the temper of the people was at boiling
point against him.
Complete silence had succeeded to the raging tumult of the past few
moments. Nothing now could be heard in the vast room, save
Foucquier-Tinville's hastily whispered instructions to the clerk
nearest to him, and the scratch of the latter's quill pen against the
The President was, with equal rapididy, affixing his signature to
various papers handed up to him by the other clerks. The few remaining
spectators, the deputies, and those among the crowd who had elected to
see the close of the debate, were silent and expectant.
Merlin was mopping his forehead as if in intense fatigue after a hard
struggle; Robespierre was coolly taking snuff.
From where Déroulède stood, he could see Juliette's graceful figure
silhouetted against the light of the petrol lamp. His heart was torn
between intense misery at having failed to save her and a curious,
exultant joy at thought of dying beside her.
He knew the procedure of this revolutionary tribunal well--knew that
within the next few moments he too would be condemned, that they would
both be hustled out of the crowd and dragged through the streets of
Paris, and finally thrown into the same prison, to herd with those
who, like themselves, had but a few hours to live.
And then to-morrow at dawn, death for them both under the guillotine.
Death in public, with all its attendant horrors: the packed tumbril;
the priest, in civil clothes, appointed by this godless government,
muttering conventional prayers and valueless exhortations.
And in his heart there was nothing but love for her--love and an
intense pity--for the punishment she was suffering was far greater
than her crime. He hoped that in her heart remorse would not be too
bitter; and he looked forward with joy to the next few hours, which he
would pass near her, during which he could perhaps still console and
She was but the victim of an ideal, of Fate stronger than her own
will. She stood, an innocent martyr to the great mistake of her life.
But the minutes sped on. Foucquier-Tinville had evidently completed
his new indictments.
The one against Juliette Marny was read out first. She was now
accused of conspiring with Paul Déroulède against the safety of the
Republic, by having cognisance of a treasonable correspondence carried
on with the prisoner, Marie Antoinette; by virtue of which accusation
the Public Prosecutor asked her if she had anything to say.
"No," she replied loudly and firmly. "I pray to God for the safety
and deliverance of our Queen, Marie Antoinette, and for the overthrow
of this Reign of Terror and Anarchy."
These words, registered in the "Bulletin du Tribunal Révolutionnaire"
were taken as final and irrefutable proofs of her guilt, and she was
then summarily condemned to death.
She was then made to step down from the dock and Déroulède to stand in
He listened quietly to the long indictment which Foucquier-Tinville
had already framed against him the evening before, in readiness for
this contingency. The words "treason against the Republic" occurred
conspicuously and repeatedly. The document itself is at one with the
thousands of written charges, framed by that odious Foucquier-Tinville
during these periods of bloodshed, and which in themselves are the
most scathing indictments against the odious travesty of Justice,
perpetrated with his help.
Self-accused, and avowedly a traitor, Déroulède was not even asked if
he had anything to say; sentence of death was passed on him, with the
rapididy and callousness peculiar to these proceedings.
After which Paul Déroulède and Juliette Marny were led forth, under
strong escort, into the street.
The Fructidor Riots.
Many accounts, more or less authentic, have been published of the
events known to history as the "Fructidor Riots."
But this is how it all happened: at any rate it is the version related
some few days later in England to the Prince of Wales by no less a
personage than Sir Percy Blakeney; and who indeed should know better
than The Scarlet Pimpernel himself?
Déroulède and Juliette Marny were the last of the batch of prisoners
who were tried on that memorable day of Fructidor.
There had been such a number of these, that all the covered carts in
use for the conveyance of prisoners to and from the Hall of Justice
had already been despatched with their weighty human load; thus it was
that only a rough wooden cart, hoodless and rickety, was available,
and into this Déroulède and Juliette were ordered to mount.
It was now close on nine o'clock in the evening. The streets of
Paris, sparsely illuminated here and there with solitary oil lamps
swung across from house to house on wires, presented a miserable and
squalid appearance. A thin, misty rain had begun to fall, transforming
the ill-paved roads into morasses of sticky mud.
The Hall of Justice was surrounded by a howling and shrieking mob,
who, having imbibed all the stores of brandy in the neighbouring
drinking bars, was now waiting outside in the dripping rain for the
express purpose of venting its pent-up, spirit-sodden lust of rage
against the man whom it had once worshipped, but whom now it hated.
