The French Revolution eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,095 pages of information about The French Revolution.
was the voice of the Populace he had heard at Vienna, crying to their Kaiser:  Bread!  Bread!  Great is the combined voice of men; the utterance of their instincts, which are truer than their thoughts:  it is the greatest a man encounters, among the sounds and shadows, which make up this World of Time.  He who can resist that, has his footing some where beyond Time.  De Launay could not do it.  Distracted, he hovers between the two; hopes in the middle of despair; surrenders not his Fortress; declares that he will blow it up, seizes torches to blow it up, and does not blow it.  Unhappy old de Launay, it is the death-agony of thy Bastille and thee!  Jail, Jailoring and Jailor, all three, such as they may have been, must finish.

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.)

Chapter 1.5.VII.

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.

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The French Revolution from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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