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The Story of Paris
by Thomas Okey
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[Footnote 135: In 1793 the tomb was desecrated, and the head removed from the body, but in 1863, as an inscription tells, the head was recovered by the historian Duruy, and after seventy years reunited to the trunk.]

[Footnote 136: A letter from Paris to Lyons was taxed at two sous.]

Another of Henry the Fourth's plans for the aggrandisement of Paris was carried out by the indefatigable minister. As early as 867 the bishops of Paris had been confirmed by royal charter, in their possession of the two islands east of the Cite, the Isle Notre Dame and Isle aux Vaches. From time immemorial these had been used as timber-yards, and in 1616 the chapter of the cathedral was induced to treat with Christophe Marie, contractor for the bridges of France, and others, who agreed to fill in the channel[137] which separated the islands; to cover them with broad streets of houses and quays, and to build certain bridges; but expressly contracted never to fill up the arm of the Seine between the Isle Notre Dame, and the Cite. The first stone of the new bridge which was to connect the islands with the north bank was laid by Louis XIII. in 1614 and named Pont Marie, after the contractor. In 1664 a church, dedicated to St. Louis, was begun on the site of an earlier chapel by Levau, but not completed until 1726 by Donat.

[Footnote 137: The Rue Poulletier marks the line of the old channel between the islands.]

The new quarter soon attracted the attention of rich financiers, civic officers, merchants and lawyers, some of whose hotels were designed by Levau, and decorated by Lebrun and Lesueur. Madame Pompadour's brother lived there; the Duke of Lauzan, husband of the Grande Mademoiselle, lived in his hotel on the Quai d'Anjou (No. 17); Voltaire lived with Madame du Chatelet in the Hotel Lambert (No. 1 Quai d'Anjou). To the precieuses of Moliere's time the Isle St. Louis (for so it was called) became the Isle de Delos, around whose quays the gallants and ladies of the period were wont to promenade at nightfall. The Isle, as it is now familiarly known, is one of the most peaceful quarters of Paris, and has a strangely provincial aspect to the traveller who paces its quiet streets.

In 1622 Paris was raised from its subjection to the Metropolitan of Sens, and became for the first time the seat of an archbishopric; the diocese was made to correspond to the old territories of the Parisii.

Among the many evils attendant on a monarchy, which Samuel recited to the children of Israel, that of the possibility of a regency might well have found place. Louis XIV. was less than five years of age when his father died, and once again the great nobles turned the difficulties of the situation to their own profit. By a curious anomaly, while women were excluded from succession to the throne of France, the queen-mother was invariably preferred to all other claimants for the Regency, and Anne of Austria became regent in accordance with old custom. She retained in office Cardinal Mazarin, Richelieu's faithful disciple, chosen by him to continue the traditions of his policy. The new cardinal-minister, scion of an old Sicilian family, was a typical Italian; he had none of his predecessor's virile energy and directness of purpose, but ruled by his subtle wit and cool, calculating patience. "Time and I," was his device. He was an excellent judge of men, and profoundly distrusted "the unlucky," always satisfying himself that a man was "lucky," before he employed him. Conscious of his foreign origin, Mazarin hesitated to take strong measures, and advised a policy of conciliation with the disaffected nobles. Anne filled their pockets, and for a time the whole language of the court is said to have consisted of the five little words "La reine est si bonne." But the ambitious courtiers soon aimed at higher game, and a plot was discovered to assassinate the foreign cardinal; the Duke of Beaufort, chief conspirator, a son of the Duke of Vendome, and grandson of Henry IV., by Gabrielle d'Estrees, was imprisoned in the keep at Vincennes, and his associates interned at their chateaux.

The finances which Richelieu had left in so flourishing a condition were soon exhausted by the lavish benevolence of the court, and were unhappily in the hands of Emery (a clever but cynical official, who had formerly been a fraudulent bankrupt), whose rigorous exactions and indifference to public feeling aroused the indignation of the whole nation. In 1646, 23,800 defaulters lay rotting in the jails, and an attempt to enforce an odious tax on all merchandise entering Paris led to an explosion of popular wrath. The Parlement, by the re-assertion of its claims to refuse the registration of an obnoxious decree of the crown, made itself the champion of public justice; the four sovereign courts met in the hall of St. Louis, and refused to register the tax. Anne was furious and made the boy-king hold a "bed[138] of justice" to enforce the registration of the decree. But the Parlement stood firm, declared itself the guardian of the public and private weal, claiming even to reform abuses and to discuss and vote on schemes of taxation. So critical was the situation that the court was forced to bend, and to postpone the humiliation of the Parlement to a more convenient season. The glorious issue of the campaigns of Conde against the Houses of Spain and Austria seemed to offer the desired opportunity. On 26th August 1648, while a Te Deum was being sung at Notre Dame for the victory of Lens, and a grand trophy of seventy-three captured flags was displayed to the people, three of the most stubborn members of the Parlement were arrested. One escaped, but while the venerable Councillor Broussel was being hustled into a carriage, a cry was raised, which stirred the whole of Paris to insurrection. In the excitement a street porter was shot by a captain of the Guards, the Marquis of Meilleraye, and the next morning the court, aroused by cries of "Liberty and Broussel," found the streets of Paris barricaded and the citizens in arms. De Retz, the suffragan archbishop of Paris, came in his robes to entreat Anne to appease the people, but was snubbed for his pains. "It is a revolt," she cried, "to imagine a revolt possible; these are silly tales of those who desire it: the king will enforce order." De Retz, angry and insulted, left to join the insurrection and to become its leader. The venerable president of the Parlement, Mole, and the whole body of members next repaired to the Palais Royal with no better success: Anne's only answer was a gibe. As they returned crestfallen from the Palais Royal they were driven back by the infuriated people, who threatened them with death, and clamoured for Broussel's release or Mazarin as a hostage. Nearly all the councillors fled, but the president, with exalted courage, faced them and, answering gravely, as if in his judgment-seat, said, "If you kill me, all my needs will be six feet of earth": he strode on with calm self-possession, amid a shower of missiles and threats, to the hall of St. Louis. The echo of Cromwell's triumph in England, however, seemed to have reached the Palais Royal, and the queen-regent was at length induced to treat. The demands of the people were granted and Broussel was liberated, amid scenes of tumultuous joy.

[Footnote 138: So named from the wooden seat, or couche de bois, covered with rich stuff embroidered with fleur-de-lys, on which the king sat when he attended a meeting of the Parlement.]

In February of the next year the regency made an effort to reassert its authority. The queen and the royal princes left Paris for the palace of St. Germain and gathered an army under Conde: the Parlement taxed themselves heavily, tried their hands at organising a citizen militia, and allied themselves with the popular Duke of Beaufort, now at liberty, and leader of a troop of brilliant but giddy young nobles. The Bastille was captured by the Parlement, and the university promised its support and a subsidy. Thus arose the civil war of the Fronde, one of the most extraordinary contests in history, whose name is derived from the puerile street fights with slings, of the printers' devils and schoolboys of Paris. The incidents of the war read like scenes in a comic opera. A hundred thousand armed citizens were besieged by eight thousand soldiers. The evolution of a burlesque form of cavalry, called the corps of the Portes Cocheres, formed by a conscription of one horseman for every house with a carriage gate, became the derision of the royal army. They issued forth, beplumed and beribboned, and fled back to the city, amid the execrations of the people, at the sight of a handful of troops. Every defeat—and the Parisians were always defeated—formed a subject for songs and mockery. Councils of war were held in taverns, and De Retz was seen at a sitting of the Parlement in the hall of St. Louis with a poignard sticking out of his pocket: "There is the archbishop's prayer-book," said the people. The more public-spirited members of the Parlement soon, however, tired of the folly; Mazarin won over De Retz by the offer of a cardinal's hat, and a compromise was effected with the court, which returned to Paris in April 1649. The People were still bitter against Mazarin, and invaded the Palais de Justice, demanding the cardinal's signature to the treaty, that it might be burned by the common hangman.

Successful generals are bad masters, and the jackboot was now supreme at court. Soon Conde's insolent bearing and the vanity of his entourage of young nobles, dubbed petits maitres, became intolerable: he was arrested at the Louvre, and sent to the keep at Vincennes. But Mazarin, thinking himself secure, delayed the promised reward to De Retz, who joined the disaffected friends of Conde: the court, again foiled, was forced to release Conde, surrender the two princes, and exile the hated Mazarin, who, none the less, ruled the storm by his subtle policy from Cologne. Conde, disgusted alike with queen and Parlement, now fled to the south, and raised the standard of rebellion.

The second phase of the wars of the Fronde became a more serious matter. Turenne, won over by the court, was given command of the royal forces, and moved against Conde. The two armies, after indecisive battles, raced to Paris and fought for its possession outside the Porte St. Antoine. The Frondeurs occupied what is now the Faubourg St. Antoine: the royalists the heights of Charonne. It was a stubborn and bloody contest. The armies were led by the two greatest captains of the age, and fought under the eyes of their king, who with the queen-mother watched the struggle from the eminence now crowned by the cemetery of Pere la Chaise. "I have seen not one Conde to-day, but a dozen," cried Turenne, as victory inclined to the Royalists. The last word was, however, with the Duke of Orleans: while he sat hesitating in the Luxembourg, the Grande Mademoiselle ordered the guns of the Bastille to be turned against Turenne, and the citizens opened the gates to Conde. Again his incorrigible insolence and brutality made Paris too hot for him, and with the disaffected princes he returned to Flanders to seek help from his country's enemies—a fatal mistake, which Mazarin was not slow to turn to advantage. He prudently retired while public feeling was won over to the young king, who was soon entreated by the Parlement and citizens to return to Paris. When the time was ripe, Mazarin had the Duke of Orleans interned at Blois, Conde was condemned to death in contumacio: De Retz was sent to Vincennes. Ten councillors of the Parlement were imprisoned or degraded, and in three months Mazarin returned to Paris with the pomp and equipage of a sovereign. It was the end of the Fronde, and of the attempt of the Parlement of Paris, a venal body[139] devoid of representative basis, to imitate the functions of the English House of Commons. The crown emerged from the contest more absolute than before, and Louis never forgot the days when he was a fugitive with his mother, and driven to lie on a hard mattress at the palace of St. Germain. In 1655 the Parlement of Paris met to prepare remonstrances against a royal edict: the young king heard of it while hunting at Vincennes, made his way to the hall of St. Louis booted[140] and spurred, rated the councillors and dissolved the sitting.

