Thus they retreat, the Marseillese following. Swift and swifter, towards the Tuileries: where the Drawbridge receives the bulk of the fugitives; and, then suddenly drawn up, saves them; or else the green mud of the Ditch does it. The bulk of them; not all; ah, no! Moreau de Saint-Mery for example, being too fat, could not fly fast; he got a stroke, flat-stroke only, over the shoulder-blades, and fell prone;--and disappears there from the History of the Revolution. Cuts also there were, pricks in the posterior fleshy parts; much rending of skirts, and other discrepant waste. But poor Sub-lieutenant Duhamel, innocent Change-broker, what a lot for him! He turned on his pursuer, or pursuers, with a pistol; he fired and missed; drew a second pistol, and again fired and missed; then ran: unhappily in vain. In the Rue Saint-Florentin, they clutched him; thrust him through, in red rage: that was the end of the New Era, and of all Eras, to poor Duhamel.
Pacific readers can fancy what sort of grace-before-meat this was to frugal Patriotism. Also how the Battalion of the Filles-Saint-Thomas 'drew out in arms,' luckily without further result; how there was accusation at the Bar of the Assembly, and counter-accusation and defence; Marseillese challenging the sentence of free jury court,--which never got to a decision. We ask rather, What the upshot of all these distracted wildly accumulating things may, by probability, be? Some upshot; and the time draws nigh! Busy are Central Committees, of Federes at the Jacobins Church, of Sections at the Townhall; Reunion of Carra, Camille and Company at the Golden Sun. Busy: like submarine deities, or call them mud-gods, working there in the deep murk of waters: till the thing be ready.
And how your National Assembly, like a ship waterlogged, helmless, lies tumbling; the Galleries, of shrill Women, of Federes with sabres, bellowing down on it, not unfrightful;--and waits where the waves of chance may please to strand it; suspicious, nay on the Left side, conscious, what submarine Explosion is meanwhile a-charging! Petition for King's Forfeiture rises often there: Petition from Paris Section, from Provincial Patriot Towns; From Alencon, Briancon, and 'the Traders at the Fair of Beaucaire.' Or what of these? On the 3rd of August, Mayor Petion and the Municipality come petitioning for Forfeiture: they openly, in their tricolor Municipal scarfs. Forfeiture is what all Patriots now want and expect. All Brissotins want Forfeiture; with the little Prince Royal for King, and us for Protector over him. Emphatic Federes asks the legislature: "Can you save us, or not?" Forty-seven Seconds have agreed to Forfeiture; only that of the Filles-Saint-Thomas pretending to disagree. Nay Section Mauconseil declares Forfeiture to be, properly speaking, come; Mauconseil for one 'does from this day,' the last of July, 'cease allegiance to Louis,' and take minute of the same before all men. A thing blamed aloud; but which will be praised aloud; and the name Mauconseil, of Ill-counsel, be thenceforth changed to Bonconseil, of Good-counsel.
President Danton, in the Cordeliers Section, does another thing: invites all Passive Citizens to take place among the Active in Section-business, one peril threatening all. Thus he, though an official person; cloudy Atlas of the whole. Likewise he manages to have that blackbrowed Battalion of Marseillese shifted to new Barracks, in his own region of the remote South-East. Sleek Chaumette, cruel Billaud, Deputy Chabot the Disfrocked, Huguenin with the tocsin in his heart, will welcome them there. Wherefore, again and again: "O Legislators, can you save us or not?" Poor Legislators; with their Legislature waterlogged, volcanic Explosion charging under it! Forfeiture shall be debated on the ninth day of August; that miserable business of Lafayette may be expected to terminate on the eighth.
Or will the humane Reader glance into the Levee-day of Sunday the fifth? The last Levee! Not for a long time, 'never,' says Bertrand-Moleville, had a Levee been so brilliant, at least so crowded. A sad presaging interest sat on every face; Bertrand's own eyes were filled with tears. For, indeed, outside of that Tricolor Riband on the Feuillants Terrace, Legislature is debating, Sections are defiling, all Paris is astir this very Sunday, demanding Decheance. (Hist. Parl. xvi. 337-9.) Here, however, within the riband, a grand proposal is on foot, for the hundredth time, of carrying his Majesty to Rouen and the Castle of Gaillon. Swiss at Courbevoye are in readiness; much is ready; Majesty himself seems almost ready. Nevertheless, for the hundredth time, Majesty, when near the point of action, draws back; writes, after one has waited, palpitating, an endless summer day, that 'he has reason to believe the Insurrection is not so ripe as you suppose.' Whereat Bertrand-Moleville breaks forth 'into extremity at one of spleen and despair, d'humeur et de desespoir.' (Bertrand-Moleville, Memoires, ii. 129.)
The French Revolution -by- Thomas Carlyle