This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1837
Buy it on Amazon Listen via Audible FREE Audible 30 days

out, only the indifferent heavenly Vault overhead: perhaps here or there a timorous householder peering out of window, with prayer for Bouille; copious Rascality, on the pavement, with prayer for Salm: there do the two parties stand;–like chariots locked in a narrow thoroughfare; like locked wrestlers at a dead-grip! For two hours they stand; Bouille’s sword glittering in his hand, adamantine resolution clouding his brows: for two hours by the clocks of Metz. Moody-silent stands Salm, with occasional clangour; but does not fire. Rascality from time to time urges some grenadier to level his musket at the General; who looks on it as a bronze General would; and always some corporal or other strikes it up.

In such remarkable attitude, standing on that staircase for two hours, does brave Bouille, long a shadow, dawn on us visibly out of the dimness, and become a person. For the rest, since Salm has not shot him at the first instant, and since in himself there is no variableness, the danger will diminish. The Mayor, ‘a man infinitely respectable,’ with his Municipals and tricolor sashes, finally gains entrance; remonstrates, perorates, promises; gets Salm persuaded home to its barracks. Next day, our respectable Mayor lending the money, the officers pay down the half of the demand in ready cash. With which liquidation Salm pacifies itself, and for the present all is hushed up, as much as may be. (Bouille, i. 140-5.)

Such scenes as this of Metz, or preparations and demonstrations towards such, are universal over France: Dampmartin, with his knotted forage-cords and piled chamois jackets, is at Strasburg in the South-East; in these same days or rather nights, Royal Champagne is ‘shouting Vive la Nation, au diable les Aristocrates, with some thirty lit candles,’ at Hesdin, on the far North-West. “The garrison of Bitche,” Deputy Rewbell is sorry to state, “went out of the town, with drums beating; deposed its officers; and then returned into the town, sabre in hand.” (Moniteur (in Hist. Parl. vii. 29).) Ought not a National Assembly to occupy itself with these objects? Military France is everywhere full of sour inflammatory humour, which exhales itself fuliginously, this way or that: a whole continent of smoking flax; which, blown on here or there by any angry wind, might so easily start into a blaze, into a continent of fire!

Constitutional Patriotism is in deep natural alarm at these things. The august Assembly sits diligently deliberating; dare nowise resolve, with Mirabeau, on an instantaneous disbandment and extinction; finds that a course of palliatives is easier. But at least and lowest, this grievance of the Arrears shall be rectified. A plan, much noised of in those days, under the name ‘Decree of the Sixth of August,’ has been devised for that. Inspectors shall visit all armies; and, with certain elected corporals and ‘soldiers able to write,’ verify what arrears and peculations do lie due, and make them good. Well, if in this way the smoky heat be cooled down; if it be not, as we say, ventilated over-much, or, by sparks and collision somewhere, sent up!

Chapter 2.2.IV.

Arrears at Nanci.

We are to remark, however, that of all districts, this of Bouille’s seems the inflammablest. It was always to Bouille and Metz that Royalty would fly: Austria lies near; here more than elsewhere must the disunited People look over the borders, into a dim sea of Foreign Politics and Diplomacies, with hope or apprehension, with mutual exasperation.

It was but in these days that certain Austrian troops, marching peaceably across an angle of this region, seemed an Invasion realised; and there rushed towards Stenai, with musket on shoulder, from all the winds, some thirty thousand National Guards, to inquire what the matter was. (Moniteur, Seance du 9 Aout 1790.) A matter of mere diplomacy it proved; the Austrian Kaiser, in haste to get to Belgium, had bargained for this short cut. The infinite dim movement of European Politics waved a skirt over these spaces, passing on its way; like the passing shadow of a condor; and such a winged flight of thirty thousand, with mixed cackling and crowing, rose in consequence! For, in addition to all, this people, as we said, is much divided: Aristocrats abound; Patriotism has both Aristocrats and Austrians to watch. It is Lorraine, this region; not so illuminated as old France: it remembers ancient Feudalisms; nay, within man’s memory, it had a Court and King of its own, or indeed the splendour of a Court and King, without the burden. Then, contrariwise, the Mother Society, which sits in the Jacobins Church at Paris, has Daughters in the Towns here; shrill-tongued, driven acrid: consider how the memory of good King Stanislaus, and ages of Imperial Feudalism, may comport with this New acrid Evangel, and what a virulence of discord there may be! In all which, the Soldiery, officers on one side, private men on the other, takes part, and now indeed principal part; a Soldiery, moreover, all the hotter here as it lies the denser, the frontier Province requiring more of it.

So stands Lorraine: but the capital City, more especially so. The pleasant City of Nanci, which faded Feudalism loves, where King Stanislaus personally dwelt and shone, has an Aristocrat Municipality, and then also a Daughter Society: it has some forty thousand divided souls of population; and three large Regiments, one of which is Swiss Chateau-Vieux, dear to Patriotism ever since it refused fighting, or was thought to refuse, in the Bastille days. Here unhappily all evil influences seem to meet concentered; here, of all places, may jealousy and heat evolve itself. These many months, accordingly, man has been set against man, Washed against Unwashed; Patriot Soldier against Aristocrat Captain, ever the more bitterly; and a long score of grudges has been running up.

Nameable grudges, and likewise unnameable: for there is a punctual nature in Wrath; and daily, were there but glances of the eye, tones of the voice, and minutest commissions or omissions, it will jot down somewhat, to account, under the head of sundries, which always swells the sum-total. For example, in April last, in those times of preliminary Federation, when National Guards and Soldiers were every where swearing brotherhood, and all France was locally federating, preparing for the grand National Feast of Pikes, it was observed that these Nanci Officers threw cold water on the whole brotherly business; that they first hung back from appearing at the Nanci Federation; then did appear, but in mere redingote and undress, with scarcely a clean shirt on; nay that one of them, as the National Colours flaunted by in that solemn moment, did, without visible necessity, take occasion to spit. (Deux Amis, v. 217.)

Small ‘sundries as per journal,’ but then incessant ones! The Aristocrat Municipality, pretending to be Constitutional, keeps mostly quiet; not so the Daughter Society, the five thousand adult male Patriots of the place, still less the five thousand female: not so the young, whiskered or whiskerless, four-generation Noblesse in epaulettes; the grim Patriot Swiss of Chateau-Vieux, effervescent infantry of Regiment du Roi, hot troopers of Mestre-de-Camp! Walled Nanci, which stands so bright and trim, with its straight streets, spacious squares, and Stanislaus’ Architecture, on the fruitful alluvium of the Meurthe; so bright, amid the yellow cornfields in these Reaper-Months,–is inwardly but a den of discord, anxiety, inflammability, not far from exploding. Let Bouille look to it. If that universal military heat, which we liken to a vast continent of smoking flax, do any where take fire, his beard, here in Lorraine and Nanci, may the most readily of all get singed by it.

Bouille, for his part, is busy enough, but only with the general superintendence; getting his pacified Salm, and all other still tolerable Regiments, marched out of Metz, to southward towns and villages; to rural Cantonments as at Vic, Marsal and thereabout, by the still waters; where is plenty of horse-forage, sequestered parade-ground, and the soldier’s speculative faculty can be stilled by drilling. Salm, as we said, received only half payment of arrears; naturally not without grumbling. Nevertheless that scene of the drawn sword may, after all, have raised Bouille in the mind of Salm; for men and soldiers love intrepidity and swift inflexible decision, even when they suffer by it. As indeed is not this fundamentally the quality of qualities for a man? A quality which by itself is next to nothing, since inferior animals, asses, dogs, even mules have it; yet, in due combination, it is the indispensable basis of all.

Of Nanci and its heats, Bouille, commander of the whole, knows nothing special; understands generally that the troops in that City are perhaps the worst. (Bouille, i. c. 9.) The Officers there have it all, as they have long had it, to themselves; and unhappily seem to manage it ill. ‘Fifty yellow furloughs,’ given out in one batch, do surely betoken difficulties. But what was Patriotism to think of certain light-fencing Fusileers ‘set on,’ or supposed to be set on, ‘to insult the Grenadier-club,’ considerate speculative Grenadiers, and that reading-room of theirs? With shoutings, with hootings; till the speculative Grenadier drew his side-arms too; and there ensued battery and duels! Nay more, are not swashbucklers of the same stamp ‘sent out’ visibly, or sent out presumably, now in the dress of Soldiers to pick quarrels with the Citizens; now, disguised as Citizens, to pick quarrels with the Soldiers? For a certain Roussiere, expert in fence, was taken in the very fact; four Officers (presumably of tender years) hounding him on, who thereupon fled precipitately! Fence-master Roussiere, haled to the guardhouse, had sentence of three months’ imprisonment: but his comrades demanded ‘yellow furlough’ for him of all persons; nay, thereafter they produced him on parade; capped him in paper-helmet inscribed, Iscariot; marched him to the gate of City; and there sternly commanded him to vanish for evermore.

On all which suspicions, accusations and noisy procedure, and on enough of the like continually accumulating, the Officer could not but look with disdainful indignation; perhaps disdainfully express the same in words, and ‘soon after fly over to the Austrians.’

So that when it here as elsewhere comes to the question of Arrears, the humour and procedure is of the bitterest: Regiment Mestre-de-Camp getting, amid loud clamour, some three gold louis a-man,–which have, as usual, to be borrowed from the Municipality; Swiss Chateau-Vieux applying for the like, but getting instead instantaneous courrois, or cat-o’-nine-tails, with subsequent unsufferable hisses from the women and children; Regiment du Roi, sick of hope deferred, at length seizing its military chest, and marching it to quarters, but next day marching it back again, through streets all struck silent:–unordered paradings and clamours, not without strong liquor; objurgation, insubordination; your military ranked Arrangement going all (as the Typographers say of set types, in a similar case) rapidly to pie! (Deux Amis, v. c. 8.) Such is Nanci in these early days of August; the sublime Feast of Pikes not yet a month old.

Constitutional Patriotism, at Paris and elsewhere, may well quake at the news. War-Minister Latour du Pin runs breathless to the National Assembly, with a written message that ‘all is burning, tout brule, tout presse.’ The National Assembly, on spur of the instant, renders such Decret, and ‘order to submit and repent,’ as he requires; if it will avail any thing. On the other hand, Journalism, through all its throats, gives hoarse outcry, condemnatory, elegiac-applausive. The Forty-eight Sections, lift up voices; sonorous Brewer, or call him now Colonel Santerre, is not silent, in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. For, meanwhile, the Nanci Soldiers have sent a Deputation of Ten, furnished with documents and proofs; who will tell another story than the ‘all-is-burning’ one. Which deputed Ten, before ever they reach the Assembly Hall, assiduous Latour du Pin picks up, and on warrant of Mayor Bailly, claps in prison! Most unconstitutionally; for they had officers’ furloughs. Whereupon Saint-Antoine, in indignant uncertainty of the future, closes its shops. Is Bouille a traitor then, sold to Austria? In that case, these poor private sentinels have revolted mainly out of Patriotism?

New Deputation, Deputation of National Guardsmen now, sets forth from Nanci to enlighten the Assembly. It meets the old deputed Ten returning, quite unexpectedly unhanged; and proceeds thereupon with better prospects; but effects nothing. Deputations, Government Messengers, Orderlies at hand- gallops, Alarms, thousand-voiced Rumours, go vibrating continually; backwards and forwards,–scattering distraction. Not till the last week of August does M. de Malseigne, selected as Inspector, get down to the scene of mutiny; with Authority, with cash, and ‘Decree of the Sixth of August.’ He now shall see these Arrears liquidated, justice done, or at least tumult quashed.

Chapter 2.2.V.

Inspector Malseigne.

Of Inspector Malseigne we discern, by direct light, that he is ‘of Herculean stature;’ and infer, with probability, that he is of truculent moustachioed aspect,–for Royalist Officers now leave the upper lip unshaven; that he is of indomitable bull-heart; and also, unfortunately, of thick bull-head.

On Tuesday the 24th of August, 1790, he opens session as Inspecting Commissioner; meets those ‘elected corporals, and soldiers that can write.’ He finds the accounts of Chateau-Vieux to be complex; to require delay and reference: he takes to haranguing, to reprimanding; ends amid audible grumbling. Next morning, he resumes session, not at the Townhall as prudent Municipals counselled, but once more at the barracks. Unfortunately Chateau-Vieux, grumbling all night, will now hear of no delay or reference; from reprimanding on his part, it goes to bullying,–answered with continual cries of “Jugez tout de suite, Judge it at once;” whereupon M. de Malseigne will off in a huff. But lo, Chateau Vieux, swarming all about the barrack-court, has sentries at every gate; M. de Malseigne, demanding egress, cannot get it, though Commandant Denoue backs him; can get only “Jugez tout de suite.” Here is a nodus!

Bull-hearted M. de Malseigne draws his sword; and will force egress. Confused splutter. M. de Malseigne’s sword breaks; he snatches Commandant Denoue’s: the sentry is wounded. M. de Malseigne, whom one is loath to kill, does force egress,–followed by Chateau-Vieux all in disarray; a spectacle to Nanci. M. de Malseigne walks at a sharp pace, yet never runs; wheeling from time to time, with menaces and movements of fence; and so reaches Denoue’s house, unhurt; which house Chateau-Vieux, in an agitated manner, invests,–hindered as yet from entering, by a crowd of officers formed on the staircase. M. de Malseigne retreats by back ways to the Townhall, flustered though undaunted; amid an escort of National Guards. From the Townhall he, on the morrow, emits fresh orders, fresh plans of settlement with Chateau-Vieux; to none of which will Chateau-Vieux listen: whereupon finally he, amid noise enough, emits order that Chateau-Vieux shall march on the morrow morning, and quarter at Sarre Louis. Chateau- Vieux flatly refuses marching; M. de Malseigne ‘takes act,’ due notarial protest, of such refusal,–if happily that may avail him.

This is end of Thursday; and, indeed, of M. de Malseigne’s Inspectorship, which has lasted some fifty hours. To such length, in fifty hours, has he unfortunately brought it. Mestre-de-Camp and Regiment du Roi hang, as it were, fluttering: Chateau-Vieux is clean gone, in what way we see. Over night, an Aide-de-Camp of Lafayette’s, stationed here for such emergency, sends swift emissaries far and wide, to summon National Guards. The slumber of the country is broken by clattering hoofs, by loud fraternal knockings; every where the Constitutional Patriot must clutch his fighting- gear, and take the road for Nanci.

