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Dumas, Vol. Eleven
















IT was on the evening of the 10th of March, 1793 ; ten
o'clock was striking from Notre Dame, and each stroke
sounding, emitted a sad and monotonous vibration.
Night had fallen on Paris, not boisterous and stormy,
but cold, damp, and foggy. Paris itself at that time was
not the Paris of our day ; glittering at night with thou-
sands of reflected lights, the Paris of busy promenades,
of lively chat, with its riotous suburbs, the scene of
audacious quarrels and daring crime, but a fearful, timid,
busy city, whose few and scattered inhabitants, even in
crossing from one street to another, ran concealing them-
selves in the darkness of the alleys, and ensconcing them-
selves behind their porte-cocheres, like wild beasts tracked
by the hunters to their lair.

As we have previously said, it was the evening of the
10th of March, 1793. A few remarks upon the extreme
situation, which had produced the changed aspect of the
capital before we commence stating the events, the re-
cital of which form the subject of this history. France,
by the death of Louis XVI., had become at variance with
all Europe.

To the three enemies she had first combated, that is to
say, Prussia, the Empire, and Piedmont, were now joined
England, Holland, and Spain. Sweden and Denmark
alone preserved their old neutrality, occupied as they


were besides in beholding Catherine II. devastating

The state of affairs was truly frightful. France, more
respected as a physical power but less esteemed as a moral
one, since the massacres of September and the execution
of the 21st of January, was literally blockaded, like a
simple town, by entire Europe. England was on our
coasts, Spain upon the Pyrenees, Piedmont and Austria
on the Alps, Holland and Prussia to the north of the
Pays Bas, and with one accord, from Upper Khine to
Escant, two hundred and fifty thousand combatants
marched against the Republic. Our generals were re-
pulsed in every direction. Miacrinski had been obliged
to abandon Aix-la-Chapelle, and draw back upon Liege ;
Steingel and Neuilly were driven back upon Limbourg ;
while Miranda, who besieged Maestricht, fell back upon
Tongres. Valence and Dampierre, reduced to beat a
retreat, did so with a loss of half their number. More
than ten thousand deserters had already abandoned the
army, and cleverly scattered themselves in the interior.
At last, the Convention, having no hope except in
Dumouriez, despatched courier after courier, commanding
him to quit the borders of Bribos (where he was prepar-
ing to embark for Holland), and return to take the com-
mand of the Army of the Meuse.

Sensible at heart, like an animated body, France felt
at Paris that is to say, at its heart's core each and every
blow leveled at it by invasion, revolt, or treason, even
from quarters the most distant. Each victory was a riot
of joy ; every defeat an insurrection of terror. It is
therefore easy to comprehend what tumult was produced
by the news of these successive losses, which we are now
about to explain.

On the preceding evening, the 9th of March, they had
had at the Convention a sitting more stormy than usual ;
all the officers had received orders to join their regiments
at the same time, and Danton, that audacious proposer of
improbable things (but which nevertheless Avere accom-
plished), Danton, mounting the tribune, cried out :


"The soldiers fail, say you ? Offer Paris an opportu-
nity of saving France ; demand from her thirty thousand
men, send them to Dumouriez, and not only is France
saved, but Belgium is reassured, and Holland is con-

This proposition had been received with shouts of
enthusiasm ; registers had been opened in all the sections,
inviting them to reunite in the evening. Places of public
amusement were closed, to avoid all distraction, and the
black flag was hoisted at the Hotel de Ville, in token
of distress. Before midnight five-and-thirty thousand
names were inscribed on the registers ; only this evening,
as it had before occurred in September, in every section,
while inscribing their names the enrolled volunteers had
demanded that before their departure the traitors might
be punished. The traitors were, in fact, the "centre-
revolutionists " who secretly menaced the Revolution.
But, as may be easily understood, the secret extended to
all those who wished to give themselves to the extreme
parties who at this period tore France. The traitors were
the weaker party, as the Girondins were the weakest. The
Montagnards decided that the Girondins must be the
traitors. On the next day, which was the 10th of March,
all the Montagnard deputies were present at the sitting.
The Jacobins, armed, filled the tribunes, after having
turned out the women ; the mayor presented himself
with the Council of the Commune, confirming the report
of the Commissioners of the Convention respecting the
devotedness of the citizens, but repeating the wish,
unanimously expressed the preceding evening, for a Tri-
bunal Extraordinary appointed to judge the traitors.
The report of the committee was instantly demanded
with loud vociferations. The committee reunited im-
mediately, and in a few minutes afterward they were in-
formed by Robert Lindet that a tribunal would be formed,
composed of nine judges (independent of all forms, and
acquiring proof by every means), divided into two per-
manent sections, and prosecuting, directly by order of
the Convention, all those who were found guilty in any