[Footnote 139: One of the schemes of Francis I. to raise money had been to offer the benches to the highest bidders, and under the law of 1604 the office of councillor became a hereditary property on payment to the court of one-sixtieth of its value. Moreover, the Parlement was but a local body, one among several others in the provinces.]

[Footnote 140: The added indignity of the whip is an invention of Voltaire.]

The years following on the internal peace were a period of triumphant foreign war and diplomacy. Mazarin achieved his purpose of marrying the Infanta of Spain to his royal master; he added to and confirmed Richelieu's territorial gains and guided France at last to triumph over the Imperial House of Austria. On 9th March 1661, after a pathetic scene in his sumptuous palace, where the stricken old cardinal dragged his tottering steps along its vast galleries, casting a despairing look on the marvellous treasures of art he had collected and sorrowing like a child at the idea of separating from them for ever, the great Italian, "whose heart was French if his tongue were not," confronted death at Vincennes with firmness and courage. Mazarin was, however, a costly servant, who bled his adopted country to satisfy his love for the arts and splendours of life, to furnish dowries to his nieces, and to exalt his family. His vast palace (now the Bibliotheque Nationale), with its library of 35,000 volumes, freely open to scholars, was furnished with princely splendour. He left 2,000,000 livres to found a college for the gratuitous education of sixty sons of gentlemen from the four provinces—Spanish, Italian, German and Flemish—recently added to the crown, in order that French culture and grace might be diffused among them; they were to be taught the use of arms, horsemanship, dancing, Christian piety, and belles-lettres. A vast domed edifice was raised on the site of the Tour de Nesle, and became famous as the College of the Four Nations. It was subsequently expropriated and given by the Convention to the five learned academies of France, and is now known as the Institut de France.



CHAPTER XV

The Grand Monarque—Versailles and Paris

The century of Louis XIV., whose triumphs have been so extravagantly celebrated by Voltaire, saw the culmination and declension of military glory and literary splendour at Paris, and of regal magnificence at Versailles. Gone were the times of cardinal dictators. When the ministers came after Mazarin's death to ask the king whom they should now address themselves to, the answer came like a thunderbolt: "To me!"

What brilliant constellations of great men cast their influences over the beginning of Louis XIV.'s reign! "Sire," said Mazarin, when dying, "I owe you all, but I can partially acquit myself by leaving you Colbert:"—austere Colbert, whose Atlantean shoulders bore the burden of five modern ministries; whose vehement industry, admirable science and sterling honesty created order out of financial chaos and found the sinews of war for an army of 300,000 men before the Peace of Ryswick and 450,000 for the war of the Spanish succession; who initiated, nurtured and perfected French industries; who created a navy that crushed the combined English and Dutch fleets off Beachy Head, swept the Channel for weeks, burnt English ports, carried terror into English homes, and for a time paralysed English commerce. Louvois, his colleague, organised an army that made his master the arbiter of Europe; Conde and Turenne were its victorious captains. Vauban, greatest of military engineers, captured towns in war and made them impregnable in peace, and shared with Louvois the invention of the combined musket and bayonet, the deadliest weapon of war as yet contrived. De Lionne, by masterly diplomacy, prepared and cemented the conquests of victorious generals. Supreme in arts of peace were Corneille, Moliere, Racine, La Fontaine, Lebrun, Claude Lorrain, Puget, Mansard, and Perrault. We shall learn in the sequel what the Grand Monarque did with this unparalleled inheritance.

None of the great ones of the earth is so intimately known to us as the magnificent histrion, whose tinselled grandeur and pompous egoism have been laid bare by the Duke of St. Simon, prince of memoirists. Never has the frippery of a court been shrivelled by such fierce and consuming light, glaring like a fiery sun on its meretricious splendours. And what a court it is! What a gilded crowd of princes and paramours, harlots and bastards, struts, fumes and intrigues through these Memoirs! By a few strokes of his pen, in words that bite like acid, he etches for us the fools and knaves, the wife-beaters and adulterers, the cardsharpers and gamesters, the grovelling sycophants with their petty struggles for precedence or favour, their slang, their gluttony and drunkenness, their moral and physical corruption.

External grandeur and regal presence,[141] a profound belief in his divinely-appointed despotism, and in earlier years a rare capacity for work, the lord of France certainly possessed. "He had a grand mien," says St. Simon, "and looked a veritable king of the bees." Much has been made of Louis' incomparable grace and respectful courtesy to women; but the courtesy of a king who doffs his hat to every serving wench yet contrives a staircase to facilitate the debauching of his queen's maids-of-honour, and exacts of his mistresses and the ladies of his court submission to his will and pleasure, even under the most trying of physical disabilities, is at least wanting in consistency. Louis' mental equipment was less than mediocre; he was ignorant of the commonest facts of history, and fell into the grossest blunders in public. Like all small-minded men, he was jealous of superior merit and preferred mediocrity rather than genius in his ministers. Small wonder that his reign ended in shame and disaster.

[Footnote 141: Louis used, however, to stilt his low stature by means of thick pads in his boots.]

On the 6th of June 1662, the young Louis, notwithstanding much public misery consequent on two years of bad harvests, organised a magnificent carrousel (tilting) in the garden that fronted the Tuileries. Five companies of nobles, each led by the king or one of the princes, were apparelled in gorgeous costumes as Romans, Persians, Turks, Armenians and Indians. Louis, who arrayed as emperor, led the Romans, was followed by a superb train of many squires, twenty-four pages, fifty horses each led by two grooms, and fifty footmen dressed as lictors, carrying gilded fasces. The royal princes headed similar processions. So great was the display of jewels that all the precious stones in the world seemed brought together; so richly were the costumes of the knights and the trappings of the horses embroidered with gold and silver that the cloth beneath could barely be seen. An immense amphitheatre afforded seats for a multitude of spectators, and in a smaller pavilion, richly gilded, sat the two queens of France, the queen of England, and the royal princesses. The first day was spent in tilting at Medusa heads and heads of Moors: the second at rings. The king is said to have greatly distinguished himself by his skill. Maria Theresa, his young queen, distributed the prizes, and the garden was afterwards named the Place du Carrousel.

Louis, however, hated Paris, for his forced exile and the humiliations of the Fronde rankled in his memory. Nor were the associations of St. Germain any more pleasant. A lover of the chase and all too prone to fall into the snares of "fair, fallacious looks and venerial trains," the retirement of his father's hunting lodge at Versailles, away from the prying eyes and mocking tongues of the Parisians, early attracted him. There he was wont to meet his mistress, Madame de la Valliere, and there he determined to erect a vast pleasure-palace and gardens. The small chateau, built by Lemercier in the early half of the seventeenth century, was handed over to Levau in 1668, who, carefully respecting his predecessor's work in the Cour de Marbre, constructed two immense wings, which were added to by J.H. Mansard, as the requirements of the court grew. The palace stood in the midst of a barren, sandy plain, but Louis' pride demanded that Nature herself should bend to his will, and an army of artists, engineers and gardeners was concentrated there, who at the sacrifice of incredible wealth and energy, had so far advanced the work that the king was able to come into residence in 1682.

In spite of seas of reservoirs fed by costly hydraulic machinery at Marly, which lifted the waters of the Seine to an aqueduct that led to Versailles, the supply was deemed inadequate, and orders were given to divert the river Eure between Chartres and Maintenon to the gardens of the palace. For years an army of thirty thousand men was employed in this one task, at a cost of money and human life greater than that of many a campaign. So heavy was the mortality in the camp that it was forbidden to speak of the sick, and above all of the dead, who were carried away in cartloads by night for burial. All that remains of this cruel folly are a few ruins at Maintenon.

After the failure of this scheme, subterranean water-courses were contrived. The plaisir du roi must be sated at any cost, and at length a magnificent garden was created, filled with a population of statues and adorned with gigantic fountains. Soon however, the king tired of the bustle and noise of Versailles, and a miserable and swampy site at Marly, the haunt of toads and serpents and creeping things, was transformed into a splendid hermitage. Hills were levelled, great trees brought from Compiegne, most of which soon died and were as quickly replaced; fish-ponds, adorned by exquisite paintings, were made and unmade; woods were metamorphosed into lakes, where the king and a select company of courtiers disported themselves in gondolas and where cascades refreshed their ears in summer heat; precious paintings, statues and costly furniture charmed the eye inside the hermitage—and all to receive the king and his intimates from Wednesday to Saturday on a few occasions in the year. St. Simon with passionate exaggeration declares that Marly cost more than Versailles.[142] Nothing remains to-day of all this splendour: it was neglected by Louis' successors and sold in lots during the Revolution.

[Footnote 142: Taine, basing his calculation on a MS. bound with the monogram of Mansard, estimated the cost of Versailles in modern equivalent at about 750,000,000 francs (L30,000,000 sterling.)]

After a life of wanton licentiousness, Louis, at the age of forty, was captivated by the mature charms of a widow of forty-three, a colonial adventuress of noble descent, who after the death of her husband, the crippled comic poet Scarron, became governess to the king's children by Madame de Montespan. Soon after the death of Maria Theresa, the widow Scarron, known to history as Madame de Maintenon, was secretly married to her royal lover, who for the remainder of his life remained her docile slave.

