Queen Hortense eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Queen Hortense.

The unclaimed dogs of the fugitive or slaughtered aristocracy at that time wandered without masters, by thousands, through the streets and slaked their thirst with the blood which flowed down from the guillotine and dyed the ground with the purple of the new system of popular liberty.

The smell of the fresh blood and the ghastly sustenance which the guillotine yielded them had restored the animals to their original savage propensities, and hence those who had been so fortunate as to escape the murderous axe of the sans-culottes had now to apprehend the danger of falling a victim to the sharp teeth of these wild blood-hounds; and as the ferocious brutes knew no difference between aristocrats and republicans, but fell upon both with equal fury, it became necessary, at last, to annihilate these new foes of the republic.  So, the Champs Elysees were surrounded with troops, and the dogs were driven into the Rue Royale and the Place Royale, where they were mowed down by musketry.  On that one day the dead carcasses of more than three thousand dogs lay about in the streets of Paris, and there they continued to fester for three days longer, because a dispute had arisen among the city officials as to whose duty it was to remove them.  At length the Convention undertook that task, and intrusted the work to representative Gasparin, who was shrewd enough to convert the removal of the dead animals into a republican ceremony.  These were the dogs of the ci-devants and aristocrats that were to be buried, and it was quite proper, therefore, that they should receive aristocratic honors.

Gasparin, acting upon this idea, caused all the coaches of the fugitive and massacred aristocracy to be brought from their stables, and the carcasses of the dogs were flung into these emblazoned and escutcheoned vehicles of old France.  Six grand coaches that had belonged to the king opened the procession, and the tails, heads, bodies and legs of the luckless quadrupeds could be seen behind the glittering glass panels heaped together in wild disorder[8].

[Footnote 8:  Memoires of the Marchioness de Crequi, vol. viii, p. 10.]

After this public canine funeral celebration of the one and indivisible republic, the gilded state-coaches could not be consistently used for any human and less mournful occasion, and hence it was that the consular procession to the Tuileries was so deficient in carriages, and that public hacks on which the numbers were defaced had to be employed.

With the entry of Bonaparte into the Tuileries the revolution was at an end.  He laid his victorious sword across the gory, yawning chasm which had drunk the blood of both aristocrats and democrats; and of that sword he made a bridge over which society might pass from one century to the other, and from the republic to the empire.

Project Gutenberg
Queen Hortense from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook