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long before being transferred to the permanently appointed, well-paid jury, scaffold. The site of the old office can who could be trusted not to acquit. still be distinguished ; there prisoners This arrangement smoothed the path of were received and their names recorded duty for l'homme couteau, for the ruthand inscribed.
less accusateur. “La haine n'avait pas There was also the arrière greffe, besoin d'être convaincue ; elle avait divided from the other part by strong condamné d'avance.” It was sufficient bars, and in the office sat the terrible cause for death to have received concierge Richard, upon whose favor indifférence la constitution républiso much depended. Here also prison- caine ; " and it is pleasant to record ers waited for the arrival of Sanson that many meritorious and advanceit and the tumbrils. The spot can be sans-culottes trod the bloody path traced at which the sentences of the merely as the victims of obscure private Tribunal were read out to those vic- hatreds. tims, who then learned that they had Sanson and his valets arrived daily gained a prize in the lottery of the at the prison, always gay with the sainte guillotine. A certain significant prospect of a merry morning's — or mark was made with chalk on the afternoon's — work. They never comdoors of the heavily barred, strongly plained of being overtasked. Yet the locked cells of the condemned; and problem which chiefly troubled the then it only remained for Sanson to heads of the Tribunal especially complete the work of liberty. The Robespierre — was how to slaughter extension of the law of suspected per- with sufficient rapidity, and in satisfacsons — under which men or women tory numbers, the so-called aristocrats. might be suspected of being suspect - Despite the most restless energy, arisfilled the prisons of Paris at once with tocrats and enemies of the dictator so three thousand extra prisoners; and abounded that it was difficult, indeed the Conciergerie became frightfully | almost impossible, to mow them down overcrowded. Happily the suspect had with reasonable celerity. Had Robesseldom to wait more than three or four pierre been spared, the Conciergerie days for the guillotine. The vestibule would have seen daily fournées of one de la mort had to be speedily emptied hundred and fifty victims ; and it was in order to be again filled.
indeed proposed, in influential quarA little door at the bottom of some ters, that each Paris prison should steps, in the rue de Paris, gives access have its guillotine working continuto the passage leading to the Revolu- ously every day ; but, despite such tionary Tribunal. Fouquier-Tinville eager desire, it remained a difficulty to was virtually the governor of the Con- overtake the necessary work. Robesciergerie, and this exemplary officer pierre had not Danton's colossal augave the greatest satisfaction to his dacity of crime, and hesitated to repeat master, Robespierre. Thoroughly zeal- the wholesale massacre in the prisons. ous in the discharge of his functions, His pettier nature preferred the forhis work was to him a pleasure. He malities of the guillotine - if only the knew no pedantry, and he shunned no untiring machine could be driven fast labor. Active and exact, his willingly enough — and much might be achieved rendered services were yet overtasked, with such mechanism. Happily, beand, despite all his care, he sonietimes fore Robespierre could guillotine all his overlooked a prisoner — especially one enemies, some of them, like Tallien, whose name had not been registered when themselves in deadly danger, — and, by mere inadvertence, let him rose against the pitiless dictator and cut Jive on. Such accidents were, how short his career. His death put a full ever, very rare, and scarcely detract stop to that industry of wholesale murfrom Tinville's well-merited reputation. der, the development of which is one He followed implicitly the orders of of the most distinctive glories of the Robespierre, and was furnished with a Revolution. The place of Robespierre
never was, nor could be, supplied ; and of the Revolution, gorged the prisons, “ Liberty '' shrieked as the Terror fell and wearied the knife, showed base with him.