A narrow bigot in matters of religion and completely under the influence of fanatics, Madame de Maintenon persuaded Louis that a crusade against heresy would be a fitting atonement for his past sins. By the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 22nd October 1685, the charter of Protestant liberties was destroyed, and those who had given five out of ten marshals to France, including the great Turenne, were denied the right of civil existence. Whole cities were depopulated; tens of thousands (for the Huguenots had long ceased to exist as a political force) of law-abiding citizens expatriated themselves and carried their industries to enrich foreign lands.[143] Many pastors were martyred, and drummers stationed at the foot of the scaffold drowned their exhortations. Let us not say persecution is ineffective; the Huguenots who at one time threatened to turn the scale in favour of the Protestant powers and to wreck the Catholic cause in Europe, practically disappear from history. On the whole, the measure was approved by Paris; Racine, La Fontaine, the great Jansenist Arnault, as well as Bossuet and Massillon, applauded. Louis was hailed a second Constantine, and believed he had revived the times of the apostles. But the consequences were far-reaching and disastrous. In less than two months the Catholic James II. of England was a discrowned fugitive, and the Calvinist William of Orange, the inveterate enemy of France, sat in his place; England's pensioned neutrality was turned to bitter hostility, and every Protestant power in Europe stirred to fierce resentment. Seven years of war ensued, which exhausted the immense resources of France; seven years,[144] rich in glory perhaps, but lean years indeed to the dumb millions who paid the cost in blood and money.

[Footnote 143: The writer, whose youth was passed among the descendants of the Huguenot silk-weavers of Spitalfields, has indelible memories of their sterling character and admirable industry.]

[Footnote 144: Marshal Luxembourg was dubbed the Tapissier de Notre Dame (the upholsterer of Notre Dame), from the number of captured flags he sent to the cathedral.]

After three short years of peace and recuperation, the acceptance of the crown of Spain by Louis' grandson, Philip of Anjou, in spite of Maria Theresa's solemn renunciation for herself and her posterity of all claim to the Spanish succession, roused all the old jealousy of France and brought her secular enemy, the House of Austria, to a new coalition against her.

Woe to the nation whose king is thrall to women. The manner in which this momentous step was taken is characteristic of Louis. Two councils were held in Madame de Maintenon's room at Versailles; her advice was asked by the king, and apparently turned the scale in favour of acceptance. "For a hundred years," says Taine, "from 1672 to 1774, every time a king of France made war it was by pique or vanity, by family or private interest, or by condescension to a woman." Still more amazing is the fact that, for years, the court of Madrid was ruled by a Frenchwoman, Madame des Ursins, the camarera mayor of Philip's queen, who made and unmade ministers, controlled all public appointments, and even persuaded the French ambassador to submit all despatches to her before sending them to France. Madame de Maintenon was equally omnipotent at Versailles; she decided what letters should or should not be shown to the king, kept back disagreeable news, and held everybody in the hollow of her hand, from humblest subject to most exalted minister. This was the atmosphere from which men were sent to meet the new and more potent combination of States that opposed the Spanish succession. Chamillart, a pitiful creature of Madame de Maintenon's, sat in Colbert's place; gone were Turenne and Conde and Luxembourg; the armies of the descendant of St. Louis were led by the Duke of Vendome, a foul lecher, whose inhuman vices went far to justify the gibe of Mephistopheles that men use their reason "um thierischer als jedes Thier zu sein."

The victories of the Duke of Marlborough and of Prince Eugene spread consternation at Versailles. When, in 1704, the news of Blenheim oozed out, the king's grief was piteous to see. Scarce a noble family but had one of its members killed, wounded, or a prisoner. Two years later came the defeat of Ramillies, to be followed in three months by the disaster at Turin. The balls and masquerades and play at Marly went merrily on; but at news of the defeat of Oudenarde and the fall of Lille, even the reckless courtiers were subdued, and for a month gambling and even conversation ceased. At the sound of an approaching horseman they ran hither and thither, with fear painted on their cheeks. Wildest schemes for raising money were tried; taxes were levied on baptisms and marriages; sums raised for the relief of the poor and the maintenance of highways were expropriated, and the wretched peasants were forced to repair the roads without payment, some dying of starvation at their work. King and courtiers, with ill-grace, sent their plate to the mint and a plan for the recapture of Lille was mooted, in which Louis was to take part, but, for lack of money, the king's ladies were not to accompany him to the seat of war as they had hitherto done.[145] The expedition was to remain a secret; but the infatuated Louis could withhold nothing from Madame de Maintenon, who never rested until she had foiled the whole scheme and disgraced Chamillart, for having concealed the preparations from her.

[Footnote 145: In a previous campaign the king had taken his queen and two mistresses with him in one coach. The peasants used to amuse themselves by coming to see the "three queens."]

Versailles had now grown so accustomed to defeats that Malplaquet was hailed as half a victory; but, in 1710, so desperate was the condition of the treasury, that a financial and social debacle was imminent. The Dauphin, on leaving the opera at Paris, had been assailed by crowds of women shouting, "Bread! bread!" and only escaped by throwing them money and promises. To appease the people, the poor were set to level the boulevard near St. Denis, and were paid in doles of bread—bad bread. Even this failed them one morning, and a woman who made some disturbance was dragged to the pillory by the archers of the watch. An angry mob released her, and proceeded to raid the bakers' shops. The ugly situation was saved only by the firmness and sagacity of the popular Marshal Boufflers. Another turn of the financial screw was now meditated, and, as the taxes had already "drawn all the blood from his subjects, and squeezed out their very marrow," the conscience of the lord of France was troubled. His Jesuit confessor, Le Tellier, promised to consult the Sorbonne, whose learned doctors decided that, since all the wealth of his subjects rightly belonged to the king, he only took what was his own.

Towards the end of the seventeenth century, the quarrel between Jansenists and Jesuits concerning subtle doctrinal differences had grown acute through the publication of Pascal's immortal Lettres Provinciales, and by Quesnel's Reflexions Morales which the Jesuits had succeeded in subjecting to papal condemnation. In 1709, Le Tellier induced his royal penitent to decree the destruction of one of the two Jansenist establishments, and Port Royal des Champs, between Versailles and Chevreuse, rendered famous by the piety and learning of Arnault, Pascal and Nicolle, was doomed. On the night of 28th October 1709, the convent was surrounded by Gardes Francaises and Suisses, and on the following morning the chief of the police, with a posse of archers of the watch entered, produced a lettre de cachet, and gave the nuns a quarter of an hour to prepare for deportation. The whole of the sisters were then brutally expelled, "comme on enleve les creatures prostituees d'un lieu infame," says St. Simon, and scattered among other religious houses in all directions. The friends of the buried were bidden to exhume their dead, and all unclaimed bodies were flung into a neighbouring cemetery, where dogs fought for them as for carrion. The church was profaned, all the conventual buildings were razed and sold in lots, not one stone being left on another; the very ground was ploughed up and sown, "not, it is true with salt," adds St. Simon, and that was the only favour shown.

Two years after the scene at Port Royal, amid the heartless gaiety of the court, the Angel of Death was busy in Louis' household. On 14th April 1711, the old king's only lawful son, the Grand Dauphin, expired; on 12th February 1712, the second Dauphiness, the sweet and gentle Adelaide of Savoy, Louis' darling, died of a malignant fever; six days later the Duke of Burgundy, her husband, was struck down; on 8th March, the Duke of Brittany, their eldest child, followed them. Three Dauphins had gone to the vaults of St. Denis in less than a year; mother, father, son, had died in twenty-four days—a sweep of Death's scythe, enough to touch even the hearts of courtiers. In a few days the king gave orders for the usual play to begin at Marly, and the dice rattled while the bodies of the Dauphin and Dauphiness lay yet unburied.

In May 1714, the Duke of Berri, son of the Grand Dauphin, died, and the sole direct heir to the throne was now the king's great-grandson, the Duke of Anjou, a sickly child of five years. On September 1715, the Grand Monarque made a calm and an edifying end to his long reign of seventy-two years, declaring that he owed no man restitution, and trusted in God's mercy for what he owed to the realm. He called the young child, who was soon to be Louis XV., to his bedside, and apparently without any sense of irony, exhorted him to remember his God, to cherish peace, to avoid extravagance, and study the welfare of his people. After receiving the last sacraments he repeated the prayers for the dying in a firm voice and, calling on God's aid, passed peacefully away. None but his official attendants, his priest and physicians, saw the end: two days before, Madame de Maintenon had retired to St. Cyr.

The demolition of what remained of mediaeval Paris proceeded apace during Louis XIV.'s lifetime, and, at his death, the architectural features of its streets were substantially those of the older Paris of to-day. Colbert had taken up the costly legacy of the unfinished Louvre before the petrified banalities of Versailles and Marly had engulfed their millions, and, in 1660, the Hotel de Bourbon was given over to the housebreakers to make room for the new east wing of the palace. So vigorously did they set to work that when Moliere, whose company performed there three days a week in alternation with the Italian opera, came for the usual rehearsal, he found the theatre half demolished. He applied to the king, who granted him the temporary use of Richelieu's theatre in the Palais Royal, and his first performance there was given on 20th January 1661.

Levau was employed to carry on Lemercier's work on the Louvre, and had succeeded in completing the north wing and the river front in harmony with Lescot's design, when in 1664 Colbert stayed further progress and ordered him to prepare a model in wood of his proposed east wing. Levau was stupefied, for he had elaborated with infinite study a design for this portion of the palace, which he regarded as of supreme importance, and which he hoped would crown his work. He had already laid the foundations and erected the scaffolding when the order came. Levau made his model, and a number of architects were invited to criticise it: they did, and unanimously condemned it. Competitive designs were then exhibited with the model and submitted to Colbert, who took advantage of Poussin's residence at Rome to send them to the great Italian architects for their judgment. The Italians delivered a sweeping and general condemnation, and Poussin advised that Bernini should be employed to design a really noble edifice. Louis was delighted by the suggestion, and the loan of the architect of the great Colonnade of St. Peter's was entreated of the pope by the king's own hand in a letter dated 11th April 1665.

