The Works of Thomas Carlyle/Volume 2/The French Revolution, Volume 1/Book 7

New York: C. Scribner's sons, pages 239–289





No, Friends, this Revolution is not of the consolidating kind. Do not fires, fevers, sown seeds, chemical mixtures, men, events,—all embodiments of Force that work in this miraculous Complex of Forces named Universe,—go on growing, through their natural phases and developments each according to its kind; reach their height, reach their visible decline; finally sink under, vanishing, and what we call die? They all grow; there is nothing but what grows, and shoots forth into its special expansion,—once give it leave to spring. Observe too that each grows with a rapidity proportioned, in general, to the madness and unhealthiness there is in it; slow regular growth, though this also ends in death, is what we name health and sanity.

A Sansculottism, which has prostrated Bastilles, which has got pike and musket, and now goes burning Châteaus, passing resolutions and haranguing under roof and sky, may be said to have sprung; and, by law of Nature, must grow. To judge by the madness and diseasedness both of itself, and of the soil and element it is in, one might expect the rapidity and monstrosity would be extreme.

Many things, too, especially all diseased things, grow by shoots and fits. The first grand fit and shooting-forth of Sansculottism was that of Paris conquering its King; for Bailly's figure of rhetoric was all-too sad a reality. The King is conquered; going at large on his parole; on condition, say, of absolutely good behaviour,—which, in these circumstances, will unhappily mean no behaviour whatever. A quite untenable position, that of Majesty put on its good behaviour! Alas, is it not natural that whatever lives try to keep itself living? Whereupon his Majesty's behaviour will soon become exceptionable; and so the Second grand Fit of Sansculottism, that of putting him in durance, cannot be distant.

Necker, in the National Assembly, is making moan, as usual, about his Deficit: Barriers and Customhouses burnt; the Tax-gatherer hunted, not hunting; his Majesty's Exchequer all but empty. The remedy is a Loan of thirty millions; then, on still more enticing terms, a Loan of eighty millions: neither of which Loans, unhappily, will the Stockjobbers venture to lend. The Stockjobber has no country, except his own black pool of Agio.

And yet, in those days, for men that have a country, what a glow of patriotism burns in many a heart; penetrating inwards to the very purse! So early as the 7th of August, a Don Patriotique, 'Patriotic Gift of jewels to a considerable extent,' has been solemnly made by certain Parisian women; and solemnly accepted with honourable mention. Whom forthwith all the world takes to imitating and emulating. Patriotic Gifts, always with some heroic eloquence, which the President must answer and the Assembly listen to, flow in from far and near: in such number that the honourable mention can only be performed in 'lists published at stated epochs.' Each gives what he can: the very cordwainers have behaved munificently; one landed proprietor gives a forest; fashionable society gives its shoe-buckles, takes cheerfully to shoeties. Unfortunate-females give what they 'have amassed in loving.'[1] The smell of all cash, as Vespasian thought, is good.

Beautiful, and yet inadequate! The Clergy must be 'invited' to melt their superfluous Church-plate,—in the Royal Mint. Nay finally, a Patriotic Contribution, of the forcible sort, has to be determined on, though unwillingly: let the fourth part of your declared yearly revenue, for this once only, be paid down; so shall a National Assembly make the Constitution, undistracted at least by insolvency. Their own wages, as settled on the 17th of August, are but Eighteen Francs a day, each man; but the Public Service must have sinews, must have money. To appease the Deficit; not to 'combler, or choke, the Deficit,' if you or mortal could! For withal, as Mirabeau was heard saying, 'it is the Deficit that saves us.'

Towards the end of August, our National Assembly in its constitutional labours has got so far as the question of Veto: shall Majesty have a Veto on the National Enactments; or not have a Veto? What speeches were spoken, within doors and without; clear, and also passionate logic; imprecations, comminations; gone happily, for most part, to Limbo! Through the cracked brain and uncracked lungs of Saint-Huruge, the Palais Royal rebellows with Veto. Journalism is busy, France rings with Veto. 'I never shall forget,' says Dumont, 'my going to Paris, one of those days, with Mirabeau; and the crowd of people we found waiting for his carriage about Le Jay the Bookseller's shop. They flung themselves before him; conjuring him, with tears in their eyes, not to suffer the Veto Absolu. They were in a frenzy: "Monsieur le Comte, you are the People's father, you must save us; you must defend us against those villains who are bringing back Despotism. If the King get this Veto, what is the use of National Assembly? We are slaves; all is done."'[2] Friends, if the sky fall, there will be catching of larks! Mirabeau, adds Dumont, was eminent on such occasions: he answered vaguely, with a Patrician imperturbability, and bound himself to nothing.

Deputations go to the Hôtel-de-Ville; anonymous Letters to Aristocrats in the National Assembly, threatening that fifteen thousand, or sometimes that sixty thousand, 'will march to illuminate you.' The Paris Districts are astir; Petitions signing: Saint-Huruge sets forth from the Palais Royal with an escort of fifteen hundred individuals, to petition in person. Resolute, or seemingly so, is the tall shaggy Marquis, is the Café de Foy: but resolute also is Commandant-General-Lafayette. The streets are all beset by Patrols: Saint-Huruge is stopped at the Barrière des Bons Hommes; he may bellow like the bulls of Bashan, but absolutely must return. The brethren of the Palais Royal 'circulate all night,' and make motions, under the open canopy; all Coffeehouses being shut. Nevertheless Lafayette and the Townhall do prevail; Saint-Huruge is thrown into prison; Veto Absolu adjusts itself into Suspensive Veto, prohibition not for ever, but for a term of time; and this doom's-clamour will grow silent, as the others have done.

So far has Consolidation prospered, though with difficulty; repressing the Nether Sansculottic world; and the Constitution shall be made. With difficulty: amid jubilee and scarcity; Patriotic Gifts, Bakers'-queues; Abbé-Fauchet Harangues, with their Amen of platoon-musketry! Scipio-Americanus has deserved thanks from the National Assembly and France. They offer him stipends and emoluments to a handsome extent; all which stipends and emoluments he, covetous of far other blessedness than mere money, does, in his chivalrous way, without scruple, refuse.

To the Parisian common man, meanwhile, one thing remains inconceivable: that now when the Bastille is down, and French Liberty restored, grain should continue so dear. Our Rights of Man are voted. Feudalism and all Tyranny abolished; yet behold we stand in queue! Is it Aristocrat forestallers; a Court still bent on intrigues? Something is rotten somewhere.

And yet, alas, what to do? Lafayette, with his Patrols, prohibits everything, even complaint. Saint-Huruge and other heroes of the Veto lie in durance. People's-Friend Marat was seized; Printers of Patriotic Journals are fettered and forbidden; the very Hawkers cannot cry, till they get licence and leaden badges. Blue National Guards ruthlessly dissipate all groups; scour, with levelled bayonets, the Palais Royal itself. Pass, on your affairs, along the Rue Taranne, the Patrol, presenting his bayonet, cries, To the left! Turn into the Rue Saint-Bénoit, he cries. To the right! A judicious Patriot (like Camille Desmoulins, in this instance) is driven, for quietness' sake, to take the gutter.

O much-suffering People, our glorious Revolution is evaporating in tricolor ceremonies and complimentary harangues! Of which latter, as Loustalot acridly calculates, 'upwards of two thousand have been delivered within the last month at the Townhall alone.'[3] And our mouths, unfilled with bread, are to be shut, under penalties? The Caricaturist promulgates his emblematic Tablature: Le Patrouillotisme chassant le Patriotisme, Patriotism driven out by Patrollotism. Ruthless Patrols; long superfine harangues; and scanty ill-baked loaves, more like baked Bath bricks,—which produce an effect on the intestines! Where will this end? In consolidation?



For, alas, neither is the Townhall itself without misgivings. The Nether Sansculottic world has been suppressed hitherto: but then the Upper Court-world! Symptoms there are that the Œil-de-Bœuf is rallying.

More than once in the Townhall Sanhedrim, often enough from those outspoken Bakers'-queues, has the wish uttered itself: O that our Restorer of French Liberty were here; that he could see with his own eyes, not with the false eyes of Queens and Cabals, and his really good heart be enlightened! For falsehood still environs him; intriguing Dukes de Guiche, with Bodyguards; scouts of Bouillé; a new flight of intriguers, now that the old is flown. What else means this advent of the Régiment de Flandre; entering Versailles, as we hear, on the 23d of September, with two pieces of cannon? Did not the Versailles National Guard do duty at the Château? Had they not Swiss; Hundred Swiss; Gardes-du-Corps, Bodyguards so-called? Nay, it would seem, the number of Bodyguards on duty has, by a manœuvre, been doubled: the new relieving Battalion of them arrived at its time; but the old relieved one does not depart!

Actually, there runs a whisper through the best-informed Upper-Circles, or a nod still more portentous than whispering, of his Majesty's flying to Metz; of a Bond (to stand by him therein), which has been signed by Noblesse and Clergy, to the incredible amount of thirty, or even of sixty thousand. Lafayette coldly whispers it, and coldly asseverates it, to Count d'Estaing at the Dinner-table; and D'Estaing, one of the bravest men, quakes to the core lest some lackey overhear it; and tumbles thoughtful, without sleep, all night.[4] Regiment de Flandre, as we said, is clearly arrived. His Majesty, they say, hesitates about sanctioning the Fourth of August; makes observations, of chilling tenor, on the very Rights of Man! Likewise, may not all persons, the Bakers'-queues themselves discern, on the streets of Paris, the most astonishing number of Officers on furlough, Crosses of St. Louis, and suchlike? Some reckon 'from a thousand to twelve hundred.' Officers of all uniforms; nay one uniform never before seen by eye: green faced with red! The tricolor cockade is not always visible: but what, in the name of Heaven, may these black cockades, which some wear, foreshadow?

Hunger whets everything, especially Suspicion and Indignation. Realities themselves, in this Paris, have grown unreal, preternatural. Phantasms once more stalk through the brain of hungry France. O ye laggards and dastards, cry shrill voices from the Queues, if ye had the hearts of men, ye would take your pikes and secondhand firelocks, and look into it; not leave your wives and daughters to be starved, murdered and worse!—Peace, women! The heart of man is bitter and heavy; Patriotism, driven out by Patrollotism, knows not what to resolve on.

The truth is, the Œil-de-Bœuf has rallied; to a certain unknown extent. A changed Œil-de-Bœuf; with Versailles National Guards, in their tricolor cockades, doing duty there; a Court all flaring with tricolor! Yet even to a tricolor Court men will rally. Ye loyal hearts, burnt-out Seigneurs, rally round your Queen! With wishes; which will produce hopes; which will produce attempts!

For indeed self-preservation being such a law of Nature, what can a rallied Court do, but attempt and endeavour, or call it plot,—with such wisdom and unwisdom as it has? They will fly, escorted, to Metz, where brave Bouillé commands; they will raise the Royal Standard: the Bond-signatures shall become armed men. Were not the King so languid! Their Bond, if at all signed, must be signed without his privity.—Unhappy King, he has but one resolution: not to have a civil war. For the rest, he still hunts, having ceased lockmaking; he still dozes, and digests; is clay in the hands of the potter. Ill will it fare with him, in a world where all is helping itself; where, as has been written, 'whosoever is not hammer must be stithy'; and 'the very hyssop on the wall grows there, in that chink, because the whole Universe could not prevent its growing!'