pusillanimity when to him came his The courtyards and corridors seem well-deserved doom. now to
be almost painfully silent, With what royal heroism died Marie empty, deserted. They look desolate Antoinette, Madame Roland, Charlotte and bare ; but how full of seething life Corday! They all went to death from they were during the Terror! The the Conciergerie. Fancy creates phanimagination finds it no hard task to tom figures flitting about the then repeople them. The void spaces of to- crowded prison ; voices that have so day were then swarming with baggard long been silent are heard again ; and feverish life — with life which hands long vanished, are almost lived so very near to death — with an touched ; void spaces are repeopled agonized, insecure existence haunted with swarms of fated victims and always by the ghastly red spectre of crowds of ruffianly jailers ; and bright the guillotine. Both sexes and all eyes seem yet to glisten with tears of ranks mingled in the court, and even in anguish. We know so well how these the dungeous ; early youth herded with ghosts of the past dressed and looked senility ; ladies and cavaliers, generals, in life, that the shifting crowd lives senators, royalists, rogues, and strum. again in the imagination. The beadspets -- and one most wretched queen men come; the tumbrils wait - and passed through the haunted prison on there are partings. To the morbid their way to the indiscriminate scaffold. fancy, depraved by dungeons, the unLoves, Hirtations, friendships played a heeding sky, seen only in glimpses hurried, if sometimes intense, part in from the cavernous prison, seems lurid the tragic drama of the godless revo- with the crimson shadow of death. lution ; and eveu song, gay with mock- Among the other faculties of fantasy, ery, fevered
with despair, echoed the ear is seusitive ; and as we wander through that dreary caravanserai of about court and vestibule, we seem to death, in which the whole area reeked hear the baying of deep-mouthed, great, aud steamed with the scent and atmo- fierce dogs, — shepherds’ dogs, as oue sphere of shambles. There was real might say, since their office was to heroism ; there was gay intrepidity ; guard the sheep for the slaughter. there were silent fortitude and defiant Several of these faithful canine animals desperation. French courage sprang were employed in the prison ; but one up elastic beneath the horrible pressure of them, named Ravage, was distin. of the inevitable ; and French temper- guished for ferocity and sagacity. Jailament maintained its natural cheerful- ers slept at night near the cour de ness. There were, of course, lectic préau, and Ravage kept watch there excitement, factitious bravery, unnatu- with his master. Some prisoners atral merriment among the many who tempted to escape by boring a hole in were wantonly condemned to unmer- the wall. Their chief danger of detecited and violent death. Frivolity, tion consisted in the watchfulness of brutality, heathen levity, were not Ravage ; but, strangely enough, he was wanting; and who can even imagine silent. His silence was explained, ou the sorrows, the sufferings, the ago- the following morning, by an assignat nies, the partings from the loved, of of one hundred sous wbich was tied to many of the hapless victims ? Death his tail, together with a little note on can scarcely fail to be a fearful thing, which was written : "On peut corbut this was death, for no fault or rompre Ravage avec un assignat de reason, on a high scaffold, and by cent sous et un paquet de pieds de means of a blood-dripping axe. Among mouton.” The depraved dog walked men the Duc de Châtelet alone showed about publishing his own infamy, and abject cowardice ; though Camille Des- was hailed with shouts of laughter. moulins, who had stimulated the crimes He was immured, as a punishment, for
some hours in a cachot, and emerged Conciergerie -- an apartment which, if with an air of deep humiliation. furniture and fittings be excepted, reNor was
even play – play of a mains to-day in the same condition as ghastly sort — the sport natural to the it was when it was used for the last Terror — wholly wanting. Parodies of night of the Girondins – is the chapel. the dread Tribunal nay, even of It is a large vaulted room, with square death by the guillotine were per- columns and iron gratings above the formed with grim mirth and gay talent. columns at one end, gratings which veil A plank taken from a bed served to windows and suggest dungeons. The represent the fatal bascule of the scaf- place bears few marks of the ecclesiasfold, a chair acted as the guillotine, tical character, and, if a chapel at all, and all the details of an execution were could only be the chapel of a prison. accurately reproduced. Fouquier-Tin- Some of the party, notably Barbaroux, ville and Sanson were well imitated ; Buzot, Pétion, were despairing fugiand doomed men and women, in the tives, hunted by Jacobin ferocity, and very jaws of the dreadful death which the virtuous Roland died by his own they brightly mocked, surrounded at hand; but twenty-two adherents of the moment by jailers, spies, turnkeys, the Gironde were condemned for havhuissiers, played a hideous game with ing conspired against the unity and the dark fate which impended over indivisibility of the Republic, under an them. The light French courage was acte d’accusation, drawn by Fouquierrendered morbid by the horrors of Rev. Tinville according to the directions of olutionary murders. These terrible Robespierre and of St. Just, and reprosports took place in the comparative ducing the pamphlets which Camille silence of midnight in the prison. The Desmoulins wrote to calumniate the discipline of the brutal, drunken jailers Gironde. Against