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Chapter 16

THE REVOLUTION OF 1848.

THE DAYS OF FEBRUARY.


THE TWENTY-THIRD.

As I arrived at the Chamber of Peers--it was 3 o'clock
precisely--General Rapatel came out of the cloak-room
and said: "The session is over."

I went to the Chamber of Deputies. As my cab turned
into the Rue de Lille a serried and interminable column of
men in shirt-sleeves, in blouses and wearing caps, and
marching arm-in-arm, three by three, debouched from the
Rue Bellechasse and headed for the Chamber. The other
extremity of the street, I could see, was blocked by deep
rows of infantry of the line, with their rifles on their arms.
I drove on ahead of the men in blouses, with whom many
women had mingled, and who were shouting: "Hurrah for
reform!" "Hurrah for the line!" "Down with Guizot!"
They stopped when they arrived within rifle-shot
of the infantry. The soldiers opened their ranks to let
me through. They were talking and laughing. A very
young man was shrugging his shoulders.

I did not go any further than the lobby. It was filled
with busy and uneasy groups. In one corner were M. Thiers,
M. de Rémusat, M. Vivien and M. Merruau (of the
"Constitutionnel"); in another M. Emile de Girardin,
M. d'Alton-Shée and M. de Boissy, M. Franck-Carré,
M. d'Houdetot, M. de Lagrenée. M. Armand Marrast was
talking aside with M. d'Alton. M. de Girardin stopped
me; then MM. d'Houdetot and Lagrenée. MM. Franck-Carré
and Vignier joined us. We talked. I said to them:

"The Cabinet is gravely culpable. It forgot that in
times like ours there are precipices right and left and that
it does not do to govern too near to the edge. It says to
itself : 'It is only a riot,' and it almost rejoices at
the outbreak. It believes it has been strengthened by
it; yesterday it fell, to-day it is up again! But, in the
first place, who can tell what the end of a riot will be?
Riots, it is true, strengthen the hands of Cabinets, but
revolutions overthrow dynasties. And what an imprudent
game in which the dynasty is risked to save the ministry!
The tension of the situation draws the knot tighter, and
now it is impossible to undo it. The hawser may break
and then everything will go adrift. The Left has
manoeuvred imprudently and the Cabinet wildly. Both
sides are responsible. But what madness possesses the
Cabinet to mix a police question with a question of liberty
and oppose the spirit of chicanery to the spirit of
revolution? It is like sending process-servers with stamped paper
to serve upon a lion. The quibbles of M. Hébert in presence
of a riot! What do they amount to!"

As I was saying this a deputy passed us and said:

"The Ministry of Marine has been taken."

"Let us go and see!" said Franc d'Houdetot to me.

We went out. We passed through a regiment of infantry
that was guarding the head of the Pont de la Concorde.
Another regiment barred the other end of it. On the
Place Louis XV. cavalry was charging sombre and immobile
groups, which at the approach of the soldiers fled like
swarms of bees. Nobody was on the bridge except a
general in uniform and on horseback, with the cross of a
commander (of the Legion of Honour) hung round his
neck--General Prévot. As he galloped past us he shouted:
"They are attacking!"

As we reached the troops at the other end of the bridge
a battalion chief, mounted, in a bernouse with gold stripes
on it, a stout man with a kind and brave face, saluted
M. d'Houdetot.

"Has anything happened?" Franc asked.

"It happened that I got here just in time!" replied the
major.

It was this battalion chief who cleared the Palace of the
Chamber, which the rioters had invaded at six o'clock in
the morning.

We walked on to the Place. Charging cavalry was
whirling around us. At the angle of the bridge a dragoon
raised his sword against a man in a blouse. I do not think
he struck him. Besides, the Ministry of Marine had not
been "taken." A crowd had thrown a stone at one of the
windows, smashing it, and hurting a man who was peeping
out. Nothing more.

We could see a number of vehicles lined up like a barricade
in the broad avenue of the Champs-Elysées, at the rond-point.

"They are firing, yonder," said d'Houdetot. "Can you
see the smoke?"

"Pooh!" I replied. "It is the mist of the fountain.
That fire is water."

And we burst into a laugh.

An engagement was going on there, however. The people
had constructed three barricades with chairs. The
guard at the main square of the Champs-Elysées had
turned out to pull the barricades down. The people had
driven the soldiers back to the guard-house with volleys
of stones. General Prévot had sent a squad of Municipal
Guards to the relief of the soldiers. The squad had been
surrounded and compelled to seek refuge in the guard-house
with the others. The crowd had hemmed in the
guard-house. A man had procured a ladder, mounted to
the roof, pulled down the flag, torn it up and thrown it to
the people. A battalion had to be sent to deliver the guard.

"Whew!" said Franc d'Houdetot to General Prévot,
who had recounted this to us. "A flag taken!"

"Taken, no! Stolen, yes!" answered the general quickly.

M. Pèdre-Lacaze came up arm-in-arm with Napoleon
Duchatel. Both were in high spirits. They lighted their
cigars from Franc d'Houdetot's cigar and said:

"Do you know? Genoude is going to bring in an impeachment
on his own account. They would not allow him
to sign the Left's impeachment. He would not be beaten,
and now the Ministry is between two fires. On the left, the
entire Left; on the right, M. de Genoude."

Napoleon Duchâtel added: "They say that Duvergier
de Hauranne has been carried about in triumph on the
shoulders of the crowd."

We had returned to the bridge. M. Vivien was crossing,
and came up to us. With his big, old, wide-brimmed
hat and his coat buttoned up to his cravat the ex-Minister
Of Justice looked like a policeman.

"Where are you going?" he said to me. "What is
happening is very serious!"

Certainly at this moment one feels that the whole constitutional
machine is rocking. It no longer rests squarely
on the ground. It is out of plumb. One can hear it
cracking.

The crisis is complicated by the disturbed condition of
the whole of Europe.

The King, nevertheless, is very calm, and even cheerful.
But this game must not be played too far. Every rubber
won serves but to make up the total of the rubber lost.

Vivien recounted to us that the King had thrown an
electoral reform bill into his drawer, saying as he did so:
"That is for my successor!" "That was Louis XV.'s ~mot~,"
added Vivien, "supposing reform should prove to be
the deluge."

It appears to be true that the King interrupted M.
Salandrouze when he was laying before him the grievances
of the "Progressists," and asked him brusquely: "Are you
selling many carpets?"*

* M. Salandrouze was a manufacturer of carpets.

At this same reception of the Progressists the King noticed
M. Blanqui, and graciously going up to him asked:

"Well, Monsieur Blanqui, what do people talk about?
What is going on?"

"Sire," replied M. Blanqui, "I ought to tell the King
that in the departments, and especially at Bordeaux, there
is a great deal of agitation."