And thus the Herculean Inspector has sat all Thursday, among terror-struck Municipals, a centre of confused noise: all Thursday, Friday, and till Saturday towards noon. Chateau-Vieux, in spite of the notarial protest, will not march a step. As many as four thousand National Guards are dropping or pouring in; uncertain what is expected of them, still more uncertain what will be obtained of them. For all is uncertainty, commotion, and suspicion: there goes a word that Bouille, beginning to bestir himself in the rural Cantonments eastward, is but a Royalist traitor; that Chateau-Vieux and Patriotism are sold to Austria, of which latter M. de Malseigne is probably some agent. Mestre-de-Camp and Roi flutter still more questionably: Chateau-Vieux, far from marching, ‘waves red flags out of two carriages,’ in a passionate manner, along the streets; and next morning answers its Officers: “Pay us, then; and we will march with you to the world’s end!”

Under which circumstances, towards noon on Saturday, M. de Malseigne thinks it were good perhaps to inspect the ramparts,–on horseback. He mounts, accordingly, with escort of three troopers. At the gate of the city, he bids two of them wait for his return; and with the third, a trooper to be depended upon, he–gallops off for Luneville; where lies a certain Carabineer Regiment not yet in a mutinous state! The two left troopers soon get uneasy; discover how it is, and give the alarm. Mestre-de-Camp, to the number of a hundred, saddles in frantic haste, as if sold to Austria; gallops out pellmell in chase of its Inspector. And so they spur, and the Inspector spurs; careering, with noise and jingle, up the valley of the River Meurthe, towards Luneville and the midday sun: through an astonished country; indeed almost their own astonishment.

What a hunt, Actaeon-like;–which Actaeon de Malseigne happily gains! To arms, ye Carabineers of Luneville: to chastise mutinous men, insulting your General Officer, insulting your own quarters;–above all things, fire soon, lest there be parleying and ye refuse to fire! The Carabineers fire soon, exploding upon the first stragglers of Mestre-de-Camp; who shrink at the very flash, and fall back hastily on Nanci, in a state not far from distraction. Panic and fury: sold to Austria without an if; so much per regiment, the very sums can be specified; and traitorous Malseigne is fled! Help, O Heaven; help, thou Earth,–ye unwashed Patriots; ye too are sold like us!

Effervescent Regiment du Roi primes its firelocks, Mestre-de-Camp saddles wholly: Commandant Denoue is seized, is flung in prison with a ‘canvass shirt’ (sarreau de toile) about him; Chateau-Vieux bursts up the magazines; distributes ‘three thousand fusils’ to a Patriot people: Austria shall have a hot bargain. Alas, the unhappy hunting-dogs, as we said, have hunted away their huntsman; and do now run howling and baying, on what trail they know not; nigh rabid!

And so there is tumultuous march of men, through the night; with halt on the heights of Flinval, whence Luneville can be seen all illuminated. Then there is parley, at four in the morning; and reparley; finally there is agreement: the Carabineers give in; Malseigne is surrendered, with apologies on all sides. After weary confused hours, he is even got under way; the Lunevillers all turning out, in the idle Sunday, to see such departure: home-going of mutinous Mestre-de-Camp with its Inspector captive. Mestre-de-Camp accordingly marches; the Lunevillers look. See! at the corner of the first street, our Inspector bounds off again, bull- hearted as he is; amid the slash of sabres, the crackle of musketry; and escapes, full gallop, with only a ball lodged in his buff-jerkin. The Herculean man! And yet it is an escape to no purpose. For the Carabineers, to whom after the hardest Sunday’s ride on record, he has come circling back, ‘stand deliberating by their nocturnal watch-fires;’ deliberating of Austria, of traitors, and the rage of Mestre-de-Camp. So that, on the whole, the next sight we have is that of M. de Malseigne, on the Monday afternoon, faring bull-hearted through the streets of Nanci; in open carriage, a soldier standing over him with drawn sword; amid the ‘furies of the women,’ hedges of National Guards, and confusion of Babel: to the Prison beside Commandant Denoue! That finally is the lodging of Inspector Malseigne. (Deux Amis, v. 206-251; Newspapers and Documents (in Hist. Parl. vii. 59-162.)

Surely it is time Bouille were drawing near. The Country all round, alarmed with watchfires, illuminated towns, and marching and rout, has been sleepless these several nights. Nanci, with its uncertain National Guards, with its distributed fusils, mutinous soldiers, black panic and redhot ire, is not a City but a Bedlam.

Chapter 2.2.VI.

Bouille at Nanci.

Haste with help, thou brave Bouille: if swift help come not, all is now verily ‘burning;’ and may burn,–to what lengths and breadths! Much, in these hours, depends on Bouille; as it shall now fare with him, the whole Future may be this way or be that. If, for example, he were to loiter dubitating, and not come: if he were to come, and fail: the whole Soldiery of France to blaze into mutiny, National Guards going some this way, some that; and Royalism to draw its rapier, and Sansculottism to snatch its pike; and the Spirit if Jacobinism, as yet young, girt with sun- rays, to grow instantaneously mature, girt with hell-fire,–as mortals, in one night of deadly crisis, have had their heads turned gray!

Brave Bouille is advancing fast, with the old inflexibility; gathering himself, unhappily ‘in small affluences,’ from East, from West and North; and now on Tuesday morning, the last day of the month, he stands all concentred, unhappily still in small force, at the village of Frouarde, within some few miles. Son of Adam with a more dubious task before him is not in the world this Tuesday morning. A weltering inflammable sea of doubt and peril, and Bouille sure of simply one thing, his own determination. Which one thing, indeed, may be worth many. He puts a most firm face on the matter: ‘Submission, or unsparing battle and destruction; twenty-four hours to make your choice:’ this was the tenor of his Proclamation; thirty copies of which he sent yesterday to Nanci:–all which, we find, were intercepted and not posted. (Compare Bouille, Memoires, i. 153-176; Deux Amis, v. 251-271; Hist. Parl. ubi supra.)

Nevertheless, at half-past eleven, this morning, seemingly by way of answer, there does wait on him at Frouarde, some Deputation from the mutinous Regiments, from the Nanci Municipals, to see what can be done. Bouille receives this Deputation, ‘in a large open court adjoining his lodging:’ pacified Salm, and the rest, attend also, being invited to do it,–all happily still in the right humour. The Mutineers pronounce themselves with a decisiveness, which to Bouille seems insolence; and happily to Salm also. Salm, forgetful of the Metz staircase and sabre, demands that the scoundrels ‘be hanged’ there and then. Bouille represses the hanging; but answers that mutinous Soldiers have one course, and not more than one: To liberate, with heartfelt contrition, Messieurs Denoue and de Malseigne; to get ready forthwith for marching off, whither he shall order; and ‘submit and repent,’ as the National Assembly has decreed, as he yesterday did in thirty printed Placards proclaim. These are his terms, unalterable as the decrees of Destiny. Which terms as they, the Mutineer deputies, seemingly do not accept, it were good for them to vanish from this spot, and even promptly; with him too, in few instants, the word will be, Forward! The Mutineer deputies vanish, not unpromptly; the Municipal ones, anxious beyond right for their own individualities, prefer abiding with Bouille.

Brave Bouille, though he puts a most firm face on the matter, knows his position full well: how at Nanci, what with rebellious soldiers, with uncertain National Guards, and so many distributed fusils, there rage and roar some ten thousand fighting men; while with himself is scarcely the third part of that number, in National Guards also uncertain, in mere pacified Regiments,–for the present full of rage, and clamour to march; but whose rage and clamour may next moment take such a fatal new figure. On the top of one uncertain billow, therewith to calm billows! Bouille must ‘abandon himself to Fortune;’ who is said sometimes to favour the brave. At half-past twelve, the Mutineer deputies having vanished, our drums beat; we march: for Nanci! Let Nanci bethink itself, then; for Bouille has thought and determined.

And yet how shall Nanci think: not a City but a Bedlam! Grim Chateau- Vieux is for defence to the death; forces the Municipality to order, by tap of drum, all citizens acquainted with artillery to turn out, and assist in managing the cannon. On the other hand, effervescent Regiment du Roi, is drawn up in its barracks; quite disconsolate, hearing the humour Salm is in; and ejaculates dolefully from its thousand throats: “La loi, la loi, Law, law!” Mestre-de-Camp blusters, with profane swearing, in mixed terror and furor; National Guards look this way and that, not knowing what to do. What a Bedlam-City: as many plans as heads; all ordering, none obeying: quiet none,–except the Dead, who sleep underground, having done their fighting!

And, behold, Bouille proves as good as his word: ‘at half-past two’ scouts report that he is within half a league of the gates; rattling along, with cannon, and array; breathing nothing but destruction. A new Deputation, Municipals, Mutineers, Officers, goes out to meet him; with passionate entreaty for yet one other hour. Bouille grants an hour. Then, at the end thereof, no Denoue or Malseigne appearing as promised, he rolls his drums, and again takes the road. Towards four o’clock, the terror-struck Townsmen may see him face to face. His cannons rattle there, in their carriages; his vanguard is within thirty paces of the Gate Stanislaus. Onward like a Planet, by appointed times, by law of Nature! What next? Lo, flag of truce and chamade; conjuration to halt: Malseigne and Denoue are on the street, coming hither; the soldiers all repentant, ready to submit and march! Adamantine Bouille’s look alters not; yet the word Halt is given: gladder moment he never saw. Joy of joys! Malseigne and Denoue do verily issue; escorted by National Guards; from streets all frantic, with sale to Austria and so forth: they salute Bouille, unscathed. Bouille steps aside to speak with them, and with other heads of the Town there; having already ordered by what Gates and Routes the mutineer Regiments shall file out.

Such colloquy with these two General Officers and other principal Townsmen, was natural enough; nevertheless one wishes Bouille had postponed it, and not stepped aside. Such tumultuous inflammable masses, tumbling along, making way for each other; this of keen nitrous oxide, that of sulphurous fire-damp,–were it not well to stand between them, keeping them well separate, till the space be cleared? Numerous stragglers of Chateau-Vieux and the rest have not marched with their main columns, which are filing out by the appointed Gates, taking station in the open meadows. National Guards are in a state of nearly distracted uncertainty; the populace, armed and unharmed, roll openly delirious,–betrayed, sold to the Austrians, sold to the Aristocrats. There are loaded cannon with lit matches among them, and Bouille’s vanguard is halted within thirty paces of the Gate. Command dwells not in that mad inflammable mass; which smoulders and tumbles there, in blind smoky rage; which will not open the Gate when summoned; says it will open the cannon’s throat sooner!–Cannonade not, O Friends, or be it through my body! cries heroic young Desilles, young Captain of Roi, clasping the murderous engine in his arms, and holding it. Chateau-Vieux Swiss, by main force, with oaths and menaces, wrench off the heroic youth; who undaunted, amid still louder oaths seats himself on the touch-hole. Amid still louder oaths; with ever louder clangour,–and, alas, with the loud crackle of first one, and then three other muskets; which explode into his body; which roll it in the dust,–and do also, in the loud madness of such moment, bring lit cannon-match to ready priming; and so, with one thunderous belch of grapeshot, blast some fifty of Bouille’s vanguard into air!

Fatal! That sputter of the first musket-shot has kindled such a cannon- shot, such a death-blaze; and all is now redhot madness, conflagration as of Tophet. With demoniac rage, the Bouille vanguard storms through that Gate Stanislaus; with fiery sweep, sweeps Mutiny clear away, to death, or into shelters and cellars; from which latter, again, Mutiny continues firing. The ranked Regiments hear it in their meadow; they rush back again through the nearest Gates; Bouille gallops in, distracted, inaudible;–and now has begun, in Nanci, as in that doomed Hall of the Nibelungen, ‘a murder grim and great.’

Miserable: such scene of dismal aimless madness as the anger of Heaven but rarely permits among men! From cellar or from garret, from open street in front, from successive corners of cross-streets on each hand, Chateau-Vieux and Patriotism keep up the murderous rolling-fire, on murderous not Unpatriotic fires. Your blue National Captain, riddled with balls, one hardly knows on whose side fighting, requests to be laid on the colours to die: the patriotic Woman (name not given, deed surviving) screams to Chateau-Vieux that it must not fire the other cannon; and even flings a pail of water on it, since screaming avails not. (Deux Amis, v. 268.) Thou shalt fight; thou shalt not fight; and with whom shalt thou fight! Could tumult awaken the old Dead, Burgundian Charles the Bold might stir from under that Rotunda of his: never since he, raging, sank in the ditches, and lost Life and Diamond, was such a noise heard here.

Three thousand, as some count, lie mangled, gory; the half of Chateau-Vieux has been shot, without need of Court Martial. Cavalry, of Mestre-de-Camp or their foes, can do little. Regiment du Roi was persuaded to its barracks; stands there palpitating. Bouille, armed with the terrors of the Law, and favoured of Fortune, finally triumphs. In two murderous hours he has penetrated to the grand Squares, dauntless, though with loss of forty officers and five hundred men: the shattered remnants of Chateau-Vieux are seeking covert. Regiment du Roi, not effervescent now, alas no, but having effervesced, will offer to ground its arms; will ‘march in a quarter of an hour.’ Nay these poor effervesced require ‘escort’ to march with, and get it; though they are thousands strong, and have thirty ball-cartridges a man! The Sun is not yet down, when Peace, which might have come bloodless, has come bloody: the mutinous Regiments are on march, doleful, on their three Routes; and from Nanci rises wail of women and men, the voice of weeping and desolation; the City weeping for its slain who awaken not. These streets are empty but for victorious patrols.

