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Chapter 4


OTHER DOINGS OF THE NIGHT

During the same night in all parts of Paris acts of brigandage took
place. Unknown men leading armed troops, and themselves armed with
hatchets, mallets, pincers, crow-bars, life-preservers, swords hidden
under their coats, pistols, of which the butts could be distinguished
under the folds of their cloaks, arrived in silence before a house,
occupied the street, encircled the approaches, picked the lock of the
door, tied up the porter, invaded the stairs, and burst through the doors
upon a sleeping man, and when that man, awakening with a start, asked of
these bandits, "Who are you?" their leader answered, "A Commissary of
Police." So it happened to Lamoricière who was seized by Blanchet, who
threatened him with the gag; to Greppo, who was brutally treated and
thrown down by Gronfier, assisted by six men carrying a dark lantern and
a pole-axe; to Cavaignac, who was secured by Colin, a smooth-tongued
villain, who affected to be shocked on hearing him curse and swear; to M.
Thiers, who was arrested by Hubaut (the elder); who professed that he had
seen him "tremble and weep," thus adding falsehood to crime; to Valentin,
who was assailed in his bed by Dourlens, taken by the feet and shoulders,
and thrust into a padlocked police van; to Miot, destined to the tortures
of African casemates; to Roger (du Nord), who with courageous and witty
irony offered sherry to the bandits. Charras and Changarnier were taken
unawares.

They lived in the Rue St. Honoré, nearly opposite to each other,
Changarnier at No. 3, Charras at No. 14. Ever since the 9th of September
Changarnier had dismissed the fifteen men armed to the teeth by whom he
had hitherto been guarded during the night, and on the 1st December, as
we have said, Charras had unloaded his pistols. These empty pistols were
lying on the table when they came to arrest him. The Commissary of Police
threw himself upon them. "Idiot," said Charras to him, "if they had been
loaded, you would have been a dead man." These pistols, we may note, had
been given to Charras upon the taking of Mascara by General Renaud, who
at the moment of Charras' arrest was on horseback in the street helping
to carry out the _coup d'état_. If these pistols had remained loaded, and
if General Renaud had had the task of arresting Charras, it would have
been curious if Renaud's pistols had killed Renaud. Charras assuredly
would not have hesitated. We have already mentioned the names of these
police rascals. It is useless to repeat them. It was Courtille who
arrested Charras, Lerat who arrested Changarnier, Desgranges who arrested
Nadaud. The men thus seized in their own houses were Representatives of
the people; they were inviolable, so that to the crime of the violation
of their persons was added this high treason, the violation of the
Constitution.

There was no lack of impudence in the perpetration of these outrages. The
police agents made merry. Some of these droll fellows jested. At Mazas
the under-jailors jeered at Thiers, Nadaud reprimanded them severely. The
Sieur Hubaut (the younger) awoke General Bedeau. "General, you are a
prisoner."--"My person is inviolable."--"Unless you are caught red-handed,
in the very act."--"Well," said Bedeau, "I am caught in the act, the
heinous act of being asleep." They took him by the collar and dragged him
to a _fiacre_.

On meeting together at Mazas, Nadaud grasped the hand of Greppo, and
Lagrange grasped the hand of Lamoricière. This made the police gentry
laugh. A colonel, named Thirion, wearing a commander's cross round his
neck, helped to put the Generals and the Representatives into jail. "Look
me in the face," said Charras to him. Thirion moved away.

Thus, without counting other arrests which took place later on, there
were imprisoned during the night of the 2d of December, sixteen
Representatives and seventy-eight citizens. The two agents of the crime
furnished a report of it to Louis Bonaparte. Morny wrote "Boxed up;"
Maupas wrote "Quadded." The one in drawing-room slang, the other in the
slang of the galleys. Subtle gradations of language.

Victor Hugo