The French Revolution
Thomas Carlyle

Part 8 out of 16

ghastly to the earnest soul,--think what significance there is!

Of men who, in such sense, are alive, and see with eyes, the number is now
not great: it may be well, if in this huge French Revolution itself, with
its all-developing fury, we find some Three. Mortals driven rabid we find;
sputtering the acridest logic; baring their breast to the battle-hail,
their neck to the guillotine; of whom it is so painful to say that they too
are still, in good part, manufactured Formalities, not Facts but Hearsays!

Honour to the strong man, in these ages, who has shaken himself loose of
shams, and is something. For in the way of being worthy, the first
condition surely is that one be. Let Cant cease, at all risks and at all
costs: till Cant cease, nothing else can begin. Of human Criminals, in
these centuries, writes the Moralist, I find but one unforgivable: the
Quack. 'Hateful to God,' as divine Dante sings, 'and to the Enemies of

'A Dio spiacente ed a' nemici sui!'

But whoever will, with sympathy, which is the first essential towards
insight, look at this questionable Mirabeau, may find that there lay verily
in him, as the basis of all, a Sincerity, a great free Earnestness; nay
call it Honesty, for the man did before all things see, with that clear
flashing vision, into what was, into what existed as fact; and did, with
his wild heart, follow that and no other. Whereby on what ways soever he
travels and struggles, often enough falling, he is still a brother man.
Hate him not; thou canst not hate him! Shining through such soil and
tarnish, and now victorious effulgent, and oftenest struggling eclipsed,
the light of genius itself is in this man; which was never yet base and
hateful: but at worst was lamentable, loveable with pity. They say that
he was ambitious, that he wanted to be Minister. It is most true; and was
he not simply the one man in France who could have done any good as
Minister? Not vanity alone, not pride alone; far from that! Wild
burstings of affection were in this great heart; of fierce lightning, and
soft dew of pity. So sunk, bemired in wretchedest defacements, it may be
said of him, like the Magdalen of old, that he loved much: his Father the
harshest of old crabbed men he loved with warmth, with veneration.

Be it that his falls and follies are manifold,--as himself often lamented
even with tears. (Dumont, p. 287.) Alas, is not the Life of every such
man already a poetic Tragedy; made up 'of Fate and of one's own
Deservings,' of Schicksal und eigene Schuld; full of the elements of Pity
and Fear? This brother man, if not Epic for us, is Tragic; if not great,
is large; large in his qualities, world-large in his destinies. Whom other
men, recognising him as such, may, through long times, remember, and draw
nigh to examine and consider: these, in their several dialects, will say
of him and sing of him,--till the right thing be said; and so the Formula
that can judge him be no longer an undiscovered one.

Here then the wild Gabriel Honore drops from the tissue of our History; not
without a tragic farewell. He is gone: the flower of the wild Riquetti or
Arrighetti kindred; which seems as if in him, with one last effort, it had
done its best, and then expired, or sunk down to the undistinguished level.
Crabbed old Marquis Mirabeau, the Friend of Men, sleeps sound. The Bailli
Mirabeau, worthy uncle, will soon die forlorn, alone. Barrel-Mirabeau,
already gone across the Rhine, his Regiment of Emigrants will drive nigh
desperate. 'Barrel-Mirabeau,' says a biographer of his, 'went indignantly
across the Rhine, and drilled Emigrant Regiments. But as he sat one
morning in his tent, sour of stomach doubtless and of heart, meditating in
Tartarean humour on the turn things took, a certain Captain or Subaltern
demanded admittance on business. Such Captain is refused; he again
demands, with refusal; and then again, till Colonel Viscount Barrel-
Mirabeau, blazing up into a mere burning brandy barrel, clutches his sword,
and tumbles out on this canaille of an intruder,--alas, on the canaille of
an intruder's sword's point, who had drawn with swift dexterity; and dies,
and the Newspapers name it apoplexy and alarming accident.' So die the

New Mirabeaus one hears not of: the wild kindred, as we said, is gone out
with this its greatest. As families and kindreds sometimes do; producing,
after long ages of unnoted notability, some living quintescence of all the
qualities they had, to flame forth as a man world-noted; after whom they
rest as if exhausted; the sceptre passing to others. The chosen Last of
the Mirabeaus is gone; the chosen man of France is gone. It was he who
shook old France from its basis; and, as if with his single hand, has held
it toppling there, still unfallen. What things depended on that one man!
He is as a ship suddenly shivered on sunk rocks: much swims on the waste
waters, far from help.



Chapter 2.4.I.

Easter at Saint-Cloud.

The French Monarchy may now therefore be considered as, in all human
probability, lost; as struggling henceforth in blindness as well as
weakness, the last light of reasonable guidance having gone out. What
remains of resources their poor Majesties will waste still further, in
uncertain loitering and wavering. Mirabeau himself had to complain that
they only gave him half confidence, and always had some plan within his
plan. Had they fled frankly with him, to Rouen or anywhither, long ago!
They may fly now with chance immeasurably lessened; which will go on
lessening towards absolute zero. Decide, O Queen; poor Louis can decide
nothing: execute this Flight-project, or at least abandon it.
Correspondence with Bouille there has been enough; what profits consulting,
and hypothesis, while all around is in fierce activity of practice? The
Rustic sits waiting till the river run dry: alas with you it is not a
common river, but a Nile Inundation; snow melting in the unseen mountains;
till all, and you where you sit, be submerged.

Many things invite to flight. The voice Journals invites; Royalist
Journals proudly hinting it as a threat, Patriot Journals rabidly
denouncing it as a terror. Mother Society, waxing more and more emphatic,
invites;--so emphatic that, as was prophesied, Lafayette and your limited
Patriots have ere long to branch off from her, and form themselves into
Feuillans; with infinite public controversy; the victory in which, doubtful
though it look, will remain with the unlimited Mother. Moreover, ever
since the Day of Poniards, we have seen unlimited Patriotism openly
equipping itself with arms. Citizens denied 'activity,' which is
facetiously made to signify a certain weight of purse, cannot buy blue
uniforms, and be Guardsmen; but man is greater than blue cloth; man can
fight, if need be, in multiform cloth, or even almost without cloth--as
Sansculotte. So Pikes continued to be hammered, whether those Dirks of
improved structure with barbs be 'meant for the West-India market,' or not
meant. Men beat, the wrong way, their ploughshares into swords. Is there
not what we may call an 'Austrian Committee,' Comite Autrichein, sitting
daily and nightly in the Tuileries? Patriotism, by vision and suspicion,
knows it too well! If the King fly, will there not be Aristocrat-Austrian
Invasion; butchery, replacement of Feudalism; wars more than civil? The
hearts of men are saddened and maddened.

Dissident Priests likewise give trouble enough. Expelled from their Parish
Churches, where Constitutional Priests, elected by the Public, have
replaced them, these unhappy persons resort to Convents of Nuns, or other
such receptacles; and there, on Sabbath, collecting assemblages of Anti-
Constitutional individuals, who have grown devout all on a sudden,
(Toulongeon, i. 262.) they worship or pretend to worship in their strait-
laced contumacious manner; to the scandal of Patriotism. Dissident
Priests, passing along with their sacred wafer for the dying, seem wishful
to be massacred in the streets; wherein Patriotism will not gratify them.
Slighter palm of martyrdom, however, shall not be denied: martyrdom not of
massacre, yet of fustigation. At the refractory places of worship, Patriot
men appear; Patriot women with strong hazel wands, which they apply. Shut
thy eyes, O Reader; see not this misery, peculiar to these later times,--of
martyrdom without sincerity, with only cant and contumacy! A dead Catholic
Church is not allowed to lie dead; no, it is galvanised into the
detestablest death-life; whereat Humanity, we say, shuts its eyes. For the
Patriot women take their hazel wands, and fustigate, amid laughter of
bystanders, with alacrity: broad bottom of Priests; alas, Nuns too
reversed, and cotillons retrousses! The National Guard does what it can:
Municipality 'invokes the Principles of Toleration;' grants Dissident
worshippers the Church of the Theatins; promising protection. But it is to
no purpose: at the door of that Theatins Church, appears a Placard, and
suspended atop, like Plebeian Consular fasces,--a Bundle of Rods! The
Principles of Toleration must do the best they may: but no Dissident man
shall worship contumaciously; there is a Plebiscitum to that effect; which,
though unspoken, is like the laws of the Medes and Persians. Dissident
contumacious Priests ought not to be harboured, even in private, by any
man: the Club of the Cordeliers openly denounces Majesty himself as doing
it. (Newspapers of April and June, 1791 (in Hist. Parl. ix. 449; x, 217).)

Many things invite to flight: but probably this thing above all others,
that it has become impossible! On the 15th of April, notice is given that
his Majesty, who has suffered much from catarrh lately, will enjoy the
Spring weather, for a few days, at Saint-Cloud. Out at Saint-Cloud?
Wishing to celebrate his Easter, his Paques, or Pasch, there; with
refractory Anti-Constitutional Dissidents?--Wishing rather to make off for
Compiegne, and thence to the Frontiers? As were, in good sooth, perhaps
feasible, or would once have been; nothing but some two chasseurs attending
you; chasseurs easily corrupted! It is a pleasant possibility, execute it
or not. Men say there are thirty thousand Chevaliers of the Poniard
lurking in the woods there: lurking in the woods, and thirty thousand,--
for the human Imagination is not fettered. But now, how easily might
these, dashing out on Lafayette, snatch off the Hereditary Representative;
and roll away with him, after the manner of a whirlblast, whither they
listed!--Enough, it were well the King did not go. Lafayette is forewarned
and forearmed: but, indeed, is the risk his only; or his and all France's?

Monday the eighteenth of April is come; the Easter Journey to Saint-Cloud
shall take effect. National Guard has got its orders; a First Division, as
Advanced Guard, has even marched, and probably arrived. His Majesty's
Maison-bouche, they say, is all busy stewing and frying at Saint-Cloud; the
King's Dinner not far from ready there. About one o'clock, the Royal
Carriage, with its eight royal blacks, shoots stately into the Place du
Carrousel; draws up to receive its royal burden. But hark! From the
neighbouring Church of Saint-Roch, the tocsin begins ding-donging. Is the
King stolen then; he is going; gone? Multitudes of persons crowd the
Carrousel: the Royal Carriage still stands there;--and, by Heaven's
strength, shall stand!

Lafayette comes up, with aide-de-camps and oratory; pervading the groups:
"Taisez vous," answer the groups, "the King shall not go." Monsieur
appears, at an upper window: ten thousand voices bray and shriek, "Nous ne
voulons pas que le Roi parte." Their Majesties have mounted. Crack go the
whips; but twenty Patriot arms have seized each of the eight bridles:
there is rearing, rocking, vociferation; not the smallest headway. In vain
does Lafayette fret, indignant; and perorate and strive: Patriots in the
passion of terror, bellow round the Royal Carriage; it is one bellowing sea
of Patriot terror run frantic. Will Royalty fly off towards Austria; like
a lit rocket, towards endless Conflagration of Civil War? Stop it, ye
Patriots, in the name of Heaven! Rude voices passionately apostrophise
Royalty itself. Usher Campan, and other the like official persons,
pressing forward with help or advice, are clutched by the sashes, and
hurled and whirled, in a confused perilous manner; so that her Majesty has
to plead passionately from the carriage-window.

Order cannot be heard, cannot be followed; National Guards know not how to
act. Centre Grenadiers, of the Observatoire Battalion, are there; not on
duty; alas, in quasi-mutiny; speaking rude disobedient words; threatening
the mounted Guards with sharp shot if they hurt the people. Lafayette
mounts and dismounts; runs haranguing, panting; on the verge of despair.
For an hour and three-quarters; 'seven quarters of an hour,' by the
Tuileries Clock! Desperate Lafayette will open a passage, were it by the
cannon's mouth, if his Majesty will order. Their Majesties, counselled to
it by Royalist friends, by Patriot foes, dismount; and retire in, with
heavy indignant heart; giving up the enterprise. Maison-bouche may eat
that cooked dinner themselves; his Majesty shall not see Saint-Cloud this
day,--or any day. (Deux Amis, vi. c. 1; Hist. Parl. ix. 407-14.)

The pathetic fable of imprisonment in one's own Palace has become a sad
fact, then? Majesty complains to Assembly; Municipality deliberates,
proposes to petition or address; Sections respond with sullen brevity of
negation. Lafayette flings down his Commission; appears in civic pepper-
and-salt frock; and cannot be flattered back again;--not in less than three
days; and by unheard-of entreaty; National Guards kneeling to him, and
declaring that it is not sycophancy, that they are free men kneeling here
to the Statue of Liberty. For the rest, those Centre Grenadiers of the
Observatoire are disbanded,--yet indeed are reinlisted, all but fourteen,
under a new name, and with new quarters. The King must keep his Easter in
Paris: meditating much on this singular posture of things: but as good as
determined now to fly from it, desire being whetted by difficulty.

Chapter 2.4.II.

Easter at Paris.

For above a year, ever since March 1790, it would seem, there has hovered a
project of Flight before the royal mind; and ever and anon has been
condensing itself into something like a purpose; but this or the other
difficulty always vaporised it again. It seems so full of risks, perhaps
of civil war itself; above all, it cannot be done without effort.
Somnolent laziness will not serve: to fly, if not in a leather vache, one
must verily stir himself. Better to adopt that Constitution of theirs;
execute it so as to shew all men that it is inexecutable? Better or not so
good; surely it is easier. To all difficulties you need only say, There is
a lion in the path, behold your Constitution will not act! For a somnolent
person it requires no effort to counterfeit death,--as Dame de Stael and
Friends of Liberty can see the King's Government long doing, faisant le

Nay now, when desire whetted by difficulty has brought the matter to a
head, and the royal mind no longer halts between two, what can come of it?
Grant that poor Louis were safe with Bouille, what on the whole could he
look for there? Exasperated Tickets of Entry answer, Much, all. But cold
Reason answers, Little almost nothing. Is not loyalty a law of Nature? ask
the Tickets of Entry. Is not love of your King, and even death for him,
the glory of all Frenchmen,--except these few Democrats? Let Democrat
Constitution-builders see what they will do without their Keystone; and
France rend its hair, having lost the Hereditary Representative!

Thus will King Louis fly; one sees not reasonably towards what. As a
maltreated Boy, shall we say, who, having a Stepmother, rushes sulky into
the wide world; and will wring the paternal heart?--Poor Louis escapes from
known unsupportable evils, to an unknown mixture of good and evil, coloured
by Hope. He goes, as Rabelais did when dying, to seek a great May-be: je
vais chercher un grand Peut-etre! As not only the sulky Boy but the wise
grown Man is obliged to do, so often, in emergencies.