way of either tempting or misleading the people. This
was a sweeping clause, and the Girondins, comprehend-
ing it would cause their arrest, rose en masse. Death,
cried they, rather than submit to the establishment of
this threatened imposition.

The Montagnards, in reply to this apostrophe, de-
manded the vote in a loud tone.

"Yes," replied Ferrand. "let us vote to make known
to the world men who are willing to assassinate innocence
under the mask of the law."

They voted to this effect ; and, against all expectation,
the majority decided first, they would have juries ;
second, that these juries should be of equal numbers in
each department ; third, they should be nominated by the
Convention. At the moment these three propositions re-
ceived admission, loud cries were heard ; but the Conven-
tion, accustomed to receive occasional visits from the
populace, inquired their wishes, and were informed, in
reply :

" It was merely a deputation of enrolled volunteers,
who, having dined at the Halle-au-Ble, demanded to be
permitted to display their military tactics before the Con-

The doors were opened immediately, and six hundred
men, armed with swords, pistols, and pikes, apparently
half intoxicated, filed off amid shouts of applause, and
loudly demanded the death of the traitors.

" Yes," replied Collot d'Herbois, addressing them,
" yes, my friends, we will save you you and liberty, not-
withstanding these intrigues."

These words were followed by an angry glance toward
the Girondins, which plainly intimated they were not yet
beyond reach of danger. In short, the sitting of the
Convention terminated, the Montagnards scattered them-
selves among other clubs, running first to the Cordeliers
and then to the Jacobins, proposing to place the traitors
beyond the reach of the law, by cutting their throats the
same night.

The wife of Louvet resided in the Rue St. Honore", near


the Jacobins. She, hearing these vociferations, descended,
entered the club, and heard this proposition ; then quickly
retraced her steps, and warned her husband of the im-
pending danger. Louvet, hastily arming himself, ran
from door to door to alarm his friends, but found them
all absent ; then fortunately ascertaining from one of the
servants they had gone to Petion's house, he followed
them there. He found them quietly deliberating over a
decree, which ought to be presented on the morrow, and
which, by a chance majority, they hoped to pass. He re-
lated what had occurred, communicated his fears, in-
formed them of the plot devised against them by the
Cordeliers and Jacobins, and concluded by urging them,
on their side, to pursue some active and energetic

Then Petion rose, calm and self-possessed as usual,
walked to the window, opened it, and then extended his
hand, which he drew in covered with moisture.

" It rains," he said ; " there will be nothing to-night. "

" Through this half-opened window the last vibration
of the clock was heard striking ten.

Such were the occurrences of the 10th of March, and
the evening preceding it occurrences which, in this
gloomy obscurity and menacing silence, rendered the
abodes destined to shelter the living like sepulchers
peopled by the dead. In fact, long patrols of the Na-
tional Guard, preceded by men marching with fixed
bayonets, troops of citizens, armed at hazard, pushing
against one another, gendarmes closely examining each
doorway, and strictly scrutinizing every narrow alley
those were the sole inhabitants who ventured to expose
themselves in the streets. Every one instinctively under-
stood something unusual and terrible was taking place.
The cold and drizzling rain, which had tended so much
to reassure Petion, had considerably augmented the ill-
humor and trouble of these inspectors, whose every meet-
ing resembled preparation for combat, and who, after
recognizing one another with looks of defiance, exchanged
the word of command slowly and with a very bad grace.


