Sunday, 25/02/2024 - 18:26

Chapter II. Magna testantur voce per umbras

06:40 | 17/10/2019

Danton had just risen, pushing back his chair impetuously. “Listen!” he cried. “There is but one urgent business, – the Republic is in danger. I have but a single purpose, that is, to deliver France from the enemy. And to accomplish this, all means are fair. All! All! All! I have to deal with every form of danger. I employ every variety of expedient, and when all is to be feared, then I venture all. My thought is a lioness. No half measures, no squeamishness in revolution. Nemesis is not a haughty prude. Let us make ourselves terrible and likewise useful. Does the elephant stop to see where he puts his foot? Let us crush the enemy.”

Robespierre replied mildly, –

“I am willing.”

Then he added, –

“The question is, to learn the whereabouts of the enemy.”

“He is without, and it is I who have driven him there,” said Danton.

“He is within, and I am watching him,” said Robespierre.

“I will drive him out again,” replied Danton.

“One cannot so easily expel an internal enemy.”

“What, then, is to be done?”

“He must be exterminated.”

“I agree to that,” said Danton, in his turn.

And he continued, –

“But I tell you he is outside, Robespierre.”

“And I tell you that he is within, Danton.”

“Robespierre, he is on the frontier.”

“He is in the Vendée, Danton.”

“Calm yourselves,” remarked a third voice; “he is everywhere, and you are lost.”

It was Marat who spoke.

Robespierre looked at Marat, and quietly retorted, –

“A truce to generalizations. Let us come to particulars. Here are the facts.”

“Pedant!” growled Marat.

Placing his hand on the paper spread out before him, Robespierre continued: –

“I have just read you the despatches of Prieur de la Marne, and also communicated the information given by Gélambre. Listen, Danton; foreign war is as nothing compared with the dangers of civil war. A foreign war is like a scratch on the elbow, but civil war is an ulcer which eats away your liver. Here is the sum and substance of all that I have just read to you: the Vendée, which has hitherto been divided among many chiefs, is about to concentrate its forces. Henceforth it is to have one leader – “

“A sort of central brigand,” muttered Danton.

“It is the man who landed near Pontorson on the 2d of June. You have seen what he is. Observe, that this landing was contemporary with the arrest of the representatives, Prieur de la Côte d’Or and Romme, at Bayeux, by that treacherous district of Calvados, which took place on the very same day, the 2d of June.”

“And their transfer to the castle of Caen,” said Danton.

Robespierre replied: –

“I will proceed to sum up the despatches. They are organizing the warfare of the forest on a vast scale. At the same time an English invasion is in preparation, – Vendeans and Englishmen; Brittany joining hands with Britain. The Hurons of Finistère speak the same language as the Topinambes of Cornwall. I showed you an intercepted letter of Puisaye, where he says that ‘twenty thousand red coats distributed among the insurgents will be the means of raising one hundred thousand more.’ When the peasant insurrection is fully organized, the English descent will take place. Here is the plan; follow it on the map.” And putting his finger on the map, Robespierre continued: –

“The English have the choice of landing place, from Cancale to Paimpol. Craig would prefer the Bay of Saint-Brieuc, Cornwallis the Bay of Saint-Cast. But this is simply a matter of detail. The left shore of the Loire is guarded by the rebel Vendean army, and as to the twenty-eight miles of open country between Ancenis and Pontorson, forty Norman parishes have promised their assistance. The descent will be made at three points, Plérin, Iffiniac, and Pléneuf; from Plérin they will go to Saint-Brieuc, and from Pléneuf to Lamballe; on the second day they intend to reach Dinan, where there are nine hundred English prisoners, thus simultaneously occupying Saint-Jouan and Saint-Méen, where they, are to leave the cavalry; on the third day two columns will march, – one to Jouan on Bédée, the other to Dinan on Becherel, a natural fortress, and where they propose to set up two batteries; on the fourth day they expect to be at Rennes, which is the key to Brittany. Whoever has Rennes is master of the situation. Rennes once taken, Châteauneuf and Saint-Malo are sure to fall. There are one million cartridges and fifty field-pieces at Rennes.”

“Which they will sweep away,” muttered Danton.