But as for the coming-up of this Regiment de Flandre, may it not be urged that there were Saint-Huruge Petitions, and continual meal-mobs? Undebauched Soldiers, be there plot, or only dim elements of a plot, are always good. Did not the Versailles Municipality (an old Monarchic one, not yet refounded into a Democratic) instantly second the proposal? Nay the very Versailles National Guard, wearied with continual duty at the Château, did not object; only Draper Lecointre, who is now Major Lecointre, shook his head.—Yes, Friends, surely it was natural this Regiment de Flandre should be sent for, since it could be got. It was natural that, at sight of military bandoleers, the heart of the rallied Œil-de-Bœuf should revive; and Maids of Honour, and gentlemen of honour, speak comfortable words to epauletted defenders and to one another. Natural also, and mere common civility, that the Bodyguards, a Regiment of Gentlemen, should invite their Flandre brethren to a Dinner of welcome!—Such invitation, in the last days of September, is given and accepted.

Dinners are defined as 'the ultimate act of communion'; men that can have communion in nothing else, can sympathetically eat together, can still rise into some glow of brotherhood over food and wine. The Dinner is fixed on, for Thursday the First of October; and ought to have a fine effect. Further, as such Dinner may be rather extensive, and even the Noncommissioned and the Common man be introduced, to see and to hear, could not his Majesty's Opera Apartment, which has lain quite silent ever since Kaiser Joseph was here, be obtained for the purpose?—The Hall of the Opera is granted; the Salon d'Hercule shall be drawin-groom. Not only the Officers of Flandre, but of the Swiss, of the Hundred Swiss; nay of the Versailles National Guard, such of them as have any loyalty, shall feast: it will be a Repast like few.

And now suppose this Repast, the solid part of it, transacted; and the first bottle over. Suppose the customary loyal toasts drunk; the King's health, the Queen's with deafening vivats;—that of the Nation 'omitted,' or even 'rejected.' Suppose champagne flowing; with pot-valorous speech, with instrumental music; empty featherheads growing ever the noisier, in their own emptiness, in each others' noise. Her Majesty, who looks unusually sad tonight (his Majesty sitting dulled with the day's hunting), is told that the sight of it would cheer her. Behold! She enters there, issuing from her State-rooms, like the Moon from clouds, this fairest unhappy Queen of Hearts; royal Husband by her side, young Dauphin in her arms! She descends from the Boxes, amid splendour and acclaim; walks queenlike round the Tables; gracefully escorted, gracefully nodding; her looks full of sorrow, yet of gratitude and daring, with the hope of France on her mother-bosom! And now, the band striking up, Ô Richard, Ô mon Roi, l'univers t'abandonne (O Richard, O my King, the world is all forsaking thee), could man do other than rise to height of pity, of loyal valour? Could featherheaded young ensigns do other than, by white Bourbon Cockades, handed them from fair fingers; by waving of swords, drawn to pledge the Queen's health; by trampling of National Cockades; by scaling the Boxes, whence intrusive murmurs may come; by vociferation, tripudiation, sound, fury and distraction, within doors and without,—testify what tempest-tost state of vacuity they are in? Till champagne and tripudiation do their work; and all lie silent, horizontal; passively slumbering with meed-of-battle dreams!—

A natural Repast; in ordinary times, a harmless one: now fatal, as that of Thyestes; as that of Job's Sons, when a strong wind smote the four corners of their banquet-house! Poor ill-advised Marie-Antoinette; with a woman's vehemence, not with a sovereign's foresight! It was so natural, yet so unwise. Next day, in public speech of ceremony, her Majesty declares herself 'delighted with the Thursday.'

The heart of the Œil-de-Bœuf glows into hope; into daring, which is premature. Rallied Maids of Honour, waited on by Abbés, sew 'white cockades'; distribute them, with words, with glances, to epauletted youths; who, in return, may kiss, not without fervour, the fair sewing fingers. Captains of horse and foot go swashing with 'enormous white cockades'; nay one Versailles National Captain has mounted the like, so witching were the words and glances, and laid aside his tricolor! Well may Major Lecointre shake his head with a look of severity; and speak audible resentful words. But now a swashbuckler, with enormous white cockade, overhearing the Major, invites him insolently, once and then again elsewhere, to recant; and failing that, to duel. Which latter feat Major Lecointre declares that he will not perform, not at least by any known laws of fence; that he nevertheless will, according to mere law of Nature, by dirk and blade, 'exterminate' any 'vile gladiator' who may insult him or the Nation;—whereupon (for the Major is actually drawing his implement) 'they are parted,' and no weasands slit.[5]



But fancy what effect this Thyestes Repast, and trampling on the National Cockade, must have had in the Salle des Menus; in the famishing Bakers'-queues at Paris! Nay such Thyestes Repasts, it would seem, continue. Flandre has given its Counter-Dinner to the Swiss and Hundred Swiss; then on Saturday there has been another.

Yes, here with us is famine; but yonder at Versailles is food, enough and to spare! Patriotism stands in queue, shivering hunger-struck, insulted by Patrollotism; while bloodyminded Aristocrats, heated with excess of high living, trample on the National Cockade. Can the atrocity be true? Nay look: green uniforms faced with red; black cockades,—the colour of Night! are we to have military onfall; and death also by starvation? For, behold, the Corbeil Cornboat, which used to come twice a day, with its plaster-of-paris meal, now comes only once. And the Townhall is deaf; and the men are laggard and dastard!—At the Café de Foy, this Saturday evening, a new thing is seen, not the last of its kind: a woman engaged in public speaking. Her poor man, she says, was put to silence by his District; their Presidents and Officials would not let him speak. Wherefore she here, with her shrill tongue, will speak; denouncing, while her breath endures, the Corbeil Boat, the plaster-of-paris bread, sacrilegious Opera-dinners, green uniforms. Pirate Aristocrats, and those black cockades of theirs!—

Truly, it is time for the black cockades at least to vanish. Them Patrollotism itself will not protect. Nay sharp-tempered 'M. Tassin,' at the Tuileries parade on Sunday morning, forgets all National military rule; starts from the ranks, wrenches down one black cockade which is swashing ominous there, and tramples it fiercely into the soil of France. Patrollotism itself is not without suppressed fury. Also the Districts begin to stir; the voice of President Danton reverberates in the Cordeliers: People's-Friend Marat has flown to Versailles and back again;—swart bird, not of the halcyon kind.[6]

And so Patriot meets promenading Patriot, this Sunday; and sees his own grim care reflected on the face of another. Groups, in spite of Patrollotism, which is not so alert as usual, fluctuate deliberative; groups on the Bridges, on the Quais, at the patriotic Cafés. And ever as any black cockade may emerge, rises the many-voiced growl and bark: À bas, Down! All black cockades are ruthlessly plucked off: one individual picks his up again; kisses it, attempts to refix it; but a 'hundred canes start into the air,' and he desists. Still worse went it with another individual; doomed, by extempore Plebiscitum, to the Lanterne; saved, with difficulty, by some active Corps-de-Garde.—Lafayette sees signs of an effervescence; which he doubles his Patrols, doubles his diligence, to prevent. So passes Sunday the 4th of October 1789.

Sullen is the male heart, repressed by Patrollotism; vehement is the female, irrepressible. The public-speaking woman at the Palais Royal was not the only speaking one:—Men know not what the pantry is, when it grows empty; only house-mothers know. O women, wives of men that will only calculate and not act! Patrollotism is strong; but Death, by starvation and military onfall, is stronger. Patrollotism represses male Patriotism: but female Patriotism? Will Guards named National thrust their bayonets into the bosoms of women? Such thought, or rather such dim unshaped raw material of a thought, ferments universally under the female nightcap; and, by earliest daybreak, on slight hint, will explode.



If Voltaire once, in splenetic humour, asked his countrymen: 'But you, Gualches, what have you invented?' they can now answer: The Art of Insurrection. It was an art needed in these last singular times: an art for which the French nature, so full of vehemence, so free from depth, was perhaps of all others the fittest.

Accordingly, to what a height, one may well say of perfection, has this branch of human industry been carried by France, within the last half-century! Insurrection, which Lafayette thought might be 'the most sacred of duties,' ranks now, for the French people, among the duties which they can perform. Other mobs are dull masses; which roll onwards with a dull fierce heat, but emit no light-flashes of genius as they go. The French mob, again, is among the liveliest phenomena of our world. So rapid, audacious; so clearsighted, inventive, prompt to seize the moment; instinct with life to its finger-ends! That talent, were there no other, of spontaneously standing in queue, distinguishes, as we said, the French People from all Peoples, ancient and modern.

Let the Reader confess too that, taking one thing with another, perhaps few terrestrial Appearances are better worth considering than mobs. Your mob is a genuine outburst of Nature; issuing from, or communicating with, the deepest deep of Nature. When so much goes grinning and grimacing as a lifeless Formality, and under the stiff buckram no heart can be felt beating, here once more, if nowhere else, is a Sincerity and Reality. Shudder at it; or even shriek over it, if thou must; nevertheless consider it. Such a Complex of human Forces and Individualities hurled forth, in their transcendental mood, to act and react, on circumstances and on one another; to work out what it is in them to work. The thing they will do is known to no man; least of all to themselves. It is the inflammablest immeasurable Firework, generating, consuming itself. With what phases, to what extent, with what results it will burn off, Philosophy and Perspicacity conjecture in vain.

'Man,' as has been written, 'is for ever interesting to man; nay properly there is nothing else interesting.' In which light also may we not discern why most Battles have become so wearisome? Battles, in these ages, are transacted by mechanism; with the slightest possible development of human individuality or spontaneity: men now even die, and kill one another, in an artificial manner. Battles ever since Homer's time, when they were Fighting Mobs, have mostly ceased to be worth looking at, worth reading of or remembering. How many wearisome bloody Battles does History strive to represent; or even, in a husky way, to sing:—and she would omit or carelessly slur-over this one Insurrection of Women?

A thought, or dim raw-material of a thought, was fermenting all night, universally in the female head, and might explode. In squalid garret, on Monday morning, Maternity awakes, to hear children weeping for bread. Maternity must forth to the streets, to the herb-markets and Bakers'-queues; meets there with hunger-stricken Maternity, sympathetic, exasperative. O we unhappy women! But, instead of Bakers'-queues, why not to Aristocrats' palaces, the root of the matter? Allons! Let us assemble. To the Hôtel-de-Ville; to Versailles; to the Lanterne!

