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good society of Berlin in those days. The French colony was favoured by Frederick the Great; and though Rossbach was not a remote event, the French and Prussians of the upper classes blended freely with each other without a sign of ill-will. The king treated M. Thiébault with marked kindness ; Paul treasured the memory of the great sovereign with a reverence which continued through life ; unconsciously, indeed, he has drawn a contrast between the war. rior and legislator of monarchic Prussia and the crowned soldier and lord of revolutionary France, by no means to Napoleon's advantage. He thus describes how immensely superior the Prussian army and its officers seemed, not many years before Valmy and Jena; a kind of national levity and want of discipline have often caused even the most acute observers to fail to perceive the great qualities of a French army, just as the Spartans could not understand the Athenians in the field :
"The great manæuvres in May, at which Frederick displayed all the splendours of his military power, possess a reputation so remarkable that it might be superfluous to refer to them; they justified it in every respect. . .. I have never forgotten Valenciennes; we arrived at parade time, and I saw there, for the first time of my life, officers wearing broad-brimmed hats, mounted on pattens and carrying umbrellas because it was raining a little. I was amazed and scandalised as I compared this sight with that which the Prussian army, so stern in its bearing, so military in its smallest details, had made me accustomed to.'
Young Thiébault beheld the decline of the Ancient Régime at the age when impressions are most strongly marked; his reminiscences of these years are not without interest. The aspect of Paris represented the harsh differences of class, too apparent at the time—the wasteful grandeur of the rich and the wretchedness of the poor. Like Pasquier, the youth describes the splendours of Longchamps :
Everything was there which an immense capital, a brilliant and sumptuous Court, large fortunes, and prodigality limited only by the impossibility of exceeding it, which the rivalry of the wealthy and the fashion of extravagant fools could think of and produce. What was only handsome appeared vulgar, what was simple was hooted at. Among a great crowd of remarkable carriages were to be seen about fifty, every season, of peculiar splendour, and some dozen of these seemed rather the chariots of goddesses than of plain mortals.'
What Carlyle calls Dubarrydom still lifted its head, though occasionally put down by orders from Versailles :
* The extravagances of some courtesans were carried to such a point that the police were obliged to interfere, in order to prevent them eclipsing royalty and the great. So it happened that the Duthé-that charming woman who caused the Comte d'Artois to say “ qu'après avoir mangé du gâteau de Savoie,* il fallait prendre du thé”-was arrested, powerful as were her lovers, in the avenue of Longchamps, and carried off to For-l'Evêque.' The humbler classes were miserably housed and fed; it was from dens like these that Marat drew his recruits, and the furies, who shrieked around the guillotine, issued :
"Poverty devoured the populace of the capital; it was gathered together into narrow streets and alleys, where the sun's rays never entered; a hundred thousand of these wretched beings lived in pestilential cellars along the quays of the Seine-cellars flooded by rain and the rising of the river perhaps ten times a year.' This degraded populace turned out in multitudes to hold the carnival in uproarious mirth ; beware, Tocqueville has remarked, of hilarity of this kind.
* The very poor daubed their faces, and covered themselves with rags which they tried to make comical. . They crowded in hundreds and thousands into the streets and squares.'
The Thiébaults took pride in being roturiers, yet in the confusion of orders prevailing at this time—a marked sign of the Revolution at hand—they mixed freely, in social life, with the noblesse. M. Thiébault was intimate with Montlègues and De Guines, and was often a guest of the aged Duc de Richelieu, a relic of the age of Louis XIV., and if a soldier, a pandar of Louis XV. This is a sketch of this piece of decrepitude and sin :
. My father often saw the pails of milk used in the marshal's baths, which were sold again, as far as might be, in the neighbourhood. He saw him at his toilet; that is, as he was wont to smooth out the skin on his forehead, when his peruke was being put on, in order to hide wrinkles. He was fed on pigeons as soon as they broke the shell.'
Paul's account of the bearing of Louis XVI. corresponds with that of nearly all eye-witnesses :
"To my mind Louis XVI. was wanting in dignity. As he passed me by one day, when he was going out hunting, he
pulled up to laugh with one of the seigneurs in the company; his laugh was so loud and coarse, that it was more like that of a roystering farmer than that of a monarch. His hunting dress, too, seemed to me mean.'
* The Comte d'Artois had just married a princess of the house of Savoy
The clouds were darkening around Marie-Antoinette; the diamond necklace, cruel epigrams at Versailles, and levity and favouritism, had wrought havoc with the fair fame of one, we believe, guiltless of nine-tenths of what has been laid to her charge :
'I saw the queen returning from Mass; there was more nobleness in her manner and walk, and especially more dignity in her look; but a robe of white muslin, all of a piece and by no means clean, was not the kind of garb in which a Queen of France, at this period beyond others, should have appeared in public. ...
But what shocked me most—nay, was scandalous and revolting---was the language uttered about her by pages, gardes du corps, and young nobles in the State apartments. The whole Royal House, in fact, was condemned in opinion :
Louis XVI. was blamed but pitied; Monsieur, if distrusted, was applauded; but the Comte d'Artois was severely censured for his libertine conduct, for his prodigality to his mistresses, for his luxury, for his mad extravagance, and notably for bagatelle, that rapid, attractive, but costly creation. His debauchery exasperated Paris and France.'
