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or even in uniform, or if he had spoken in loud and
impressive tones, his voice might even then have seemed
to the people like the voice of God, or at least of one sent
by God, and perliaps he might have regained the influence
he had lost; but in the searching light of dawn, in that
old gray coat, with his beard three days old, and his hair
unpowdered, his appearance was much against him. He

VOL. II. 21


was pale, too, with fatigue, and his eyes were expression-
less and devoid of lustre, as he stammered out, " Gentle-
men ! My children ! My children ! Gentlemen ! "

Ah, the sight upon that balcony was one that neither
the friends nor enemies of royalty cared to see. And yet
Ghoiseul shouted, "Long live the king!" and Isidore
shouted, " Long live the king ! " And such is the prestige
that attaches to royalty, that in spite of his appearance
which harmonised so little with one's idea of the head
of a great nation, many voices repeated: "Long live the

In response, came a shout from the commander of the
National Guards, — a shout which met with a very different
greeting, and was re-echoed again and again, — " Long live
the Nation ! " Under such circumstances this shout meant
rebellion; and the royal couple could see that it was at
once taken up by a number of the hussars.

Marie Antoinette uttered a cry of rage, and, pressing the
dauphin to her breast, she leaned over the balcony, and
through her set teeth hissed out the word "Wretches !"
at the crowd below. Several persons heard it, and an-
swered the epithet with threats and vituperations.

Ghoiseul was in despair, and felt tempted to kill himself
then and there; but he resolved to make one more effort.

"Rally, hussars, for your honour's sake, and save the
king ! " he shouted.

But at that very instant a new actor appeared upon the
scene. It was Drouet, who had just come from the Town
Hall, where he had persuaded the officials to prevent the
king from continuing his journey.

"Walking straight up to Ghoiseul, he called out, —

" So you intend to carry off the king, whether or no !
Very well; but I tell you one thing, you '11 take him away
a corpse ! "

Ghoiseul advanced upon Drouet, with his sword drawn;
but the commander of the National Guards interfered.

*'If you go a step further, I will kill you !" he cried.

POOR catheeine! 323

As he uttered these words , another man darted forward
before any one could hinder him. It was Isidore de
Charny. The man for whom he had been lying in wait
was Drouet.

"Back, back!" he shouted; "that man belongs to me."

And, knife in hand, he rushed upon Drouet.

Two shots rang out upon the air simultaneously, one
from a pistol, the other from a musket. The pistol-ball
flattened itself against Isidore's collar-bone ; the musket
ball pierced his breast. The shots were lired so close to
him that the poor fellow seemed to be positively enveloped
in a cloud of flame and smoke.

They saw him throw up his arms, and heard him say,
"Poor Catherine ! "

Then, dropping his knife, he fell across his horse's crup-
per, and rolled to the ground.

The queen uttered a shriek of horror, and, letting the
dauphin slip from her arms, fell backward, without see-
ing a man who was coming at full speed from the direction
of Dun.

The king assisted the queen into the house and closed
the window. It was not a few hussars on foot that
shouted, "Long live the Nation!" now, but the entire
crowd. In that multitude only a score of hussars on
horseback remained faithful, — the only hope of royalty
in distress!

The queen sank into a chair and buried her face in her
hands. She was thinking how she had just seen Isidore
fall at her feet and die for her sake, as she had seen his
brother George die. The noise made by the hasty opening
of a door made her look up, and we will not endeavour to
describe the feelings that stirred the heart of the woman
and the queen at that instant.

Olivier de Charny, pale and covered with blood from his
brother's last embrace, was standing in the doorway.

As for the king, he seemed crushed to the very earth.




The room was filled with National Guardsmen and a
crowd of citizens attracted there by curiosity.

The queen's first impulse was to rush to Charny, wipe
the blood from his face with her handkerchief, and whis-
per those words of consolation which go straight from
heart to heart; but she realised the necessity of repressing
this impulse, and only ventured to rise from her chair and
extend both hands to him, murmuring under her breath,
"Olivier! Olivier!"

Outwardly calm, he waved the spectators aside, and said
in a firm but quiet voice: "Pardon me, but I must speak
to their Majesties alone."