"Ah!" interrupted the King. "More agitation!" and he
turned his back upon M. Blanqui.

While we were talking Vivien exclaimed: "Listen! I
fancy I can hear firing!"

A young staff officer, addressing General d'Houdetot
with a smile, asked: "Are we going to stay here long?"

"Why?" said Franc d'Houdetot.

"Well, I am invited out to dinner," said the officer.

At this moment a group of women in mourning and children
dressed in black passed rapidly along the other pavement
of the bridge. A man held the eldest child by the
hand. I looked at him and recognized the Duke de Montebello.

"Hello!" exclaimed d'Houdetot, "the Minister of
Marine!" and he ran over and conversed for a moment
with M. de Montebello. The Duchess had become frightened,
and the whole family was taking refuge on the left
bank of the river.

Vivien and I returned to the Palace of the Chamber.
D'Houdetot quitted us. In an instant we were surrounded.
Said Boissy to me:

"You were not at the Luxembourg? I tried to speak upon
the situation in Paris. I was hooted. At the ~mot~, 'the
capital in danger,' I was interrupted, and the Chancellor,
who had come to preside expressly for that purpose, called
me to order. And do you know what General Gourgaud
said to me? 'Monsieur de Boissy, I have sixty guns with
their caissons filled with grape-shot. I filled them myself.'
I replied: 'General, I am delighted to know what is really
thought at the Château about the situation.'"

At this moment Durvergier de Hauranne, hatless, his
hair dishevelled, and looking pale but pleased, passed by
and stopped to shake hands with me.

I left Duvergier and entered the Chamber. A bill relative
to the privileges of the Bank of Bordeaux was being
debated. A man who was talking through his nose occupied
the tribune, and M. Sauzet was reading the articles of
the bill with a sleepy air. M. de Belleyme, who was coming
out, shook hands with me and exclaimed: "Alas!"

Several deputies came up to me, among them M. Marie,
M. Roger (of Loiret), M. de Rémusat, and M. Chambolle.
I related to them the incident of the tearing down of the
flag, which was serious in view of the audacity of the attack.

"What is even more serious," said one of them, "is that
there is something very bad behind all this. During the
night the doors of more than fifteen mansions were marked
with a cross, among the marked houses being those of the
Princess de Liéven, in the Rue Saint Florentin, and of
Mme. de Talhouët."

"Are you sure of this?" I asked.

"With my own eyes I saw the cross upon the door of
Mme. de Liéven's house," he replied.

President Franck-Carré met M. Duchâtel this morning
and said: "Well, how goes it?"

"All is well," answered the Minister.

"What are you going to do about the riot?"

"I am going to let the rioters alone at the rendezvous
they arranged for themselves. What can they do in the
Place Louis XV. and the Champs-Elysées? It is raining.
They will tramp about there all day. To-night they will
be tired out and will go home to bed."

M. Etienne Arago entered hastily at this juncture and
said: "There are seven wounded and two killed already.
Barricades have been erected in the Rue Beaubourg and
in the Rue Saint Avoye."

After a suspension of the session M. Guizot arrived. He
ascended the tribune and announced that the King had
summoned M. Mole, to charge him with the formation of
a new Cabinet.

Triumphant shouts from the Opposition, shouts of rage
from the majority.

The session ended amid an indescribable uproar.

I went out with the deputies and returned by way of the quays.

In the Place de la Concorde the cavalry continued to
charge. An attempt to erect two barricades had been made
in the Rue Saint Honoré. The paving-stones in the Marché
Saint Honoré were being torn up. The overturned omni-buses,
of which the barricades had been made, had been
righted by the troops. In the Rue Saint Honoré the crowd
let the Municipal Guards go by, and then stoned them in
the back. A multitude was swarming along the quays like
irritated ants. A very pretty woman in a green velvet hat
and a large cashmere shawl passed by amid a group of
men wearing blouses and with bared arms. She had raised
her skirt very high on account of the mud, with which she
was much spattered; for it was raining every minute. The
Tuileries were closed. At the Carrousel gates the crowd
had stopped and was gazing through the arcades at the
cavalry lined up in battle array in front of the palace.

Near the Carrousel Bridge I met M. Jules Sandeau.
"What do you think of all this?" he queried.

"That the riot will be suppressed, but that the revolution
will triumph."

On the Quai de la Ferraille I happened upon somebody
else I knew. Coming towards me was a man covered with
mud to the neck, his cravat hanging down, and his hat
battered. I recognized my excellent friend Antony
Thouret. Thouret is an ardent Republican. He had been
walking and speech-making since early morning, going
from quarter to quarter and from group to group.

"Tell me, now, what you really want?" said I. "Is it
the Republic?"

"Oh! no, not this time, not yet," he answered. "What
we want is reform--no half measures, oh! dear no, that
won't do at all. We want complete reform, do you
hear? And why not universal suffrage?"

"That's the style!" I said as we shook hands.

Patrols were marching up and down the quay, while the
crowd shouted "Hurrah for the line!" The shops were
closed and the windows of the houses open.

In the Place du Châtelet I heard a man say to a group:

"It is 1830 over again!"

I passed by the Hotel de Ville and along the Rue Saint
Avoye. At the Hotel de Ville all was quiet. Two National
Guards were walking to and fro in front of the gate,
and there were no barricades in the Rue Saint Avoye. In
the Rue Rambuteau a few National Guards, in uniform,
and wearing their side arms, came and went. In the Temple
quarter they were beating to arms.

Up to the present the powers that be have made a show
of doing without the National Guard. This is perhaps
prudent. A force of National Guards was to have taken a
hand. This morning the guard on duty at the Chamber
refused to obey orders. It is said that a National Guardsman
of the 7th Legion was killed just now while interposing
between the people and the troops.

The Mole Ministry assuredly is not a Reform one, but
the Guizot Ministry had been for so long an obstacle to
reform! Its resistance was broken; this was sufficient to
pacify and content the child-like heart of the generous
people. In the evening Paris gave itself up to rejoicing. The
population turned out into the streets; everywhere was
heard the popular refrain ~Des lampioms! des larnpioms!~
In the twinkling of an eye the town was illuminated as
though for a fête.

In the Place Royale, in front of the Mairie, a few yards
from my house, a crowd had gathered that every moment
was becoming denser and noisier. The officers and
National Guards in the guard-house there, in order to get
them away from the Maine, shouted: "On to the Bastille!"
and, marching arm-in-arm, placed themselves at
the head of a column, which fell in joyously behind them
and started off shouting: "On to the Bastille!" The
procession marched hat in hand round the Column of July,
to the shout of "Hurrah for Reform!" saluted the troops
massed in the Place with the cry of "Hurrah for the
line!" and went off down the Faubourg Saint Antoine.
An hour later the procession returned with its ranks greatly
swelled, and bearing torches and flags, and made its way to
the grand boulevards with the intention of going home by
way of the quays, so that the whole town might witness the
celebration of its victory.