In one of the Guardhouses of the Quartier Saint-Eustache, 'a young woman' seizes a drum—for how shall National Guards give fire on women, on a young woman? The young woman seizes the drum; sets forth, beating it, 'uttering cries relative to the dearth of grains.' Descend, O mothers; descend, ye Judiths, to food and revenge!—All women gather and go; crowds storm all stairs, force out all women: the female Insurrectionary Force, according to Camille, resembles the English Naval one; there is a universal 'Press of women.' Robust Dames of the Halle, slim Mantua-makers, assiduous, risen with the dawn; ancient Virginity tripping to matins; the Housemaid, with early broom; all must go. Rouse ye, O women; the laggard men will not act; they say, we ourselves may act!

And so, like snowbreak from the mountains, for every staircase is a melted brook, it storms; tumultuous, wild-shrilling, towards the Hôtel-de-Ville. Tumultuous; with or without drum-music: for the Faubourg Saint-Antoine also has tucked-up its gown; and with besom-staves, fire-irons, and even rusty pistols (void of ammunition), is flowing on. Sound of it flies, with a velocity of sound, to the utmost Barriers. By seven o'clock, on this raw October morning, fifth of the month, the Townhall will see wonders. Nay, as chance would have it, a male party are already there; clustering tumultuously round some National Patrol, and a Baker who has been seized with short weights. They are there; and have even lowered the rope of the Lanterne. So that the official persons have to smuggle forth the short-weighing Baker by back-doors, and even send 'to all the Districts' for more force.

Grand it was, says Camille, to see so many Judiths, from eight to ten thousand of them in all, rushing out to search into the root of the matter! Not unfrightful it must have been; ludicro-terrific, and most unmanageable. At such hour the overwatched Three Hundred are not yet stirring: none but some Clerks, a company of National Guards; and M. de Gouvion, the Major-general. Gouvion has fought in America for the cause of civil Liberty; a man of no inconsiderable heart, but deficient in head. He is, for the moment, in his back apartment; assuaging Usher Maillard, the Bastille-sergeant, who has come, as too many do, with 'representations.' The assuagement is still incomplete when our Judiths arrive.

The National Guards form on the outer stairs with levelled bayonets; the ten thousand Judiths press up, resistless; with obtestations, with outspread hands,—merely to speak to the Mayor. The rear forces them; nay from male hands in the rear, stones already fly: the National Guard must do one of two things; sweep the Place de Grève with cannon, or else open to right and left. They open; the living deluge rushes in. Through all rooms and cabinets, upwards to the topmost belfry: ravenous; seeking arms, seeking Mayors, seeking justice;—while, again, the better-dressed speak kindly to the Clerks; point out the misery of these poor women; also their ailments, some even of an interesting sort.[7]

Poor M. de Gouvion is shiftless in this extremity;—a man shiftless, perturbed: who will one day commit suicide. How happy for him that Usher Maillard the shifty was there, at the moment, though making representations! Fly back, thou shifty Maillard: seek the Bastille Company; and O return fast with it; above all, with thy own shifty head For, behold, the Judiths can find no Mayor or Municipal; scarcely, in the topmost belfry, can they find poor Abbé Lefèvre the Powder-distributor. Him, for want of a better, they suspend there: in the pale morning light; over the top of all Paris, which swims in one's failing eyes:—a horrible end? Nay the rope broke, as French ropes often did; or else an Amazon cut it. Abbé Lefèvre falls, some twenty feet, rattling among the leads; and lives long years after, though always with 'a tremblement in the limbs.'[8]

And now doors fly under hatchets; the Judiths have broken the Armory; have seized guns and cannons, three money-bags, paper-heaps; torches flare: in few minutes, our brave Hôtel-de-Ville, which dates from the Fourth Henry, will, with all that it holds, be in flames!



In flames, truly,—were it not that Usher Maillard, swift of foot, shifty of head, has returned!

Maillard, of his own motion,—for Gouvion or the rest would not even sanction him,—snatches a drum; descends the Porch-stairs, ran-tan, beating sharp, with loud rolls, his Rogues'-march: To Versailles! Allons; à Versailles! As men beat on kettle or warming-pan, when angry she-bees, or say, flying desperate wasps, are to be hived; and the desperate insects hear it, and cluster round it,—simply as round a guidance, where there was none: so now these Menads round shifty Maillard, Riding-Usher of the Châtelet. The axe pauses uplifted; Abbé Lefèvre is left half-hanged: from the belfry downwards all vomits itself. What a rub-a-dub is that? Stanislas Maillard, Bastille hero, will lead us to Versailles? Joy to thee, Maillard; blessed art thou above Riding-Ushers! Away, then, away!

The seized cannon are yoked with seized cart-horses; brown-locked Demoiselle Théroigne, with pike and helmet, sits there as gunneress, 'with haughty eye and serene fair countenance'; comparable, some think, to the Maid of Orléans, or even recalling 'the idea of Pallas Athene.'[9] Maillard (for his drum still rolls) is, by heaven-rending acclamation, admitted General. Maillard hastens the languid march. Maillard, beating rhythmic, with sharp ran-tan, all along the Quais, leads forward, with difficulty, his Menadic host. Such a host—marched not in silence! The bargeman pauses on the River; all wagoners and coach-drivers fly; men peer from windows,—not women, lest they be pressed. Sight of sights: Bacchantes, in these ultimate Formalised Ages! Bronze Henri looks on, from his Pont-Neuf; the Monarchic Louvre, Medicean Tuileries see a day like none heretofore seen.

And now Maillard has his Menads in the Champs Élysées (Fields Tartarean rather); and the Hôtel-de-Ville has suffered comparatively nothing. Broken doors; an Abbé Lefèvre, who shall never more distribute powder; three sacks of money, most part of which (for Sansculottism, though famishing, is not without honour) shall be returned:[10] this is all the damage. Great Maillard! A small nucleus of Order is round his drum; but his outskirts fluctuate like the mad Ocean: for Rascality male and female is flowing in on him, from the four winds: guidance there is none but in his single head and two drum-sticks.

O Maillard, when, since War first was, had General of Force such a task before him as thou this day? Walter the Penniless still touches the feeling heart: but then Walter had sanction; had space to turn in; and also his Crusaders were of the male sex. Thou, this day, disowned of Heaven and Earth, art General of Menads. Their inarticulate frenzy thou must, on the spur of the instant, render into articulate words, into actions that are not frantic. Fail in it, this way or that! Pragmatical Officiality, with its penalties and law-books, waits before thee; Menads storm behind. If such hewed off the melodious head of Orpheus, and hurled it into the Peneus waters, what may they not make of thee,—thee rhythmic merely, with no music but a sheepskin drum!—Maillard did not fail. Remarkable Maillard, if fame were not an accident, and History a distillation of Rumour, how remarkable wert thou!

On the Elysian Fields there is pause and fluctuation; but, for Maillard, no return. He persuades his Menads, clamorous for arms and the Arsenal, that no arms are in the Arsenal; that an unarmed attitude, and petition to a National Assembly, will be the best: he hastily nominates or sanctions generalesses, captains of tens and fifties;—and so, in loosest-flowing order, to the rhythm of some 'eight drums' (having laid aside his own), with the Bastille Volunteers bringing up his rear, once more takes the road.

Chaillot, which will promptly yield baked loaves, is not plundered; nor are the Sèvres Potteries broken. The old arches of Sèvres Bridge echo under Menadic feet; Seine River gushes on with its perpetual murmur; and Paris flings after us the boom of tocsin and alarm-drum,—inaudible, for the present, amid shrill-sounding hosts, and the splash of rainy weather. To Meudon, to Saint-Cloud, on both hands, the report of them is gone abroad; and hearths, this evening, will have a topic. The press of women still continues, for it is the cause of all Eve's Daughters, mothers that are, or that ought to be. No carriage-lady, were it with never such hysterics, but must dismount, in the mud roads, in her silk shoes, and walk.[11] In this manner, amid wild October weather, they, a wild unwinged, stork-flight, through the astonished country wend their way. Travellers of all sorts they stop; especially travellers or couriers from Paris. Deputy Lechapelier, in his elegant vesture, from his elegant vehicle, looks forth amazed through his spectacles; apprehensive for life;—states eagerly that he is Patriot-Deputy Lechapelier, and even Old-President Lechapelier, who presided on the Night of Pentecost, and is original member of the Breton Club. Thereupon 'rises huge shout of Vive Lechapelier, and several armed persons spring up behind and before to escort him.'[12]

Nevertheless, news, despatches from Lafayette, or vague noise of rumour, have pierced through, by side roads. In the National Assembly, while all is busy discussing the order of the day; regretting that there should be Anti-National Repasts in Opera-halls; that his Majesty should still hesitate about accepting the Rights of Man, and hang conditions and peradventures on them,—Mirabeau steps up to the President, experienced Mounier as it chanced to be; and articulates, in bass undertone: 'Mounier, Paris marche sur nous (Paris is marching on us).'—'May be (Je n'en sais rien)!'—'Believe it or disbelieve it, that is not my concern; but Paris, I say, is marching on us. Fall suddenly unwell; go over to the Château; tell them this. There is not a moment to lose.'—'Paris marching on us?' responds Mounier, with an atrabiliar accent: 'Well, so much the better! We shall the sooner be a Republic.' Mirabeau quits him, as one quits an experienced President getting blindfold into deep waters; and the order of the day continues as before.

Yes, Paris is marching on us; and more than the women of Paris! Scarcely was Maillard gone, when M. de Gouvion's message to all the Districts, and such tocsin and drumming of the générale, began to take effect. Armed National Guards from every District; especially the Grenadiers of the Centre, who are our old Gardes Françaises, arrive, in quick sequence, on the Place de Grève. An 'immense people' is there; Saint-Antoine, with pike and rusty firelock, is all crowding thither, be it welcome or unwelcome. The Centre Grenadiers are received with cheering: 'It is not cheers that we want,' answer they gloomily; 'the Nation has been insulted; to arms, and come with us for orders!' Ha, sits the wind so? Patriotism and Patrollotism are now one!

The Three Hundred have assembled; 'all the Committees are in activity'; Lafayette is dictating despatches for Versailles, when a Deputation of the Centre Grenadiers introduces itself to him. The Deputation makes military obeisance; and thus speaks, not without a kind of thought in it: 'Mon Général, we are deputed by the Six Companies of Grenadiers. We do not think you a traitor, but we think the Government betrays you; it is time that this end. We cannot turn our bayonets against women crying to us for bread. The people are miserable, the source of the mischief is at Versailles: we must go seek the King, and bring him to Paris. We must exterminate (exterminer) the Regiment de Flandre and the Gardes-du-Corps, who have dared to trample on the National Cockade. If the King be too weak to wear his crown, let him lay it down. You will crown his Son, you will name a Council of Regency: and all will go better.'[13] Reproachful astonishment paints itself on the face of Lafayette; speaks itself from his eloquent chivalrous lips: in vain. 'My General, we would shed the last drop of our blood for you; but the root of the mischief is at Versailles; we must go and bring the King to Paris; all the people wish it, tout le peuple le veut.'

