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  • 1837
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Some Consolation to Mankind.

Of the Federation Feast itself we shall say almost nothing. There are Tents pitched in the Champ-de-Mars; tent for National Assembly; tent for Hereditary Representative,–who indeed is there too early, and has to wait long in it. There are Eighty-three symbolical Departmental Trees-of- Liberty; trees and mais enough: beautifullest of all these is one huge mai, hung round with effete Scutcheons, Emblazonries and Genealogy-books; nay better still, with Lawyers’-bags, ‘sacs de procedure:’ which shall be burnt. The Thirty seat-rows of that famed Slope are again full; we have a bright Sun; and all is marching, streamering and blaring: but what avails it? Virtuous Mayor Petion, whom Feuillantism had suspended, was reinstated only last night, by Decree of the Assembly. Men’s humour is of the sourest. Men’s hats have on them, written in chalk, ‘Vive Petion;’ and even, ‘Petion or Death, Petion ou la Mort.’

Poor Louis, who has waited till five o’clock before the Assembly would arrive, swears the National Oath this time, with a quilted cuirass under his waistcoat which will turn pistol-bullets. (Campan, ii. c. 20; De Stael, ii. c. 7.) Madame de Stael, from that Royal Tent, stretches out the neck in a kind of agony, lest the waving multitudes which receive him may not render him back alive. No cry of Vive le Roi salutes the ear; cries only of Vive Petion; Petion ou la Mort. The National Solemnity is as it were huddled by; each cowering off almost before the evolutions are gone through. The very Mai with its Scutcheons and Lawyers’-bags is forgotten, stands unburnt; till ‘certain Patriot Deputies,’ called by the people, set a torch to it, by way of voluntary after-piece. Sadder Feast of Pikes no man ever saw.

Mayor Petion, named on hats, is at his zenith in this Federation; Lafayette again is close upon his nadir. Why does the stormbell of Saint-Roch speak out, next Saturday; why do the citizens shut their shops? (Moniteur, Seance du 21 Juillet 1792.) It is Sections defiling, it is fear of effervescence. Legislative Committee, long deliberating on Lafayette and that Anti-jacobin Visit of his, reports, this day, that there is ‘not ground for Accusation!’ Peace, ye Patriots, nevertheless; and let that tocsin cease: the Debate is not finished, nor the Report accepted; but Brissot, Isnard and the Mountain will sift it, and resift it, perhaps for some three weeks longer.

So many bells, stormbells and noises do ring;–scarcely audible; one drowning the other. For example: in this same Lafayette tocsin, of Saturday, was there not withal some faint bob-minor, and Deputation of Legislative, ringing the Chevalier Paul Jones to his long rest; tocsin or dirge now all one to him! Not ten days hence Patriot Brissot, beshouted this day by the Patriot Galleries, shall find himself begroaned by them, on account of his limited Patriotism; nay pelted at while perorating, and ‘hit with two prunes.’ (Hist. Parl. xvi. 185.) It is a distracted empty- sounding world; of bob-minors and bob-majors, of triumph and terror, of rise and fall!

The more touching is this other Solemnity, which happens on the morrow of the Lafayette tocsin: Proclamation that the Country is in Danger. Not till the present Sunday could such Solemnity be. The Legislative decreed it almost a fortnight ago; but Royalty and the ghost of a Ministry held back as they could. Now however, on this Sunday, 22nd day of July 1792, it will hold back no longer; and the Solemnity in very deed is. Touching to behold! Municipality and Mayor have on their scarfs; cannon-salvo booms alarm from the Pont-Neuf, and single-gun at intervals all day. Guards are mounted, scarfed Notabilities, Halberdiers, and a Cavalcade; with streamers, emblematic flags; especially with one huge Flag, flapping mournfully: Citoyens, la Patrie est en Danger. They roll through the streets, with stern-sounding music, and slow rattle of hoofs: pausing at set stations, and with doleful blast of trumpet, singing out through Herald’s throat, what the Flag says to the eye: “Citizens, the Country is in Danger!”

Is there a man’s heart that hears it without a thrill? The many-voiced responsive hum or bellow of these multitudes is not of triumph; and yet it is a sound deeper than triumph. But when the long Cavalcade and Proclamation ended; and our huge Flag was fixed on the Pont Neuf, another like it on the Hotel-de-Ville, to wave there till better days; and each Municipal sat in the centre of his Section, in a Tent raised in some open square, Tent surmounted with flags of Patrie en danger, and topmost of all a Pike and Bonnet Rouge; and, on two drums in front of him, there lay a plank-table, and on this an open Book, and a Clerk sat, like recording- angel, ready to write the Lists, or as we say to enlist! O, then, it seems, the very gods might have looked down on it. Young Patriotism, Culottic and Sansculottic, rushes forward emulous: That is my name; name, blood, and life, is all my Country’s; why have I nothing more! Youths of short stature weep that they are below size. Old men come forward, a son in each hand. Mothers themselves will grant the son of their travail; send him, though with tears. And the multitude bellows Vive la Patrie, far reverberating. And fire flashes in the eyes of men;–and at eventide, your Municipal returns to the Townhall, followed by his long train of volunteer Valour; hands in his List: says proudly, looking round. This is my day’s harvest. (Tableau de la Revolution, para Patrie en Danger.) They will march, on the morrow, to Soissons; small bundle holding all their chattels.

So, with Vive la Patrie, Vive la Liberte, stone Paris reverberates like Ocean in his caves; day after day, Municipals enlisting in tricolor Tent; the Flag flapping on Pont Neuf and Townhall, Citoyens, la Patrie est en Danger. Some Ten thousand fighters, without discipline but full of heart, are on march in few days. The like is doing in every Town of France.– Consider therefore whether the Country will want defenders, had we but a National Executive? Let the Sections and Primary Assemblies, at any rate, become Permanent, and sit continually in Paris, and over France, by Legislative Decree dated Wednesday the 25th. (Moniteur, Seance du 25 Juillet 1792.)

Mark contrariwise how, in these very hours, dated the 25th, Brunswick shakes himself ‘s’ebranle,’ in Coblentz; and takes the road! Shakes himself indeed; one spoken word becomes such a shaking. Successive, simultaneous dirl of thirty thousand muskets shouldered; prance and jingle of ten-thousand horsemen, fanfaronading Emigrants in the van; drum, kettle- drum; noise of weeping, swearing; and the immeasurable lumbering clank of baggage-waggons and camp-kettles that groan into motion: all this is Brunswick shaking himself; not without all this does the one man march, ‘covering a space of forty miles.’ Still less without his Manifesto, dated, as we say, the 25th; a State-Paper worthy of attention!

By this Document, it would seem great things are in store for France. The universal French People shall now have permission to rally round Brunswick and his Emigrant Seigneurs; tyranny of a Jacobin Faction shall oppress them no more; but they shall return, and find favour with their own good King; who, by Royal Declaration (three years ago) of the Twenty-third of June, said that he would himself make them happy. As for National Assembly, and other Bodies of Men invested with some temporary shadow of authority, they are charged to maintain the King’s Cities and Strong Places intact, till Brunswick arrive to take delivery of them. Indeed, quick submission may extenuate many things; but to this end it must be quick. Any National Guard or other unmilitary person found resisting in arms shall be ‘treated as a traitor;’ that is to say, hanged with promptitude. For the rest, if Paris, before Brunswick gets thither, offer any insult to the King: or, for example, suffer a faction to carry the King away elsewhither; in that case Paris shall be blasted asunder with cannon-shot and ‘military execution.’ Likewise all other Cities, which may witness, and not resist to the uttermost, such forced-march of his Majesty, shall be blasted asunder; and Paris and every City of them, starting-place, course and goal of said sacrilegious forced-march, shall, as rubbish and smoking ruin, lie there for a sign. Such vengeance were indeed signal, ‘an insigne vengeance:’–O Brunswick, what words thou writest and blusterest! In this Paris, as in old Nineveh, are so many score thousands that know not the right hand from the left, and also much cattle. Shall the very milk-cows, hard-living cadgers’-asses, and poor little canary-birds die?

Nor is Royal and Imperial Prussian-Austrian Declaration wanting: setting forth, in the amplest manner, their Sanssouci-Schonbrunn version of this whole French Revolution, since the first beginning of it; and with what grief these high heads have seen such things done under the Sun: however, ‘as some small consolation to mankind,’ (Annual Register (1792), p. 236.) they do now despatch Brunswick; regardless of expense, as one might say, of sacrifices on their own part; for is it not the first duty to console men?

Serene Highnesses, who sit there protocolling and manifestoing, and consoling mankind! how were it if, for once in the thousand years, your parchments, formularies, and reasons of state were blown to the four winds; and Reality Sans-indispensables stared you, even you, in the face; and Mankind said for itself what the thing was that would console it?–

Chapter 2.6.IV.


But judge if there was comfort in this to the Sections all sitting permanent; deliberating how a National Executive could be put in action!

High rises the response, not of cackling terror, but of crowing counter- defiance, and Vive la Nation; young Valour streaming towards the Frontiers; Patrie en Danger mutely beckoning on the Pont Neuf. Sections are busy, in their permanent Deep; and down, lower still, works unlimited Patriotism, seeking salvation in plot. Insurrection, you would say, becomes once more the sacredest of duties? Committee, self-chosen, is sitting at the Sign of the Golden Sun: Journalist Carra, Camille Desmoulins, Alsatian Westermann friend of Danton, American Fournier of Martinique;–a Committee not unknown to Mayor Petion, who, as an official person, must sleep with one eye open. Not unknown to Procureur Manuel; least of all to Procureur-Substitute Danton! He, wrapped in darkness, being also official, bears it on his giant shoulder; cloudy invisible Atlas of the whole.

Much is invisible; the very Jacobins have their reticences. Insurrection is to be: but when? This only we can discern, that such Federes as are not yet gone to Soissons, as indeed are not inclined to go yet, “for reasons,” says the Jacobin President, “which it may be interesting not to state,” have got a Central Committee sitting close by, under the roof of the Mother Society herself. Also, what in such ferment and danger of effervescence is surely proper, the Forty-eight Sections have got their Central Committee; intended ‘for prompt communication.’ To which Central Committee the Municipality, anxious to have it at hand, could not refuse an Apartment in the Hotel-de-Ville.

Singular City! For overhead of all this, there is the customary baking and brewing; Labour hammers and grinds. Frilled promenaders saunter under the trees; white-muslin promenaderess, in green parasol, leaning on your arm. Dogs dance, and shoeblacks polish, on that Pont Neuf itself, where Fatherland is in danger. So much goes its course; and yet the course of all things is nigh altering and ending.

Look at that Tuileries and Tuileries Garden. Silent all as Sahara; none entering save by ticket! They shut their Gates, after the Day of the Black Breeches; a thing they had the liberty to do. However, the National Assembly grumbled something about Terrace of the Feuillants, how said Terrace lay contiguous to the back entrance to their Salle, and was partly National Property; and so now National Justice has stretched a Tricolor Riband athwart, by way of boundary-line, respected with splenetic strictness by all Patriots. It hangs there that Tricolor boundary-line; carries ‘satirical inscriptions on cards,’ generally in verse; and all beyond this is called Coblentz, and remains vacant; silent, as a fateful Golgotha; sunshine and umbrage alternating on it in vain. Fateful Circuit; what hope can dwell in it? Mysterious Tickets of Entry introduce themselves; speak of Insurrection very imminent. Rivarol’s Staff of Genius had better purchase blunderbusses; Grenadier bonnets, red Swiss uniforms may be useful. Insurrection will come; but likewise will it not be met? Staved off, one may hope, till Brunswick arrive?

But consider withal if the Bourne-stones and Portable chairs remain silent; if the Herald’s College of Bill-Stickers sleep! Louvet’s Sentinel warns gratis on all walls; Sulleau is busy: People’s-Friend Marat and King’s- Friend Royou croak and counter-croak. For the man Marat, though long hidden since that Champ-de-Mars Massacre, is still alive. He has lain, who knows in what Cellars; perhaps in Legendre’s; fed by a steak of Legendre’s killing: but, since April, the bull-frog voice of him sounds again; hoarsest of earthly cries. For the present, black terror haunts him: O brave Barbaroux wilt thou not smuggle me to Marseilles, ‘disguised as a jockey?’ (Barbaroux, p. 60.) In Palais-Royal and all public places, as we read, there is sharp activity; private individuals haranguing that Valour may enlist; haranguing that the Executive may be put in action. Royalist journals ought to be solemnly burnt: argument thereupon; debates which generally end in single-stick, coups de cannes. (Newspapers, Narratives and Documents (Hist. Parl. xv. 240; xvi. 399.) Or think of this; the hour midnight; place Salle de Manege; august Assembly just adjourning: ‘Citizens of both sexes enter in a rush exclaiming, Vengeance: they are poisoning our Brothers;’–baking brayed-glass among their bread at Soissons! Vergniaud has to speak soothing words, How Commissioners are already sent to investigate this brayed-glass, and do what is needful therein: till the rush of Citizens ‘makes profound silence:’ and goes home to its bed.

Such is Paris; the heart of a France like to it. Preternatural suspicion, doubt, disquietude, nameless anticipation, from shore to shore:–and those blackbrowed Marseillese, marching, dusty, unwearied, through the midst of it; not doubtful they. Marching to the grim music of their hearts, they consume continually the long road, these three weeks and more; heralded by Terror and Rumour. The Brest Federes arrive on the 26th; through hurrahing streets. Determined men are these also, bearing or not bearing the Sacred Pikes of Chateau-Vieux; and on the whole decidedly disinclined for Soissons as yet. Surely the Marseillese Brethren do draw nigher all days.

Chapter 2.6.V.

At Dinner.

It was a bright day for Charenton, that 29th of the month, when the Marseillese Brethren actually came in sight. Barbaroux, Santerre and Patriots have gone out to meet the grim Wayfarers. Patriot clasps dusty Patriot to his bosom; there is footwashing and refection: ‘dinner of twelve hundred covers at the Blue Dial, Cadran Bleu;’ and deep interior consultation, that one wots not of. (Deux Amis, viii. 90-101.) Consultation indeed which comes to little; for Santerre, with an open purse, with a loud voice, has almost no head. Here however we repose this night: on the morrow is public entry into Paris.