Midnight is striking. The appearance of the streets has
changed. The Marais quarter is lugubrious. I have just
returned from a stroll there. The street lamps are broken
and extinguished on the Boulevard Bourdon, so well named
the "dark boulevard." The only shops open to-night were
those in the Rue Saint Antoine. The Beaumarchais Theatre
was closed. The Place Royale is guarded like a place
of arms. Troops are in ambush in the arcades. In the Rue
Saint Louis, a battalion is leaning silently against the walls
in the shadow.

Just now, as the clock struck the hour, we went on to
the balcony listening and saying: "It is the tocsin!"

I could not have slept in a bed. I passed the night in
my drawing-room, writing, thinking and listening. Now
and then I went out on the balcony and strained my ears
to listen, then I entered the room again and paced to and
fro, or dropped into an arm-chair and dozed. But my
slumber was agitated by feverish dreams. I dreamed that
I could hear the murmur of angry crowds, and the report
of distant firing; the tocsin was clanging from the church
towers. I awoke. It was the tocsin.

The reality was more horrible than the dream.

This crowd that I had seen marching and singing so
gaily on the boulevards had at first continued its pacific
way without let or hindrance. The infantry regiments, the
artillery and cuirassiers had everywhere opened their ranks
to let the procession pass through. But on the Boulevard
des Capucines a mass of troops, infantry and cavalry, who
were guarding the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its
unpopular Minister, M. Guizot, blocked the thoroughfare.
In front of this insurmountable obstacle the head of the
column tried to stop and turn; but the irresistible pressure
of the enormous crowd behind pushed the front ranks on.
At this juncture a shot was fired, on which side is not
known. A panic ensued, followed by a volley. Eighty
fell dead or wounded. Then arose a general cry of horror
and fury: "Vengeance!" The bodies of the victims were
placed in a tumbril lighted by torches. The crowd faced
about and, amid imprecations, resumed its march, which
had now assumed the character of a funeral procession. In
a few hours Paris was bristling with barricades.


THE TWENTY-FOURTH.

At daybreak, from my balcony, I see advancing a noisy
column of people, among whom are a number of National
Guards. The mob stops in front of the Mairie, which
is guarded by about thirty Municipal Guards, and with
loud cries demands the soldiers' arms. Flat refusal by
the Municipal Guards, menacing clamours of the crowd.
Two National Guard officers intervene: "What is the use
of further bloodshed? Resistance will be useless." The
Municipal Guards lay down their rifles and ammunition
and withdraw without being molested.

The Mayor of the Eighth Arrondissement, M. Ernest
Moreau, requests me to come to the Mairie. He tells me
the appalling news of the massacre on the Boulevard des
Capucines. And at brief intervals further news of
increasing seriousness arrives. The National Guard this time has
definitely turned against the Government, and is
shouting: "Hurrah for Reform!" The army, frightened
at what it did yesterday, appears resolved not to
take any further part in the fratricidal struggle. In the
Rue Sainte Croix la Bretonnerie the troops have fallen
back before the National Guard. At the neighbouring
Mairie of the Ninth Arrondissement, we are informed, the
soldiers are fraternising and patrolling with the National
Guard. Two other messengers in blouses arrive almost
together: "The Reuilly Barracks has been taken." "The
Minimes Barracks has surrendered."

"And from the Government I have neither instructions
nor news! "says M. Ernest Moreau. "What Government,
if any, is there? Is the Mole Ministry still in existence?
What is to be done?"

"Go to the Prefecture of the Seine," advises M. Perret,
a member of the General Council. "It isn't far to the
Hotel de Ville."

"Well, then, come with me."

They go. I reconnoitre round the Place Royale.
Everywhere reign agitation, anxiety and feverish
expectation. Everywhere work is being actively pushed upon
barricades that are already formidable. This time it is more
than a riot, it is an insurrection. I return home. A soldier
of the line, on sentry duty at the entrance to the Place
Royale, is chatting amicably with the vedette of a barricade
constructed twenty paces from him.

At a quarter past eight M. Ernest Moreau returns from
the Hotel de Ville. He has seen M. de Rambuteau and
brings slightly better news. The King has entrusted the
formation of a Cabinet to Thiers and Odilon Barrot.
Thiers is not very popular, but Odilon Barrot means
reform. Unfortunately the concession is coupled with a
threat: Marshal Bugeaud has been invested with the
general command of the National Guard and of the army.
Odilon Barrot means reform, but Bugeaud means repression.
The King is holding out his right hand and clenching
his left fist.

The Prefect requested M. Moreau to spread and proclaim
the news in his quarter and in the Faubourg Saint Antoine.

"This is what I will do," says the Mayor.

" Very good," I observe, "but believe me, you will do
well to announce the Thiers-Barrot Ministry and say
nothing about Marshal Bugeaud."

"You are right."

The Mayor requisitions a squad of National Guards,
takes with him his two deputies and the Municipal
Councillors present, and descends into the Place Royale. The
roll of drums attracts the crowd. He announces the new Cabinet.
The people applaud and raise repeated shouts of "Hurrah
for Reform!" The Mayor adds a few words recommending harmony
and the preservation of order, and is universally applauded.

"The situation is saved!" he says, grasping my hand.

"Yes," I answer, "if Bugeaud will give up the idea of
being the saviour."

M. Ernest Moreau, followed by his escort, goes off to
repeat his proclamation in the Place de la Bastille and the
faubourg, and I return home to reassure my family.

Half an hour later the Mayor and his cortege return
greatly agitated and in disorder to the Mairie. This is what
had happened:

The Place de la Bastille was occupied at its two extremities
by troops, leaning on their rifles. The people
moved freely and peaceably between the two lines. The
Mayor, arrived at the foot of the July column, made his
proclamation, and once again the crowd applauded
vigorously. M. Moreau started towards the Faubourg Saint
Antoine. At this moment a number of workingmen accosted
the soldiers amicably and said: "Your arms, give
up your arms." In obedience to the energetic orders of
their captain the soldiers refused. Suddenly a shot was
fired; it was followed by other shots; the terrible panic
of the previous day was perhaps about to be renewed. M.
Moreau and his escort were pushed about, thrown down.
The firing on both sides lasted over a minute, and five or
six persons were killed or wounded.

Fortunately, this time the affray occurred in broad
daylight. At the sight of the blood they had shed there was
a revulsion of feeling on the part of the troops, and after a
moment of surprise and horror the soldiers, prompted by
an irresistible impulse, raised the butts of their rifles in
the air and shouted: "Long live the National Guard!" The
general in command, being powerless to control his men,
went off to Vincennes by way of the quays and the people
remained masters of the Bastille and of the faubourg.