Thus has Fortune, favouring the brave, dragged Bouille, as himself says, out of such a frightful peril, ‘by the hair of the head.’ An intrepid adamantine man this Bouille:–had he stood in old Broglie’s place, in those Bastille days, it might have been all different! He has extinguished mutiny, and immeasurable civil war. Not for nothing, as we see; yet at a rate which he and Constitutional Patriotism considers cheap. Nay, as for Bouille, he, urged by subsequent contradiction which arose, declares coldly, it was rather against his own private mind, and more by public military rule of duty, that he did extinguish it, (Bouille, i. 175.)– immeasurable civil war being now the only chance. Urged, we say, by subsequent contradiction! Civil war, indeed, is Chaos; and in all vital Chaos, there is new Order shaping itself free: but what a faith this, that of all new Orders out of Chaos and Possibility of Man and his Universe, Louis Sixteenth and Two-Chamber Monarchy were precisely the one that would shape itself! It is like undertaking to throw deuce-ace, say only five hundred successive times, and any other throw to be fatal–for Bouille. Rather thank Fortune, and Heaven, always, thou intrepid Bouille; and let contradiction of its way! Civil war, conflagrating universally over France at this moment, might have led to one thing or to another thing: meanwhile, to quench conflagration, wheresoever one finds it, wheresoever one can; this, in all times, is the rule for man and General Officer.

But at Paris, so agitated and divided, fancy how it went, when the continually vibrating Orderlies vibrated thither at hand gallop, with such questionable news! High is the gratulation; and also deep the indignation. An august Assembly, by overwhelming majorities, passionately thanks Bouille; a King’s autograph, the voices of all Loyal, all Constitutional men run to the same tenor. A solemn National funeral-service, for the Law- defenders slain at Nanci; is said and sung in the Champ de Mars; Bailly, Lafayette and National Guards, all except the few that protested, assist. With pomp and circumstance, with episcopal Calicoes in tricolor girdles, Altar of Fatherland smoking with cassolettes, or incense-kettles; the vast Champ-de-Mars wholly hung round with black mortcloth,–which mortcloth and expenditure Marat thinks had better have been laid out in bread, in these dear days, and given to the hungry living Patriot. (Ami du Peuple (in Hist. Parl., ubi supra.) On the other hand, living Patriotism, and Saint- Antoine, which we have seen noisily closing its shops and such like, assembles now ‘to the number of forty thousand;’ and, with loud cries, under the very windows of the thanking National Assembly, demands revenge for murdered Brothers, judgment on Bouille, and instant dismissal of War- Minister Latour du Pin.

At sound and sight of which things, if not War-Minister Latour, yet ‘Adored Minister’ Necker, sees good on the 3d of September 1790, to withdraw softly almost privily,–with an eye to the ‘recovery of his health.’ Home to native Switzerland; not as he last came; lucky to reach it alive! Fifteen months ago, we saw him coming, with escort of horse, with sound of clarion and trumpet: and now at Arcis-sur-Aube, while he departs unescorted soundless, the Populace and Municipals stop him as a fugitive, are not unlike massacring him as a traitor; the National Assembly, consulted on the matter, gives him free egress as a nullity. Such an unstable ‘drift-mould of Accident’ is the substance of this lower world, for them that dwell in houses of clay; so, especially in hot regions and times, do the proudest palaces we build of it take wings, and become Sahara sand-palaces, spinning many pillared in the whirlwind, and bury us under their sand!–

In spite of the forty thousand, the National Assembly persists in its thanks; and Royalist Latour du Pin continues Minister. The forty thousand assemble next day, as loud as ever; roll towards Latour’s Hotel; find cannon on the porch-steps with flambeau lit; and have to retire elsewhither, and digest their spleen, or re-absorb it into the blood.

Over in Lorraine, meanwhile, they of the distributed fusils, ringleaders of Mestre-de-Camp, of Roi, have got marked out for judgment;–yet shall never get judged. Briefer is the doom of Chateau-Vieux. Chateau-Vieux is, by Swiss law, given up for instant trial in Court-Martial of its own officers. Which Court-Martial, with all brevity (in not many hours), has hanged some Twenty-three, on conspicuous gibbets; marched some Three-score in chains to the Galleys; and so, to appearance, finished the matter off. Hanged men do cease for ever from this Earth; but out of chains and the Galleys there may be resuscitation in triumph. Resuscitation for the chained Hero; and even for the chained Scoundrel, or Semi-scoundrel! Scottish John Knox, such World-Hero, as we know, sat once nevertheless pulling grim-taciturn at the oar of French Galley, ‘in the Water of Lore;’ and even flung their Virgin- Mary over, instead of kissing her,–as ‘a pented bredd,’ or timber Virgin, who could naturally swim. (Knox’s History of the Reformation, b. i.) So, ye of Chateau-Vieux, tug patiently, not without hope!

But indeed at Nanci generally, Aristocracy rides triumphant, rough. Bouille is gone again, the second day; an Aristocrat Municipality, with free course, is as cruel as it had before been cowardly. The Daughter Society, as the mother of the whole mischief, lies ignominiously suppressed; the Prisons can hold no more; bereaved down-beaten Patriotism murmurs, not loud but deep. Here and in the neighbouring Towns, ‘flattened balls’ picked from the streets of Nanci are worn at buttonholes: balls flattened in carrying death to Patriotism; men wear them there, in perpetual memento of revenge. Mutineer Deserters roam the woods; have to demand charity at the musket’s end. All is dissolution, mutual rancour, gloom and despair:–till National-Assembly Commissioners arrive, with a steady gentle flame of Constitutionalism in their hearts; who gently lift up the down-trodden, gently pull down the too uplifted; reinstate the Daughter Society, recall the Mutineer Deserter; gradually levelling, strive in all wise ways to smooth and soothe. With such gradual mild levelling on the one side; as with solemn funeral-service, Cassolettes, Courts-Martial, National thanks,–all that Officiality can do is done. The buttonhole will drop its flat ball; the black ashes, so far as may be, get green again.

This is the ‘Affair of Nanci;’ by some called the ‘Massacre of Nanci;’– properly speaking, the unsightly wrong-side of that thrice glorious Feast of Pikes, the right-side of which formed a spectacle for the very gods. Right-side and wrong lie always so near: the one was in July, in August the other! Theatres, the theatres over in London, are bright with their pasteboard simulacrum of that ‘Federation of the French People,’ brought out as Drama: this of Nanci, we may say, though not played in any pasteboard Theatre, did for many months enact itself, and even walk spectrally–in all French heads. For the news of it fly pealing through all France; awakening, in town and village, in clubroom, messroom, to the utmost borders, some mimic reflex or imaginative repetition of the business; always with the angry questionable assertion: It was right; It was wrong. Whereby come controversies, duels, embitterment, vain jargon; the hastening forward, the augmenting and intensifying of whatever new explosions lie in store for us.

Meanwhile, at this cost or at that, the mutiny, as we say, is stilled. The French Army has neither burst up in universal simultaneous delirium; nor been at once disbanded, put an end to, and made new again. It must die in the chronic manner, through years, by inches; with partial revolts, as of Brest Sailors or the like, which dare not spread; with men unhappy, insubordinate; officers unhappier, in Royalist moustachioes, taking horse, singly or in bodies, across the Rhine: (See Dampmartin, i. 249, &c. &c.) sick dissatisfaction, sick disgust on both sides; the Army moribund, fit for no duty:–till it do, in that unexpected manner, Phoenix-like, with long throes, get both dead and newborn; then start forth strong, nay stronger and even strongest.

Thus much was the brave Bouille hitherto fated to do. Wherewith let him again fade into dimness; and at Metz or the rural Cantonments, assiduously drilling, mysteriously diplomatising, in scheme within scheme, hover as formerly a faint shadow, the hope of Royalty.



Chapter 2.3.I.


How true that there is nothing dead in this Universe; that what we call dead is only changed, its forces working in inverse order! ‘The leaf that lies rotting in moist winds,’ says one, ‘has still force; else how could it rot?’ Our whole Universe is but an infinite Complex of Forces; thousandfold, from Gravitation up to Thought and Will; man’s Freedom environed with Necessity of Nature: in all which nothing at any moment slumbers, but all is for ever awake and busy. The thing that lies isolated inactive thou shalt nowhere discover; seek every where from the granite mountain, slow-mouldering since Creation, to the passing cloud-vapour, to the living man; to the action, to the spoken word of man. The word that is spoken, as we know, flies-irrevocable: not less, but more, the action that is done. ‘The gods themselves,’ sings Pindar, ‘cannot annihilate the action that is done.’ No: this, once done, is done always; cast forth into endless Time; and, long conspicuous or soon hidden, must verily work and grow for ever there, an indestructible new element in the Infinite of Things. Or, indeed, what is this Infinite of Things itself, which men name Universe, but an action, a sum-total of Actions and Activities? The living ready-made sum-total of these three,–which Calculation cannot add, cannot bring on its tablets; yet the sum, we say, is written visible: All that has been done, All that is doing, All that will be done! Understand it well, the Thing thou beholdest, that Thing is an Action, the product and expression of exerted Force: the All of Things is an infinite conjugation of the verb To do. Shoreless Fountain-Ocean of Force, of power to do; wherein Force rolls and circles, billowing, many-streamed, harmonious; wide as Immensity, deep as Eternity; beautiful and terrible, not to be comprehended: this is what man names Existence and Universe; this thousand-tinted Flame-image, at once veil and revelation, reflex such as he, in his poor brain and heart, can paint, of One Unnameable dwelling in inaccessible light! From beyond the Star-galaxies, from before the Beginning of Days, it billows and rolls,–round thee, nay thyself art of it, in this point of Space where thou now standest, in this moment which thy clock measures.

Or apart from all Transcendentalism, is it not a plain truth of sense, which the duller mind can even consider as a truism, that human things wholly are in continual movement, and action and reaction; working continually forward, phasis after phasis, by unalterable laws, towards prescribed issues? How often must we say, and yet not rightly lay to heart: The seed that is sown, it will spring! Given the summer’s blossoming, then there is also given the autumnal withering: so is it ordered not with seedfields only, but with transactions, arrangements, philosophies, societies, French Revolutions, whatsoever man works with in this lower world. The Beginning holds in it the End, and all that leads thereto; as the acorn does the oak and its fortunes. Solemn enough, did we think of it,–which unhappily and also happily we do not very much! Thou there canst begin; the Beginning is for thee, and there: but where, and of what sort, and for whom will the End be? All grows, and seeks and endures its destinies: consider likewise how much grows, as the trees do, whether we think of it or not. So that when your Epimenides, your somnolent Peter Klaus, since named Rip van Winkle, awakens again, he finds it a changed world. In that seven-years’ sleep of his, so much has changed! All that is without us will change while we think not of it; much even that is within us. The truth that was yesterday a restless Problem, has to-day grown a Belief burning to be uttered: on the morrow, contradiction has exasperated it into mad Fanaticism; obstruction has dulled it into sick Inertness; it is sinking towards silence, of satisfaction or of resignation. To-day is not Yesterday, for man or for thing. Yesterday there was the oath of Love; today has come the curse of Hate. Not willingly: ah, no; but it could not help coming. The golden radiance of youth, would it willingly have tarnished itself into the dimness of old age?–Fearful: how we stand enveloped, deep-sunk, in that Mystery of TIME; and are Sons of Time; fashioned and woven out of Time; and on us, and on all that we have, or see, or do, is written: Rest not, Continue not, Forward to thy doom!

But in seasons of Revolution, which indeed distinguish themselves from common seasons by their velocity mainly, your miraculous Seven-sleeper might, with miracle enough, wake sooner: not by the century, or seven years, need he sleep; often not by the seven months. Fancy, for example, some new Peter Klaus, sated with the jubilee of that Federation day, had lain down, say directly after the Blessing of Talleyrand; and, reckoning it all safe now, had fallen composedly asleep under the timber-work of the Fatherland’s Altar; to sleep there, not twenty-one years, but as it were year and day. The cannonading of Nanci, so far off, does not disturb him; nor does the black mortcloth, close at hand, nor the requiems chanted, and minute guns, incense-pans and concourse right over his head: none of these; but Peter sleeps through them all. Through one circling year, as we say; from July 14th of 1790, till July the 17th of 1791: but on that latter day, no Klaus, nor most leaden Epimenides, only the Dead could continue sleeping; and so our miraculous Peter Klaus awakens. With what eyes, O Peter! Earth and sky have still their joyous July look, and the Champ-de-Mars is multitudinous with men: but the jubilee-huzzahing has become Bedlam-shrieking, of terror and revenge; not blessing of Talleyrand, or any blessing, but cursing, imprecation and shrill wail; our cannon- salvoes are turned to sharp shot; for swinging of incense-pans and Eighty- three Departmental Banners, we have waving of the one sanguinous Drapeau- Rouge.–Thou foolish Klaus! The one lay in the other, the one was the other minus Time; even as Hannibal’s rock-rending vinegar lay in the sweet new wine. That sweet Federation was of last year; this sour Divulsion is the self-same substance, only older by the appointed days.

No miraculous Klaus or Epimenides sleeps in these times: and yet, may not many a man, if of due opacity and levity, act the same miracle in a natural way; we mean, with his eyes open? Eyes has he, but he sees not, except what is under his nose. With a sparkling briskness of glance, as if he not only saw but saw through, such a one goes whisking, assiduous, in his circle of officialities; not dreaming but that it is the whole world: as, indeed, where your vision terminates, does not inanity begin there, and the world’s end clearly declares itself–to you? Whereby our brisk sparkling assiduous official person (call him, for instance, Lafayette), suddenly startled, after year and day, by huge grape-shot tumult, stares not less astonished at it than Peter Klaus would have done. Such natural-miracle Lafayette can perform; and indeed not he only but most other officials, non-officials, and generally the whole French People can perform it; and do bounce up, ever and anon, like amazed Seven-sleepers awakening; awakening amazed at the noise they themselves make. So strangely is Freedom, as we say, environed in Necessity; such a singular Somnambulism, of Conscious and Unconscious, of Voluntary and Involuntary, is this life of man. If any where in the world there was astonishment that the Federation Oath went into grape-shot, surely of all persons the French, first swearers and then shooters, felt astonished the most.

Alas, offences must come. The sublime Feast of Pikes, with its effulgence of brotherly love, unknown since the Age of Gold, has changed nothing. That prurient heat in Twenty-five millions of hearts is not cooled thereby; but is still hot, nay hotter. Lift off the pressure of command from so many millions; all pressure or binding rule, except such melodramatic Federation Oath as they have bound themselves with! For ‘Thou shalt’ was from of old the condition of man’s being, and his weal and blessedness was in obeying that. Wo for him when, were it on hest of the clearest necessity, rebellion, disloyal isolation, and mere ‘I will’, becomes his rule! But the Gospel of Jean-Jacques has come, and the first Sacrament of it has been celebrated: all things, as we say, are got into hot and hotter prurience; and must go on pruriently fermenting, in continual change noted or unnoted.