On which public entry the Day-Historians, Diurnalists, or Journalists as they call themselves, have preserved record enough. How Saint-Antoine male and female, and Paris generally, gave brotherly welcome, with bravo and hand-clapping, in crowded streets; and all passed in the peaceablest manner;–except it might be our Marseillese pointed out here and there a riband-cockade, and beckoned that it should be snatched away, and exchanged for a wool one; which was done. How the Mother Society in a body has come as far as the Bastille-ground, to embrace you. How you then wend onwards, triumphant, to the Townhall, to be embraced by Mayor Petion; to put down your muskets in the Barracks of Nouvelle France, not far off;–then towards the appointed Tavern in the Champs Elysees to enjoy a frugal Patriot repast. (Hist. Parl. xvi. 196. See Barbaroux, p. 51-5.)

Of all which the indignant Tuileries may, by its Tickets of Entry, have warning. Red Swiss look doubly sharp to their Chateau-Grates;–though surely there is no danger? Blue Grenadiers of the Filles-Saint-Thomas Section are on duty there this day: men of Agio, as we have seen; with stuffed purses, riband-cockades; among whom serves Weber. A party of these latter, with Captains, with sundry Feuillant Notabilities, Moreau de Saint- Mery of the three thousand orders, and others, have been dining, much more respectably, in a Tavern hard by. They have dined, and are now drinking Loyal-Patriotic toasts; while the Marseillese, National-Patriotic merely, are about sitting down to their frugal covers of delf. How it happened remains to this day undemonstrable: but the external fact is, certain of these Filles-Saint-Thomas Grenadiers do issue from their Tavern; perhaps touched, surely not yet muddled with any liquor they have had;–issue in the professed intention of testifying to the Marseillese, or to the multitude of Paris Patriots who stroll in these spaces, That they, the Filles-Saint-Thomas men, if well seen into, are not a whit less Patriotic than any other class of men whatever.

It was a rash errand! For how can the strolling multitudes credit such a thing; or do other indeed than hoot at it, provoking, and provoked;–till Grenadier sabres stir in the scabbard, and a sharp shriek rises: “A nous Marseillais, Help Marseillese!” Quick as lightning, for the frugal repast is not yet served, that Marseillese Tavern flings itself open: by door, by window; running, bounding, vault forth the Five hundred and Seventeen undined Patriots; and, sabre flashing from thigh, are on the scene of controversy. Will ye parley, ye Grenadier Captains and official Persons; ‘with faces grown suddenly pale,’ the Deponents say? (Moniteur, Seances du 30, du 31 Juillet 1792 (Hist. Parl. xvi. 197-210.) Advisabler were instant moderately swift retreat! The Filles-Saint-Thomas retreat, back foremost; then, alas, face foremost, at treble-quick time; the Marseillese, according to a Deponent, “clearing the fences and ditches after them like lions: Messieurs, it was an imposing spectacle.”

Thus they retreat, the Marseillese following. Swift and swifter, towards the Tuileries: where the Drawbridge receives the bulk of the fugitives; and, then suddenly drawn up, saves them; or else the green mud of the Ditch does it. The bulk of them; not all; ah, no! Moreau de Saint-Mery for example, being too fat, could not fly fast; he got a stroke, flat-stroke only, over the shoulder-blades, and fell prone;–and disappears there from the History of the Revolution. Cuts also there were, pricks in the posterior fleshy parts; much rending of skirts, and other discrepant waste. But poor Sub-lieutenant Duhamel, innocent Change-broker, what a lot for him! He turned on his pursuer, or pursuers, with a pistol; he fired and missed; drew a second pistol, and again fired and missed; then ran: unhappily in vain. In the Rue Saint-Florentin, they clutched him; thrust him through, in red rage: that was the end of the New Era, and of all Eras, to poor Duhamel.

Pacific readers can fancy what sort of grace-before-meat this was to frugal Patriotism. Also how the Battalion of the Filles-Saint-Thomas ‘drew out in arms,’ luckily without further result; how there was accusation at the Bar of the Assembly, and counter-accusation and defence; Marseillese challenging the sentence of free jury court,–which never got to a decision. We ask rather, What the upshot of all these distracted wildly accumulating things may, by probability, be? Some upshot; and the time draws nigh! Busy are Central Committees, of Federes at the Jacobins Church, of Sections at the Townhall; Reunion of Carra, Camille and Company at the Golden Sun. Busy: like submarine deities, or call them mud-gods, working there in the deep murk of waters: till the thing be ready.

And how your National Assembly, like a ship waterlogged, helmless, lies tumbling; the Galleries, of shrill Women, of Federes with sabres, bellowing down on it, not unfrightful;–and waits where the waves of chance may please to strand it; suspicious, nay on the Left side, conscious, what submarine Explosion is meanwhile a-charging! Petition for King’s Forfeiture rises often there: Petition from Paris Section, from Provincial Patriot Towns; From Alencon, Briancon, and ‘the Traders at the Fair of Beaucaire.’ Or what of these? On the 3rd of August, Mayor Petion and the Municipality come petitioning for Forfeiture: they openly, in their tricolor Municipal scarfs. Forfeiture is what all Patriots now want and expect. All Brissotins want Forfeiture; with the little Prince Royal for King, and us for Protector over him. Emphatic Federes asks the legislature: “Can you save us, or not?” Forty-seven Seconds have agreed to Forfeiture; only that of the Filles-Saint-Thomas pretending to disagree. Nay Section Mauconseil declares Forfeiture to be, properly speaking, come; Mauconseil for one ‘does from this day,’ the last of July, ‘cease allegiance to Louis,’ and take minute of the same before all men. A thing blamed aloud; but which will be praised aloud; and the name Mauconseil, of Ill-counsel, be thenceforth changed to Bonconseil, of Good-counsel.

President Danton, in the Cordeliers Section, does another thing: invites all Passive Citizens to take place among the Active in Section-business, one peril threatening all. Thus he, though an official person; cloudy Atlas of the whole. Likewise he manages to have that blackbrowed Battalion of Marseillese shifted to new Barracks, in his own region of the remote South-East. Sleek Chaumette, cruel Billaud, Deputy Chabot the Disfrocked, Huguenin with the tocsin in his heart, will welcome them there. Wherefore, again and again: “O Legislators, can you save us or not?” Poor Legislators; with their Legislature waterlogged, volcanic Explosion charging under it! Forfeiture shall be debated on the ninth day of August; that miserable business of Lafayette may be expected to terminate on the eighth.

Or will the humane Reader glance into the Levee-day of Sunday the fifth? The last Levee! Not for a long time, ‘never,’ says Bertrand-Moleville, had a Levee been so brilliant, at least so crowded. A sad presaging interest sat on every face; Bertrand’s own eyes were filled with tears. For, indeed, outside of that Tricolor Riband on the Feuillants Terrace, Legislature is debating, Sections are defiling, all Paris is astir this very Sunday, demanding Decheance. (Hist. Parl. xvi. 337-9.) Here, however, within the riband, a grand proposal is on foot, for the hundredth time, of carrying his Majesty to Rouen and the Castle of Gaillon. Swiss at Courbevoye are in readiness; much is ready; Majesty himself seems almost ready. Nevertheless, for the hundredth time, Majesty, when near the point of action, draws back; writes, after one has waited, palpitating, an endless summer day, that ‘he has reason to believe the Insurrection is not so ripe as you suppose.’ Whereat Bertrand-Moleville breaks forth ‘into extremity at one of spleen and despair, d’humeur et de desespoir.’ (Bertrand-Moleville, Memoires, ii. 129.)

Chapter 2.6.VI.

The Steeples at Midnight.

For, in truth, the Insurrection is just about ripe. Thursday is the ninth of the month August: if Forfeiture be not pronounced by the Legislature that day, we must pronounce it ourselves.

Legislature? A poor waterlogged Legislature can pronounce nothing. On Wednesday the eighth, after endless oratory once again, they cannot even pronounce Accusation again Lafayette; but absolve him,–hear it, Patriotism!–by a majority of two to one. Patriotism hears it; Patriotism, hounded on by Prussian Terror, by Preternatural Suspicion, roars tumultuous round the Salle de Manege, all day; insults many leading Deputies, of the absolvent Right-side; nay chases them, collars them with loud menace: Deputy Vaublanc, and others of the like, are glad to take refuge in Guardhouses, and escape by the back window. And so, next day, there is infinite complaint; Letter after Letter from insulted Deputy; mere complaint, debate and self-cancelling jargon: the sun of Thursday sets like the others, and no Forfeiture pronounced. Wherefore in fine, To your tents, O Israel!

The Mother-Society ceases speaking; groups cease haranguing: Patriots, with closed lips now, ‘take one another’s arm;’ walk off, in rows, two and two, at a brisk business-pace; and vanish afar in the obscure places of the East. (Deux Amis, viii. 129-88.) Santerre is ready; or we will make him ready. Forty-seven of the Forty-eight Sections are ready; nay Filles- Saint-Thomas itself turns up the Jacobin side of it, turns down the Feuillant side of it, and is ready too. Let the unlimited Patriot look to his weapon, be it pike, be it firelock; and the Brest brethren, above all, the blackbrowed Marseillese prepare themselves for the extreme hour! Syndic Roederer knows, and laments or not as the issue may turn, that ‘five thousand ball-cartridges, within these few days, have been distributed to Federes, at the Hotel-de-Ville.’ (Roederer a la Barre (Seance du 9 Aout (in Hist. Parl. xvi. 393.)

And ye likewise, gallant gentlemen, defenders of Royalty, crowd ye on your side to the Tuileries. Not to a Levee: no, to a Couchee: where much will be put to bed. Your Tickets of Entry are needful; needfuller your blunderbusses!–They come and crowd, like gallant men who also know how to die: old Maille the Camp-Marshal has come, his eyes gleaming once again, though dimmed by the rheum of almost four-score years. Courage, Brothers! We have a thousand red Swiss; men stanch of heart, steadfast as the granite of their Alps. National Grenadiers are at least friends of Order; Commandant Mandat breathes loyal ardour, will “answer for it on his head.” Mandat will, and his Staff; for the Staff, though there stands a doom and Decree to that effect, is happily never yet dissolved.

Commandant Mandat has corresponded with Mayor Petion; carries a written Order from him these three days, to repel force by force. A squadron on the Pont Neuf with cannon shall turn back these Marseillese coming across the River: a squadron at the Townhall shall cut Saint-Antoine in two, ‘as it issues from the Arcade Saint-Jean;’ drive one half back to the obscure East, drive the other half forward through ‘the Wickets of the Louvre.’ Squadrons not a few, and mounted squadrons; squadrons in the Palais Royal, in the Place Vendome: all these shall charge, at the right moment; sweep this street, and then sweep that. Some new Twentieth of June we shall have; only still more ineffectual? Or probably the Insurrection will not dare to rise at all? Mandat’s Squadrons, Horse-Gendarmerie and blue Guards march, clattering, tramping; Mandat’s Cannoneers rumble. Under cloud of night; to the sound of his generale, which begins drumming when men should go to bed. It is the 9th night of August, 1792.

On the other hand, the Forty-eight Sections correspond by swift messengers; are choosing each their ‘three Delegates with full powers.’ Syndic Roederer, Mayor Petion are sent for to the Tuileries: courageous Legislators, when the drum beats danger, should repair to their Salle. Demoiselle Theroigne has on her grenadier-bonnet, short-skirted riding- habit; two pistols garnish her small waist, and sabre hangs in baldric by her side.

Such a game is playing in this Paris Pandemonium, or City of All the Devils!–And yet the Night, as Mayor Petion walks here in the Tuileries Garden, ‘is beautiful and calm;’ Orion and the Pleiades glitter down quite serene. Petion has come forth, the ‘heat’ inside was so oppressive. (Roederer, Chronique de Cinquante Jours: Recit de Petion. Townhall Records, &c. (in Hist. Parl. xvi. 399-466.) Indeed, his Majesty’s reception of him was of the roughest; as it well might be. And now there is no outgate; Mandat’s blue Squadrons turn you back at every Grate; nay the Filles-Saint-Thomas Grenadiers give themselves liberties of tongue, How a virtuous Mayor ‘shall pay for it, if there be mischief,’ and the like; though others again are full of civility. Surely if any man in France is in straights this night, it is Mayor Petion: bound, under pain of death, one may say, to smile dexterously with the one side of his face, and weep with the other;–death if he do it not dexterously enough! Not till four in the morning does a National Assembly, hearing of his plight, summon him over ‘to give account of Paris;’ of which he knows nothing: whereby however he shall get home to bed, and only his gilt coach be left. Scarcely less delicate is Syndic Roederer’s task; who must wait whether he will lament or not, till he see the issue. Janus Bifrons, or Mr. Facing- both-ways, as vernacular Bunyan has it! They walk there, in the meanwhile, these two Januses, with others of the like double conformation; and ‘talk of indifferent matters.’

Roederer, from time to time, steps in; to listen, to speak; to send for the Department-Directory itself, he their Procureur Syndic not seeing how to act. The Apartments are all crowded; some seven hundred gentlemen in black elbowing, bustling; red Swiss standing like rocks; ghost, or partial-ghost of a Ministry, with Roederer and advisers, hovering round their Majesties; old Marshall Maille kneeling at the King’s feet, to say, He and these gallant gentlemen are come to die for him. List! through the placid midnight; clang of the distant stormbell! So, in very sooth; steeple after steeple takes up the wondrous tale. Black Courtiers listen at the windows, opened for air; discriminate the steeple-bells: (Roederer, ubi supra.) this is the tocsin of Saint-Roch; that again, is it not Saint-Jacques, named de la Boucherie? Yes, Messieurs! Or even Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, hear ye it not? The same metal that rang storm, two hundred and twenty years ago; but by a Majesty’s order then; on Saint-Bartholomew’s Eve (24th August, 1572.)–So go the steeple-bells; which Courtiers can discriminate. Nay, meseems, there is the Townhall itself; we know it by its sound! Yes, Friends, that is the Townhall; discoursing so, to the Night. Miraculously; by miraculous metal-tongue and man’s arm: Marat himself, if you knew it, is pulling at the rope there! Marat is pulling; Robespierre lies deep, invisible for the next forty hours; and some men have heart, and some have as good as none, and not even frenzy will give them any.