"It is a result that might have cost more dear, in my case
especially," remarks M. Moreau and he shows us his hat
which has been pierced by a bullet. "A brand new hat,"
he adds with a laugh.

Half past ten o'clock.--Three students from the Ecole
Polytechnique have arrived at the Mairie. They report
that the students have broken out of the school and
have come to place themselves at the disposition of the
people. A certain number have therefore distributed
themselves among the mairies of Paris.

The insurrection is making progress every hour. It now
demands that Marshal Bugeaud be replaced and the Chamber
dissolved. The pupils of the Ecole Polytechnique go
further and talk about the abdication of the King.

What is happening at the Tuileries? There is no news,
either, from the Ministry, no order from the General Staff.
I decide to go to the Chamber of Deputies, by way of the
Hotel de Ville, and M. Ernest Moreau is kind enough to
accompany me.

We find the Rue Saint Antoine bristling with barricades.
We make ourselves known and the insurgents help us to
clamber over the heaps of paving-stones. As we draw
near to the Hotel de Ville, from which the roar of a great
crowd reaches our ears, and as we cross some ground on
which are buildings in course of erection, we see coming
towards us with hurried steps M. de Rambuteau, the
Prefect of the Seine.

"Hi! Monsieur the Prefect, what brings you here?" I cry.

"Prefect! Do I know whether I am still Prefect?" he
replies with a surly air.

A crowd, which looks anything but benevolent, has already
begun to gather. M. Moreau notices a house that is
to let. We enter it, and M. de Rambuteau recounts his
misadventure.

"I was in my office with two or three Municipal
Councillors," he says, "when we heard a great noise in the
corridor. The door was thrown violently open, and there
entered unto me a big strapping captain of the National
Guard at the head of an excited body of troops.

"'Monsieur,' said the man, 'you must get out of here.'

"'Pardon me, Monsieur, here, at the Hotel de Ville I
am at home, and here I propose to stay.'

"'Yesterday you were perhaps at home in the Hotel de
Ville; to-day the people are at home in it.'

"'Ah! But--'

"'Go to the window and look out on the square.'

"The square had been invaded by a noisy, swarming
crowd in which workingmen, National Guards and soldiers
were mingled pell-mell. And the rifles of the soldiers wore
in the hands of the men of the people. I turned to the
intruders and said:

"'You are right, messieurs, you are the masters here.'

"'Well, then,' said the captain, 'instruct your employés
to recognise my authority.'

"That was too much. I replied: 'What do you take me
for?' I gathered up a few papers, issued a few orders, and
here I am. Since you are going to the Chamber, if there
is still a Chamber, tell the Minister of the Interior, if the
Ministry still exists, that at the Hotel de Ville there is no
longer either Prefect or Prefecture."

It is with great difficulty that we make our way through
the human ocean that with a noise as of a tempest covers
the Place de Hotel de Ville. At the Quai de la Mégisserie
is a formidable barricade; thanks to the Mayor's sash
shown by my companion we are allowed to clamber over
it. Beyond this the quays are almost deserted. We reach
the Chamber of Deputies by the left bank of the river.

The Palais Bourbon is encumbered by a buzzing crowd
of deputies, peers and high functionaries. From a rather
large group comes the sharp voice of M. Thiers: "Ah!
here is Victor Hugo!" He comes to us and asks for news
about the Faubourg Saint Antoine. We add that about
the Hotel de Ville. He shakes his head gloomily.

"And how are things here?" I question in turn. "But
first of all are you still a Minister?"

"I? Oh! I am nobody! Odilon Barrot is President of
the Council and Minister of the Interior."

"And Marshal Bugeaud?"

"He has also been replaced by Marshal Gerard. But
that is nothing. The Chamber has been dissolved, the
King has abdicated and is on his way to Saint Cloud, and
the Duchess d'Orleans is Regent. Ah! the tide is rising,
rising, rising!"

M. Thiers advises us, M. Ernest Moreau and me, to come
to an understanding with M. Odilon Barrot. Action by us
in our quarter, which is such an important one, can be of
very great utility. We therefore set out for the Ministry
of the Interior.

The people have invaded the Ministry and crowded it to
the very office of the Minister, where a not over respectful
crowd comes and goes. At a large table in the middle of
the vast room secretaries are writing. M. Odilon Barrot
his face red, his lips compressed and his hands behind his
back, is leaning against the mantelpiece.

"You know what is going on, do you not?" he says
when he sees us; "the King has abdicated and the Duchess
d'Orleans is Regent."

"If the people so wills," says a man in a blouse who is
passing.

The Minister leads us to the recess of a window, looking
uneasily about him as he does so.

"What are you going to do? What are you doing?" I
query.

"I am sending telegrams to the departments."

"Is this very urgent?"

"France must be informed of events."

"Yes, but meanwhile Paris is making events. Alas!
has it finished making them? The Regency is all very
well, but it has got to be sanctioned."

"Yes, by the Chamber. The Duchess d'Orleans ought
to take the Count de Paris to the Chamber."

"No, since the Chamber has been dissolved. If the
Duchess ought to go anywhere, it is to the Hotel de Ville."

"How can you think of such a thing! What about the
danger?"

"There is no danger. A mother, a child! I will answer
for the people. They will respect the woman in the
princess.

"Well, then, go to the Tuileries, see the Duchess
d'Orleans, advise her, enlighten her."

"Why do you not go yourself?"

"I have just come from there. Nobody knew where the
Duchess was; I could not get near her. But if you see her
tell her that I am at her disposal, that I await her orders.
Ah! Monsieur Victor Hugo, I would give my life for that
woman and for that child!"

Odilon Barrot is the most honest and the most devoted
man in the world, but he is the opposite of a man of action;
one feels trouble and indecision in his words, in his look, in
his whole person.

"Listen," he goes on, "what must be done, what is urgent,
is that the people should be made acquainted with
these grave changes, the abdication and Regency. Promise
me that you will proclaim them at your mairie, in the
faubourg, and wherever you possibly can."

"I promise."

I go off, with M. Moreau, towards the Tuileries.

In the Rue Bellechasse are galloping horses. A squadron
of dragoons flashes by and seems to be fleeing from a
man with bare arms who is running behind them and
brandishing a sword.

The Tuileries are still guarded by troops. The Mayor
shows his sash and they let us pass. At the gate the
concierge, to whom I make myself known, apprises us that
the Duchess d'Orleans, accompanied by the Duke de Nemours,
has just left the château with the Count de Paris,
no doubt to go to the Chamber of Deputies. We have,
therefore, no other course than to continue on our way.