‘Worn out with disgusts,’ Captain after Captain, in Royalist moustachioes, mounts his warhorse, or his Rozinante war-garron, and rides minatory across the Rhine; till all have ridden. Neither does civic Emigration cease: Seigneur after Seigneur must, in like manner, ride or roll; impelled to it, and even compelled. For the very Peasants despise him in that he dare not join his order and fight. (Dampmartin, passim.) Can he bear to have a Distaff, a Quenouille sent to him; say in copper-plate shadow, by post; or fixed up in wooden reality over his gate-lintel: as if he were no Hercules but an Omphale? Such scutcheon they forward to him diligently from behind the Rhine; till he too bestir himself and march, and in sour humour, another Lord of Land is gone, not taking the Land with him. Nay, what of Captains and emigrating Seigneurs? There is not an angry word on any of those Twenty-five million French tongues, and indeed not an angry thought in their hearts, but is some fraction of the great Battle. Add many successions of angry words together, you have the manual brawl; add brawls together, with the festering sorrows they leave, and they rise to riots and revolts. One reverend thing after another ceases to meet reverence: in visible material combustion, chateau after chateau mounts up; in spiritual invisible combustion, one authority after another. With noise and glare, or noisily and unnoted, a whole Old System of things is vanishing piecemeal: on the morrow thou shalt look and it is not.

Chapter 2.3.II.

The Wakeful.

Sleep who will, cradled in hope and short vision, like Lafayette, ‘who always in the danger done sees the last danger that will threaten him,’– Time is not sleeping, nor Time’s seedfield.

That sacred Herald’s-College of a new Dynasty; we mean the Sixty and odd Billstickers with their leaden badges, are not sleeping. Daily they, with pastepot and cross-staff, new clothe the walls of Paris in colours of the rainbow: authoritative heraldic, as we say, or indeed almost magical thaumaturgic; for no Placard-Journal that they paste but will convince some soul or souls of man. The Hawkers bawl; and the Balladsingers: great Journalism blows and blusters, through all its throats, forth from Paris towards all corners of France, like an Aeolus’ Cave; keeping alive all manner of fires.

Throats or Journals there are, as men count, (Mercier, iii. 163.) to the number of some hundred and thirty-three. Of various calibre; from your Cheniers, Gorsases, Camilles, down to your Marat, down now to your incipient Hebert of the Pere Duchesne; these blow, with fierce weight of argument or quick light banter, for the Rights of man: Durosoys, Royous, Peltiers, Sulleaus, equally with mixed tactics, inclusive, singular to say, of much profane Parody, (See Hist. Parl. vii. 51.) are blowing for Altar and Throne. As for Marat the People’s-Friend, his voice is as that of the bullfrog, or bittern by the solitary pools; he, unseen of men, croaks harsh thunder, and that alone continually,–of indignation, suspicion, incurable sorrow. The People are sinking towards ruin, near starvation itself: ‘My dear friends,’ cries he, ‘your indigence is not the fruit of vices nor of idleness, you have a right to life, as good as Louis XVI., or the happiest of the century. What man can say he has a right to dine, when you have no bread?’ (Ami du Peuple, No. 306. See other Excerpts in Hist. Parl. viii. 139-149, 428-433; ix. 85-93, &c.) The People sinking on the one hand: on the other hand, nothing but wretched Sieur Motiers, treasonous Riquetti Mirabeaus; traitors, or else shadows, and simulacra of Quacks, to be seen in high places, look where you will! Men that go mincing, grimacing, with plausible speech and brushed raiment; hollow within: Quacks Political; Quacks scientific, Academical; all with a fellow-feeling for each other, and kind of Quack public-spirit! Not great Lavoisier himself, or any of the Forty can escape this rough tongue; which wants not fanatic sincerity, nor, strangest of all, a certain rough caustic sense. And then the ‘three thousand gaming-houses’ that are in Paris; cesspools for the scoundrelism of the world; sinks of iniquity and debauchery,–whereas without good morals Liberty is impossible! There, in these Dens of Satan, which one knows, and perseveringly denounces, do Sieur Motier’s mouchards consort and colleague; battening vampyre-like on a People next-door to starvation. ‘O Peuple!’ cries he oftimes, with heart-rending accent. Treason, delusion, vampyrism, scoundrelism, from Dan to Beersheba! The soul of Marat is sick with the sight: but what remedy? To erect ‘Eight Hundred gibbets,’ in convenient rows, and proceed to hoisting; ‘Riquetti on the first of them!’ Such is the brief recipe of Marat, Friend of the People.

So blow and bluster the Hundred and thirty-three: nor, as would seem, are these sufficient; for there are benighted nooks in France, to which Newspapers do not reach; and every where is ‘such an appetite for news as was never seen in any country.’ Let an expeditious Dampmartin, on furlough, set out to return home from Paris, (Dampmartin, i. 184.) he cannot get along for ‘peasants stopping him on the highway; overwhelming him with questions:’ the Maitre de Poste will not send out the horses till you have well nigh quarrelled with him, but asks always, What news? At Autun, ‘in spite of the rigorous frost’ for it is now January, 1791, nothing will serve but you must gather your wayworn limbs, and thoughts, and ‘speak to the multitudes from a window opening into the market-place.’ It is the shortest method: This, good Christian people, is verily what an August Assembly seemed to me to be doing; this and no other is the news;

‘Now my weary lips I close;
Leave me, leave me to repose.’

The good Dampmartin!–But, on the whole, are not Nations astonishingly true to their National character; which indeed runs in the blood? Nineteen hundred years ago, Julius Caesar, with his quick sure eye, took note how the Gauls waylaid men. ‘It is a habit of theirs,’ says he, ‘to stop travellers, were it even by constraint, and inquire whatsoever each of them may have heard or known about any sort of matter: in their towns, the common people beset the passing trader; demanding to hear from what regions he came, what things he got acquainted with there. Excited by which rumours and hearsays they will decide about the weightiest matters; and necessarily repent next moment that they did it, on such guidance of uncertain reports, and many a traveller answering with mere fictions to please them, and get off.’ (De Bello Gallico, iv. 5.) Nineteen hundred years; and good Dampmartin, wayworn, in winter frost, probably with scant light of stars and fish-oil, still perorates from the Inn-window! This People is no longer called Gaulish; and it has wholly become braccatus, has got breeches, and suffered change enough: certain fierce German Franken came storming over; and, so to speak, vaulted on the back of it; and always after, in their grim tenacious way, have ridden it bridled; for German is, by his very name, Guerre-man, or man that wars and gars. And so the People, as we say, is now called French or Frankish: nevertheless, does not the old Gaulish and Gaelic Celthood, with its vehemence, effervescent promptitude, and what good and ill it had, still vindicate itself little adulterated?–

For the rest, that in such prurient confusion, Clubbism thrives and spreads, need not be said. Already the Mother of Patriotism, sitting in the Jacobins, shines supreme over all; and has paled the poor lunar light of that Monarchic Club near to final extinction. She, we say, shines supreme, girt with sun-light, not yet with infernal lightning; reverenced, not without fear, by Municipal Authorities; counting her Barnaves, Lameths, Petions, of a National Assembly; most gladly of all, her Robespierre. Cordeliers, again, your Hebert, Vincent, Bibliopolist Momoro, groan audibly that a tyrannous Mayor and Sieur Motier harrow them with the sharp tribula of Law, intent apparently to suppress them by tribulation. How the Jacobin Mother-Society, as hinted formerly, sheds forth Cordeliers on this hand, and then Feuillans on that; the Cordeliers on this hand, and then Feuillans on that; the Cordeliers ‘an elixir or double-distillation of Jacobin Patriotism;’ the other a wide-spread weak dilution thereof; how she will re-absorb the former into her Mother-bosom, and stormfully dissipate the latter into Nonentity: how she breeds and brings forth Three Hundred Daughter-Societies; her rearing of them, her correspondence, her endeavourings and continual travail: how, under an old figure, Jacobinism shoots forth organic filaments to the utmost corners of confused dissolved France; organising it anew:–this properly is the grand fact of the Time.

To passionate Constitutionalism, still more to Royalism, which see all their own Clubs fail and die, Clubbism will naturally grow to seem the root of all evil. Nevertheless Clubbism is not death, but rather new organisation, and life out of death: destructive, indeed, of the remnants of the Old; but to the New important, indispensable. That man can co- operate and hold communion with man, herein lies his miraculous strength. In hut or hamlet, Patriotism mourns not now like voice in the desert: it can walk to the nearest Town; and there, in the Daughter-Society, make its ejaculation into an articulate oration, into an action, guided forward by the Mother of Patriotism herself. All Clubs of Constitutionalists, and such like, fail, one after another, as shallow fountains: Jacobinism alone has gone down to the deep subterranean lake of waters; and may, unless filled in, flow there, copious, continual, like an Artesian well. Till the Great Deep have drained itself up: and all be flooded and submerged, and Noah’s Deluge out-deluged!

On the other hand, Claude Fauchet, preparing mankind for a Golden Age now apparently just at hand, has opened his Cercle Social, with clerks, corresponding boards, and so forth; in the precincts of the Palais Royal. It is Te-Deum Fauchet; the same who preached on Franklin’s Death, in that huge Medicean rotunda of the Halle aux bleds. He here, this winter, by Printing-press and melodious Colloquy, spreads bruit of himself to the utmost City-barriers. ‘Ten thousand persons’ of respectability attend there; and listen to this ‘Procureur-General de la Verite, Attorney-General of Truth,’ so has he dubbed himself; to his sage Condorcet, or other eloquent coadjutor. Eloquent Attorney-General! He blows out from him, better or worse, what crude or ripe thing he holds: not without result to himself; for it leads to a Bishoprick, though only a Constitutional one. Fauchet approves himself a glib-tongued, strong-lunged, whole-hearted human individual: much flowing matter there is, and really of the better sort, about Right, Nature, Benevolence, Progress; which flowing matter, whether ‘it is pantheistic,’ or is pot-theistic, only the greener mind, in these days, need read. Busy Brissot was long ago of purpose to establish precisely some such regenerative Social Circle: nay he had tried it, in ‘Newman-street Oxford-street,’ of the Fog Babylon; and failed,–as some say, surreptitiously pocketing the cash. Fauchet, not Brissot, was fated to be the happy man; whereat, however, generous Brissot will with sincere heart sing a timber-toned Nunc Domine. (See Brissot, Patriote-Francais Newspaper; Fauchet, Bouche-de-Fer, &c. (excerpted in Hist. Parl. viii., ix., et seqq.).) But ‘ten thousand persons of respectability:’ what a bulk have many things in proportion to their magnitude! This Cercle Social, for which Brissot chants in sincere timber-tones such Nunc Domine, what is it? Unfortunately wind and shadow. The main reality one finds in it now, is perhaps this: that an ‘Attorney-General of Truth’ did once take shape of a body, as Son of Adam, on our Earth, though but for months or moments; and ten thousand persons of respectability attended, ere yet Chaos and Nox had reabsorbed him.

Hundred and thirty-three Paris Journals; regenerative Social Circle; oratory, in Mother and Daughter Societies, from the balconies of Inns, by chimney-nook, at dinner-table,–polemical, ending many times in duel! Add ever, like a constant growling accompaniment of bass Discord: scarcity of work, scarcity of food. The winter is hard and cold; ragged Bakers’- queues, like a black tattered flag-of-distress, wave out ever and anon. It is the third of our Hunger-years this new year of a glorious Revolution. The rich man when invited to dinner, in such distress-seasons, feels bound in politeness to carry his own bread in his pocket: how the poor dine? And your glorious Revolution has done it, cries one. And our glorious Revolution is subtilety, by black traitors worthy of the Lamp-iron, perverted to do it, cries another! Who will paint the huge whirlpool wherein France, all shivered into wild incoherence, whirls? The jarring that went on under every French roof, in every French heart; the diseased things that were spoken, done, the sum-total whereof is the French Revolution, tongue of man cannot tell. Nor the laws of action that work unseen in the depths of that huge blind Incoherence! With amazement, not with measurement, men look on the Immeasurable; not knowing its laws; seeing, with all different degrees of knowledge, what new phases, and results of event, its laws bring forth. France is as a monstrous Galvanic Mass, wherein all sorts of far stranger than chemical galvanic or electric forces and substances are at work; electrifying one another, positive and negative; filling with electricity your Leyden-jars,–Twenty-five millions in number! As the jars get full, there will, from time to time, be, on slight hint, an explosion.

Chapter 2.3.III.

Sword in Hand.

On such wonderful basis, however, has Law, Royalty, Authority, and whatever yet exists of visible Order, to maintain itself, while it can. Here, as in that Commixture of the Four Elements did the Anarch Old, has an august Assembly spread its pavilion; curtained by the dark infinite of discords; founded on the wavering bottomless of the Abyss; and keeps continual hubbub. Time is around it, and Eternity, and the Inane; and it does what it can, what is given it to do.

Glancing reluctantly in, once more, we discern little that is edifying: a Constitutional Theory of Defective Verbs struggling forward, with perseverance, amid endless interruptions: Mirabeau, from his tribune, with the weight of his name and genius, awing down much Jacobin violence; which in return vents itself the louder over in its Jacobins Hall, and even reads him sharp lectures there. (Camille’s Journal (in Hist. Parl. ix. 366-85).) This man’s path is mysterious, questionable; difficult, and he walks without companion in it. Pure Patriotism does not now count him among her chosen; pure Royalism abhors him: yet his weight with the world is overwhelming. Let him travel on, companionless, unwavering, whither he is bound,–while it is yet day with him, and the night has not come.

But the chosen band of pure Patriot brothers is small; counting only some Thirty, seated now on the extreme tip of the Left, separate from the world. A virtuous Petion; an incorruptible Robespierre, most consistent, incorruptible of thin acrid men; Triumvirs Barnave, Duport, Lameth, great in speech, thought, action, each according to his kind; a lean old Goupil de Prefeln: on these and what will follow them has pure Patriotism to depend.