Bernini, in spite of his sixty-eight years, came to Paris, accompanied by his son, where he was treated like a prince, and drew up a scheme of classic grandeur. Levau's work on the east front was destroyed, and in October 1665, Bernini's foundations were begun. The majestic new design, however, ignored the exigencies of existing work and of internal convenience, and gave opportunities for criticisms and intrigue, which Colbert and the French architects,[146] forgetting for the moment all domestic rivalry, were not slow to make the most of. The offended Italian, three days after the ceremony of laying the foundation stone by the king on the 17th October 1665, left to winter in Rome, promising to return with his wife in the following February. He carried with him a munificent gift of 3000 gold louis and a pension of 12,000 livres for himself and of 1,200 for his son. The pension was paid regularly up to 1674, but the great Bernini was never seen in Paris again.

[Footnote 146: Bernini, according to Charles Perrault, was short in stature, good-humoured, and seasoned his conversation with parables, good stories and bons mots; never tiring of talking of his own country, of Michel Angelo and of himself. For a full history of these intrigues, see Ch. Normand's Paris.]

Among the designs originally submitted to Colbert, and approved by him and Lebrun, was one which had not been sent to Rome. It was the work of an amateur, Claude Perrault, a physician, whose brother, Charles Perrault, was chief clerk in the Office of Works. This was brought forth early in 1667, and a commission, consisting of Levau, Lebrun, Claude Perrault and others, appointed to report on its practicability. Levau promptly produced his own discarded designs, and both were submitted to the king for a final decision on 13th May. Louis was fascinated by the stately classicism of Perrault's design, and this was adopted. "Architecture must be in a bad state," said his rivals, "since it is put in the hands of a physician." Colbert seems, however, to have distrusted Claude's technical powers and on his brother Charles' advice a council of specialists, consisting of Levau, Lebrun, and Claude was appointed under the presidency of Colbert. Charles was made secretary and many were the quarrels between the rival architects over practical details. Perrault's new wing was found to be seventy-two feet too long, but the sovereign fiat had gone forth, the new east facade was raised and the whole of Levau's river front was masked by a new facade, rendered necessary by the excessive length of Perrault's design. The whole south wing[147] is in consequence much wider than any of the others which enclose the great quadrangle. Poor Levau's end was hastened by vexation and grief. Even to this day the north-east wing of Perrault's facade projects unsymmetrically beyond the line of the north front. The work has been much criticised and much praised. It evoked Fergusson's ecstatic admiration, was extolled by Reynolds and eulogised by another critic as one of the finest pieces of architecture in any age. Strangely enough, neither of these ever saw, nor has anyone yet seen, more than a partial and stunted realisation of Perrault's design, for, as the accompanying reproduction of a drawing by Blondel demonstrates, the famous east front of the Louvre is like a giant buried up to the knees, and the present first-floor windows were an afterthought, their places having been designed as niches to hold statues. The exactitude of Blondel's elevations was finally proved in 1903 by the admirable insight of the present architect of the Louvre, Monsieur G. Redon, who was led to undertake the excavations which brought to light a section of Perrault's decorated basement, by noticing that the windows of the ground floor evidently implied a lower order beneath. This basement, seven and a half metres in depth, now buried, was in Perrault's scheme designed to be exposed by a fosse of some fifteen to twenty metres in width, and the whole elevation and symmetry of the wing would have immensely gained by the carrying out of his plans.

[Footnote 147: Levau's south facade was not completely hidden by Perrault's screen, for the roofs of the end and central pavilions emerged from behind it until they were destroyed by Gabriel in 1755.]



The construction was, however, interrupted in 1676, owing to the king's abandonment of Paris. Colbert strenuously protested against the neglect of the Louvre, and warned his master not to squander his millions away from Paris and suffer posterity to measure his grandeur by the ell of Versailles. It availed nothing. In 1670, 1,627,293 livres were allotted to the Louvre; in 1672 the sum had fallen to 58,000 livres; in 1676 to 42,082; in 1680 the subsidies practically ceased, and the great palace was utterly neglected until 1754 when Perrault's work was feebly continued by Gabriel and Soufflot.

Two domed churches in the south of Paris—the Val de Grace and St. Louis of the Invalides—were also erected during Louis XIV.'s lifetime. Among the many vows made by Anne of Austria during her twenty-two years' unfruitful marriage was one made in the sanctuary of the nunnery of the Val de Grace, to build there a magnificent church to God's glory if she were vouchsafed a Dauphin. At length, on 18th April 1645, the proud queen was able to lead the future king, a boy of seven years, to lay the first stone. The church was designed by F. Mansard on the model of St. Peter's at Rome, and was finished by Lemercier and others.

A refuge had been founded as early as Henry IV.'s reign in an old abbey in the Faubourg St. Marcel, for old and disabled soldiers. Louis XIV., the greatest creator of invalides France had seen, determined in 1670 to extend the foundation, and erect a vast hospital, capable of accommodating his aged, crippled or infirm soldiers. Bruant and J.H. Mansard[148] among other architects were employed to raise the vast pile of buildings which, when completed, are said to have been capable of housing 7,000 men. A church dedicated to St. Louis was comprehended in the scheme, and, in 1680, a second Eglise Royale was erected, whose gilded dome is so conspicuous an object in south Paris; the Eglise Royale, which Mansard designed, was subsequently added to the church of St. Louis, and became its choir. Louis XIV., anticipating Napoleon's maxim that war must support war, raised the funds needed for the foundation by ingeniously requiring all ordinary and extraordinary treasurers of war to retain two deniers[149] on every livre that passed through their hands.

[Footnote 148: Jules Hardouin, the younger Mansard, was a nephew and pupil of Francois Mansard, and assumed his uncle's name. The latter was the inventor of the Mansard roof.]

[Footnote 149: The sixth part of a sou.]

The old city gates of the Tournelle, Poissonniere (or St. Anne), St. Martin, St. Denis, the Temple, St. Jacques, St. Victor, were demolished, and triumphal arches, which still remain, erected to mark the sites of the Portes St. Denis and St. Martin. Another arch, of St. Antoine, was designed to surpass all existing or ancient monuments of the kind, and many volumes were written concerning the language in which the inscription should be composed, but the devouring maw of Versailles had to be filled, and the arch was never completed. The king for whose glory the monument was to be raised, cared so little for it, that he suffered it to be pulled down.

Many new streets[150] were made, and others widened, among them the ill-omened Rue de la Ferronnerie. The northern ramparts were levelled and planted with trees from the Porte St. Antoine in the east to the Porte St. Honore in the west, and in 1704 it was decided to continue the planting in the south round the Faubourg St. Germain. The Place Louis le Grand (now Vendome), and the Place des Victoires were created; the river embankments were renewed and extended, and a fine stone Pont Royal by J.H. Mansard, the most beautiful of the existing bridges of Paris, was built to replace the old wooden structure that led from the St. Germain quarter to the Tuileries. This in its turn had replaced a ferry (bac) established by the Guild of Ferrymen, to transport the stone needed for the construction of the Tuileries, and the street which leads to the bridge still bears the name of the Rue du Bac. The Isle Louviers was acquired by the Ville, and the evil-smelling tanneries and dye-houses that disfigured the banks of the Seine between the Greve and the Chatelet were cleared away; many new fountains embellished the city, and ten new pumps increased the supply of water. The poorer quarters were, however, little changed from their old insanitary condition. A few years later Rousseau, fresh from Turin, was profoundly disappointed by the streets of Paris as he entered the city by the Faubourg St. Marceau. "I had imagined," he writes, "a city as fair as it was great, and of a most imposing aspect, whose superb streets were lined with palaces of marble and of gold. I beheld filthy, evil-smelling, mean streets, ugly houses black with dirt, a general air of uncleanness and of poverty, beggars and carters, old clothes shop and tisane sellers."

[Footnote 150: Twelve alone were added to the St. Honore quarter by levelling the Hill of St. Roch and clearing away accumulated rubbish.]



It is now time to ask what had been done with the magnificent inheritance which the fourteenth Louis had entered upon at the opening of his reign: he left to his successor, a France crushed by an appalling debt of 2,400,000,000 livres; a noblesse and an army in bondage to money-lenders; public officials and fund-holders unpaid, trade paralysed, and the peasants in some provinces so poor that even straw was lacking for them to lie upon, many crossing the frontiers in search of a less miserable lot. Scarcity of bread made disease rampant at Paris, and as many as 4,500 sick poor were counted at one time in the Hotel Dieu alone. Louis left a court that "sweated hypocrisy through every pore," and an example of licentious and unclean living and cynical disregard of every moral obligation, which ate like a cancer into the vitals of the aristocracy.



CHAPTER XVI

Paris under the Regency and Louis XV.—The brooding Storm

Under the regency of the profligate Philip of Orleans, a profounder depth was sounded. The vices of Louis' court were at least veiled by a certain regal dignity, and the Grand Monarque was always keenly sensitive, and at times nobly responsive, to any attack upon the honour of France; but under the regent, libertinage and indifference to national honour were flagrant and shameless. The Abbe Dubois, a minister worthy of his prince, was, says St. Simon, "a mean-looking, thin little man, with the face of a ferret, in whom every vice fought for mastery." This creature profaned the seat of Richelieu and Colbert, and rose to fill a cardinal's chair. The revenues of seven abbeys fed his pride and luxury, and his annual income was estimated at 1,534,000 livres, including his bribe from the English Government.