For the rest, there is still no lack of stimulants, and stepdame
maltreatments, to keep one's resolution at the due pitch. Factious
disturbance ceases not: as indeed how can they, unless authoritatively
conjured, in a Revolt which is by nature bottomless? If the ceasing of
faction be the price of the King's somnolence, he may awake when he will,
and take wing.

Remark, in any case, what somersets and contortions a dead Catholicism is
making,--skilfully galvanised: hideous, and even piteous, to behold!
Jurant and Dissident, with their shaved crowns, argue frothing everywhere;
or are ceasing to argue, and stripping for battle. In Paris was scourging
while need continued: contrariwise, in the Morbihan of Brittany, without
scourging, armed Peasants are up, roused by pulpit-drum, they know not why.
General Dumouriez, who has got missioned thitherward, finds all in sour
heat of darkness; finds also that explanation and conciliation will still
do much. (Deux Amis, v. 410-21; Dumouriez, ii. c. 5.)

But again, consider this: that his Holiness, Pius Sixth, has seen good to
excommunicate Bishop Talleyrand! Surely, we will say then, considering it,
there is no living or dead Church in the Earth that has not the
indubitablest right to excommunicate Talleyrand. Pope Pius has right and
might, in his way. But truly so likewise has Father Adam, ci-devant
Marquis Saint-Huruge, in his way. Behold, therefore, on the Fourth of May,
in the Palais-Royal, a mixed loud-sounding multitude; in the middle of
whom, Father Adam, bull-voiced Saint-Huruge, in white hat, towers visible
and audible. With him, it is said, walks Journalist Gorsas, walk many
others of the washed sort; for no authority will interfere. Pius Sixth,
with his plush and tiara, and power of the Keys, they bear aloft: of
natural size,--made of lath and combustible gum. Royou, the King's Friend,
is borne too in effigy; with a pile of Newspaper King's-Friends, condemned
numbers of the Ami-du-Roi; fit fuel of the sacrifice. Speeches are spoken;
a judgment is held, a doom proclaimed, audible in bull-voice, towards the
four winds. And thus, amid great shouting, the holocaust is consummated,
under the summer sky; and our lath-and-gum Holiness, with the attendant
victims, mounts up in flame, and sinks down in ashes; a decomposed Pope:
and right or might, among all the parties, has better or worse accomplished
itself, as it could. (Hist. Parl. x. 99-102.) But, on the whole,
reckoning from Martin Luther in the Marketplace of Wittenberg to Marquis
Saint-Huruge in this Palais-Royal of Paris, what a journey have we gone;
into what strange territories has it carried us! No Authority can now
interfere. Nay Religion herself, mourning for such things, may after all
ask, What have I to do with them?

In such extraordinary manner does dead Catholicism somerset and caper,
skilfully galvanised. For, does the reader inquire into the subject-matter
of controversy in this case; what the difference between Orthodoxy or My-
doxy and Heterodoxy or Thy-doxy might here be? My-doxy is that an august
National Assembly can equalize the extent of Bishopricks; that an equalized
Bishop, his Creed and Formularies being left quite as they were, can swear
Fidelity to King, Law and Nation, and so become a Constitutional Bishop.
Thy-doxy, if thou be Dissident, is that he cannot; but that he must become
an accursed thing. Human ill-nature needs but some Homoiousian iota, or
even the pretence of one; and will flow copiously through the eye of a
needle: thus always must mortals go jargoning and fuming,

And, like the ancient Stoics in their porches
With fierce dispute maintain their churches.

This Auto-da-fe of Saint-Huruge's was on the Fourth of May, 1791. Royalty
sees it; but says nothing.

Chapter 2.4.III.

Count Fersen.

Royalty, in fact, should, by this time, be far on with its preparations.
Unhappily much preparation is needful: could a Hereditary Representative
be carried in leather vache, how easy were it! But it is not so.

New clothes are needed, as usual, in all Epic transactions, were it in the
grimmest iron ages; consider 'Queen Chrimhilde, with her sixty
semstresses,' in that iron Nibelungen Song! No Queen can stir without new
clothes. Therefore, now, Dame Campan whisks assiduous to this mantua-maker
and to that: and there is clipping of frocks and gowns, upper clothes and
under, great and small; such a clipping and sewing, as might have been
dispensed with. Moreover, her Majesty cannot go a step anywhither without
her Necessaire; dear Necessaire, of inlaid ivory and rosewood; cunningly
devised; which holds perfumes, toilet-implements, infinite small queenlike
furnitures: Necessary to terrestrial life. Not without a cost of some
five hundred louis, of much precious time, and difficult hoodwinking which
does not blind, can this same Necessary of life be forwarded by the
Flanders Carriers,--never to get to hand. (Campan, ii. c. 18.) All which,
you would say, augurs ill for the prospering of the enterprise. But the
whims of women and queens must be humoured.

Bouille, on his side, is making a fortified Camp at Montmedi; gathering
Royal-Allemand, and all manner of other German and true French Troops
thither, 'to watch the Austrians.' His Majesty will not cross the
Frontiers, unless on compulsion. Neither shall the Emigrants be much
employed, hateful as they are to all people. (Bouille, Memoires, ii. c.
10.) Nor shall old war-god Broglie have any hand in the business; but
solely our brave Bouille; to whom, on the day of meeting, a Marshal's Baton
shall be delivered, by a rescued King, amid the shouting of all the troops.
In the meanwhile, Paris being so suspicious, were it not perhaps good to
write your Foreign Ambassadors an ostensible Constitutional Letter;
desiring all Kings and men to take heed that King Louis loves the
Constitution, that he has voluntarily sworn, and does again swear, to
maintain the same, and will reckon those his enemies who affect to say
otherwise? Such a Constitutional circular is despatched by Couriers, is
communicated confidentially to the Assembly, and printed in all Newspapers;
with the finest effect. (Moniteur, Seance du 23 Avril, 1791.) Simulation
and dissimulation mingle extensively in human affairs.

We observe, however, that Count Fersen is often using his Ticket of Entry;
which surely he has clear right to do. A gallant Soldier and Swede,
devoted to this fair Queen;--as indeed the Highest Swede now is. Has not
King Gustav, famed fiery Chevalier du Nord, sworn himself, by the old laws
of chivalry, her Knight? He will descend on fire-wings, of Swedish
musketry, and deliver her from these foul dragons,--if, alas, the
assassin's pistol intervene not!

But, in fact, Count Fersen does seem a likely young soldier, of alert
decisive ways: he circulates widely, seen, unseen; and has business on
hand. Also Colonel the Duke de Choiseul, nephew of Choiseul the great, of
Choiseul the now deceased; he and Engineer Goguelat are passing and
repassing between Metz and the Tuileries; and Letters go in cipher,--one of
them, a most important one, hard to decipher; Fersen having ciphered it in
haste. (Choiseul, Relation du Depart de Louis XVI. (Paris, 1822), p. 39.)
As for Duke de Villequier, he is gone ever since the Day of Poniards; but
his Apartment is useful for her Majesty.

On the other side, poor Commandment Gouvion, watching at the Tuileries,
second in National Command, sees several things hard to interpret. It is
the same Gouvion who sat, long months ago, at the Townhall, gazing helpless
into that Insurrection of Women; motionless, as the brave stabled steed
when conflagration rises, till Usher Maillard snatched his drum. Sincerer
Patriot there is not; but many a shiftier. He, if Dame Campan gossip
credibly, is paying some similitude of love-court to a certain false
Chambermaid of the Palace, who betrays much to him: the Necessaire, the
clothes, the packing of the jewels, (Campan, ii. 141.)--could he understand
it when betrayed. Helpless Gouvion gazes with sincere glassy eyes into it;
stirs up his sentries to vigilence; walks restless to and fro; and hopes
the best.

But, on the whole, one finds that, in the second week of June, Colonel de
Choiseul is privately in Paris; having come 'to see his children.' Also
that Fersen has got a stupendous new Coach built, of the kind named
Berline; done by the first artists; according to a model: they bring it
home to him, in Choiseul's presence; the two friends take a proof-drive in
it, along the streets; in meditative mood; then send it up to 'Madame
Sullivan's, in the Rue de Clichy,' far North, to wait there till wanted.
Apparently a certain Russian Baroness de Korff, with Waiting-woman, Valet,
and two Children, will travel homewards with some state: in whom these
young military gentlemen take interest? A Passport has been procured for
her; and much assistance shewn, with Coach-builders and such like;--so
helpful polite are young military men. Fersen has likewise purchased a
Chaise fit for two, at least for two waiting-maids; further, certain
necessary horses: one would say, he is himself quitting France, not without
outlay? We observe finally that their Majesties, Heaven willing, will
assist at Corpus-Christi Day, this blessed Summer Solstice, in Assumption
Church, here at Paris, to the joy of all the world. For which same day,
moreover, brave Bouille, at Metz, as we find, has invited a party of
friends to dinner; but indeed is gone from home, in the interim, over to

These are of the Phenomena, or visual Appearances, of this wide-working
terrestrial world: which truly is all phenomenal, what they call spectral;
and never rests at any moment; one never at any moment can know why.

On Monday night, the Twentieth of June 1791, about eleven o'clock, there is
many a hackney-coach, and glass-coach (carrosse de remise), still rumbling,
or at rest, on the streets of Paris. But of all Glass-coaches, we
recommend this to thee, O Reader, which stands drawn up, in the Rue de
l'Echelle, hard by the Carrousel and outgate of the Tuileries; in the Rue
de l'Echelle that then was; 'opposite Ronsin the saddler's door,' as if
waiting for a fare there! Not long does it wait: a hooded Dame, with two
hooded Children has issued from Villequier's door, where no sentry walks,
into the Tuileries Court-of-Princes; into the Carrousel; into the Rue de
l'Echelle; where the Glass-coachman readily admits them; and again waits.
Not long; another Dame, likewise hooded or shrouded, leaning on a servant,
issues in the same manner, by the Glass-coachman, cheerfully admitted.
Whither go, so many Dames? 'Tis His Majesty's Couchee, Majesty just gone
to bed, and all the Palace-world is retiring home. But the Glass-coachman
still waits; his fare seemingly incomplete.

By and by, we note a thickset Individual, in round hat and peruke, arm-and-
arm with some servant, seemingly of the Runner or Courier sort; he also
issues through Villequier's door; starts a shoebuckle as he passes one of
the sentries, stoops down to clasp it again; is however, by the Glass-
coachman, still more cheerfully admitted. And now, is his fare complete?
Not yet; the Glass-coachman still waits.--Alas! and the false Chambermaid
has warned Gouvion that she thinks the Royal Family will fly this very
night; and Gouvion distrusting his own glazed eyes, has sent express for
Lafayette; and Lafayette's Carriage, flaring with lights, rolls this moment
through the inner Arch of the Carrousel,--where a Lady shaded in broad
gypsy-hat, and leaning on the arm of a servant, also of the Runner or
Courier sort, stands aside to let it pass, and has even the whim to touch a
spoke of it with her badine,--light little magic rod which she calls
badine, such as the Beautiful then wore. The flare of Lafayette's
Carriage, rolls past: all is found quiet in the Court-of-Princes; sentries
at their post; Majesties' Apartments closed in smooth rest. Your false
Chambermaid must have been mistaken? Watch thou, Gouvion, with Argus'
vigilance; for, of a truth, treachery is within these walls.

But where is the Lady that stood aside in gypsy hat, and touched the wheel-
spoke with her badine? O Reader, that Lady that touched the wheel-spoke
was the Queen of France! She has issued safe through that inner Arch, into
the Carrousel itself; but not into the Rue de l'Echelle. Flurried by the
rattle and rencounter, she took the right hand not the left; neither she
nor her Courier knows Paris; he indeed is no Courier, but a loyal stupid
ci-devant Bodyguard disguised as one. They are off, quite wrong, over the
Pont Royal and River; roaming disconsolate in the Rue du Bac; far from the
Glass-coachman, who still waits. Waits, with flutter of heart; with
thoughts--which he must button close up, under his jarvie surtout!

Midnight clangs from all the City-steeples; one precious hour has been
spent so; most mortals are asleep. The Glass-coachman waits; and what
mood! A brother jarvie drives up, enters into conversation; is answered
cheerfully in jarvie dialect: the brothers of the whip exchange a pinch of
snuff; (Weber, ii. 340-2; Choiseul, p. 44-56.) decline drinking together;
and part with good night. Be the Heavens blest! here at length is the
Queen-lady, in gypsy-hat; safe after perils; who has had to inquire her
way. She too is admitted; her Courier jumps aloft, as the other, who is
also a disguised Bodyguard, has done: and now, O Glass-coachman of a
thousand,--Count Fersen, for the Reader sees it is thou,--drive!

Dust shall not stick to the hoofs of Fersen: crack! crack! the Glass-coach
rattles, and every soul breathes lighter. But is Fersen on the right road?
Northeastward, to the Barrier of Saint-Martin and Metz Highway, thither
were we bound: and lo, he drives right Northward! The royal Individual,
in round hat and peruke, sits astonished; but right or wrong, there is no
remedy. Crack, crack, we go incessant, through the slumbering City.
Seldom, since Paris rose out of mud, or the Longhaired Kings went in
Bullock-carts, was there such a drive. Mortals on each hand of you, close
by, stretched out horizontal, dormant; and we alive and quaking! Crack,
crack, through the Rue de Grammont; across the Boulevard; up the Rue de la
Chaussee d'Antin,--these windows, all silent, of Number 42, were
Mirabeau's. Towards the Barrier not of Saint-Martin, but of Clichy on the
utmost North! Patience, ye royal Individuals; Fersen understands what he
is about. Passing up the Rue de Clichy, he alights for one moment at
Madame Sullivan's: "Did Count Fersen's Coachman get the Baroness de
Korff's new Berline?"--"Gone with it an hour-and-half ago," grumbles
responsive the drowsy Porter.--"C'est bien." Yes, it is well;--though had
not such hour-and half been lost, it were still better. Forth therefore, O
Fersen, fast, by the Barrier de Clichy; then Eastward along the Outward
Boulevard, what horses and whipcord can do!