Indeed, it was said, seeing one and the other returning
after their separation, that they mutually feared an attack
from behind. On the same evening, when Paris was a
prey to one of those panics (so often renewed that they
ought, in some measure, to have become habitual), this
evening the massacre of the lukewarm revolutionists was
secretly debated who, after having voted (with restriction
for the most part) the death of the king, recoiled to-day
before the death of the queen, a prisoner in the temple
with her sister-in-law and her children. A woman, en-
veloped in a mantle of lilac printed cotton, with black
spots, her head covered and almost buried in the hood,
glided along the houses in La Rue St. Honore, seeking
concealment under a door-porch, or in the angle of a
wall, every time a patrol appeared, remaining motionless
as a statue, and holding her breath till he had passed, and
then again pursuing her anxious course with increasing
rapidity, till some danger of a similar nature again com-
pelled her to seek refuge in silence and immobility.

She had already, thanks to the precautions she had
taken, traveled over with impunity part of La Eue St.
Honore, when she suddenly encountered, not a body of
patrol, but a small troop of our brave enrolled volunteers,
who, having dined at La Halle-au-B16, found their patriot-
ism considerably increased by the numerous toasts they
had drunk to their future victories. The poor woman
uttered a cry, and made a futile attempt to escape by La
Rue du Coq.

" Ah, ah ! citoyenne," cried the chief of the volunteers
(for already, with the need of command, natural to man,
these worthy patriots had elected their chief). "Ah!
where are you going ? "

The fugitive made no reply, but continued her rapid

" What sport," said the chief ; " it is a man disguised,
an aristocrat, who thinks to save himself."

The sound of two or three guns escaping from hands
rather too unsteady to be depended upon announced to
the poor woman the fatal movement she had made.


" No, no," cried she, stopping running, and retracing
her steps ; " no, citizen ; you are mistaken. I am not a

"Then advance at command," said the chief, "and
reply to my questions. Where are you hastening to,
charming belle of the night ? "

"But, citizen, I am not going anywhere. I am re-

"Oh ! returning, are you ?"


" It is rather a late return for a respectable woman,

" I am returning from visiting a sick relative."

" Poor little kitten ! " said the chief, making a motion
with his hand, before which the horrified woman quickly
recoiled. " Where is your passport ? "

" My passport ? What is that, citizen ? What do you
mean ? "

" Have you not read the decree of the Commune ? "


" You have heard it proclaimed, then ? "

" Alas ! no. What, then, said this decree, mon Dieu 9 "

" In the first place, we no longer say God ; we only
speak of the Supreme Being now."

" Pardon me, I am in error. It is an old custom."

" Bad habit the habit of the aristocracy."

" I will endeavor to correct myself, citizen ; but you
said "

" I said that the decree of the Commune prohibited,
after six in the evening, any one to go out without a
civic pass. Now, have you this civic pass ? "

"Alas ! no."

" You have forgotten it at your relation's ? "

" I was ignorant of the necessity of going out with one."

" Then come with us to the first post, there you can
explain all prettily to the captain ; and if he feels perfectly
satisfied with your explanation, he will depute two men
to conduct you in safety to your abode, else you will be
detained for further information."


From the cry of terror which escaped the poor prisoner,
the chief of the enrolled volunteers understood how much
the unfortunate woman dreaded this interview.

" Oh, oh ! " said he, " I am quite certain we hold dis-
tinguished game. Forward, forward to the route, my
little ci-devant."

And the chief, seizing the arm of the former, placed it
within his own, and dragged her, notwithstanding her
cries and tears, toward the post Du Palais Egalite.

They were already at the top of the barrier of Sergens,
when suddenly a tall young man, closely wrapped in a
mantle, turned the corner of La Rue des Petits Champs at
the very moment when the prisoner endeavored, by re-
newing her supplications, to regain her liberty. But,
without listening, the chief dragged her brutally for-
ward. The woman uttered a cry of terror, mingled with
despair. The young man saw the struggle ; he also heard
the cry, then bounded from the opposite side of the
street, and found himself facing the little troop.

" What is all this ? What are you doing to this woman ? "
demanded he of the person who appeared to be the chief.

" Before you question me you had better attend to
your own business."

" Who is this woman, and what do you want with her ?"
repeated the young man, in a still more imperative tone
than at first.