Visitors to Venice whose curiosity may have led them into the church of S. Moise, will remember to have seen there a monument to a famous Scotchman—John Law. This is the last home of an outlaw, a gambler, and an adventurer, who, by his amazing skill and effrontery, plunged the regency into a vortex of speculation, and for a time controlled the finances of France. He persuaded the regent that by a liberal issue of paper money he might wipe out the accumulated national deficit of 100,000,000 livres, revive trade and industry, and inaugurate a financial millennium. In 1718 Law's Bank at Paris after a short and brilliant career as a private venture, was converted into the Banque Royale, and by the artful flotation of a gigantic trading speculation called the Mississippi Company, the bank-notes and company shares were so manipulated that the latter were inflated to twenty times their nominal value. The whole city seethed in a ferment of speculation. The offices of the Bank in the Rue Quincampoix were daily besieged by a motley crowd of princes, nobles, fine ladies, courtesans, generals, prelates, priests, bourgeois and servants. A hunchback made a fortune by lending his back as a desk; lacqueys became masters in a day, and a parvenu foot-man, by force of habit, jumped up behind his own carriage in a fit of abstraction. The inevitable catastrophe came at the end of 1719. The Prince of Conti was observed taking away three cartloads of silver in exchange for his paper; a panic ensued, every holder sought to realise, and the colossal fabric came down with a crash, involving thousands of families in ruin and despair. Law, after bravely trying to save the situation and narrowly escaping being torn in pieces, fled to poverty and death at Venice, and the financial state of France was worse than before. Law was not, however, absolutely a quack; there was a seed of good in his famous system of mobilising credit, and the temporary stimulus it gave to trade permanently influenced mercantile practice in Europe.

In 1723, Louis XV. reached his legal majority. The regent became chief minister, and soon paid the penalty of his career of debauchery, leaving as his successor the Duke of Bourbon, degenerate scion of the great Conde and one of the chief speculators in the Mississippi bubble. A perilous lesson had two years before been instilled into the mind of the young Louis. After his recovery from an illness, an immense concourse of people had assembled at a fete given in the gardens of the Tuileries palace; enormous crowds filled every inch of the Place du Carrousel and the gardens; the windows and even the roofs of the houses were alive with people crying "Vive le roi!" Marshal Villeroi led the little lad of eleven to a window, showed him the sea of exultant faces turned towards him, and exclaimed, "Sire, all this people is yours; all belongs to you. Show yourself to them, and satisfy them; you are the master of all."

The Infanta of Spain, at four years of age, had been betrothed to the young king, and in 1723 was sent to Paris to be educated for her exalted future. She was lodged in the Petite Galerie of the Louvre, over the garden still known as the Garden of the Infanta,[151] and after three years of exile the homesick little maid was returned to Madrid; for Louis' weak health made it imperative that a speedy marriage should be contracted if the succession to the throne were to be assured. The choice finally fell on the daughter of Stanislaus Leczynski, a deposed king of Poland and a pensioner of France. Voltaire relates that the poor discrowned queen was sitting with her daughter Marie in their little room at Wissembourg when the father, bursting in, fell on his knees, crying, "Let us thank God, my child!" "Are you then recalled to Poland?" asked Marie. "Nay, daughter, far better," answered Stanislaus, "you are the queen of France." A magnificent wedding at Fontainebleau exalted gentle, pious Marie from poverty to the richest queendom in Europe; to a life of cruel neglect and almost intolerable insult.

[Footnote 151: It extended as far as the entrance to the quadrangle opposite the Pont des Arts. Blondel's drawings show a double line of trees, north and south, enclosing a Renaissance garden of elaborate design: a charming bosquet, or wood, filled the eastern extremity.]

The immoral Duke of Bourbon was followed by Cardinal Fleury, and at length France experienced a period of honest administration, which enabled the sorely-tried land to recover some of its wonted elasticity. The Cardinal was, however, dominated by the Jesuits, and both Protestants and Jansenists felt their cruel hand. During the persecution of the Jansenists in 1782 a deacon, named Paris, died and was canonised by the popular voice. Miracles were said to have been wrought at his sepulchre in the cemetery of St. Medard; fanatics flung themselves down on the tomb and writhed in horrible convulsions. So great was the excitement and disorder that the Archbishop of Paris denounced the miracles as the work of Satan, and the Government ordered the cemetery to be closed. The next morning a profane inscription was found over the entrance to the cemetery:—

"De par le roi defense a Dieu De faire miracle en ce lieu."[152]

[Footnote 152: "By order of the king, God is forbidden to work miracles in this place."]

Before Louis sank irrevocably into the slothful indulgence that stained his later years, he was stirred to essay a kingly role by Madame de Chateauroux, the youngest of four sisters who had successively been his mistresses. She fired his indolent imagination by appeals to the memory of his glorious ancestors, and the war of the Austrian succession being in progress, Louis set forth with the army of the great Marshal Saxe for Metz, where in August 1744 he was stricken down by a violent fever, and in an access of piety was induced to promise to dismiss his mistress and return to his abused queen. As he lay on the brink of death, given up by his physicians and prepared for the end by the administration of the last sacraments, a royal phrase admirably adapted to capture the imagination of a gallant people came from his lips. "Remember," he said to Marshal Noailles, "remember that when Louis XIII. was being carried to the grave, the Prince of Conde won a battle for France." The agitation of the Parisians as the king hovered between life and death was indescribable. The churches were thronged with sobbing people praying for his recovery; when the courtiers came with news that he was out of danger they were borne shoulder high in triumph through the streets, and fervent thanksgiving followed in all the churches. People hailed him as Louis le Bien-Aime; even the callous heart of the king was pierced by their loyalty and he cried, "What have I done to deserve such love?" So easy was it to win the affection of this warm-hearted people.

The brilliant victories of Marshal Saxe, and the consequent Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, brought some years of prosperity. Wealth increased; Paris became more than ever a centre of intellectual splendour and social refinement, where the arts administered to luxurious ease and to the fair frailties of passion. But it was a period of riotous pride and regal licentiousness unparalleled even in the history of France. Louis XIV. at least exacted good breeding and wit in his mistresses: his descendant enslaved himself to the commonest and most abandoned of women. For twenty years the destinies of the people, and the whole patronage of the Government, the right to succeed to the most sacred and exalted offices in the Church, were bartered and intrigued for in the chamber of a harlot and procuress, and under the influence of the Pompadours and the Du Barrys a crowned roue allowed the state to drift into financial, military and civil[153] disaster.

[Footnote 153: In 1753 between 20th January and 20th February two hundred persons died of want (misere) in the Faubourg St. Antoine.]

"Authentic proofs exist," says Taine, "demonstrating that Madame de Pompadour cost Louis XV. a sum equal to about seventy-two millions of present value (L2,880,000)." She would examine the plans of campaign of her marshals in her boudoir, and mark with patches (mouches) the places to be defended or attacked. Such was the mad extravagance of the court that to raise money recourse was had to taxation of the clergy, which the prelates successfully resisted; the old quarrel with the Jansenists was revived, and soon Church and Crown were convulsed by an agitation that shook society to its very base. During the popular ferment the king was attacked in 1757 by a crack-brained fanatic named Damiens, who scratched him with a penknife as he was entering his coach at Versailles. The poor crazy wretch, who at most deserved detention in an asylum, was first subjected to a cruel judicial torture, then taken to the Place de Greve, where he was lacerated with red-hot pincers and, after boiling lead had been poured into the wounds, his quivering body was torn to pieces by four horses, and the fragments burned to ashes.

A few years later the long-suffering Jansenists were avenged with startling severity. The Jesuits, to their honour be it said, shocked by the infamies of the royal seraglio in the Parc aux Cerfs, made use of their ascendency at Court to awaken in the king's mind some sense of decency: they did but add the bitter animosity of Madame de Pompadour to the existing hostility of the Parlement of Paris. Louis, urged by his minister the Duke of Choiseul, and by the arts of his mistress, abandoned the Jesuits to their enemies: the Parlement suppressed the Society, secularised its members and confiscated its property.

The closing years of the Well-Beloved's reign were years of unmitigated ignominy and disaster. Indian conquests were muddled away, and the gallant Dupleix died broken-hearted and in misery at Paris. Canada was lost. During the Seven Years' War the incapacity and administrative corruption of Madame de Pompadour's favourites made them the laughing-stock of Paris. In 1770 the Duke of Choiseul refused to tolerate the vile Du Barry, whom we may see in Madame Campan's Memoirs sitting on the arm of Louis' chair at a council of state, playing her monkey tricks to amuse the old sultan, snatching sealed orders from his hand and making the royal dotard chase her round the council chamber. She swore to ruin the duke and, aided by a cabal of Jesuit sympathisers and noble intriguers, succeeded in compassing his dismissal. The Parlement of Paris paid for its temerity: it and the whole of the parlements in France were suppressed, and seven hundred magistrates exiled by lettres de cachet. Every patriotic Frenchman now felt the gathering storm. Madame Campan writes that twenty years before the crash came it was common talk in her father's house (he was employed in the Foreign Office) that the old monarchy was rapidly sinking and a great change at hand. Indeed, the writing on the wall was not difficult to read. The learned and virtuous Malesherbes and many another distinguished member of the suppressed parlements warned the king of the dangers menacing the crown, but so sunk was its wearer in sensual stupefaction that he only murmured: "Well, it will last my time," and with his flatterers and strumpets uttered the famous words—"Apres nous le deluge." So lost to all sense of honour was Louis, that he defiled his hands with bribes from tax-farmers who ground the faces of the poor, and became a large shareholder in an infamous syndicate of capitalists that bought up the corn of France in order to export and then import it at enormous profit. This abominable Pacte de Famine created two artificial famines in France; its authors battened on the misery of the people, and for any who lifted their voices against it the Bastille yawned.