There too, conspicuous among the Thirty, if seldom audible, Philippe d’Orleans may be seen sitting: in dim fuliginous bewilderment; having, one might say, arrived at Chaos! Gleams there are, at once of a Lieutenancy and Regency; debates in the Assembly itself, of succession to the Throne ‘in case the present Branch should fail;’ and Philippe, they say, walked anxiously, in silence, through the corridors, till such high argument were done: but it came all to nothing; Mirabeau, glaring into the man, and through him, had to ejaculate in strong untranslatable language: Ce j–f– ne vaut pas la peine qu’on se donne pour lui. It came all to nothing; and in the meanwhile Philippe’s money, they say, is gone! Could he refuse a little cash to the gifted Patriot, in want only of that; he himself in want of all but that? Not a pamphlet can be printed without cash; or indeed written, without food purchasable by cash. Without cash your hopefullest Projector cannot stir from the spot: individual patriotic or other Projects require cash: how much more do wide-spread Intrigues, which live and exist by cash; lying widespread, with dragon-appetite for cash; fit to swallow Princedoms! And so Prince Philippe, amid his Sillerys, Lacloses, and confused Sons of Night, has rolled along: the centre of the strangest cloudy coil; out of which has visibly come, as we often say, an Epic Preternatural Machinery of SUSPICION; and within which there has dwelt and worked,–what specialties of treason, stratagem, aimed or aimless endeavour towards mischief, no party living (if it be not the Presiding Genius of it, Prince of the Power of the Air) has now any chance to know. Camille’s conjecture is the likeliest: that poor Philippe did mount up, a little way, in treasonable speculation, as he mounted formerly in one of the earliest Balloons; but, frightened at the new position he was getting into, had soon turned the cock again, and come down. More fool than he rose! To create Preternatural Suspicion, this was his function in the Revolutionary Epos. But now if he have lost his cornucopia of ready-money, what else had he to lose? In thick darkness, inward and outward, he must welter and flounder on, in that piteous death-element, the hapless man. Once, or even twice, we shall still behold him emerged; struggling out of the thick death-element: in vain. For one moment, it is the last moment, he starts aloft, or is flung aloft, even into clearness and a kind of memorability,– to sink then for evermore!

The Cote Droit persists no less; nay with more animation than ever, though hope has now well nigh fled. Tough Abbe Maury, when the obscure country Royalist grasps his hand with transport of thanks, answers, rolling his indomitable brazen head: “Helas, Monsieur, all that I do here is as good as simply nothing.” Gallant Faussigny, visible this one time in History, advances frantic, into the middle of the Hall, exclaiming: “There is but one way of dealing with it, and that is to fall sword in hand on those gentry there, sabre a la main sur ces gaillards la,” (Moniteur, Seance du 21 Aout, 1790.) franticly indicating our chosen Thirty on the extreme tip of the Left! Whereupon is clangour and clamour, debate, repentance,– evaporation. Things ripen towards downright incompatibility, and what is called ‘scission:’ that fierce theoretic onslaught of Faussigny’s was in August, 1790; next August will not have come, till a famed Two Hundred and Ninety-two, the chosen of Royalism, make solemn final ‘scission’ from an Assembly given up to faction; and depart, shaking the dust off their feet.

Connected with this matter of sword in hand, there is yet another thing to be noted. Of duels we have sometimes spoken: how, in all parts of France, innumerable duels were fought; and argumentative men and messmates, flinging down the wine-cup and weapons of reason and repartee, met in the measured field; to part bleeding; or perhaps not to part, but to fall mutually skewered through with iron, their wrath and life alike ending,– and die as fools die. Long has this lasted, and still lasts. But now it would seem as if in an august Assembly itself, traitorous Royalism, in its despair, had taken to a new course: that of cutting off Patriotism by systematic duel! Bully-swordsmen, ‘Spadassins’ of that party, go swaggering; or indeed they can be had for a trifle of money. ‘Twelve Spadassins’ were seen, by the yellow eye of Journalism, ‘arriving recently out of Switzerland;’ also ‘a considerable number of Assassins, nombre considerable d’assassins, exercising in fencing-schools and at pistol- targets.’ Any Patriot Deputy of mark can be called out; let him escape one time, or ten times, a time there necessarily is when he must fall, and France mourn. How many cartels has Mirabeau had; especially while he was the People’s champion! Cartels by the hundred: which he, since the Constitution must be made first, and his time is precious, answers now always with a kind of stereotype formula: “Monsieur, you are put upon my List; but I warn you that it is long, and I grant no preferences.”

Then, in Autumn, had we not the Duel of Cazales and Barnave; the two chief masters of tongue-shot meeting now to exchange pistol-shot? For Cazales, chief of the Royalists, whom we call ‘Blacks or Noirs,’ said, in a moment of passion, “the Patriots were sheer Brigands,” nay in so speaking, he darted or seemed to dart, a fire-glance specially at Barnave; who thereupon could not but reply by fire-glances,–by adjournment to the Bois-de- Boulogne. Barnave’s second shot took effect: on Cazales’s hat. The ‘front nook’ of a triangular Felt, such as mortals then wore, deadened the ball; and saved that fine brow from more than temporary injury. But how easily might the lot have fallen the other way, and Barnave’s hat not been so good! Patriotism raises its loud denunciation of Duelling in general; petitions an august Assembly to stop such Feudal barbarism by law. Barbarism and solecism: for will it convince or convict any man to blow half an ounce of lead through the head of him? Surely not.–Barnave was received at the Jacobins with embraces, yet with rebukes.

Mindful of which, and also that his repetition in America was that of headlong foolhardiness rather, and want of brain not of heart, Charles Lameth does, on the eleventh day of November, with little emotion, decline attending some hot young Gentleman from Artois, come expressly to challenge him: nay indeed he first coldly engages to attend; then coldly permits two Friends to attend instead of him, and shame the young Gentleman out of it, which they successfully do. A cold procedure; satisfactory to the two Friends, to Lameth and the hot young Gentleman; whereby, one might have fancied, the whole matter was cooled down.

Not so, however: Lameth, proceeding to his senatorial duties, in the decline of the day, is met in those Assembly corridors by nothing but Royalist brocards; sniffs, huffs, and open insults. Human patience has its limits: “Monsieur,” said Lameth, breaking silence to one Lautrec, a man with hunchback, or natural deformity, but sharp of tongue, and a Black of the deepest tint, “Monsieur, if you were a man to be fought with!”–“I am one,” cries the young Duke de Castries. Fast as fire-flash Lameth replies, “Tout a l’heure, On the instant, then!” And so, as the shades of dusk thicken in that Bois-de-Boulogne, we behold two men with lion-look, with alert attitude, side foremost, right foot advanced; flourishing and thrusting, stoccado and passado, in tierce and quart; intent to skewer one another. See, with most skewering purpose, headlong Lameth, with his whole weight, makes a furious lunge; but deft Castries whisks aside: Lameth skewers only the air,–and slits deep and far, on Castries’ sword’s-point, his own extended left arm! Whereupon with bleeding, pallor, surgeon’s- lint, and formalities, the Duel is considered satisfactorily done.

But will there be no end, then? Beloved Lameth lies deep-slit, not out of danger. Black traitorous Aristocrats kill the People’s defenders, cut up not with arguments, but with rapier-slits. And the Twelve Spadassins out of Switzerland, and the considerable number of Assassins exercising at the pistol-target? So meditates and ejaculates hurt Patriotism, with ever- deepening ever-widening fervour, for the space of six and thirty hours.

The thirty-six hours past, on Saturday the 13th, one beholds a new spectacle: The Rue de Varennes, and neighbouring Boulevard des Invalides, covered with a mixed flowing multitude: the Castries Hotel gone distracted, devil-ridden, belching from every window, ‘beds with clothes and curtains,’ plate of silver and gold with filigree, mirrors, pictures, images, commodes, chiffoniers, and endless crockery and jingle: amid steady popular cheers, absolutely without theft; for there goes a cry, “He shall be hanged that steals a nail!” It is a Plebiscitum, or informal iconoclastic Decree of the Common People, in the course of being executed!- -The Municipality sit tremulous; deliberating whether they will hang out the Drapeau Rouge and Martial Law: National Assembly, part in loud wail, part in hardly suppressed applause: Abbe Maury unable to decide whether the iconoclastic Plebs amount to forty thousand or to two hundred thousand.

Deputations, swift messengers, for it is at a distance over the River, come and go. Lafayette and National Guardes, though without Drapeau Rouge, get under way; apparently in no hot haste. Nay, arrived on the scene, Lafayette salutes with doffed hat, before ordering to fix bayonets. What avails it? The Plebeian “Court of Cassation,’ as Camille might punningly name it, has done its work; steps forth, with unbuttoned vest, with pockets turned inside out: sack, and just ravage, not plunder! With inexhaustible patience, the Hero of two Worlds remonstrates; persuasively, with a kind of sweet constraint, though also with fixed bayonets, dissipates, hushes down: on the morrow it is once more all as usual.

Considering which things, however, Duke Castries may justly ‘write to the President,’ justly transport himself across the Marches; to raise a corps, or do what else is in him. Royalism totally abandons that Bobadilian method of contest, and the Twelve Spadassins return to Switzerland,–or even to Dreamland through the Horn-gate, whichsoever their home is. Nay Editor Prudhomme is authorised to publish a curious thing: ‘We are authorised to publish,’ says he, dull-blustering Publisher, that M. Boyer, champion of good Patriots, is at the head of Fifty Spadassinicides or Bully-killers. His address is: Passage du Bois-de-Boulonge, Faubourg St. Denis.’ (Revolutions de Paris (in Hist. Parl. viii. 440).) One of the strangest Institutes, this of Champion Boyer and the Bully-killers! Whose services, however, are not wanted; Royalism having abandoned the rapier- method as plainly impracticable.

Chapter 2.3.IV.

To fly or not to fly.

The truth is Royalism sees itself verging towards sad extremities; nearer and nearer daily. From over the Rhine it comes asserted that the King in his Tuileries is not free: this the poor King may contradict, with the official mouth, but in his heart feels often to be undeniable. Civil Constitution of the Clergy; Decree of ejectment against Dissidents from it: not even to this latter, though almost his conscience rebels, can he say ‘Nay; but, after two months’ hesitating, signs this also. It was on January 21st,’ of this 1790, that he signed it; to the sorrow of his poor heart yet, on another Twenty-first of January! Whereby come Dissident ejected Priests; unconquerable Martyrs according to some, incurable chicaning Traitors according to others. And so there has arrived what we once foreshadowed: with Religion, or with the Cant and Echo of Religion, all France is rent asunder in a new rupture of continuity; complicating, embittering all the older;–to be cured only, by stern surgery, in La Vendee!

Unhappy Royalty, unhappy Majesty, Hereditary (Representative), Representant Hereditaire, or however they can name him; of whom much is expected, to whom little is given! Blue National Guards encircle that Tuileries; a Lafayette, thin constitutional Pedant; clear, thin, inflexible, as water, turned to thin ice; whom no Queen’s heart can love. National Assembly, its pavilion spread where we know, sits near by, keeping continual hubbub. From without nothing but Nanci Revolts, sack of Castries Hotels, riots and seditions; riots, North and South, at Aix, at Douai, at Befort, Usez, Perpignan, at Nismes, and that incurable Avignon of the Pope’s: a continual crackling and sputtering of riots from the whole face of France;- -testifying how electric it grows. Add only the hard winter, the famished strikes of operatives; that continual running-bass of Scarcity, ground-tone and basis of all other Discords!

The plan of Royalty, so far as it can be said to have any fixed plan, is still, as ever, that of flying towards the frontiers. In very truth, the only plan of the smallest promise for it! Fly to Bouille; bristle yourself round with cannon, served by your ‘forty-thousand undebauched Germans:’ summon the National Assembly to follow you, summon what of it is Royalist, Constitutional, gainable by money; dissolve the rest, by grapeshot if need be. Let Jacobinism and Revolt, with one wild wail, fly into Infinite Space; driven by grapeshot. Thunder over France with the cannon’s mouth; commanding, not entreating, that this riot cease. And then to rule afterwards with utmost possible Constitutionality; doing justice, loving mercy; being Shepherd of this indigent People, not Shearer merely, and Shepherd’s-similitude! All this, if ye dare. If ye dare not, then in Heaven’s name go to sleep: other handsome alternative seems none.

Nay, it were perhaps possible; with a man to do it. For if such inexpressible whirlpool of Babylonish confusions (which our Era is) cannot be stilled by man, but only by Time and men, a man may moderate its paroxysms, may balance and sway, and keep himself unswallowed on the top of it,–as several men and Kings in these days do. Much is possible for a man; men will obey a man that kens and cans, and name him reverently their Ken-ning or King. Did not Charlemagne rule? Consider too whether he had smooth times of it; hanging ‘thirty-thousand Saxons over the Weser-Bridge,’ at one dread swoop! So likewise, who knows but, in this same distracted fanatic France, the right man may verily exist? An olive-complexioned taciturn man; for the present, Lieutenant in the Artillery-service, who once sat studying Mathematics at Brienne? The same who walked in the morning to correct proof-sheets at Dole, and enjoyed a frugal breakfast with M. Joly? Such a one is gone, whither also famed General Paoli his friend is gone, in these very days, to see old scenes in native Corsica, and what Democratic good can be done there.

Royalty never executes the evasion-plan, yet never abandons it; living in variable hope; undecisive, till fortune shall decide. In utmost secresy, a brisk Correspondence goes on with Bouille; there is also a plot, which emerges more than once, for carrying the King to Rouen: (See Hist. Parl. vii. 316; Bertrand-Moleville, &c.) plot after plot, emerging and submerging, like ‘ignes fatui in foul weather, which lead no whither. About ‘ten o’clock at night,’ the Hereditary Representative, in partie quarree, with the Queen, with Brother Monsieur, and Madame, sits playing ‘wisk,’ or whist. Usher Campan enters mysteriously, with a message he only half comprehends: How a certain Compte d’Inisdal waits anxious in the outer antechamber; National Colonel, Captain of the watch for this night, is gained over; post-horses ready all the way; party of Noblesse sitting armed, determined; will His Majesty, before midnight, consent to go? Profound silence; Campan waiting with upturned ear. “Did your Majesty hear what Campan said?” asks the Queen. “Yes, I heard,” answers Majesty, and plays on. “‘Twas a pretty couplet, that of Campan’s,” hints Monsieur, who at times showed a pleasant wit: Majesty, still unresponsive, plays wisk. “After all, one must say something to Campan,” remarks the Queen. “Tell M. d’Inisdal,” said the King, and the Queen puts an emphasis on it, “that the King cannot consent to be forced away.”–“I see!” said d’Inisdal, whisking round, peaking himself into flame of irritancy: “we have the risk; we are to have all the blame if it fail,” (Campan, ii. 105.)–and vanishes, he and his plot, as will-o’-wisps do. The Queen sat till far in the night, packing jewels: but it came to nothing; in that peaked frame of irritancy the Will-o’-wisp had gone out.