The National Guardsmen attempted to give him to
understand that they were there to prevent the king from
holding any communication with outsiders; but Charny
compressed his lips, frowned, and opened his riding coat,
thus disclosing to view a brace of pistols; then in tones
even quieter, but infinitely more threatening than before,
he repeated, " Gentlemen, I have already had the honour
to inform you that I must speak to the king and queen
in private."

And as he spoke he again motioned the intruders to
leave the room.

Encouraged by the power the count's marvellous self-
control seemed to exert over others as well as over himself,
Damas and the guardsmen pushed the interlopers towards
the door, and finally compelled them to vacate the apart-


The queen realised more than ever now the wonderful
service such a man could have rendered, had not etiquette
demanded that Madame de Tourzel should occupy a seat
in the king's coach in his stead.

Glancing around to satisfy himself that there was no
one near the queen except her faithful subjects, he said,
approaching her, —

"Here I am at last, madame, and I have seventy hussars
that I think I can rely upon at the edge of the town.
What are your orders? "

"But tell me, first, what happened to you, my poor
Charny," exclaimed the queen, in German.

Charny made a slight sign to the queen to indicate that
Maiden was within hearing, and that he too understood

"Alas! seeing nothing more of you, we concluded that
you must be dead," she continued, in French this time.

" Unfortunately, it is not I who am dead. It is my poor
brother Isidore." He could not repress a tear. "But my
turn will come," he added in a low tone.

"But tell me, Charny, what happened to you, and why
you vanished from our sight so mysteriousl}'," said the
queen; adding in a whisper, and in the German tongue,
"Olivier, you have not treated us well, — me especially."

Charny bowed as he said in reply, "I supposed my
brother had explained the cause of my temporary absence
from your side."

" Yes , I know you were pursuing that man , that rascally
Drouet; and we feared for a while that this pursuit had
involved you in some dire calamity."

"It did. In spite of my eiïorts, I did not overtake
Drouet in time. A postilion, on his way back from Cler-
mont, informed Drouet that your carriage, instead of being
on the road to Verdun, as he supposed, had taken the road
leading from Clermont to Varennes. Thereupon, Drouet
plunged into the Forest of Argonne. I fired at him with
both my pistols, but they were not loaded. In my haste I


had mounted Dandoins' horse at Sainte Menehould, instead
of the one intended for me. What shall we call this,
madame? Fate? Nevertheless, I followed Drouet into
the forest; but unfortunately I was not familiar with it,
while he knew every foot of the ground. The darkness,
too, had become so intense that I could not see the scoun-
drel; but as long as I could hear him, I rushed on in the
direction of the sound, but when the sound died away I
had nothing to guide me. I am a man, madame, as you
know, and tears are strangers to my eyes; but there in
the darkness, in the middle of that great forest, 1 wept
tears of fury and uttered cries of rage."

The queen extended her hand to him.

Charny bowed low as he touched the trembling hand
lightly with his lips.

"No one came in answer to my calls," continued Charny,
"and I wandered about in the woods all night, and at day-
break found myself near the village of Geves, on the road
from Varennes to Dun. I asked myself if you had been
fortunate enough to elude Drouet, as he had eluded me.
It was barely possible; and in that ease you must have
passed through Varennes, and there was nothing for me to
do but hasten after you. But had you been stopped at
Varennes? In that case, being entirely alone, my devotion
would prove equally futile ; so I finally decided to hasten
on to Dun. Just before I reached that village I met
Deslon with a hundred hussars. He was very uneasy.
He had heard nothing, but he had met Jules de Bouille
and Raigecourt riding at full speed towards Stenay. Why
they did not tell Deslon the state of affairs, I do not know,
unless it was because they distrusted him, though I know
him to be an honourable and loyal gentleman. I imme-
diately surmised that your party had been arrested in
Varennes, and that young Bouille and Raigecourt had
gone to notify General Bouille. I told Deslon so, and
urged him to follow me with his hussars, which he at once
consented to do, leaving thirty men to guard the bridge


over the Meuse, however. An hour later we reached
Varennes, having travelled twelve miles in that time. But
we found barricade after barricade confronting us. To
attack them would have been folly, so I sounded a parley.
An officer of the National Guards presented himself, and I
asked permission to rejoin my hussars, stationed in the
town. This request was refused; then I asked permission
to come in and receive my orders from the king; and as
they were about to refuse this request as they had the
first, I put spurs to my horse, cleared the first barricade,
then the second, and, guided by the uproar, rode through
the town at full gallop, and reached the square just as your
Majesty was leaving the balcony. And now I await your
Majesty's orders."