My General descends to the outer staircase; and harangues: once more in vain. 'To Versailles! To Versailles!' Mayor Bailly, sent for through floods of Sansculottism, attempts academic oratory from his gilt state-coach; realises nothing but infinite hoarse cries of: 'Bread! To Versailles!'—and gladly shrinks within doors. Lafayette mounts the white charger; and again harangues, and reharangues: with eloquence, with firmness, indignant demonstration; with all things but persuasion. 'To Versailles! To Versailles!' So lasts it, hour after hour;—for the space of half a day.

The great Scipio-Americanus can do nothing; not so much as escape. 'Morbleu, mon General,' cry the Grenadiers serrying their ranks as the white charger makes a motion that way, 'you will not leave us, you will abide with us!' A perilous juncture: Mayor Bailly and the Municipals sit quaking within doors; my General is prisoner without: the Place de Grève, with its thirty thousand Regulars, its whole irregular Saint-Antoine and Saint-Marceau, is one minatory mass of clear or rusty steel; all hearts set, with a moody fixedness, on one object. Moody, fixed are all hearts: tranquil is no heart,—if it be not that of the white charger, who paws there, with arched neck, composedly champing his bit; as if no World, with its Dynasties and Eras, were now rushing down. The drizzly day bends westward; the cry is still: 'To Versailles!'

Nay now, borne from afar, come quite sinister cries; hoarse, reverberating in long-drawn hollow murmurs, with syllables too like those of 'Lanterne!' Or else, irregular Sansculottism may be marching off, of itself, with pikes, nay with cannon. The inflexible Scipio does at length, by aide-de-camp, ask of the Municipals. Whether or not he may go? A Letter is handed out to him, over armed heads; sixty thousand faces flash fixedly on his, there is stillness and no bosom breathes, till he have read. By Heaven, he grows suddenly pale! Do the Municipals permit? 'Permit, and even order,'—since he can no other. Clangour of approval rends the welkin. To your ranks, then, let us march!

It is, as we compute, towards three in the afternoon. Indignant National Guards may dine for once from their haversack: dined or undined, they march with one heart. Paris flings-up her windows, 'claps hands,' as the Avengers, with their shrilling drums and shalms tramp by; she will then sit pensive, apprehensive, and pass rather a sleepless night.[14] On the white charger, Lafayette, in the slowest possible manner, going and coming, and eloquently haranguing among the ranks, rolls onward with his thirty thousand. Saint-Antoine, with pike and cannon, has preceded him; a mixed multitude, of all and of no arms, hovers on his flanks and skirts; the country once more pauses agape: Paris marche sur nous.


Foe, indeed, about this same moment, Maillard has halted his draggled Menads on the last hill-top; and now Versailles, and the Château of Versailles, and far and wide the inheritance of Royalty opens to the wondering eye. From far on the right, over Marly and Saint-Germain-en-Laye; round towards Rambouillet, on the left: beautiful all; softly embosomed; as if in sadness, in the dim moist weather! And near before us is Versailles, New and Old; with that broad frondent Avenue de Versailles between,—stately-frondent, broad, three hundred feet as men reckon, with its four Rows of Elms; and then the Château de Versailles, ending in royal Parks and Pleasances, gleaming Lakelets, Arbours, Labyrinths, the Ménagerie, and Great and Little Trianon. High-towered dwellings, leafy pleasant places; where the gods of this lower world abide: whence, nevertheless, black Care cannot be excluded; whither Menadic Hunger is even now advancing, armed with pike-thyrsi!

Yes, yonder, Mesdames, where our straight frondent Avenue, joined, as you note, by Two frondent brother Avenues from this hand and from that, spreads out into Place Royal and Palace Forecourt,—yonder is the Salle des Menus. Yonder an august Assembly sits regenerating France. Forecourt, Grand Court, Court of Marble, Court narrowing into Court you may discern next, or fancy: on the extreme verge of which that glass-dome, visibly glittering like a star of hope, is the—Œil-de-Bœuf! Yonder, or nowhere in the world, is bread baked for us. But, O Mesdames, were not one thing good: That our cannons, with Demoiselle Théroigne and all show of war, be put to the rear? Submission beseems petitioners of a National Assembly; we are strangers in Versailles,—whence, too audibly, there comes even now a sound as of tocsin and générale! Also to put on, if possible, a cheerful countenance, hiding our sorrows; and even to sing? Sorrow, pitied of the Heavens, is hateful, suspicious to the Earth.—So counsels shifty Maillard; haranguing his Menads, on the heights near Versailles.[15]

Cunning Maillard's dispositions are obeyed. The draggled Insurrectionists advance up the Avenue, 'in three columns,' among the four Elm-rows; 'singing Henri Quatre,' with what melody they can; and shouting Vive le Roi. Versailles, though the Elm-rows are dripping wet, crowds from both sides, with: 'Vivent nos Parisiennes, Our Paris ones for ever!'

Prickers, scouts have been out towards Paris, as the rumour deepened: whereby his Majesty, gone to shoot in the Woods of Meudon, has been happily discovered, and got home; and the générale and tocsin set a-sounding. The Bodyguards are already drawn up in front of the Palace Grates; and look down the Avenue de Versailles; sulky, in wet buckskins. Flandre too is there, repentant of the Opera-Repast. Also Dragoons dismounted are there. Finally Major Lecointre, and what he can gather of the Versailles National Guard;—though it is to be observed, our Colonel, that same sleepless Count d'Estaing, giving neither order nor ammunition, has vanished most improperly; one supposes, into the Œil-de-Bœuf. Red-coated Swiss stand within the Grates, under arms. There likewise, in their inner room, 'all the Ministers,' Saint-Priest, Lamentation Pompignan and the rest, are assembled with M. Necker: they sit with him there; blank, expecting what the hour will bring.

President Mounier, though he answered Mirabeau with a tant mieux, and affected to slight the matter, had his own forebodings. Surely, for these four weary hours he has reclined not on roses! The order of the day is getting forward: a Deputation to his Majesty seems proper, that it might please him to grant 'Acceptance pure and simple' to those Constitution-Articles of ours; the 'mixed qualified Acceptance,' with its peradventures, is satisfactory to neither gods nor men.

So much is clear. And yet there is more, which no man speaks, which all men now vaguely understand. Disquietude, absence of mind is on every face; Members whisper, uneasily come and go: the order of the day is evidently not the day's want. Till at length, from the outer gates, is heard a rustling and justling, shrill uproar and squabbling, muffled by walls; which testifies that the hour is come! Rushing and crushing one hears now; then enter Usher Maillard, with a Deputation of Fifteen muddy dripping Women,—having, by incredible industry, and aid of all the macers, persuaded the rest to wait out of doors. National Assembly shall now, therefore, look its august task directly in the face: regenerative Constitutionalism has an unregenerate Sansculottism bodily in front of it; crying, 'Bread! Bread!'

Shifty Maillard, translating frenzy into articulation; repressive with the one hand, expostulative with the other, does his best; and really, though not bred to public speaking, manages rather well:—In the present dreadful rarity of grains, a Deputation of Female Citizens has, as the august Assembly can discern, come out from Paris to petition. Plots of Aristocrats are too evident in the matter; for example, one miller has been bribed 'by a bank-note of 200 livres' not to grind,—name unknown to the Usher, but fact provable, at least indubitable. Further, it seems, the National Cockade has been trampled on; also there are Black Cockades, or were. All which things will not an august National Assembly, the hope of France, take into its wise immediate consideration?

And Menadic Hunger, irrepressible, crying 'Black Cockades,' crying 'Bread, Bread,' adds, after such fashion: Will it not?—Yes, Messieurs, if a Deputation to his Majesty, for the 'Acceptance pure and simple,' seemed proper,—how much more now, for 'the afflicting situation of Paris'; for the calming of this effervescence! President Mounier, with a speedy Deputation, among whom we notice the respectable figure of Doctor Guillotin, gets himself forward on march. Vice-President shall continue the order of the day; Usher Maillard shall stay by him to repress the women. It is four o'clock, of the miserablest afternoon, when Mounier steps out.

O experienced Mounier, what an afternoon; the last of thy political existence! Better had it been to 'fall suddenly unwell,' while it was yet time. For, behold, the Esplanade, over all its spacious expanse, is covered with groups of squalid dripping Women; of lankhaired male Rascality, armed with axes, rusty pikes, old muskets, iron-shod clubs (batons ferrés, which end in knives or swordblades, a kind of extempore billhook);—looking nothing but hungry revolt. The rain pours: Gardes-du-Corps go caracoling through the groups 'amid hisses'; irritating and agitating what is but dispersed here to reunite there.

Innumerable squalid women beleaguer the President and Deputation; insist on going with him: has not his Majesty himself, looking from the window, sent out to ask, What we wanted? 'Bread, and speech with the King (Du pain, et parler au Roi),' that was the answer. Twelve women are clamorously added to the Deputation; and march with it, across the Esplanade; through dissipated groups, caracoling Bodyguards and the pouring rain.

President Mounier, unexpectedly augmented by Twelve women, copiously escorted by Hunger and Rascality, is himself mistaken for a group: himself and his Women are dispersed by caracolers; rally again with difficulty, among the mud.[16] Finally the Grates are opened; the Deputation gets access, with the Twelve women too in it; of which latter, Five shall even see the face of his Majesty. Let wet Menadism, in the best spirits it can, expect their return.


But already Pallas Athene (in the shape of Demoiselle Théroigne) is busy with Flandre and the dismounted Dragoons. She, and such women as are fittest, go through the ranks; speak with an earnest jocosity; clasp rough troopers to their patriot bosom, crush down spontoons and musketoons with soft arms: can a man, that were worthy of the name of man, attack famishing patriot women?

One reads that Théroigne had bags of money, which she distributed over Flandre:—furnished by whom? Alas, with money-bags one seldom sits on insurrectionary cannon. Calumnious Royalism! Théroigne had only the limited earnings of her profession of unfortunate-female; money she had not, but brown locks, the figure of a Heathen Goddess and an eloquent tongue and heart.

Meanwhile Saint-Antoine, in groups and troops, is continually arriving; wetted, sulky; with pikes and impromptu billhooks: driven thus far by popular fixed-idea. So many hirsute figures driven hither, in that manner: figures that have come to do they know not what; figures that have come to see it done! Distinguished among all figures, who is this, of gaunt stature, with leaden breastplate, though a small one;[17] bushy in red grizzled locks; nay with long tile-beard? It is Jourdan, unjust dealer in mules; a dealer no longer, but a Painter's Model, playing truant this day. From the necessities of Art comes his long tile-beard; whence his leaden breastplate (unless indeed he were some Hawker licensed by leaden badge) may have come, will perhaps remain for ever a Historical Problem. Another Saul among the people we discern: 'Père Adam, Father Adam,' as the groups name him; to us better known as bull-voiced Marquis Saint-Huruge; hero of the Veto; a man that has had losses, and deserved them. The tall Marquis, emitted some days ago from limbo, looks peripatetically on this scene from under his umbrella, not without interest. All which persons and things, hurled together as we see; Pallas Athene, busy with Flandre; patriotic Versailles National Guards, short of ammunition, and deserted by D'Estaing their Colonel, and commanded by Lecointre their Major; then caracoling Bodyguards, sour, dispirited, with their buckskins wet; and finally this flowing sea of indignant Squalor,—may they not give rise to occurrences?