At the entrance to the Carrousel Bridge bullets whistle
by our ears. Insurgents in the Place du Carrousel are
firing upon the court carriages leaving the stables. One
of the coachmen has been killed on his box.

"It would be too stupid of us to stay here looking on
and get ourselves killed," says M. Ernest Moreau. "Let
us cross the bridge."

We skirt the Institute and the Quai de la Monnaie. At
the Pont Neuf we pass a band of men armed with pikes,
axes and rifles, headed by a drummer, and led by a man
brandishing a sabre and wearing a long coat of the King's
livery. It is the coat of the coachman who has just been
killed in the Rue Saint Thomas du Louvre.

When we arrive, M. Moreau and I, at the Place Royale
we find it filled with an anxious crowd. We are
immediately surrounded and questioned, and it is not without
some difficulty that we reach the Mairie. The mass of
people is too compact to admit of our addressing them in the
Place. I ascend, with the Mayor, a few officers of the
National Guard and two students of the Ecole Polytechnique,
to the balcony of the Mairie. I raise my hand, the crowd
becomes silent as though by magic, and I say:

"My friends, you are waiting for news. This is what we
know: M. Thiers is no longer Minister and Marshal Bugeaud
is no longer in command (applause). They have
been replaced by Marshal Gerard and M. Odilon Barrot
(applause, but less general). The Chamber has been
dissolved. The King has abdicated (general cheering). The
Duchess d'Orleans is Regent." (A few isolated bravos,
mingled with low murmurs.)

I continue:

"The name of Odilon Barrot is a guarantee that the
widest and most open appeal will be made to the nation;
and that you will have in all sincerity a representative
government."

My declaration is responded to with applause from several
points, but it appears evident that the great bulk of the
crowd is uncertain as to what view of the situation they
ought to take, and are not satisfied.

We re-enter the hall of the Mairie.

"Now," I say to M. Ernest Moreau, "I must go and
proclaim the news in the Place de la Bastille."

But the Mayor is discouraged.

"You can very well see that it is useless," he says sadly.
"The Regency is not accepted. And you have spoken here
in a quarter where you are known and loved. At the Bastille
your audience will be the revolutionary people of the
faubourg, who will perhaps harm you."

I will go," I say, "I promised Odilon Barrot that I would."

"I have changed my hat," the Mayor goes on, "but
remember my hat of this morning."

"This morning the army and the people were face to
face, and there was danger of a conflict; now, however, the
people are alone, the people are the masters."

"Masters--and hostile; have a care!"

"No matter, I have promised, and I will keep my promise.

I tell the Mayor that his place is at the Mairie and that
he ought to stay there. But several National Guard officers
present themselves spontaneously and offer to accompany me,
among them the excellent M. Launaye, my former captain. I
accept their friendly offer, and we form a little procession
and proceed by the Rue du Pas de la Mule and the Boulevard
Beaumarchais towards the Place de la Bastille.

Here are a restless, eager crowd in which workingmen
predominate, many of them armed with rifles taken from
the barracks or given up to them by the soldiers; shouts
and the song of the Girondins: "Die for the fatherland!"
numerous groups debating and disputing passionately.
They turn round, they look at us, they interrogate us:

"What's the news? What is going on?" And they follow
us. I hear my name mentioned coupled with various
sentiments: "Victor Hugo! It's Victor Hugo!" A few
salute me. When we reach the Column of July we are
surrounded by a considerable gathering. In order that I may
be heard I mount upon the base of the column.

I will only repeat the words which it was possible for me
to make my turbulent audience hear. It was much less a
speech than a dialogue, but the dialogue of one voice with
ten, twenty, a hundred voices more or less hostile.

I began by announcing at once the abdication of Louis
Philippe, and, as in the Place Royale, applause that was
practically unanimous greeted the news. There were also,
however, cries of "No! no abdication, deposition! deposition!"
Decidedly, I was going to have my hands full.

When I announced the Regency violent protests arose:

"No! no! No Regency! Down with the Bourbons! Neither King
nor Queen! No masters!"

I repeated: "No masters! I don't want them any more
than you do. I have defended liberty all my life."

"Then why do you proclaim the Regency?"

"Because a Queen-Regent is not a master. Besides, I
have no right whatever to proclaim the Regency; I merely
announce it."

"No! no! No Regency!"

A man in a blouse shouted: "Let the peer of France
be silent. Down with the peer of France!" And he levelled
his rifle at me. I gazed at him steadily, and raised
my voice so loudly that the crowd became silent: "Yes,
I am a peer of France, and I speak as a peer of France.
I swore fidelity, not to a royal personage, but to the
Constitutional Monarchy. As long as no other government is
established it is my duty to be faithful to this one. And I
have always thought that the people approved of a man
who did his duty, whatever that duty might be."

There was a murmur of approbation and here and there
a few bravos. But when I endeavoured to continue: "If
the Regency--" the protests redoubled. I was permitted
to take up only one of these protests. A workman
had shouted: "We will not be governed by a woman."
I retorted quickly:

"Well, neither will I be governed by a woman, nor even
by a man. It was because Louis Philippe wanted to govern
that his abdication is to-day necessary and just. But a
woman who reigns in the name of a child! Is that not a
guarantee against all thought of personal government?
Look at Queen Victoria in England--"

"We are French, we are!" shouted several voices. "No
Regency!"

"No Regency? Then, what? Nothing is ready, nothing! It
means a total upheaval, ruin, distress, civil war,
perhaps; in any case, it is the unknown."

One voice, a single voice, cried: "Long live the Republic!"

No other voice echoed it. Poor, great people, irresponsible
and blind! They know what they do not want, but they do not
know what they do want.

From this moment the noise, the shouts, the menaces
became such that I gave up the attempt to get myself
heard. My brave Launaye said: "You have done what
you wanted to, what you promised to do; the only thing
that remains for us to do is to withdraw."

The crowd opened before us, curious and inoffensive.
But twenty paces from the column the man who had
threatened me with his rifle came up with us and again
levelled his weapon at me, shouting: "Down with the
peer of France!" "No, respect the great man!" cried a
young workman, who, with a quick movement, pushed the
rifle downward. I thanked this unknown friend with a
wave of the hand and passed on.

At the Mairie, M. Ernest Moreau, who it appears had
been very anxious about us, received us with joy and
cordially congratulated me. But I knew that even when their
passions are aroused the people are just; and not the
slightest credit was due to me, for I had not been uneasy
in the least.

While these things were happening in the Place de la
Bastille, this is what was taking place at the Palais
Bourbon:

There is at this moment a man whose name is in everybody's
mouth and the thought of whom is in everybody's
mind; that man is Lamartine. His eloquent and vivid
_History of the Girondins_ has for the first time taught the
Revolution to France. Hitherto he had only been illustrious;
he has become popular and may be said to hold
Paris in his hand.

