The French Revolution
Thomas Carlyle

Part 10 out of 16

Hereditary Representative,--who indeed is there too early, and has to wait
long in it. There are Eighty-three symbolical Departmental Trees-of-
Liberty; trees and mais enough: beautifullest of all these is one huge
mai, hung round with effete Scutcheons, Emblazonries and Genealogy-books;
nay better still, with Lawyers'-bags, 'sacs de procedure:' which shall be
burnt. The Thirty seat-rows of that famed Slope are again full; we have a
bright Sun; and all is marching, streamering and blaring: but what avails
it? Virtuous Mayor Petion, whom Feuillantism had suspended, was reinstated
only last night, by Decree of the Assembly. Men's humour is of the
sourest. Men's hats have on them, written in chalk, 'Vive Petion;' and
even, 'Petion or Death, Petion ou la Mort.'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 2.6.IV.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 2.6.V.

At Dinner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 2.6.VI.

The Steeples at Midnight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 2.6.VII.

The Swiss.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 2.6.VIII.

Constitution burst in Pieces.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Chapter 3.1.I.

The Improvised Commune.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 3.1.II.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 3.1.III.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 3.1.IV.

September in Paris.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it is more edifying to note what thrillings of affection, what
fragments of wild virtues turn up, in this shaking asunder of man's
existence, for of these too there is a proportion. Note old Marquis
Cazotte: he is doomed to die; but his young Daughter clasps him in her
arms, with an inspiration of eloquence, with a love which is stronger than
very death; the heart of the killers themselves is touched by it; the old
man is spared. Yet he was guilty, if plotting for his King is guilt: in
ten days more, a Court of Law condemned him, and he had to die elsewhere;
bequeathing his Daughter a lock of his old grey hair. Or note old M. de
Sombreuil, who also had a Daughter:--My Father is not an Aristocrat; O good
gentlemen, I will swear it, and testify it, and in all ways prove it; we
are not; we hate Aristocrats! "Wilt thou drink Aristocrats' blood?" The
man lifts blood (if universal Rumour can be credited (Dulaure: Esquisses
Historiques des principaux evenemens de la Revolution, ii. 206 (cited in
Montgaillard, iii. 205).)); the poor maiden does drink. "This Sombreuil is
innocent then!" Yes indeed,--and now note, most of all, how the bloody
pikes, at this news, do rattle to the ground; and the tiger-yells become
bursts of jubilee over a brother saved; and the old man and his daughter
are clasped to bloody bosoms, with hot tears, and borne home in triumph of
Vive la Nation, the killers refusing even money! Does it seem strange,
this temper of theirs? It seems very certain, well proved by Royalist
testimony in other instances; (Bertrand-Moleville (Mem. Particuliers,
ii.213), &c. &c.) and very significant.

Chapter 3.1.V.


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