Again the queen pressed Charny's hands in both her own;
then, turning to the king, who seemed to have lapsed into
a state of torpor, she asked, —

" Have you heard what happened to your faithful ser-
vant the count, sire? "

But as the king answered never a word, she arose and
went to him, exclaiming: "Sire, we have no time to lose.
Unfortunately, we have wasted too much already. Here
is Monsieur de Charny with seventy trusty men, and he
awaits your orders."

Then, seeing the king shake his head despondently,
she exclaimed: "Sire, sire, in Heaven's name give your

And Charny pleaded as eloquently with his eyes as the
queen pleaded with her voice.

"My orders?" faltered the king; "I have no orders to
give. I am a prisoner. Do whatever you think best."

"Very well, that is all I ask," answered the queen.
Then, drawing Charny aside, she whispered: "You have
carte blanche. Do whatever you think best, as the king
says; but act promptly and decisively, or we are indeed

"That is true, madame," replied the count. "Let me


consult with these other gentlemen a minute, and •what-
ever plan we decide upon shall be carried into execution
at once."

Just then Choiseul entered, holding in his hand some
papers wrapped in a bloodstained handkerchief, which he
held out to Charny without a word. The count understood
instantly that these were papers which had been found
on his brother's body, and he raised the package to his
lips and kissed it reverently.

The queen could not repress her sobs; but Charny did
not falter. Placing the papers in his breast pocket, he
said quietly: "Gentlemen, will you aid me in the last great
effort I am about to make? "

"We are ready to give our lives," was the prompt

" I have seventy hussars. While I attack the barricades
in front, will you divert the attention of our opponents by
an attack in the rear? Under cover of that, I think I can
force the barricades, penetrate to this spot, and carry off
the king."

The young men's only answer was to offer Charny their

Again turning to the queen, the count said : "Madame,
in one hour your Majesty will be free, or we shall all be

^'Oh, count, count, do not utter that word. It sounds
too ominous ! "

Charny bowed in silence and walked to the door; but as
he was about to place his hand on the latch, the door
opened, and a new personage entered, to play his part in
this already complicated drama.

This was a man about forty years of age, with a stern
and gloomy face. His collar was turned back at the
throat, and his coat was unbuttoned. His bloodshot eyes
and dusty clothing also indicated that, urged on by relent-
less passion, he had travelled on the wings of the wind. He
carried a brace of pistols in his belt, and a sword hung at
his side.


Breathless and almost voiceless when he opened the
door, the sight of the king and queen seemed to afford him
intense relief. A vengeful smile overspread his features ;
and, without paying the slightest attention to the less
important persons present, he paused in the doorway, fill-
ing it almost completely with his powerful frame, and
raising his hand commandingly, exclaimed, —

" In the name of the National Assembly, you are all my

With one swift movement, Choiseul was in front of him,
pistol in hand. He, too, raised his hand, to blow out the
brains of this new-comer, who seemed to excel all his prede-
cessors in insolence and determination ; but with an equally
rapid movement the queen grasped the duke's uplifted
hand, and in a low tone said, —

" Do not hasten our destruction, monsieur. Be prudent.
We are gaining time by all these interruptions, and General
Bouille cannot be far off."

"You are right, madame," replied Choiseul, returning
the pistol to his breast.

The queen glanced around for Charny, surprised that he
had not been the first to confront this new peril; but,
strange to say, Charny seemed anxious to escape the notice
of this intruder, and had hastily withdrawn to the farther
end of the room. Still, knowing Charny as she did, the
queen did not doubt for an instant that he would emerge
fi-om the shadow and explain this mystery when the right
moment came.




During this entire scene, the messenger from the !N"a-
tional Assembly whom Choiseul was threatening had
seemed to take no note of the fact that his life was in
peril, but to be under the influence of some sentiment
much more powerful than the fear of death. The expres-
sion of his face could not be mistaken. It was that of a
hunter who has at last discovered the lion, the lioness,
and the cubs which together devoured his only child.

