Poor Louis has Two other Paris Processions to make: one ludicrous-ignominious like this; the other not ludicrous nor ignominious, but serious, nay sublime.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
THE FEAST OF PIKES
In the Tuileries.
The victim having once got his stroke-of-grace, the catastrophe can be considered as almost come. There is small interest now in watching his long low moans: notable only are his sharper agonies, what convulsive struggles he may take to cast the torture off from him; and then finally the last departure of life itself, and how he lies extinct and ended, either wrapt like Caesar in decorous mantle-folds, or unseemly sunk together, like one that had not the force even to die.
Was French Royalty, when wrenched forth from its tapestries in that fashion, on that Sixth of October 1789, such a victim? Universal France, and Royal Proclamation to all the Provinces, answers anxiously, No; nevertheless one may fear the worst. Royalty was beforehand so decrepit, moribund, there is little life in it to heal an injury. How much of its strength, which was of the imagination merely, has fled; Rascality having looked plainly in the King’s face, and not died! When the assembled crows can pluck up their scarecrow, and say to it, Here shalt thou stand and not there; and can treat with it, and make it, from an infinite, a quite finite Constitutional scarecrow,—what is to be looked for? Not in the finite Constitutional scarecrow, but in what still unmeasured, infinite-seeming force may rally round it, is there thenceforth any hope. For it is most true that all available Authority is mystic in its conditions, and comes ‘by the grace of God.’
Cheerfuller than watching the death-struggles of Royalism will it be to watch the growth and gambollings of Sansculottism; for, in human things, especially in human society, all death is but a death-birth: thus if the sceptre is departing from Louis, it is only that, in other forms, other sceptres, were it even pike-sceptres, may bear sway. In a prurient element, rich with nutritive influences, we shall find that Sansculottism grows lustily, and even frisks in not ungraceful sport: as indeed most young creatures are sportful; nay, may it not be noted further, that as the grown cat, and cat-species generally, is the cruellest thing known, so the merriest is precisely the kitten, or growing cat?