For four hours now has the World-Bedlam roared: call it the World-Chimaera, blowing fire! The poor Invalides have sunk under their battlements, or rise only with reversed muskets: they have made a white flag of napkins; go beating the chamade, or seeming to beat, for one can hear nothing. The very Swiss at the Portcullis look weary of firing; disheartened in the fire-deluge: a porthole at the drawbridge is opened, as by one that would speak. See Huissier Maillard, the shifty man! On his plank, swinging over the abyss of that stone-Ditch; plank resting on parapet, balanced by weight of Patriots,—he hovers perilous: such a Dove towards such an Ark! Deftly, thou shifty Usher: one man already fell; and lies smashed, far down there, against the masonry! Usher Maillard falls not: deftly, unerring he walks, with outspread palm. The Swiss holds a paper through his porthole; the shifty Usher snatches it, and returns. Terms of surrender: Pardon, immunity to all! Are they accepted?—“Foi d’officier, On the word of an officer,” answers half-pay Hulin,—or half-pay Elie, for men do not agree on it, “they are!” Sinks the drawbridge,—Usher Maillard bolting it when down; rushes-in the living deluge: the Bastille is fallen! Victoire! La Bastille est prise! (Histoire de la Revolution, par Deux Amis de la Liberte, i. 267-306; Besenval, iii. 410-434; Dusaulx, Prise de la Bastille, 291-301. Bailly, Memoires (Collection de Berville et Barriere), i. 322 et seqq.)
Not a Revolt.
Why dwell on what follows? Hulin’s foi d’officer should have been kept, but could not. The Swiss stand drawn up; disguised in white canvas smocks; the Invalides without disguise; their arms all piled against the wall. The first rush of victors, in ecstacy that the death-peril is passed, ‘leaps joyfully on their necks;’ but new victors rush, and ever new, also in ecstacy not wholly of joy. As we said, it was a living deluge, plunging headlong; had not the Gardes Francaises, in their cool military way, ‘wheeled round with arms levelled,’ it would have plunged suicidally, by the hundred or the thousand, into the Bastille-ditch.