Thus Fersen drives, through the ambrosial night. Sleeping Paris is now all
on the right hand of him; silent except for some snoring hum; and now he is
Eastward as far as the Barrier de Saint-Martin; looking earnestly for
Baroness de Korff's Berline. This Heaven's Berline he at length does
descry, drawn up with its six horses, his own German Coachman waiting on
the box. Right, thou good German: now haste, whither thou knowest!--And
as for us of the Glass-coach, haste too, O haste; much time is already
lost! The august Glass-coach fare, six Insides, hastily packs itself into
the new Berline; two Bodyguard Couriers behind. The Glass-coach itself is
turned adrift, its head towards the City; to wander whither it lists,--and
be found next morning tumbled in a ditch. But Fersen is on the new box,
with its brave new hammer-cloths; flourishing his whip; he bolts forward
towards Bondy. There a third and final Bodyguard Courier of ours ought
surely to be, with post-horses ready-ordered. There likewise ought that
purchased Chaise, with the two Waiting-maids and their bandboxes to be;
whom also her Majesty could not travel without. Swift, thou deft Fersen,
and may the Heavens turn it well!

Once more, by Heaven's blessing, it is all well. Here is the sleeping
Hamlet of Bondy; Chaise with Waiting-women; horses all ready, and
postillions with their churn-boots, impatient in the dewy dawn. Brief
harnessing done, the postillions with their churn-boots vault into the
saddles; brandish circularly their little noisy whips. Fersen, under his
jarvie-surtout, bends in lowly silent reverence of adieu; royal hands wave
speechless in expressible response; Baroness de Korff's Berline, with the
Royalty of France, bounds off: for ever, as it proved. Deft Fersen dashes
obliquely Northward, through the country, towards Bougret; gains Bougret,
finds his German Coachman and chariot waiting there; cracks off, and drives
undiscovered into unknown space. A deft active man, we say; what he
undertook to do is nimbly and successfully done.

A so the Royalty of France is actually fled? This precious night, the
shortest of the year, it flies and drives! Baroness de Korff is, at
bottom, Dame de Tourzel, Governess of the Royal Children: she who came
hooded with the two hooded little ones; little Dauphin; little Madame
Royale, known long afterwards as Duchess d'Angouleme. Baroness de Korff's
Waiting-maid is the Queen in gypsy-hat. The royal Individual in round hat
and peruke, he is Valet, for the time being. That other hooded Dame,
styled Travelling-companion, is kind Sister Elizabeth; she had sworn, long
since, when the Insurrection of Women was, that only death should part her
and them. And so they rush there, not too impetuously, through the Wood of
Bondy:--over a Rubicon in their own and France's History.

Great; though the future is all vague! If we reach Bouille? If we do not
reach him? O Louis! and this all round thee is the great slumbering Earth
(and overhead, the great watchful Heaven); the slumbering Wood of Bondy,--
where Longhaired Childeric Donothing was struck through with iron;
(Henault, Abrege Chronologique, p. 36.) not unreasonably. These peaked
stone-towers are Raincy; towers of wicked d'Orleans. All slumbers save the
multiplex rustle of our new Berline. Loose-skirted scarecrow of an Herb-
merchant, with his ass and early greens, toilsomely plodding, seems the
only creature we meet. But right ahead the great North-East sends up
evermore his gray brindled dawn: from dewy branch, birds here and there,
with short deep warble, salute the coming Sun. Stars fade out, and
Galaxies; Street-lamps of the City of God. The Universe, O my brothers, is
flinging wide its portals for the Levee of the GREAT HIGH KING. Thou, poor
King Louis, farest nevertheless, as mortals do, towards Orient lands of
Hope; and the Tuileries with its Levees, and France and the Earth itself,
is but a larger kind of doghutch,--occasionally going rabid.

Chapter 2.4.IV.


But in Paris, at six in the morning; when some Patriot Deputy, warned by a
billet, awoke Lafayette, and they went to the Tuileries?--Imagination may
paint, but words cannot, the surprise of Lafayette; or with what
bewilderment helpless Gouvion rolled glassy Argus's eyes, discerning now
that his false Chambermaid told true!

However, it is to be recorded that Paris, thanks to an august National
Assembly, did, on this seeming doomsday, surpass itself. Never, according
to Historian eye-witnesses, was there seen such an 'imposing attitude.'
(Deux Amis, vi. 67-178; Toulongeon, ii. 1-38; Camille, Prudhomme and
Editors (in Hist. Parl. x. 240-4.) Sections all 'in permanence;' our
Townhall, too, having first, about ten o'clock, fired three solemn alarm-
cannons: above all, our National Assembly! National Assembly, likewise
permanent, decides what is needful; with unanimous consent, for the Cote
Droit sits dumb, afraid of the Lanterne. Decides with a calm promptitude,
which rises towards the sublime. One must needs vote, for the thing is
self-evident, that his Majesty has been abducted, or spirited away,
'enleve,' by some person or persons unknown: in which case, what will the
Constitution have us do? Let us return to first principles, as we always
say; "revenons aux principes."

By first or by second principles, much is promptly decided: Ministers are
sent for, instructed how to continue their functions; Lafayette is
examined; and Gouvion, who gives a most helpless account, the best he can.
Letters are found written: one Letter, of immense magnitude; all in his
Majesty's hand, and evidently of his Majesty's own composition; addressed
to the National Assembly. It details, with earnestness, with a childlike
simplicity, what woes his Majesty has suffered. Woes great and small: A
Necker seen applauded, a Majesty not; then insurrection; want of due cash
in Civil List; general want of cash, furniture and order; anarchy
everywhere; Deficit never yet, in the smallest, 'choked or comble:'--
wherefore in brief His Majesty has retired towards a Place of Liberty; and,
leaving Sanctions, Federation, and what Oaths there may be, to shift for
themselves, does now refer--to what, thinks an august Assembly? To that
'Declaration of the Twenty-third of June,' with its "Seul il fera, He alone
will make his People happy." As if that were not buried, deep enough,
under two irrevocable Twelvemonths, and the wreck and rubbish of a whole
Feudal World! This strange autograph Letter the National Assembly decides
on printing; on transmitting to the Eighty-three Departments, with exegetic
commentary, short but pithy. Commissioners also shall go forth on all
sides; the People be exhorted; the Armies be increased; care taken that the
Commonweal suffer no damage.--And now, with a sublime air of calmness, nay
of indifference, we 'pass to the order of the day!'

By such sublime calmness, the terror of the People is calmed. These
gleaming Pike forests, which bristled fateful in the early sun, disappear
again; the far-sounding Street-orators cease, or spout milder. We are to
have a civil war; let us have it then. The King is gone; but National
Assembly, but France and we remain. The People also takes a great
attitude; the People also is calm; motionless as a couchant lion. With but
a few broolings, some waggings of the tail; to shew what it will do!
Cazales, for instance, was beset by street-groups, and cries of Lanterne;
but National Patrols easily delivered him. Likewise all King's effigies
and statues, at least stucco ones, get abolished. Even King's names; the
word Roi fades suddenly out of all shop-signs; the Royal Bengal Tiger
itself, on the Boulevards, becomes the National Bengal one, Tigre National.

How great is a calm couchant People! On the morrow, men will say to one
another: "We have no King, yet we slept sound enough." On the morrow,
fervent Achille de Chatelet, and Thomas Paine the rebellious Needleman,
shall have the walls of Paris profusely plastered with their Placard;
announcing that there must be a Republic! (Dumont,c. 16.)--Need we add
that Lafayette too, though at first menaced by Pikes, has taken a great
attitude, or indeed the greatest of all? Scouts and Aides-de-camp fly
forth, vague, in quest and pursuit; young Romoeuf towards Valenciennes,
though with small hope.

Thus Paris; sublimely calmed, in its bereavement. But from the Messageries
Royales, in all Mail-bags, radiates forth far-darting the electric news:
Our Hereditary Representative is flown. Laugh, black Royalists: yet be it
in your sleeve only; lest Patriotism notice, and waxing frantic, lower the
Lanterne! In Paris alone is a sublime National Assembly with its calmness;
truly, other places must take it as they can: with open mouth and eyes;
with panic cackling, with wrath, with conjecture. How each one of those
dull leathern Diligences, with its leathern bag and 'The King is fled,'
furrows up smooth France as it goes; through town and hamlet, ruffles the
smooth public mind into quivering agitation of death-terror; then lumbers
on, as if nothing had happened! Along all highways; towards the utmost
borders; till all France is ruffled,--roughened up (metaphorically
speaking) into one enormous, desperate-minded, red-guggling Turkey Cock!

For example, it is under cloud of night that the leathern Monster reaches
Nantes; deep sunk in sleep. The word spoken rouses all Patriot men:
General Dumouriez, enveloped in roquelaures, has to descend from his
bedroom; finds the street covered with 'four or five thousand citizens in
their shirts.' (Dumouriez, Memoires, ii. 109.) Here and there a faint
farthing rushlight, hastily kindled; and so many swart-featured haggard
faces, with nightcaps pushed back; and the more or less flowing drapery of
night-shirt: open-mouthed till the General say his word! And overhead, as
always, the Great Bear is turning so quiet round Bootes; steady,
indifferent as the leathern Diligence itself. Take comfort, ye men of
Nantes: Bootes and the steady Bear are turning; ancient Atlantic still
sends his brine, loud-billowing, up your Loire-stream; brandy shall be hot
in the stomach: this is not the Last of the Days, but one before the
Last.--The fools! If they knew what was doing, in these very instants,
also by candle-light, in the far North-East!

Perhaps we may say the most terrified man in Paris or France is--who thinks
the Reader?--seagreen Robespierre. Double paleness, with the shadow of
gibbets and halters, overcasts the seagreen features: it is too clear to
him that there is to be 'a Saint-Bartholomew of Patriots,' that in four-
and-twenty hours he will not be in life. These horrid anticipations of the
soul he is heard uttering at Petion's; by a notable witness. By Madame
Roland, namely; her whom we saw, last year, radiant at the Lyons
Federation! These four months, the Rolands have been in Paris; arranging
with Assembly Committees the Municipal affairs of Lyons, affairs all sunk
in debt;--communing, the while, as was most natural, with the best Patriots
to be found here, with our Brissots, Petions, Buzots, Robespierres; who
were wont to come to us, says the fair Hostess, four evenings in the week.
They, running about, busier than ever this day, would fain have comforted
the seagreen man: spake of Achille du Chatelet's Placard; of a Journal to
be called The Republican; of preparing men's minds for a Republic. "A
Republic?" said the Seagreen, with one of his dry husky unsportful laughs,
"What is that?" (Madame Roland, ii. 70.) O seagreen Incorruptible, thou
shalt see!

Chapter 2.4.V.

The New Berline.

But scouts all this while and aide-de-camps, have flown forth faster than
the leathern Diligences. Young Romoeuf, as we said, was off early towards
Valenciennes: distracted Villagers seize him, as a traitor with a finger
of his own in the plot; drag him back to the Townhall; to the National
Assembly, which speedily grants a new passport. Nay now, that same
scarecrow of an Herb-merchant with his ass has bethought him of the grand
new Berline seen in the Wood of Bondy; and delivered evidence of it:
(Moniteur, &c. (in Hist. Parl. x. 244-313.) Romoeuf, furnished with new
passport, is sent forth with double speed on a hopefuller track; by Bondy,
Claye, and Chalons, towards Metz, to track the new Berline; and gallops a
franc etrier.

Miserable new Berline! Why could not Royalty go in some old Berline
similar to that of other men? Flying for life, one does not stickle about
his vehicle. Monsieur, in a commonplace travelling-carriage is off
Northwards; Madame, his Princess, in another, with variation of route:
they cross one another while changing horses, without look of recognition;
and reach Flanders, no man questioning them. Precisely in the same manner,
beautiful Princess de Lamballe set off, about the same hour; and will reach
England safe:--would she had continued there! The beautiful, the good, but
the unfortunate; reserved for a frightful end!

All runs along, unmolested, speedy, except only the new Berline. Huge
leathern vehicle;--huge Argosy, let us say, or Acapulco-ship; with its
heavy stern-boat of Chaise-and-pair; with its three yellow Pilot-boats of
mounted Bodyguard Couriers, rocking aimless round it and ahead of it, to
bewilder, not to guide! It lumbers along, lurchingly with stress, at a
snail's pace; noted of all the world. The Bodyguard Couriers, in their
yellow liveries, go prancing and clattering; loyal but stupid; unacquainted
with all things. Stoppages occur; and breakages to be repaired at Etoges.
King Louis too will dismount, will walk up hills, and enjoy the blessed
sunshine:--with eleven horses and double drink money, and all furtherances
of Nature and Art, it will be found that Royalty, flying for life,
accomplishes Sixty-nine miles in Twenty-two incessant hours. Slow Royalty!
And yet not a minute of these hours but is precious: on minutes hang the
destinies of Royalty now.

Readers, therefore, can judge in what humour Duke de Choiseul might stand
waiting, in the Village of Pont-de-Sommevelle, some leagues beyond Chalons,
hour after hour, now when the day bends visibly westward. Choiseul drove
out of Paris, in all privity, ten hours before their Majesties' fixed time;
his Hussars, led by Engineer Goguelat, are here duly, come 'to escort a
Treasure that is expected:' but, hour after hour, is no Baroness de
Korff's Berline. Indeed, over all that North-east Region, on the skirts of
Champagne and of Lorraine, where the Great Road runs, the agitation is
considerable. For all along, from this Pont-de-Sommevelle Northeastward as
far as Montmedi, at Post-villages and Towns, escorts of Hussars and
Dragoons do lounge waiting: a train or chain of Military Escorts; at the
Montmedi end of it our brave Bouille: an electric thunder-chain; which the
invisible Bouille, like a Father Jove, holds in his hand--for wise
purposes! Brave Bouille has done what man could; has spread out his
electric thunder-chain of Military Escorts, onwards to the threshold of
Chalons: it waits but for the new Korff Berline; to receive it, escort it,
and, if need be, bear it off in whirlwind of military fire. They lie and
lounge there, we say, these fierce Troopers; from Montmedi and Stenai,
through Clermont, Sainte-Menehould to utmost Pont-de-Sommevelle, in all
Post-villages; for the route shall avoid Verdun and great Towns: they
loiter impatient 'till the Treasure arrive.'