In the universal confusion his influence could be decisive.
This is what they said to themselves in the offices of
the National, where the possible chances of the Republic
had been weighed, and where a scheme for a provisional
government had been sketched, from which Lamartine had
been left out. In 1842, at the time of the debate over the
Regency which resulted in the choice of the Duke de Nemours,
Lamartine had pleaded warmly for the Duchess
d'Orleans. Was he imbued with the same ideas to-day?
What did he want? What would he do? It was necessary that
this should be ascertained. M. Armand Marrast,
the editor-in-chief of the National, took with him three
notorious Republicans, M. Bastide, M. Hetzel, the publisher,
and M. Bocage, the eminent comedian who created
the role of Didier in "Marion de Lorme." All four went to
the Chamber of Deputies. They found Lamartine there
and held a conference with him in one of the offices.

They all spoke in turn, and expressed their convictions
and hopes. They would be happy to think that Lamartine
was with them for the immediate realization of the Republic.
If, however, he judged that the transition of the
Regency was necessary they asked him to at least aid them
in obtaining serious guarantees against any retrogression.
They awaited with emotion his decision in this great matter.

Lamartine listened to their reasons in silence, then requested
them to allow him a few minutes for reflection.
He sat apart from them at a table, leaned his head upon
his hands, and thought. His four visitors, standing and
silent, gazed at him respectfully. It was a solemn moment.
"We listened to history passing," said Bocage to me.

Lamartine raised his head and said: "I will oppose the Regency."

A quarter of an hour later the Duchess d'Orleans arrived at
the Chamber holding by the hand her two sons,
the Count de Paris and the Duke de Chartres. M. Odilon.
Barrot was not with her. The Duke de Nemours accompanied her.

She was acclaimed by the deputies. But, the Chamber
having been dissolved, were there any deputies?

M. Crémieux ascended the tribune and flatly proposed
a provisional government. M. Odilon Barrot, who had
been fetched from the Ministry of the Interior, made his
appearance at last and pleaded for the Regency, but without
éclat and without energy. Suddenly a mob of people
and National Guards with arms and flags invaded the
chamber. The Duchess d'Orleans, persuaded by her
friends, withdrew with her children.

The Chamber of Deputies then vanished, submerged by
a sort of revolutionary assembly. Ledru-Rollin harangued
this crowd. Next came Lamartine, who was awaited and
acclaimed. He opposed the Regency, as he had promised.

That settled it. The names for a provisional government
were proposed to the people. And by shouts of "yes" or
"no" the people elected successively: Lamartine, Dupont
de l'Eure, Arago, and Ledru-Rollin unanimously, Crémieux,
Gamier-Pages, and Marie by a majority.

The new ministers at once set out for the Hotel de Ville.

At the Chamber of Deputies not once was the word
"Republic" uttered in any of the speeches of the orators,
not even in that of Ledru-Rollin. But now, outside, in
the street, the elect of the people heard this words this
shout, everywhere. It flew from mouth to mouth and filled
the air of Paris.

The seven men who, in these supreme and extreme days,
held the destiny of France in their hands were themselves
at once tools and playthings in the hands of the mob, which
is not the people, and of chance, which is not providence.
Under the pressure of the multitude; in the bewilderment
and terror of their triumph, which overwhelmed them, they
decreed the Republic without having time to think that
they were doing such a great thing.

When, having been separated and dispersed by the violent
pushing of the crowd, they were able to find each
other again and reassemble, or rather hide, in one of the
rooms of the Hotel de Ville, they took half a sheet of paper,
at the head of which were printed the words: "Prefecture
of the Seine. Office of the Prefect." M. de Rambuteau
may that very morning have used the other half of the
sheet to write a love-letter to one of his "little
bourgeoises," as he called them.

Under the dictation of terrible shouts outside Lamartine
traced this phrase:

"The Provisional Government declares that the Provisional
Government of France is the Republican Government, and
that the nation shall be immediately called upon
to ratify the resolution of the Provisional Government and
of the people of Paris."

I had this paper, this sheet smeared and blotted with
ink, in my hands. It was still stamped, still palpitating,
so to speak, with the fever of the moment. The words
hurriedly scribbled were scarcely formed. ~Appelée~ was written
~appellée~.

When these half dozen lines had been written Lamartine
handed the sheet to Ledru-Rollin.

Ledru-Rollin read aloud the phrase: "The Provisional
Government declares that the Provisional Government of
France is the Republican Government--"

"The word 'provisional' occurs twice," he commented.

"That is so," said the others.

"One of them at least must be effaced," added Ledru-Rollin.

Lamartine understood the significance of this grammatical
observation, which was simply a political revolution.

"But we must await the sanction of France," he said.
"I can do without the sanction of France' cried Ledru-Rollin,
"when I have the sanction of the people."

"Of the people of Paris. But who knows at present
what is the will of the people of France?" observed Lamartine.

There was an interval of silence. The noise of the multitude
without sounded like the murmuring of the ocean.
Ledru-Rollin went on:

"What the people want is the Republic at once, the
Republic without waiting."

"The Republic without any delay?" said Lamartine,
covering an objection in this interpretation of
Ledru-Rollin's words.

"We are provisional," returned Ledru-Rollin, "but the
Republic is not!"

M. Crémieux took the pen from Lamartine's hands,
scratched out the word "provisional" at the end of the
third line and wrote beside it: "actual."

"The actual government? Very well!" said Ledru-Rollin,
with a slight shrug of the shoulder.

The seal of the City of Paris was on the table. Since
1830 the vessel sailing beneath a sky starred with
fleurs-de-lys and with the device, ~Proelucent clarius astris~, had
disappeared from the seal of the City. The seal was merely
a circle with the words "Ville de Paris" in the centre.
Crémieux took the seal and stamped the paper so hastily with
it that the words appeared upside down.

But they did not sign this rough draught. Their whereabouts
had been discovered; an impetuous stream was surging against
the door of the office in which they had taken
refuge. The people were calling, ordering, them to go to
the meeting-hall of the Municipal Council.

There they were greeted by this clamour: "The Republic! Long
live the Republic! Proclaim the Republic!" Lamartine, who
was at first interrupted by the cries, succeeded at length
with his grand voice in calming this feverish impatience.

The members of the Provisional Government were thus
enabled to return and resume their session and lively
discussion. The more ardent ones wanted the document to
read: "The Provisional Government proclaims the Republic."
The moderates proposed: "The Provisional Government desires
the Republic." A compromise was
reached on the proposition of M. Crémieux, and the sentence
was made to read: "The Provisional Government
"is for" the Republic." To this was added: "subject to the
ratification of the people, who will be immediately consulted."