Little hope there is in all this. Alas, with whom to fly? Our loyal Gardes-du-Corps, ever since the Insurrection of Women, are disbanded; gone to their homes; gone, many of them, across the Rhine towards Coblentz and Exiled Princes: brave Miomandre and brave Tardivet, these faithful Two, have received, in nocturnal interview with both Majesties, their viaticum of gold louis, of heartfelt thanks from a Queen’s lips, though unluckily ‘his Majesty stood, back to fire, not speaking;’ (Campan, ii. 109-11.) and do now dine through the Provinces; recounting hairsbreadth escapes, insurrectionary horrors. Great horrors; to be swallowed yet of greater. But on the whole what a falling off from the old splendour of Versailles! Here in this poor Tuileries, a National Brewer-Colonel, sonorous Santerre, parades officially behind her Majesty’s chair. Our high dignitaries, all fled over the Rhine: nothing now to be gained at Court; but hopes, for which life itself must be risked! Obscure busy men frequent the back stairs; with hearsays, wind projects, un fruitful fanfaronades. Young Royalists, at the Theatre de Vaudeville, ‘sing couplets;’ if that could do any thing. Royalists enough, Captains on furlough, burnt-out Seigneurs, may likewise be met with, ‘in the Cafe de Valois, and at Meot the Restaurateur’s.’ There they fan one another into high loyal glow; drink, in such wine as can be procured, confusion to Sansculottism; shew purchased dirks, of an improved structure, made to order; and, greatly daring, dine. (Dampmartin, ii. 129.) It is in these places, in these months, that the epithet Sansculotte first gets applied to indigent Patriotism; in the last age we had Gilbert Sansculotte, the indigent Poet. (Mercier, Nouveau Paris, iii. 204.) Destitute-of-Breeches: a mournful Destitution; which however, if Twenty millions share it, may become more effective than most Possessions!

Meanwhile, amid this vague dim whirl of fanfaronades, wind-projects, poniards made to order, there does disclose itself one punctum-saliens of life and feasibility: the finger of Mirabeau! Mirabeau and the Queen of France have met; have parted with mutual trust! It is strange; secret as the Mysteries; but it is indubitable. Mirabeau took horse, one evening; and rode westward, unattended,–to see Friend Claviere in that country house of his? Before getting to Claviere’s, the much-musing horseman struck aside to a back gate of the Garden of Saint-Cloud: some Duke d’Aremberg, or the like, was there to introduce him; the Queen was not far: on a ’round knoll, rond point, the highest of the Garden of Saint-Cloud,’ he beheld the Queen’s face; spake with her, alone, under the void canopy of Night. What an interview; fateful secret for us, after all searching; like the colloquies of the gods! (Campan, ii. c. 17.) She called him ‘a Mirabeau:’ elsewhere we read that she ‘was charmed with him,’ the wild submitted Titan; as indeed it is among the honourable tokens of this high ill-fated heart that no mind of any endowment, no Mirabeau, nay no Barnave, no Dumouriez, ever came face to face with her but, in spite of all prepossessions, she was forced to recognise it, to draw nigh to it, with trust. High imperial heart; with the instinctive attraction towards all that had any height! “You know not the Queen,” said Mirabeau once in confidence; “her force of mind is prodigious; she is a man for courage.” (Dumont, p. 211.)–And so, under the void Night, on the crown of that knoll, she has spoken with a Mirabeau: he has kissed loyally the queenly hand, and said with enthusiasm: “Madame, the Monarchy is saved!”– Possible? The Foreign Powers, mysteriously sounded, gave favourable guarded response; (Correspondence Secrete (in Hist. Parl. viii. 169-73).) Bouille is at Metz, and could find forty-thousand sure Germans. With a Mirabeau for head, and a Bouille for hand, something verily is possible,– if Fate intervene not.

But figure under what thousandfold wrappages, and cloaks of darkness, Royalty, meditating these things, must involve itself. There are men with ‘Tickets of Entrance;’ there are chivalrous consultings, mysterious plottings. Consider also whether, involve as it like, plotting Royalty can escape the glance of Patriotism; lynx-eyes, by the ten thousand fixed on it, which see in the dark! Patriotism knows much: know the dirks made to order, and can specify the shops; knows Sieur Motier’s legions of mouchards; the Tickets of Entree, and men in black; and how plan of evasion succeeds plan,–or may be supposed to succeed it. Then conceive the couplets chanted at the Theatre de Vaudeville; or worse, the whispers, significant nods of traitors in moustaches. Conceive, on the other hand, the loud cry of alarm that came through the Hundred-and-Thirty Journals; the Dionysius’-Ear of each of the Forty-eight Sections, wakeful night and day.

Patriotism is patient of much; not patient of all. The Cafe de Procope has sent, visibly along the streets, a Deputation of Patriots, ‘to expostulate with bad Editors,’ by trustful word of mouth: singular to see and hear. The bad Editors promise to amend, but do not. Deputations for change of Ministry were many; Mayor Bailly joining even with Cordelier Danton in such: and they have prevailed. With what profit? Of Quacks, willing or constrained to be Quacks, the race is everlasting: Ministers Duportail and Dutertre will have to manage much as Ministers Latour-du-Pin and Cice did. So welters the confused world.

But now, beaten on for ever by such inextricable contradictory influences and evidences, what is the indigent French Patriot, in these unhappy days, to believe, and walk by? Uncertainty all; except that he is wretched, indigent; that a glorious Revolution, the wonder of the Universe, has hitherto brought neither Bread nor Peace; being marred by traitors, difficult to discover. Traitors that dwell in the dark, invisible there;– or seen for moments, in pallid dubious twilight, stealthily vanishing thither! Preternatural Suspicion once more rules the minds of men.

‘Nobody here,’ writes Carra of the Annales Patriotiques, so early as the first of February, ‘can entertain a doubt of the constant obstinate project these people have on foot to get the King away; or of the perpetual succession of manoeuvres they employ for that.’ Nobody: the watchful Mother of Patriotism deputed two Members to her Daughter at Versailles, to examine how the matter looked there. Well, and there? Patriotic Carra continues: ‘The Report of these two deputies we all heard with our own ears last Saturday. They went with others of Versailles, to inspect the King’s Stables, also the stables of the whilom Gardes du Corps; they found there from seven to eight hundred horses standing always saddled and bridled, ready for the road at a moment’s notice. The same deputies, moreover, saw with their own two eyes several Royal Carriages, which men were even then busy loading with large well-stuffed luggage-bags,’ leather cows, as we call them, ‘vaches de cuir; the Royal Arms on the panels almost entirely effaced.’ Momentous enough! Also, ‘on the same day the whole Marechaussee, or Cavalry Police, did assemble with arms, horses and baggage,’–and disperse again. They want the King over the marches, that so Emperor Leopold and the German Princes, whose troops are ready, may have a pretext for beginning: ‘this,’ adds Carra, ‘is the word of the riddle: this is the reason why our fugitive Aristocrats are now making levies of men on the frontiers; expecting that, one of these mornings, the Executive Chief Magistrate will be brought over to them, and the civil war commence.’ (Carra’s Newspaper, 1st Feb. 1791 (in Hist. Parl. ix. 39).)

If indeed the Executive Chief Magistrate, bagged, say in one of these leather cows, were once brought safe over to them! But the strangest thing of all is that Patriotism, whether barking at a venture, or guided by some instinct of preternatural sagacity, is actually barking aright this time; at something, not at nothing. Bouille’s Secret Correspondence, since made public, testifies as much.

Nay, it is undeniable, visible to all, that Mesdames the King’s Aunts are taking steps for departure: asking passports of the Ministry, safe- conducts of the Municipality; which Marat warns all men to beware of. They will carry gold with them, ‘these old Beguines;’ nay they will carry the little Dauphin, ‘having nursed a changeling, for some time, to leave in his stead!’ Besides, they are as some light substance flung up, to shew how the wind sits; a kind of proof-kite you fly off to ascertain whether the grand paper-kite, Evasion of the King, may mount!

In these alarming circumstances, Patriotism is not wanting to itself. Municipality deputes to the King; Sections depute to the Municipality; a National Assembly will soon stir. Meanwhile, behold, on the 19th of February 1791, Mesdames, quitting Bellevue and Versailles with all privacy, are off! Towards Rome, seemingly; or one knows not whither. They are not without King’s passports, countersigned; and what is more to the purpose, a serviceable Escort. The Patriotic Mayor or Mayorlet of the Village of Moret tried to detain them; but brisk Louis de Narbonne, of the Escort, dashed off at hand-gallop; returned soon with thirty dragoons, and victoriously cut them out. And so the poor ancient women go their way; to the terror of France and Paris, whose nervous excitability is become extreme. Who else would hinder poor Loque and Graille, now grown so old, and fallen into such unexpected circumstances, when gossip itself turning only on terrors and horrors is no longer pleasant to the mind, and you cannot get so much as an orthodox confessor in peace,–from going what way soever the hope of any solacement might lead them?

They go, poor ancient dames,–whom the heart were hard that does not pity: they go; with palpitations, with unmelodious suppressed screechings; all France, screeching and cackling, in loud unsuppressed terror, behind and on both hands of them: such mutual suspicion is among men. At Arnay le Duc, above halfway to the frontiers, a Patriotic Municipality and Populace again takes courage to stop them: Louis Narbonne must now back to Paris, must consult the National Assembly. National Assembly answers, not without an effort, that Mesdames may go. Whereupon Paris rises worse than ever, screeching half-distracted. Tuileries and precincts are filled with women and men, while the National Assembly debates this question of questions; Lafayette is needed at night for dispersing them, and the streets are to be illuminated. Commandant Berthier, a Berthier before whom are great things unknown, lies for the present under blockade at Bellevue in Versailles. By no tactics could he get Mesdames’ Luggage stirred from the Courts there; frantic Versaillese women came screaming about him; his very troops cut the waggon-traces; he retired to the interior, waiting better times. (Campan, ii. 132.)

Nay, in these same hours, while Mesdames hardly cut out from Moret by the sabre’s edge, are driving rapidly, to foreign parts, and not yet stopped at Arnay, their august nephew poor Monsieur, at Paris has dived deep into his cellars of the Luxembourg for shelter; and according to Montgaillard can hardly be persuaded up again. Screeching multitudes environ that Luxembourg of his: drawn thither by report of his departure: but, at sight and sound of Monsieur, they become crowing multitudes; and escort Madame and him to the Tuileries with vivats. (Montgaillard, ii. 282; Deux Amis, vi. c. 1.) It is a state of nervous excitability such as few Nations know.

Chapter 2.3.V.

The Day of Poniards.

Or, again, what means this visible reparation of the Castle of Vincennes? Other Jails being all crowded with prisoners, new space is wanted here: that is the Municipal account. For in such changing of Judicatures, Parlements being abolished, and New Courts but just set up, prisoners have accumulated. Not to say that in these times of discord and club-law, offences and committals are, at any rate, more numerous. Which Municipal account, does it not sufficiently explain the phenomenon? Surely, to repair the Castle of Vincennes was of all enterprises that an enlightened Municipality could undertake, the most innocent.

Not so however does neighbouring Saint-Antoine look on it: Saint-Antoine to whom these peaked turrets and grim donjons, all-too near her own dark dwelling, are of themselves an offence. Was not Vincennes a kind of minor Bastille? Great Diderot and Philosophes have lain in durance here; great Mirabeau, in disastrous eclipse, for forty-two months. And now when the old Bastille has become a dancing-ground (had any one the mirth to dance), and its stones are getting built into the Pont Louis-Seize, does this minor, comparative insignificance of a Bastille flank itself with fresh- hewn mullions, spread out tyrannous wings; menacing Patriotism? New space for prisoners: and what prisoners? A d’Orleans, with the chief Patriots on the tip of the Left? It is said, there runs ‘a subterranean passage’ all the way from the Tuileries hither. Who knows? Paris, mined with quarries and catacombs, does hang wondrous over the abyss; Paris was once to be blown up,–though the powder, when we went to look, had got withdrawn. A Tuileries, sold to Austria and Coblentz, should have no subterranean passage. Out of which might not Coblentz or Austria issue, some morning; and, with cannon of long range, ‘foudroyer,’ bethunder a patriotic Saint- Antoine into smoulder and ruin!

So meditates the benighted soul of Saint-Antoine, as it sees the aproned workmen, in early spring, busy on these towers. An official-speaking Municipality, a Sieur Motier with his legions of mouchards, deserve no trust at all. Were Patriot Santerre, indeed, Commander! But the sonorous Brewer commands only our own Battalion: of such secrets he can explain nothing, knows nothing, perhaps suspects much. And so the work goes on; and afflicted benighted Saint-Antoine hears rattle of hammers, sees stones suspended in air. (Montgaillard, ii. 285.)

Saint-Antoine prostrated the first great Bastille: will it falter over this comparative insignificance of a Bastille? Friends, what if we took pikes, firelocks, sledgehammers; and helped ourselves!–Speedier is no remedy; nor so certain. On the 28th day of February, Saint-Antoine turns out, as it has now often done; and, apparently with little superfluous tumult, moves eastward to that eye-sorrow of Vincennes. With grave voice of authority, no need of bullying and shouting, Saint-Antoine signifies to parties concerned there that its purpose is, To have this suspicious Stronghold razed level with the general soil of the country. Remonstrance may be proffered, with zeal: but it avails not. The outer gate goes up, drawbridges tumble; iron window-stanchions, smitten out with sledgehammers, become iron-crowbars: it rains furniture, stone-masses, slates: with chaotic clatter and rattle, Demolition clatters down. And now hasty expresses rush through the agitated streets, to warn Lafayette, and the Municipal and Departmental Authorities; Rumour warns a National Assembly, a Royal Tuileries, and all men who care to hear it: That Saint-Antoine is up; that Vincennes, and probably the last remaining Institution of the Country, is coming down. (Deux Amis, vi. 11-15; Newspapers (in Hist. Parl. ix. 111-17).)