Behold, however, the Twelve She-deputies return from the Château. Without President Mounier, indeed; but radiant with joy, shouting 'Life to the King and his House.' Apparently the news are good, Mesdames? News of the best! Five of us were admitted to the internal splendours, to the Royal Presence. This slim damsel, 'Louison Chabray, worker in sculpture, aged only seventeen,' as being of the best looks and address, her we appointed speaker. On whom, and indeed on all of us, his Majesty looked nothing but graciousness. Nay when Louison, addressing him, was like to faint, he took her in his royal arms, and said gallantly, 'It was well worth while (Elle en valût bien la peine).' Consider, O Women, what a King! His words were of comfort, and that only: there shall be provision sent to Paris, if provision is in the world; grains shall circulate free as air; millers shall grind, or do worse, while their millstones endure; and nothing be left wrong which a Restorer of French Liberty can right.

Good news these; but, to wet Menads, all-too incredible! There seems no proof, then? Words of comfort,—they are words only; which will feed nothing. O miserable People, betrayed by Aristocrats, who corrupt thy very messengers! In his royal arms, Mademoiselle Louison? In his arms? Thou shameless minx, worthy of a name—that shall be nameless! Yes, thy skin is soft: ours is rough with hardship; and well wetted, waiting here in the rain. No children hast thou hungry at home; only alabaster dolls, that weep not! The traitress! To the Lanterne!—And so poor Louison Chabray, no asseveration or shrieks availing her, fair slim damsel, late in the arms of Royalty, has a garter round her neck, and furibund Amazons at each end; is about to perish so,—when two Bodyguards gallop up, indignantly dissipating; and rescue her. The miscredited Twelve hasten back to the Château, for an 'answer in writing.'

Nay, behold, a new flight of Menads, with 'M. Brunout Bastille Volunteer,' as impressed-commandant, at the head of it. These also will advance to the Grate of the Grand Court, and see what is toward. Human patience, in wet buckskins, has its limits. Bodyguard Lieutenant M. de Savonnières for one moment lets his temper, long provoked, long pent, give way. He not only dissipates these latter Menads; but caracoles and cuts, or indignantly flourishes, at M. Brunout, the impressed-commandant; and, finding great relief in it, even chases him; Brunout flying nimbly, though in a pirouette manner, and now with sword also drawn. At which sight of wrath and victory, two other Bodyguards (for wrath is contagious, and to pent Bodyguards is so solacing) do likewise give way; give chase, with brandished sabre, and in the air make horrid circles. So that poor Brunout has nothing for it but to retreat with accelerated nimbleness, through rank after rank; Parthian-like, fencing as he flies; above all, shouting lustily, 'On nous laisse assassiner, They are getting us assassinated!'

Shameful! Three against one! Growls come from the Lecointrian ranks; bellowings,—lastly shots. Savonnières' arm is raised to strike: the bullet of a Lecointrian musket shatters it; the brandished sabre jingles down harmless, Brunout has escaped, this duel well ended: but the wild howl of war is everywhere beginning to pipe!

The Amazons recoil; Saint-Antoine has its cannon pointed (full of grapeshot); thrice applies the lit flambeau; which thrice refuses to catch,—the touchholes are so wetted; and voices cry: 'Arrêtez, il n'est pas temps encore, Stop, it is not yet time!'[18] Messieurs of the Garde-du-Corps, ye had orders not to fire; nevertheless two of you limp dismounted, and one war-horse lies slain. Were it not well to draw back out of shot-range; finally to file off,—into the interior? If in so filing off, there did a musketoon or two discharge itself at these armed shopkeepers, hooting and crowing, could man wonder? Draggled are your white cockades of an enormous size; would to Heaven they were got exchanged for tricolor ones! Your buckskins are wet, your hearts heavy. Go, and return not!

The Bodyguards file off, as we hint; giving and receiving shots; drawing no life-blood; leaving boundless indignation. Some three times in the thickening dusk, a glimpse of them is seen, at this or the other Portal: saluted always with execrations, with the whew of lead. Let but a Bodyguard show face, he is hunted by Rascality;—for instance, poor 'M. de Moucheton of the Scotch Company,' owner of the slain warhorse; and has to be smuggled off by Versailles Captains. Or rusty fire-locks belch after him, shivering asunder his—hat. In the end, by superior Order, the Bodyguards, all but the few on immediate duty, disappear; or as it were abscond; and march, under cloud of night, to Rambouillet.[19]

We remark also that the Versaillese have now got ammunition: all afternoon, the official Person could find none; till, in these so critical moments, a patriotic Sublieutenant set a pistol to his ear, and would thank him to find some,—which he thereupon succeeded in doing. Likewise that Flandre, disarmed by Pallas Athene, says openly, it will not fight with citizens; and for token of peace has exchanged cartridges with the Versaillese.

Sansculottism is now among mere friends; and can 'circulate freely'; indignant at Bodyguards;—complaining also considerably of hunger.


But why lingers Mounier; returns not with his Deputation? It is six, it is seven o'clock; and still no Mounier, no Acceptance pure and simple.

And, behold, the dripping Menads, not now in deputation but in mass, have penetrated into the Assembly: to the shamefulest interruption of public speaking and order of the day. Neither Maillard nor Vice-President can restrain them, except within wide limits; not even, except for minutes, can the lion-voice of Mirabeau, though they applaud it: but ever and anon they break-in upon the regeneration of France with cries of: 'Bread; not so much discoursing! Du pain; pas tant de longs discours!'—So insensible were these poor creatures to bursts of parliamentary eloquence!

One learns also that the royal Carriages are getting yoked, as if for Metz. Carriages, royal or not, have verily showed themselves at the back Gates. They even produced, or quoted, a written order from our Versailles Municipality,—which is a Monarchic not a Democratic one. However, Versailles Patrols drove them in again; as the vigilant Lecointre had strictly charged them to do.

A busy man, truly, is Major Lecointre, in these hours. For Colonel d'Estaing loiters invisible in the Œil-de-Bœuf; invisible, or still more questionably visible for instants: then also a too loyal Municipality requires supervision: no order, civil or military, taken about any of these thousand things! Lecointre is at the Versailles Townhall: he is at the Grate of the Grand Court; communing with Swiss and Bodyguards. He is in the ranks of Flandre; he is here, he is there: studious to prevent bloodshed; to prevent the Royal Family from flying to Metz; the Menads from plundering Versailles.

At the fall of night, we behold him advance to those armed groups of Saint-Antoine, hovering all-too grim near the Salle des Menus. They receive him in a half-circle; twelve speakers behind cannons with lighted torches in hand, the cannon-mouths towards Lecointre: a picture for Salvator! He asks, in temperate but courageous language: What they, by this their journey to Versailles, do specially want? The twelve speakers reply, in few words inclusive of much: 'Bread, and the end of these brabbles; Du pain, et la fin des affaires.' When the affairs will end, no Major Lecointre, nor no mortal, can say; but as to bread, he inquires, How many are you?—learns that they are six hundred, that a loaf each will suffice; and rides off to the Municipality to get six hundred loaves.

Which loaves, however, a Municipality of Monarchic temper will not give. It will give two tons of rice rather,—could you but know whether it should be boiled or raw. Nay when this too is accepted, the Municipals have disappeared;—ducked under, as the Six-and-twenty Long-gowned of Paris did; and, leaving not the smallest vestige of rice, in the boiled or raw state, they there vanish from History!

Rice comes not; one's hope of food is balked; even one's hope of vengeance: is not M. de Moucheton of the Scotch Company, as we said, deceitfully smuggled off? Failing all which, behold only M. de Moucheton's slain war-horse, lying on the Esplanade there! Saint-Antoine, balked, esurient, pounces on the slain war-horse; flays it; roasts it, with such fuel, of paling, gates, portable timber as can be come at, not without shouting; and, after the manner of ancient Greek Heroes, they lifted their hands to the daintily readied repast; such as it might be.[20] Other Rascality prowls discursive; seeking what it may devour. Flandre will retire to its barracks; Lecointre also with his Versaillese,—all but the vigilant Patrols, charged to be doubly vigilant.

So sink the shadows of night, blustering, rainy; and all paths grow dark. Strangest Night ever seen in these regions, —perhaps since the Bartholomew Night, when Versailles, as Bassompierre writes of it, was a chétif château. O for the Lyre of some Orpheus, to constrain, with touch of melodious strings, these mad masses into Order! For here all seems fallen asunder, in wide-yawning dislocation. The highest, as in down-rushing of a World, is come in contact with the lowest: the Rascality of France beleaguering the Royalty of France; 'iron-shod batons' lifted round the diadem, not to guard it! With denunciations of bloodthirsty Anti-National Bodyguards, are heard dark growlings against a Queenly Name.

The Court sits tremulous, powerless; varies with the varying temper of the Esplanade, with the varying colour of the rumours from Paris. Thick-coming rumours; now of peace, now of war. Necker and all the Ministers consult; with a blank issue. The Œil-de-Bœuf is one tempest of whispers:—We will fly to Metz; we will not fly. The royal Carriages again attempt egress,—though for trial merely; they are again driven in by Lecointre's Patrols. In six hours nothing has been resolved on; not even the Acceptance pure and simple.

In six hours? Alas, he who, in such circumstances, cannot resolve in six minutes, may give up the enterprise: him Fate has already resolved for. And Menadism, meanwhile, and Sansculottism takes counsel with the National Assembly; grows more and more tumultuous there. Mounier returns not; Authority nowhere shows itself: the Authority of France lies, for the present, with Lecointre and Usher Maillard.—This then is the abomination of desolation; come suddenly, though long foreshadowed as inevitable! For, to the blind, all things are sudden. Misery which, through long ages, had no spokesman, no helper, will now be its own helper and speak for itself. Th dialect, one of the rudest, is, what it could be, this.

At eight o'clock there returns to our Assembly not the Deputation; but Doctor Guillotin announcing that it will return; also that there is hope of the Acceptance pure and simple. He himself has brought a Royal Letter, authorising and commanding the freest 'circulation of grains.' Which Royal Letter Menadism with its whole heart applauds. Conformably to which the Assembly forthwith passes a Decree; also received with rapturous Menadic plaudits:—Only could not an august Assembly contrive further to 'fix the price of bread at eight sous the halfquartern; butchers'-meat at six sous the pound'; which seem fair rates? Such motion do 'a multitude of men and women,' irrepressible by Usher Maillard, now make; does an august Assembly hear made. Usher Maillard himself is not always perfectly measured in speech; but if rebuked, he can justly excuse himself by the peculiarity of the circumstances.[21]

But finally, this Decree well passed, and the disorder continuing; and Members melting away, and no President Mounier returning,—what can the Vice-President do but also melt away ? The Assembly melts, under such pressure, into deliquium; or, as it is officially called, adjourns. Maillard is despatched to Paris, with the 'Decree concerning Grains' in his pocket; he and some women, in carriages belonging to the King. Thitherward slim Louison Chabray has already set forth, with that 'written answer' which the Twelve She-deputies returned in to seek. Slim sylph, she has set forth, through the black muddy country: she has much to tell, her poor nerves so flurried; and travels, as indeed today on this road all persons do, with extreme slowness. President Mounier has not come, nor the Acceptance pure and simple; though six hours with their events have come; though courier on courier reports that Lafayette is coming. Coming, with war or with peace? It is time that the Château also should determine on one thing or another; that the Château also should show itself alive, if it would continue living!