Judge what a day this is for brave Bouille: perhaps the first day of a new
glorious life; surely the last day of the old! Also, and indeed still
more, what a day, beautiful and terrible, for your young full-blooded
Captains: your Dandoins, Comte de Damas, Duke de Choiseul, Engineer
Goguelat, and the like; entrusted with the secret!--Alas, the day bends
ever more westward; and no Korff Berline comes to sight. It is four hours
beyond the time, and still no Berline. In all Village-streets, Royalist
Captains go lounging, looking often Paris-ward; with face of unconcern,
with heart full of black care: rigorous Quartermasters can hardly keep the
private dragoons from cafes and dramshops. (Declaration du Sieur La Gache
du Regiment Royal-Dragoons (in Choiseul, pp. 125-39.) Dawn on our
bewilderment, thou new Berline; dawn on us, thou Sun-chariot of a new
Berline, with the destinies of France!

It was of His Majesty's ordering, this military array of Escorts: a thing
solacing the Royal imagination with a look of security and rescue; yet, in
reality, creating only alarm, and where there was otherwise no danger,
danger without end. For each Patriot, in these Post-villages, asks
naturally: This clatter of cavalry, and marching and lounging of troops,
what means it? To escort a Treasure? Why escort, when no Patriot will
steal from the Nation; or where is your Treasure?--There has been such
marching and counter-marching: for it is another fatality, that certain of
these Military Escorts came out so early as yesterday; the Nineteenth not
the Twentieth of the month being the day first appointed, which her
Majesty, for some necessity or other, saw good to alter. And now consider
the suspicious nature of Patriotism; suspicious, above all, of Bouille the
Aristocrat; and how the sour doubting humour has had leave to accumulate
and exacerbate for four-and-twenty hours!

At Pont-de-Sommevelle, these Forty foreign Hussars of Goguelat and Duke
Choiseul are becoming an unspeakable mystery to all men. They lounged long
enough, already, at Sainte-Menehould; lounged and loitered till our
National Volunteers there, all risen into hot wrath of doubt, 'demanded
three hundred fusils of their Townhall,' and got them. At which same
moment too, as it chanced, our Captain Dandoins was just coming in, from
Clermont with his troop, at the other end of the Village. A fresh troop;
alarming enough; though happily they are only Dragoons and French! So that
Goguelat with his Hussars had to ride, and even to do it fast; till here at
Pont-de-Sommevelle, where Choiseul lay waiting, he found resting-place.
Resting-place, as on burning marle. For the rumour of him flies abroad;
and men run to and fro in fright and anger: Chalons sends forth
exploratory pickets, coming from Sainte-Menehould, on that. What is it, ye
whiskered Hussars, men of foreign guttural speech; in the name of Heaven,
what is it that brings you? A Treasure?--exploratory pickets shake their
heads. The hungry Peasants, however, know too well what Treasure it is:
Military seizure for rents, feudalities; which no Bailiff could make us
pay! This they know;--and set to jingling their Parish-bell by way of
tocsin; with rapid effect! Choiseul and Goguelat, if the whole country is
not to take fire, must needs, be there Berline, be there no Berline, saddle
and ride.

They mount; and this Parish tocsin happily ceases. They ride slowly
Eastward, towards Sainte-Menehould; still hoping the Sun-Chariot of a
Berline may overtake them. Ah me, no Berline! And near now is that
Sainte-Menehould, which expelled us in the morning, with its 'three hundred
National fusils;' which looks, belike, not too lovingly on Captain Dandoins
and his fresh Dragoons, though only French;--which, in a word, one dare not
enter the second time, under pain of explosion! With rather heavy heart,
our Hussar Party strikes off to the left; through byways, through pathless
hills and woods, they, avoiding Sainte-Menehould and all places which have
seen them heretofore, will make direct for the distant Village of Varennes.
It is probable they will have a rough evening-ride.

This first military post, therefore, in the long thunder-chain, has gone
off with no effect; or with worse, and your chain threatens to entangle
itself!--The Great Road, however, is got hushed again into a kind of
quietude, though one of the wakefullest. Indolent Dragoons cannot, by any
Quartermaster, be kept altogether from the dramshop; where Patriots drink,
and will even treat, eager enough for news. Captains, in a state near
distraction, beat the dusky highway, with a face of indifference; and no
Sun-Chariot appears. Why lingers it? Incredible, that with eleven horses
and such yellow Couriers and furtherances, its rate should be under the
weightiest dray-rate, some three miles an hour! Alas, one knows not
whether it ever even got out of Paris;--and yet also one knows not whether,
this very moment, it is not at the Village-end! One's heart flutters on
the verge of unutterabilities.

Chapter 2.4.VI.

Old-Dragoon Drouet.

In this manner, however, has the Day bent downwards. Wearied mortals are
creeping home from their field-labour; the village-artisan eats with relish
his supper of herbs, or has strolled forth to the village-street for a
sweet mouthful of air and human news. Still summer-eventide everywhere!
The great Sun hangs flaming on the utmost North-West; for it is his longest
day this year. The hill-tops rejoicing will ere long be at their ruddiest,
and blush Good-night. The thrush, in green dells, on long-shadowed leafy
spray, pours gushing his glad serenade, to the babble of brooks grown
audibler; silence is stealing over the Earth. Your dusty Mill of Valmy, as
all other mills and drudgeries, may furl its canvass, and cease swashing
and circling. The swenkt grinders in this Treadmill of an Earth have
ground out another Day; and lounge there, as we say, in village-groups;
movable, or ranked on social stone-seats; (Rapport de M. Remy (in Choiseul,
p. 143.) their children, mischievous imps, sporting about their feet.
Unnotable hum of sweet human gossip rises from this Village of Sainte-
Menehould, as from all other villages. Gossip mostly sweet, unnotable; for
the very Dragoons are French and gallant; nor as yet has the Paris-and-
Verdun Diligence, with its leathern bag, rumbled in, to terrify the minds
of men.

One figure nevertheless we do note at the last door of the Village: that
figure in loose-flowing nightgown, of Jean Baptiste Drouet, Master of the
Post here. An acrid choleric man, rather dangerous-looking; still in the
prime of life, though he has served, in his time as a Conde Dragoon. This
day from an early hour, Drouet got his choler stirred, and has been kept
fretting. Hussar Goguelat in the morning saw good, by way of thrift, to
bargain with his own Innkeeper, not with Drouet regular Maitre de Poste,
about some gig-horse for the sending back of his gig; which thing Drouet
perceiving came over in red ire, menacing the Inn-keeper, and would not be
appeased. Wholly an unsatisfactory day. For Drouet is an acrid Patriot
too, was at the Paris Feast of Pikes: and what do these Bouille Soldiers
mean? Hussars, with their gig, and a vengeance to it!--have hardly been
thrust out, when Dandoins and his fresh Dragoons arrive from Clermont, and
stroll. For what purpose? Choleric Drouet steps out and steps in, with
long-flowing nightgown; looking abroad, with that sharpness of faculty
which stirred choler gives to man.

On the other hand, mark Captain Dandoins on the street of that same
Village; sauntering with a face of indifference, a heart eaten of black
care! For no Korff Berline makes its appearance. The great Sun flames
broader towards setting: one's heart flutters on the verge of dread

By Heaven! Here is the yellow Bodyguard Courier; spurring fast, in the
ruddy evening light! Steady, O Dandoins, stand with inscrutable
indifferent face; though the yellow blockhead spurs past the Post-house;
inquires to find it; and stirs the Village, all delighted with his fine
livery.--Lumbering along with its mountains of bandboxes, and Chaise
behind, the Korff Berline rolls in; huge Acapulco-ship with its Cockboat,
having got thus far. The eyes of the Villagers look enlightened, as such
eyes do when a coach-transit, which is an event, occurs for them.
Strolling Dragoons respectfully, so fine are the yellow liveries, bring
hand to helmet; and a lady in gipsy-hat responds with a grace peculiar to
her. (Declaration de la Gache (in Choiseul ubi supra.) Dandoins stands
with folded arms, and what look of indifference and disdainful garrison-air
a man can, while the heart is like leaping out of him. Curled disdainful
moustachio; careless glance,--which however surveys the Village-groups, and
does not like them. With his eye he bespeaks the yellow Courier. Be
quick, be quick! Thick-headed Yellow cannot understand the eye; comes up
mumbling, to ask in words: seen of the Village!

Nor is Post-master Drouet unobservant, all this while; but steps out and
steps in, with his long-flowing nightgown, in the level sunlight; prying
into several things. When a man's faculties, at the right time, are
sharpened by choler, it may lead to much. That Lady in slouched gypsy-hat,
though sitting back in the Carriage, does she not resemble some one we have
seen, some time;--at the Feast of Pikes, or elsewhere? And this Grosse-
Tete in round hat and peruke, which, looking rearward, pokes itself out
from time to time, methinks there are features in it--? Quick, Sieur
Guillaume, Clerk of the Directoire, bring me a new Assignat! Drouet scans
the new Assignat; compares the Paper-money Picture with the Gross-Head in
round hat there: by Day and Night! you might say the one was an attempted
Engraving of the other. And this march of Troops; this sauntering and
whispering,--I see it!

Drouet Post-master of this Village, hot Patriot, Old Dragoon of Conde,
consider, therefore, what thou wilt do. And fast: for behold the new
Berline, expeditiously yoked, cracks whipcord, and rolls away!--Drouet dare
not, on the spur of the instant, clutch the bridles in his own two hands;
Dandoins, with broadsword, might hew you off. Our poor Nationals, not one
of them here, have three hundred fusils but then no powder; besides one is
not sure, only morally-certain. Drouet, as an adroit Old-Dragoon of Conde
does what is advisablest: privily bespeaks Clerk Guillaume, Old-Dragoon of
Conde he too; privily, while Clerk Guillaume is saddling two of the
fleetest horses, slips over to the Townhall to whisper a word; then mounts
with Clerk Guillaume; and the two bound eastward in pursuit, to see what
can be done.

They bound eastward, in sharp trot; their moral-certainty permeating the
Village, from the Townhall outwards, in busy whispers. Alas! Captain
Dandoins orders his Dragoons to mount; but they, complaining of long fast,
demand bread-and-cheese first;--before which brief repast can be eaten, the
whole Village is permeated; not whispering now, but blustering and
shrieking! National Volunteers, in hurried muster, shriek for gunpowder;
Dragoons halt between Patriotism and Rule of the Service, between bread and
cheese and fixed bayonets: Dandoins hands secretly his Pocket-book, with
its secret despatches, to the rigorous Quartermaster: the very Ostlers
have stable-forks and flails. The rigorous Quartermaster, half-saddled,
cuts out his way with the sword's edge, amid levelled bayonets, amid
Patriot vociferations, adjurations, flail-strokes; and rides frantic;
(Declaration de La Gache (in Choiseul), p. 134.)--few or even none
following him; the rest, so sweetly constrained consenting to stay there.

And thus the new Berline rolls; and Drouet and Guillaume gallop after it,
and Dandoins's Troopers or Trooper gallops after them; and Sainte-
Menehould, with some leagues of the King's Highway, is in explosion;--and
your Military thunder-chain has gone off in a self-destructive manner; one
may fear with the frightfullest issues!

Chapter 2.4.VII.

The Night of Spurs.

This comes of mysterious Escorts, and a new Berline with eleven horses:
'he that has a secret should not only hide it, but hide that he has it to
hide.' Your first Military Escort has exploded self-destructive; and all
Military Escorts, and a suspicious Country will now be up, explosive;
comparable not to victorious thunder. Comparable, say rather, to the first
stirring of an Alpine Avalanche; which, once stir it, as here at Sainte-
Menehould, will spread,--all round, and on and on, as far as Stenai;
thundering with wild ruin, till Patriot Villagers, Peasantry, Military
Escorts, new Berline and Royalty are down,--jumbling in the Abyss!

The thick shades of Night are falling. Postillions crack the whip: the
Royal Berline is through Clermont, where Colonel Comte de Damas got a word
whispered to it; is safe through, towards Varennes; rushing at the rate of
double drink-money: an Unknown 'Inconnu on horseback' shrieks earnestly
some hoarse whisper, not audible, into the rushing Carriage-window, and
vanishes, left in the night. (Campan, ii. 159.) August Travellers
palpitate; nevertheless overwearied Nature sinks every one of them into a
kind of sleep. Alas, and Drouet and Clerk Guillaume spur; taking side-
roads, for shortness, for safety; scattering abroad that moral-certainty of
theirs; which flies, a bird of the air carrying it!

And your rigorous Quartermaster spurs; awakening hoarse trumpet-tone, as
here at Clermont, calling out Dragoons gone to bed. Brave Colonel de Damas
has them mounted, in part, these Clermont men; young Cornet Remy dashes off
with a few. But the Patriot Magistracy is out here at Clermont too;
National Guards shrieking for ball-cartridges; and the Village 'illuminates
itself;'--deft Patriots springing out of bed; alertly, in shirt or shift,
striking a light; sticking up each his farthing candle, or penurious oil-
cruise, till all glitters and glimmers; so deft are they! A camisado, or
shirt-tumult, every where: stormbell set a-ringing; village-drum beating
furious generale, as here at Clermont, under illumination; distracted
Patriots pleading and menacing! Brave young Colonel de Damas, in that
uproar of distracted Patriotism, speaks some fire-sentences to what
Troopers he has: "Comrades insulted at Sainte-Menehould; King and Country
calling on the brave;" then gives the fire-word, Draw swords. Whereupon,
alas, the Troopers only smite their sword-handles, driving them further
home! "To me, whoever is for the King!" cries Damas in despair; and
gallops, he with some poor loyal Two, of the subaltern sort, into the bosom
of the Night. (Proces-verbal du Directoire de Clermont (in Choiseul, p.

Night unexampled in the Clermontais; shortest of the year; remarkablest of
the century: Night deserving to be named of Spurs! Cornet Remy, and those
Few he dashed off with, has missed his road; is galloping for hours towards
Verdun; then, for hours, across hedged country, through roused hamlets,
towards Varennes. Unlucky Cornet Remy; unluckier Colonel Damas, with whom
there ride desperate only some loyal Two! More ride not of that Clermont
Escort: of other Escorts, in other Villages, not even Two may ride; but
only all curvet and prance,--impeded by stormbell and your Village
illuminating itself.

