Beaumarchais escaped for this time; but not for the next time, ten days after. On the evening of the Twenty-ninth he is still in that chaos of the Prisons, in saddest, wrestling condition; unable to get justice, even to get audience; ‘Panis scratching his head’ when you speak to him, and making off. Nevertheless let the lover of Figaro know that Procureur Manuel, a Brother in Literature, found him, and delivered him once more. But how the lean demigod, now shorn of his splendour, had to lurk in barns, to roam over harrowed fields, panting for life; and to wait under eavesdrops, and sit in darkness ’on the Boulevard amid paving-stones and boulders,’ longing for one word of any Minister, or Minister’s Clerk, about those accursed Dutch muskets, and getting none,—with heart fuming in spleen, and terror, and suppressed canine-madness: alas, how the swift sharp hound, once fit to be Diana’s, breaks his old teeth now, gnawing mere whinstones; and must ‘fly to England;’ and, returning from England, must creep into the corner, and lie quiet, toothless (moneyless),—all this let the lover of Figaro fancy, and weep for. We here, without weeping, not without sadness, wave the withered tough fellow-mortal our farewell. His Figaro has returned to the French stage; nay is, at this day, sometimes named the best piece there. And indeed, so long as Man’s Life can ground itself only on artificiality and aridity; each new Revolt and Change of Dynasty turning up only a new stratum of dry rubbish, and no soil yet coming to view,—may it not be good to protest against such a Life, in many ways, and even in the Figaro way?
Such are the last days of August, 1792; days gloomy, disastrous, and of evil omen. What will become of this poor France? Dumouriez rode from the Camp of Maulde, eastward to Sedan, on Tuesday last, the 28th of the month; reviewed that so-called Army left forlorn there by Lafayette: the forlorn soldiers gloomed on him; were heard growling on him, “This is one of them, ce b—e la, that made War be declared.” (Dumouriez, Memoires, ii. 383.) Unpromising Army! Recruits flow in, filtering through Depot after Depot; but recruits merely: in want of all; happy if they have so much as arms. And Longwi has fallen basely; and Brunswick, and the Prussian King, with his sixty thousand, will beleaguer Verdun; and Clairfait and Austrians press deeper in, over the Northern marches: ‘a hundred and fifty thousand’ as fear counts, ‘eighty thousand’ as the returns shew, do hem us in; Cimmerian Europe behind them. There is Castries-and-Broglie chivalry; Royalist foot ’in red facing and nankeen trousers;’ breathing death and the gallows.