Robespierre continued: –

“To conclude. From Rennes three columns will descend, one upon Fougères, and the second and third upon Vitré and Redon. As the bridges are destroyed, the enemy will be provided, as has already been stated, with pontoons and planks, and they will also have guides for such places as are fordable by cavalry. From Fougères they will diverge to Avranches, from Redon to Ancenis, from Vitré to Laval. Nantes will surrender, Brest likewise. Redon opens the way to Vilaine, as Fougères to Normandy and Vitré to Paris. In fifteen days they will have a brigand army of three hundred thousand men, and the whole of Brittany will belong to the King of France.”

“You mean to the King of England,” said Danton. “No, to the King of France,” replied Robespierre, adding: “the King of France is worse; it takes fifteen days to expel a foreign foe, and eighteen hundred years to destroy a monarchy.”

Danton, who had reseated himself with his elbows resting on the table, supported hip head on his hands and remained buried in thought.

“You perceive the danger,” said Robespierre. “Vitré opens for the English the way to Paris.”

Raising his head, Danton brought his two clenched fists down upon the map as though it were an anvil.

“Robespierre, did not Verdun open the way to Paris for the Prussians?”

“What then?”

“Well, we will drive the English as we drove the Prussians.”

And Danton rose again.

Robespierre placed his cold hand on Danton’s burning wrist.

“Danton, Champagne did not take sides with the Prussians, as Brittany does with the English. Retaking Verdun was foreign war; but to recapture Vitré will be civil war.”

And Robespierre murmured in a cold, sepulchral tone, –

“A serious difference.”

Then he continued, –

“Sit down, Danton, and look at the map, instead of battering it with your fists.”

But Danton was wholly carried away with his own ideas.

“Well, this goes beyond everything!” he exclaimed; “to be on the alert for a catastrophe in the west, when it is actually in the east! I grant you, Robespierre, that England looms up on the ocean; but Spain rises from behind the Pyrenees, Italy from the Alps, Germany from the Rhine, and the big Russian bear is behind them all. Robespierre, danger surrounds us like a circle, and we are in its centre. Coalition abroad, treason at home. In the south, Servant holds the door of France ajar for the King of Spain; in the north, Dumouriez goes over to the enemy. However, he always threatened Holland less than Paris. Nerwinde has wiped out Jemmapes and Valmy. The philosopher Rabaut Saint-Étienne, a traitor, like the Protestant he is, corresponds with the courtier Montesquiou. The army is decimated. No battalion has now over four hundred men, and the brave regiment of Deux-Ponts is reduced to one hundred and fifty; the camp of Pamars has surrendered; Givet has but five hundred bags of flour left. We are falling back on Landau; Wurmser presses Kléber; Mayence makes a valiant defence; Condé yields ignobly, and Valenciennes likewise, but this in no way alters the fact that their defenders Féraud and Chancel are two heroes, not to mention Meunier, who defended Mayence; but all the others are betraying us. Dharville plays the traitor at Aix-la-Chapelle, Mouton at Brussels, Valence at Bréda, Neuilly at Limbourg, Miranda at Maëstricht; Stengel, Lanoue, Ligonnier, Menou, Dillon, traitors all, – hideous coin of Dumouriez. Examples are needed. I am suspicious of Custine’s countermarches. I am inclined to believe that he preferred the lucrative capture of Frankfort to the more useful one of Coblentz. Suppose that Frankfort is able to pay a war indemnity of four millions, – what is that in comparison with crushing a nest of Émigrés? I call it treason. Meunier died on the 13th of June, and Kléber is now alone. Meanwhile Brunswick gains strength and marches onward. He raises the German flag in every French place that he captures. The Margrave of Brandenburg is to-day the arbiter of Europe; he is pocketing our provinces; you will soon see him appropriating Belgium; one might think that we were working for Berlin; and if this continues, and we take no means to prevent it, the French Revolution will result in the aggrandizement of Potsdam. Its chief consequence will be the advancement of the little State of Frederick II., and we shall have killed the King of France for the benefit of the King of Prussia.”

Here Danton, terrible in his wrath, burst into a fit of laughter, which made Marat smile.