But on hearing the word prisoners, which so excited
Choiseul's ire, the king raised his head, and seemed to
wake from his lethargy.

" Prisoners ! In the name of the National Assembly,
prisoners!" he exclaimed. "What do you mean? I do
not understand you."

"What I say is very simple and easy to understand,
nevertheless," replied the intruder. "Notwithstanding
the oath you took not to leave France, you are fleeing
from your country secretly, breaking your word, betray-
ing the people, betraying the Nation. But the people are
aroused, the Nation is calling her citizens to arms, and the
Nation is speaking to you now through the voice of one of
the least of your subjects. Sire, in the name of the Nation,
in the name of the Assembly, you are my prisoner; for
this voice is none the less powerful because it comes from
one of the lowly."

From the adjoining store-room came sounds of applause,
accompanied, or rather followed, by frantic " Bravoes ! "


"Madame," the duke said to the queen in a whispered
aside, "do not forget that it was you who checked me just
now, and that you woukl not be subjected to such insolence
but for the compassion you showed this man a moment

"All this is nothing if we can avenge ourselves,"
muttered the queen.

" Yes, but what if we do not avenge ourselves? " responded
Choiseul, gloomily.

The queen groaned.

But Charny reached over Monsieur de Choiseul's shoul-
der and touched the queen on the arm.

"Leave me to deal with this man; I will attend to him! "
hissed the count through his set teeth.

Meanwhile, the king, overwhelmed by this new blow,
gazed with astonishment at this stern and determined man
who dared to use such energetic language to a king, and
who spoke, not in the name of his Majesty, Louis XVI., but
of the Assembly and the Nation ; and with this astonish-
ment was mingled not a little curiosity, for it seemed to the
monarch that he had seen this man somewhere before,
though he could not recall when or where. At last the king
said: " After all, what do you want with me? Speak."

"I want you and your family to promise not to take
another step towards foreign lands."

"And you come, doubtless, with several hundred armed
men to impede my progress," said the king.

"No, sire, I am alone ; or, rather, there are two of us,
— an aide of General Lafayette's, and myself, an humble
peasant. But the Assembly has issued a decree, and expects
us to execute it, and it be shall done."

"Give me the decree, so that I may at least read it,"
said the king.

"I haven't it, but my companion has. My companion
was sent by General Lafayette and by the Assembly to
see that the orders of the Nation are carried out ; I came,
partly at Mayor Bailly's request, but principally of my


own accord to watch my companion and blow liis brains
out if be balks."

The queen, the duke, and the other persons present
listened in amazement. Hitherto, they had seen the pop-
ulace either in a state of humility or of fury, either in the
character of humble petitioners or murderers. Now they
saw, for the first time, a man of the people standing erect
with folded arms, conscious of his own power, and asserting
his rights,

Louis XVI. perceived that there was nothing to hope
for from a man of this sort, and was anxious to put an
end to the conversation as soon as possible; so he said:
"Where is your companion? "

"Here, behind me."

He stepped aside as he spoke, leaving the doorway clear,
and through it they caught sight of a young man in uni-
form, leaning against a window. His clothing, too, was
in great disorder, his face was begrimed with dust and
tears, and he held a folded paper in his hand.

It was young Eomeuf, Lafayette's youthful aide-de-
camp, whose acquaintance the reader made during young
Louis de Bouillé's visit to Paris. At that time the young
man was a patriot, an ardent patriot; but of late the sur-
veillance of the queen had been intrusted to him. He had
been in the habit of accompanying the queen whenever she
left the palace, and in all his relations with her he had
displayed a deference and delicacy for which the queen
felt deeply grateful.

It was only natural, therefore, that she should exclaim:
"What, is it you!" on beholding him. Then, with the
deep sigh of a woman who sees a power which she had
believed invincible fail her, she exclaimed: "I would
never have believed it ! "

"Ah!" muttered the other messenger, "it was a good
thing I came, I see,"

Romeuf advanced slowly, with eyes downcast, and the
decree in his hand; but the impatient monarch took a


quick step towards him, and snatched the paper from his

"There is no longer any king in France, it seems," he
exclaimed, after perusing it.