And Drouet rides and Clerk Guillaume; and the Country runs.--Goguelat and
Duke Choiseul are plunging through morasses, over cliffs, over stock and
stone, in the shaggy woods of the Clermontais; by tracks; or trackless,
with guides; Hussars tumbling into pitfalls, and lying 'swooned three
quarters of an hour,' the rest refusing to march without them. What an
evening-ride from Pont-de-Sommerville; what a thirty hours, since Choiseul
quitted Paris, with Queen's-valet Leonard in the chaise by him! Black Care
sits behind the rider. Thus go they plunging; rustle the owlet from his
branchy nest; champ the sweet-scented forest-herb, queen-of-the-meadows
spilling her spikenard; and frighten the ear of Night. But hark! towards
twelve o'clock, as one guesses, for the very stars are gone out: sound of
the tocsin from Varennes? Checking bridle, the Hussar Officer listens:
"Some fire undoubtedly!"--yet rides on, with double breathlessness, to

Yes, gallant friends that do your utmost, it is a certain sort of fire:
difficult to quench.--The Korff Berline, fairly ahead of all this riding
Avalanche, reached the little paltry Village of Varennes about eleven
o'clock; hopeful, in spite of that horse-whispering Unknown. Do not all
towns now lie behind us; Verdun avoided, on our right? Within wind of
Bouille himself, in a manner; and the darkest of midsummer nights favouring
us! And so we halt on the hill-top at the South end of the Village;
expecting our relay; which young Bouille, Bouille's own son, with his
Escort of Hussars, was to have ready; for in this Village is no Post.
Distracting to think of: neither horse nor Hussar is here! Ah, and stout
horses, a proper relay belonging to Duke Choiseul, do stand at hay, but in
the Upper Village over the Bridge; and we know not of them. Hussars
likewise do wait, but drinking in the taverns. For indeed it is six hours
beyond the time; young Bouille, silly stripling, thinking the matter over
for this night, has retired to bed. And so our yellow Couriers,
inexperienced, must rove, groping, bungling, through a Village mostly
asleep: Postillions will not, for any money, go on with the tired horses;
not at least without refreshment; not they, let the Valet in round hat
argue as he likes.

Miserable! 'For five-and-thirty minutes' by the King's watch, the Berline
is at a dead stand; Round-hat arguing with Churnboots; tired horses
slobbering their meal-and-water; yellow Couriers groping, bungling;--young
Bouille asleep, all the while, in the Upper Village, and Choiseul's fine
team standing there at hay. No help for it; not with a King's ransom: the
horses deliberately slobber, Round-hat argues, Bouille sleeps. And mark
now, in the thick night, do not two Horsemen, with jaded trot, come clank-
clanking; and start with half-pause, if one noticed them, at sight of this
dim mass of a Berline, and its dull slobbering and arguing; then prick off
faster, into the Village? It is Drouet, he and Clerk Guillaume! Still
ahead, they two, of the whole riding hurlyburly; unshot, though some brag
of having chased them. Perilous is Drouet's errand also; but he is an Old-
Dragoon, with his wits shaken thoroughly awake.

The Village of Varennes lies dark and slumberous; a most unlevel Village,
of inverse saddle-shape, as men write. It sleeps; the rushing of the River
Aire singing lullaby to it. Nevertheless from the Golden Arms, Bras d'Or
Tavern, across that sloping marketplace, there still comes shine of social
light; comes voice of rude drovers, or the like, who have not yet taken the
stirrup-cup; Boniface Le Blanc, in white apron, serving them: cheerful to
behold. To this Bras d'Or, Drouet enters, alacrity looking through his
eyes: he nudges Boniface, in all privacy, "Camarade, es tu bon Patriote,
Art thou a good Patriot?"--"Si je suis!" answers Boniface.--"In that case,"
eagerly whispers Drouet--what whisper is needful, heard of Boniface alone.
(Deux Amis, vi. 139-78.)

And now see Boniface Le Blanc bustling, as he never did for the jolliest
toper. See Drouet and Guillaume, dexterous Old-Dragoons, instantly down
blocking the Bridge, with a 'furniture waggon they find there,' with
whatever waggons, tumbrils, barrels, barrows their hands can lay hold of;--
till no carriage can pass. Then swiftly, the Bridge once blocked, see them
take station hard by, under Varennes Archway: joined by Le Blanc, Le
Blanc's Brother, and one or two alert Patriots he has roused. Some half-
dozen in all, with National Muskets, they stand close, waiting under the
Archway, till that same Korff Berline rumble up.

It rumbles up: Alte la! lanterns flash out from under coat-skirts, bridles
chuck in strong fists, two National Muskets level themselves fore and aft
through the two Coach-doors: "Mesdames, your Passports?"--Alas! Alas!
Sieur Sausse, Procureur of the Township, Tallow-chandler also and Grocer is
there, with official grocer-politeness; Drouet with fierce logic and ready
wit:--The respected Travelling Party, be it Baroness de Korff's, or persons
of still higher consequence, will perhaps please to rest itself in M.
Sausse's till the dawn strike up!

O Louis; O hapless Marie-Antoinette, fated to pass thy life with such men!
Phlegmatic Louis, art thou but lazy semi-animate phlegm then, to the centre
of thee? King, Captain-General, Sovereign Frank! If thy heart ever
formed, since it began beating under the name of heart, any resolution at
all, be it now then, or never in this world: "Violent nocturnal
individuals, and if it were persons of high consequence? And if it were
the King himself? Has the King not the power, which all beggars have, of
travelling unmolested on his own Highway? Yes: it is the King; and
tremble ye to know it! The King has said, in this one small matter; and in
France, or under God's Throne, is no power that shall gainsay. Not the
King shall ye stop here under this your miserable Archway; but his dead
body only, and answer it to Heaven and Earth. To me, Bodyguards:
Postillions, en avant!"--One fancies in that case the pale paralysis of
these two Le Blanc musketeers; the drooping of Drouet's under-jaw; and how
Procureur Sausse had melted like tallow in furnace-heat: Louis faring on;
in some few steps awakening Young Bouille, awakening relays and hussars:
triumphant entry, with cavalcading high-brandishing Escort, and Escorts,
into Montmedi; and the whole course of French History different!

Alas, it was not in the poor phlegmatic man. Had it been in him, French
History had never come under this Varennes Archway to decide itself.--He
steps out; all step out. Procureur Sausse gives his grocer-arms to the
Queen and Sister Elizabeth; Majesty taking the two children by the hand.
And thus they walk, coolly back, over the Marketplace, to Procureur
Sausse's; mount into his small upper story; where straightway his Majesty
'demands refreshments.' Demands refreshments, as is written; gets bread-
and-cheese with a bottle of Burgundy; and remarks, that it is the best
Burgundy he ever drank!

Meanwhile, the Varennes Notables, and all men, official, and non-official,
are hastily drawing on their breeches; getting their fighting-gear.
Mortals half-dressed tumble out barrels, lay felled trees; scouts dart off
to all the four winds,--the tocsin begins clanging, 'the Village
illuminates itself.' Very singular: how these little Villages do manage,
so adroit are they, when startled in midnight alarm of war. Like little
adroit municipal rattle-snakes, suddenly awakened: for their stormbell
rattles and rings; their eyes glisten luminous (with tallow-light), as in
rattle-snake ire; and the Village will sting! Old-Dragoon Drouet is our
engineer and generalissimo; valiant as a Ruy Diaz:--Now or never, ye
Patriots, for the Soldiery is coming; massacre by Austrians, by
Aristocrats, wars more than civil, it all depends on you and the hour!--
National Guards rank themselves, half-buttoned: mortals, we say, still
only in breeches, in under-petticoat, tumble out barrels and lumber, lay
felled trees for barricades: the Village will sting. Rabid Democracy, it
would seem, is not confined to Paris, then? Ah no, whatsoever Courtiers
might talk; too clearly no. This of dying for one's King is grown into a
dying for one's self, against the King, if need be.

And so our riding and running Avalanche and Hurlyburly has reached the
Abyss, Korff Berline foremost; and may pour itself thither, and jumble:
endless! For the next six hours, need we ask if there was a clattering far
and wide? Clattering and tocsining and hot tumult, over all the
Clermontais, spreading through the Three Bishopricks: Dragoon and Hussar
Troops galloping on roads and no-roads; National Guards arming and starting
in the dead of night; tocsin after tocsin transmitting the alarm. In some
forty minutes, Goguelat and Choiseul, with their wearied Hussars, reach
Varennes. Ah, it is no fire then; or a fire difficult to quench! They
leap the tree-barricades, in spite of National serjeant; they enter the
village, Choiseul instructing his Troopers how the matter really is; who
respond interjectionally, in their guttural dialect, "Der Konig; die
Koniginn!" and seem stanch. These now, in their stanch humour, will, for
one thing, beset Procureur Sausse's house. Most beneficial: had not
Drouet stormfully ordered otherwise; and even bellowed, in his extremity,
"Cannoneers to your guns!"--two old honey-combed Field-pieces, empty of all
but cobwebs; the rattle whereof, as the Cannoneers with assured countenance
trundled them up, did nevertheless abate the Hussar ardour, and produce a
respectfuller ranking further back. Jugs of wine, handed over the ranks,
for the German throat too has sensibility, will complete the business.
When Engineer Goguelat, some hour or so afterwards, steps forth, the
response to him is--a hiccuping Vive la Nation!

What boots it? Goguelat, Choiseul, now also Count Damas, and all the
Varennes Officiality are with the King; and the King can give no order,
form no opinion; but sits there, as he has ever done, like clay on potter's
wheel; perhaps the absurdest of all pitiable and pardonable clay-figures
that now circle under the Moon. He will go on, next morning, and take the
National Guard with him; Sausse permitting! Hapless Queen: with her two
children laid there on the mean bed, old Mother Sausse kneeling to Heaven,
with tears and an audible prayer, to bless them; imperial Marie-Antoinette
near kneeling to Son Sausse and Wife Sausse, amid candle-boxes and treacle-
barrels,--in vain! There are Three-thousand National Guards got in; before
long they will count Ten-thousand; tocsins spreading like fire on dry
heath, or far faster.

Young Bouille, roused by this Varennes tocsin, has taken horse, and--fled
towards his Father. Thitherward also rides, in an almost hysterically
desperate manner, a certain Sieur Aubriot, Choiseul's Orderly; swimming
dark rivers, our Bridge being blocked; spurring as if the Hell-hunt were at
his heels. (Rapport de M. Aubriot (Choiseul, p. 150-7.) Through the
village of Dun, he, galloping still on, scatters the alarm; at Dun, brave
Captain Deslons and his Escort of a Hundred, saddle and ride. Deslons too
gets into Varennes; leaving his Hundred outside, at the tree-barricade;
offers to cut King Louis out, if he will order it: but unfortunately "the
work will prove hot;" whereupon King Louis has "no orders to give."
(Extrait d'un Rapport de M. Deslons (Choiseul, p. 164-7.)

And so the tocsin clangs, and Dragoons gallop; and can do nothing, having
gallopped: National Guards stream in like the gathering of ravens: your
exploding Thunder-chain, falling Avalanche, or what else we liken it to,
does play, with a vengeance,--up now as far as Stenai and Bouille himself.
(Bouille, ii. 74-6.) Brave Bouille, son of the whirlwind, he saddles Royal
Allemand; speaks fire-words, kindling heart and eyes; distributes twenty-
five gold-louis a company:--Ride, Royal-Allemand, long-famed: no Tuileries
Charge and Necker-Orleans Bust-Procession; a very King made captive, and
world all to win!--Such is the Night deserving to be named of Spurs.

At six o'clock two things have happened. Lafayette's Aide-de-camp,
Romoeuf, riding a franc etrier, on that old Herb-merchant's route,
quickened during the last stages, has got to Varennes; where the Ten
thousand now furiously demand, with fury of panic terror, that Royalty
shall forthwith return Paris-ward, that there be not infinite bloodshed.
Also, on the other side, 'English Tom,' Choiseul's jokei, flying with that
Choiseul relay, has met Bouille on the heights of Dun; the adamantine brow
flushed with dark thunder; thunderous rattle of Royal Allemand at his
heels. English Tom answers as he can the brief question, How it is at
Varennes?--then asks in turn what he, English Tom, with M. de Choiseul's
horses, is to do, and whither to ride?--To the Bottomless Pool! answers a
thunder-voice; then again speaking and spurring, orders Royal Allemand to
the gallop; and vanishes, swearing (en jurant). (Declaration du Sieur
Thomas (in Choiseul, p. 188).) 'Tis the last of our brave Bouille. Within
sight of Varennes, he having drawn bridle, calls a council of officers;
finds that it is in vain. King Louis has departed, consenting: amid the
clangour of universal stormbell; amid the tramp of Ten thousand armed men,
already arrived; and say, of Sixty thousand flocking thither. Brave
Deslons, even without 'orders,' darted at the River Aire with his Hundred!
(Weber, ii. 386.) swam one branch of it, could not the other; and stood
there, dripping and panting, with inflated nostril; the Ten thousand
answering him with a shout of mockery, the new Berline lumbering Paris-ward
its weary inevitable way. No help, then in Earth; nor in an age, not of
miracles, in Heaven!

That night, 'Marquis de Bouille and twenty-one more of us rode over the
Frontiers; the Bernardine monks at Orval in Luxemburg gave us supper and
lodging.' (Aubriot, ut supra, p. 158.) With little of speech, Bouille
rides; with thoughts that do not brook speech. Northward, towards
uncertainty, and the Cimmerian Night: towards West-Indian Isles, for with
thin Emigrant delirium the son of the whirlwind cannot act; towards
England, towards premature Stoical death; not towards France any more.
Honour to the Brave; who, be it in this quarrel or in that, is a substance
and articulate-speaking piece of Human Valour, not a fanfaronading hollow
Spectrum and squeaking and gibbering Shadow! One of the few Royalist
Chief-actors this Bouille, of whom so much can be said.

The brave Bouille too, then, vanishes from the tissue of our Story. Story
and tissue, faint ineffectual Emblem of that grand Miraculous Tissue, and
Living Tapestry named French Revolution, which did weave itself then in
very fact, 'on the loud-sounding 'LOOM OF TIME!' The old Brave drop out
from it, with their strivings; and new acrid Drouets, of new strivings and
colour, come in:--as is the manner of that weaving.

Chapter 2.4.VIII.

The Return.

So then our grand Royalist Plot, of Flight to Metz, has executed itself.
Long hovering in the background, as a dread royal ultimatum, it has rushed
forward in its terrors: verily to some purpose. How many Royalist Plots
and Projects, one after another, cunningly-devised, that were to explode
like powder-mines and thunderclaps; not one solitary Plot of which has
issued otherwise! Powder-mine of a Seance Royale on the Twenty-third of
June 1789, which exploded as we then said, 'through the touchhole;' which
next, your wargod Broglie having reloaded it, brought a Bastille about your
ears. Then came fervent Opera-Repast, with flourishing of sabres, and O
Richard, O my King; which, aided by Hunger, produces Insurrection of Women,
and Pallas Athene in the shape of Demoiselle Theroigne. Valour profits
not; neither has fortune smiled on Fanfaronade. The Bouille Armament ends
as the Broglie one had done. Man after man spends himself in this cause,
only to work it quicker ruin; it seems a cause doomed, forsaken of Earth
and Heaven.

