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Chapter 10


THE BLACK DOOR

M. Dupin is a matchless disgrace.

Later on he had his reward. It appears that he became some sort of an
Attorney-General at the Court of Appeal.

M. Dupin renders to Louis Bonaparte the service of being in his place
the meanest of men.

To continue this dismal history.

The Representatives of the Right, in their first bewilderment caused
by the _coup d'état_, hastened in large numbers to M. Daru, who was
Vice-President of the Assembly, and at the same time one of the
Presidents of the Pyramid Club. This Association had always supported
the policy of the Elysée, but without believing that a _coup d'état_
was premeditated. M. Daru lived at No. 75, Rue de Lille.

Towards ten o'clock in the morning about a hundred of these
Representatives had assembled at M. Daru's home. They resolved to
attempt to penetrate into the Hall where the Assembly held its sittings.
The Rue de Lille opens out into the Rue de Bourgogne, almost opposite
the little door by which the Palace is entered, and which is called the
Black Door.

They turned their steps towards this door, with M. Daru at their head.
They marched arm in arm and three abreast. Some of them had put on their
scarves of office. They took them off later on.

The Black Door, half-open as usual, was only guarded by two sentries.

Some of the most indignant, and amongst them M. de Kerdrel, rushed
towards this door and tried to pass. The door, however, was violently
shut, and there ensued between the Representatives and the _sergents de
ville_ who hastened up, a species of struggle, in which a Representative
had his wrist sprained.

At the same time a battalion which was drawn up on the Place de
Bourgogne moved on, and came at the double towards the group of
Representatives. M. Daru, stately and firm, signed to the commander
to stop; the battalion halted, and M. Daru, in the name of the
Constitution, and in his capacity as Vice-President of the Assembly,
summoned the soldiers to lay down their arms, and to give free passage
to the Representatives of the Sovereign People.

The commander of the battalion replied by an order to clear the street
immediately, declaring that there was no longer an Assembly; that as for
himself, he did not know what the Representatives of the People were,
and that if those persons before him did not retire of their own accord,
he would drive them back by force.

"We will only yield to violence," said M. Daru.

"You commit high treason," added M. de Kerdrel.

The officer gave the order to charge.

The soldiers advanced in close order.

There was a moment of confusion; almost a collision. The Representatives,
forcibly driven back, ebbed into the Rue de Lille. Some of them fell
down. Several members of the Right were rolled in the mud by the
soldiers. One of them, M. Etienne, received a blow on the shoulder from
the butt-end of a musket. We may here add that a week afterwards M.
Etienne was a member of that concern which they styled the Consultative
Committee. He found the _coup d'état_ to his taste, the blow with the
butt-end of a musket included.

They went back to M. Daru's house, and on the way the scattered group
reunited, and was even strengthened by some new-comers.

"Gentlemen," said M. Daru, "the President has failed us, the Hall is
closed against us. I am the Vice-President; my house is the Palace of
the Assembly."

He opened a large room, and there the Representatives of the Right
installed themselves. At first the discussions were somewhat noisy. M.
Daru, however, observed that the moments were precious, and silence was
restored.

The first measure to be taken was evidently the deposition of the
President of the Republic by virtue of Article 68 of the Constitution.
Some Representatives of the party which was called _Burgraves_ sat round
a table and prepared the deed of deposition.

As they were about to read it aloud a Representative who came in from
out of doors appeared at the door of the room, and announced to the
Assembly that the Rue de Lille was becoming filled with troops, and that
the house was being surrounded.

There was not a moment to lose.

M. Benoist-d'Azy said, "Gentlemen, let us go to the Mairie of the tenth
arrondissement; there we shall be able to deliberate under the protection
of the tenth legion, of which our colleague, General Lauriston, is the
colonel."

M. Daru's house had a back entrance by a little door which was at the
bottom of the garden. Most of the Representatives went out that way.

M. Daru was about to follow them. Only himself, M. Odilon Barrot, and
two or three others remained in the room, when the door opened. A
captain entered, and said to M. Daru,--

"Sir, you are my prisoner."

"Where am I to follow you?" asked M. Daru.

"I have orders to watch over you in your own house."

The house, in truth, was militarily occupied, and it was thus that M.
Daru was prevented from taking part in the sitting at the Mairie of the
tenth arrondissement.

The officer allowed M. Odilon Barrot to go out.


Victor Hugo