“You have each your hobby. Yours, Danton, is Prussia, and yours, Robespierre, is the Vendée. I will also mention a few facts. You do not see the real danger which is centred in the cafés and the gaming-houses: the Café de Choiseul is Jacobin; the Café Patin, royalist; the Café Rendez-Vous attacks the National Guard, and the Café de la Porte Saint-Martin defends it; the Café de la Régence is opposed to Brissot, the Café Corazza favors him; the Café Procope swears by Diderot, and the Café du Théâtre Français by Voltaire; at the Rotonde they tear up the assignats; the Cafés Saint-Marceau are in a state of perfect fury; the Café Manouri is agitating the flour problem; at the Café de Foy there is a perpetual racket and brawling, and at the Perron the hornets of finance are buzzing. All this is a serious matter.”

Danton no longer laughed, but Marat still continued to smile. The smile of a dwarf is worse than the laugh of a giant.

“Are you sneering, Marat?” growled Danton.

Marat twitched his hip convulsively, – that motion peculiar to himself which has been so often described, – and his smile died away.

“Ah, I recognize you, Citizen Danton. You are the man who in full convention called me ‘that individual Marat.’ Listen: I forgive you. We are in times when men play the fool. Sneering, did you say? What kind of a man do you think I am? I have denounced Chazot, Pétion, Kersaint, Mouton, Dufriche-Valazé, Ligonnier, Menou, Banneville, Gensonné, Biron, Lidon, and Chambon. Was I wrong? I scent the treason of the traitor before the deed is done, and I find it useful to denounce the criminal in advance. It is my habit to say in the evening what the rest of you say the next day. I am the man who proposed to the Assembly a complete scheme for criminal legislation. What have I done up to the present moment? I asked to have the sections instructed that they might be disciplined for revolution; I had the seals of thirty-two boxes broken; I reclaimed the diamonds placed in the hands of Roland; I proved that the Brissotins had given to the Committee of General Safety blank warrants; I noted certain omissions in Lindet’s report concerning the crimes of Capet; I voted for the execution of the tyrant in the course of twenty-four hours; I defended the battalions of Mauconseil and the Républicain; I prevented the reading of Narbonne’s and Malouet’s letters; I motioned in favor of the wounded soldiers; I caused the suppression of the Committee of Six; I foresaw the treason of Dumouriez in the affair of Mons; I demanded to have one hundred thousand relatives of the refugees taken as hostages for the commissioners delivered to the enemy; I proposed to declare traitor any representative who crossed the frontier; I unmasked the faction of Roland in the disturbances at Marseilles; I insisted that a price should be set on the head of Égalité’s son; I defended Bouchotte; I called for a nominal vote to expel Isnard from the chair.

It was I who instigated the declaration that Parisians had deserved well of their country; that is why Louvet calls me a dancing puppet, and why Finistère demands my expulsion. For this the city of Loudun wishes me to be exiled, and the city of Amiens proposes to muzzle me, Coburg requires my arrest, and Lecointe-Puiraveau suggests to the Convention that it would be well to pronounce me insane. Bah! Citizen Danton, why did you ask me to come to your Conventicle if you did not wish for my advice? Did I ask permission to belong to it? Far from it. I have no inclination for a tête-à-tête with such counter-revolutionists as Robespierre and yourself. However, I might have expected this. You have not understood me, – neither you nor Robespierre. Are there then no statesmen here? You need a spelling lesson in politics, and some one to dot your i‘s for you. This is the meaning of what I told you, – you are both mistaken. The danger comes neither from London nor from Berlin, as you two believe. It is in Paris. It is in the absence of unity; in the right of every man to pull his own way, beginning with you yourselves; in the levelling of intellects; in the anarchy of will – “

“Anarchy!” interrupted Danton. “Who is it that causes anarchy if not yourself?”

Marat paid no attention.

