As all Delineation, in these ages, were it never so Epic, ’speaking itself and not singing itself,’ must either found on Belief and provable Fact, or have no foundation at all (nor except as floating cobweb any existence at all),—the Reader will perhaps prefer to take a glance with the very eyes of eye-witnesses; and see, in that way, for himself, how it was. Brave Jourgniac, innocent Abbe Sicard, judicious Advocate Maton, these, greatly compressing themselves, shall speak, each an instant. Jourgniac’s Agony of Thirty-eight hours went through ’above a hundred editions,’ though intrinsically a poor work. Some portion of it may here go through above the hundred-and-first, for want of a better.
‘Towards seven o’clock’ (Sunday night, at the Abbaye; for Jourgniac goes by dates): ’We saw two men enter, their hands bloody and armed with sabres; a turnkey, with a torch, lighted them; he pointed to the bed of the unfortunate Swiss, Reding. Reding spoke with a dying voice. One of them paused; but the other cried Allons donc; lifted the unfortunate man; carried him out on his back to the street. He was massacred there.
’We all looked at one another in silence, we clasped each other’s hands. Motionless, with fixed eyes, we gazed on the pavement of our prison; on which lay the moonlight, checkered with the triple stancheons of our windows.
’Three in the morning: They were breaking-in one of the prison-doors. We at first thought they were coming to kill us in our room; but heard, by voices on the staircase, that it was a room where some Prisoners had barricaded themselves. They were all butchered there, as we shortly gathered.