Most of them did not know.
“A provincial from the north,” said one of the men at last; “he has been here several times before now, and last year he was a fairly constant attendant. I believe he is a butcher by trade, and I fancy he comes from Calais. He was originally brought here by Citizen Brogard, who is good patriot enough.”
One by one the members of this bond of Fraternity began to file out of the Cheval Borgne. They nodded curt good-nights to each other, and then went to their respective abodes, which surely could not be dignified with the name of home.
Tinville remained one of the last; he and Merlin seemed suddenly to have buried the hatchet, which a few hours ago had threatened to destroy one of the other of these whilom bosom friends.
Two or three of the most ardent of these ardent extremists had gathered round the Public Prosecutor, and Merlin, the framer of the Law of the Suspect.
“What say you, citizens?” said Tinville at last quietly. “That man Lenoir, meseems, is too eloquent—eh?”
“Dangerous,” pronounced Merlin, whilst the others nodded approval.
“But his scheme is good,” suggested one of the men.
“And we’ll avail ourselves of it,” assented Tinville, “but afterwards...”
He paused, and once more everyone nodded approval.
“Yes; he is dangerous. We’ll leave him in peace to-morrow, but afterwards...”
With a gentle hand Tinville caressed the tall double post, which stood in the centre of the room, and which was shaped like the guillotine. An evil look was on his face: the grin of a death-dealing monster, savage and envious. The others laughed in grim content. Merlin grunted a surly approval. He had no cause to love the provincial coal-heaver who had raised a raucous voice to threaten him.
Then, nodding to one another, the last of the patriots, satisfied with this night’s work, passed out into the night.
The watchman was making his rounds, carrying his lantern, and shouting his customary cry:
“Inhabitants of Paris, sleep quietly. Everything is in order, everything is at peace.”
The close of day.
Deroulede had spent the whole of this same night in a wild, impassioned search for Juliette.
Earlier in the day, soon after Anne Mie’s revelations, he had sought out his English friend, Sir Percy Blakeney, and talked over with him the final arrangements for the removal of Madame Deroulede and Anne Mie from Paris.
Though he was a born idealist and a Utopian, Paul Deroulede had never for a moment had any illusions with regard to his own popularity. He knew that at any time, and for any trivial cause, the love which the mob bore him would readily turn to hate. He had seen Mirabeau’s popularity wane, La Fayette’s, Desmoulin’s—was it likely that he alone would survive the inevitable death of so ephemeral a thing?