The news was at once announced to the crowds in the
meeting-hall and in the square outside, who would listen
to nothing but the word "republic," and saluted it with
tremendous cheering.

The Republic was established. ~Alea jacta~, as Lamartine
observed later.


THE TWENTY-FIFTH.

During the morning everything at and in the neighbourhood
of the Mairie of the Eighth Arrondissement was
relatively calm, and the steps to maintain order taken the
previous day with the approval of M. Ernest Moreau appeared
to have assured the security of the quarter.* I thought
I might leave the Place Royale and repair towards
the centre of the city with my son Victor. The restlessness
and agitation of a people (of the people of Paris!) on
the morrow of a revolution was a spectacle that had an
irresistible attraction for me.

* On the evening of the 24th, there had been reason to apprehend
disturbances in the Eighth Arrondissement, disturbances particularly serious
in that they would not have been of a political character. The prowlers
and evil-doers with hang-dog mien who seem to issue from the earth in
times of trouble were very much in evidence in the streets. At the
Prison of La Force, in the Rue Saint Antoine, the common law criminals
had begun a revolt by locking up their keepers. To what public
force could appeal be made? The Municipal Guard had been disbanded,
the army was confined to barracks; as to the police, no one would have
known where to find them. Victor Hugo, in a speech which this time
was cheered, confided life and property to the protection and devotedness
of the people. A civic guard in blouses was improvised. Empty
shops that were to let were transformed into guard houses, patrols were
organized and sentries posted. The rebellious prisoners at La Force,
terrified by the assertion that cannon (which did not exist) had been
brought to bear upon the prison and that unless they surrendered
promptly and unconditionally they would be blown sky-high, submitted
quietly and returned to work.

The weather was cloudy, but mild, and the rain held
off. The streets were thrilling with a noisy, joyous crowd.
The people continued with incredible ardour to fortify the
barricades that had already been constructed, and even to
build new ones. Bands of them with flags flying and drums
beating marched about shouting "Long live the Republic!" and
singing the "Marseillaise and Die for the Fatherland!" The cafés were
crowded to overflowing, but many of the shops were closed,
as on holidays; and, indeed, the city did present a
holiday appearance.

I made my way along the quays to the Pont Neuf.
There, at the bottom of a proclamation I read the name of
Lamartine, and having seen the people, I experienced the
desire to see my great friend. I therefore turned back
with Victor towards the Hotel de Ville.

As on the previous day, the square in front of the building
was filled with a crowd, and the crowd was so compact
that it immobilized itself. It was impossible to approach the
steps of the front entrance. After several attempts to get
somewhere near to them, I was about to force my way back
out of the crowd when I was perceived by M. Froment-Meurice,
the artist-goldsmith, brother of my young friend,
Paul Meurice. He was a major of the National Guard,
and on duty with his battalion at the Hotel de Ville.
"Make way!" he shouted authoritatively. "Make way
for Victor Hugo!" And the human wall opened, how I
do not know, before his epaulettes.

The entrance once passed, M. Froment-Meurice guided
us up all sorts of stairways, and through corridors and
rooms encumbered with people. As we were passing a
man came from a group, and planting himself in front of
me, said: "Citizen Victor Hugo, shout 'Long live the
Republic!'"

"I will shout nothing by order," said I. "Do you
understand what liberty is? For my part, I practise it. I
will shout to-day 'Long live the people!' because it pleases
me to do so. The day when I shout 'Long live the Republic!'
it will be because I want to."

"Hear! hear! He is right," murmured several voices.

And we passed on.

After many detours M. Froment-Meurice ushered us
into a small room where he left us while he went to inform
Lamartine that I wished to see him.

The glass door of the room gave on to a gallery, passing
along which I saw my friend David d'Angers, the great
statuary. I called to him. David, who was an old-time
Republican, was beaming. "Ah! my friend, what a glorious
day!" he exclaimed. He told me that the Provisional
Government had appointed him Mayor of the Eleventh
Arrondissement. "They have sent for you for something of
the same kind, I suppose?" he said. "No," I answered,
"I have not been sent for. I came of my own accord just
to shake Lamartine's hand."

M. Froment-Meurice returned and announced that Lamartine
awaited me. I left Victor in the room, telling him
to wait there till I came back, and once more followed my
obliging guide through more corridors that led to a vestibule
that was crowded with people. "They are all office
seekers!" explained M. Froment-Meurice. The Provisional
Government was holding a session in the adjoining
room. The door was guarded by two armed grenadiers of
the National Guard, who were impassible, and deaf alike
to entreaties and menaces. I had to force my way through
this crowd. One of the grenadiers, on the lookout for me,
opened the door a little way to let me in. The crowd
immediately made a rush and tried to push past the sentries,
who, however, aided by M. Froment-Meurice, forced them
back and closed the door behind me.

I was in a spacious hall that formed the angle of one of
the pavilions of the Hotel de Ville, and was lighted on two
sides by long windows. I would have preferred to find
Lamartine alone, but there were with him, dispersed about
the room and talking to friends or writing, three or four
of his colleagues in the Provisional Government, Arago,
Marie, and Armand Marrast. Lamartine rose as I entered.
On his frock-coat, which was buttoned up as usual, he wore
an ample tri-colour sash, slung across his shoulder. He
advanced to meet me, and stretching out his hand, exclaimed:
"Ah! you have come over to us! Victor Hugo is a strong
recruit indeed for the Republic."

"Not so fast, my friend," said I with a laugh. "I have
come simply to see my friend Lamartine. Perhaps you
are not aware of the fact that yesterday while you were
opposing the Regency in the Chamber, I was defending
it in the Place de la Bastille."

"Yesterday, that was all right; but to-day? There is
now neither Regency nor Royalty. It is impossible that
Victor Hugo is not at heart Republican."

"In principle, yes, I am. The Republic is, in my opinion,
the only rational form of government, the only one worthy
of the nations. The universal Republic is inevitable in the
natural course of progress. But has its hour struck in
France? It is because I want the Republic that I want it
to be durable and definitive. You are going to consult the
nation, are you not?--the whole nation?"

"The whole nation, assuredly. We of the Provisional
Government are all for universal suffrage."

At this moment Arago came up to us with M. Armand
Marrast, who held a folded paper in his hand.

"My dear friend," said Lamartine, "know that this
morning we selected you for Mayor of your arrondissement."

"And here is the patent signed by us all," said Armand
Marrast.

"I thank you," said I, "but I cannot accept it."

"Why?" continued Arago. "These are non-political
and purely gratuitous functions."

"We were informed just now about the attempted revolt
at La Force," added Lamartine. "You did better than
suppress it, you forestalled it. You are loved and respected
in your arrondissement."