What struggling confusion, as the issue slowly draws on; and the doubtful Hour, with pain and blind struggle, brings forth its Certainty, never to be abolished!–The Full-power Delegates, three from each Section, a Hundred and forty-four in all, got gathered at the Townhall, about midnight. Mandat’s Squadron, stationed there, did not hinder their entering: are they not the ‘Central Committee of the Sections’ who sit here usually; though in greater number tonight? They are there: presided by Confusion, Irresolution, and the Clack of Tongues. Swift scouts fly; Rumour buzzes, of black Courtiers, red Swiss, of Mandat and his Squadrons that shall charge. Better put off the Insurrection? Yes, put it off. Ha, hark! Saint-Antoine booming out eloquent tocsin, of its own accord!–Friends, no: ye cannot put off the Insurrection; but must put it on, and live with it, or die with it.

Swift now, therefore: let these actual Old Municipals, on sight of the Full-powers, and mandate of the Sovereign elective People, lay down their functions; and this New Hundred and forty-four take them up! Will ye nill ye, worthy Old Municipals, ye must go. Nay is it not a happiness for many a Municipal that he can wash his hands of such a business; and sit there paralyzed, unaccountable, till the Hour do bring forth; or even go home to his night’s rest? (Section Documents, Townhall Documents (Hist. Parl. ubi supra).) Two only of the Old, or at most three, we retain Mayor Petion, for the present walking in the Tuileries; Procureur Manuel; Procureur Substitute Danton, invisible Atlas of the whole. And so, with our Hundred and forty-four, among whom are a Tocsin-Huguenin, a Billaud, a Chaumette; and Editor-Talliens, and Fabre d’Eglantines, Sergents, Panises; and in brief, either emergent, or else emerged and full-blown, the entire Flower of unlimited Patriotism: have we not, as by magic, made a New Municipality; ready to act in the unlimited manner; and declare itself roundly, ‘in a State of Insurrection!’–First of all, then, be Commandant Mandat sent for, with that Mayor’s-Order of his; also let the New Municipals visit those Squadrons that were to charge; and let the stormbell ring its loudest;–and, on the whole, Forward, ye Hundred and forty-four; retreat is now none for you!

Reader, fancy not, in thy languid way, that Insurrection is easy. Insurrection is difficult: each individual uncertain even of his next neighbour; totally uncertain of his distant neighbours, what strength is with him, what strength is against him; certain only that, in case of failure, his individual portion is the gallows! Eight hundred thousand heads, and in each of them a separate estimate of these uncertainties, a separate theorem of action conformable to that: out of so many uncertainties, does the certainty, and inevitable net-result never to be abolished, go on, at all moments, bodying itself forth;–leading thee also towards civic-crowns or an ignominious noose.

Could the Reader take an Asmodeus’s Flight, and waving open all roofs and privacies, look down from the Tower of Notre Dame, what a Paris were it! Of treble-voice whimperings or vehemence, of bass-voice growlings, dubitations; Courage screwing itself to desperate defiance; Cowardice trembling silent within barred doors;–and all round, Dulness calmly snoring; for much Dulness, flung on its mattresses, always sleeps. O, between the clangour of these high-storming tocsins and that snore of Dulness, what a gamut: of trepidation, excitation, desperation; and above it mere Doubt, Danger, Atropos and Nox!

Fighters of this section draw out; hear that the next Section does not; and thereupon draw in. Saint-Antoine, on this side the River, is uncertain of Saint-Marceau on that. Steady only is the snore of Dulness, are the Six Hundred Marseillese that know how to die! Mandat, twice summoned to the Townhall, has not come. Scouts fly incessant, in distracted haste; and the many-whispering voices of Rumour. Theroigne and unofficial Patriots flit, dim-visible, exploratory, far and wide; like Night-birds on the wing. Of Nationals some Three thousand have followed Mandat and his generale; the rest follow each his own theorem of the uncertainties: theorem, that one should march rather with Saint-Antoine; innumerable theorems, that in such a case the wholesomest were sleep. And so the drums beat, in made fits, and the stormbells peal. Saint-Antoine itself does but draw out and draw in; Commandant Santerre, over there, cannot believe that the Marseillese and Saint Marceau will march. Thou laggard sonorous Beer-vat, with the loud voice and timber head, is it time now to palter? Alsatian Westermann clutches him by the throat with drawn sabre: whereupon the Timber-headed believes. In this manner wanes the slow night; amid fret, uncertainty and tocsin; all men’s humour rising to the hysterical pitch; and nothing done.

However, Mandat, on the third summons does come;–come, unguarded; astonished to find the Municipality new. They question him straitly on that Mayor’s-Order to resist force by force; on that strategic scheme of cutting Saint-Antoine in two halves: he answers what he can: they think it were right to send this strategic National Commandant to the Abbaye Prison, and let a Court of Law decide on him. Alas, a Court of Law, not Book-Law but primeval Club-Law, crowds and jostles out of doors; all fretted to the hysterical pitch; cruel as Fear, blind as the Night: such Court of Law, and no other, clutches poor Mandat from his constables; beats him down, massacres him, on the steps of the Townhall. Look to it, ye new Municipals; ye People, in a state of Insurrection! Blood is shed, blood must be answered for;–alas, in such hysterical humour, more blood will flow: for it is as with the Tiger in that; he has only to begin.

Seventeen Individuals have been seized in the Champs Elysees, by exploratory Patriotism; they flitting dim-visible, by it flitting dim- visible. Ye have pistols, rapiers, ye Seventeen? One of those accursed ‘false Patrols;’ that go marauding, with Anti-National intent; seeking what they can spy, what they can spill! The Seventeen are carried to the nearest Guard-house; eleven of them escape by back passages. “How is this?” Demoiselle Theroigne appears at the front entrance, with sabre, pistols, and a train; denounces treasonous connivance; demands, seizes, the remaining six, that the justice of the People be not trifled with. Of which six two more escape in the whirl and debate of the Club-Law Court; the last unhappy Four are massacred, as Mandat was: Two Ex-Bodyguards; one dissipated Abbe; one Royalist Pamphleteer, Sulleau, known to us by name, Able Editor, and wit of all work. Poor Sulleau: his Acts of the Apostles, and brisk Placard-Journals (for he was an able man) come to Finis, in this manner; and questionable jesting issues suddenly in horrid earnest! Such doings usher in the dawn of the Tenth of August, 1792.

Or think what a night the poor National Assembly has had: sitting there, ‘in great paucity,’ attempting to debate;–quivering and shivering; pointing towards all the thirty-two azimuths at once, as the magnet-needle does when thunderstorm is in the air! If the Insurrection come? If it come, and fail? Alas, in that case, may not black Courtiers, with blunderbusses, red Swiss with bayonets rush over, flushed with victory, and ask us: Thou undefinable, waterlogged, self-distractive, self-destructive Legislative, what dost thou here unsunk?–Or figure the poor National Guards, bivouacking ‘in temporary tents’ there; or standing ranked, shifting from leg to leg, all through the weary night; New tricolor Municipals ordering one thing, old Mandat Captains ordering another! Procureur Manuel has ordered the cannons to be withdrawn from the Pont Neuf; none ventured to disobey him. It seemed certain, then, the old Staff so long doomed has finally been dissolved, in these hours; and Mandat is not our Commandant now, but Santerre? Yes, friends: Santerre henceforth,- -surely Mandat no more! The Squadrons that were to charge see nothing certain, except that they are cold, hungry, worn down with watching; that it were sad to slay French brothers; sadder to be slain by them. Without the Tuileries Circuit, and within it, sour uncertain humour sways these men: only the red Swiss stand steadfast. Them their officers refresh now with a slight wetting of brandy; wherein the Nationals, too far gone for brandy, refuse to participate.

King Louis meanwhile had laid him down for a little sleep: his wig when he reappeared had lost the powder on one side. (Roederer, ubi supra.) Old Marshal Maille and the gentlemen in black rise always in spirits, as the Insurrection does not rise: there goes a witty saying now, “Le tocsin ne rend pas.” The tocsin, like a dry milk-cow, does not yield. For the rest, could one not proclaim Martial Law? Not easily; for now, it seems, Mayor Petion is gone. On the other hand, our Interim Commandant, poor Mandat being off, ‘to the Hotel-de-Ville,’ complains that so many Courtiers in black encumber the service, are an eyesorrow to the National Guards. To which her Majesty answers with emphasis, That they will obey all, will suffer all, that they are sure men these.

And so the yellow lamplight dies out in the gray of morning, in the King’s Palace, over such a scene. Scene of jostling, elbowing, of confusion, and indeed conclusion, for the thing is about to end. Roederer and spectral Ministers jostle in the press; consult, in side cabinets, with one or with both Majesties. Sister Elizabeth takes the Queen to the window: “Sister, see what a beautiful sunrise,” right over the Jacobins church and that quarter! How happy if the tocsin did not yield! But Mandat returns not; Petion is gone: much hangs wavering in the invisible Balance. About five o’clock, there rises from the Garden a kind of sound; as of a shout to which had become a howl, and instead of Vive le Roi were ending in Vive la Nation. “Mon Dieu!” ejaculates a spectral Minister, “what is he doing down there?” For it is his Majesty, gone down with old Marshal Maille to review the troops; and the nearest companies of them answer so. Her Majesty bursts into a stream of tears. Yet on stepping from the cabinet her eyes are dry and calm, her look is even cheerful. ‘The Austrian lip, and the aquiline nose, fuller than usual, gave to her countenance,’ says Peltier, (In Toulongeon, ii. 241.) ‘something of Majesty, which they that did not see her in these moments cannot well have an idea of.’ O thou Theresa’s Daughter!

King Louis enters, much blown with the fatigue; but for the rest with his old air of indifference. Of all hopes now surely the joyfullest were, that the tocsin did not yield.

Chapter 2.6.VII.

The Swiss.

Unhappy Friends, the tocsin does yield, has yielded! Lo ye, how with the first sun-rays its Ocean-tide, of pikes and fusils, flows glittering from the far East;–immeasurable; born of the Night! They march there, the grim host; Saint-Antoine on this side of the River; Saint-Marceau on that, the blackbrowed Marseillese in the van. With hum, and grim murmur, far-heard; like the Ocean-tide, as we say: drawn up, as if by Luna and Influences, from the great Deep of Waters, they roll gleaming on; no King, Canute or Louis, can bid them roll back. Wide-eddying side-currents, of onlookers, roll hither and thither, unarmed, not voiceless; they, the steel host, roll on. New-Commandant Santerre, indeed, has taken seat at the Townhall; rests there, in his half-way-house. Alsatian Westermann, with flashing sabre, does not rest; nor the Sections, nor the Marseillese, nor Demoiselle Theroigne; but roll continually on.

And now, where are Mandat’s Squadrons that were to charge? Not a Squadron of them stirs: or they stir in the wrong direction, out of the way; their officers glad that they will even do that. It is to this hour uncertain whether the Squadron on the Pont Neuf made the shadow of resistance, or did not make the shadow: enough, the blackbrowed Marseillese, and Saint- Marceau following them, do cross without let; do cross, in sure hope now of Saint-Antoine and the rest; do billow on, towards the Tuileries, where their errand is. The Tuileries, at sound of them, rustles responsive: the red Swiss look to their priming; Courtiers in black draw their blunderbusses, rapiers, poniards, some have even fire-shovels; every man his weapon of war.

Judge if, in these circumstances, Syndic Roederer felt easy! Will the kind Heavens open no middle-course of refuge for a poor Syndic who halts between two? If indeed his Majesty would consent to go over to the Assembly! His Majesty, above all her Majesty, cannot agree to that. Did her Majesty answer the proposal with a “Fi donc;” did she say even, she would be nailed to the walls sooner? Apparently not. It is written also that she offered the King a pistol; saying, Now or else never was the time to shew himself. Close eye-witnesses did not see it, nor do we. That saw only that she was queenlike, quiet; that she argued not, upbraided not, with the Inexorable; but, like Caesar in the Capitol, wrapped her mantle, as it beseems Queens and Sons of Adam to do. But thou, O Louis! of what stuff art thou at all? Is there no stroke in thee, then, for Life and Crown? The silliest hunted deer dies not so. Art thou the languidest of all mortals; or the mildest- minded? Thou art the worst-starred.

The tide advances; Syndic Roederer’s and all men’s straits grow straiter and straiter. Fremescent clangor comes from the armed Nationals in the Court; far and wide is the infinite hubbub of tongues. What counsel? And the tide is now nigh! Messengers, forerunners speak hastily through the outer Grates; hold parley sitting astride the walls. Syndic Roederer goes out and comes in. Cannoneers ask him: Are we to fire against the people? King’s Ministers ask him: Shall the King’s House be forced? Syndic Roederer has a hard game to play. He speaks to the Cannoneers with eloquence, with fervour; such fervour as a man can, who has to blow hot and cold in one breath. Hot and cold, O Roederer? We, for our part, cannot live and die! The Cannoneers, by way of answer, fling down their linstocks.–Think of this answer, O King Louis, and King’s Ministers: and take a poor Syndic’s safe middle-course, towards the Salle de Manege. King Louis sits, his hands leant on knees, body bent forward; gazes for a space fixedly on Syndic Roederer; then answers, looking over his shoulder to the Queen: Marchons! They march; King Louis, Queen, Sister Elizabeth, the two royal children and governess: these, with Syndic Roederer, and Officials of the Department; amid a double rank of National Guards. The men with blunderbusses, the steady red Swiss gaze mournfully, reproachfully; but hear only these words from Syndic Roederer: “The King is going to the Assembly; make way.” It has struck eight, on all clocks, some minutes ago: the King has left the Tuileries–for ever.

O ye stanch Swiss, ye gallant gentlemen in black, for what a cause are ye to spend and be spent! Look out from the western windows, ye may see King Louis placidly hold on his way; the poor little Prince Royal ‘sportfully kicking the fallen leaves.’ Fremescent multitude on the Terrace of the Feuillants whirls parallel to him; one man in it, very noisy, with a long pole: will they not obstruct the outer Staircase, and back-entrance of the Salle, when it comes to that? King’s Guards can go no further than the bottom step there. Lo, Deputation of Legislators come out; he of the long pole is stilled by oratory; Assembly’s Guards join themselves to King’s Guards, and all may mount in this case of necessity; the outer Staircase is free, or passable. See, Royalty ascends; a blue Grenadier lifts the poor little Prince Royal from the press; Royalty has entered in. Royalty has vanished for ever from your eyes.–And ye? Left standing there, amid the yawning abysses, and earthquake of Insurrection; without course; without command: if ye perish it must be as more than martyrs, as martyrs who are now without a cause! The black Courtiers disappear mostly; through such issues as they can. The poor Swiss know not how to act: one duty only is clear to them, that of standing by their post; and they will perform that.