In 1768 the poor abused and neglected queen, Marie Leczinska died. The court sank from bad to worse: void now of all dignity, all gaiety, all wit and all elegance, it drifted to its doom. Six years passed, when Louis was smitten by confluent small-pox and a few poor women were left to perform the last offices on the mass of pestiferous corruption that once was the fifteenth Louis of France.[154] None could be found to embalm the corpse, and spirits of wine were poured into the coffin which was carried to St. Denis without pomp and amid the half-suppressed curses of the people. Before the breath had left the body, a noise as of thunder was heard approaching the chamber of the Dauphin and Marie Antoinette: it was the sound of the courtiers hastening to grovel before the new king and queen. Warned that they had now inherited the awful legacy of the French monarchy, they flung themselves in tears on their knees, and exclaimed—"O God, guide and protect us! We are too young to govern."

[Footnote 154: Some conception of the insanitary condition of the court may be formed by the fact that fifty persons were struck down there by this loathsome disease during the king's illness.]

The degradation of the monarchy during the reign is reflected in the condition of the Louvre. Henry IV.'s great scheme, which Louis XIII. had inherited and furthered, included a colossal equestrian statue, which was to stand on a rocky pedestal in the centre of a new Place, before the east front of the Louvre, but the regency revoked the scheme, and for thirty years nothing was done. It had even been proposed under the ministry of Cardinal Fleury to pull the whole structure down and sell the site. The neglect of the palace during these years is almost incredible. Perrault's fine facade was hidden by the half-demolished walls of the Hotels de Longueville, de Villequier, and de Bourbon. The east wing itself was unroofed on the quadrangle side and covered with rotting boarding. Perrault's columns on the outer facade were unchannelled, the capitals unfinished, the portal unsculptured, and the post-office stabled its horses along the whole of the wing from the middle entrance to the north angle. The royal apartments of Anne of Austria in the Petite Galerie were used as stables; so, too, were the halls where now is housed the collection of Renaissance sculpture. The Infanta's garden was a yard where grooms exercised their horses; a colony of poor artists and court attendants were lodged in the upper floors, and over most of the great halls entresols were constructed to increase this kind of accommodation. The building was described as a huge caravanserai, where each one lodged and worked as he chose, and over which might have been placed the legend, "Ici on loge a pied et a cheval." Worse still, an army of squatters, ne'er-do-wells, bankrupts and defaulting debtors took refuge in the wooden sheds left by the contractors, or built others—a miserable gangrene of hovels—against the east facade. Perrault's base had been concealed by rubbish and apparently forgotten. Stove-pipes issued from the broken windows of the upper floors, the beautiful stone-work was blackened by smoke, cracked by frost and soiled by rusting iron clamps; the quadrangle was a chaos of uncut stone, rubbish and filth, in the centre of which, where the king's statue was designed to stand, the royal architect had built himself a large mansion; a mass of mean houses encumbered the Carrousel, and the almost ruined church of St. Nicholas was a haunt of beggars. Such a grievous eyesore was the building that the provost in 1751 offered, in the name of the citizens, to repair and complete the palace if a part were assigned to them as an Hotel de Ville. In 1754 Madame de Pompadour's brother, M. de Marigny, had been appointed Commissioner of Works, and Louis was persuaded to authorise the repair and completion of the Louvre. Gabriel being made architect set about his work in 1758 by clearing out the squatters and the accumulated rubbish in the quadrangle, and evicting the occupants of the stables. The ruins of the Hotels de Longueville, de Villequier, and de Bourbon were demolished and grass plots laid before Perrault's east front, which was restored and for the first time made visible. The west front, giving on the quadrangle, was then repaired and the third floor nearly completed, when funds were exhausted and it was left unroofed. An epigram, put into the mouth of the king of Denmark, who visited Paris in 1768, tersely describes the condition of the palace at this time:—

"J'ai vu le Louvre et son enceinte immense, Vaste palais qui depuis deux cent ans, Toujours s'acheve et toujours se commence. Deux ouvriers, manoeuvres faineants, Hatent tres lentement ces riches batiments Et sont payes quand on y pense."[155]

[Footnote 155: "I have seen the Louvre and its huge enclosure, a vast palace which for two hundred years is always being finished and always begun. Two workmen, lazy hodmen, speed very slowly those rich buildings, and are paid when they are thought of."]

During Louis XVI.'s reign little or nothing was done. Soufflot was making feeble efforts to complete Perrault's north front when the Revolution came to arrest his work. So lost to reverence and devoid of artistic sentiment were the official architects of this period, that a sacrilege worse than any wrought by revolutionists was perpetrated at the instance of the canons of Notre Dame. Louis XIV. had begun the vandalism by demolishing the beautiful old Gothic high altar and replacing it by a huge, ponderous anachronism in marble, on whose foundation stone, laid in 1699, was placed an inscription to the effect that Louis the Great, son of Louis the Just, having subdued heresy, established the true religion in his realm and ended wars gloriously by land and sea, built the altar to fulfil the vow of his father, and dedicated it to the God of Arms and Master of Peace and Victory under the invocation of the Holy Virgin, patroness and protector of his States. The beautiful fifteenth-century stalls, the choir screen, and many of the fine old Gothic tombs of marble and bronze in the church, the monuments of six centuries, were destroyed. But to the reign of Louis the Well-Beloved was reserved the crowning infamy: in 1741 the glorious old stained-glass windows, rivalling those of Chartres in richness, were destroyed by Levreil and replaced by grisaille with yellow fleur-de-lys ornamentation. Happily the destruction of the rose windows was deemed too expensive, and they escaped. The famous colossal statue of St. Christopher, the equestrian monument of Philip le Bel, and a popular statue of the Virgin, were broken down by these clerical iconoclasts. In 1771 the canons instructed Soufflot to throw down the pillar of the central porch, with its beautiful statue of Christ, to make room for their processions to enter. The priceless sculpture of the tympanum was cut through to make a loftier and wider entrance, and the whole symmetry of the west front was grievously destroyed.[156] This hideous architectural deformity remained until a son of the Revolution, Viollet le Duc, restored the portal to its original form. After the havoc wrought at Notre Dame, Soufflot's energies were diverted to the holy mount of St. Genevieve. Louis XV. had attributed his recovery at Metz to the intercession of the saint, and in 1754, when the abbot complained to the king of the almost ruined condition of the abbey church, he found a sympathetic listener. Soufflot and the chapter, who shared the prevalent contempt of Gothic, decided to abandon the venerable old pile, with its millennial associations of the patron saint of Paris, and to build a grand domed classic temple on the abbey lands to the west. Funds for the sacred work were raised by levying a tax on public lotteries. The old church, with the exception of the tower, was finally demolished in 1802, when the rude stone coffin which had held the body of St. Genevieve until it was burnt by revolutionary fanatics, was transferred to St. Etienne du Mont.

[Footnote 156: The aspect of the west front with Soufflot's "improvements" is well seen in Les Principaux Monuments Gothiques de l'Europe, published in Brussels, 1843.]



On 6th September 1764, the crypt of the new St. Genevieve being completed, the Well-Beloved laid the first stone of the church. Scarcely was the scaffolding removed after thirteen years of constructive labour, and the expenditure of sixteen millions of livres, when it became necessary to call in Soufflot's pupil Rondelet, to shore up the walls and strengthen the columns which had proved too weak to sustain the weight of the huge cupola. But before the temple was consecrated, the Revolutionists came, and noting its monumental aspect used it with admirable fitness as a Pantheon Francais for the remains of their heroes; the dome designed to cover the relics of St. Genevieve soared over the ashes of Voltaire, Mirabeau, Rousseau and Marat. Thrice has this unlucky fane been the prize of Catholic and Revolutionary reactionaries. In 1806 Napoleon I. restored it to Christian worship; in 1822 the famous inscription—"Aux grands Hommes la Patrie reconnaissante" was removed by Louis XVIII., and replaced by a dedication to God and St. Genevieve; in 1830 Louis Philippe, the citizen king, transferred it to secular and monumental uses, and restored the former inscription; in 1851 the perjured Prince-President Napoleon, while the streets of Paris were yet red with the blood of his victims, again surrendered it to the Catholic Church; in 1885 it was reconverted to a national Walhalla for the reception of Victor Hugo's remains.

The pseudo-classic church of St. Sulpice, begun in 1665 and not completed until 1777, is a monument of the degraded taste of this unhappy time. At least three architects, Gamart, Levau and the Italian Servandoni, are responsible for this monstrous pile, whose towers have been aptly compared by Victor Hugo to two huge clarionets. The building has, however, a certain puissante laideur, as Michelet said of Danton, and is imposing from its very mass, but it is dull and heavy and devoid of all charm and imagination. Nothing exemplifies more strikingly the mutation of taste that has taken place since the eighteenth century than the fact that this church is the only one mentioned by Gibbon in the portion of his autobiography which refers to his first visit to Paris, where it is distinguished as "one of the noblest structures in Paris."