On the Sixth of October gone a year, King Louis, escorted by Demoiselle
Theroigne and some two hundred thousand, made a Royal Progress and Entrance
into Paris, such as man had never witnessed: we prophesied him Two more
such; and accordingly another of them, after this Flight to Metz, is now
coming to pass. Theroigne will not escort here, neither does Mirabeau now
'sit in one of the accompanying carriages.' Mirabeau lies dead, in the
Pantheon of Great Men. Theroigne lies living, in dark Austrian Prison;
having gone to Liege, professionally, and been seized there. Bemurmured
now by the hoarse-flowing Danube; the light of her Patriot Supper-Parties
gone quite out; so lies Theroigne: she shall speak with the Kaiser face to
face, and return. And France lies how! Fleeting Time shears down the
great and the little; and in two years alters many things.

But at all events, here, we say, is a second Ignominious Royal Procession,
though much altered; to be witnessed also by its hundreds of thousands.
Patience, ye Paris Patriots; the Royal Berline is returning. Not till
Saturday: for the Royal Berline travels by slow stages; amid such loud-
voiced confluent sea of National Guards, sixty thousand as they count; amid
such tumult of all people. Three National-Assembly Commissioners, famed
Barnave, famed Petion, generally-respectable Latour-Maubourg, have gone to
meet it; of whom the two former ride in the Berline itself beside Majesty,
day after day. Latour, as a mere respectability, and man of whom all men
speak well, can ride in the rear, with Dame Tourzel and the Soubrettes.

So on Saturday evening, about seven o'clock, Paris by hundreds of thousands
is again drawn up: not now dancing the tricolor joy-dance of hope; nor as
yet dancing in fury-dance of hate and revenge; but in silence, with vague
look of conjecture and curiosity mostly scientific. A Sainte-Antoine
Placard has given notice this morning that 'whosoever insults Louis shall
be caned, whosoever applauds him shall be hanged.' Behold then, at last,
that wonderful New Berline; encircled by blue National sea with fixed
bayonets, which flows slowly, floating it on, through the silent assembled
hundreds of thousands. Three yellow Couriers sit atop bound with ropes;
Petion, Barnave, their Majesties, with Sister Elizabeth, and the Children
of France, are within.

Smile of embarrassment, or cloud of dull sourness, is on the broad
phlegmatic face of his Majesty: who keeps declaring to the successive
Official-persons, what is evident, "Eh bien, me voila, Well, here you have
me;" and what is not evident, "I do assure you I did not mean to pass the
frontiers;" and so forth: speeches natural for that poor Royal man; which
Decency would veil. Silent is her Majesty, with a look of grief and scorn;
natural for that Royal Woman. Thus lumbers and creeps the ignominious
Royal Procession, through many streets, amid a silent-gazing people:
comparable, Mercier thinks, (Nouveau Paris, iii. 22.) to some Procession de
Roi de Bazoche; or say, Procession of King Crispin, with his Dukes of
Sutor-mania and royal blazonry of Cordwainery. Except indeed that this is
not comic; ah no, it is comico-tragic; with bound Couriers, and a Doom
hanging over it; most fantastic, yet most miserably real. Miserablest
flebile ludibrium of a Pickleherring Tragedy! It sweeps along there, in
most ungorgeous pall, through many streets, in the dusty summer evening;
gets itself at length wriggled out of sight; vanishing in the Tuileries
Palace--towards its doom, of slow torture, peine forte et dure.

Populace, it is true, seizes the three rope-bound yellow Couriers; will at
least massacre them. But our august Assembly, which is sitting at this
great moment, sends out Deputation of rescue; and the whole is got huddled
up. Barnave, 'all dusty,' is already there, in the National Hall; making
brief discreet address and report. As indeed, through the whole journey,
this Barnave has been most discreet, sympathetic; and has gained the
Queen's trust, whose noble instinct teaches her always who is to be
trusted. Very different from heavy Petion; who, if Campan speak truth, ate
his luncheon, comfortably filled his wine-glass, in the Royal Berline;
flung out his chicken-bones past the nose of Royalty itself; and, on the
King's saying "France cannot be a Republic," answered "No, it is not ripe
yet." Barnave is henceforth a Queen's adviser, if advice could profit:
and her Majesty astonishes Dame Campan by signifying almost a regard for
Barnave: and that, in a day of retribution and Royal triumph, Barnave
shall not be executed. (Campan, ii. c. 18.)

On Monday night Royalty went; on Saturday evening it returns: so much,
within one short week, has Royalty accomplished for itself. The
Pickleherring Tragedy has vanished in the Tuileries Palace, towards 'pain
strong and hard.' Watched, fettered, and humbled, as Royalty never was.
Watched even in its sleeping-apartments and inmost recesses: for it has to
sleep with door set ajar, blue National Argus watching, his eye fixed on
the Queen's curtains; nay, on one occasion, as the Queen cannot sleep, he
offers to sit by her pillow, and converse a little! (Ibid. ii. 149.)

Chapter 2.4.IX.

Sharp Shot.

In regard to all which, this most pressing question arises: What is to be
done with it? "Depose it!" resolutely answer Robespierre and the
thoroughgoing few. For truly, with a King who runs away, and needs to be
watched in his very bedroom that he may stay and govern you, what other
reasonable thing can be done? Had Philippe d'Orleans not been a caput
mortuum! But of him, known as one defunct, no man now dreams. "Depose it
not; say that it is inviolable, that it was spirited away, was enleve; at
any cost of sophistry and solecism, reestablish it!" so answer with loud
vehemence all manner of Constitutional Royalists; as all your Pure
Royalists do naturally likewise, with low vehemence, and rage compressed by
fear, still more passionately answer. Nay Barnave and the two Lameths, and
what will follow them, do likewise answer so. Answer, with their whole
might: terror-struck at the unknown Abysses on the verge of which, driven
thither by themselves mainly, all now reels, ready to plunge.

By mighty effort and combination this latter course, of reestablish it, is
the course fixed on; and it shall by the strong arm, if not by the clearest
logic, be made good. With the sacrifice of all their hard-earned
popularity, this notable Triumvirate, says Toulongeon, 'set the Throne up
again, which they had so toiled to overturn: as one might set up an
overturned pyramid, on its vertex; to stand so long as it is held.'

Unhappy France; unhappy in King, Queen, and Constitution; one knows not in
which unhappiest! Was the meaning of our so glorious French Revolution
this, and no other, That when Shams and Delusions, long soul-killing, had
become body-killing, and got the length of Bankruptcy and Inanition, a
great People rose and, with one voice, said, in the Name of the Highest:
Shams shall be no more? So many sorrows and bloody horrors, endured, and
to be yet endured through dismal coming centuries, were they not the heavy
price paid and payable for this same: Total Destruction of Shams from
among men? And now, O Barnave Triumvirate! is it in such double-distilled
Delusion, and Sham even of a Sham, that an Effort of this kind will rest
acquiescent? Messieurs of the popular Triumvirate: Never! But, after
all, what can poor popular Triumvirates and fallible august Senators do?
They can, when the Truth is all too-horrible, stick their heads ostrich-
like into what sheltering Fallacy is nearest: and wait there, a

Readers who saw the Clermontais and Three-Bishopricks gallop, in the Night
of Spurs; Diligences ruffling up all France into one terrific terrified
Cock of India; and the Town of Nantes in its shirt,--may fancy what an
affair to settle this was. Robespierre, on the extreme Left, with perhaps
Petion and lean old Goupil, for the very Triumvirate has defalcated, are
shrieking hoarse; drowned in Constitutional clamour. But the debate and
arguing of a whole Nation; the bellowings through all Journals, for and
against; the reverberant voice of Danton; the Hyperion-shafts of Camille;
the porcupine-quills of implacable Marat:--conceive all this.

Constitutionalists in a body, as we often predicted, do now recede from the
Mother Society, and become Feuillans; threatening her with inanition, the
rank and respectability being mostly gone. Petition after Petition,
forwarded by Post, or borne in Deputation, comes praying for Judgment and
Decheance, which is our name for Deposition; praying, at lowest, for
Reference to the Eighty-three Departments of France. Hot Marseillese
Deputation comes declaring, among other things: "Our Phocean Ancestors
flung a Bar of Iron into the Bay at their first landing; this Bar will
float again on the Mediterranean brine before we consent to be slaves."
All this for four weeks or more, while the matter still hangs doubtful;
Emigration streaming with double violence over the frontiers; (Bouille, ii.
101.) France seething in fierce agitation of this question and prize-
question: What is to be done with the fugitive Hereditary Representative?

Finally, on Friday the 15th of July 1791, the National Assembly decides; in
what negatory manner we know. Whereupon the Theatres all close, the
Bourne-stones and Portable-chairs begin spouting, Municipal Placards
flaming on the walls, and Proclamations published by sound of trumpet,
'invite to repose;' with small effect. And so, on Sunday the 17th, there
shall be a thing seen, worthy of remembering. Scroll of a Petition, drawn
up by Brissots, Dantons, by Cordeliers, Jacobins; for the thing was
infinitely shaken and manipulated, and many had a hand in it: such Scroll
lies now visible, on the wooden framework of the Fatherland's Altar, for
signature. Unworking Paris, male and female, is crowding thither, all day,
to sign or to see. Our fair Roland herself the eye of History can discern
there, 'in the morning;' (Madame Roland, ii. 74.) not without interest. In
few weeks the fair Patriot will quit Paris; yet perhaps only to return.

But, what with sorrow of baulked Patriotism, what with closed theatres, and
Proclamations still publishing themselves by sound of trumpet, the fervour
of men's minds, this day, is great. Nay, over and above, there has fallen
out an incident, of the nature of Farce-Tragedy and Riddle; enough to
stimulate all creatures. Early in the day, a Patriot (or some say, it was
a Patriotess, and indeed Truth is undiscoverable), while standing on the
firm deal-board of Fatherland's Altar, feels suddenly, with indescribable
torpedo-shock of amazement, his bootsole pricked through from below; he
clutches up suddenly this electrified bootsole and foot; discerns next
instant--the point of a gimlet or brad-awl playing up, through the firm
deal-board, and now hastily drawing itself back! Mystery, perhaps Treason?
The wooden frame-work is impetuously broken up; and behold, verily a
mystery; never explicable fully to the end of the world! Two human
individuals, of mean aspect, one of them with a wooden leg, lie ensconced
there, gimlet in hand: they must have come in overnight; they have a
supply of provisions,--no 'barrel of gunpowder' that one can see; they
affect to be asleep; look blank enough, and give the lamest account of
themselves. "Mere curiosity; they were boring up to get an eye-hole; to
see, perhaps 'with lubricity,' whatsoever, from that new point of vision,
could be seen:"--little that was edifying, one would think! But indeed
what stupidest thing may not human Dulness, Pruriency, Lubricity, Chance
and the Devil, choosing Two out of Half-a-million idle human heads, tempt
them to? (Hist. Parl. xi. 104-7.)

Sure enough, the two human individuals with their gimlet are there. Ill-
starred pair of individuals! For the result of it all is that Patriotism,
fretting itself, in this state of nervous excitability, with hypotheses,
suspicions and reports, keeps questioning these two distracted human
individuals, and again questioning them; claps them into the nearest
Guardhouse, clutches them out again; one hypothetic group snatching them
from another: till finally, in such extreme state of nervous excitability,
Patriotism hangs them as spies of Sieur Motier; and the life and secret is
choked out of them forevermore. Forevermore, alas! Or is a day to be
looked for when these two evidently mean individuals, who are human
nevertheless, will become Historical Riddles; and, like him of the Iron
Mask (also a human individual, and evidently nothing more),--have their
Dissertations? To us this only is certain, that they had a gimlet,
provisions and a wooden leg; and have died there on the Lanterne, as the
unluckiest fools might die.

And so the signature goes on, in a still more excited manner. And
Chaumette, for Antiquarians possess the very Paper to this hour, (Ibid. xi.
113, &c.)--has signed himself 'in a flowing saucy hand slightly leaned;'
and Hebert, detestable Pere Duchene, as if 'an inked spider had dropped on
the paper;' Usher Maillard also has signed, and many Crosses, which cannot
write. And Paris, through its thousand avenues, is welling to the Champ-
de-Mars and from it, in the utmost excitability of humour; central
Fatherland's Altar quite heaped with signing Patriots and Patriotesses; the
Thirty-benches and whole internal Space crowded with onlookers, with comers
and goers; one regurgitating whirlpool of men and women in their Sunday
clothes. All which a Constitutional Sieur Motier sees; and Bailly, looking
into it with his long visage made still longer. Auguring no good; perhaps
Decheance and Deposition after all! Stop it, ye Constitutional Patriots;
fire itself is quenchable, yet only quenchable at first!

Stop it, truly: but how stop it? Have not the first Free People of the
Universe a right to petition?--Happily, if also unhappily, here is one
proof of riot: these two human individuals, hanged at the Lanterne.
Proof, O treacherous Sieur Motier? Were they not two human individuals
sent thither by thee to be hanged; to be a pretext for thy bloody Drapeau
Rouge? This question shall many a Patriot, one day, ask; and answer
affirmatively, strong in Preternatural Suspicion.

Enough, towards half past seven in the evening, the mere natural eye can
behold this thing: Sieur Motier, with Municipals in scarf, with blue
National Patrollotism, rank after rank, to the clang of drums; wending
resolutely to the Champ-de-Mars; Mayor Bailly, with elongated visage,
bearing, as in sad duty bound, the Drapeau Rouge! Howl of angry derision
rises in treble and bass from a hundred thousand throats, at the sight of
Martial Law; which nevertheless waving its Red sanguinary Flag, advances
there, from the Gros-Caillou Entrance; advances, drumming and waving,
towards Altar of Fatherland. Amid still wilder howls, with objurgation,
obtestation; with flights of pebbles and mud, saxa et faeces; with crackle
of a pistol-shot;--finally with volley-fire of Patrollotism; levelled
muskets; roll of volley on volley! Precisely after one year and three
days, our sublime Federation Field is wetted, in this manner, with French

Some 'Twelve unfortunately shot,' reports Bailly, counting by units; but
Patriotism counts by tens and even by hundreds. Not to be forgotten, nor
forgiven! Patriotism flies, shrieking, execrating. Camille ceases
Journalising, this day; great Danton with Camille and Freron have taken
wing, for their life; Marat burrows deep in the Earth, and is silent. Once
more Patrollotism has triumphed: one other time; but it is the last.