But the glittering steel tide has arrived; it beats now against the Chateau barriers, and eastern Courts; irresistible, loud-surging far and wide;– breaks in, fills the Court of the Carrousel, blackbrowed Marseillese in the van. King Louis gone, say you; over to the Assembly! Well and good: but till the Assembly pronounce Forfeiture of him, what boots it? Our post is in that Chateau or stronghold of his; there till then must we continue. Think, ye stanch Swiss, whether it were good that grim murder began, and brothers blasted one another in pieces for a stone edifice?–Poor Swiss! they know not how to act: from the southern windows, some fling cartridges, in sign of brotherhood; on the eastern outer staircase, and within through long stairs and corridors, they stand firm-ranked, peaceable and yet refusing to stir. Westermann speaks to them in Alsatian German; Marseillese plead, in hot Provencal speech and pantomime; stunning hubbub pleads and threatens, infinite, around. The Swiss stand fast, peaceable and yet immovable; red granite pier in that waste-flashing sea of steel.

Who can help the inevitable issue; Marseillese and all France, on this side; granite Swiss on that? The pantomime grows hotter and hotter; Marseillese sabres flourishing by way of action; the Swiss brow also clouding itself, the Swiss thumb bringing its firelock to the cock. And hark! high-thundering above all the din, three Marseillese cannon from the Carrousel, pointed by a gunner of bad aim, come rattling over the roofs! Ye Swiss, therefore: Fire! The Swiss fire; by volley, by platoon, in rolling-fire: Marseillese men not a few, and ‘a tall man that was louder than any,’ lie silent, smashed, upon the pavement;–not a few Marseillese, after the long dusty march, have made halt here. The Carrousel is void; the black tide recoiling; ‘fugitives rushing as far as Saint-Antoine before they stop.’ The Cannoneers without linstock have squatted invisible, and left their cannon; which the Swiss seize.

Think what a volley: reverberating doomful to the four corners of Paris, and through all hearts; like the clang of Bellona’s thongs! The blackbrowed Marseillese, rallying on the instant, have become black Demons that know how to die. Nor is Brest behind-hand; nor Alsatian Westermann; Demoiselle Theroigne is Sybil Theroigne: Vengeance Victoire,ou la mort! From all Patriot artillery, great and small; from Feuillants Terrace, and all terraces and places of the widespread Insurrectionary sea, there roars responsive a red whirlwind. Blue Nationals, ranked in the Garden, cannot help their muskets going off, against Foreign murderers. For there is a sympathy in muskets, in heaped masses of men: nay, are not Mankind, in whole, like tuned strings, and a cunning infinite concordance and unity; you smite one string, and all strings will begin sounding,–in soft sphere- melody, in deafening screech of madness! Mounted Gendarmerie gallop distracted; are fired on merely as a thing running; galloping over the Pont Royal, or one knows not whither. The brain of Paris, brain-fevered in the centre of it here, has gone mad; what you call, taken fire.

Behold, the fire slackens not; nor does the Swiss rolling-fire slacken from within. Nay they clutched cannon, as we saw: and now, from the other side, they clutch three pieces more; alas, cannon without linstock; nor will the steel-and-flint answer, though they try it. (Deux Amis, viii. 179-88.) Had it chanced to answer! Patriot onlookers have their misgivings; one strangest Patriot onlooker thinks that the Swiss, had they a commander, would beat. He is a man not unqualified to judge; the name of him is Napoleon Buonaparte. (See Hist. Parl. (xvii. 56); Las Cases, &c.) And onlookers, and women, stand gazing, and the witty Dr. Moore of Glasgow among them, on the other side of the River: cannon rush rumbling past them; pause on the Pont Royal; belch out their iron entrails there, against the Tuileries; and at every new belch, the women and onlookers shout and clap hands. (Moore, Journal during a Residence in France (Dublin, 1793), i. 26.) City of all the Devils! In remote streets, men are drinking breakfast-coffee; following their affairs; with a start now and then, as some dull echo reverberates a note louder. And here? Marseillese fall wounded; but Barbaroux has surgeons; Barbaroux is close by, managing, though underhand, and under cover. Marseillese fall death-struck; bequeath their firelock, specify in which pocket are the cartridges; and die, murmuring, “Revenge me, Revenge thy country!” Brest Federe Officers, galloping in red coats, are shot as Swiss. Lo you, the Carrousel has burst into flame!–Paris Pandemonium! Nay the poor City, as we said, is in fever-fit and convulsion; such crisis has lasted for the space of some half hour.

But what is this that, with Legislative Insignia, ventures through the hubbub and death-hail, from the back-entrance of the Manege? Towards the Tuileries and Swiss: written Order from his Majesty to cease firing! O ye hapless Swiss, why was there no order not to begin it? Gladly would the Swiss cease firing: but who will bid mad Insurrection cease firing? To Insurrection you cannot speak; neither can it, hydra-headed, hear. The dead and dying, by the hundred, lie all around; are borne bleeding through the streets, towards help; the sight of them, like a torch of the Furies, kindling Madness. Patriot Paris roars; as the bear bereaved of her whelps. On, ye Patriots: vengeance! victory or death! There are men seen, who rush on, armed only with walking-sticks. (Hist. Parl. ubi supra. Rapport du Captaine des Canonniers, Rapport du Commandant, &c. (Ibid. xvii. 300- 18).) Terror and Fury rule the hour.

The Swiss, pressed on from without, paralyzed from within, have ceased to shoot; but not to be shot. What shall they do? Desperate is the moment. Shelter or instant death: yet How? Where? One party flies out by the Rue de l’Echelle; is destroyed utterly, ‘en entier.’ A second, by the other side, throws itself into the Garden; ‘hurrying across a keen fusillade:’ rushes suppliant into the National Assembly; finds pity and refuge in the back benches there. The third, and largest, darts out in column, three hundred strong, towards the Champs Elysees: Ah, could we but reach Courbevoye, where other Swiss are! Wo! see, in such fusillade the column ‘soon breaks itself by diversity of opinion,’ into distracted segments, this way and that;–to escape in holes, to die fighting from street to street. The firing and murdering will not cease; not yet for long. The red Porters of Hotels are shot at, be they Suisse by nature, or Suisse only in name. The very Firemen, who pump and labour on that smoking Carrousel, are shot at; why should the Carrousel not burn? Some Swiss take refuge in private houses; find that mercy too does still dwell in the heart of man. The brave Marseillese are merciful, late so wroth; and labour to save. Journalist Gorsas pleads hard with enfuriated groups. Clemence, the Wine- merchant, stumbles forward to the Bar of the Assembly, a rescued Swiss in his hand; tells passionately how he rescued him with pain and peril, how he will henceforth support him, being childless himself; and falls a swoon round the poor Swiss’s neck: amid plaudits. But the most are butchered, and even mangled. Fifty (some say Fourscore) were marched as prisoners, by National Guards, to the Hotel-de-Ville: the ferocious people bursts through on them, in the Place de Greve; massacres them to the last man. ‘O Peuple, envy of the universe!’ Peuple, in mad Gaelic effervescence!

Surely few things in the history of carnage are painfuller. What ineffaceable red streak, flickering so sad in the memory, is that, of this poor column of red Swiss ‘breaking itself in the confusion of opinions;’ dispersing, into blackness and death! Honour to you, brave men; honourable pity, through long times! Not martyrs were ye; and yet almost more. He was no King of yours, this Louis; and he forsook you like a King of shreds and patches; ye were but sold to him for some poor sixpence a-day; yet would ye work for your wages, keep your plighted word. The work now was to die; and ye did it. Honour to you, O Kinsmen; and may the old Deutsch Biederheit and Tapferkeit, and Valour which is Worth and Truth be they Swiss, be they Saxon, fail in no age! Not bastards; true-born were these men; sons of the men of Sempach, of Murten, who knelt, but not to thee, O Burgundy!–Let the traveller, as he passes through Lucerne, turn aside to look a little at their monumental Lion; not for Thorwaldsen’s sake alone. Hewn out of living rock, the Figure rests there, by the still Lake-waters, in lullaby of distant-tinkling rance-des-vaches, the granite Mountains dumbly keeping watch all round; and, though inanimate, speaks.

Chapter 2.6.VIII.

Constitution burst in Pieces.

Thus is the Tenth of August won and lost. Patriotism reckons its slain by thousand on thousand, so deadly was the Swiss fire from these windows; but will finally reduce them to some Twelve hundred. No child’s play was it;– nor is it! Till two in the afternoon the massacring, the breaking and the burning has not ended; nor the loose Bedlam shut itself again.

How deluges of frantic Sansculottism roared through all passages of this Tuileries, ruthless in vengeance, how the Valets were butchered, hewn down; and Dame Campan saw the Marseilles sabre flash over her head, but the Blackbrowed said, “Va-t-en, Get thee gone,” and flung her from him unstruck: (Campan, ii. c. 21.) how in the cellars wine-bottles were broken, wine-butts were staved in and drunk; and, upwards to the very garrets, all windows tumbled out their precious royal furnitures; and, with gold mirrors, velvet curtains, down of ript feather-beds, and dead bodies of men, the Tuileries was like no Garden of the Earth:–all this let him who has a taste for it see amply in Mercier, in acrid Montgaillard, or Beaulieu of the Deux Amis. A hundred and eighty bodies of Swiss lie piled there; naked, unremoved till the second day. Patriotism has torn their red coats into snips; and marches with them at the Pike’s point: the ghastly bare corpses lie there, under the sun and under the stars; the curious of both sexes crowding to look. Which let not us do. Above a hundred carts heaped with Dead fare towards the Cemetery of Sainte-Madeleine; bewailed, bewept; for all had kindred, all had mothers, if not here, then there. It is one of those Carnage-fields, such as you read of by the name ‘Glorious Victory,’ brought home in this case to one’s own door.

But the blackbrowed Marseillese have struck down the Tyrant of the Chateau. He is struck down; low, and hardly to rise. What a moment for an august Legislative was that when the Hereditary Representative entered, under such circumstances; and the Grenadier, carrying the little Prince Royal out of the Press, set him down on the Assembly-table! A moment,–which one had to smooth off with oratory; waiting what the next would bring! Louis said few words: “He was come hither to prevent a great crime; he believed himself safer nowhere than here.’ President Vergniaud answered briefly, in vague oratory as we say, about “defence of Constituted Authorities,” about dying at our post. (Moniteur, Seance du 10 Aout 1792.) And so King Louis sat him down; first here, then there; for a difficulty arose, the Constitution not permitting us to debate while the King is present: finally he settles himself with his Family in the ‘Loge of the Logographe’ in the Reporter’s- Box of a Journalist: which is beyond the enchanted Constitutional Circuit, separated from it by a rail. To such Lodge of the Logographe, measuring some ten feet square, with a small closet at the entrance of it behind, is the King of broad France now limited: here can he and his sit pent, under the eyes of the world, or retire into their closet at intervals; for the space of sixteen hours. Such quiet peculiar moment has the Legislative lived to see.

But also what a moment was that other, few minutes later, when the three Marseillese cannon went off, and the Swiss rolling-fire and universal thunder, like the Crack of Doom, began to rattle! Honourable Members start to their feet; stray bullets singing epicedium even here, shivering in with window-glass and jingle. “No, this is our post; let us die here!” They sit therefore, like stone Legislators. But may not the Lodge of the Logographe be forced from behind? Tear down the railing that divides it from the enchanted Constitutional Circuit! Ushers tear and tug; his Majesty himself aiding from within: the railing gives way; Majesty and Legislative are united in place, unknown Destiny hovering over both.

Rattle, and again rattle, went the thunder; one breathless wide-eyed messenger rushing in after another: King’s orders to the Swiss went out. It was a fearful thunder; but, as we know, it ended. Breathless messengers, fugitive Swiss, denunciatory Patriots, trepidation; finally tripudiation!–Before four o’clock much has come and gone.

The New Municipals have come and gone; with Three Flags, Liberte, Egalite, Patrie, and the clang of vivats. Vergniaud, he who as President few hours ago talked of Dying for Constituted Authorities, has moved, as Committee- Reporter, that the Hereditary Representative be suspended; that a NATIONAL CONVENTION do forthwith assemble to say what further! An able Report: which the President must have had ready in his pocket? A President, in such cases, must have much ready, and yet not ready; and Janus-like look before and after.

King Louis listens to all; retires about midnight ‘to three little rooms on the upper floor;’ till the Luxembourg be prepared for him, and ‘the safeguard of the Nation.’ Safer if Brunswick were once here! Or, alas, not so safe? Ye hapless discrowned heads! Crowds came, next morning, to catch a climpse of them, in their three upper rooms. Montgaillard says the august Captives wore an air of cheerfulness, even of gaiety; that the Queen and Princess Lamballe, who had joined her over night, looked out of the open window, ‘shook powder from their hair on the people below, and laughed.’ (Montgaillard. ii. 135-167.) He is an acrid distorted man.

For the rest, one may guess that the Legislative, above all that the New Municipality continues busy. Messengers, Municipal or Legislative, and swift despatches rush off to all corners of France; full of triumph, blended with indignant wail, for Twelve hundred have fallen. France sends up its blended shout responsive; the Tenth of August shall be as the Fourteenth of July, only bloodier and greater. The Court has conspired? Poor Court: the Court has been vanquished; and will have both the scath to bear and the scorn. How the Statues of Kings do now all fall! Bronze Henri himself, though he wore a cockade once, jingles down from the Pont Neuf, where Patrie floats in Danger. Much more does Louis Fourteenth, from the Place Vendome, jingle down, and even breaks in falling. The curious can remark, written on his horse’s shoe: ’12 Aout 1692;’ a Century and a Day.

The Tenth of August was Friday. The week is not done, when our old Patriot Ministry is recalled, what of it can be got: strict Roland, Genevese Claviere; add heavy Monge the Mathematician, once a stone-hewer; and, for Minister of Justice,–Danton ‘led hither,’ as himself says, in one of his gigantic figures, ‘through the breach of Patriot cannon!’ These, under Legislative Committees, must rule the wreck as they can: confusedly enough; with an old Legislative waterlogged, with a New Municipality so brisk. But National Convention will get itself together; and then! Without delay, however, let a New Jury-Court and Criminal Tribunal be set up in Paris, to try the crimes and conspiracies of the Tenth. High Court of Orleans is distant, slow: the blood of the Twelve hundred Patriots, whatever become of other blood, shall be inquired after. Tremble, ye Criminals and Conspirators; the Minister of Justice is Danton! Robespierre too, after the victory, sits in the New Municipality; insurrectionary ‘improvised Municipality,’ which calls itself Council General of the Commune.