"My authority is wholly moral," I rejoined; "it could
but lose weight in becoming official. Besides, on no
account would I dispossess M. Ernest Moreau, who has borne
himself loyally and valiantly throughout this trouble."

Lamartine and Arago insisted: "Do not refuse our brevet."

"Very well," said I, "I will take it--for the sake of the
autographs; but it is understood that I keep it in my
pocket."

"Yes, keep it," said Armand Marrast laughingly, "so
that you can say that one day you were ~pair~ and the next
day ~maire~."

Lamartine took me aside into the recess of a window.

"It is not a mairie I would like you to have, but a ministry.
Victor Hugo, the Republic's Minister of Instruction!
Come now, since you say that you are Republican!"

"Republican--in principle. But in fact, I was yesterday
peer of France, I was yesterday for the Regency, and,
believing the Republic to be premature, I should be also
for the Regency to-day."

"Nations are above dynasties," went on Lamartine. "I,
too, have been a Royalist."

"Yes, but you were a deputy, elected by the nation; I
was a peer, appointed by the King."

"The King in choosing you, under the terms of the
Constitution, in one of the categories from which the
Upper House was recruited, but honoured the peerage and also
honoured himself."

"I thank you," said I, "but you look at things from
the outside; I consider them in my conscience."

We were interrupted by the noise of a prolonged fusillade
which broke out suddenly on the square. A bullet
smashed a window-pane above our heads.

"What is the matter now?" exclaimed Lamartine in
sorrowful tones.

M. Armand Marrast and M. Marie went out to see what
was going on.

"Ah! my friend," continued Lamartine, "how heavy
is this revolutionary power to bear! One has to assume
such weighty and such sudden responsibilities before one's
conscience and in presence of history! I do not know how
I have been living during the past ten days. Yesterday I
had a few grey hairs; to-morrow they will be white."

"Yes, but you are doing your duty as a man of genius
grandly," I commented.

In a few minutes M. Armand Marrast returned.

"It was not against us," he said. "How the lamentable
affray came about could not be explained to me. There
was a collision, the rifles went off, why? Was it a
misunderstanding, was it a quarrel between Socialists and
Republicans? No one knows."

"Are there any wounded?"

"Yes, and dead, too."

A gloomy silence followed. I rose. "You have no
doubt some measures to take?" I said.

"What measures?" answered Lamartine. "This morning
we resolved to decree what you have already been able
to do on a small scale in your quarter: the organization of
the citizen's National Guard--every Frenchman a soldier
as well as a voter. But time is required, and meanwhile--"
he pointed to the waves and eddies of heads
surging on the square outside--"look, it is the sea!"

A boy wearing an apron entered and spoke to him in
low tones.

"Ah! very good!" said Lamartine, "it is my luncheon.
Will you share it with me, Hugo?"

"Thanks, I have already lunched."

"I haven't and I am dying of hunger. At least come
and look on at the feast; I will let you go, afterwards."

He showed me into a room that gave on to an interior
court-yard. A gentle faced young man who was writing
at a table rose and was about to withdraw. He was the
young workman whom Louis Blanc had had attached to the
Provisional Government.

"Stay where you are, Albert," said Lamartine, "I have
nothing of a private nature to say to Victor Hugo."

We saluted each other, M. Albert and I.

The little waiter showed Lamartine a table upon which
were some mutton cutlets in an earthenware dish, some
bread, a bottle of wine and a glass. The whole came from
a wine-shop in the neighbourhood.

"Well," exclaimed Lamartine, "what about a knife and fork?"

"I thought you had knives and forks here," returned
the boy. "I had trouble enough to bring the luncheon,
and if I have got to go and fetch knives and forks--"

"Pshaw!" said Lamartine, "one must take things as
they come!"

He broke the bread, took a cutlet by the bone and tore
the meat with his teeth. When he had finished he threw
the bone into the fireplace. In this manner he disposed of
three cutlets, and drank two glasses of wine.

"You will agree with me that this is a primitive repast!"
he said. "But it is an improvement on our supper last night.
We had only bread and cheese among us, and we all drank
water from the same chipped sugar-bowl. Which didn't,
it appears, prevent a newspaper this morning from
denouncing the great orgy of the Provisional Government!"

I did not find Victor in the room where he was to have
waited for me. I supposed that, having become tired of
waiting, he had returned home alone.

When I issued on to the Place de Grève the crowd was
still excited and in a state of consternation at the
inexplicable collision that had occurred an hour before. The
body of a wounded man who had just expired was carried
past me. They told me that it was the fifth. It was taken,
as the other bodies had been taken, to the Salle Saint Jean,
where the dead of the previous day to the number of over
a hundred had been exposed.

Before returning to the Place Royale I made a tour for
the purpose of visiting our guard-houses. Outside the
Minimes Barracks a boy of about fifteen years, armed with
the rifle of a soldier of the line, was proudly mounting
guard. It seemed to me that I had seen him there in the
morning or the day before.

"What!" I said, "are you doing sentry duty again?"

"No, not again; I haven't yet been relieved."

"You don't say so. Why, how long have you been here?"

"Oh, about seventeen hours!"

"What! haven't you slept? Haven't you eaten?"

"Yes, I have had something to eat."

"You went to get it, of course?"

"No, I didn't, a sentry does not quit his post! This
morning I shouted to the people in the shop across the way
that I was hungry, and they brought me some bread."

I hastened to have the brave child relieved from duty.

On arriving in the Place Royale I inquired for Victor.
He had not returned. I was seized with a shudder of fear.
I do not know why the vision of the dead who had been
transported to the Salle Saint Jean should have come into
my mind. What if my Victor had been caught in that
bloody affray? I gave some pretext for going out again.
Vacquerie was there; I told him of my anguish in a whisper,
and he offered to accompany me.

First of all we called upon M. Froment-Meurice, whose
establishment was in the Rue Lobau, next to the Hotel de
Ville, and I asked him to have me admitted to the Salle
Saint Jean. At first he sought to dissuade me from seeing
the hideous sight; he had seen it the previous day and was
still under the impression of the horror it inspired. I
fancied his reluctance was a bad sign, that he was trying to
keep something from me. This made me insist the more,
and we went.

In the large Salle Saint Jean, transformed into a vast
morgue, lay the long line of corpses upon camp bedsteads.
For the most part they were unrecognisable. And I held
the dreadful review, quaking in my shoes when one of the
dead was young and slim with chestnut hair. Yes, the
spectacle of the poor blood-stained dead was horrible
indeed! But I could not describe it; all that I saw of each
body was that it was not that of my child. At length I
reached the last one, and breathed freely once more.

As I issued from the lugubrious place I saw Victor, very
much alive, running towards me. When he heard the firing
he had left the room where he was waiting for me, and not
being able to find his way back, had been to see a friend.

Victor Hugo