Great; though the future is all vague! If we reach Bouille? If we do not reach him? O Louis! and this all round thee is the great slumbering Earth (and overhead, the great watchful Heaven); the slumbering Wood of Bondy,—where Longhaired Childeric Donothing was struck through with iron; (Henault, Abrege Chronologique, p. 36.) not unreasonably. These peaked stone-towers are Raincy; towers of wicked d’Orleans. All slumbers save the multiplex rustle of our new Berline. Loose-skirted scarecrow of an Herb-merchant, with his ass and early greens, toilsomely plodding, seems the only creature we meet. But right ahead the great North-East sends up evermore his gray brindled dawn: from dewy branch, birds here and there, with short deep warble, salute the coming Sun. Stars fade out, and Galaxies; Street-lamps of the City of God. The Universe, O my brothers, is flinging wide its portals for the Levee of the great high king. Thou, poor King Louis, farest nevertheless, as mortals do, towards Orient lands of Hope; and the Tuileries with its Levees, and France and the Earth itself, is but a larger kind of doghutch,—occasionally going rabid.
But in Paris, at six in the morning; when some Patriot Deputy, warned by a billet, awoke Lafayette, and they went to the Tuileries?—Imagination may paint, but words cannot, the surprise of Lafayette; or with what bewilderment helpless Gouvion rolled glassy Argus’s eyes, discerning now that his false Chambermaid told true!
However, it is to be recorded that Paris, thanks to an august National Assembly, did, on this seeming doomsday, surpass itself. Never, according to Historian eye-witnesses, was there seen such an ’imposing attitude.’ (Deux Amis, vi. 67-178; Toulongeon, ii. 1-38; Camille, Prudhomme and Editors in Hist. Parl. x. 240-4.) Sections all ’in permanence;’ our Townhall, too, having first, about ten o’clock, fired three solemn alarm-cannons: above all, our National Assembly! National Assembly, likewise permanent, decides what is needful; with unanimous consent, for the Cote Droit sits dumb, afraid of the Lanterne. Decides with a calm promptitude, which rises towards the sublime. One must needs vote, for the thing is self-evident, that his Majesty has been abducted, or spirited away, ‘enleve,’ by some person or persons unknown: in which case, what will the Constitution have us do? Let us return to first principles, as we always say; “revenons aux principes.”
By first or by second principles, much is promptly decided: Ministers are sent for, instructed how to continue their functions; Lafayette is examined; and Gouvion, who gives a most helpless account, the best he can. Letters are found written: one Letter, of immense magnitude; all in his Majesty’s hand, and evidently of his Majesty’s own composition; addressed to the National Assembly. It details,