Serene Highnesses, who sit there protocolling and manifestoing, and consoling mankind! how were it if, for once in the thousand years, your parchments, formularies, and reasons of state were blown to the four winds; and Reality Sans-indispensables stared you, even you, in the face; and Mankind said for itself what the thing was that would console it?—
But judge if there was comfort in this to the Sections all sitting permanent; deliberating how a National Executive could be put in action!
High rises the response, not of cackling terror, but of crowing counter-defiance, and Vive la Nation; young Valour streaming towards the Frontiers; Patrie en Danger mutely beckoning on the Pont Neuf. Sections are busy, in their permanent Deep; and down, lower still, works unlimited Patriotism, seeking salvation in plot. Insurrection, you would say, becomes once more the sacredest of duties? Committee, self-chosen, is sitting at the Sign of the Golden Sun: Journalist Carra, Camille Desmoulins, Alsatian Westermann friend of Danton, American Fournier of Martinique;—a Committee not unknown to Mayor Petion, who, as an official person, must sleep with one eye open. Not unknown to Procureur Manuel; least of all to Procureur-Substitute Danton! He, wrapped in darkness, being also official, bears it on his giant shoulder; cloudy invisible Atlas of the whole.
Much is invisible; the very Jacobins have their reticences. Insurrection is to be: but when? This only we can discern, that such Federes as are not yet gone to Soissons, as indeed are not inclined to go yet, “for reasons,” says the Jacobin President, “which it may be interesting not to state,” have got a Central Committee sitting close by, under the roof of the Mother Society herself. Also, what in such ferment and danger of effervescence is surely proper, the Forty-eight Sections have got their Central Committee; intended ‘for prompt communication.’ To which Central Committee the Municipality, anxious to have it at hand, could not refuse an Apartment in the Hotel-de-Ville.
Singular City! For overhead of all this, there is the customary baking and brewing; Labour hammers and grinds. Frilled promenaders saunter under the trees; white-muslin promenaderess, in green parasol, leaning on your arm. Dogs dance, and shoeblacks polish, on that Pont Neuf itself, where Fatherland is in danger. So much goes its course; and yet the course of all things is nigh altering and ending.
Look at that Tuileries and Tuileries Garden. Silent all as Sahara; none entering save by ticket! They shut their Gates, after the Day of the Black Breeches; a thing they had the liberty to do. However, the National Assembly grumbled something about Terrace of the Feuillants, how said Terrace lay contiguous to the back entrance to their Salle, and was partly National Property; and so now National