Men, women, and even children swarmed round the principal entrances of
the Palais de Justice, along the bank of the river as far as the Pont
au Change, and up towards the Luxembourg Palace, now transformed into
the prison, to which the condemned would no doubt be conveyed.
Along the river-bank, and immediately facing the Palais de Justice, a
row of gallows-shaped posts, at intervals of a hundred yards or more,
held each a smoky petrol lamp, at a height of some eight feet from the
One of these lamps had been knocked down, and from the post itself
there now hung ominously a length of rope, with a noose at the end.
Around this improvised gallows a group of women sat, or rather
squatted, in the mud; their ragged shifts and kirtles, soaked through
with the drizzling rain, hung dankly on their emaciated forms; their
hair, in some cases grey, and in others dark or straw-coloured, clung
matted round their wet faces, on which the dirt and the damp had drawn
weird and grotesque lines.
The men were restless and noisy, rushing aimlessly hither and thither,
from the corner of the bridge, up the Rue du Palais, fearful lest
their prey be conjured away ere their vengeance was satisfied.
Oh, how they hated their former idol now! Citizen Lenoir, with his
broad shoulders and powerful, grime-covered head, towered above the
throng; his strident voice, with its raucous, provincial accent, could
be distinctly heard above the din, egging on the men, shouting to the
women, stirring up hatred against the prisoners, wherever it showed
signs of abating in intensity.
The coal-heaver, hailing from some distant province, seemed to have
set himself the grim task of provoking the infuriated populace to some
terrible deed of revenge against Déroulède and Juliette.
The darkness of the street, the fast-falling mist which obscured the
light from the meagre oil lamps, seemed to add a certain weirdness to
this moving, seething multitude. No one could see his neighbour. In
the blackness of the night the muttering or yelling figures moved
about like some spectral creatures from hellish regions--the Akous of
Brittany who call to those about to die; whilst the women squatting in
the oozing mud, beneath that swinging piece of rope, looked like a
group of ghostly witches, waiting for the hour of their Sabbath.
As Déroulède emerged into the open, the light from a swinging lantern
in the doorway fell upon his face. The foremost of the crowd
recognised him; a howl of execration went up to the cloud-covered sky,
and a hundred hands were thrust out in deadly menace against him.
It seemed as if they whished to tear him to pieces.
"_A la lanterne! A la lanterne! le traître!_"
He shivered slightly, as if with the sudden blast of cold, humid air,
but he stepped quietly into the cart, closely followed by Juliette.
The strong escort of the National Guard, with Commandant Santerre and
his two drummers, had much ado to keep back the mob. It was not the
policy of the revolutionary government to allow excesses of summary
justice in the streets: the public execution of traitors on the Place
de la Révolution, the processions in the tumbrils, were thought to be
wholesome examples for other would-be traitors to mark and digest.
Citizen Santerre, military commandant of Paris, had ordered his men to
use their bayonets ruthlessly, and, to further overawe the populace,
he ordered a prolonged roll of drums, lest Déroulède took it into his
head to speak to the crowd.
But Déroulède had no such intention: he seemed chiefly concerned in
shielding Juliette from the cold; she had been made to sit in the cart
beside him, and he had taken off his coat, and was wrapping it round
her against the penetrating rain.
The eye-witnesses of these memorable events have declared that, at a
given moment, he looked up suddenly with a curious, eager expression
in his eyes, and then raised himself in the cart and seemed to be
trying to penetrate the gloom round him, as if in search of a face, or
perhaps a voice.
"_A la lanterne! A la lanterne!_" was the continual hoarse cry of
Up to now, flanked in their rear by the outer walls of the Palais de
Justice, the soldiers had found it a fairly easy task to keep the
crowd at bay. But there came a time when the cart was bound to move
out into the open, in order to convey the prisoners along, by the Rue
du Palais, up to the Luxembourg Prison.
This task, however, had become more and more difficult every moment.
The people of Paris, who for two years had been told by its tyrants
that it was supreme lord of the universe, was mad with rage at seeing
its desires frustrated by a few soldiers.
The drums had been greeted by terrific yells, which effectually
drowned their roll; the first movement of the cart was hailed by a
Only the women who squatted round the gallows had not moved from their
position of vantage; one of these Mægæras was quietly readjusting the
rope, which had got out of place.
But all the men and some of the women were literally besieging the
cart, and threatening the soldiers, who stood between them and the
object of their fury.