" But who are you, that you interrogate us ? "

The young man opened his cloak, when an epaulet was
visible, glistening on his military costume.

" I am an officer," said he, " as you can see."

"Officer! in what?"

"In the Civic Guard."

''Well, what of that?" replied one of the troop.
"What do we know here of the officers of the Civic
Guard ? "

" What is that he says ? " asked another man, in the
drawling and ironical tone peculiar to a man of the
people, or, rather, of the Parisian populace, beginning to
be angry.


"He says," replied the young man, "that if the
epaulet cannot command respect for the officer, the
sword shall command respect for the epaulet. "

At the same time, making a retrograde movement, the
unknown defender of the young woman had disengaged
his arms from the folds of his mantle, and drawn from
beneath it, sparkling by the glimmer of a lamp, a large
infantry saber. Then, with a rapid movement which dis-
played his familiarity with similar scenes of violence,
seized the chief of volunteers by the collar of his blouse,
and placing the saber to his throat :

"Now/' said he, "let us speak like friends."

" But, citizen," said the chief, endeavoring to free

" I warn you that at the slightest movement made,
either by you or any of your men, I pass my saber
through your body."

During this time two men belonging to the troop re-
tained their hold of the woman.

" You have asked who I am," continued the young
man, " which you had no right to do, since you do not
command a regular patrol. However, I will inform you.
My name is Maurice Lindey ; I commanded a body of
artillerymen on the 10th of August, am now lieutenant in
the National Guards, and secretary to the section of
Brothers and Friends. Is that sufficient ? "

"Well, Citizen Lieutenant," replied the chief, still
menaced with the blade, the point of which he felt press-
ing more and more, " this is quite another thing. If you
are really what you say, that is a good patriot "

" There, I knew we should soon understand each other,"
said the officer. "Now, in your turn, answer me ; why
did this woman call out, and what are you doing with

"We are taking her to the guard-house."

" And why are you taking her there ? "

" Because she has no civic pass, and the last decree of
the Commune ordered the arrest of any and every indi-
vidual appearing on the streets of Paris without one after


ten o'clock at night! Do you forget the country is in
danger, and that the black flag floats over 1'Hotel de
Ville ? "

" The black flag floats over 1'Hotel de Ville, and the
country is in danger, because two hundred thousand
slaves march against France," replied the officer, " and
not because a woman runs through the streets of Paris
after ten o'clock at night. But never mind, citizens.
There is a decree of the Commune, it is true, and you
only did your duty ; and if you had answered me at once,
our explanation might have been a much shorter and
probably a less stormy one. It is well to be a patriot, but
equally so to be polite ; and the first officer whom the
citizens ought to respect is he, it seems to me, whom
they themselves appointed. In the meantime, release
that woman, if you please. You are at liberty to depart."

" Oh, citizen," cried she, seizing the arm of Maurice
(having listened to the whole of this debate with the most
intense anxiety), "oh, citizen, do not abandon me to the
mercy of these rude and half-drunken men ! "

" Well, then," said Maurice, " take my arm, and I will
conduct you with them as far as the Poste."

" To the Poste !" exclaimed the terrified woman, "and
why to the Poste, when I have injured no one ?"

" You are taken to the Poste," replied Maurice, " not
because you have done any one wrong, or because you are
considered capable of so doing, but on account of the
decree issued by the Commune, forbidding any one to go
out without a pass ; and you have none."

" But, monsieur, I was ignorant of it."

" Citoyenne, you will find at the Poste brave and hon-
orable men, who will fully appreciate your reasons, and
from whom you have nothing to fear."

"Monsieur," said the young woman, pressing Maurice's
arm, "it is no longer insult that I fear, it is death; if
they conduct me to the Poste, I am lost ! "




THERE was in this voice an accent of so much terror,
mingled with superiority, that Maurice was startled. Like
a stroke of electricity, this vibrating voice had touched
his heart. He turned toward the enrolled volunteers,
who were talking among themselves. Humiliated at hav-
ing been held in check by a single individual, they were
now consulting together with the visible intention of re-
gaining their lost ground. They were eight against one ;
three were armed with guns, the remainder with pistols
and pikes. Maurice wore only his saber. The contest
could not be an equal one. Even the woman compre-
hended this, as she held down her head, and uttered a
deep sigh.