“Robespierre, Danton, the danger is in this multitude of cafés, in these countless gaming-houses, this crowd of clubs, – Club des Noirs, Club des Fédérés, Club des Dames, Club des Impartiaux (which dates from Clermont-Tonnerre, and which was the Monarchical Club of 1790, – a social circle originated by the priest Claude Fauchet), the Club des Bonnets de Laine, founded by the journalist Prudhomme, etc.; without counting your Jacobin Club, Robespierre, and your Club of Cordeliers, Danton. The danger is in the famine that made the porte-sacs Blin hang François Denis, the baker of Palu market, to the lamp-post of the Hôtel de Ville, and likewise in the justice that hung porte-sacs Blin for hanging baker Denis. The danger lies in the depreciation of the currency. One day on the Rue du Temple an assignat of a hundred francs fell to the ground, and a passer-by, a man of the lower class, remarked, ‘It is not worth while to pick it up.’ The danger comes from the stock-brokers and the monopolists. Fine progress we have made when we hoist the black flag over the Hôtel de Ville! You have arrested Baron Trenck; but that is not sufficient. I want to see you wring the neck of that old prison intriguer. Do you think that the business is accomplished because the President of the Convention places a civic crown on the head of Labertèche, who received forty-one sabre-thrusts at Jemmapes, and of whom Chénier makes himself the showman? Comedies and idle shows! Ah, you take no heed of Paris! You are looking for danger at a distance, when it is close at hand. Of what use are your police, Robespierre? You have your spies, – Payan in the Commune, Coffinhal at the Revolutionary Tribunal, David in the Committee of Public Safety, Couthon in the Committee of Public Well-being. You perceive that I am well informed. Now, then, learn this: The danger is hanging over your heads and rising beneath your feet. Conspiracies! conspiracies! conspiracies! The people passing along the streets read the papers to one another, and nod their heads significantly; six thousand men having no civic papers – the returned Émigrés, Muscadins, and Mathevons – are hidden in the cellars and garrets and in the wooden galleries of the Palais Royal; they are ranged in files in front of the bake-shops; women stand on the door-sills, and clasping their hands, cry, ‘When shall we have peace?’ It is of no use to close the doors of the Executive Committee against the public. Every word you utter is known; and as a proof, Robespierre, I will repeat the words you spoke last night to Saint-Just: ‘Barbaroux’s paunch grows apace; that will inconvenience him in his flight.’ Danger, I tell you, lurks on every side, but chiefly in the centre. In Paris, while the ci-devants are weaving their plots the patriots go barefoot; the aristocrats arrested on the 9th of March are already released; the fine private horses that bespatter us with mud in the streets ought to be harnessed to the cannons on the frontier; a loaf of bread weighing four pounds is sold for three francs and twelve sous; indecent plays are given on the stage; and Robespierre will sooner or later send Danton to the guillotine.”

“Phew!” exclaimed Danton.

Robespierre was attentively studying the map.

“What we need is a dictator!” cried Marat, fiercely. “You know, Robespierre, that I want a dictator.”

Robespierre raised his head. “Yes, I know, Marat, it must be either you or I.”

“I or you, you mean,” retorted Marat.

“The dictatorship, – I advise you to try it!” grumbled Danton between his closed teeth.

Marat perceived Danton’s frown.

“Stop,” he said. “Let us make one last effort to come to an agreement. The situation is well worth it. Was there not an understanding for the 31st of May? The question of mutual agreement is even more important than Girondism, which is a matter of detail. There is a certain amount of truth in your statements; but truth itself, the whole truth, the real truth, lies in, I say, Federalism in the south, Royalism in the West, a deadly struggle between the Convention and the Commune in Paris, and on the frontier the backsliding of Custine and the treason of Dumouriez. What will be the result? The end will be nothing less than dismemberment. And what do we require? Unity. Therein lies our salvation. But we have no time to lose. Paris must undertake the control of the Revolution. If we waste one hour, the Vendeans may be in Orleans to-morrow, and the Prussians in Paris. I grant one thing to you, Danton, and another to Robespierre. So be it. And the conclusion must be dictatorship. Let us, we three who represent the Revolution, grasp the dictatorship. We are the three heads of Cerberus. One is a talking head, and that is you, Robespierre; the second head does the roaring, and that is you, Danton – “

“And the other bites, and that is you, Marat,” said Danton.

“All three bite,” said Robespierre.

For a time there was silence; then this dialogue full of gloomy and violent utterances proceeded.

“Listen, Marat; people should know each other before they marry. How did you find out what I said to Saint-Just yesterday?”

“That is my affair, Robespierre.”

“Marat!”

“It is my duty to gain information.”

“Marat!”

“I like to know what is going on.”

“Marat!”

“Robespierre, I know what you say to Saint-Just, as I know what Danton says to Lacroix; I know what happens on the quay of the Théatins, at the Hôtel Labriffe, a den frequented by the nymphs of the Emigration, as well as I know what is going on at the house of Thilles, near Gonesse, which now belongs to Valmerange, the former administrator of the postal service, where Maury and Cazalès were in the habit of going, – a house which Sieyès and Vergniaud have since frequented, and where at the present time a certain person goes once a week.”

