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la Vaudeville, where the famous piece of “ Sergent Mathieu” had been played a few nights before, and the theatrical supply was looked upon as quite a godsend. At a period of excitement such as I speak of, none but
old soldiers preserve their sangfroid, and although the gendarmes had had plenty of experience of mobs, those mobs were for the most part unarmed. But on this occasion every man had found a weapon, or was seeking one, and the show of resistance which everywhere declared itself
, was alone calculated to irritate a body of men hitherto accustomed to bear down all before them, but who could not help feeling now, that heavy work was on their hands.
As they came riding along the Rue St. Augustin, their course, though unimpeded, was not rendered pleasant, for the tongues of the multitude were not still, and the epithets which met their ears were not the most flattering either to themselves or their masters. They glared about them savagely, as if they longed to try the edge where they had formerly struck with the flat of the sword; but though the people returned their scowls with defiance, there was no weapon raised to provoke an onslaught. So it continued until the party were in the act of crossing the Rue Louis le Grand. The foremost files had already passed, when a brigadier who rode on the inner flank, turning his head up the street, caught sight of young Gustave, as he stood resting with both hands on his father's musket, in a bold, fearless attitude.
“ P'tit gredin !" muttered the gendarme, and, shaking his fist at the boy, put his hand on his holster.
The act in all probability was merely to intimidate the child, but whether he was afraid that the gendarme was going to shoot him, or was impelled by the spirit of bravado, and the recollection of the promise given him by his father, it is impossible to say; one thing only is certain, that the instant the boy perceived the menacing gesture, he raised the musket to his shoulder and levelled it at the gendarme's head. The man, however, was too quick for him ; rapid as light, he made a demi-voltè to the left, and before Gustave could put his finger on the trigger, drew out a pistol and shot the boy through the body. The scene changed, as if by magic.
In a moment, the air was rent with cries ; from every window was thrust a head ; from every door issued an armed man, and the words spread, like wildfire, from lip to lip, that the first victim of the revolution was a child. “A bas les assassins! à bas les égorgeurs d'enfans!"
And with every cry, from far and near, came a coup de fusil, or a ponderous missile. The paving-stones flew about like hail
, and from the roofs of the houses, and through the wide window-frames came coping-stones, bricks, and heavy masses of rude furniture, which were hurled on the heads of the devoted gendarmerie. Some were knocked off their horses, and with difficulty recovered them, others were grievously wounded; but they made face against the people, and charging into the midst of them, left many a ghastly token that the charge had not been made in vain. But the disciplined courage of the few, availed them little against the fierce energy of the roused multitude, who, driven back for a moment, rallied as quickly, and returned to the piles of stones which, with one or two
overturned vehicles, some large tables, and the materials under their feet, they soon raised into an impregnable barricade. Nor for an instant ceased the deadly shower of missiles, and the leader of the party, after one or two ineffectual efforts to break down the barrier, gave the word to face about, and gallop to the Bourse. A shout of triumph arose as they clattered down the street, but one voice amid the crowd was silent. It was that of the father of Gustave. From the moment the boy fell, he had knelt beside him on the hard pavement, supporting him in his arms, and wiping the blood away which trickled from his child's lips, utterly heedless of the clamour and tumult that raged around him. He had still hoped that there was life left, and so there was, for the child opened his eyes—once, and then closing them for ever, fell back heavily.
The transformation wrought in the aspect of this man was terrible to witness. He was one whose good-nature was so well known in the quartier where he lived, that it had become proverbial amongst the neighbours, and, in his physical appearance, he suggested the idea of all that was happy and contented. To lead a life of ease, such ease as labour gains, and to make every one merry who approached him, was all he seemed to care for. He was a widower, and had but one child--the boy Gustave, now dead, whom he had idolised. He shed no tear as he raised the body in his arms, and carried it into his dwelling ; there was no loud outburst of grief, all was still and concentrated. He came back to the street, carefully locked the door behind him, loaded the musket which he had mechanically grasped since his son's hand relinquished it, and then with one hoarse cry, leaped the barricade, and rushed in the direction which the body of gendarmes had taken, followed by hundreds scarcely less excited than he.
Political inclinations I had none. A boy whose life had been passed in a stable-yard knows no master but the one immediately above him. But I was still one of the people, and if my sympathies had not readily turned that way, the sight of the cruel catastrophe which befel the poor boy Gustave would have given them such a direction. No less vehemently, therefore, than the rest, did I shout “ A bas les Bourbons !" no less eagerly than any did I tear down their emblems whenever they were within reach ; nor with less impetuosity did I join the race that led to where the fray seemed the highest. How I possessed myself of a weapon I scarcely know; I believe I rifled a slain soldier of his giberne ; but I remember well that I formed one of a group who for more than three hours defended a barricade at the corner of the Rue St. Thomas du Louvre. It was from behind that rampart that I caught a glimpse of an officer at the head of his regiment whom I recognised as my companion from Bondy to the gate of St. Denis ; it was within a few paces of it that I saw his dead body lying on the following day. But there were older acquaintances whom I was destined to meet.
