And now, as if the last burden had been rolled from its heart, and assurance were at length perfect, Paris bursts forth anew into extreme jubilee. The Basoche rejoices aloud, that the foe of Parlements is fallen; Nobility, Gentry, Commonalty have rejoiced; and rejoice. Nay now, with new emphasis, Rascality itself, starting suddenly from its dim depths, will arise and do it,--for down even thither the new Political Evangel, in some rude version or other, has penetrated. It is Monday, the 14th of September 1788: Rascality assembles anew, in great force, in the Place Dauphine; lets off petards, fires blunderbusses, to an incredible extent, without interval, for eighteen hours. There is again a wicker Figure, 'Mannequin of osier:' the centre of endless howlings. Also Necker's Portrait snatched, or purchased, from some Printshop, is borne processionally, aloft on a perch, with huzzas;--an example to be remembered.
But chiefly on the Pont Neuf, where the Great Henri, in bronze, rides sublime; there do the crowds gather. All passengers must stop, till they have bowed to the People's King, and said audibly: Vive Henri Quatre; au diable Lamoignon! No carriage but must stop; not even that of his Highness d'Orleans. Your coach-doors are opened: Monsieur will please to put forth his head and bow; or even, if refractory, to alight altogether, and kneel: from Madame a wave of her plumes, a smile of her fair face, there where she sits, shall suffice;--and surely a coin or two (to buy fusees) were not unreasonable from the Upper Classes, friends of Liberty? In this manner it proceeds for days; in such rude horse-play,--not without kicks. The City- watch can do nothing; hardly save its own skin: for the last twelve-month, as we have sometimes seen, it has been a kind of pastime to hunt the Watch. Besenval indeed is at hand with soldiers; but they have orders to avoid firing, and are not prompt to stir.
On Monday morning the explosion of petards began: and now it is near midnight of Wednesday; and the 'wicker Mannequin' is to be buried,-- apparently in the Antique fashion. Long rows of torches, following it, move towards the Hotel Lamoignon; but 'a servant of mine' (Besenval's) has run to give warning, and there are soldiers come. Gloomy Lamoignon is not to die by conflagration, or this night; not yet for a year, and then by gunshot (suicidal or accidental is unknown). (Histoire de la Revolution, par Deux Amis de la Liberte, i. 50.) Foiled Rascality burns its 'Mannikin of osier,' under his windows; 'tears up the sentry-box,' and rolls off: to try Brienne; to try Dubois Captain of the Watch. Now, however, all is bestirring itself; Gardes Francaises, Invalides, Horse-patrol: the Torch Procession is met with sharp shot, with the thrusting of bayonets, the slashing of sabres. Even Dubois makes a charge, with that Cavalry of his, and the cruelest charge of all: 'there are a great many killed and wounded.' Not without clangour, complaint; subsequent criminal trials, and official persons dying of heartbreak! (Histoire de la Revolution, par Deux Amis de la Liberte, i. 58.) So, however, with steel-besom, Rascality is brushed back into its dim depths, and the streets are swept clear.
Not for a century and half had Rascality ventured to step forth in this fashion; not for so long, showed its huge rude lineaments in the light of day. A Wonder and new Thing: as yet gamboling merely, in awkward Brobdingnag sport, not without quaintness; hardly in anger: yet in its huge half-vacant laugh lurks a shade of grimness,--which could unfold itself!
However, the thinkers invited by Lomenie are now far on with their pamphlets: States-General, on one plan or another, will infallibly meet; if not in January, as was once hoped, yet at latest in May. Old Duke de Richelieu, moribund in these autumn days, opens his eyes once more, murmuring, "What would Louis Fourteenth" (whom he remembers) "have said!"-- then closes them again, forever, before the evil time.
The French Revolution -by- Thomas Carlyle