In saying a certain person, Marat looked significantly at Danton.

“If I had but two farthings’ worth of power, this would be terrible,” cried Danton.

“I know what you say, Robespierre,” continued Marat, “just as I knew what was going on in the tower of the Temple when they were fattening Louis XVI.; and the wolf, the she-wolf, and the cubs, during the month of September alone, devoured eighty-six baskets of peaches. At that time the nation was starving. I know it, as I know that Roland was concealed in a lodging looking out on a back-yard, in the Rue de la Harpe; as I know that six hundred pikes used on the 14th of July were manufactured by Faure, the locksmith of the Duke of Orleans; as I know what they do at the house of Saint-Hilaire, the mistress of Sillery. On the days when there is to be a ball, old Sillery himself chalks the parquet floors of the yellow salon in the Rue Neuve-des-Mathurins; Buzot and Kersaint dined there; Saladin dined there on the 27th, and with whom do you guess, Robespierre? With your friend Lasource.”

“Idle talk,” muttered Robespierre; “Lasource is not my friend.”

He added thoughtfully, –

“In the mean time there are eighteen manufactories of false assignats in London.”

Marat went on in a voice calm but somewhat tremulous, an ominous sign with him, –

“You are the faction of the All-Importants. Yes, I know everything, in spite of what Saint-Just calls the silence of State – “

Marat emphasized this word, looked at Robespierre, and continued: –

“I know the conversation that takes place at your table on the days when Lebas invites David to eat the food prepared by his betrothed, Élisabeth Duplay, your future sister-in-law, Robespierre. I am the all-seeing eye of the people, and from the depths of my cave I observe. Yes, I hear, I see, and I know. You are contented with small things. You admire yourself. Robespierre shows himself off before his Madame de Chalabre, the daughter of the Marquis who played whist with Louis XV. on the evening of Damiens’ execution. Yes, heads are carried high in these days. Saint-Just never unbends; Legendre is a scrupulous devotee to fashion, with his new frock-coat and white waistcoat, and a frill, that people may forget his apron. Robespierre imagines that history will be interested to know that he wore an olive-colored coat à la Constitution, and a sky-blue coat à la Convention. He hangs his portrait on every wall around his room – “

Robespierre interrupted him in a voice even more quiet than that of Marat himself: –

“And you drag yours through all the sewers, Marat.”

They continued this conversation in tones whose very deliberation emphasized the violence of the attacks and retorts, and added a certain irony to the implied threats.

“Robespierre, you called those who are in favor of the abolition of monarchy the Don Quixotes of mankind.”

“And you, Marat, after the 4th of August, in No. 559 of your ‘Ami du Peuple,’ – you see, I remember the number, a useful item, – you requested to have the titles of the nobles restored to them. You said: ‘Once a Duke, always a Duke.'”

“Robespierre, in the session of the 7th of December you defended Roland’s wife against Viard.”

“Just as my brother defended you, Marat, when you were attacked at the Jacobins’. What does that prove? Nothing at all.”

“Robespierre! we all know the cabinet at the Tuileries where you said to Garas: ‘I am tired of the Revolution.'”

“Marat, in this very ale-house, on the 20th of October, you embraced Barbaroux.”

“And you said to Buzot, Robespierre, ‘What does the Republic signify?'”

“Marat, you invited three men from Marseilles to breakfast with you here in this ale-house.”

“Robespierre, you go about escorted by a strong fellow from the market armed with a club.”

“And you, Marat, on the eve of the 10th of August, – you asked Buzot to assist you in escaping to Marseilles disguised as a jockey.”

“During the prosecutions of September you took good care to hide yourself, Robespierre.”

“And you, Marat, were not backward in making a display of yourself.”

“Robespierre, you flung the red cap on the ground.”

“Yes, when a traitor hoisted it. Dumouriez defiles Robespierre.”

“Robespierre, you refused to throw a veil over the head of Louis XVI. when Chateauvieux’ soldiers were passing.”

“I did better than veil his head; I cut it off.”

Danton interposed, but it was like pouring oil upon the flames.

“Robespierre, Marat, calm yourselves,” he said. Marat did not like to be mentioned in the second place. He turned round.

“What affair is this of Danton?”

