When he had finished his letter, he read it accurately over, and then having carefully wiped his pen, and laid it near his inkstand, he leant back in his chair, and with his hand resting on the table, turned over in his mind the names and deeds of those who were accounted as his friends, but whom he suspected to be his enemies. He had close to his hand slips of paper, on which were written notes of the most trivial doings of those by whom he was generally surrounded; and the very spies who gave him the information were themselves the unfortunate subjects of similar notices from others. The wretched man was tortured by distrust; as he had told his brother, there were not among the whole body of those associates, by whose aid he had made himself the ruling power in France, half-a-dozen whom he did not believe to be eager for his downfall and his death. Thrice, whilst thus meditating, he stopped, and with his pencil put a dot against the name of a republican. Unfortunate men! their patriotism did not avail them; within a few weeks, the three had been added to the list of victims who perished under the judicial proceedings of Fouquier Tinville.
It had now become nearly dark, and Robespierre was unable longer to read the unfriendly notices which lay beneath his hand, and he therefore gave himself up entirely to reflection. He began to dream of nobler subjects—to look forward to happier days, when torrents of blood would be no longer necessary, when traitors should no longer find a market for their treason, when the age of reason should have prevailed, and France, happy, free, illustrious, and intellectual, should universally own how much she owed to her one incorruptible patriot. He thought to himself of living on his small paternal domain in Artois, receiving nothing from the country he had blessed but adoration; triumphant in the success of his theory; honoured as more than mortal; evincing the grandeur of his soul by rejecting those worldly rewards, which to his disposition offered no temptation. But before he had long indulged in this happy train of thought, he was called back to the realities of his troubled life by a low knock at his door, and on his answering it, a young woman, decently, but very plainly dressed, entered the garret with a candle in her hand; this was Eleanor Duplay; and when Robespierre allowed himself to dream of a future home, she was the wife of his bosom, and the mother of his children.
Eleanor Duplay was not a beautiful young woman, nor was there anything about her which marked her as being superior to those of her own station of life; but her countenance was modest and intelligent, and her heart was sincere; such as she was she had won the affection of him, who was, certainly, at this time the most powerful man in France. She was about five-and-twenty years of age; was the eldest of four