Denot himself would neither say or do anything. Henri never saw him; but de Lescure had different interviews with him, and did all in his power to rouse him to some feeling as to the future; but all in vain. He usually refused to make any answer whatever, and when he did speak, he merely persisted in his declaration that he was willing to die, and that if he were left alive, he had no wish at all as to what should become of him. It was at last decided to send him to his own house at Fleury, with a strong caution to the servants there that their master was temporarily insane; and there to leave him to his chance. “When he finds himself alone, and disregarded,” said de Lescure, “he will come to his senses, and probably emigrate: it is impossible for us now to do more for him. May God send that he may live to repent the great crime which he has attempted.”
Now again everything was bustle and confusion at Durbelliere. Arms and gunpowder were again collected. The men again used all their efforts in assembling the royalist troops, the women in preparing the different necessaries for the army. The united families were at Durbelliere, and there was no longer any danger of their separation, for at Clisson not one stone was left standing upon another.
We will now jump over a space of nearly three months, and leaving the chateaux of royalist La Vendee, plunge for a short while into the heart of republican Paris. In the Rue St. Honore lived a cabinet-maker, named Duplay, and in his house lodged Maximilian Robespierre, the leading spirit in the latter and more terrible days of the Revolution. The time now spoken of was the beginning of October, 1793; and at no period did the popularity and power of that remarkable man stand higher.
The whole government was then vested in the Committee of Public Safety—a committee consisting of twelve persons, members of the Convention, all of course ultra-democrats, over the majority of whom Robespierre exercised a direct control. No despot ever endured ruled with so absolute and stringent a dominion as that under which this body of men held the French nation. The revolutionary tribunal was now established in all its horror and all its force. A law was passed by the Convention, in September, which decreed that all suspected people should be arrested and brought before this tribunal; that nobles, lawyers, bankers, priests, men of property, and strangers in the land, should be suspected unless known to be acting friends and adherents of the ultra-revolutionary party; that the punishment of such persons should be death; and that the members of any revolutionary tribunal which had omitted to condemn any suspected person, should themselves be tried, and punished by death. Such was the law by which the Reign of Terror was organized and rendered possible.