These reminiscences give us here and there glimpses of the diseased and corrupt state of society at the time. The rivers went back to their sources ; justice and everything was turned awry.'
These Memoirs fairly retrace the character of the times, before the great cataclysm swept over France, as this appeared to a youth of parts and intelligence. Society, as to the upper and middle classes, flitted over an abyss lit up by a false rainbow of hope ; it was the day of dreamers despising dignities, of the decay of all that keeps a nation together, of the subversion of rank and distinctions of orders, of sickly sentiment and vice tricked out in brilliancy, of infidelity evolving monstrous faiths—Cagliostro and Mesmer supplanting God-above all, of the deceptive calm that precedes the tempest.
M. Thiébault had been made a Keeper of the GardeMeuble, and one of the staff of the Royal Library of France, before the Revolution began its course.
The family was so unconscious of what was at hand, that its members, old and young, were at a picnic at Vincennes on July 12, 1789, and spent the day in amusements of many kinds :
'We had with us about a dozen servants, as many coachmen, and all that was required to have an admirable luncheon and dinner on the grass. As we did not want any strange company, we went into the most secluded part of the forest. We were in need of nothing ; indeed, good spirits made up for all deficiencies. Games of all sorts, leaping, running, racing, diversified our pleasures but did not exhaust them. Dancing followed, we had a regular ball, including an orchestra ; the day, in a word, was a delicious one, and without a cloud up to half-past eight in the evening.' The night brought the news of the first rising of Paris :
"The Revolution came on us, so to speak, at a country dance; it was donbly alarming; we were not made for these rapid passages from pleasure to death. Be that as it may, all expression of feeling was kept under. The company, agitated by cruel anxiety, thought only of themselves and their own; everyone put his carriage to, got his people in, and set off.'
Paul, though the son of a servant of the Crown, was soon enrolled in the National Guard of Paris, apparently at his father's instance. He describes the sack of the GardeMeuble and the fall of the Bastille ; but there is nothing new in his account of these events. The youth was in his twentieth year; he had attended the reviews of Frederick the Great, and had learned something about moving armed men; and he quickly showed the aptitude for war that has always been characteristic of the Gaul, but that, in his case, was to be hardly expected. He was placed in command of a little platoon charged to patrol the roads leading from Versailles to Neuilly,
a Royalist attack on the capital was feared, even after Paris had conquered her king. He acquitted himself of this task with credit; indeed, his chief difficulty was to make his men amenable to any kind of discipline. His battalion belonged to the Feuillant section; the rank and file, bourgeois untrained to arms, rose in fury at an arrangement that a fixed number of the old Gardes Françaises should be attached to the corps, in order to give it cohesion and strength:
"This displeased most of the men ; they were ready enough to be set free from equality in fatigue and hard work, but only on the condition that the semblance of equality was to be retained. The first proposals on this head were very badly received. . . . The disorder soon became terrible. We were lost in the crowd, and could only make ourselves heard by our cries. In order to make up for our small numbers by advantage of position, we seized the chair and shouted to the assembly. Having gained something by this, an attempt was made to dislodge us; we were attacked by the most excited members of the crowd.'
Thiébault was on service on October 5, and drove back a bevy of the savage women who were hurrying to Versailles :
I took my station at the wicket of the Feuillants; I had sent five men, one a corporal, with orders to make this female gang retreat. The message only exasperated the women ; my advanced guard was hooted at and driven back, but I sent the rest of the men to support it; they barred the street of St. Honoré, and I charged these creatures. By striking them with the butt-ends of our muskets, kicking them, and even thrusting at their bellies and loins with the bayonet, we dispersed them, and drove them to the wall of Saint-Roch; they flung themselves inside, uttering frightful imprecations and threats.'
The flight of the mænads, as Carlyle has called it, and the scenes of blood at Versailles that followed, are narrated at some length in this work; but this passage of history has been fully explored. Thiébault charges Lafayette with remissness, perhaps with treachery :
'I took part in these grave occurrences; and judging from my own experience, and from what others have pronounced as facts, thrown open to the investigation of everybody, and discussed a hundred times in a hundred ways, I share in the conviction that M. de la FayetteI cannot give him the title of a general—willed the events of the 5th and 6th of October. If he still wished that there should be a king, as M. Thiers has said, or if he still wished to have a king, he wished the king to be a mere mannikin—that is, a king without kingship. He thought only of saving appearances, and he saved them badly. He was eager to play a great part, and believed the occasion to be a favourable one to be the moderator of a populace which he allowed to go much too far, and to be the saviour of a king whom he exposed to the greatest danger. He wished to have it said that the king owed his life to him, whereas the royal family and the king himself nearly owed their deaths.'
This comment on the Federation and its great festival — a puppet-show masking an appalling tragedy for France and the world of Europe—is just :
• The Federation was followed by many rejoicings; no unhappy memory attaches to these. It was certainly the brightest day of the Revolution. One might have said that nothing more was to be looked for. The king had seemed content, and perhaps was so; the fédérés made France ring with the homage they paid him, and if France could have been delivered from the madness of both parties, whether at Court or among the demagogues, the king and the kingly office might have been preserved. But revolutions do not march in this way.'
Thiébault was present at the trial of Fayras, one of the famous "knights of the dagger,' charged with being an agent of the Comte de Provence to murder Necker and Lafayette, and to spirit the king away from Paris, and he