Foucquier-Tinville suppresses a sneer, and the Citizen-President impatiently rings his hand-bell again.
“Bring forth the accused!” he commands in stentorian tones.
There is a movement of satisfaction among the crowd, and the angel of God is forced to hide his face again.
The trial of Juliette.
It is all indelibly placed on record in the “Bulletin du Tribunal Revolutionnaire,” under date 25th Fructidor, year I. of the Revolution.
Anyone who cares may read, for the Bulletin is in the Archives of the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris.
One by one the accused had been brought forth, escorted by two men of the National Guard in ragged, stained uniforms of red, white, and blue; they were then conducted to the small raised platform in the centre of the hall, and made to listen to the charge brought against them by Citizen Foucquier-Tinville, the Public Presecutor.
They were petty charges mostly: pilfering, fraud, theft, occasionally arson or manslaughter. One man, however, was arraigned for murder with highway robbery, and a woman for the most ignoble traffic, which evil feminine ingenuity could invent.
These two were condemned to the guillotine, the others sent to the galleys at Brest or Toulon—the forger along with the petty thief, the housebreaker with the absconding clerk.
There was no room in the prison for ordinary offences against the criminal code; they were overfilled already with so-called traitors against the Republic.
Three women were sent to the penitentiary at the Salpetriere, and were dragged out of the court shrilly protesting their innocence, and followed by obscene jeers from the spectators on the benches.
Then there was a momentary hush.
Juliette Marny had been brought in.
She was quite calm, and exquisitely beautiful, dressed in a plain grey bodice and kirtle, with a black band round her slim waist and a soft white kerchief folded across her bosom. Beneath the tiny, white cap her golden hair appeared in dainty, curly profusion; her child-like, oval face was very white, but otherwise quite serene.
She seemed absolutely unconscious of her surroundings, and walked with a firm step up to the platform, looking neither to the right nor to the left of her.
Therefore she did not see Deroulede. A great, a wonderful radiance seemed to shine in her large eyes—the radiance of self-sacrifice.
She was offering not only her life, but everything a woman of refinement holds most dear, for the safety of the man she loved.
A feeling that was almost physical pain, so intense was it, overcame Deroulede, when at last he heard her name loudly called by the Public Prosecutor.
All day he had waited for this awful moment, forgetting his own misery, his own agonised feeling of an irretrievable loss, in the horrible thought of what she would endure, what she would think, when first she realised the terrible indignity, which was to be put upon her.