It seemed as if nothing now could save Déroulède and Juliette from an
immediate and horrible death.
"_A mort! A mort! A la lanterne les traîtres!_"
Santerne himself, who had shouted himself hoarse, was at a loss what
to do. He had sent one man to the nearest cavalry barracks, but
reinforcements would still be some little time coming; whilst in the
meanwhile his men were getting exhausted, and the mob, more and more
excited, threatened to break through their line at every moment.
There was not another second to be lost.
Santerre was for letting the mob have its way, and he would willingly
have thrown it the prey for which it clamoured; but orders were
orders, and in the year I. of the Revolution it was not good to
At this supreme moment of perplexity he suddenly felt a respectful
touch on his arm.
Close behind him a soldier of the National Guard--not one of his own
men--was standing at attention, and holding a small, folded paper in
"Sent to you by the Minister of Justice," whispered the soldier
hurriedly. "The citizen-deputies have watched the tumult from the
Hall; they say, you must not lose an instant."
Santerre withdrew from the front rank, up against the side of the
cart, where a rough stable lantern had been fixed. He took the paper
from the soldier's hand, and, hastily tearing it open, he read it by
the dim light of the lantern.
As he read, his thick, coarse features expressed the keenest
"You have two more men with you?" he asked quickly.
"Yes, citizen," replied the man, pointing towards his right; "and the
Citizen-Minister said you would give me two more."
"You'll take the prisoners quietly across to the Prison of the Temple
--you understand that?"
"Yes, citizen; Citizen Merlin has given me full instructions. You can
have the cart drawn back a little more under the shadow of the
portico, where the prisoners can be made to alight; they can then
given into my charge. You in the meantime are to stay here with your
men, round the empty cart, as long as you can. Reinforcements have
been sent for, and must soon be here. When they arrive you are to move
along with the cart, as if you were making for the Luxembourg Prison.
This manoeuvre will give us time to deliver the prisoners safely at
The man spoke hurriedly and peremptorily, and Santerne was only too
ready to obey. He felt relieved at thought of reinforcements, and glad
to be rid of the responsibility of conducting such troublesome
The thick mist, which grew more and more dense, favoured the new
manoeuvre, and the constant roll of drums drowned the hastily given
The cart was drawn back into the deepest shadow of the great portico,
and whilst the mob were howling their loudest, and yelling out frantic
demands for the traitors, Déroulède and Juliette were summarily
ordered to step out of the cart. No one saw them, for the darkness
here was intense.
"Follow quietly!" whispered a raucous voice in their ears as they did
so, "or my orders are to shoot you where you stand."
But neither of them had any wish for resistance. Juliette, cold and
numb, was clinging to Déroulède, who had placed a protecting arm round
Santerne had told off two of his men to join the new escort of the
prisoners, and presently the small party, skirting the walls of the
Palais de Justice, began to walk rapidly away from the scene of the
Déroulède noted that some half-dozen men seemed to be surrounding him
and Juliette, but the drizzling rain blurred every outline. The
blackness of the night too had become absolutely dense, and in the
distance the cries of the populace grew more and more faint.
The small party walked on in silence. It seemed to consist of a very
few men of the National Guard, whom Santerne had placed under the
command of the soldier who had transmitted to him the orders of the
Juliette and Déroulède both vaguely wondered whither they were being
led; to some other prison mayhap, away from the fury of the populace.
They were conscious of a sense of satisfaction at thought of being
freed from that pack of raging wild beasts.
Beyond that they cared nothing. Both felt already the shadow of death
hovering over them. The supreme moment of their lives had come, and
had found them side by side.
What neither fear nor remorse, sorrow nor joy, could do, that the
great and mighty Shadow accomplished in a trice.
Juliette, looking death bravely in the face, held out her hand, and
sought that of the man she loved.
There was not one word spoken between them, not even a murmur.
Déroulède, with the unerring instinct of his own unselfish passion,
understood all that the tiny hand wished to convey to him.
In a moment everything was forgotten save the joy of this touch.
Death, or the fear of death, had ceased to exist. Life was beautiful,
and in the soul of these two human creatures there was perfect peace,
almost perfect happiness.
With one grasp of the hand they had sought and found one another's
soul. What mattered the yelling crowd, the noise and tumult of this
sordid world? They had found one another, and, hand-in-hand,
shoulder-to-shoulder, they had gone off wandering into the land of
dreams, where dwelt neither doubt nor treachery, where there was
nothing to forgive.