This was the Royal Flight to Varennes. Thus was the Throne overturned
thereby; but thus also was it victoriously set up again--on its vertex; and
will stand while it can be held.



Chapter 2.5.I.

Grande Acceptation.

In the last nights of September, when the autumnal equinox is past, and
grey September fades into brown October, why are the Champs Elysees
illuminated; why is Paris dancing, and flinging fire-works? They are gala-
nights, these last of September; Paris may well dance, and the Universe:
the Edifice of the Constitution is completed! Completed; nay revised, to
see that there was nothing insufficient in it; solemnly proferred to his
Majesty; solemnly accepted by him, to the sound of cannon-salvoes, on the
fourteenth of the month. And now by such illumination, jubilee, dancing
and fire-working, do we joyously handsel the new Social Edifice, and first
raise heat and reek there, in the name of Hope.

The Revision, especially with a throne standing on its vertex, has been a
work of difficulty, of delicacy. In the way of propping and buttressing,
so indispensable now, something could be done; and yet, as is feared, not
enough. A repentant Barnave Triumvirate, our Rabauts, Duports, Thourets,
and indeed all Constitutional Deputies did strain every nerve: but the
Extreme Left was so noisy; the People were so suspicious, clamorous to have
the work ended: and then the loyal Right Side sat feeble petulant all the
while, and as it were, pouting and petting; unable to help, had they even
been willing; the two Hundred and Ninety had solemnly made scission, before
that: and departed, shaking the dust off their feet. To such
transcendency of fret, and desperate hope that worsening of the bad might
the sooner end it and bring back the good, had our unfortunate loyal Right
Side now come! (Toulongeon, ii. 56, 59.)

However, one finds that this and the other little prop has been added,
where possibility allowed. Civil-list and Privy-purse were from of old
well cared for. King's Constitutional Guard, Eighteen hundred loyal men
from the Eighty-three Departments, under a loyal Duke de Brissac; this,
with trustworthy Swiss besides, is of itself something. The old loyal
Bodyguards are indeed dissolved, in name as well as in fact; and gone
mostly towards Coblentz. But now also those Sansculottic violent Gardes
Francaises, or Centre Grenadiers, shall have their mittimus: they do ere
long, in the Journals, not without a hoarse pathos, publish their Farewell;
'wishing all Aristocrats the graves in Paris which to us are denied.'
(Hist. Parl. xiii. 73.) They depart, these first Soldiers of the
Revolution; they hover very dimly in the distance for about another year;
till they can be remodelled, new-named, and sent to fight the Austrians;
and then History beholds them no more. A most notable Corps of men; which
has its place in World-History;--though to us, so is History written, they
remain mere rubrics of men; nameless; a shaggy Grenadier Mass, crossed with
buff-belts. And yet might we not ask: What Argonauts, what Leonidas'
Spartans had done such a work? Think of their destiny: since that May
morning, some three years ago, when they, unparticipating, trundled off
d'Espremenil to the Calypso Isles; since that July evening, some two years
ago, when they, participating and sacreing with knit brows, poured a volley
into Besenval's Prince de Lambesc! History waves them her mute adieu.

So that the Sovereign Power, these Sansculottic Watchdogs, more like
wolves, being leashed and led away from his Tuileries, breathes freer. The
Sovereign Power is guarded henceforth by a loyal Eighteen hundred,--whom
Contrivance, under various pretexts, may gradually swell to Six thousand;
who will hinder no Journey to Saint-Cloud. The sad Varennes business has
been soldered up; cemented, even in the blood of the Champ-de-Mars, these
two months and more; and indeed ever since, as formerly, Majesty has had
its privileges, its 'choice of residence,' though, for good reasons, the
royal mind 'prefers continuing in Paris.' Poor royal mind, poor Paris;
that have to go mumming; enveloped in speciosities, in falsehood which
knows itself false; and to enact mutually your sorrowful farce-tragedy,
being bound to it; and on the whole, to hope always, in spite of hope!

Nay, now that his Majesty has accepted the Constitution, to the sound of
cannon-salvoes, who would not hope? Our good King was misguided but he
meant well. Lafayette has moved for an Amnesty, for universal forgiving
and forgetting of Revolutionary faults; and now surely the glorious
Revolution cleared of its rubbish, is complete! Strange enough, and
touching in several ways, the old cry of Vive le Roi once more rises round
King Louis the Hereditary Representative. Their Majesties went to the
Opera; gave money to the Poor: the Queen herself, now when the
Constitution is accepted, hears voice of cheering. Bygone shall be bygone;
the New Era shall begin! To and fro, amid those lamp-galaxies of the
Elysian Fields, the Royal Carriage slowly wends and rolls; every where with
vivats, from a multitude striving to be glad. Louis looks out, mainly on
the variegated lamps and gay human groups, with satisfaction enough for the
hour. In her Majesty's face, 'under that kind graceful smile a deep
sadness is legible.' (De Stael, Considerations, i. c. 23.) Brilliancies,
of valour and of wit, stroll here observant: a Dame de Stael, leaning most
probably on the arm of her Narbonne. She meets Deputies; who have built
this Constitution; who saunter here with vague communings,--not without
thoughts whether it will stand. But as yet melodious fiddlestrings twang
and warble every where, with the rhythm of light fantastic feet; long lamp-
galaxies fling their coloured radiance; and brass-lunged Hawkers elbow and
bawl, "Grande Acceptation, Constitution Monarchique:" it behoves the Son
of Adam to hope. Have not Lafayette, Barnave, and all Constitutionalists
set their shoulders handsomely to the inverted pyramid of a throne?
Feuillans, including almost the whole Constitutional Respectability of
France, perorate nightly from their tribune; correspond through all Post-
offices; denouncing unquiet Jacobinism; trusting well that its time is nigh
done. Much is uncertain, questionable: but if the Hereditary
Representative be wise and lucky, may one not, with a sanguine Gaelic
temper, hope that he will get in motion better or worse; that what is
wanting to him will gradually be gained and added?

For the rest, as we must repeat, in this building of the Constitutional
Fabric, especially in this Revision of it, nothing that one could think of
to give it new strength, especially to steady it, to give it permanence,
and even eternity, has been forgotten. Biennial Parliament, to be called
Legislative, Assemblee Legislative; with Seven Hundred and Forty-five
Members, chosen in a judicious manner by the 'active citizens' alone, and
even by electing of electors still more active: this, with privileges of
Parliament shall meet, self-authorized if need be, and self-dissolved;
shall grant money-supplies and talk; watch over the administration and
authorities; discharge for ever the functions of a Constitutional Great
Council, Collective Wisdom, and National Palaver,--as the Heavens will
enable. Our First biennial Parliament, which indeed has been a-choosing
since early in August, is now as good as chosen. Nay it has mostly got to
Paris: it arrived gradually;--not without pathetic greeting to its
venerable Parent, the now moribund Constituent; and sat there in the
Galleries, reverently listening; ready to begin, the instant the ground
were clear.

Then as to changes in the Constitution itself? This, impossible for any
Legislative, or common biennial Parliament, and possible solely for some
resuscitated Constituent or National Convention,--is evidently one of the
most ticklish points. The august moribund Assembly debated it for four
entire days. Some thought a change, or at least reviewal and new approval,
might be admissible in thirty years; some even went lower, down to twenty,
nay to fifteen. The august Assembly had once decided for thirty years; but
it revoked that, on better thoughts; and did not fix any date of time, but
merely some vague outline of a posture of circumstances, and on the whole
left the matter hanging. (Choix de Rapports, &c. (Paris, 1825), vi. 239-
317.) Doubtless a National Convention can be assembled even within the
thirty years: yet one may hope, not; but that Legislatives, biennial
Parliaments of the common kind, with their limited faculty, and perhaps
quiet successive additions thereto, may suffice, for generations, or indeed
while computed Time runs.

Furthermore, be it noted that no member of this Constituent has been, or
could be, elected to the new Legislative. So noble-minded were these Law-
makers! cry some: and Solon-like would banish themselves. So splenetic!
cry more: each grudging the other, none daring to be outdone in self-
denial by the other. So unwise in either case! answer all practical men.
But consider this other self-denying ordinance, That none of us can be
King's Minister, or accept the smallest Court Appointment, for the space of
four, or at lowest (and on long debate and Revision), for the space of two
years! So moves the incorruptible seagreen Robespierre; with cheap
magnanimity he; and none dare be outdone by him. It was such a law, not so
superfluous then, that sent Mirabeau to the Gardens of Saint-Cloud, under
cloak of darkness, to that colloquy of the gods; and thwarted many things.
Happily and unhappily there is no Mirabeau now to thwart.

Welcomer meanwhile, welcome surely to all right hearts, is Lafayette's
chivalrous Amnesty. Welcome too is that hard-wrung Union of Avignon; which
has cost us, first and last, 'thirty sessions of debate,' and so much else:
may it at length prove lucky! Rousseau's statue is decreed: virtuous
Jean-Jacques, Evangelist of the Contrat Social. Not Drouet of Varennes;
nor worthy Lataille, master of the old world-famous Tennis Court in
Versailles, is forgotten; but each has his honourable mention, and due
reward in money. (Moniteur (in Hist. Parl. xi. 473.) Whereupon, things
being all so neatly winded up, and the Deputations, and Messages, and royal
and other Ceremonials having rustled by; and the King having now
affectionately perorated about peace and tranquilisation, and members
having answered "Oui! oui!" with effusion, even with tears,--President
Thouret, he of the Law Reforms, rises, and, with a strong voice, utters
these memorable last-words: "The National Constituent Assembly declares
that it has finished its mission; and that its sittings are all ended."
Incorruptible Robespierre, virtuous Petion are borne home on the shoulders
of the people; with vivats heaven-high. The rest glide quietly to their
respective places of abode. It is the last afternoon of September, 1791;
on the morrow morning the new Legislative will begin.

So, amid glitter of illuminated streets and Champs Elysees, and crackle of
fireworks and glad deray, has the first National Assembly vanished;
dissolving, as they well say, into blank Time; and is no more. National
Assembly is gone, its work remaining; as all Bodies of men go, and as man
himself goes: it had its beginning, and must likewise have its end. A
Phantasm-Reality born of Time, as the rest of us are; flitting ever
backwards now on the tide of Time: to be long remembered of men. Very
strange Assemblages, Sanhedrims, Amphictyonics, Trades Unions, Ecumenic
Councils, Parliaments and Congresses, have met together on this Planet, and
dispersed again; but a stranger Assemblage than this august Constituent, or
with a stranger mission, perhaps never met there. Seen from the distance,
this also will be a miracle. Twelve Hundred human individuals, with the
Gospel of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in their pocket, congregating in the name
of Twenty-five Millions, with full assurance of faith, to 'make the
Constitution:' such sight, the acme and main product of the Eighteenth
Century, our World can witness once only. For Time is rich in wonders, in
monstrosities most rich; and is observed never to repeat himself, or any of
his Gospels:--surely least of all, this Gospel according to Jean-Jacques.
Once it was right and indispensable, since such had become the Belief of
men; but once also is enough.

They have made the Constitution, these Twelve Hundred Jean-Jacques
Evangelists; not without result. Near twenty-nine months they sat, with
various fortune; in various capacity;--always, we may say, in that capacity
of carborne Caroccio, and miraculous Standard of the Revolt of Men, as a
Thing high and lifted up; whereon whosoever looked might hope healing.
They have seen much: cannons levelled on them; then suddenly, by
interposition of the Powers, the cannons drawn back; and a war-god Broglie
vanishing, in thunder not his own, amid the dust and downrushing of a
Bastille and Old Feudal France. They have suffered somewhat: Royal
Session, with rain and Oath of the Tennis-Court; Nights of Pentecost;
Insurrections of Women. Also have they not done somewhat? Made the
Constitution, and managed all things the while; passed, in these twenty-
nine months, 'twenty-five hundred Decrees,' which on the average is some
three for each day, including Sundays! Brevity, one finds, is possible, at
times: had not Moreau de St. Mery to give three thousand orders before
rising from his seat?--There was valour (or value) in these men; and a kind
of faith,--were it only faith in this, That cobwebs are not cloth; that a
Constitution could be made. Cobwebs and chimeras ought verily to
disappear; for a Reality there is. Let formulas, soul-killing, and now
grown body-killing, insupportable, begone, in the name of Heaven and
Earth!--Time, as we say, brought forth these Twelve Hundred; Eternity was
before them, Eternity behind: they worked, as we all do, in the confluence
of Two Eternities; what work was given them. Say not that it was nothing
they did. Consciously they did somewhat; unconsciously how much! They had
their giants and their dwarfs, they accomplished their good and their evil;
they are gone, and return no more. Shall they not go with our blessing, in
these circumstances; with our mild farewell?

By post, by diligence, on saddle or sole; they are gone: towards the four
winds! Not a few over the marches, to rank at Coblentz. Thither wended
Maury, among others; but in the end towards Rome,--to be clothed there in
red Cardinal plush; in falsehood as in a garment; pet son (her last-born?)
of the Scarlet Woman. Talleyrand-Perigord, excommunicated Constitutional
Bishop, will make his way to London; to be Ambassador, spite of the Self-
denying Law; brisk young Marquis Chauvelin acting as Ambassador's-Cloak.
In London too, one finds Petion the virtuous; harangued and haranguing,
pledging the wine-cup with Constitutional Reform Clubs, in solemn tavern-
dinner. Incorruptible Robespierre retires for a little to native Arras:
seven short weeks of quiet; the last appointed him in this world. Public
Accuser in the Paris Department, acknowledged highpriest of the Jacobins;
the glass of incorruptible thin Patriotism, for his narrow emphasis is
loved of all the narrow,--this man seems to be rising, somewhither? He
sells his small heritage at Arras; accompanied by a Brother and a Sister,
he returns, scheming out with resolute timidity a small sure destiny for
himself and them, to his old lodging, at the Cabinet-maker's, in the Rue
St. Honore:--O resolute-tremulous incorruptible seagreen man, towards what
a destiny!

Lafayette, for his part, will lay down the command. He retires
Cincinnatus-like to his hearth and farm; but soon leaves them again. Our
National Guard, however, shall henceforth have no one Commandant; but all
Colonels shall command in succession, month about. Other Deputies we have
met, or Dame de Stael has met, 'sauntering in a thoughtful manner;' perhaps
uncertain what to do. Some, as Barnave, the Lameths, and their Duport,
will continue here in Paris: watching the new biennial Legislative,
Parliament the First; teaching it to walk, if so might be; and the Court to
lead it.