For three days now, Louis and his Family have heard the Legislative Debates in the Lodge of the Logographe; and retired nightly to their small upper rooms. The Luxembourg and safeguard of the Nation could not be got ready: nay, it seems the Luxembourg has too many cellars and issues; no Municipality can undertake to watch it. The compact Prison of the Temple, not so elegant indeed, were much safer. To the Temple, therefore! On Monday, 13th day of August 1792, in Mayor Petion’s carriage, Louis and his sad suspended Household, fare thither; all Paris out to look at them. As they pass through the Place Vendome Louis Fourteenth’s Statue lies broken on the ground. Petion is afraid the Queen’s looks may be thought scornful, and produce provocation; she casts down her eyes, and does not look at all. The ‘press is prodigious,’ but quiet: here and there, it shouts Vive la Nation; but for most part gazes in silence. French Royalty vanishes within the gates of the Temple: these old peaked Towers, like peaked Extinguisher or Bonsoir, do cover it up;–from which same Towers, poor Jacques Molay and his Templars were burnt out, by French Royalty, five centuries since. Such are the turns of Fate below. Foreign Ambassadors, English Lord Gower have all demanded passports; are driving indignantly towards their respective homes.

So, then, the Constitution is over? For ever and a day! Gone is that wonder of the Universe; First biennial Parliament, waterlogged, waits only till the Convention come; and will then sink to endless depths.

One can guess the silent rage of Old-Constituents, Constitution-builders, extinct Feuillants, men who thought the Constitution would march! Lafayette rises to the altitude of the situation; at the head of his Army. Legislative Commissioners are posting towards him and it, on the Northern Frontier, to congratulate and perorate: he orders the Municipality of Sedan to arrest these Commissioners, and keep them strictly in ward as Rebels, till he say further. The Sedan Municipals obey.

The Sedan Municipals obey: but the Soldiers of the Lafayette Army? The Soldiers of the Lafayette Army have, as all Soldiers have, a kind of dim feeling that they themselves are Sansculottes in buff belts; that the victory of the Tenth of August is also a victory for them. They will not rise and follow Lafayette to Paris; they will rise and send him thither! On the 18th, which is but next Saturday, Lafayette, with some two or three indignant Staff-officers, one of whom is Old-Constituent Alexandre de Lameth, having first put his Lines in what order he could,–rides swiftly over the Marches, towards Holland. Rides, alas, swiftly into the claws of Austrians! He, long-wavering, trembling on the verge of the horizon, has set, in Olmutz Dungeons; this History knows him no more. Adieu, thou Hero of two worlds; thinnest, but compact honour-worthy man! Through long rough night of captivity, through other tumults, triumphs and changes, thou wilt swing well, ‘fast-anchored to the Washington Formula;’ and be the Hero and Perfect-character, were it only of one idea. The Sedan Municipals repent and protest; the Soldiers shout Vive la Nation. Dumouriez Polymetis, from his Camp at Maulde, sees himself made Commander in Chief.

And, O Brunswick! what sort of ‘military execution’ will Paris merit now? Forward, ye well-drilled exterminatory men; with your artillery-waggons, and camp kettles jingling. Forward, tall chivalrous King of Prussia; fanfaronading Emigrants and war-god Broglie, ‘for some consolation to mankind,’ which verily is not without need of some.






Chapter 3.1.I.

The Improvised Commune.

Ye have roused her, then, ye Emigrants and Despots of the world; France is roused; long have ye been lecturing and tutoring this poor Nation, like cruel uncalled-for pedagogues, shaking over her your ferulas of fire and steel: it is long that ye have pricked and fillipped and affrighted her, there as she sat helpless in her dead cerements of a Constitution, you gathering in on her from all lands, with your armaments and plots, your invadings and truculent bullyings;–and lo now, ye have pricked her to the quick, and she is up, and her blood is up. The dead cerements are rent into cobwebs, and she fronts you in that terrible strength of Nature, which no man has measured, which goes down to Madness and Tophet: see now how ye will deal with her!

This month of September, 1792, which has become one of the memorable months of History, presents itself under two most diverse aspects; all of black on the one side, all of bright on the other. Whatsoever is cruel in the panic frenzy of Twenty-five million men, whatsoever is great in the simultaneous death-defiance of Twenty-five million men, stand here in abrupt contrast, near by one another. As indeed is usual when a man, how much more when a Nation of men, is hurled suddenly beyond the limits. For Nature, as green as she looks, rests everywhere on dread foundations, were we farther down; and Pan, to whose music the Nymphs dance, has a cry in him that can drive all men distracted.

Very frightful it is when a Nation, rending asunder its Constitutions and Regulations which were grown dead cerements for it, becomes transcendental; and must now seek its wild way through the New, Chaotic,–where Force is not yet distinguished into Bidden and Forbidden, but Crime and Virtue welter unseparated,–in that domain of what is called the Passions; of what we call the Miracles and the Portents! It is thus that, for some three years to come, we are to contemplate France, in this final Third Volume of our History. Sansculottism reigning in all its grandeur and in all its hideousness: the Gospel (God’s Message) of Man’s Rights, Man’s mights or strengths, once more preached irrefragably abroad; along with this, and still louder for the time, and fearfullest Devil’s-Message of Man’s weaknesses and sins;–and all on such a scale, and under such aspect: cloudy ‘death-birth of a world;’ huge smoke-cloud, streaked with rays as of heaven on one side; girt on the other as with hell-fire! History tells us many things: but for the last thousand years and more, what thing has she told us of a sort like this? Which therefore let us two, O Reader, dwell on willingly, for a little; and from its endless significance endeavour to extract what may, in present circumstances, be adapted for us.

It is unfortunate, though very natural, that the history of this Period has so generally been written in hysterics. Exaggeration abounds, execration, wailing; and, on the whole, darkness. But thus too, when foul old Rome had to be swept from the Earth, and those Northmen, and other horrid sons of Nature, came in, ‘swallowing formulas’ as the French now do, foul old Rome screamed execratively her loudest; so that, the true shape of many things is lost for us. Attila’s Huns had arms of such length that they could lift a stone without stooping. Into the body of the poor Tatars execrative Roman History intercalated an alphabetic letter; and so they continue Ta-r- tars, of fell Tartarean nature, to this day. Here, in like manner, search as we will in these multi-form innumerable French Records, darkness too frequently covers, or sheer distraction bewilders. One finds it difficult to imagine that the Sun shone in this September month, as he does in others. Nevertheless it is an indisputable fact that the Sun did shine; and there was weather and work,–nay, as to that, very bad weather for harvest work! An unlucky Editor may do his utmost; and after all, require allowances.

He had been a wise Frenchman, who, looking, close at hand, on this waste aspect of a France all stirring and whirling, in ways new, untried, had been able to discern where the cardinal movement lay; which tendency it was that had the rule and primary direction of it then! But at forty-four years’ distance, it is different. To all men now, two cardinal movements or grand tendencies, in the September whirl, have become discernible enough: that stormful effluence towards the Frontiers; that frantic crowding towards Townhouses and Council-halls in the interior. Wild France dashes, in desperate death-defiance, towards the Frontiers, to defend itself from foreign Despots; crowds towards Townhalls and Election Committee-rooms, to defend itself from domestic Aristocrats. Let the Reader conceive well these two cardinal movements; and what side-currents and endless vortexes might depend on these. He shall judge too, whether, in such sudden wreckage of all old Authorities, such a pair of cardinal movements, half-frantic in themselves, could be of soft nature? As in dry Sahara, when the winds waken, and lift and winnow the immensity of sand! The air itself (Travellers say) is a dim sand-air; and dim looming through it, the wonderfullest uncertain colonnades of Sand-Pillars rush whirling from this side and from that, like so many mad Spinning-Dervishes, of a hundred feet in stature; and dance their huge Desert-waltz there!–

Nevertheless in all human movements, were they but a day old, there is order, or the beginning of order. Consider two things in this Sahara-waltz of the French Twenty-five millions; or rather one thing, and one hope of a thing: the Commune (Municipality) of Paris, which is already here; the National Convention, which shall in few weeks be here. The Insurrectionary Commune, which improvising itself on the eve of the Tenth of August, worked this ever-memorable Deliverance by explosion, must needs rule over it,– till the Convention meet. This Commune, which they may well call a spontaneous or ‘improvised’ Commune, is, for the present, sovereign of France. The Legislative, deriving its authority from the Old, how can it now have authority when the Old is exploded by insurrection? As a floating piece of wreck, certain things, persons and interests may still cleave to it: volunteer defenders, riflemen or pikemen in green uniform, or red nightcap (of bonnet rouge), defile before it daily, just on the wing towards Brunswick; with the brandishing of arms; always with some touch of Leonidas-eloquence, often with a fire of daring that threatens to outherod Herod,–the Galleries, ‘especially the Ladies, never done with applauding.’ (Moore’s Journal, i. 85.) Addresses of this or the like sort can be received and answered, in the hearing of all France: the Salle de Manege is still useful as a place of proclamation. For which use, indeed, it now chiefly serves. Vergniaud delivers spirit-stirring orations; but always with a prophetic sense only, looking towards the coming Convention. “Let our memory perish,” cries Vergniaud, “but let France be free!”–whereupon they all start to their feet, shouting responsive: “Yes, yes, perisse notre memoire, pourvu que la France soit libre!” (Hist. Parl. xvii. 467.) Disfrocked Chabot abjures Heaven that at least we may “have done with Kings;” and fast as powder under spark, we all blaze up once more, and with waved hats shout and swear: “Yes, nous le jurons; plus de roi!” (Ibid. xvii. 437.) All which, as a method of proclamation, is very convenient.

For the rest, that our busy Brissots, rigorous Rolands, men who once had authority and now have less and less; men who love law, and will have even an Explosion explode itself, as far as possible, according to rule, do find this state of matters most unofficial unsatisfactory,–is not to be denied. Complaints are made; attempts are made: but without effect. The attempts even recoil; and must be desisted from, for fear of worse: the sceptre is departed from this Legislative once and always. A poor Legislative, so hard was fate, had let itself be hand-gyved, nailed to the rock like an Andromeda, and could only wail there to the Earth and Heavens; miraculously a winged Perseus (or Improvised Commune) has dawned out of the void Blue, and cut her loose: but whether now is it she, with her softness and musical speech, or is it he, with his hardness and sharp falchion and aegis, that shall have casting vote? Melodious agreement of vote; this were the rule! But if otherwise, and votes diverge, then surely Andromeda’s part is to weep,–if possible, tears of gratitude alone.

Be content, O France, with this Improvised Commune, such as it is! It has the implements, and has the hands: the time is not long. On Sunday the twenty-sixth of August, our Primary Assemblies shall meet, begin electing of Electors; on Sunday the second of September (may the day prove lucky!) the Electors shall begin electing Deputies; and so an all-healing National Convention will come together. No marc d’argent, or distinction of Active and Passive, now insults the French Patriot: but there is universal suffrage, unlimited liberty to choose. Old-constituents, Present- Legislators, all France is eligible. Nay, it may be said, the flower of all the Universe (de l’Univers) is eligible; for in these very days we, by act of Assembly, ‘naturalise’ the chief Foreign Friends of humanity: Priestley, burnt out for us in Birmingham; Klopstock, a genius of all countries; Jeremy Bentham, useful Jurisconsult; distinguished Paine, the rebellious Needleman;–some of whom may be chosen. As is most fit; for a Convention of this kind. In a word, Seven Hundred and Forty-five unshackled sovereigns, admired of the universe, shall replace this hapless impotency of a Legislative,–out of which, it is likely, the best members, and the Mountain in mass, may be re-elected. Roland is getting ready the Salles des Cent Suisses, as preliminary rendezvous for them; in that void Palace of the Tuileries, now void and National, and not a Palace, but a Caravansera.

As for the Spontaneous Commune, one may say that there never was on Earth a stranger Town-Council. Administration, not of a great City, but of a great Kingdom in a state of revolt and frenzy, this is the task that has fallen to it. Enrolling, provisioning, judging; devising, deciding, doing, endeavouring to do: one wonders the human brain did not give way under all this, and reel. But happily human brains have such a talent of taking up simply what they can carry, and ignoring all the rest; leaving all the rest, as if it were not there! Whereby somewhat is verily shifted for; and much shifts for itself. This Improvised Commune walks along, nothing doubting; promptly making front, without fear or flurry, at what moment soever, to the wants of the moment. Were the world on fire, one improvised tricolor Municipal has but one life to lose. They are the elixir and chosen-men of Sansculottic Patriotism; promoted to the forlorn-hope; unspeakable victory or a high gallows, this is their meed. They sit there, in the Townhall, these astonishing tricolor Municipals; in Council General; in Committee of Watchfulness (de Surveillance, which will even become de Salut Public, of Public Salvation), or what other Committees and Sub- committees are needful;–managing infinite Correspondence; passing infinite Decrees: one hears of a Decree being ‘the ninety-eighth of the day.’ Ready! is the word. They carry loaded pistols in their pocket; also some improvised luncheon by way of meal. Or indeed, by and by, traiteurs contract for the supply of repasts, to be eaten on the spot,–too lavishly, as it was afterwards grumbled. Thus they: girt in their tricolor sashes; Municipal note-paper in the one hand, fire-arms in other. They have their Agents out all over France; speaking in townhouses, market-places, highways and byways; agitating, urging to arm; all hearts tingling to hear. Great is the fire of Anti-Aristocrat eloquence: nay some, as Bibliopolic Momoro, seem to hint afar off at something which smells of Agrarian Law, and a surgery of the overswoln dropsical strong-box itself;–whereat indeed the bold Bookseller runs risk of being hanged, and Ex-Constituent Buzot has to smuggle him off. (Memoires de Buzot (Paris, 1823), p. 88.)

Governing Persons, were they never so insignificant intrinsically, have for most part plenty of Memoir-writers; and the curious, in after-times, can learn minutely their goings out and comings in: which, as men always love to know their fellow-men in singular situations, is a comfort, of its kind. Not so, with these Governing Persons, now in the Townhall! And yet what most original fellow-man, of the Governing sort, high-chancellor, king, kaiser, secretary of the home or the foreign department, ever shewed such a phasis as Clerk Tallien, Procureur Manuel, future Procureur Chaumette, here in this Sand-waltz of the Twenty-five millions, now do? O brother mortals,–thou Advocate Panis, friend of Danton, kinsman of Santerre; Engraver Sergent, since called Agate Sergent; thou Huguenin, with the tocsin in thy heart! But, as Horace says, they wanted the sacred memoir- writer (sacro vate); and we know them not. Men bragged of August and its doings, publishing them in high places; but of this September none now or afterwards would brag. The September world remains dark, fuliginous, as Lapland witch-midnight;–from which, indeed, very strange shapes will evolve themselves.