He no longer said: "She does not love me--would she have betrayed me
else?" He felt the clinging, trustful touch of her hand, and knew
that, with all her faults, her great sin and her lasting sorrow, her
woman's heart, Heaven's most priceless treasure, was indeed truly his.
And she knew that he had forgiven--nay, that he had naught to forgive
--for Love is sweet and tender, and judges not. Love is Love--whole,
trustful, passionate. Love is perfect understanding and perfect peace.
And so they followed their escort whithersoever it chose to lead them.
Their eyes wandered aimlessly over the mist-laden landscape of this
portion of deserted Paris. They had turned away from the river now,
and were following the Rue des Arts. Close by on the right was the
dismal little hostelry, "La Cruche Cassée," where Sir Percy Blakeney
lived. Déroulède, as they neared the place, caught himself vaguely
wondering what had become of his English friend.
But it would take more than the ingenuity of the Scarlet Pimpernel to
get two noted prisoners out of Paris to-day. Even if...
The word of command rang out clearly and distinctly through the
Déroulède threw up his head and listened. Something strange and
unaccountable in that same word of command had struck his sensitive
Yet the party had halted, and there was a click as of bayonets or
muskets levelled ready to fire.
All had happened in less than a few seconds. The next moment there
was a loud cry:
"_A moi,_ Déroulède! 'tis the Scarlet Pimpernel!"
A vigorous blow from an unseen hand had knocked down and extinguished
the nearest street lantern.
Déroulède felt that he and Juliette were being hastily dragged under
an adjoining doorway even as the cheery voice echoed along the narrow
Half-a-dozen men were struggling below in the mud, and there was a
plentiful supply of honest English oaths. It looked as if the men of
the National Guard had fallen upon one another, and had it not been
for those same English oaths perhaps Déroulède and Juliette would have
been slower to understand.
"Well done, Tony! Gadzooks, Ffoulkes, that was a smart bit of work!"
The lazy, pleasant voice was unmistakable, but, God in heaven! where
did it come from?
Of one thing there could be no doubt. The two men despatched by
Santerne were lying disabled on the ground, whilst three other
soldiers were busy pinioning them with ropes.
What did it all mean?
"La, friend Déroulède! you had not thought, I trust, that I would
leave Mademoiselle Juliette in such a demmed, uncomfortable hole?"
And there, close beside Déroulède and Juliette, stood the tall figure
of the Jacobin orator, the bloodthirsty Citizen Lenoir. The two young
people gazed and gazed, then looked again, dumfounded, hardly daring
to trust their vision, for through the grime-covered mask of the
gigantic coal-heaver a pair of merry blue eyes was regarding them with
"La! I do look a miserable object, I know," said the pseudo
coal-heaver at last, "but 'twas the only way to get those murderous
devils to do what I wanted. A thousand pardons, mademoiselle; 'twas I
brought you to such a terrible pass, but la! you are amongst friends
now. Will you deign to forgive me?"
Juliette looked up. Her great, earnest eyes, now swimming in tears,
sought those of the brave man who had so nobly stood by her and the
man she loved.
"Blakeney..." began Déroulède.
But Sir Percy quickly interrupted him:
"Hush, man! we have but a few moments. Remember your are in Paris
still, and the Lord only knows how we shall all get out of this
murderous city to-night. I have said that you and mademoiselle are
among friends. That is all for the moment. I had to get you together,
or I should have failed. I could only succeed by subjecting you and
mademoiselle to terrible indignities. Our League could plan but one
rescue, and I had to adopt the best means at my command to have you
condemned and led away together. Faith!" he added, with a pleasant
laugh, "my friend Tinville will not be pleased when he realises that
Citizen Lenoir has dragged the Citizen-Deputies by the nose."
Whilst he spoke he had led Déroulède and Juliette into a dark and
narrow room on the ground floor of the hostelry, and presently he
called loudly for Brogard, the host of this uninviting abode.
"Brogard!" shouted Sir Percy. "Where is that ass Brogard? La! man,"
he added as Citizen Brogard, obsequious and fussy, and with pockets
stuffed with English gold, came shuffling along, "where do you hide
your engaging countenance? Here! another length of rope for the
gallant soldiers. Bring them in here, then give them that potion down
their throats, as I have prescribed. Demm it! I wish we need not have
brought them along, but that devil Santerre might have been suspicious
else. They'll come to no harm, though, and can do us no mischief."