Victorious, joyful after such delay, Mounier does arrive at last, and the hard-earned Acceptance with him; which now, alas, is of small value. Fancy Mounier's surprise to find his Senate, whom he hoped to charm by the Acceptance pure and simple, all gone; and in its stead a Senate of Menads! For as Erasmus's Ape mimicked, say with wooden splint, Erasmus shaving, so do these Amazons hold, in mock majesty, some confused parody of National Assembly. They make motions; deliver speeches; pass enactments; productive at least of loud laughter. All galleries and benches are filled; a Strong Dame of the Market is in Mounier's Chair. Not without difficulty, Mounier, by aid of macers and persuasive speaking, makes his way to the Female-President; the Strong Dame, before abdicating, signifies that, for one thing, she and indeed her whole senate male and female (for what was one roasted war-horse among so many?) are suffering very considerably from hunger.

Experienced Mounier, in these circumstances, takes a twofold resolution: To reconvoke his Assembly Members by sound of drum; also to procure a supply of food. Swift messengers fly, to all bakers, cooks, pastrycooks, vintners, restorers; drums beat, accompanied with shrill vocal proclamation, through all streets. They come: the Assembly Members come; what is still better, the provisions come. On tray and barrow come these latter; loaves, wine, great store of sausages. The nourishing baskets circulate harmoniously along the benches; nor, according to the Father of Epics, did any soul lack a fair share of victual (δαῖτος ἐΐσης, an equal diet); highly desirable at the moment.[22]

Gradually some hundred or so of Assembly Members get edged in, Menadism making way a little, round Mounier's chair; listen to the Acceptance pure and simple; and begin, what is the order of the night, 'discussion of the Penal Code.' All benches are crowded; in the dusky galleries, duskier with unwashed heads, is a strange 'coruscation,'—of impromptu

Engraved portrait of Lafayette


bill-hooks.[23] It is exactly five months this day since these same galleries were filled with high-plumed jewelled Beauty, raining bright influences; and now? To such length have we got in regenerating France. Methinks the travail-throes are of the sharpest!—Menadism will not be restrained from occasional remarks; asks, 'What is the use of Penal Code? The thing we want is Bread.' Mirabeau turns round with lion-voiced rebuke; Menadism applauds him; but recommences.

Thus they, chewing tough sausages, discussing the Penal Code, make night hideous. What the issue will be? Lafayette with his thirty thousand must arrive first: him, who cannot now be distant, all men expect, as the messenger of Destiny.



Towards midnight lights flare on the hill; Lafayette's lights! The roll of his drums comes up the Avenue de Versailles. With peace, or with war? Patience, friends! With neither. Lafayette is come, but not yet the catastrophe.

He has halted and harangued so often, on the march; spent nine hours on four leagues of road. At Montreuil, close on Versailles, the whole Host had to pause; and, with uplifted right hand, in the murk of Night, to these pouring skies, swear solemnly to respect the King's Dwelling; to be faithful to Bang and National Assembly. Rage is driven down out of sight, by the laggard march; the thirst of vengeance slaked in weariness and soaking clothes. Flandre is again drawn out under arms: but Flandre, grown so patriotic, now needs no 'exterminating.' The wayworn Battalions halt in the Avenue: they have, for the present, no wish so pressing as that of shelter and rest.

Anxious sits President Mounier; anxious the Château. There is a message coming from the Château, that M. Mounier would please to return thither with a fresh Deputation, swiftly; and so at least unite our two anxieties. Anxious Mounier does of himself send, meanwhile, to apprise the General that his Majesty has been so gracious as to grant us the Acceptance pure and simple. The General, with a small advance column, makes answer in passing; speaks vaguely some smooth words to the National President,—glances, only with the eye, at that so mixtiform National Assembly; then fares forward towards the Château. There are with him two Paris Municipals; they were chosen from the Three Hundred for that errand. He gets admittance through the locked and padlocked Grates, through sentries and ushers, to the Royal Halls.

The Court, male and female, crowds on his passage, to read their doom on his face; which exhibits, say Historians, a mixture 'of sorrow, of fervour and valour,' singular to behold.[24] The King, with Monsieur, with Ministers and Marshals, is waiting to receive him: He 'is come,' in his highflown chivalrous way, 'to offer his head for the safety of his Majesty's.' The two Municipals state the wish of Paris: four things, of quite pacific tenor. First, that the honour of guarding his sacred person be conferred on patriot National Guards;—say, the Centre Grenadiers, who as Gardes Françaises were wont to have that privilege. Second, that provisions be got, if possible. Third, that the Prisons, all crowded with political delinquents, may have judges sent them. Fourth, that it would phase his Majesty to come and live in Paris. To all which four wishes, except the fourth, his Majesty answers readily. Yes; or indeed may almost say that he has already answered it. To the fourth he can answer only. Yes or No; would so gladly answer, Yes and No!—But, in any case, are not their dispositions, thank Heaven, so entirely pacific? There is time for deliberation. The brunt of the danger seems past!

Lafayette and D'Estaing settle the watches; Centre Grenadiers are to take the Guard-room they of old occupied as Gardes Françaises;—for indeed the Gardes-du-Corps, its late ill-advised occupants, are gone mostly to Rambouillet. That is the order of this night; sufficient for the night is the evil thereof. Whereupon Lafayette and the two Municipals, with highflown chivalry, take their leave.

So brief has the interview been, Mounier and his Deputation were not yet got up. So brief and satisfactory. A stone is rolled from every heart. The fair Palace Dames publicly declare that this Lafayette, detestable though he be, is their saviour for once. Even the ancient vinaigrous Tantes admit it; the King's Aunts, ancient Graille and Sisterhood, known to us of old. Queen Marie-Antoinette has been heard often say the like. She alone, among all women and all men, wore a face of courage, of lofty calmness and resolve, this day. She alone saw clearly what she meant to do; and Theresa's Daughter dares do what she means, were all France threatening her: abide where her children are, where her husband is.

Towards three in the morning all things are settled; the watches set, the Centre Grenadiers put into their old Guardroom, and harangued; the Swiss, and few remaining Bodyguards harangued. The wayworn Paris Battalions, consigned to 'the hospitality of Versailles,' lie dormant in spare-beds, spare-barracks, coffeehouses, empty churches. A troop of them, on their way to the Church of Saint-Louis, awoke poor Weber, dreaming troublous, in the Rue Sartory. Weber has had his waistcoat-pocket full of balls all day; 'two hundred balls, and two pears of powder'! For waistcoats were waist-coats then, and had flaps down to mid-thigh. So many balls he has had all day; but no opportunity of using them: he turns over now, execrating disloyal bandits; swears a prayer or two, and straight to sleep again.

Finally the National Assembly is harangued; which thereupon, on motion of Mirabeau, discontinues the Penal Code, and dismisses for this night. Menadism, Sansculottism has cowered into guardhouses, barracks of Flandre, to the light of cheerful fire; failing that, to churches, officehouses, sentryboxes, wheresoever wretchedness can find a lair. The troublous Day has brawled itself to rest: no lives yet lost but that of one war-horse. Insurrectionary Chaos lies slumbering round the Palace, like Ocean round a Diving-Bell,—no crevice yet disclosing itself.

Deep sleep has fallen promiscuously on the high and on the low; suspending most things, even wrath and famine. Darkness covers the Earth. But, far on the North-east, Paris flings-up her great yellow gleam; far into the wet black Night. For all is illuminated there, as in the old July Nights; the streets deserted, for alarm of war; the Municipals all wakeful; Patrols hailing, with their hoarse Who-goes. There, as we discover, our poor slim Louison Chabray, her poor nerves all fluttered, is arriving about this very hour. There Usher Maillard will arrive, about an hour hence, 'towards four in the morning.' They report, successively, to a wakeful Hôtel-de-Ville what comfort they can; which again, with early dawn, large comfortable Placards shall impart to all men.

Lafayette, in the Hôtel de Noailles, not far from the Château, having now finished haranguing, sits with his Officers consulting: at five o'clock the unanimous best counsel is, that a man so tost and toiled for twenty-four hours and more, fling himself on a bed, and seek some rest.

Thus, then, has ended the First Act of the Insurrection of Women. How it will turn on the morrow? The morrow, as always, is with the Fates! But his Majesty, one may hope, will consent to come honourably to Paris; at all events, he can visit Paris. Anti-National Bodyguards, here and elsewhere, must take the National Oath; make reparation to the Tricolor; Flandre will swear. There may be much swearing; much public speaking there will infallibly be: and so, with harangues and vows, may the matter in some handsome way wind itself up.

Or, alas, may it not be all otherwise, unhandsome; the consent not honourable, but extorted, ignominious? Boundless Chaos of Insurrection presses slumbering round the Palace, like Ocean round a Diving-bell; and may penetrate at any crevice. Let but that accumulated insurrectionary mass find entrance! Like the infinite inburst of water; or say rather, of inflammable, self-igniting fluid; for example, 'turpentine-and-phosphorus oil,'—fluid known to Spinola Santerre!



The dull dawn of a new morning, drizzly and chill, had but broken over Versailles, when it pleased Destiny that a Bodyguard should look out of window, on the right wing of the Château, to see what prospect there was in Heaven and in Earth. Rascality male and female is prowling in view of him. His fasting stomach is, with good cause, sour; he perhaps cannot forbear a passing malison on them; least of all can he forbear answering such.

Ill words breed worse: till the worst word come; and then the ill deed. Did the maledicent Bodyguard, getting (as was too inevitable) better malediction than he gave, load his musketoon, and threaten to fire; nay actually fire? Were wise who wist! It stands asserted; to us not credibly. But be this as it may, menaced Rascality, in whinnying scorn, is shaking at all Grates: the fastening of one (some write, it was a chain merely) gives way; Rascality is in the Grand Court, whinnying louder still.

The maledicent Bodyguard, more Bodyguards than he do now give fire; a man's arm is shattered. Lecointre will depose[25] that 'the Sieur Cardine, a National Guard without arms, was stabbed.' But see, sure enough, poor Jerôme l'Héritier, an unarmed National Guard he too, 'cabinet-maker, a saddler's son, of Paris,' with the down of youthhood still on his chin,—he reels death-stricken; rushes to the pavement, scattering it with his blood and brains!—Alleleu! Wilder than Irish wakes rises the howl; of pity, of infinite revenge. In few moments, the Grate of the inner and inmost Court, which they name Court of Marble, this too is forced, or surprised, and bursts open: the Court of Marble too is overflowed: up the Grand Staircase, up all stairs and entrances rushes the living Deluge! Deshuttes and Varigny, the two sentry Bodyguards, are trodden down, are massacred with a hundred pikes. Women snatch their cutlasses, or any weapon, and storm-in Menadic:—other women lift the corpse of shot Jerôme; lay it down on the Marble steps; there shall the livid face and smashed head, dumb for ever, speak.