Understand this, however: that incorruptible Robespierre is not wanting, now when the brunt of battle is past; in a stealthy way the seagreen man sits there, his feline eyes excellent in the twilight. Also understand this other, a single fact worth many: that Marat is not only there, but has a seat of honour assigned him, a tribune particuliere. How changed for Marat; lifted from his dark cellar into this luminous ‘peculiar tribune!’ All dogs have their day; even rabid dogs. Sorrowful, incurable Philoctetes Marat; without whom Troy cannot be taken! Hither, as a main element of the Governing Power, has Marat been raised. Royalist types, for we have ‘suppressed’ innumerable Durosoys, Royous, and even clapt them in prison,– Royalist types replace the worn types often snatched from a People’s-Friend in old ill days. In our ‘peculiar tribune’ we write and redact: Placards, of due monitory terror; Amis-du-Peuple (now under the name of Journal de la Republique); and sit obeyed of men. ‘Marat,’ says one, ‘is the conscience of the Hotel-de-Ville.’ Keeper, as some call it, of the Sovereign’s Conscience;–which surely, in such hands, will not lie hid in a napkin!

Two great movements, as we said, agitate this distracted National mind: a rushing against domestic Traitors, a rushing against foreign Despots. Mad movements both, restrainable by no known rule; strongest passions of human nature driving them on: love, hatred; vengeful sorrow, braggart Nationality also vengeful,–and pale Panic over all! Twelve Hundred slain Patriots, do they not, from their dark catacombs there, in Death’s dumb- shew, plead (O ye Legislators) for vengeance? Such was the destructive rage of these Aristocrats on the ever-memorable Tenth. Nay, apart from vengeance, and with an eye to Public Salvation only, are there not still, in this Paris (in round numbers) ‘thirty thousand Aristocrats,’ of the most malignant humour; driven now to their last trump-card?–Be patient, ye Patriots: our New High Court, ‘Tribunal of the Seventeenth,’ sits; each Section has sent Four Jurymen; and Danton, extinguishing improper judges, improper practices wheresoever found, is ‘the same man you have known at the Cordeliers.’ With such a Minister of Justice shall not Justice be done?–Let it be swift then, answers universal Patriotism; swift and sure!- –

One would hope, this Tribunal of the Seventeenth is swifter than most. Already on the 21st, while our Court is but four days old, Collenot d’Angremont, ‘the Royal enlister’ (crimp, embaucheur) dies by torch-light. For, lo, the great Guillotine, wondrous to behold, now stands there; the Doctor’s Idea has become Oak and Iron; the huge cyclopean axe ‘falls in its grooves like the ram of the Pile-engine,’ swiftly snuffing out the light of men?’ ‘Mais vous, Gualches, what have you invented?’ This?–Poor old Laporte, Intendant of the Civil List, follows next; quietly, the mild old man. Then Durosoy, Royalist Placarder, ‘cashier of all the Anti- Revolutionists of the interior:’ he went rejoicing; said that a Royalist like him ought to die, of all days on this day, the 25th or Saint Louis’s Day. All these have been tried, cast,–the Galleries shouting approval; and handed over to the Realised Idea, within a week. Besides those whom we have acquitted, the Galleries murmuring, and have dismissed; or even have personally guarded back to Prison, as the Galleries took to howling, and even to menacing and elbowing. (Moore’s Journal, i. 159-168.) Languid this Tribunal is not.

Nor does the other movement slacken; the rushing against foreign Despots. Strong forces shall meet in death-grip; drilled Europe against mad undrilled France; and singular conclusions will be tried.–Conceive therefore, in some faint degree, the tumult that whirls in this France, in this Paris! Placards from Section, from Commune, from Legislative, from the individual Patriot, flame monitory on all walls. Flags of Danger to Fatherland wave at the Hotel-de-Ville; on the Pont Neuf–over the prostrate Statues of Kings. There is universal enlisting, urging to enlist; there is tearful-boastful leave-taking; irregular marching on the Great North- Eastern Road. Marseillese sing their wild To Arms, in chorus; which now all men, all women and children have learnt, and sing chorally, in Theatres, Boulevards, Streets; and the heart burns in every bosom: Aux Armes! Marchons!–Or think how your Aristocrats are skulking into covert; how Bertrand-Moleville lies hidden in some garret ‘in Aubry-le-boucher Street, with a poor surgeon who had known me;’ Dame de Stael has secreted her Narbonne, not knowing what in the world to make of him. The Barriers are sometimes open, oftenest shut; no passports to be had; Townhall Emissaries, with the eyes and claws of falcons, flitting watchful on all points of your horizon! In two words: Tribunal of the Seventeenth, busy under howling Galleries; Prussian Brunswick, ‘over a space of forty miles,’ with his war-tumbrils, and sleeping thunders, and Briarean ‘sixty-six thousand’ (See Toulongeon, Hist. de France. ii. c. 5.) right-hands,– coming, coming!

O Heavens, in these latter days of August, he is come! Durosoy was not yet guillotined when news had come that the Prussians were harrying and ravaging about Metz; in some four days more, one hears that Longwi, our first strong-place on the borders, is fallen ‘in fifteen hours.’ Quick, therefore, O ye improvised Municipals; quick, and ever quicker!–The improvised Municipals make front to this also. Enrolment urges itself; and clothing, and arming. Our very officers have now ‘wool epaulettes;’ for it is the reign of Equality, and also of Necessity. Neither do men now monsieur and sir one another; citoyen (citizen) were suitabler; we even say thou, as ‘the free peoples of Antiquity did:’ so have Journals and the Improvised Commune suggested; which shall be well.

Infinitely better, meantime, could we suggest, where arms are to be found. For the present, our Citoyens chant chorally To Arms; and have no arms! Arms are searched for; passionately; there is joy over any musket. Moreover, entrenchments shall be made round Paris: on the slopes of Montmartre men dig and shovel; though even the simple suspect this to be desperate. They dig; Tricolour sashes speak encouragement and well-speed- ye. Nay finally ‘twelve Members of the Legislative go daily,’ not to encourage only, but to bear a hand, and delve: it was decreed with acclamation. Arms shall either be provided; or else the ingenuity of man crack itself, and become fatuity. Lean Beaumarchais, thinking to serve the Fatherland, and do a stroke of trade, in the old way, has commissioned sixty thousand stand of good arms out of Holland: would to Heaven, for Fatherland’s sake and his, they were come! Meanwhile railings are torn up; hammered into pikes: chains themselves shall be welded together, into pikes. The very coffins of the dead are raised; for melting into balls. All Church-bells must down into the furnace to make cannon; all Church- plate into the mint to make money. Also behold the fair swan-bevies of Citoyennes that have alighted in Churches, and sit there with swan-neck,– sewing tents and regimentals! Nor are Patriotic Gifts wanting, from those that have aught left; nor stingily given: the fair Villaumes, mother and daughter, Milliners in the Rue St.-Martin, give ‘a silver thimble, and a coin of fifteen sous (sevenpence halfpenny),’ with other similar effects; and offer, at least the mother does, to mount guard. Men who have not even a thimble, give a thimbleful,–were it but of invention. One Citoyen has wrought out the scheme of a wooden cannon; which France shall exclusively profit by, in the first instance. It is to be made of staves, by the coopers;–of almost boundless calibre, but uncertain as to strength! Thus they: hammering, scheming, stitching, founding, with all their heart and with all their soul. Two bells only are to remain in each Parish,–for tocsin and other purposes.

But mark also, precisely while the Prussian batteries were playing their briskest at Longwi in the North-East, and our dastardly Lavergne saw nothing for it but surrender,–south-westward, in remote, patriarchal La Vendee, that sour ferment about Nonjuring Priests, after long working, is ripe, and explodes: at the wrong moment for us! And so we have ‘eight thousand Peasants at Chatillon-sur-Sevre,’ who will not be ballotted for soldiers; will not have their Curates molested. To whom Bonchamps, Laroche-jaquelins, and Seigneurs enough, of a Royalist turn, will join themselves; with Stofflets and Charettes; with Heroes and Chouan Smugglers; and the loyal warmth of a simple people, blown into flame and fury by theological and seignorial bellows! So that there shall be fighting from behind ditches, death-volleys bursting out of thickets and ravines of rivers; huts burning, feet of the pitiful women hurrying to refuge with their children on their back; seedfields fallow, whitened with human bones;–‘eighty thousand, of all ages, ranks, sexes, flying at once across the Loire,’ with wail borne far on the winds: and, in brief, for years coming, such a suite of scenes as glorious war has not offered in these late ages, not since our Albigenses and Crusadings were over,–save indeed some chance Palatinate, or so, we might have to ‘burn,’ by way of exception. The ‘eight thousand at Chatillon’ will be got dispelled for the moment; the fire scattered, not extinguished. To the dints and bruises of outward battle there is to be added henceforth a deadlier internal gangrene.

This rising in La Vendee reports itself at Paris on Wednesday the 29th of August;–just as we had got our Electors elected; and, in spite of Brunswick’s and Longwi’s teeth, were hoping still to have a National Convention, if it pleased Heaven. But indeed, otherwise, this Wednesday is to be regarded as one of the notablest Paris had yet seen: gloomy tidings come successively, like Job’s messengers; are met by gloomy answers. Of Sardinia rising to invade the South-East, and Spain threatening the South, we do not speak. But are not the Prussians masters of Longwi (treacherously yielded, one would say); and preparing to besiege Verdun? Clairfait and his Austrians are encompassing Thionville; darkening the North. Not Metz-land now, but the Clermontais is getting harried; flying hulans and huzzars have been seen on the Chalons Road, almost as far as Sainte-Menehould. Heart, ye Patriots, if ye lose heart, ye lose all!

It is not without a dramatic emotion that one reads in the Parliamentary Debates of this Wednesday evening ‘past seven o’clock,’ the scene with the military fugitives from Longwi. Wayworn, dusty, disheartened, these poor men enter the Legislative, about sunset or after; give the most pathetic detail of the frightful pass they were in:–Prussians billowing round by the myriad, volcanically spouting fire for fifteen hours: we, scattered sparse on the ramparts, hardly a cannoneer to two guns; our dastard Commandant Lavergne no where shewing face; the priming would not catch; there was no powder in the bombs,–what could we do? “Mourir! Die!” answer prompt voices; (Hist. Parl. xvii. 148.) and the dusty fugitives must shrink elsewhither for comfort.–Yes, Mourir, that is now the word. Be Longwi a proverb and a hissing among French strong-places: let it (says the Legislative) be obliterated rather, from the shamed face of the Earth;- -and so there has gone forth Decree, that Longwi shall, were the Prussians once out of it, ‘be rased,’ and exist only as ploughed ground.

Nor are the Jacobins milder; as how could they, the flower of Patriotism? Poor Dame Lavergne, wife of the poor Commandant, took her parasol one evening, and escorted by her Father came over to the Hall of the mighty Mother; and ‘reads a memoir tending to justify the Commandant of Longwi.’ Lafarge, President, makes answer: “Citoyenne, the Nation will judge Lavergne; the Jacobins are bound to tell him the truth. He would have ended his course there (termine sa carriere), if he had loved the honour of his country.” (Ibid. xix. 300.)

Chapter 3.1.II.


But better than raising of Longwi, or rebuking poor dusty soldiers or soldiers’ wives, Danton had come over, last night, and demanded a Decree to search for arms, since they were not yielded voluntarily. Let ‘Domiciliary visits,’ with rigour of authority, be made to this end. To search for arms; for horses,–Aristocratism rolls in its carriage, while Patriotism cannot trail its cannon. To search generally for munitions of war, ‘in the houses of persons suspect,’–and even, if it seem proper, to seize and imprison the suspect persons themselves! In the Prisons, their plots will be harmless; in the Prisons, they will be as hostages for us, and not without use. This Decree the energetic Minister of Justice demanded, last night, and got; and this same night it is to be executed; it is being executed, at the moment when these dusty soldiers get saluted with Mourir. Two thousand stand of arms, as they count, are foraged in this way; and some four hundred head of new Prisoners; and, on the whole, such a terror and damp is struck through the Aristocrat heart, as all but Patriotism, and even Patriotism were it out of this agony, might pity. Yes, Messieurs! if Brunswick blast Paris to ashes, he probably will blast the Prisons of Paris too: pale Terror, if we have got it, we will also give it, and the depth of horrors that lie in it; the same leaky bottom, in these wild waters, bears us all.

One can judge what stir there was now among the ‘thirty thousand Royalists:’ how the Plotters, or the accused of Plotting, shrank each closer into his lurking-place,–like Bertrand Moleville, looking eager towards Longwi, hoping the weather would keep fair. Or how they dressed themselves in valet’s clothes, like Narbonne, and ‘got to England as Dr. Bollman’s famulus:’ how Dame de Stael bestirred herself, pleading with Manuel as a Sister in Literature, pleading even with Clerk Tallien; a pray to nameless chagrins! (De Stael, Considerations sur la Revolution, ii. 67- 81.) Royalist Peltier, the Pamphleteer, gives a touching Narrative (not deficient in height of colouring) of the terrors of that night. From five in the afternoon, a great City is struck suddenly silent; except for the beating of drums, for the tramp of marching feet; and ever and anon the dread thunder of the knocker at some door, a Tricolor Commissioner with his blue Guards (black-guards!) arriving. All Streets are vacant, says Peltier; beset by Guards at each end: all Citizens are ordered to be within doors. On the River float sentinal barges, lest we escape by water: the Barriers hermetically closed. Frightful! The sun shines; serenely westering, in smokeless mackerel-sky: Paris is as if sleeping, as if dead:–Paris is holding its breath, to see what stroke will fall on it. Poor Peltier! Acts of Apostles, and all jocundity of Leading-Articles, are gone out, and it is become bitter earnest instead; polished satire changed now into coarse pike-points (hammered out of railing); all logic reduced to this one primitive thesis, An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth!– Peltier, dolefully aware of it, ducks low; escapes unscathed to England; to urge there the inky war anew; to have Trial by Jury, in due season, and deliverance by young Whig eloquence, world-celebrated for a day.