The Rue St. Thomas du Louvre is, as all the world knows, a very narrow street. To barricade it was not difficult, and it was firmly closed at the end which leads to the Carrousel ; but at the other end, where it joins the Rue de Chârtres, one or two gaps had been left for egress when the enemy fell back upon the Place du Palais Royale. None need to be told that, however holy the cause, however pure
the motive, for which so many bled on the memorable days of July, there necessarily mingled among the mass a number of the dissolute and the vile, men solely intent on violence and plunder ; they formed no part of the people of Paris, but were such of its scum as on this occasion floated here and there on the surface.
The attack having ceased upon the barricade where I had volunteered my services, I was standing idly gazing down the street, now partially deserted, amused at the thrifty expedient which one of my fellow-combatants resorted to, in oiling his boots from a broken reverbere that had been cast down in the tumult, when, from the windows on the first floor of a house at the further extremity, I heard the shrill screams of women. I ran in the direction from whence the cries proceeded, and, as I drew nearer, to my surprise I found that the accents were English, and that the voices seemed not altogether unknown to me. I knew but one English family, and they, I imagined, had two or three months before returned to their own country. But when I got beneath the windov of the house—it was an hotel, at that time a good deal frequented by foreigners—I could no longer entertain any doubt. Screaming, at the highest pitch of her voice, with her body half out of the window, her long curls waving in the air, and her arms struggling to free herself from those of a man, whose figure I could only imperfectly see, I beheld no less a personage than Miss Jane Maddox!
I did not take time to consider—as Bobèche would have suggestedwhether I was likely to hit the object I aimed at, or whether it was not much more probable that I might bring down the wrong bird, but fired at the ruffian. There was a terrific crash of glass, which fell about my ears, another very prolonged scream from Miss Maddox, and the man disappeared from the window, whether wounded or not I had no means of ascertaining.
But the work was only half done; the noise and confusion in the hotel were still tremendous, and, followed by two or three others whom the shot I had fired brought to the spot, I rushed up the staircase. The door on the premier stood half open ; I dashed in, and, passing through an antichamber, found myself in the midst of a most stirring scene.
Sir John Chubb—for there he was, as large as life, larger, indeed, than when I last saw him-stood at bay, in a corner of a large room, with a chair in his hands, with which he was endeavouring to keep off a ferocious-looking fellow, in a blouse, who was making cuts at him with a long sabre, happily parried by the legs of the chair. Crouched behind him was a female figure, whose disarranged cap and twisted tournure, betrayed Lady Chubb as its owner; and her voice, if not the most mellifluous, was certainly the loudest of the party. Pale and trembling, her hands raised in an attitude of supplication, knelt, at her father's feet, his youngest daughter, Caroline. Miss Chubb lay on a sofa, apparently in a deep swoon, and Miss Jane Maddox, who had torn the welkin to some purpose, was grappling with a raw-boned fellow, whose every word was a curse of the coarsest description. It altogether formed as lively a tableau as modern art, perhaps, has furnished since Gericault's picture of the Deluge.
“Dammee," cried Sir John, performing all kinds of feints with his clumsy weapon, “more volloors, hey! Take that, you scoundrel," and heedless of the coming blow, he made a terrific rush at his antagonist,
caught him in the mouth with one of the legs of the chair, bore him down
we have come to your assistance."
“ The devil you have! who'd have thought it in the midst of this murdering crew !--guns beating, drums blowing, and trumpets firing every minute of one's life; me with this d-d lumbago,—or else I shouldn't have been here,—the gals all terrified, revolutions at our very elbows, and dad black-whiskered rascals coming to carry off our goods and chattels before our faces. Who the deuce are you, I say ? Speak up that I may know you. None of your parleyvoo, but speak like a man, if you can.'
“My name," I replied, “is Adrien Roux ; but this is no time for talkivg just now; let us clear the room of these rascals.”