Quick, then! Let Lafayette roll his drums and fly eastward; for to all Constitutional Patriots this is again bad news. And you, ye Friends of Royalty, snatch your poniards of improved structure, made to order; your sword-canes, secret arms, and tickets of entry; quick, by backstairs passages, rally round the Son of Sixty Kings. An effervescence probably got up by d’Orleans and Company, for the overthrow of Throne and Altar: it is said her Majesty shall be put in prison, put out of the way; what then will his Majesty be? Clay for the Sansculottic Potter! Or were it impossible to fly this day; a brave Noblesse suddenly all rallying? Peril threatens, hope invites: Dukes de Villequier, de Duras, Gentlemen of the Chamber give tickets and admittance; a brave Noblesse is suddenly all rallying. Now were the time to ‘fall sword in hand on those gentry there,’ could it be done with effect.

The Hero of two Worlds is on his white charger; blue Nationals, horse and foot, hurrying eastward: Santerre, with the Saint-Antoine Battalion, is already there,–apparently indisposed to act. Heavy-laden Hero of two Worlds, what tasks are these! The jeerings, provocative gambollings of that Patriot Suburb, which is all out on the streets now, are hard to endure; unwashed Patriots jeering in sulky sport; one unwashed Patriot ‘seizing the General by the boot’ to unhorse him. Santerre, ordered to fire, makes answer obliquely, “These are the men that took the Bastille;” and not a trigger stirs! Neither dare the Vincennes Magistracy give warrant of arrestment, or the smallest countenance: wherefore the General ‘will take it on himself’ to arrest. By promptitude, by cheerful adroitness, patience and brisk valour without limits, the riot may be again bloodlessly appeased.

Meanwhile, the rest of Paris, with more or less unconcern, may mind the rest of its business: for what is this but an effervescence, of which there are now so many? The National Assembly, in one of its stormiest moods, is debating a Law against Emigration; Mirabeau declaring aloud, “I swear beforehand that I will not obey it.” Mirabeau is often at the Tribune this day; with endless impediments from without; with the old unabated energy from within. What can murmurs and clamours, from Left or from Right, do to this man; like Teneriffe or Atlas unremoved? With clear thought; with strong bass-voice, though at first low, uncertain, he claims audience, sways the storm of men: anon the sound of him waxes, softens; he rises into far-sounding melody of strength, triumphant, which subdues all hearts; his rude-seamed face, desolate fire-scathed, becomes fire-lit, and radiates: once again men feel, in these beggarly ages, what is the potency and omnipotency of man’s word on the souls of men. “I will triumph or be torn in fragments,” he was once heard to say. “Silence,” he cries now, in strong word of command, in imperial consciousness of strength, “Silence, the thirty voices, Silence aux trente voix!”–and Robespierre and the Thirty Voices die into mutterings; and the Law is once more as Mirabeau would have it.

How different, at the same instant, is General Lafayette’s street eloquence; wrangling with sonorous Brewers, with an ungrammatical Saint- Antoine! Most different, again, from both is the Cafe-de-Valois eloquence, and suppressed fanfaronade, of this multitude of men with Tickets of Entry; who are now inundating the Corridors of the Tuileries. Such things can go on simultaneously in one City. How much more in one Country; in one Planet with its discrepancies, every Day a mere crackling infinitude of discrepancies–which nevertheless do yield some coherent net-product, though an infinitesimally small one!

Be this as it may. Lafayette has saved Vincennes; and is marching homewards with some dozen of arrested demolitionists. Royalty is not yet saved;–nor indeed specially endangered. But to the King’s Constitutional Guard, to these old Gardes Francaises, or Centre Grenadiers, as it chanced to be, this affluence of men with Tickets of Entry is becoming more and more unintelligible. Is his Majesty verily for Metz, then; to be carried off by these men, on the spur of the instant? That revolt of Saint-Antoine got up by traitor Royalists for a stalking-horse? Keep a sharp outlook, ye Centre Grenadiers on duty here: good never came from the ‘men in black.’ Nay they have cloaks, redingotes; some of them leather-breeches, boots,–as if for instant riding! Or what is this that sticks visible from the lapelle of Chevalier de Court? (Weber, ii. 286.) Too like the handle of some cutting or stabbing instrument! He glides and goes; and still the dudgeon sticks from his left lapelle. “Hold, Monsieur!”–a Centre Grenadier clutches him; clutches the protrusive dudgeon, whisks it out in the face of the world: by Heaven, a very dagger; hunting-knife, or whatsoever you call it; fit to drink the life of Patriotism!

So fared it with Chevalier de Court, early in the day; not without noise; not without commentaries. And now this continually increasing multitude at nightfall? Have they daggers too? Alas, with them too, after angry parleyings, there has begun a groping and a rummaging; all men in black, spite of their Tickets of Entry, are clutched by the collar, and groped. Scandalous to think of; for always, as the dirk, sword-cane, pistol, or were it but tailor’s bodkin, is found on him, and with loud scorn drawn forth from him, he, the hapless man in black, is flung all too rapidly down stairs. Flung; and ignominiously descends, head foremost; accelerated by ignominious shovings from sentry after sentry; nay, as is written, by smitings, twitchings,–spurnings, a posteriori, not to be named. In this accelerated way, emerges, uncertain which end uppermost, man after man in black, through all issues, into the Tuileries Garden. Emerges, alas, into the arms of an indignant multitude, now gathered and gathering there, in the hour of dusk, to see what is toward, and whether the Hereditary Representative is carried off or not. Hapless men in black; at last convicted of poniards made to order; convicted ‘Chevaliers of the Poniard!’ Within is as the burning ship; without is as the deep sea. Within is no help; his Majesty, looking forth, one moment, from his interior sanctuaries, coldly bids all visitors ‘give up their weapons;’ and shuts the door again. The weapons given up form a heap: the convicted Chevaliers of the poniard keep descending pellmell, with impetuous velocity; and at the bottom of all staircases, the mixed multitude receives them, hustles, buffets, chases and disperses them. (Hist. Parl. ix. 139- 48.)

Such sight meets Lafayette, in the dusk of the evening, as he returns, successful with difficulty at Vincennes: Sansculotte Scylla hardly weathered, here is Aristocrat Charybdis gurgling under his lee! The patient Hero of two Worlds almost loses temper. He accelerates, does not retard, the flying Chevaliers; delivers, indeed, this or the other hunted Loyalist of quality, but rates him in bitter words, such as the hour suggested; such as no saloon could pardon. Hero ill-bested; hanging, so to speak, in mid-air; hateful to Rich divinities above; hateful to Indigent mortals below! Duke de Villequier, Gentleman of the Chamber, gets such contumelious rating, in presence of all people there, that he may see good first to exculpate himself in the Newspapers; then, that not prospering, to retire over the Frontiers, and begin plotting at Brussels. (Montgaillard, ii. 286.) His Apartment will stand vacant; usefuller, as we may find, than when it stood occupied.

So fly the Chevaliers of the Poniard; hunted of Patriotic men, shamefully in the thickening dusk. A dim miserable business; born of darkness; dying away there in the thickening dusk and dimness! In the midst of which, however, let the reader discern clearly one figure running for its life: Crispin-Cataline d’Espremenil,–for the last time, or the last but one. It is not yet three years since these same Centre Grenadiers, Gardes Francaises then, marched him towards the Calypso Isles, in the gray of the May morning; and he and they have got thus far. Buffeted, beaten down, delivered by popular Petion, he might well answer bitterly: “And I too, Monsieur, have been carried on the People’s shoulders.” (See Mercier, ii. 40, 202.) A fact which popular Petion, if he like, can meditate.

But happily, one way and another, the speedy night covers up this ignominious Day of Poniards; and the Chevaliers escape, though maltreated, with torn coat-skirts and heavy hearts, to their respective dwelling- houses. Riot twofold is quelled; and little blood shed, if it be not insignificant blood from the nose: Vincennes stands undemolished, reparable; and the Hereditary Representative has not been stolen, nor the Queen smuggled into Prison. A Day long remembered: commented on with loud hahas and deep grumblings; with bitter scornfulness of triumph, bitter rancour of defeat. Royalism, as usual, imputes it to d’Orleans and the Anarchists intent on insulting Majesty: Patriotism, as usual, to Royalists, and even Constitutionalists, intent on stealing Majesty to Metz: we, also as usual, to Preternatural Suspicion, and Phoebus Apollo having made himself like the Night.

Thus however has the reader seen, in an unexpected arena, on this last day of February 1791, the Three long-contending elements of French Society, dashed forth into singular comico-tragical collision; acting and reacting openly to the eye. Constitutionalism, at once quelling Sansculottic riot at Vincennes, and Royalist treachery from the Tuileries, is great, this day, and prevails. As for poor Royalism, tossed to and fro in that manner, its daggers all left in a heap, what can one think of it? Every dog, the Adage says, has its day: has it; has had it; or will have it. For the present, the day is Lafayette’s and the Constitution’s. Nevertheless Hunger and Jacobinism, fast growing fanatical, still work; their-day, were they once fanatical, will come. Hitherto, in all tempests, Lafayette, like some divine Sea-ruler, raises his serene head: the upper Aeolus’s blasts fly back to their caves, like foolish unbidden winds: the under sea- billows they had vexed into froth allay themselves. But if, as we often write, the submarine Titanic Fire-powers came into play, the Ocean bed from beneath being burst? If they hurled Poseidon Lafayette and his Constitution out of Space; and, in the Titanic melee, sea were mixed with sky?

Chapter 2.3.VI.


The spirit of France waxes ever more acrid, fever-sick: towards the final outburst of dissolution and delirium. Suspicion rules all minds: contending parties cannot now commingle; stand separated sheer asunder, eying one another, in most aguish mood, of cold terror or hot rage. Counter-Revolution, Days of Poniards, Castries Duels; Flight of Mesdames, of Monsieur and Royalty! Journalism shrills ever louder its cry of alarm. The sleepless Dionysius’s Ear of the Forty-eight Sections, how feverishly quick has it grown; convulsing with strange pangs the whole sick Body, as in such sleeplessness and sickness, the ear will do!

Since Royalists get Poniards made to order, and a Sieur Motier is no better than he should be, shall not Patriotism too, even of the indigent sort, have Pikes, secondhand Firelocks, in readiness for the worst? The anvils ring, during this March month, with hammering of Pikes. A Constitutional Municipality promulgated its Placard, that no citizen except the ‘active or cash-citizen’ was entitled to have arms; but there rose, instantly responsive, such a tempest of astonishment from Club and Section, that the Constitutional Placard, almost next morning, had to cover itself up, and die away into inanity, in a second improved edition. (Ordonnance du 17 Mars 1791 (Hist. Parl. ix. 257).) So the hammering continues; as all that it betokens does.

Mark, again, how the extreme tip of the Left is mounting in favour, if not in its own National Hall, yet with the Nation, especially with Paris. For in such universal panic of doubt, the opinion that is sure of itself, as the meagrest opinion may the soonest be, is the one to which all men will rally. Great is Belief, were it never so meagre; and leads captive the doubting heart! Incorruptible Robespierre has been elected Public Accuser in our new Courts of Judicature; virtuous Petion, it is thought, may rise to be Mayor. Cordelier Danton, called also by triumphant majorities, sits at the Departmental Council-table; colleague there of Mirabeau. Of incorruptible Robespierre it was long ago predicted that he might go far, mean meagre mortal though he was; for Doubt dwelt not in him.

Under which circumstances ought not Royalty likewise to cease doubting, and begin deciding and acting? Royalty has always that sure trump-card in its hand: Flight out of Paris. Which sure trump-card, Royalty, as we see, keeps ever and anon clutching at, grasping; and swashes it forth tentatively; yet never tables it, still puts it back again. Play it, O Royalty! If there be a chance left, this seems it, and verily the last chance; and now every hour is rendering this a doubtfuller. Alas, one would so fain both fly and not fly; play one’s card and have it to play. Royalty, in all human likelihood, will not play its trump-card till the honours, one after one, be mainly lost; and such trumping of it prove to be the sudden finish of the game!

Here accordingly a question always arises; of the prophetic sort; which cannot now be answered. Suppose Mirabeau, with whom Royalty takes deep counsel, as with a Prime Minister that cannot yet legally avow himself as such, had got his arrangements completed? Arrangements he has; far- stretching plans that dawn fitfully on us, by fragments, in the confused darkness. Thirty Departments ready to sign loyal Addresses, of prescribed tenor: King carried out of Paris, but only to Compiegne and Rouen, hardly to Metz, since, once for all, no Emigrant rabble shall take the lead in it: National Assembly consenting, by dint of loyal Addresses, by management, by force of Bouille, to hear reason, and follow thither! (See Fils Adoptif, vii. 1. 6; Dumont, c. 11, 12, 14.) Was it so, on these terms, that Jacobinism and Mirabeau were then to grapple, in their Hercules-and-Typhon duel; death inevitable for the one or the other? The duel itself is determined on, and sure: but on what terms; much more, with what issue, we in vain guess. It is vague darkness all: unknown what is to be; unknown even what has already been. The giant Mirabeau walks in darkness, as we said; companionless, on wild ways: what his thoughts during these months were, no record of Biographer, not vague Fils Adoptif, will now ever disclose.

To us, endeavouring to cast his horoscope, it of course remains doubly vague. There is one Herculean man, in internecine duel with him, there is Monster after Monster. Emigrant Noblesse return, sword on thigh, vaunting of their Loyalty never sullied; descending from the air, like Harpy-swarms with ferocity, with obscene greed. Earthward there is the Typhon of Anarchy, Political, Religious; sprawling hundred-headed, say with Twenty- five million heads; wide as the area of France; fierce as Frenzy; strong in very Hunger. With these shall the Serpent-queller do battle continually, and expect no rest.