Of ‘thirty thousand,’ naturally, great multitudes were left unmolested: but, as we said, some four hundred, designated as ‘persons suspect,’ were seized; and an unspeakable terror fell on all. Wo to him who is guilty of Plotting, of Anticivism, Royalism, Feuillantism; who, guilty or not guilty, has an enemy in his Section to call him guilty! Poor old M. de Cazotte is seized, his young loved Daughter with him, refusing to quit him. Why, O Cazotte, wouldst thou quit romancing, and Diable Amoureux, for such reality as this? Poor old M. de Sombreuil, he of the Invalides, is seized: a man seen askance, by Patriotism ever since the Bastille days: whom also a fond Daughter will not quit. With young tears hardly suppressed, and old wavering weakness rousing itself once more–O my brothers, O my sisters!

The famed and named go; the nameless, if they have an accuser. Necklace Lamotte’s Husband is in these Prisons (she long since squelched on the London Pavements); but gets delivered. Gross de Morande, of the Courier de l’Europe, hobbles distractedly to and fro there: but they let him hobble out; on right nimble crutches;–his hour not being yet come. Advocate Maton de la Varenne, very weak in health, is snatched off from mother and kin; Tricolor Rossignol (journeyman goldsmith and scoundrel lately, a risen man now) remembers an old Pleading of Maton’s! Jourgniac de Saint-Meard goes; the brisk frank soldier: he was in the Mutiny of Nancy, in that ‘effervescent Regiment du Roi,’–on the wrong side. Saddest of all: Abbe Sicard goes; a Priest who could not take the Oath, but who could teach the Deaf and Dumb: in his Section one man, he says, had a grudge at him; one man, at the fit hour, launches an arrest against him; which hits. In the Arsenal quarter, there are dumb hearts making wail, with signs, with wild gestures; he their miraculous healer and speech-bringer is rapt away.

What with the arrestments on this night of the Twenty-ninth, what with those that have gone on more or less, day and night, ever since the Tenth, one may fancy what the Prisons now were. Crowding and Confusion; jostle, hurry, vehemence and terror! Of the poor Queen’s Friends, who had followed her to the Temple and been committed elsewhither to Prison, some, as Governess de Tourzelle, are to be let go: one, the poor Princess de Lamballe, is not let go; but waits in the strong-rooms of La Force there, what will betide further.

Among so many hundreds whom the launched arrest hits, who are rolled off to Townhall or Section-hall, to preliminary Houses of detention, and hurled in thither, as into cattle-pens, we must mention one other: Caron de Beaumarchais, Author of Figaro; vanquisher of Maupeou Parlements and Goezman helldogs; once numbered among the demigods; and now–? We left him in his culminant state; what dreadful decline is this, when we again catch a glimpse of him! ‘At midnight’ (it was but the 12th of August yet), ‘the servant, in his shirt,’ with wide-staring eyes, enters your room:– Monsieur, rise; all the people are come to seek you; they are knocking, like to break in the door! ‘And they were in fact knocking in a terrible manner (d’une facon terrible). I fling on my coat, forgetting even the waistcoat, nothing on my feet but slippers; and say to him’–And he, alas, answers mere negatory incoherences, panic interjections. And through the shutters and crevices, in front or rearward, the dull street-lamps disclose only streetfuls of haggard countenances; clamorous, bristling with pikes: and you rush distracted for an outlet, finding none;–and have to take refuge in the crockery-press, down stairs; and stand there, palpitating in that imperfect costume, lights dancing past your key-hole, tramp of feet overhead, and the tumult of Satan, ‘for four hours and more!’ And old ladies, of the quarter, started up (as we hear next morning); rang for their Bonnes and cordial-drops, with shrill interjections: and old gentlemen, in their shirts, ‘leapt garden-walls;’ flying, while none pursued; one of whom unfortunately broke his leg. (Beaumarchais’ Narrative, Memoires sur les Prisons (Paris, 1823), i. 179-90.) Those sixty thousand stand of Dutch arms (which never arrive), and the bold stroke of trade, have turned out so ill!–

Beaumarchais escaped for this time; but not for the next time, ten days after. On the evening of the Twenty-ninth he is still in that chaos of the Prisons, in saddest, wrestling condition; unable to get justice, even to get audience; ‘Panis scratching his head’ when you speak to him, and making off. Nevertheless let the lover of Figaro know that Procureur Manuel, a Brother in Literature, found him, and delivered him once more. But how the lean demigod, now shorn of his splendour, had to lurk in barns, to roam over harrowed fields, panting for life; and to wait under eavesdrops, and sit in darkness ‘on the Boulevard amid paving-stones and boulders,’ longing for one word of any Minister, or Minister’s Clerk, about those accursed Dutch muskets, and getting none,–with heart fuming in spleen, and terror, and suppressed canine-madness: alas, how the swift sharp hound, once fit to be Diana’s, breaks his old teeth now, gnawing mere whinstones; and must ‘fly to England;’ and, returning from England, must creep into the corner, and lie quiet, toothless (moneyless),–all this let the lover of Figaro fancy, and weep for. We here, without weeping, not without sadness, wave the withered tough fellow-mortal our farewell. His Figaro has returned to the French stage; nay is, at this day, sometimes named the best piece there. And indeed, so long as Man’s Life can ground itself only on artificiality and aridity; each new Revolt and Change of Dynasty turning up only a new stratum of dry rubbish, and no soil yet coming to view,–may it not be good to protest against such a Life, in many ways, and even in the Figaro way?

Chapter 3.1.III.


Such are the last days of August, 1792; days gloomy, disastrous, and of evil omen. What will become of this poor France? Dumouriez rode from the Camp of Maulde, eastward to Sedan, on Tuesday last, the 28th of the month; reviewed that so-called Army left forlorn there by Lafayette: the forlorn soldiers gloomed on him; were heard growling on him, “This is one of them, ce b–e la, that made War be declared.” (Dumouriez, Memoires, ii. 383.) Unpromising Army! Recruits flow in, filtering through Depot after Depot; but recruits merely: in want of all; happy if they have so much as arms. And Longwi has fallen basely; and Brunswick, and the Prussian King, with his sixty thousand, will beleaguer Verdun; and Clairfait and Austrians press deeper in, over the Northern marches: ‘a hundred and fifty thousand’ as fear counts, ‘eighty thousand’ as the returns shew, do hem us in; Cimmerian Europe behind them. There is Castries-and-Broglie chivalry; Royalist foot ‘in red facing and nankeen trousers;’ breathing death and the gallows.

And lo, finally! at Verdun on Sunday the 2d of September 1792, Brunswick is here. With his King and sixty thousand, glittering over the heights, from beyond the winding Meuse River, he looks down on us, on our ‘high citadel’ and all our confectionery-ovens (for we are celebrated for confectionery) has sent courteous summons, in order to spare the effusion of blood!– Resist him to the death? Every day of retardation precious? How, O General Beaurepaire (asks the amazed Municipality) shall we resist him? We, the Verdun Municipals, see no resistance possible. Has he not sixty thousand, and artillery without end? Retardation, Patriotism is good; but so likewise is peaceable baking of pastry, and sleeping in whole skin.– Hapless Beaurepaire stretches out his hands, and pleads passionately, in the name of country, honour, of Heaven and of Earth: to no purpose. The Municipals have, by law, the power of ordering it;–with an Army officered by Royalism or Crypto-Royalism, such a Law seemed needful: and they order it, as pacific Pastrycooks, not as heroic Patriots would,–To surrender! Beaurepaire strides home, with long steps: his valet, entering the room, sees him ‘writing eagerly,’ and withdraws. His valet hears then, in a few minutes, the report of a pistol: Beaurepaire is lying dead; his eager writing had been a brief suicidal farewell. In this manner died Beaurepaire, wept of France; buried in the Pantheon, with honourable pension to his Widow, and for Epitaph these words, He chose Death rather than yield to Despots. The Prussians, descending from the heights, are peaceable masters of Verdun.

And so Brunswick advances, from stage to stage: who shall now stay him,– covering forty miles of country? Foragers fly far; the villages of the North-East are harried; your Hessian forager has only ‘three sous a day:’ the very Emigrants, it is said, will take silver-plate,–by way of revenge. Clermont, Sainte-Menehould, Varennes especially, ye Towns of the Night of Spurs; tremble ye! Procureur Sausse and the Magistracy of Varennes have fled; brave Boniface Le Blanc of the Bras d’Or is to the woods: Mrs. Le Blanc, a young woman fair to look upon, with her young infant, has to live in greenwood, like a beautiful Bessy Bell of Song, her bower thatched with rushes;–catching premature rheumatism. (Helen Maria Williams, Letters from France (London, 1791-93), iii. 96.) Clermont may ring the tocsin now, and illuminate itself! Clermont lies at the foot of its Cow (or Vache, so they name that Mountain), a prey to the Hessian spoiler: its fair women, fairer than most, are robbed: not of life, or what is dearer, yet of all that is cheaper and portable; for Necessity, on three half-pence a-day, has no law. At Saint-Menehould, the enemy has been expected more than once,– our Nationals all turning out in arms; but was not yet seen. Post-master Drouet, he is not in the woods, but minding his Election; and will sit in the Convention, notable King-taker, and bold Old-Dragoon as he is.

Thus on the North-East all roams and runs; and on a set day, the date of which is irrecoverable by History, Brunswick ‘has engaged to dine in Paris,’–the Powers willing. And at Paris, in the centre, it is as we saw; and in La Vendee, South-West, it is as we saw; and Sardinia is in the South-East, and Spain is in the South, and Clairfait with Austria and sieged Thionville is in the North;–and all France leaps distracted, like the winnowed Sahara waltzing in sand-colonnades! More desperate posture no country ever stood in. A country, one would say, which the Majesty of Prussia (if it so pleased him) might partition, and clip in pieces, like a Poland; flinging the remainder to poor Brother Louis,–with directions to keep it quiet, or else we will keep it for him!

Or perhaps the Upper Powers, minded that a new Chapter in Universal History shall begin here and not further on, may have ordered it all otherwise? In that case, Brunswick will not dine in Paris on the set day; nor, indeed, one knows not when!–Verily, amid this wreckage, where poor France seems grinding itself down to dust and bottomless ruin, who knows what miraculous salient-point of Deliverance and New-life may have already come into existence there; and be already working there, though as yet human eye discern it not! On the night of that same twenty-eighth of August, the unpromising Review-day in Sedan, Dumouriez assembles a Council of War at his lodgings there. He spreads out the map of this forlorn war-district: Prussians here, Austrians there; triumphant both, with broad highway, and little hinderance, all the way to Paris; we, scattered helpless, here and here: what to advise? The Generals, strangers to Dumouriez, look blank enough; know not well what to advise,–if it be not retreating, and retreating till our recruits accumulate; till perhaps the chapter of chances turn up some leaf for us; or Paris, at all events, be sacked at the latest day possible. The Many-counselled, who ‘has not closed an eye for three nights,’ listens with little speech to these long cheerless speeches; merely watching the speaker that he may know him; then wishes them all good-night;–but beckons a certain young Thouvenot, the fire of whose looks had pleased him, to wait a moment. Thouvenot waits: Voila, says Polymetis, pointing to the map! That is the Forest of Argonne, that long stripe of rocky Mountain and wild Wood; forty miles long; with but five, or say even three practicable Passes through it: this, for they have forgotten it, might one not still seize, though Clairfait sits so nigh? Once seized;–the Champagne called the Hungry (or worse, Champagne Pouilleuse) on their side of it; the fat Three Bishoprics, and willing France, on ours; and the Equinox-rains not far;–this Argonne ‘might be the Thermopylae of France!’ (Dumouriez, ii. 391.)

O brisk Dumouriez Polymetis with thy teeming head, may the gods grant it!– Polymetis, at any rate, folds his map together, and flings himself on bed; resolved to try, on the morrow morning. With astucity, with swiftness, with audacity! One had need to be a lion-fox, and have luck on one’s side.

Chapter 3.1.IV.

September in Paris.

At Paris, by lying Rumour which proved prophetic and veridical, the fall of Verdun was known some hours before it happened. It is Sunday the second of September; handiwork hinders not the speculations of the mind. Verdun gone (though some still deny it); the Prussians in full march, with gallows- ropes, with fire and faggot! Thirty thousand Aristocrats within our own walls; and but the merest quarter-tithe of them yet put in Prison! Nay there goes a word that even these will revolt. Sieur Jean Julien, wagoner of Vaugirard, (Moore, i. 178.) being set in the Pillory last Friday, took all at once to crying, That he would be well revenged ere long; that the King’s Friends in Prison would burst out; force the Temple, set the King on horseback; and, joined by the unimprisoned, ride roughshod over us all. This the unfortunate wagoner of Vaugirard did bawl, at the top of his lungs: when snatched off to the Townhall, he persisted in it, still bawling; yesternight, when they guillotined him, he died with the froth of it on his lips. (Hist. Parl. xvii. 409.) For a man’s mind, padlocked to the Pillory, may go mad; and all men’s minds may go mad; and ‘believe him,’ as the frenetic will do, ‘because it is impossible.’

So that apparently the knot of the crisis, and last agony of France is come? Make front to this, thou Improvised Commune, strong Danton, whatsoever man is strong! Readers can judge whether the Flag of Country in Danger flapped soothing or distractively on the souls of men, that day.

But the Improvised Commune, but strong Danton is not wanting, each after his kind. Huge Placards are getting plastered to the walls; at two o’clock the stormbell shall be sounded, the alarm-cannon fired; all Paris shall rush to the Champ-de-Mars, and have itself enrolled. Unarmed, truly, and undrilled; but desperate, in the strength of frenzy. Haste, ye men; ye very women, offer to mount guard and shoulder the brown musket: weak clucking-hens, in a state of desperation, will fly at the muzzle of the mastiff, and even conquer him,–by vehemence of character! Terror itself, when once grown transcendental, becomes a kind of courage; as frost sufficiently intense, according to Poet Milton, will burn.–Danton, the other night, in the Legislative Committee of General Defence, when the other Ministers and Legislators had all opined, said, It would not do to quit Paris, and fly to Saumur; that they must abide by Paris; and take such attitude as would put their enemies in fear,–faire peur; a word of his which has been often repeated, and reprinted–in italics. (Biographie des Ministres (Bruxelles, 1826), p. 96.)