Thus these: sauntering in a thoughtful manner; travelling by post or
diligence,--whither Fate beckons. Giant Mirabeau slumbers in the Pantheon
of Great Men: and France? and Europe?--The brass-lunged Hawkers sing
"Grand Acceptation, Monarchic Constitution" through these gay crowds: the
Morrow, grandson of Yesterday, must be what it can, as To-day its father
is. Our new biennial Legislative begins to constitute itself on the first
of October, 1791.

Chapter 2.5.II.

The Book of the Law.

If the august Constituent Assembly itself, fixing the regards of the
Universe, could, at the present distance of time and place, gain
comparatively small attention from us, how much less can this poor
Legislative! It has its Right Side and its Left; the less Patriotic and
the more, for Aristocrats exist not here or now: it spouts and speaks:
listens to Reports, reads Bills and Laws; works in its vocation, for a
season: but the history of France, one finds, is seldom or never there.
Unhappy Legislative, what can History do with it; if not drop a tear over
it, almost in silence? First of the two-year Parliaments of France, which,
if Paper Constitution and oft-repeated National Oath could avail aught,
were to follow in softly-strong indissoluble sequence while Time ran,--it
had to vanish dolefully within one year; and there came no second like it.
Alas! your biennial Parliaments in endless indissoluble sequence; they, and
all that Constitutional Fabric, built with such explosive Federation Oaths,
and its top-stone brought out with dancing and variegated radiance, went to
pieces, like frail crockery, in the crash of things; and already, in eleven
short months, were in that Limbo near the Moon, with the ghosts of other
Chimeras. There, except for rare specific purposes, let them rest, in
melancholy peace.

On the whole, how unknown is a man to himself; or a public Body of men to
itself! Aesop's fly sat on the chariot-wheel, exclaiming, What a dust I do
raise! Great Governors, clad in purple with fasces and insignia, are
governed by their valets, by the pouting of their women and children; or,
in Constitutional countries, by the paragraphs of their Able Editors. Say
not, I am this or that; I am doing this or that! For thou knowest it not,
thou knowest only the name it as yet goes by. A purple Nebuchadnezzar
rejoices to feel himself now verily Emperor of this great Babylon which he
has builded; and is a nondescript biped-quadruped, on the eve of a seven-
years course of grazing! These Seven Hundred and Forty-five elected
individuals doubt not but they are the First biennial Parliament, come to
govern France by parliamentary eloquence: and they are what? And they
have come to do what? Things foolish and not wise!

It is much lamented by many that this First Biennial had no members of the
old Constituent in it, with their experience of parties and parliamentary
tactics; that such was their foolish Self-denying Law. Most surely, old
members of the Constituent had been welcome to us here. But, on the other
hand, what old or what new members of any Constituent under the Sun could
have effectually profited? There are First biennial Parliaments so
postured as to be, in a sense, beyond wisdom; where wisdom and folly differ
only in degree, and wreckage and dissolution are the appointed issue for

Old-Constituents, your Barnaves, Lameths and the like, for whom a special
Gallery has been set apart, where they may sit in honour and listen, are in
the habit of sneering at these new Legislators; (Dumouriez, ii. 150, &c.)
but let not us! The poor Seven Hundred and Forty-five, sent together by
the active citizens of France, are what they could be; do what is fated
them. That they are of Patriot temper we can well understand. Aristocrat
Noblesse had fled over the marches, or sat brooding silent in their unburnt
Chateaus; small prospect had they in Primary Electoral Assemblies. What
with Flights to Varennes, what with Days of Poniards, with plot after plot,
the People are left to themselves; the People must needs choose Defenders
of the People, such as can be had. Choosing, as they also will ever do,
'if not the ablest man, yet the man ablest to be chosen!' Fervour of
character, decided Patriot-Constitutional feeling; these are qualities:
but free utterance, mastership in tongue-fence; this is the quality of
qualities. Accordingly one finds, with little astonishment, in this First
Biennial, that as many as Four hundred Members are of the Advocate or
Attorney species. Men who can speak, if there be aught to speak: nay here
are men also who can think, and even act. Candour will say of this ill-
fated First French Parliament that it wanted not its modicum of talent, its
modicum of honesty; that it, neither in the one respect nor in the other,
sank below the average of Parliaments, but rose above the average. Let
average Parliaments, whom the world does not guillotine, and cast forth to
long infamy, be thankful not to themselves but to their stars!

France, as we say, has once more done what it could: fervid men have come
together from wide separation; for strange issues. Fiery Max Isnard is
come, from the utmost South-East; fiery Claude Fauchet, Te-Deum Fauchet
Bishop of Calvados, from the utmost North-West. No Mirabeau now sits here,
who had swallowed formulas: our only Mirabeau now is Danton, working as
yet out of doors; whom some call 'Mirabeau of the Sansculottes.'

Nevertheless we have our gifts,--especially of speech and logic. An
eloquent Vergniaud we have; most mellifluous yet most impetuous of public
speakers; from the region named Gironde, of the Garonne: a man
unfortunately of indolent habits; who will sit playing with your children,
when he ought to be scheming and perorating. Sharp bustling Guadet;
considerate grave Censonne; kind-sparkling mirthful young Ducos; Valaze
doomed to a sad end: all these likewise are of that Gironde, or Bourdeaux
region: men of fervid Constitutional principles; of quick talent,
irrefragable logic, clear respectability; who will have the Reign of
Liberty establish itself, but only by respectable methods. Round whom
others of like temper will gather; known by and by as Girondins, to the
sorrowing wonder of the world. Of which sort note Condorcet, Marquis and
Philosopher; who has worked at much, at Paris Municipal Constitution,
Differential Calculus, Newspaper Chronique de Paris, Biography, Philosophy;
and now sits here as two-years Senator: a notable Condorcet, with stoical
Roman face, and fiery heart; 'volcano hid under snow;' styled likewise, in
irreverent language, 'mouton enrage,' peaceablest of creatures bitten
rabid! Or note, lastly, Jean-Pierre Brissot; whom Destiny, long working
noisily with him, has hurled hither, say, to have done with him. A
biennial Senator he too; nay, for the present, the king of such. Restless,
scheming, scribbling Brissot; who took to himself the style de Warville,
heralds know not in the least why;--unless it were that the father of him
did, in an unexceptionable manner, perform Cookery and Vintnery in the
Village of Ouarville? A man of the windmill species, that grinds always,
turning towards all winds; not in the steadiest manner.

In all these men there is talent, faculty to work; and they will do it:
working and shaping, not without effect, though alas not in marble, only in
quicksand!--But the highest faculty of them all remains yet to be
mentioned; or indeed has yet to unfold itself for mention: Captain
Hippolyte Carnot, sent hither from the Pas de Calais; with his cold
mathematical head, and silent stubbornness of will: iron Carnot, far-
planning, imperturbable, unconquerable; who, in the hour of need, shall not
be found wanting. His hair is yet black; and it shall grow grey, under
many kinds of fortune, bright and troublous; and with iron aspect this man
shall face them all.

Nor is Cote Droit, and band of King's friends, wanting: Vaublanc, Dumas,
Jaucourt the honoured Chevalier; who love Liberty, yet with Monarchy over
it; and speak fearlessly according to that faith;--whom the thick-coming
hurricanes will sweep away. With them, let a new military Theodore Lameth
be named;--were it only for his two Brothers' sake, who look down on him,
approvingly there, from the Old-Constituents' Gallery. Frothy professing
Pastorets, honey-mouthed conciliatory Lamourettes, and speechless nameless
individuals sit plentiful, as Moderates, in the middle. Still less is a
Cote Gauche wanting: extreme Left; sitting on the topmost benches, as if
aloft on its speculatory Height or Mountain, which will become a practical
fulminatory Height, and make the name of Mountain famous-infamous to all
times and lands.

Honour waits not on this Mountain; nor as yet even loud dishonour. Gifts
it boasts not, nor graces, of speaking or of thinking; solely this one gift
of assured faith, of audacity that will defy the Earth and the Heavens.
Foremost here are the Cordelier Trio: hot Merlin from Thionville, hot
Bazire, Attorneys both; Chabot, disfrocked Capuchin, skilful in agio.
Lawyer Lacroix, who wore once as subaltern the single epaulette, has loud
lungs and a hungry heart. There too is Couthon, little dreaming what he
is;--whom a sad chance has paralysed in the lower extremities. For, it
seems, he sat once a whole night, not warm in his true love's bower (who
indeed was by law another's), but sunken to the middle in a cold peat-bog,
being hunted out; quaking for his life, in the cold quaking morass;
(Dumouriez, ii. 370.) and goes now on crutches to the end. Cambon
likewise, in whom slumbers undeveloped such a finance-talent for printing
of Assignats; Father of Paper-money; who, in the hour of menace, shall
utter this stern sentence, 'War to the Manorhouse, peace to the Hut, Guerre
aux Chateaux, paix aux Chaumieres!' (Choix de Rapports, xi. 25.)
Lecointre, the intrepid Draper of Versailles, is welcome here; known since
the Opera-Repast and Insurrection of Women. Thuriot too; Elector Thuriot,
who stood in the embrasures of the Bastille, and saw Saint-Antoine rising
in mass; who has many other things to see. Last and grimmest of all note
old Ruhl, with his brown dusky face and long white hair; of Alsatian
Lutheran breed; a man whom age and book-learning have not taught; who,
haranguing the old men of Rheims, shall hold up the Sacred Ampulla (Heaven-
sent, wherefrom Clovis and all Kings have been anointed) as a mere
worthless oil-bottle, and dash it to sherds on the pavement there; who,
alas, shall dash much to sherds, and finally his own wild head, by pistol-
shot, and so end it.

Such lava welters redhot in the bowels of this Mountain; unknown to the
world and to itself! A mere commonplace Mountain hitherto; distinguished
from the Plain chiefly by its superior barrenness, its baldness of look:
at the utmost it may, to the most observant, perceptibly smoke. For as yet
all lies so solid, peaceable; and doubts not, as was said, that it will
endure while Time runs. Do not all love Liberty and the Constitution? All
heartily;--and yet with degrees. Some, as Chevalier Jaucourt and his Right
Side, may love Liberty less than Royalty, were the trial made; others, as
Brissot and his Left Side, may love it more than Royalty. Nay again of
these latter some may love Liberty more than Law itself; others not more.
Parties will unfold themselves; no mortal as yet knows how. Forces work
within these men and without: dissidence grows opposition; ever widening;
waxing into incompatibility and internecine feud: till the strong is
abolished by a stronger; himself in his turn by a strongest! Who can help
it? Jaucourt and his Monarchists, Feuillans, or Moderates; Brissot and his
Brissotins, Jacobins, or Girondins; these, with the Cordelier Trio, and all
men, must work what is appointed them, and in the way appointed them.

And to think what fate these poor Seven Hundred and Forty-five are
assembled, most unwittingly, to meet! Let no heart be so hard as not to
pity them. Their soul's wish was to live and work as the First of the
French Parliaments: and make the Constitution march. Did they not, at
their very instalment, go through the most affecting Constitutional
ceremony, almost with tears? The Twelve Eldest are sent solemnly to fetch
the Constitution itself, the printed book of the Law. Archivist Camus, an
Old-Constituent appointed Archivist, he and the Ancient Twelve, amid blare
of military pomp and clangour, enter, bearing the divine Book: and
President and all Legislative Senators, laying their hand on the same,
successively take the Oath, with cheers and heart-effusion, universal
three-times-three. (Moniteur, Seance du 4 Octobre 1791.) In this manner
they begin their Session. Unhappy mortals! For, that same day, his
Majesty having received their Deputation of welcome, as seemed, rather
drily, the Deputation cannot but feel slighted, cannot but lament such
slight: and thereupon our cheering swearing First Parliament sees itself,
on the morrow, obliged to explode into fierce retaliatory sputter, of anti-
royal Enactment as to how they, for their part, will receive Majesty; and
how Majesty shall not be called Sire any more, except they please: and
then, on the following day, to recal this Enactment of theirs, as too
hasty, and a mere sputter though not unprovoked.

An effervescent well-intentioned set of Senators; too combustible, where
continual sparks are flying! Their History is a series of sputters and
quarrels; true desire to do their function, fatal impossibility to do it.
Denunciations, reprimandings of King's Ministers, of traitors supposed and
real; hot rage and fulmination against fulminating Emigrants; terror of
Austrian Kaiser, of 'Austrian Committee' in the Tuileries itself: rage and
haunting terror, haste and dim desperate bewilderment!--Haste, we say; and
yet the Constitution had provided against haste. No Bill can be passed
till it have been printed, till it have been thrice read, with intervals of
eight days;--'unless the Assembly shall beforehand decree that there is
urgency.' Which, accordingly, the Assembly, scrupulous of the
Constitution, never omits to do: Considering this, and also considering
that, and then that other, the Assembly decrees always 'qu'il y a urgence;'
and thereupon 'the Assembly, having decreed that there is urgence,' is free
to decree--what indispensable distracted thing seems best to it. Two
thousand and odd decrees, as men reckon, within Eleven months!
(Montgaillard, iii. 1. 237.) The haste of the Constituent seemed great;
but this is treble-quick. For the time itself is rushing treble-quick; and
they have to keep pace with that. Unhappy Seven Hundred and Forty-five:
true-patriotic, but so combustible; being fired, they must needs fling
fire: Senate of touchwood and rockets, in a world of smoke-storm, with
sparks wind-driven continually flying!

Or think, on the other hand, looking forward some months, of that scene
they call Baiser de Lamourette! The dangers of the country are now grown
imminent, immeasurable; National Assembly, hope of France, is divided
against itself. In such extreme circumstances, honey-mouthed Abbe
Lamourette, new Bishop of Lyons, rises, whose name, l'amourette, signifies
the sweetheart, or Delilah doxy,--he rises, and, with pathetic honied
eloquence, calls on all august Senators to forget mutual griefs and
grudges, to swear a new oath, and unite as brothers. Whereupon they all,
with vivats, embrace and swear; Left Side confounding itself with Right;
barren Mountain rushing down to fruitful Plain, Pastoret into the arms of
Condorcet, injured to the breast of injurer, with tears; and all swearing
that whosoever wishes either Feuillant Two-Chamber Monarchy or Extreme-
Jacobin Republic, or any thing but the Constitution and that only, shall be


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