their better natures must have been as lax as it was harsh. and convictions, the Girondins, actu6. Notre rire avait l'air d'un vertige ; "ated by a desire for power and popuand this fact may partly excuse the larity, and perhaps with a view to their levity with which many prisoners own safety, had voted for the death of treated mockingly “de la divinité de the king ; but this unworthy concession Marat, du sacerdoce de Robespierre, de did not save them from the king's fate. la magistrature de Fouquier.” The As a matter of course they were contwo concierges, during the most terrible demned by ruthless rivals for the favor time in the prison, were Le sieur Rich- of la Montagne. Valazé committed ard (whose wife was killed by a des- suicide with a poniard ; and his corpse, perate prisoner) and Le sieur Bault. covered by a mantle, lay in an angle of The latter reigned during a temporary the chapel in which his friends ate suspension of Richard ; and both men their last supper, and was guillotined deserved the confidence of their em- with the living an instance of a senployers. What sights they must have tence carried out after death. The seen ! what agonies did they witness ! deputy Bailleul provided for his friends The côté des Douze and la Souricière a sumptuous supper. The Girondins can now be only feebly recognized; kissed the cold haud of Valazé, and but enough remains to show where covered the rigid face with a cloak bethey were. " Les Nuits à la Concier-fore they sat down. Near to the chapel gerie,” is a sad, significant volume was the cell of the queen, and Marie containing the verses which, sometimes Antoinette may have heard the loud gay, sometimes despairing, often witty, voices and the singing of the excited and always courageous, were wrung guests at that grim revel of approachfrom the hearts of French victims of ing death. Jacobinism and Robespierreism. No Their talk and bearing were a little one can read them now without wonder theatrical, frivolous, and insincere, and emotion.
and fell below the dignity of the dark, One of the memorable sites of the solemn hour. Brave they were ; but
yet the last enemy had its doubts and called “trials” to their comrades in even terrors for some : “Que ferons- misfortune, a significant gesture – the nous demain à pareille heure ?” asked haud drawn across the throat-intiDucos, with an awful curiosity which mated to the crowd of those who resembled the question of Richard III. waited for the same fate, that the vic" La meilleure démonstration de l'im-tim was sentenced. Fournées, during mortalité, n'est-ce pas nous ? ” asked the Terror, consisted of thirty, forty, agnostic Vergniaud. Choice dishes, fifty, sixty heads a day; the last fine wipes, rare flowers, and flaring batch comprised seventy-eight victims. flambeaux decked the table of the con- 6 Tiens, voilà ton extrait mortuaire,” demned guests.
The Abbé Lambert said the turnkey to the prisoner who was present, witnessed the scene, and received a summons to appear before saw the bearing of the men. He re- the tribunal that never spared. One corded the details of that strange fes-act of accusation served for fifty or tival, his record being, says Lamartine, sixty prisoners; and persons of differ“ faithful as conscience, and exact as ent sexes, who held very differing the memory of a last friend.” Many opinions — but who were all innocent of the doomed victims were pagans,
were included in the same very genand scepticism colored their latest eral indictment. The deed was often thoughts. Most refused the consola- illegible, and was shown — if shown at tions of religion ; but a few received all — to the accused at the last moabsolution from Lambert; while the ment. If he wished to maintain or to non-jurivg Abbé Emery ministered to prove his innocence (many prisoners Fauchet. And the room in which all thought in their simplicity that it this took place still stands. At ten would be sufficient to disprove the o'clock the headsmen came, to perform charge made against them), he was the toilette of the condemned. Five told, “Tu n'as pas la parole.” The carts were waiting. The Girondins most usual charge was, that the acburst into the Marseillaise, and thought cused had conspired against the unity chiefly of the example of the death of and indivisibility of the Republic; the Republicans. Arrived at the scaffold, Tribunal judged in mass, sentenced in they all embraced, and resumed their mass, murdered in mass. An act of funeral song
Each time that the accusation was drawn up in general dripping kuife fell, the chant was terms, and any number of names filled weakened by the loss of one voice for- in afterwards. The lists were submitever hushed ; and Vergniaud, who ted by Fouquier-Tinville to Robesstood by to witness all these horrors, pierre, who, in his day of dictatorship, raised his weak song alone until he, the made a pencil mark against the names last executed, had joined his comrades. of those that he wished to destroy. It seems almost an irony of fate that Fouquier lived in the Palais, and rarely the grave of the Girondins, the found - left his dwelling-place except to attend ers of the Republic, should have been the Committee of Public Safety with dug by the side of that of Louis XVI. lists of proscriptions, or to act as proThe total expenses of their interment cureur before the Tribunal. were two hundred and ten francs. Im- The horrors of the prison tended to mersed in a revolutionary current too lessen the dread of death. “ Dans les strong for them, they became victims révolutious,” said Danton, “l'autorité of worse men ; and Danton and Robes- reste aux plus scélérats ;” and Robespierre were, for the time, strengthened pierre, who endured no rival, had to in power by their fall.
