My mother, with her frank, cheerful, and inquisitive ways, was rather partial to the Revolution than the reverse. Unknown to my grandmother she used to go and hear the patriotic songs. The Chant du Depart made a great impression upon her, and when she repeated the stirring line put in the mouth of the mothers,
“De nos yeux maternels ne craignez point de larmes,”
her voice was always broken. These stirring and terrible scenes had imprinted themselves for ever upon her mind. When she began to go back over these recollections, indissolubly bound up with the days of her girlhood, when she remembered how enthusiasm and wild delight alternated with scenes of terror, her whole life seemed to rise up before her I learnt from her to be so proud of the Revolution that I have liked it since, in spite of my reason and of all that I have said against it. I do not withdraw anything that I have already said; but when I see the inveterate persistency of foreign writers to try and prove that the French Revolution was one long story of folly and shame, and that it is but an unimportant factor in the world’s history, I begin to think that it is perhaps the greatest of all our achievements, inasmuch as other people are so jealous of it.
Among those whom I have to thank for being more a son of the Revolution than of the Crusaders was a singular character who was long a puzzle to us. He was an elderly man, whose mode of life, ideas, and habits were in striking contrast with those of the country at large. I used to see him every day, with his threadbare cloak, going to buy a pennyworth of milk which the girl who sold it poured into the tin he brought with him. He was poor without