Romeuf's companion smiled, as much as to say: "I am
perfectly well aware of it."

On hearing the king's words, the queen turned, as if
about to question him.

"Listen, madame," he cried. "This is the decree the
Assembly has dared to pass ! "

And in a voice trembling with anger and indignation
he read the following : —

" The Assembly directs the Minister of the Interior to send messen-
gers into the different departments immediately, with orders to all
public officials, National Guards, and troops of the line to arrest
or cause the arrest of all persons leaving the kingdom, and also to
prevent the exportation of goods of every kind, such as arms and
ammunition, gold and silver in any form, and horses and carriages.
And in case these messengers overtake the king or any members
of the royal family, or any person or persons who may have aided
or abetted them in their flight, then the aforesaid public officials,
National Guards, and troops of the line shall take all possible
measures to check their flight and prevent the continuance of their
journey, and report the fact immediately to this legislative body."

The queen listened in a sort of bewilderment; but when
the king had finished, she tossed her head, as if to reassure

"Impossible!" she exclaimed, extending her hand for
the paper. " Give it to me ! "

Monsieur de Romeuf's companion reassured the National
Guards and other patriots of Yarennes with a smile. That
word "Impossible!" so scornfully uttered by the queen,
had disquieted them a little.

"Read it, madame, read it, if you still doubt!" ex-
claimed the king, bitterly. "Read this decree, written and
signed by the president of the National Assembly."


"And what man has dared to write and sign such a
decree? "

"A nobleman," replied the king; "the Marquis de

Was it not a strange thing that this decree , which arrested
the flight of the king and the royal family, should bear a
name which, though obscure up to that time, was to be
connected in a conspicuous manner with the history of the
early part of the nineteenth century?

The queen took the decree and read it with compressed
lips and frowning brow.

Then the king took it from her for a second perusal,
after which he tossed it disdainfully upon the bed where
the dauphin and Madame Royale were sleeping.

At this, the queen, unable to control herself any longer,
angrily seized the paper, crumpled it viciously in her
hands, and threw it far from her, exclaiming, —

"Be careful, monsieur; I will not have my children
contaminated with such a paper."

This act created an uproar in the adjoining room, and
the National Guardsmen there made a movement as if
to rush into the apartment occupied by the illustrious

A cry of terror escaped the lips of Lafayette's aide-de-
camp; but his companion uttered a cry of rage.

"So they insult the Assembly! they insult the Nation!
they insult the people ! " he growled. " So be it! "

And, turning to the already excited men, armed with
guns, scythes, and sabres, he shouted, —

" Help, citizens, help ! "

Again there was a frantic movement in the crowd, — a
movement that was a sort of continuation of the first; and
Heaven only knows what the result would have been, had
not Charny, who had held himself aloof heretofore, now
come forward, and, grasping the arm of the unknown mes-
senger just as he was about to draw his sword, said, —

"A word with you, if you please, Monsieur Billot. I
■wish to speak with you."


Billot, for it was he, uttered a cry of astonishment in
his turn, and became as pale as death. He stood unde-
cided for a moment, then, replacing his half -drawn sword
in its sheath.

"So be it!" he responded. "I, too, have something I
want to say to you. Monsieur de Charny."

Then, turning towards the door, he added: "Make room
for us, citizens, if you please. I want to have a short talk
with this gentleman. But you may rest easy, comrades,"
he added in a lower tone, "for neither the wolf, the she-
wolf, nor their cubs shall escape us. I am here, and I will
be responsible for them."

And although this man was as much a stranger to all
the others as he was to the king and his adherents, —
Charny alone excepted, — the crowd seemed to recognise
his right to give orders, for they backed out of the room.
Moreover, each man was anxious to tell his friends below
what had occurred, and to advise the patriots to keep a
closer watch than ever.

Meanwhile, Charny had whispered to the queen, —

"Monsieur de Romeuf is on your side, madame; I leave
him here with you. Do the best you can with him."

This could be the more easily done from the fact that
when he entered the adjoining room, Charny closed the
door behind him and placed his back against it, thus pre-

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