Wo now to all Bodyguards, mercy is none for them! Miomandre de Sainte-Marie pleads with soft words, on the Grand Staircase, 'descending four steps':—to the roaring tornado. His comrades snatch him up, by the skirts and belts; literally, from the jaws of Destruction; and slam-to their Door. This also will stand few instants; the panels shivering in, like potsherds. Barricading serves not: fly fast, ye Bodyguards: rabid Insurrection, like the Hellhound Chase, uproaring at your heels!

The terror-struck Bodyguards fly, bolting and barricading; it follows. Whitherward? Through hall on hall: wo, now! towards the Queen's Suite of Rooms, in the farthest room of which the Queen is now asleep. Five sentinels rush through that long Suite; they are in the Anteroom knocking loud: 'Save the Queen!' Trembling women fall at their feet with tears: are answered: 'Yes, we will die; save ye the Queen!'

Tremble not, women, but haste: for, lo, another voice shouts far through the outermost door, 'Save the Queen!' and the door is shut. It is brave Miomandre's voice that shouts this second warning. He has stormed across imminent death to do it; fronts imminent death, having done it. Brave Tardivet du Repaire, hent on the same desperate service, was borne down with pikes; his comrades hardly snatched him in again alive. Miomandre and Tardivet: let the names of these two Bodyguards, as the names of brave men should, live long.

Trembling Maids-of-Honour, one of whom from afar caught glimpse of Miomandre as well as heard him, hastily wrap the Queen; not in robes of state. She flies for her life, across the Œil-de-Bœuf; against the main door of which too Insurrection batters. She is in the King's Apartment, in the King's arms; she clasps her children amid a faithful few. The Imperial-hearted bursts into mother's tears: 'O my friends, save me and my children; Ô mes amis, sauvez-moi et mes enfans!' The battering of Insurrectionary axes clangs audible across the Œil-de-Bœuf. What an hour!

Yes, Friends; a hideous fearful hour; shameful alike to Governed and Governor; wherein Governed and Governor ignominiously testify that their relation is at an end. Rage, which had brewed itself in twenty thousand hearts for the last four-and-twenty hours, has taken fire: Jerôme's brained corpse lies there as live-coal. It is, as we said, the infinite Element bursting in; wild-surging through all corridors and conduits.

Meanwhile the poor Bodyguards have got hunted mostly into the Œil-de-Bœuf. They may die there, at the King's threshold; they can do little to defend it. They are heaping tabourets (stools of honour), benches and all movables against the door; at which the axe of Insurrection thunders.—But did brave Miomandre perish, then, at the Queen's outer door? No, he was fractured, slashed, lacerated, left for dead; he has nevertheless crawled hither; and shall live, honoured of loyal France. Remark also, in flat contradiction to much which has been said and sung, that Insurrection did not burst that door he had defended; but hurried elsewhither, seeking new Bodyguards.[26]

Poor Bodyguards, with their Thyestes Opera-Repast! Well for them that Insurrection has only pikes and axes; no right sieging-tools! It shakes and thunders. Must they all perish miserably, and Royalty with them? Deshuttes and Varigny, massacred at the first inbreak, have been beheaded in the Marble Court; a sacrifice to Jerôme's manes: Jourdan with the tile-beard did that duty willingly; and asked, If there were no more? Another captive they are leading round the corpse, with howl-chantings: may not Jourdan again tuck-up his sleeves?

And louder and louder rages Insurrection within, plundering if it cannot kill; louder and louder it thunders at the Œil-de-Bœuf: what can now hinder its bursting-in?—On a sudden it ceases; the battering has ceased! Wild-rushing; the cries grow fainter; there is silence, or the tramp of regular steps; then a friendly knocking: 'We are the Centre Grenadiers, old Gardes Françaises: Open to us, Messieurs of the Garde-du-Corps; we have not forgotten how you saved us at Fontenoy!'[27] The door is opened; enter Captain Gondran and the Centre Grenadiers: there are military embracings; there is sudden deliverance from death into life.

Strange Sons of Adam! It was to 'exterminate' these Gardes-du-Corps that the Centre Grenadiers left home: and now they have rushed to save them from extermination. The memory of common peril, of old help, melts the rough heart; bosom is clasped to bosom, not in war. The King shows himself, one moment, through the door of his Apartment, with: 'Do not hurt my Guards!'—'Soyons frères, Let us be brothers!' cries Captain Gondran; and again dashes off, with levelled bayonets, to sweep the Palace clear.

Now too Lafayette, suddenly roused, not from sleep (for his eyes had not yet closed), arrives; with passionate popular eloquence, with prompt military word of command. National Guards, suddenly roused, by sound of trumpet and alarm-drum, are all arriving. The death-melly ceases: the first sky-lambent blaze of Insurrection is got damped down; it burns now, if unextinguished yet flameless, as charred coals do, and not inextinguishable. The King's Apartments are safe. Ministers, Officials, and even some loyal National Deputies are assembling round their Majesties. The consternation will, with sobs and confusion, settle down gradually, into plan and counsel, better or worse.

But glance now, for a moment, from the royal windows! A roaring sea of human heads, inundating both Courts; billowing against all passages: Menadic women; infuriated men, mad with revenge, with love of mischief, love of plunder! Rascality has slipped its muzzle; and now bays, three-throated, like the Dog of Erebus. Fourteen Bodyguards are wounded; two massacred, and as we saw, beheaded; Jourdan asking, 'Was it worth while to come so far for two?' Hapless Deshuttes and Varigny! Their fate surely was sad. Whirled down so suddenly to the abyss; as men are, suddenly, by the wide thunder of the Mountain Avalanche, awakened not by them, awakened far off by others! When the Château Clock last struck, they two were pacing languid, with poised musketoon; anxious mainly that the next hour would strike. It has struck; to them inaudible. Their trunks lie mangled: their heads parade, 'on pikes twelve feet long,' through the streets of Versailles; and shall, about noon, reach the Barriers of Paris,—a too ghastly contradiction to the large comfortable Placards that have been posted there!

The other captive Bodyguard is still circling the corpse of Jerôme, amid Indian war-whooping; bloody Tilebeard, with tucked sleeves, brandishing his bloody axe; when Gondran and the Grenadiers come in sight. 'Comrades, will you see a man massacred in cold blood?'—'Off, butchers!' answer they; and the poor Bodyguard is free. Busy runs Gondran, busy run Guards and Captains; scouring all corridors; dispersing Rascality and Robbery; sweeping the Palace clear. The mangled carnage is removed; Jerôme's body to the Townhall, for inquest: the fire of Insurrection gets damped, more and more, into measurable, manageable heat.

Transcendent things of all sorts, as in the general outburst of multitudinous Passion, are huddled together; the ludicrous, nay the ridiculous, with the horrible. Far over the billowy sea of heads, may be seen Rascality, caprioling on horses from the Royal Stud. The Spoilers these; for Patriotism is always infected so, with a proportion of mere thieves and scoundrels. Gondran snatched their prey from them in the Château; whereupon they hurried to the Stables, and took horse there. But the generous Diomedes' steeds, according to Weber, disdained such scoundrel-burden; and, flinging-up their royal heels, did soon project most of it, in parabolic curves, to a distance, amid peals of laughter; and were caught. Mounted National Guards secured the rest.

Now too is witnessed the touching last-flicker of Etiquette; which sinks not here, in the Cimmerian World-wreckage, without a sign; as the house-cricket might still chirp in the pealing of a Trump of Doom. 'Monsieur,' said some Master of Ceremonies (one hopes it might be De Brézé), as Lafayette, in these fearful moments, was rushing towards the inner Royal Apartments, 'Monsieur, le Roi vous accorde les grandes entrées, Monsieur, the King grants you the Grand Entries,'—not finding it convenient to refuse them![28]



However, the Paris National Guard, wholly under arms, has cleared the Palace, and even occupies the nearer external spaces; extruding miscellaneous Patriotism, for most part, into the Grand Court, or even into the Forecourt.

The Bodyguards, you can observe, have now of a verity 'hoisted the National Cockade': for they step forward to the windows or balconies, hat aloft in hand, on each hat a huge tricolor; and fling over their bandoleers in sign of surrender; and shout Vive la Nation. To which how can the generous heart respond but with, Vive le Roi; vivent les Gardes-du-Corps? His Majesty himself has appeared with Lafayette on the balcony, and again appears: Vive le Roi greets him from all throats; but also from some one throat is heard, 'Le Roi à Paris, The King to Paris!'

Her Majesty too, on demand, shows herself, though there is peril in it: she steps out on the balcony, with her little boy and girl. 'No children. Point d'enfans!' cry the voices. She gently pushes back her children; and stands alone, her hands serenely crossed on her breast: 'Should I die,' she had said, 'I will do it.' Such serenity of heroism has its effect. Lafayette, with ready wit, in his highflown chivalrous way, takes that fair queenly hand, and, reverently kneeling, kisses it: thereupon the people do shout Vive la Reine. Nevertheless, poor Weber 'saw' (or even thought he saw; for hardly the third part of poor Weber's experiences, in such hysterical days, will stand scrutiny) 'one of these brigands level his musket at her Majesty,'—with or without intention to shoot; for another of the brigands 'angrily struck it down.'

So that all, and the Queen herself, nay the very Captain of the Bodyguards, have grown National! The very Captain of the Bodyguards steps out now with Lafayette. On the hat of the repentant man is an enormous tricolor; large as a soup-platter or sunflower; visible to the utmost Forecourt. He takes the National Oath with a loud voice, elevating his hat; at which sight all the army raise their bonnets on their bayonets, with shouts. Sweet is reconcilement to the heart of man. Lafayette has sworn Flandre; he swears the remaining Bodyguards, down in the Marble Court; the people clasp them in their arms:—O my brothers, why would ye force us to slay you? Behold, there is joy over you, as over returning prodigal sons!—The poor Bodyguards, now National and tricolor, exchange bonnets, exchange arms; there shall be peace and fraternity. And still 'Vive le Roi'; and also 'Le Roi à Paris,' not now from one throat, but from all throats as one, for it is the heart's wish of all mortals.

Yes, The King to Paris: what else? Ministers may consult, and National Deputies wag their heads: but there is now no other possibility. You have forced him to go willingly. 'At one o'clock!' Lafayette gives audible assurance to that purpose; and universal Insurrection, with immeasurable shout, and a discharge of all the fire-arms, clear and rusty, great and small, that it has, returns him acceptance. What a sound; heard for leagues: a doom-peal!—That sound too rolls away; into the Silence of Ages. And the Château of Versailles stands ever since vacant, hushed-still; its spacious Courts grassgrown, responsive to the hoe of the weeder. Times and generations roll on, in their confused Gulf-current; and buildings, like builders, have their destiny.