At two of the clock, Beaurepaire, as we saw, has shot himself at Verdun; and over Europe, mortals are going in for afternoon sermon. But at Paris, all steeples are clangouring not for sermon; the alarm-gun booming from minute to minute; Champ-de-Mars and Fatherland’s Altar boiling with desperate terror-courage: what a miserere going up to Heaven from this once Capital of the Most Christian King! The Legislative sits in alternate awe and effervescence; Vergniaud proposing that Twelve shall go and dig personally on Montmartre; which is decreed by acclaim.

But better than digging personally with acclaim, see Danton enter;–the black brows clouded, the colossus-figure tramping heavy; grim energy looking from all features of the rugged man! Strong is that grim Son of France, and Son of Earth; a Reality and not a Formula he too; and surely now if ever, being hurled low enough, it is on the Earth and on Realities that he rests. “Legislators!” so speaks the stentor-voice, as the Newspapers yet preserve it for us, “it is not the alarm-cannon that you hear: it is the pas-de-charge against our enemies. To conquer them, to hurl them back, what do we require? Il nous faut de l’audace, et encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace, To dare, and again to dare, and without end to dare!” (Moniteur (in Hist. Parl. xvii. 347.)–Right so, thou brawny Titan; there is nothing left for thee but that. Old men, who heard it, will still tell you how the reverberating voice made all hearts swell, in that moment; and braced them to the sticking-place; and thrilled abroad over France, like electric virtue, as a word spoken in season.

But the Commune, enrolling in the Champ-de-Mars? But the Committee of Watchfulness, become now Committee of Public Salvation; whose conscience is Marat? The Commune enrolling enrolls many; provides Tents for them in that Mars’-Field, that they may march with dawn on the morrow: praise to this part of the Commune! To Marat and the Committee of Watchfulness not praise;–not even blame, such as could be meted out in these insufficient dialects of ours; expressive silence rather! Lone Marat, the man forbid, meditating long in his Cellars of refuge, on his Stylites Pillar, could see salvation in one thing only: in the fall of ‘two hundred and sixty thousand Aristocrat heads.’ With so many score of Naples Bravoes, each a dirk in his right-hand, a muff on his left, he would traverse France, and do it. But the world laughed, mocking the severe-benevolence of a People’s-Friend; and his idea could not become an action, but only a fixed- idea. Lo, now, however, he has come down from his Stylites Pillar, to a Tribune particuliere; here now, without the dirks, without the muffs at least, were it not grown possible,–now in the knot of the crisis, when salvation or destruction hangs in the hour!

The Ice-Tower of Avignon was noised of sufficiently, and lives in all memories; but the authors were not punished: nay we saw Jourdan Coupe- tete, borne on men’s shoulders, like a copper Portent, ‘traversing the cities of the South.’–What phantasms, squalid-horrid, shaking their dirk and muff, may dance through the brain of a Marat, in this dizzy pealing of tocsin-miserere, and universal frenzy, seek not to guess, O Reader! Nor what the cruel Billaud ‘in his short brown coat was thinking;’ nor Sergent, not yet Agate-Sergent; nor Panis the confident of Danton;–nor, in a word, how gloomy Orcus does breed in her gloomy womb, and fashion her monsters, and prodigies of Events, which thou seest her visibly bear! Terror is on these streets of Paris; terror and rage, tears and frenzy: tocsin-miserere pealing through the air; fierce desperation rushing to battle; mothers, with streaming eyes and wild hearts, sending forth their sons to die. ‘Carriage-horses are seized by the bridle,’ that they may draw cannon; ‘the traces cut, the carriages left standing.’ In such tocsin-miserere, and murky bewilderment of Frenzy, are not Murder, Ate, and all Furies near at hand? On slight hint, who knows on how slight, may not Murder come; and, with her snaky-sparkling hand, illuminate this murk!

How it was and went, what part might be premeditated, what was improvised and accidental, man will never know, till the great Day of Judgment make it known. But with a Marat for keeper of the Sovereign’s Conscience–And we know what the ultima ratio of Sovereigns, when they are driven to it, is! In this Paris there are as many wicked men, say a hundred or more, as exist in all the Earth: to be hired, and set on; to set on, of their own accord, unhired.–And yet we will remark that premeditation itself is not performance, is not surety of performance; that it is perhaps, at most, surety of letting whosoever wills perform. From the purpose of crime to the act of crime there is an abyss; wonderful to think of. The finger lies on the pistol; but the man is not yet a murderer: nay, his whole nature staggering at such consummation, is there not a confused pause rather,–one last instant of possibility for him? Not yet a murderer; it is at the mercy of light trifles whether the most fixed idea may not yet become unfixed. One slight twitch of a muscle, the death flash bursts; and he is it, and will for Eternity be it;–and Earth has become a penal Tartarus for him; his horizon girdled now not with golden hope, but with red flames of remorse; voices from the depths of Nature sounding, Wo, wo on him!

Of such stuff are we all made; on such powder-mines of bottomless guilt and criminality, ‘if God restrained not; as is well said,–does the purest of us walk. There are depths in man that go the length of lowest Hell, as there are heights that reach highest Heaven;–for are not both Heaven and Hell made out of him, made by him, everlasting Miracle and Mystery as he is?–But looking on this Champ-de-Mars, with its tent-buildings, and frantic enrolments; on this murky-simmering Paris, with its crammed Prisons (supposed about to burst), with its tocsin-miserere, its mothers’ tears, and soldiers’ farewell shoutings,–the pious soul might have prayed, that day, that God’s grace would restrain, and greatly restrain; lest on slight hest or hint, Madness, Horror and Murder rose, and this Sabbath-day of September became a Day black in the Annals of Men.–

The tocsin is pealing its loudest, the clocks inaudibly striking Three, when poor Abbe Sicard, with some thirty other Nonjurant Priests, in six carriages, fare along the streets, from their preliminary House of Detention at the Townhall, westward towards the Prison of the Abbaye. Carriages enough stand deserted on the streets; these six move on,–through angry multitudes, cursing as they move. Accursed Aristocrat Tartuffes, this is the pass ye have brought us to! And now ye will break the Prisons, and set Capet Veto on horseback to ride over us? Out upon you, Priests of Beelzebub and Moloch; of Tartuffery, Mammon, and the Prussian Gallows,– which ye name Mother-Church and God! Such reproaches have the poor Nonjurants to endure, and worse; spoken in on them by frantic Patriots, who mount even on the carriage-steps; the very Guards hardly refraining. Pull up your carriage-blinds!–No! answers Patriotism, clapping its horny paw on the carriage blind, and crushing it down again. Patience in oppression has limits: we are close on the Abbaye, it has lasted long: a poor Nonjurant, of quicker temper, smites the horny paw with his cane; nay, finding solacement in it, smites the unkempt head, sharply and again more sharply, twice over,–seen clearly of us and of the world. It is the last that we see clearly. Alas, next moment, the carriages are locked and blocked in endless raging tumults; in yells deaf to the cry for mercy, which answer the cry for mercy with sabre-thrusts through the heart. (Felemhesi (anagram for Mehee Fils), La Verite tout entiere, sur les vrais auteurs de la journee du 2 Septembre 1792 (reprinted in Hist. Parl. xviii. 156-181), p. 167.) The thirty Priests are torn out, are massacred about the Prison- Gate, one after one,–only the poor Abbe Sicard, whom one Moton a watchmaker, knowing him, heroically tried to save, and secrete in the Prison, escapes to tell;–and it is Night and Orcus, and Murder’s snaky- sparkling head has risen in the murk!–

From Sunday afternoon (exclusive of intervals, and pauses not final) till Thursday evening, there follow consecutively a Hundred Hours. Which hundred hours are to be reckoned with the hours of the Bartholomew Butchery, of the Armagnac Massacres, Sicilian Vespers, or whatsoever is savagest in the annals of this world. Horrible the hour when man’s soul, in its paroxysm, spurns asunder the barriers and rules; and shews what dens and depths are in it! For Night and Orcus, as we say, as was long prophesied, have burst forth, here in this Paris, from their subterranean imprisonment: hideous, dim, confused; which it is painful to look on; and yet which cannot, and indeed which should not, be forgotten.

The Reader, who looks earnestly through this dim Phantasmagory of the Pit, will discern few fixed certain objects; and yet still a few. He will observe, in this Abbaye Prison, the sudden massacre of the Priests being once over, a strange Court of Justice, or call it Court of Revenge and Wild-Justice, swiftly fashion itself, and take seat round a table, with the Prison-Registers spread before it;–Stanislas Maillard, Bastille-hero, famed Leader of the Menads, presiding. O Stanislas, one hoped to meet thee elsewhere than here; thou shifty Riding-Usher, with an inkling of Law! This work also thou hadst to do; and then–to depart for ever from our eyes. At La Force, at the Chatelet, the Conciergerie, the like Court forms itself, with the like accompaniments: the thing that one man does other men can do. There are some Seven Prisons in Paris, full of Aristocrats with conspiracies;–nay not even Bicetre and Salpetriere shall escape, with their Forgers of Assignats: and there are seventy times seven hundred Patriot hearts in a state of frenzy. Scoundrel hearts also there are; as perfect, say, as the Earth holds,–if such are needed. To whom, in this mood, law is as no-law; and killing, by what name soever called, is but work to be done.

So sit these sudden Courts of Wild-Justice, with the Prison-Registers before them; unwonted wild tumult howling all round: the Prisoners in dread expectancy within. Swift: a name is called; bolts jingle, a Prisoner is there. A few questions are put; swiftly this sudden Jury decides: Royalist Plotter or not? Clearly not; in that case, Let the Prisoner be enlarged With Vive la Nation. Probably yea; then still, Let the Prisoner be enlarged, but without Vive la Nation; or else it may run, Let the prisoner be conducted to La Force. At La Force again their formula is, Let the Prisoner be conducted to the Abbaye.–“To La Force then!” Volunteer bailiffs seize the doomed man; he is at the outer gate; ‘enlarged,’ or ‘conducted,’–not into La Force, but into a howling sea; forth, under an arch of wild sabres, axes and pikes; and sinks, hewn asunder. And another sinks, and another; and there forms itself a piled heap of corpses, and the kennels begin to run red. Fancy the yells of these men, their faces of sweat and blood; the crueller shrieks of these women, for there are women too; and a fellow-mortal hurled naked into it all! Jourgniac de Saint Meard has seen battle, has seen an effervescent Regiment du Roi in mutiny; but the bravest heart may quail at this. The Swiss Prisoners, remnants of the Tenth of August, ‘clasped each other spasmodically,’ and hung back; grey veterans crying: “Mercy Messieurs; ah, mercy!” But there was no mercy. Suddenly, however, one of these men steps forward. He had a blue frock coat; he seemed to be about thirty, his stature was above common, his look noble and martial. “I go first,” said he, “since it must be so: adieu!” Then dashing his hat sharply behind him: “Which way?” cried he to the Brigands: “Shew it me, then.” They open the folding gate; he is announced to the multitude. He stands a moment motionless; then plunges forth among the pikes, and dies of a thousand wounds.’ (Felemhesi, La Verite tout entiere (ut supra), p. 173.)

Man after man is cut down; the sabres need sharpening, the killers refresh themselves from wine jugs. Onward and onward goes the butchery; the loud yells wearying down into bass growls. A sombre-faced, shifting multitude looks on; in dull approval, or dull disapproval; in dull recognition that it is Necessity. ‘An Anglais in drab greatcoat’ was seen, or seemed to be seen, serving liquor from his own dram-bottle;–for what purpose, ‘if not set on by Pitt,’ Satan and himself know best! Witty Dr. Moore grew sick on approaching, and turned into another street. (Moore’s Journal, i. 185- 195.)–Quick enough goes this Jury-Court; and rigorous. The brave are not spared, nor the beautiful, nor the weak. Old M. de Montmorin, the Minister’s Brother, was acquitted by the Tribunal of the Seventeenth; and conducted back, elbowed by howling galleries; but is not acquitted here. Princess de Lamballe has lain down on bed: “Madame, you are to be removed to the Abbaye.” “I do not wish to remove; I am well enough here.” There is a need-be for removing. She will arrange her dress a little, then; rude voices answer, “You have not far to go.” She too is led to the hell-gate; a manifest Queen’s-Friend. She shivers back, at the sight of bloody sabres; but there is no return: Onwards! That fair hindhead is cleft with the axe; the neck is severed. That fair body is cut in fragments; with indignities, and obscene horrors of moustachio grands-levres, which human nature would fain find incredible,–which shall be read in the original language only. She was beautiful, she was good, she had known no happiness. Young hearts, generation after generation, will think with themselves: O worthy of worship, thou king-descended, god-descended and poor sister-woman! why was not I there; and some Sword Balmung, or Thor’s Hammer in my hand? Her head is fixed on a pike; paraded under the windows of the Temple; that a still more hated, a Marie-Antoinette, may see. One Municipal, in the Temple with the Royal Prisoners at the moment, said, “Look out.” Another eagerly whispered, “Do not look.” The circuit of the Temple is guarded, in these hours, by a long stretched tricolor riband: terror enters, and the clangour of infinite tumult: hitherto not regicide, though that too may come.

But it is more edifying to note what thrillings of affection, what fragments of wild virtues turn up, in this shaking asunder of man’s existence, for of these too there is a proportion. Note old Marquis Cazotte: he is doomed to die; but his young Daughter clasps him in her arms, with an inspiration of eloquence, with a love which is stronger than very death; the heart of the killers themselves is touched by it; the old man is spared. Yet he was guilty, if plotting for his King is guilt: in ten days more, a Court of Law condemned him, and he had to die elsewhere; bequeathing his Daughter a lock of his old grey hair. Or note old M. de Sombreuil, who also had a Daughter:–My Father is not an Aristocrat; O good gentlemen, I will swear it, and testify it, and in all ways prove it; we are not; we hate Aristocrats! “Wilt thou drink Aristocrats’ blood?” The man lifts blood (if universal Rumour can be credited (Dulaure: Esquisses Historiques des principaux evenemens de la Revolution, ii. 206 (cited in Montgaillard, iii. 205).)); the poor maiden does drink. “This Sombreuil is innocent then!” Yes indeed,–and now note, most of all, how the bloody pikes, at this news, do rattle to the ground; and the tiger-yells become bursts of jubilee over a brother saved; and the old man and his daughter are clasped to bloody bosoms, with hot tears, and borne home in triumph of Vive la Nation, the killers refusing even money! Does it seem strange, this temper of theirs? It seems very certain, well proved by Royalist testimony in other instances; (Bertrand-Moleville (Mem. Particuliers,