As to Maurice, with his brows knitted, his lip disdain-
fully curled, and his saber drawn from its scabbard, he
stood irresolute, fluctuating between the sentiments of a
man and a citizen, the one urging him to protect this
woman, the other counseling him to give her up. All at
once, at the corner of La Rue des Bons Enf ans, he saw the
reflection of several muskets, and heard also the measured
tread of a patrol, who, perceiving a crowd, halted within
a few paces of the group, and, through the corporal, de-
manded :

" Who goes there ? "

" A friend," said Maurice. "A friend! Advance,
Louis ! "

He to whom this order was addressed placed himself at
the head of his eight men, and quickly approached.

"Is it you, Maurice ? " said the corporal, " Ah, liber,
tine ! what are you doing in the streets at this hour ! "

" You see, I am going to the section of Brothers and


" Yes ; to visit that of sisters and friends. We know
all about that."

" Ah, listen, ma belle,

When the dusk midnight hour
The church-bell shall toll,

I will haste to thy bower ;
To thy side I will steal,

Spite of bolts and of bars,
And my love will reveal,

'Neath the light of the stars.

Is it not so ? "

" No, mon ami ; you are mistaken. I was on my way
home when I discovered this citoyenne struggling in the
hands of these citizen volunteers, and ran to inquire why
they wished to detain her. "

"It is just like you," said Louis. Then, turning to-
ward the volunteers, " Why did you stop this woman ! "
inquired the poetical corporal.

" I have already told the lieutenant," replied the chief
of the little troop ; " because she had no pass."

" Bah ! bah !" said Louis, " a great crime, certainly."

" Are you, then, ignorant of the decree of the Com-
mune ? " demanded the chief of the volunteers.

" Yes ; but there is another clause which has annulled
that which listen :

" On Pindus and Parnassus, it is decreed by Love,
That beauty's witching face,
That youth and fairy grace,
Without a pass, by day or night, may through the city rove.

What do you say to this decree, citizen ? It is clever, it
seems to me."

" Yes ; but it does not appear to me peremptory. In
the first place, it has not appeared in the ' Moniteur ' ;
then we are neither upon Pindus nor Parnassus ; it is not
yet day ; and, lastly, the citoyenne is perhaps neither
graceful, young, nor fair."

" I wager the contrary," said Louis. " Prove that I
am in the right, citoyenne ; remove your hood, that all


may judge if you come under the conditions of the de-

" Monsieur," said the young woman, pressing closer to
Maurice, " haying saved me from your enemies, protect
me now against your friends, I beseech you ! "

" You see," said the chief, " how she hides herself.
In my opinion, she is a spy of the aristocrats some street-

" Oh, monsieur ! " said the young woman, stepping be-
fore Maurice, and discovering a face radiant with youth
and beauty, visible by the light of the lamp, " do I look
like what they have termed me ? "

Maurice was amazed. He had never even dreamed of
beauty equal to that he had caught sight of for a moment,
and only for a moment, since the unknown had again
enshrouded herself in the hood as quickly as she had pre-
viously removed it.

"Louis," said Maurice, in a whisper, "claim the
prisoner, that you may conduct her to your post ; you
have a right to do so, as chief of patrol."

" Very good," said the young corporal ; " I understand
with Half a word."

Then, addressing himself to the unknown :

" Let us go, ma belle," continued he ; "since you will
not afford me the proox that you arc within the conditions
of the decree, you must follow us."

" Why follow you ? " said the chief of the enrolled
volunteers, " we shall conduct the citoyenne to the post
of I'Hotel de Ville, where we are on guard, and there she
will be examined."

" Not so, not so," said the chief of the first troop ; " she
belongs to us, and we will keep her."

"Citizens, citizens," said Louis, "yon will make me
angry "

" Angry or not angry, morbleu ! it is equally the same
to us. We are true soldiers of the Republic, and while
you patrol the streets, we go to shed our blood on the

" Take care you do not shed it by the way, citizens,

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