Till one o'clock, then, there will be three parties. National Assembly, National Rascality, National Royalty, all busy enough. Rascality rejoices; women trim themselves with tricolor. Nay motherly Paris has sent her Avengers sufficient 'cartloads of loaves'; which are shouted over, which are gratefully consumed. The Avengers, in return, are searching for grain-stores; loading them in fifty wagons; that so a National King, probable harbinger of all blessings, may be the evident bringer of plenty, for one.

And thus has Sansculottism made prisoner its King; revoking his parole. The Monarchy has fallen; and not so much as honourably: no, ignominiously; with struggle, indeed, oft-repeated; but then with unwise struggle; wasting its strength in fits and paroxysms; at every new paroxysm foiled more pitifully than before. Thus Broglie's whiff of grapeshot, which might have been something, has dwindled to the pot-valour of an Opera Repast, and Ô Richard, Ô mon Roi. Which, again, we shall see dwindle to a Favras Conspiracy, a thing to be settled by the hanging of one Chevalier.

Poor Monarchy! But what save foulest defeat can await that man, who wills, and yet wills not? Apparently the King either has a right, assertible as such to the death, before God and man; or else he has no right. Apparently, the one or the other; could he but know which! May Heaven pity him! Were Louis wise, he would this day abdicate.—Is it not strange so few Kings abdicate; and none yet heard of has been known to commit suicide? Fritz the First, of Prussia, alone tried it; and they cut the rope.[29]

As for the National Assembly, which decrees this morning that it 'is inseparable from his Majesty,' and will follow him to Paris, there may one thing be noted: its extreme want of bodily health. After the Fourteenth of July there was a certain sickliness observable among honourable Members; so many demanding passports, on account of infirm health. But now, for these following days, there is a perfect murrain: President Mounier, Lally Tollendal, Clermont Tonnere, and all Constitutional Two-Chamber Royalists needing change of air; as most No-Chamber Royalists had formerly done.

For, in truth, it is the second Emigration this that has now come; most extensive among Commons Deputies, Noblesse, Clergy: so that 'to Switzerland alone there go sixty thousand.' They will return in the day of accounts! Yes, and have hot welcome.—But Emigration on Emigration is the peculiarity of France. One Emigration follows another; grounded on reasonable fear, unreasonable hope, largely also on childish pet. The highflyers have gone first, now the lower flyers; and ever the lower will go, down to the crawlers. Whereby, however, cannot our National Assembly so much the more commodiously make the Constitution; your Two-Chamber Anglomaniacs being all safe, distant on foreign shores? Abbé Maury is seized and sent back again: he, tough as tanned leather, with eloquent Captain Cazalès and some others, will stand it out for another year.

But here, meanwhile, the question arises: Was Philippe d'Orléans seen, this day, 'in the Bois de Boulogne, in grey surtout'; waiting under the wet sere foliage, what the day might bring forth? Alas, yes, the Eidolon of him was,—in Weber's and other such brains. The Châtelet shall make large inquisition into the matter, examining a hundred and seventy witnesses, and Deputy Chabroud publish his Report; but disclose nothing further.[30] What, then, has caused these two unparalleled October Days? For surely such dramatic exhibition never yet enacted itself without Dramatist and Machinist. Wooden Punch emerges not, with his domestic sorrows, into the light of day, unless the wire be pulled: how can human mobs? Was it not D'Orléans, then, and Laclos, Marquis Sillery, Mirabeau and the sons of confusion; hoping to drive the King to Metz, and gather the spoil? Nay was it not, quite contrariwise, the Œil-de-Bœuf, Bodyguard Colonel de Guiche, Minister Saint-Priest and high-flying Loyalists; hoping also to drive him to Metz, and try it by the sword of civil war? Good Marquis Toulongeon, the Historian and Deputy, feels constrained to admit that it was both.[31]

Alas, my Friends, credulous incredulity is a strange matter. But when a whole Nation is smitten with Suspicion, and sees a dramatic miracle in the very operation of the gastric juices, what help is there? Such Nation is already a mere hypochondriac bundle of diseases; as good as changed into glass; atrabiliar, decadent; and will suffer crises. Is not Suspicion itself the one thing to be suspected, as Montaigne feared only fear?

Now, however, the short hour has struck. His Majesty is in his carriage, with his Queen, sister Elizabeth and two royal children. Not for another hour can the infinite Procession get marshalled and under way. The weather is dim drizzling; the mind confused; the noise great.

Processional marches not a few our world has seen; Roman triumphs and ovations, Cabiric cymbal-beatings, Royal progresses, Irish funerals; but this of the French Monarchy marching to its bed remained to be seen. Miles long, and of breadth losing itself in vagueness, for all the neighbouring country crowds to see. Slow; stagnating along, like shoreless Lake, yet with a noise like Niagara, like Babel and Bedlam. A splashing and a tramping; a hurrahing, uproaring, musket-volleying;—the truest segment of Chaos seen in these latter Ages! Till slowly it disembogue itself, in the thickening dusk, into expectant Paris, through a double row of faces all the way from Passy to the Hôtel-de-Ville.

Consider this: Vanguard of National troops; with trains of artillery; of pikemen and pikewomen, mounted on cannons, on carts, hackney-coaches, or on foot;—tripudiating, in tricolor ribbons from head to heel; loaves stuck on the points of bayonets, green boughs stuck in gun-barrels.[32] Next, as main-march, 'fifty cart-loads of corn,' which have been lent, for peace, from the stores of Versailles. Behind which follow stragglers of the Garde-du-Corps; all humiliated, in Grenadier bonnets. Close on these comes the Royal Carriage; come Royal Carriages: for there are a Hundred National Deputies too, among whom sits Mirabeau,—his remarks not given. Then finally, pellmell, as rear-guard, Flandre, Swiss, Hundred Swiss, other Body-guards, Brigands, whosoever cannot get before. Between and among all which masses flows without limit Saint-Antoine and the Menadic Cohort. Menadic especially about the Royal Carriage; tripudiating there, covered with tricolor; singing 'allusive songs'; pointing with one hand to the Royal Carriage, which the allusions hit, and pointing to the Provision-wagons with the other hand, and these words: 'Courage, Friends! We shall not want bread now; we are bringing you the Baker, the Bakeress and Baker's-boy (le Boulanger, la Boulangère et le petit Mitron).'[33]

The wet day draggles the tricolor, but the joy is unextinguishable. Is not all well now? 'Ah, Madame, notre bonne Reine,' said some of these Strong-women some days hence, 'Ah, Madame, our good Queen, don't be a traitor any more (ne soyez plus traître), and we will all love you! ' Poor Weber went splashing along, close by the Royal Carriage, with the tear in his eye: 'their Majesties did me the honour,' or I thought they did it, 'to testify, from time to time, by shrugging of the shoulders, by looks directed to Heaven, the emotions they felt.' Thus, like frail cockle, floats the royal Life-boat, helmless, on black deluges of Rascality.

Mercier, in his loose way, estimates the Procession and assistants at two hundred thousand. He says it was one boundless inarticulate Haha;—transcendent World-Laughter; comparable to the Saturnalia of the Ancients. Why not? Here too, as we said, is Human Nature once more human; shudder at it whoso is of shuddering humour; yet, behold, it is human. It has 'swallowed all formulas'; it tripudiates even so. For which reason they that collect Vases and Antiques, with figures of Dancing Bacchantes 'in wild and ail-but impossible positions,' may look with some interest on it.

Thus, however, has the slow-moving Chaos, or modern Saturnalia of the Ancients, reached the Barrier; and must halt, to be harangued by Mayor Bailly. Thereafter it has to lumber along, between the double row of faces, in the transcendent heaven-lashing Haha; two hours longer, towards the Hôtel-de-Ville. Then again to be harangued there, by several persons; by Moreau de Saint-Méry among others; Moreau of the Three-thousand orders, now National Deputy for St. Domingo. To all which poor Louis, 'who seemed to experience a slight emotion' on entering this Townhall, can answer only that he 'comes with pleasure, with confidence among his people.' Mayor Bailly, in reporting it, forgets 'confidence': and the poor Queen says eagerly: 'Add, with confidence.'—'Messieurs,' rejoins Mayor Bailly, 'you are happier than if I had not forgotten.'

Finally, the King is shown on an upper balcony, by torchlight, with a huge tricolor in his hat: 'and all the people,' says Weber, 'grasped one another's hand';—thinking now surely the New Era was born. Hardly till eleven at night can Royalty get to its vacant, long-deserted Palace of the Tuileries; to lodge there, somewhat in strolling-player fashion. It is Tuesday the 6th of October 1789.

Poor Louis has Two other Paris Processions to make: one ludicrous-ignominious like this; the other not ludicrous nor ignominious, but serious, nay sublime.


  1. Histoire Parlementaire, ii. 427.
  2. Souvenirs sur Mirabeau, p. 156.
  3. Révolutions de Paris Newspaper (cited in Histoire Parlementaire, ii. 357).
  4. Brouillon de Lettre de M. d'Estaing à la Reine (in Histoire Parlementaire, iii. 24).
  5. Moniteur (in Histoire Parlementaire, iii. 59); Deux Amis, iii. 128–141; Campan, ii, 70–85; etc. etc.
  6. Camille's Newspaper, Révolutions de Paris et de Brabant (in Histoire Parlementaire, iii. 108).
  7. Deux Amis, iii. 141–166.
  8. Dusaulx, Prise de la Bastille, note, p. 281.
  9. Deux Amis, iii. 157.
  10. Hist. Parl. iii. 310.
  11. Deux Amis, iii. 159.
  12. Deux Amis, ii. 177; Dictionnaire des Hommes Marquans, ii. 379.
  13. Deux Amis, iii. l6l.
  14. Deux Amis, iii. 165.
  15. See Hist. Parl. iii. 70–117; Deux Amis, iii. 166–177, etc.
  16. Mounier, Exposé Justificatif (cited in Deux Amis, iii. 185).
  17. See Weber, ii. 185–231.
  18. Deux Amis, ii. 192–201.
  19. Weber, ubi suprà.
  20. Weber; Deux Amis, etc.
  21. Moniteur (in Hist. Parl. iii. 105).
  22. Deux Amis, iii. 20S.
  23. Courrier de Provence (Mirabeau's Newspaper), No. 50, p. 19.
  24. Mémoire de M. le Comte de Lally-Tollendal (Janvier 1790), pp. 161–165.
  25. Déposition de Lecointre (in Hist. Parl. iii. 111–115).
  26. Campan, ii. 75–87.
  27. Toulongeon, i. 144.
  28. Toulongeon, i. App. 120.
  29. Calumnious rumour, current long since, in loose vehicles (Edinburgh Review on Mémoires de Bastille, for example), concerning Friedrich Wilhelm and his ways, then so mysterious and miraculous to many;—not the least truth in it! (Note of 1868.)
  30. Rapport de Chabroud (Moniteur, du 31 Decembre 1789).
  31. Toulongeon, i. 150.
  32. Mercier, Nouveau Paris, iii. 21.
  33. Toulongeon, i. 134–161; Deux Amis, iii. c. 9; etc. etc.