destroy his former master and great A staircase, now called l'escalier de la competitor, Danton. To Robespierre Reine, leads from the prison to the himself no one could succeed. The last chamber in which the Revolutionary great act of Danton in the Conciergerie Tribunal sat and doomed. When the (always excepting his own death) occondemned descended from their so- curred on the 2nd of September, 1792.
The massacres in the prisons were ceased with the death of Robespierre. carried out in the crowded Concier. It is a strange irony of fate that such a gerie, and in the Salle des Girondins is wretched creature should have held for shown a small door, walled up, but still so long a time the absolute power of very evident, through which the vic-life and death over so many of his tims were driven into the court where fellow-creatures ! Few persons can rethe paid butchers awaited them. Five strain a feeling of exultation as they prisoners, in their despairing horror, stand in the dreary cell in which the hanged themselves in their cells when inhuman wretch was left to face the the massacre was imminent. It is hor- prospect of the same death which he rible to fancy the scene when the poor had inflicted on so many victims. Durprisoners were thrust into the sham-ing his last hours Robespierre may bles ; blood everywhere on the arms have remembered that he himself had and weapons of the assassins ; on the avowed some sort of belief in some hacked and mutilated corpses ; on the kind of Supreme Being, though that red, slippery, wet floor. Cortet, one thought could hardly give him much of the assassins, himself killed thirty- comfort. Round the jaw, shattered by three of the victims. What expressions his own misdirected bullet, was tied a on the hideous faces of infrahuman bloody rag, to be snatched away by beasts excited by the rapture of such Sanson in order that the knife might carnage ! What cries, sobs, struggles, not be obstructed. Robespierre's last on the part of the helpless victims i utterance was not speech, but a scream. What fiendish cruelties were practised On the morning after the 9th Therupon the unfortunate woman, Made- midor, as Beaulieu tells us, “ On n'osait leine-Josèphe Grederet, “ femme Bap- pas encore dire hautement tout ce tiste, âgée de trente-deux ans, et qu'on pensait : mais on se serrait la bouquetière au Palais Royal”! But main, et l'on disait à voix basse, il her offence was not political. The est mort.'” After his fall, the jailers number massacred is given by Taine as in the different prisons assumed a three hundred and twenty-eight, but shambling semblance of humanity; they tell an uncertain story in the Con- and massacre was stopped. Chancellor ciergerie. No full records were kept Pasquier, arrested suddenly in the of the later butcheries, and it is more street, could not be tried on the day than probable that many more than the next after his arrest, and was therefore supposed number perished.
spared, because the next day after that The chapel (Salle des Girondins) has was the day on which Robespierre fell, a sacristy, and this is a small, hard, - a singular instance of revolutionary bare cell, which stands next to that of good fortune. How many widows and the
queen. This cell is noteworthy, be- orphans had Robespierre made ! “ Scécause within its walls were passed the lerat, go down to hell, with the curses last hours of the monster Robespierre. of all wives and mothers !” That was, The world has seen many very wicked no doubt, the cry of a mother and meu, but never perhaps one so con- a wife. Another woman springs on temptible as the dictator of the Terror. the tumbril : “The death of thee If he had lived a little longer, Couthon gladdens my very heart !” And these and St. Just, who happily died with women, if furious, were not “furies ” him, would have been sacrificed as of the Revolution. The tricoteuses are Danton was.
The probable object of silent to-day; the Jacobin mob is Robespierre was to continue and even cowed, but the people is glad. Gento augment the Terror until he should darmes point out the bound dictator have exterminated all his enemies ; but with the points of their swords. Public this was necessarily a long process, curiosity is blended with horror and which was cut short by the revolt of loathing. A tent was large enough to outraged humanity. As the sail drops hold the ghosts of those that Richard when the mast snaps, so the Terror had slain ; but not the little cell — nay,