CHAPTER XVII

Louis XVI.—The Great Revolution—Fall of the Monarchy

Crowned vice was now succeeded by crowned folly. The grandson of Louis XV., a well-meaning but weak and foolish youth, and his thoughtless, pleasure-loving queen, were confronted by state problems that would have taxed the genius of a Richelieu in the maturity of his powers. Injustice, misery, oppression, discontent, were clamant and almost universal; taxes had doubled since the death of Louis XIV.; there were 30,000 beggars in Paris alone, and from 720,000 in 1700 the population had in 1784 decreased to 620,000. The penal code was of inhuman ferocity; law was complicated, ruinous and partial, and national credit so low that loans could be obtained only against material pledges and at interest five times as great as that paid by England. Wealthy bishops and abbots[157] and clergy, noblesse and royal officials, were wholly exempt from the main incidents of taxation; for personal and land taxes, tithes and forced labour, were exacted from the common people alone. No liberty of worship, nor of thought: Protestants were condemned to the galleys by hundreds; booksellers met the same fate. Authors and books were arbitrarily sent by lettres de cachet to the Bastille or Vincennes. Yet in spite of all repression, a generation of daring, witty, emancipated thinkers in Paris was elaborating a weapon of scientific, rationalistic and liberal doctrine that cut at the very roots of the old regime. "I care not whether a man is good or bad," says the Deity in Blake's prophetic books, "all I care, is whether he is a wise man or a fool." While France was in travail of the palingenesis of the modern world, the futile king was trifling with his locks and keys and colouring maps, the queen playing at shepherdesses at Trianon or performing before courtiers, officers and equerries the roles of Rosina in the Barbier de Seville and of Colette in the Devin du Village, the latter composed by the democratic philosopher, whose Contrat Social was to prove the Gospel of the Revolution.[158] Jean Jacques Rousseau, the solitary, self-centred Swiss engraver and musician, has described for us in words that will bear translation how an ineffaceable impression of the sufferings of the people was burnt into his memory, and the fire of an unquenchable hatred of their oppressors was kindled in his breast. Journeying on foot between Paris and Lyons, he was one day diverted from his path by the beauty of the landscape, and wandered about, seeking in vain to discover his way. "At length," he writes, "weary, and dying of thirst and hunger, I entered a peasant's house, not a very attractive one, but the only one I could see. I imagined that here as in Switzerland every inhabitant of easy means would be able to offer hospitality. I entered and begged that I might have dinner by paying for it. The peasant handed me some skim milk and coarse barley bread, saying that was all he had. The milk seemed delicious and I ate the bread, straw and all, but it was not very satisfying to one exhausted by fatigue. The man scrutinised me and judged by my appetite the truth of the story I had told. Suddenly, after saying that he perceived I was a good, honest youth and not there to spy upon him, he opened a trap door, descended and returned speedily with some good wheaten bread, a ham appetising but rather high, and a bottle of wine which rejoiced my heart more than all the rest. He added a good thick omelette and I enjoyed a dinner such as those alone who travel on foot can know. When it came to paying, his anxiety and fears again seized him; he would have none of my money and pushed it aside, exceedingly troubled, nor could I imagine what he was afraid of. At last he uttered with a shudder the terrible words, commis, rats de cave" ("assessors, cellar rats"). He made me understand that he hid the wine because of the aides,[159] and the bread because of the tailles,[160] and that he would be a ruined man if it were supposed that he was not dying of hunger. That man, although fairly well-off, dared not eat the bread earned by the sweat of his brow, and could only escape ruin by pretending to be as miserable as those he saw around him. I issued forth from that house indignant as well as affected, deploring the lot of that fair land where nature had lavished all her gifts only to become the spoil of barbarous tax-farmers (publicans)." And Voltaire, that implacable avenger of injustice, in verse that rends the heart, has in les Finances, (1775), pictured a peaceful home ruined; its inmates evicted to misery, to the galleys and to death, by the cruel exactions of the royal director of the aides and gabelles, with his sergents de la finance habilles en guerriers. The elder Mirabeau too has told how he saw a bailiff cut off the hand of a peasant woman who had clung to her kitchen utensils when distraint was made on her poor possessions for dues exacted by the tax-farmers. In 1776 two poor starving wretches were hanged on the gallows of the Place de Greve at Paris for having stolen some bread from a baker's shop.

[Footnote 157: Taine estimates the revenues of thirty-three abbots in terms of modern values at from 140,000 to 480,000 francs (L5,600 to L19,200). Twenty-seven abbesses enjoyed revenues nearly as large.]

[Footnote 158: The score of Rousseau's opera is still preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale.]

[Footnote 159: The Excise duty.]

[Footnote 160: Personal and land-taxes paid by the humbler classes alone.]

"But though the gods see clearly, they are slow In marking when a man, despising them, Turns from their worship to the scorn of fools."

Half a century had elapsed since that meal in the peasant's house when the Nemesis that holds sleepless vigil over the affairs of men stirred her pinions and, like a strong angel with glittering sword, prepared to avenge the wrongs of a people whose rulers had outraged every law, human and divine, by which human society is held together. King, nobles, and prelates had a supreme and an awful choice. They might have led and controlled the Revolution; they chose to oppose it, and were broken into shivers as a potter's vessel.

After the memorable cannonade at Valmy, a knot of defeated German officers gathered in rain and wind moodily around the circle where they durst not kindle the usual camp-fire. In the morning the army had talked of nothing but spitting and devouring the whole French nation: in the evening everyone went about alone; nobody looked at his neighbour, or if he did, it was but to curse and swear. "At last," says Goethe, "I was called upon to speak, for I had been wont to enliven and amuse the troop with short sayings. This time I said, 'From this day forth, and from this place, a new era begins in the history of the world and you can all say that you were present at its birth.'" This is not the place to write the story of the French Revolution. Those who would read the tremendous drama may be referred to the pages of Carlyle. As a formal history, that work of transcendent genius is open to criticism, especially on the score of accuracy in detail. Indeed to the present writer the magnificent and solemn prosody seems to partake of the nature of a Greek chorus—the comment of an idealised spectator, assuming that the hearer has the drama unfolding before his eyes. Recent researches have supplemented and modified our knowledge. It is no longer possible to accept the more revolting representations of the misery[161] of the French peasantry as true of the whole of France, for France before the Revolution was an assemblage of many provinces of varying social conditions, subjected to varying administrative laws. Nor can we accept Carlyle's portraiture of Robespierre as history, after Louis Blanc's great work. So far from Robespierre having been the bloodthirsty protagonist of the later Terror, it was precisely his determination to make an end of the more savage excesses of the extreme Terrorists and to chastise their more furious pro-consuls, such as Carrier and Fouche, that brought about his ruin. It was men like Collot d'Herbois, Billaud Varenne and Barrere, the bloodiest of the Terrorists, who, to save their own heads, united to cast the odium of the later excesses on Robespierre, and to overthrow him.[162] The Thermidorians had no intention of staying the Terror and the actual consequences of their success were wholly unexpected by them. But whatever defects there be in Carlyle, his readers will at least understand the significance of the Revolution, and why it is that the terrible, but temporary excesses which stained its progress have been so unduly magnified by reactionary politicians, while the cruelties of the White Terror[163] are passed by.

[Footnote 161: It is difficult, however, to read the sober and irrefutable picture of their miserable condition, given in the famous Books II. and V. of Taine's Ancien Regime, without deep emotion.]

[Footnote 162: See also Bodley's France, where the author favours the view that Robespierre was not a democrat with a thirst for blood, but rather a man of government, destroyed as a reactionary by surviving Revolutionists who saw their end coming.]

[Footnote 163: After the Thermidorian reaction in 1795, ninety-seven Jacobins were massacred by the royalists at Lyons on 5th May; thirty at Aix on 11th May. Similar horrors were enacted at Avignon, Arles, and Marseilles, and at other places in the south.]

Camille Desmoulins has described in his Memoirs how on 11th July he was lifted on the famous table, known as the tripod of the Revolution, in front of the Cafe Foy, in the garden of the Palais Royal, and delivered that short but pregnant oration which preceded the capture of the Bastille on the 14th, warning the people that a St. Bartholomew of patriots was contemplated, and that the Swiss and German troops in the Champ de Mars were ready for the butchery. As the crowd rushed to the Hotel de Ville, shouting "To arms!" they were charged by the Prince de Lambesc at the head of a German regiment, and the first blood of the Revolution in Paris was shed.

The Bastille, like the monarchy, was the victim of its past sins. That grisly fortress, long useless as a defence of Paris, with the jaws of its rusty cannon opening on the most populous quarter of the city to overawe sedition, and its sinister memories of the Man in the Iron Mask,[164] symbolised in the popular mind all that was hateful in the old regime, though it had long ceased to be more than occasionally used as a state prison. If we would restore its aspect we must imagine the houses at the ends of the Rue St. Antoine and the Boulevard Henri IV. away and the huge mass erect on their site and on the lines marked in white stone on the present Place de la Bastille. A great portal, always open by day, yawned on the Rue St. Antoine opposite the Rue des Tournelles and gave access to the first quadrangle which was lined with shops and the houses of the personnel of the prison: then came a second gate, with entrances for carriages and for foot passengers, each with its drawbridge. Beyond these a second quadrangle was entered, to the right of which stood the Governor's house and an armoury. Another double portal to the left gave entrance across the old fosse once fed by the waters of the Seine, to the prison fortress itself, with its eight tall blackened towers, each divided into five floors, and its crenelated ramparts.

[Footnote 164: A whole library has been written concerning the identity of this famous prisoner. There is little doubt that the mask was of velvet and not of iron, and that the mysterious captive who died on 19th November 1703 in the Bastille, was Count Mattioli of Bologna, who was secretly arrested for having betrayed the confidence of Louis XIV.]