He prattled along merrily. Innately kind and chivalrous, he wished to
give Déroulède and Juliette time to recover from their dazed surprise.
The transition from dull despair to buoyant hope had been so sudden:
it had all happened in less than three minutes.
The scuffle had been short and sudden outside. The two soldiers of
Santerne had been taken completely unawares, and the three young
lieutenants of the Scarlet Pimpernel had fallen on them with such
vigour that they had hardly had time to utter a cry of "Help!"
Moreover, that cry would have been useless. The night was dark and
wet, and those citizens who felt ready for excitement were busy
mobbing the Hall of Justice, a mile and a half away. One or two heads
had appeared at the small windows of the squalid houses opposite, out
it was too dark to see anything, and the scuffle had very quickly
All was silent now in the Rue des Arts, and in the grimy coffee-room
of the Cruche Cassée two soldiers of the National Guard were lying
bound and gagged, whilst three others were gaily laughing, and wiping
their rain-soaked hand and faces.
In the midst of them all stood the tall, athletic figure of the bold
adventurer who had planned this impudent coup.
"La! we've got so far, friends, haven't we?" he said cheerily, "and
now for the immediate future. We must all be out of Paris to-night, or
the guillotine for the lot of us to-morrow."
He spoke gaily, and with that pleasant drawl of his which was so well
known in the fashionable assemblies of London; but there was a ring of
earnestness in his voice, and his lieutenants looked up at him, ready
to obey him in all things, but aware that danger was looming
Lord Anthony Dewhurst, Sir Andrew Ffoulkes, and Lord Hastings, dressed
as soldiers of the National Guard, had played their part to
perfection. Lord Hastings had presented the order to Santerre, and the
three young bucks, at the word of command from their chief, had fallen
upon and overpowered the two men whom the commandant of Paris had
despatched to look after the prisoners.
So far all was well. But how to get out of Paris? Everyone looked to
the Scarlet Pimpernel for guidance.
Sir Percy now turned to Juliette, and with the consummate grace which
the elaborate etiquette of the times demanded, he made her a courtly
"Mademoiselle de Marny," he said, "allow me to conduct you to a room,
which though unworthy of your presence will, nevertheless, enable you
to rest quietly for a few minutes, whilst I give my friend Déroulède
further advice and instructions. In the room you will find a disguise,
which I pray you to don with all haste. La! they are filthy rags, I
own, but your life and--and ours depend upon your help."
Gallantly he kissed the tips of her fingers, and opened the door of an
adjoining room to enable her to pass through; then he stood aside, so
that her final look, as she went, might be for Déroulède.
As soon as the door had closed upon her he once more turned to the
"Those uniforms will not do now," he said peremptorily; "there are
bundles of abominable clothes here, Tony. Will you all don them as
quickly as you can? We must all look as filthy a band of
_sansculottes_ to-night as ever walked the streets of Paris."
His lazy drawl had deserted him now. He was the man of action and of
thought, the bold adventurer who held the lives of his friends in the
hollow of his hand.
The four men hastily obeyed. Lord Anthony Dewhurst--one of the most
elegant dandies of London society--had brought forth from a dank
cupboard a bundle of clothes, mere rags, filthy but useful.
Within ten minutes the change was accomplished, and four dirty,
slouchy figures stood confronting their chief.
"That's capital!" said Sir Percy merrily.
"Now for Mademoiselle de Marny."
Hardly had he spoken when the door of the adjoining room was pushed
open, and a horrible apparition stood before the men. A woman in
filthy bodice and skirt, with face covered in grime, her yellow hair,
matted and greasy, thrust under a dirty and crumpled cap.
A shout of rapturous delight greeted this uncanny apparition.
Juliette, like the true woman she was, had found all her energy and
spirits now that she felt that she had an important part to play. She
woke from her dream to realise that noble friends had risked their
lives for the man she loved and for her.
Of herself she did not think; she only remembered that her presence of
mind, her physical and mental strength, would be needed to carry the
rescue to a successful end.
Therefore with the rags of a Paris _tricotteuse_ she had also donned
her personality. She played her part valiantly, and one look at the
perfection of her disguise was sufficient to assure the leader of this
band of heroes that his instructions would be carried through to the
Déroulède too now looked the ragged _sansculotte_ to the life, with
bare and muddy feet, frayed breeches, and shabby, black-shag spencer.
