The French Revolution eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,095 pages of information about The French Revolution.

King Louis enters, much blown with the fatigue; but for the rest with his old air of indifference.  Of all hopes now surely the joyfullest were, that the tocsin did not yield.

Chapter 2.6.VII.

The Swiss.

Unhappy Friends, the tocsin does yield, has yielded!  Lo ye, how with the first sun-rays its Ocean-tide, of pikes and fusils, flows glittering from the far East;—­immeasurable; born of the Night!  They march there, the grim host; Saint-Antoine on this side of the River; Saint-Marceau on that, the blackbrowed Marseillese in the van.  With hum, and grim murmur, far-heard; like the Ocean-tide, as we say:  drawn up, as if by Luna and Influences, from the great Deep of Waters, they roll gleaming on; no King, Canute or Louis, can bid them roll back.  Wide-eddying side-currents, of onlookers, roll hither and thither, unarmed, not voiceless; they, the steel host, roll on.  New-Commandant Santerre, indeed, has taken seat at the Townhall; rests there, in his half-way-house.  Alsatian Westermann, with flashing sabre, does not rest; nor the Sections, nor the Marseillese, nor Demoiselle Theroigne; but roll continually on.

And now, where are Mandat’s Squadrons that were to charge?  Not a Squadron of them stirs:  or they stir in the wrong direction, out of the way; their officers glad that they will even do that.  It is to this hour uncertain whether the Squadron on the Pont Neuf made the shadow of resistance, or did not make the shadow:  enough, the blackbrowed Marseillese, and Saint-Marceau following them, do cross without let; do cross, in sure hope now of Saint-Antoine and the rest; do billow on, towards the Tuileries, where their errand is.  The Tuileries, at sound of them, rustles responsive:  the red Swiss look to their priming; Courtiers in black draw their blunderbusses, rapiers, poniards, some have even fire-shovels; every man his weapon of war.

Judge if, in these circumstances, Syndic Roederer felt easy!  Will the kind Heavens open no middle-course of refuge for a poor Syndic who halts between two?  If indeed his Majesty would consent to go over to the Assembly!  His Majesty, above all her Majesty, cannot agree to that.  Did her Majesty answer the proposal with a “Fi donc;” did she say even, she would be nailed to the walls sooner?  Apparently not.  It is written also that she offered the King a pistol; saying, Now or else never was the time to shew himself.  Close eye-witnesses did not see it, nor do we.  That saw only that she was queenlike, quiet; that she argued not, upbraided not, with the Inexorable; but, like Caesar in the Capitol, wrapped her mantle, as it beseems Queens and Sons of Adam to do.  But thou, O Louis! of what stuff art thou at all?  Is there no stroke in thee, then, for Life and Crown?  The silliest hunted deer dies not so.  Art thou the languidest of all mortals; or the mildest-minded?  Thou art the worst-starred.

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The French Revolution from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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