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The Idler in France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 285 pages of information about The Idler in France.

Comte ——­ and ——­ have just come in, and report that the last story current is, that fifty thousand men from Rouen are marching to Paris to espouse the cause of the people.  They say there is no end to the desertions among the troops.

The people—­the people!  I hear of nothing but the people; but those who speak of them as all and every thing, seem to me to mistake the populace for the people, yet surely the words are not synonymous.  The people, according to my acceptation of the word, are the sober and respectable portion of the community of all countries, including the husbandmen who till the earth, and the artisans who fabricate the objects applicable to our positive wants, and superfluous luxuries.  How different are these from the populace who fill the streets shouting for liberty, by which they mean license; fighting for a charter of the real meaning of which they are ignorant; and rendering themselves the blind instruments by which a revolution is to be accomplished, that will leave them rather worse off than it found them; for when did those who profit by such events remember with gratitude the tools by which it was effected?

Thursday.—­Repeated knocking at the gate drew me to the window ten minutes ago.  The intruder presented a strange mixture of the terrible and the ridiculous, the former predominating.  Wearing only his shirt and trousers, both stained with gore, and the sleeves of the former turned up nearly to the shoulder, a crimson handkerchief was bound round his head, and another encircled his waist.  He brandished a huge sword with a black leather string wound round his wrist, with one hand, while with the other he assailed the knocker.  Hearing the window opened, he looked up, and exclaimed, “Ah! madame, order the gate to be opened, that I may lay at the feet of my generous master the trophies I have won with this trusty sword,” waving the said sword over his head, and pointing to a pair of silver-mounted pistols and a sabre that he had placed on the ground while he knocked at the gate.

I recognised in this man a helper in the stables of Comte A. d’Orsay, of whom it had a short time previously been reported to us, that when a party of the populace had attempted to force the gate of the stable offices, which are situated in the Rue Verte, and the English grooms and coachman were in excessive alarm, this man presented himself at the window, sword in hand, declaring that he, though engaged in the same cause as themselves, would defend, to the last moment of his life, the horses of his master, and the Englishmen whom he considered to be under his protection.  This speech elicited thunders of applause from the crowd who retreated, leaving the alarmed servants, whose protector he had avowed himself, impressed with the conviction that he is little short of a hero.

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