The fellow to whom Miss Maddox had been clinging contrived, while this brief colloquy was going on, to disengage himself from her clutches and, drawing a pistol from his girdle, fired point blank into my face. He must have been a bad or a nervous shot, for he missed me,-and for the second time in his life. It was the third time we had come into collision, for I beheld the features of the convict Durastel ! I had discharged my musket in the street, and having no time to load again, I shifted my hand, and was about to give him a coup
He retreated one or and seemed undecided which way to turn, but the doorway was thronged with those who followed me, and, seeing no other means of escape, he turned to the window, made a spring, caught hold of a projecting spout, and in all likelihood would have effected a safe descent to the ground-he was practised in such arts-had not the spout given way under his weight ; the consequence was, he came down on the broad of his back with so much force that he lay with broken limbs groaning on the pavement, unable to stir hand or foot. His companion, the scoundrelly miller of Doué, was in scarcely a more enviable plight, covered with blood. and pinned to the ground beneath the chair, to say nothing of Sir John's heavy foot on his windpipe choking his attempts at utterance. soon made secure, and then a Babel of tongues was unloosed, all running together like a meute of hounds.
“Good gracious me! for to go for to think of its being Mr. Hadrian," broke forth Miss Maddox ; “ You're a d-d fine fellow !” symphonised Sir John ; “Order a coach, immediately; I won't stay another moment in Paris," cried miladi; “ Generous deliverer! odious deceiver! vile assassin !" ejaculated Miss Chubb; and, heard by me over all the rest, murmured the sweet, soft voice, of Miss Caroline, “ Thanks, dearest Adrien, our best, our only friend !"
To enter into any explanation, at a moment like this, was out of the question. Paris, so bravely defended by her citizens, was as yet only half won from the grasp of tyranny; much remained to do, and many sad events to be chronicled, before the victory was won. I leave these events to be told by pens more worthy to record them than mine. More, also, must I leave untold respecting myself and those amongst whom it was my fortune to be once more thrown.
At some future period I may renew the theme, when the Courier shall have gathered together his more matured experience. For the present, he bids his readers farewell.
MADAME EMILE DE GIRARDIN'S “ CLEOPATRA."*
PHARSALIA, Philippi, Actium! Names consecrated by the transcendant genius of a Shakspeare, still retain their spell. The fierce protracted struggle of a despairing republic, the grandest which the astonished world, its tributary-ever witnessed, was regarded as a spectacle worthy of the gods themselves.+ That mighty heroic drama—the epic of history, from which the painters of human passion have ever since delighted to fill their scevic canvass, its separate groups and figures, with the strange astounding destiny preparing for them, can never lose their hold over the mind and heart of succeeding ages. The splendid episodes, and startling incidents arising out of this magnificent subject, have supplied writers of every nation with materials which, manufactured into odes and epics, plays, lays, and lyrics, would have sufficed to form a funeral pyre for those rival aspirants to the world's sovereignty, and to lull their shades to peace most effectually, could they have heard them recited in their elysian Jetreats. How modern battie-fields seem to dwindle—not excepting Waterloo itself, when placed by the side of those gigantic struggles for world-wide rule. The variety equals the grandeur of the events, affording infinite choice of selection for the dramatist as for the historian ; Rone opposed to Rome; dietators, triumvirs, emperors ; the flight, the parting with Cornelia, the death of Pompey, almost before the eyes of Cleopatra ; the great Julius in swift pursuit.
Yet all this is but the commencement of the great historic drama, the closing scene of which is alone treated in the spirited production before us. Though Rome had fallen, her spirit survived in tlie last of her great republican race; there was Cato and his little senate ; there were the sons of the Scipios and the Pompeys, aided by the armıs of Rome's tributary princes, by Asian and Afric kings ; but all vanished, like a dream, before the fortunes of that bright Julian star. The conqueror of Rome paused not in his career till arrested by the strange fascinating beauty of Egypt's youthful queen—then hardly a queen-debarred of her rights by her despotic brother (Ptolemy), and having scarcely attained her seventeenth year.
But the mistress of Cæsar, however fascinating, was not his tyrant, nor was she then, perhaps, so accomplished in the seductive arts as when she exercised them on the infatuated Antony. It required the steels of Brutus and Cassius to arrest that fiery spirit; nor could they, nor the sons of Pompey and of Scipio, destroy the fabric of that master-power which he left as a hostage to be wielded by weaker and meaner men. The fall of Sextus Pompeius was effected only by treachery and dishonour, which, had he deigned to employ against the triumvirs, once in his power, he might have restored the republic, in name, at least, or proclaimed himself dictator of the world. But the men of old Rome became extinct with Caesar, Cato, and Brutus ; Antony himself was the mere soldier of fortune-a roysterer, a robber, and an assassin ; such as Cleopatra, in her passion, is made to describe him ; his victories were mainly achieved by his lieute
* Represented, for the first time, at the “ Theatre Française," on the 13th of November : the part of “Cleopatra” by the justly celebrated Mademoiselle Rachel.
† Lucan, iu his Pharsalia.