As for the King, he as usual will go wavering chameleonlike; changing colour and purpose with the colour of his environment;–good for no Kingly use. On one royal person, on the Queen only, can Mirabeau perhaps place dependance. It is possible, the greatness of this man, not unskilled too in blandishments, courtiership, and graceful adroitness, might, with most legitimate sorcery, fascinate the volatile Queen, and fix her to him. She has courage for all noble daring; an eye and a heart: the soul of Theresa’s Daughter. ‘Faut il-donc, Is it fated then,’ she passionately writes to her Brother, ‘that I with the blood I am come of, with the sentiments I have, must live and die among such mortals?’ (Fils Adoptif, ubi supra.) Alas, poor Princess, Yes. ‘She is the only man,’ as Mirabeau observes, ‘whom his Majesty has about him.’ Of one other man Mirabeau is still surer: of himself. There lies his resources; sufficient or insufficient.

Dim and great to the eye of Prophecy looks the future! A perpetual life- and-death battle; confusion from above and from below;–mere confused darkness for us; with here and there some streak of faint lurid light. We see King perhaps laid aside; not tonsured, tonsuring is out of fashion now; but say, sent away any whither, with handsome annual allowance, and stock of smith-tools. We see a Queen and Dauphin, Regent and Minor; a Queen ‘mounted on horseback,’ in the din of battles, with Moriamur pro rege nostro! ‘Such a day,’ Mirabeau writes, ‘may come.’

Din of battles, wars more than civil, confusion from above and from below: in such environment the eye of Prophecy sees Comte de Mirabeau, like some Cardinal de Retz, stormfully maintain himself; with head all-devising, heart all-daring, if not victorious, yet unvanquished, while life is left him. The specialties and issues of it, no eye of Prophecy can guess at: it is clouds, we repeat, and tempestuous night; and in the middle of it, now visible, far darting, now labouring in eclipse, is Mirabeau indomitably struggling to be Cloud-Compeller!–One can say that, had Mirabeau lived, the History of France and of the World had been different. Further, that the man would have needed, as few men ever did, the whole compass of that same ‘Art of Daring, Art d’Oser,’ which he so prized; and likewise that he, above all men then living, would have practised and manifested it. Finally, that some substantiality, and no empty simulacrum of a formula, would have been the result realised by him: a result you could have loved, a result you could have hated; by no likelihood, a result you could only have rejected with closed lips, and swept into quick forgetfulness for ever. Had Mirabeau lived one other year!

Chapter 2.3.VII.

Death of Mirabeau.

But Mirabeau could not live another year, any more than he could live another thousand years. Men’s years are numbered, and the tale of Mirabeau’s was now complete. Important, or unimportant; to be mentioned in World-History for some centuries, or not to be mentioned there beyond a day or two,–it matters not to peremptory Fate. From amid the press of ruddy busy Life, the Pale Messenger beckons silently: wide-spreading interests, projects, salvation of French Monarchies, what thing soever man has on hand, he must suddenly quit it all, and go. Wert thou saving French Monarchies; wert thou blacking shoes on the Pont Neuf! The most important of men cannot stay; did the World’s History depend on an hour, that hour is not to be given. Whereby, indeed, it comes that these same would-have- beens are mostly a vanity; and the World’s History could never in the least be what it would, or might, or should, by any manner of potentiality, but simply and altogether what it is.

The fierce wear and tear of such an existence has wasted out the giant oaken strength of Mirabeau. A fret and fever that keeps heart and brain on fire: excess of effort, of excitement; excess of all kinds: labour incessant, almost beyond credibility! ‘If I had not lived with him,’ says Dumont, ‘I should never have known what a man can make of one day; what things may be placed within the interval of twelve hours. A day for this man was more than a week or a month is for others: the mass of things he guided on together was prodigious; from the scheming to the executing not a moment lost.’ “Monsieur le Comte,” said his Secretary to him once, “what you require is impossible.”–“Impossible!” answered he starting from his chair, Ne me dites jamais ce bete de mot, Never name to me that blockhead of a word.” (Dumont, p. 311.) And then the social repasts; the dinner which he gives as Commandant of National Guards, which ‘costs five hundred pounds;’ alas, and ‘the Sirens of the Opera;’ and all the ginger that is hot in the mouth:–down what a course is this man hurled! Cannot Mirabeau stop; cannot he fly, and save himself alive? No! There is a Nessus’ Shirt on this Hercules; he must storm and burn there, without rest, till he be consumed. Human strength, never so Herculean, has its measure. Herald shadows flit pale across the fire-brain of Mirabeau; heralds of the pale repose. While he tosses and storms, straining every nerve, in that sea of ambition and confusion, there comes, sombre and still, a monition that for him the issue of it will be swift death.

In January last, you might see him as President of the Assembly; ‘his neck wrapt in linen cloths, at the evening session:’ there was sick heat of the blood, alternate darkening and flashing in the eye-sight; he had to apply leeches, after the morning labour, and preside bandaged. ‘At parting he embraced me,’ says Dumont, ‘with an emotion I had never seen in him: “I am dying, my friend; dying as by slow fire; we shall perhaps not meet again. When I am gone, they will know what the value of me was. The miseries I have held back will burst from all sides on France.”‘ (Dumont, p. 267.) Sickness gives louder warning; but cannot be listened to. On the 27th day of March, proceeding towards the Assembly, he had to seek rest and help in Friend de Lamarck’s, by the road; and lay there, for an hour, half-fainted, stretched on a sofa. To the Assembly nevertheless he went, as if in spite of Destiny itself; spoke, loud and eager, five several times; then quitted the Tribune–for ever. He steps out, utterly exhausted, into the Tuileries Gardens; many people press round him, as usual, with applications, memorials; he says to the Friend who was with him: Take me out of this!

And so, on the last day of March 1791, endless anxious multitudes beset the Rue de la Chaussee d’Antin; incessantly inquiring: within doors there, in that House numbered in our time ’42,’ the over wearied giant has fallen down, to die. (Fils Adoptif, viii. 420-79.) Crowds, of all parties and kinds; of all ranks from the King to the meanest man! The King sends publicly twice a-day to inquire; privately besides: from the world at large there is no end of inquiring. ‘A written bulletin is handed out every three hours,’ is copied and circulated; in the end, it is printed. The People spontaneously keep silence; no carriage shall enter with its noise: there is crowding pressure; but the Sister of Mirabeau is reverently recognised, and has free way made for her. The People stand mute, heart-stricken; to all it seems as if a great calamity were nigh: as if the last man of France, who could have swayed these coming troubles, lay there at hand-grips with the unearthly Power.

The silence of a whole People, the wakeful toil of Cabanis, Friend and Physician, skills not: on Saturday, the second day of April, Mirabeau feels that the last of the Days has risen for him; that, on this day, he has to depart and be no more. His death is Titanic, as his life has been. Lit up, for the last time, in the glare of coming dissolution, the mind of the man is all glowing and burning; utters itself in sayings, such as men long remember. He longs to live, yet acquiesces in death, argues not with the inexorable. His speech is wild and wondrous: unearthly Phantasms dancing now their torch-dance round his soul; the soul itself looking out, fire-radiant, motionless, girt together for that great hour! At times comes a beam of light from him on the world he is quitting. “I carry in my heart the death-dirge of the French Monarchy; the dead remains of it will now be the spoil of the factious.” Or again, when he heard the cannon fire, what is characteristic too: “Have we the Achilles’ Funeral already?” So likewise, while some friend is supporting him: “Yes, support that head; would I could bequeath it thee!” For the man dies as he has lived; self- conscious, conscious of a world looking on. He gazes forth on the young Spring, which for him will never be Summer. The Sun has risen; he says: “Si ce n’est pas la Dieu, c’est du moins son cousin germain.” (Fils Adoptif, viii. 450; Journal de la maladie et de la mort de Mirabeau, par P.J.G. Cabanis (Paris, 1803).)–Death has mastered the outworks; power of speech is gone; the citadel of the heart still holding out: the moribund giant, passionately, by sign, demands paper and pen; writes his passionate demand for opium, to end these agonies. The sorrowful Doctor shakes his head: Dormir ‘To sleep,’ writes the other, passionately pointing at it! So dies a gigantic Heathen and Titan; stumbling blindly, undismayed, down to his rest. At half-past eight in the morning, Dr. Petit, standing at the foot of the bed, says “Il ne souffre plus.” His suffering and his working are now ended.

Even so, ye silent Patriot multitudes, all ye men of France; this man is rapt away from you. He has fallen suddenly, without bending till he broke; as a tower falls, smitten by sudden lightning. His word ye shall hear no more, his guidance follow no more.–The multitudes depart, heartstruck; spread the sad tidings. How touching is the loyalty of men to their Sovereign Man! All theatres, public amusements close; no joyful meeting can be held in these nights, joy is not for them: the People break in upon private dancing-parties, and sullenly command that they cease. Of such dancing-parties apparently but two came to light; and these also have gone out. The gloom is universal: never in this City was such sorrow for one death; never since that old night when Louis XII. departed, ‘and the Crieurs des Corps went sounding their bells, and crying along the streets: Le bon roi Louis, pere du peuple, est mort, The good King Louis, Father of the People, is dead!’ (Henault, Abrege Chronologique, p. 429.) King Mirabeau is now the lost King; and one may say with little exaggeration, all the People mourns for him.

For three days there is low wide moan: weeping in the National Assembly itself. The streets are all mournful; orators mounted on the bournes, with large silent audience, preaching the funeral sermon of the dead. Let no coachman whip fast, distractively with his rolling wheels, or almost at all, through these groups! His traces may be cut; himself and his fare, as incurable Aristocrats, hurled sulkily into the kennels. The bourne-stone orators speak as it is given them; the Sansculottic People, with its rude soul, listens eager,–as men will to any Sermon, or Sermo, when it is a spoken Word meaning a Thing, and not a Babblement meaning No-thing. In the Restaurateur’s of the Palais Royal, the waiter remarks, “Fine weather, Monsieur:”–“Yes, my friend,” answers the ancient Man of Letters, “very fine; but Mirabeau is dead.” Hoarse rhythmic threnodies comes also from the throats of balladsingers; are sold on gray-white paper at a sou each. (Fils Adoptif, viii. l. 19; Newspapers and Excerpts (in Hist. Parl. ix. 366-402).) But of Portraits, engraved, painted, hewn, and written; of Eulogies, Reminiscences, Biographies, nay Vaudevilles, Dramas and Melodramas, in all Provinces of France, there will, through these coming months, be the due immeasurable crop; thick as the leaves of Spring. Nor, that a tincture of burlesque might be in it, is Gobel’s Episcopal Mandement wanting; goose Gobel, who has just been made Constitutional Bishop of Paris. A Mandement wherein ca ira alternates very strangely with Nomine Domini, and you are, with a grave countenance, invited to ‘rejoice at possessing in the midst of you a body of Prelates created by Mirabeau, zealous followers of his doctrine, faithful imitators of his virtues.’ (Hist. Parl. ix. 405.) So speaks, and cackles manifold, the Sorrow of France; wailing articulately, inarticulately, as it can, that a Sovereign Man is snatched away. In the National Assembly, when difficult questions are astir, all eyes will ‘turn mechanically to the place where Mirabeau sat,’–and Mirabeau is absent now.

On the third evening of the lamentation, the fourth of April, there is solemn Public Funeral; such as deceased mortal seldom had. Procession of a league in length; of mourners reckoned loosely at a hundred thousand! All roofs are thronged with onlookers, all windows, lamp-irons, branches of trees. ‘Sadness is painted on every countenance; many persons weep.’ There is double hedge of National Guards; there is National Assembly in a body; Jacobin Society, and Societies; King’s Ministers, Municipals, and all Notabilities, Patriot or Aristocrat. Bouille is noticeable there, ‘with his hat on;’ say, hat drawn over his brow, hiding many thoughts! Slow- wending, in religious silence, the Procession of a league in length, under the level sun-rays, for it is five o’clock, moves and marches: with its sable plumes; itself in a religious silence; but, by fits, with the muffled roll of drums, by fits with some long-drawn wail of music, and strange new clangour of trombones, and metallic dirge-voice; amid the infinite hum of men. In the Church of Saint-Eustache, there is funeral oration by Cerutti; and discharge of fire-arms, which ‘brings down pieces of the plaster.’ Thence, forward again to the Church of Sainte-Genevieve; which has been consecrated, by supreme decree, on the spur of this time, into a Pantheon for the Great Men of the Fatherland, Aux Grands Hommes la Patrie reconnaissante. Hardly at midnight is the business done; and Mirabeau left in his dark dwelling: first tenant of that Fatherland’s Pantheon.

Tenant, alas, with inhabits but at will, and shall be cast out! For, in these days of convulsion and disjection, not even the dust of the dead is permitted to rest. Voltaire’s bones are, by and by, to be carried from their stolen grave in the Abbey of Scellieres, to an eager stealing grave, in Paris his birth-city: all mortals processioning and perorating there; cars drawn by eight white horses, goadsters in classical costume, with fillets and wheat-ears enough;–though the weather is of the wettest. (Moniteur, du 13 Juillet 1791.) Evangelist Jean Jacques, too, as is most proper, must be dug up from Ermenonville, and processioned, with pomp, with sensibility, to the Pantheon of the Fatherland. (Ibid. du 18 Septembre, 1794. See also du 30 Aout, &c. 1791.) He and others: while again Mirabeau, we say, is cast forth from it, happily incapable of being replaced; and rests now, irrecognisable, reburied hastily at dead of night, in the central ‘part of the Churchyard Sainte-Catherine, in the Suburb Saint-Marceau,’ to be disturbed no further.

So blazes out, farseen, a Man’s Life, and becomes ashes and a caput mortuum, in this World-Pyre, which we name French Revolution: not the first that consumed itself there; nor, by thousands and many millions, the last! A man who ‘had swallowed all formulas;’ who, in these strange times and circumstances, felt called to live Titanically, and also to die so. As he, for his part had swallowed all formulas, what Formula is there, never so comprehensive, that will express truly the plus and the minus, give us the accurate net-result of him? There is hitherto none such. Moralities not a few must shriek condemnatory over this Mirabeau; the Morality by which he could be judged has not yet got uttered in the speech of men. We