The French Revolution eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,095 pages of information about The French Revolution.
iii. 22.) to some Procession de Roi de Bazoche; or say, Procession of King Crispin, with his Dukes of Sutor-mania and royal blazonry of Cordwainery.  Except indeed that this is not comic; ah no, it is comico-tragic; with bound Couriers, and a Doom hanging over it; most fantastic, yet most miserably real.  Miserablest flebile ludibrium of a Pickleherring Tragedy!  It sweeps along there, in most ungorgeous pall, through many streets, in the dusty summer evening; gets itself at length wriggled out of sight; vanishing in the Tuileries Palace—­towards its doom, of slow torture, peine forte et dure.

Populace, it is true, seizes the three rope-bound yellow Couriers; will at least massacre them.  But our august Assembly, which is sitting at this great moment, sends out Deputation of rescue; and the whole is got huddled up.  Barnave, ‘all dusty,’ is already there, in the National Hall; making brief discreet address and report.  As indeed, through the whole journey, this Barnave has been most discreet, sympathetic; and has gained the Queen’s trust, whose noble instinct teaches her always who is to be trusted.  Very different from heavy Petion; who, if Campan speak truth, ate his luncheon, comfortably filled his wine-glass, in the Royal Berline; flung out his chicken-bones past the nose of Royalty itself; and, on the King’s saying “France cannot be a Republic,” answered “No, it is not ripe yet.”  Barnave is henceforth a Queen’s adviser, if advice could profit:  and her Majesty astonishes Dame Campan by signifying almost a regard for Barnave:  and that, in a day of retribution and Royal triumph, Barnave shall not be executed. (Campan, ii. c. 18.)

On Monday night Royalty went; on Saturday evening it returns:  so much, within one short week, has Royalty accomplished for itself.  The Pickleherring Tragedy has vanished in the Tuileries Palace, towards ‘pain strong and hard.’  Watched, fettered, and humbled, as Royalty never was.  Watched even in its sleeping-apartments and inmost recesses:  for it has to sleep with door set ajar, blue National Argus watching, his eye fixed on the Queen’s curtains; nay, on one occasion, as the Queen cannot sleep, he offers to sit by her pillow, and converse a little! (Ibid. ii. 149.)

Chapter 2.4.IX.

Sharp Shot.

In regard to all which, this most pressing question arises:  What is to be done with it?  “Depose it!” resolutely answer Robespierre and the thoroughgoing few.  For truly, with a King who runs away, and needs to be watched in his very bedroom that he may stay and govern you, what other reasonable thing can be done?  Had Philippe d’Orleans not been a caput mortuum!  But of him, known as one defunct, no man now dreams.  “Depose it not; say that it is inviolable, that it was spirited away, was enleve; at any cost of sophistry and solecism, reestablish it!” so answer with loud vehemence all manner of Constitutional Royalists; as all your Pure Royalists do naturally likewise, with low vehemence, and rage compressed by fear, still more passionately answer.  Nay Barnave and the two Lameths, and what will follow them, do likewise answer so.  Answer, with their whole might:  terror-struck at the unknown Abysses on the verge of which, driven thither by themselves mainly, all now reels, ready to plunge.

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The French Revolution from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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