The four men stood waiting together with Juliette, whilst Sir Percy
gave them his final instructions.
"We'll mix with the crowd," he said, "and do all that the crowd does.
It is for us to see that that unruly crowd does what we want.
Mademoiselle de Marny, a thousand congratulations. I entreat you to
take hold of my friend Déroulède's hand, and not to let go of it, on
any pretext whatever. La! not a difficult task, I ween," he added,
with his genial smile; "and yours, Déroulède, is equally easy. I
enjoin you to take charge of Mademoiselle Juliette, and on no account
to leave her side until we are out of Paris."
"Out of Paris!" echoed Déroulède, with a troubled sigh.
"Aye!" rejoined Sir Percy boldly; "out of Paris! with a howling mob at
our heels causing the authorities to take double precautions. And
above all remember, friends, that our rallying cry is the shrill call
of the sea-mew thrice repeated. Follow it until you are outside the
gates of Paris. Once there, listen for it again; it will lead you to
freedom and safety at last. Aye! Outside Paris, by the grace of God."
The hearts of his hearers thrilled as they heard him. Who could help
but follow this brave and gallant adventurer, with the magic voice and
the noble bearing?
"And now _en route_!" said Blakeney finally, "that ass Santerre will
have dispersed the pack of yelling hyenas with his cavalry by now.
They'll to the Temple prison to find their prey; we'll in their wake.
_A moi,_ friends! and remember the sea-gull's cry."
Déroulède drew Juliette's hand in his.
"We are ready," he said; "and God bless the Scarlet Pimpernel."
Then the five men, with Juliette in their midst, went out into the
street once more.
It was not difficult to guess which way the crowd had gone; yells,
hoots, and hoarse cries could be heard from the farther side of the
Citizen Santerne had been unable to keep the mob back until the
arrival of the cavalry reinforcements. Within five minutes of the
abduction of Déroulède and Juliette the crowd had broken through the
line of soldiers, and had stormed the cart, only to find it empty, and
the prey dissappeared.
"They are safe in the Temple by now!" shouted Santerne hoarsely, in
savage triumph at seeing them all baffled.
At first it seemed as if the wrath of the infuriated populace, fooled
in its lust for vengeance, would vent itself against the commandant of
Paris and his soldiers; for a moment even Santerre's ruddy cheeks had
paled at the sudden vision of this unlooked for danger.
Then just as suddenly the cry was raised.
"To the Temple!"
"To the Temple! To the Temple!" came in ready response.
The cry was soon taken up by the entire crowd, and in less than two
minutes the purlieus of the Hall of Justice were deserted, and the
Pont St Michel, then the Cité and the Pont au Change, swarmed with the
rioters. Thence along the north bank of the river, and up the Rue du
Temple, the people still yelling, muttering, singing the "_Ça ira,_"
and shouting: "_A la lanterne! A la lanterne!_"
Sir Percy Blakeney and his little band of followers had found the Pont
Neuf and the adjoining streets practically deserted. A few stragglers
from the crowd, soaked through with the rain, their enthusiasm damped,
and their throats choked with the mist, were sulkily returning to
The desultory group of six _sansculottes_ attracted little or no
attention, and Sir Percy boldly challenged every passer-by.
"The way to the Rue du Temple, citizen?" he asked once or twice, or:
"Have they hung the traitor yet? Can you tell me, citizeness?"
A grunt or an oath were the usual replies, but no one took any further
notice of the gigantic coal-heaver and his ragged friends.
At the corner of one of the cross streets, between the Rue du Temple
and the Rue des Archives, Sir Percy Blakeney suddenly turned to his
"We are close to the rabble now," he said in a whisper, and speaking
in English; "do you all follow the nearest stragglers, and get as soon
as possible into the thickest of the crowd. We'll meet again outside
the prison--and remember the sea-gull's cry."
He did not wait for an answer, and presently disappeared in the mist.
Already a few stragglers, hangers-on of the multitude, were gradually
coming into view, and the yells could be distinctly heard. The mob had
evidently assembled in the great square outside the prison, and was
loudly demanding the object of its wrath.
The moment for cool-headed action was at hand. The Scarlet Pimpernel
had planned the whole thing, but it was for his followers and for
those, whom he was endeavouring to rescue from certain death, to help
him heart and soul.
Déroulède's grasp tightened on Juliette's little hand.
"Are you frightened, my beloved?" he whispered.
"Not whilst you are near me," she murmured in reply.