The Bastille, which in the time of the English rule, had seen as its captains the Duke of Exeter, Falstaff, and invincible Talbot, was first used in Richelieu's time as a permanent state prison, and filled under Louis XIV. with Jansenists and Protestants, who were thus separated from the prisoners of the common jails; and, later, under Louis XV. by a whole population of obnoxious pamphleteers and champions of philosophy. Books as well as their authors were incarcerated, and released when considered no longer dangerous; the tomes of famous Encyclopedie spent some years there. From the middle of the eighteenth century the horrible, dark and damp dungeons, half underground and sometimes flooded, formerly inhabited by the lowest type of criminals, were reserved as temporary cells for insubordinate prisoners, and since the accession of Louis XIV. they were no more used. The Bastille during the reigns of the three later Louis was the most comfortable prison in Paris, and detention there rather than in the other prisons was often sought for and granted as a favour; the prisoners might furnish their rooms, and have their own libraries and food. In the middle of the seventeenth century, certain rooms were furnished at the king's expense for those who were without means. The rooms were warmed, the prisoners well fed, and sums varying from three to thirty-five francs per day, according to condition,[165] were allotted for their maintenance. A considerable amount of personal liberty was allowed to many and indemnities were in later years paid to those who had been unjustly detained. But a prison where men are confined indefinitely without trial and at a king's arbitrary pleasure is none the less intolerable, however its horrors be mitigated. Prisoners were sometimes forgotten, and letters are extant from Louvois and other ministers, asking the governor to report how many years certain prisoners had been detained, and if he remembered what they were charged with. In Louis XIV.'s reign 2228 persons were incarcerated there; in Louis XV.'s, 2567. From the accession of Louis XVI. to the destruction of the prison the number had fallen to 289. Seven were found there when the fortress was captured, the remainder having been transferred to Vincennes and other prisons by the governor who had some fears of treachery within but none of danger from without. Four were accused of forgery, two insane; one, the Count of Solages, accused of a monstrous crime, was detained there to spare the feelings of his family. So unexpected was the attack, that although well furnished with means of defence, the governor had less than twenty-four hours' provisions in hand when the assault began.

[Footnote 165: Only five francs were allowed for a bourgeois; a man of letters was granted ten; a Marshal of France obtained the maximum.]

The Bastille, some time before its fall, was already under sentence of demolition, and various schemes for its disposal were before the court. One project was to destroy seven of the towers, leaving the eighth standing in a dilapidated state. On the site of the seven, a pedestal formed of chains and bolts from the dungeons and gates was to bear a statue of Louis XVI. in the attitude of a liberator, pointing with outstretched hand towards the remaining tower in ruins. But Louis XVI. was always too late, and the Place de la Bastille, with its column raised to those who fell in the Revolution of July, 1830, now recalls the second and final triumph of the people over the Bourbon kings. Some stones of the Bastille were, however, "in order that they might be trodden under foot by the people for ever," built into the new Pont Louis Seize, subsequently called Pont de la Revolution and now known as Pont de la Concorde; others were sold to speculators and were retailed at prices so high that people complained that Bastille stones were as dear as the best butcher's meat. Models of the Bastille, dominoes, inkstands, boxes and toys of all kinds were made of the material and had a ready sale all over France.

Far to the west and on the opposite side of the Seine is the immense area of the Champ de Mars, where, on the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, was enacted the fairest scene of the Revolution. The whole population of Paris, with their marvellous instinct of order and co-operation, spontaneously set to work to dig the vast amphitheatre which was to accommodate the 100,000 representatives of France, and 400,000 spectators, all united in an outburst of fraternal love and hope to swear allegiance to the new Constitution before the altar of the Fatherland. The king had not yet lost the affection of his people. As he came to view the marvellous scene an improvised bodyguard of excavators, bearing spades, escorted him about. When he was swearing the oath to the Constitution, the queen, standing on a balcony of the Ecole militaire, lifted up the dauphin as if to associate him in his father's pledge. Suddenly the rain which had marred the great festival ceased, the sun burst forth and flooded in a splendour of light, the altar, Bishop Talleyrand, his four hundred clergy, and the king with upraised hand. The solemn music of the Te Deum mingled with the wild paean of joy and enthusiasm that burst from half a million throats.

The unconscionable folly, the feeble-minded vacillation and miserable trickery by which this magnificent popularity was muddled away is one of the saddest tragedies in the stories of kings. It is clear from Sir S. Romilly's letters that after the acceptance of the Constitution, Louis was popular among all classes. But the people, with unerring instinct, had fixed on the queen as one of the chief obstacles to what might have been a peaceful revolution. Neither Marie Antoinette nor Louis Capet comprehended the tremendous significance of the forces they were playing with—the resolute and invincible determination of a people of twenty-six millions to emancipate itself from the accumulated wrongs of centuries. "Eh bien! factieux," said Marie to the Commissioners from the Assembly after the return from Varennes, "vous triomphez encore!" The despatches and opinions of American ambassadors during this period are of much value. The democratic Thomas Jefferson, reviewing in later years the course of events, declared that had there been no queen there would have been no revolution. Governor Morris, whose anti-revolutionary and conservative leanings made him the friend and confidant of the royal family, writes to Washington on January 1790: "If only the reigning prince were not the small-beer character he is, and even only tolerably watchful of events, he would regain his authority," but "what would you have," he continues scornfully "from a creature who, in his situation, eats, drinks, and sleeps well, and laughs, and is as merry a grig as lives. He must float along on the current of events and is absolutely a cypher." Nor would the court forego its crooked ways. "The queen is even more imprudent," Morris writes in 1791, "and the whole court is given up to petty intrigues worthy only of footmen and chambermaids." Moreover, in its amazing ineptitude, the monarchy had already toyed with republicanism by lending active military support to the revolutionists in America, at a cost to the already over-burdened treasury of 1,200,000,000 livres.

The American ambassador, Benjamin Franklin, was crowned at court with laurel as the apostle of liberty, and in the very palace of Versailles, medallions of Franklin were sold, bearing the inscription: "Eripui coelo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis" ("I have snatched the lightning from heaven and the sceptre from tyrants"). The revolutionary song, Ca ira, owes its origin to Franklin's invariable response to inquiries as to the progress of the American revolutionary movement.[166] There was explosive material enough in France to make playing with celestial fire perilous, and while the political atmosphere was heavy with the threatening storm, thousands of French soldiers returned saturated with enthusiasm and sympathy for the American revolution. Already before the Feast of the Federation the queen had been in secret correspondence with the emigres at Turin and at Coblenz who were conspiring to throttle the nascent liberty of France. Madame Campan relates that the queen made her read a confidential letter from the Empress Catherine of Russia, concluding with these words: "Kings ought to proceed in their career undisturbed by the cries of the people as the moon pursues her course unimpeded by the howling of dogs." Mirabeau was already in the pay of the monarchy; and attempts were made to buy over Robespierre, who up to 10th August was an avowed defender of the Constitution, by an offer of the emoluments and the nominal post of tutor to the dauphin in return for his support of the royal cause.

[Footnote 166: When Sir S. Romilly called on Franklin in 1783, the latter expressed his amazement that the French Government had permitted the publication of the American Constitution, which produced a great impression in Paris. The music of Ca ira, taken from a dance tune, Le Carillon National, very popular in the guinguettes of Paris, has been published in the Revolution Francaise for 16th December 1898.]

As early as December 1790 the court had been in secret communication with the foreigner. Louis' brother, the Count of Artois (afterwards Charles X.), with the queen's and king's approval, had made a secret treaty with the House of Hapsburg, the hereditary enemy of France, by which the sovereigns of Austria, Prussia and Spain agreed to cross the frontier at a given signal, and close on France with an army a hundred thousand strong. It was an act of impious treachery, and the beginning of the doom of the French Monarchy. Yet if but some glimmer of intelligence and courage had characterised the preparations for the flight of the royal family to join the armed forces waiting to receive them near the frontier, their lives at least had been saved.

The incidents of the four months' "secret" preparations to leave the Tuileries as described by Madame Campan—the disguised purchases of elaborate wardrobes of underlinen and gowns; the making of a dressing-case of enormous size, fitted with many and various articles from a warming-pan to a silver porringer; the packing of the diamonds—read like scenes in a comedy. The story of the pretended flight of the Russian baroness and her family; the start delayed by the queen losing her way in the slums of the Carrousel; the colossal folly of the whole business has been told by Carlyle in one of the most dramatic chapters in history.

The Assembly declared on hearing of Louis' flight, that the government of the country was unaffected and that the executive power remained in the hands of the ministers. After voting a levy of three hundred thousand National Guards to meet the threatened invasion, they passed calmly to the discussion of the new Penal Code.

The king returned to Paris through an immense and silent multitude. "Whoever applauds the king," said placards in the street, "shall be thrashed; whoever insults him, hung." The idea of a republic as a practical issue of the situation was now for the first time put forward by the extremists, but met with little sympathy, and a Republican demonstration in the Champ de Mars was suppressed by the Assembly by martial law at the cost of many lives. Owing to the aversion felt by Marie Antoinette to Lafayette, who with affectionate loyalty more than once had risked his popularity and life to serve the crown, the court made the fatal mistake of opposing his election to the mayoralty of Paris and paved the way for the triumph of Petion and of the Dantonists.

At the news of the first victories of the invading Prussians and emigres, Louis added to his amazing tale of follies by vetoing the formation of a camp near Paris and by turning a deaf ear to the earnest entreaties of the brave and sagacious Dumouriez and accepting his resignation. He sent a secret agent with confidential instructions to the emigres and the coalesced foreign armies: the ill-starred proclamation[167] of the Duke of Brunswick completed the destruction of the monarchy. While the French were smarting under defeat and stung by the knowledge that their natural defender, the king, was leagued with their enemies, this foreign soldier warned a high-spirited and gallant nation that he was come to restore Louis XVI. to his authority, and threatened to treat as rebellious any town that opposed his march, to shoot all persons taken with arms in their hands, and in the event of any insult being offered to the royal family to take exemplary and memorable vengeance by delivering up the city of Paris to military execution and complete demolition. When the proclamation reached Paris at the end of July 1792, it sounded the death knell of the king and the triumph of the Republicans. Paris was now to become, in Goethe's phrase, the centre of the "world whirlwind"—a storm centre launching forth thunderbolts of terror. After the Assembly had twice refused to bring the king to trial, the extremists were able to organise and direct an irresistible wave of popular indignation towards the Tuileries, and on 10th August the palace was stormed. While a band of brave and devoted Swiss guards was being cut to pieces in hundreds, the feeble and futile king had fled to the Assembly and was sitting safely with his wife and children in a box behind the president's chair.

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