“What affair of mine? I will tell you. There must be no fratricides; we must have no strife between two men, both of whom serve the people. It is enough to have to deal with foreign and civil wars, and it would be too much if we were to have a family conflict. It is I who made the Revolution, and I do not choose to have it destroyed. This is why I feel called upon to interfere.”

Marat replied, without raising his voice, –

“You had better be attending to the settlement of your own accounts.”

“My accounts!” cried Danton. “Go ask for them in the passes of Argonne, in Champagne delivered, in Belgium conquered, in the armies where I have exposed my breast four times already to the grape-shot! Inquire in the Place de la Révolution, on the scaffold of the 21st of January, of the throne lying on the ground, of the guillotine, that widow – “

Here Marat broke forth, interrupting Danton, –

“The guillotine is a virgin who gives death unto men, but not life.”

“What do you know about it? I will make her fruitful.”

“We shall see.”

And he smiled.

Danton saw the smile.

“Marat,” he cried, “you are the man who prefers to hide; I am a man who rejoices in broad daylight, in the open air. I despise the life of a reptile. It would not suit me to be a woodlouse. You live in a cave; I live in the street. You hold no communication with mankind; the chance passer-by may see and speak with me.”

“Handsome youth! Will you ascend to my abode?” growled Marat.

And no longer smiling, he continued in a peremptory tone: –

“Danton, give an account of the thirty-three thousand crowns cash, that were paid you by that Montmorin in the name of the king, under the pretext of indemnifying you for the post of solicitor of the Châtelet.”

“I belonged to the 14th of July,” said Danton, haughtily.

“And the Garde-meuble? And the crown diamonds?”

“I was also of the 6th of October.”

“And the thefts of your alter ego, Lacroix, in Belgium?”

“I was of the 20th of June.”

“And the loans to Montansier?”

“I influenced the people to bring about the return from Varennes.”

“And the Opera House built with the money that you furnished?”

“I armed the sections of Paris.”

“And the hundred thousand livres in secret funds of the Ministère de la Justice?”

“The 10th of August was my work.”

“And the two millions secret expenses of the Assembly, a quarter of which fell to your share?”

“I arrested the progress of the enemy, and barred the road to the allied kings.”

“Prostitute!” cried Marat.

Danton was terrible in his wrath.

“Yes,” he cried; “you have spoken the word! I have sold my virtue, but I saved the world!”

Robespierre meanwhile continued to bite his nails. He could neither laugh nor smile. He possessed not the lightning-like laughter of Danton, nor the sting of Marat’s smile.

Danton continued, –

“I am like the ocean: I have my flood and ebb. When the tide is low you can see the shoals; but at high tide you see only the waves.”

“What one might call your froth,” said Marat.

“My tempest, rather,” replied Danton.

They both sprang to their feet, and Marat burst forth; the adder suddenly assumed the shape of a dragon.

“Ah, Robespierre! ah, Danton!” he exclaimed, “you will not listen to me. I tell you, you are lost! Your policy brings you up against a wall! Every issue is closed to you, and you go on committing deeds that will finally leave you with no outlet save that of the grave.”

“In that lies the very essence of our greatness,” said Danton, shrugging his shoulders.

Marat went on: –

“Danton, beware! Vergniaud has a wide mouth, thick lips, and frowning brows, like yourself. He is also pitted, like you and Mirabeau. Yet this did not prevent the 31st of May. Ah, you shrug your shoulders! A shrug of the shoulders has been known to cost a man his head. I tell you, Danton, your loud voice, your loose cravat, your top-boots, your late suppers, your ample pockets, – Louisette will have something to say about all that.”

Louisette was Marat’s pet name for the guillotine.

He continued: –

“And as for you, Robespierre, you are a Moderate; but that will avail you nothing. Go on; powder and dress your hair, brush your clothes, play the coxcomb, wear fine linen, be a model of propriety, frizzed and bedizened; sooner or later you will go to the Place de Grève; read Brunswick’s proclamation, and make up your mind to be treated like the regicide Damiens, and you are arrayed in fine style to be drawn and quartered.”

“Echo of Coblentz!” muttered Robespierre between his teeth.

“Robespierre, I echo no one. I am the cry of the whole world. Ah, you are young, both of you! How old are you, Danton? Thirty-four. And you, Robespierre? Thirty-three. Well, as for myself, I have lived from the beginning of time. I am the embodiment of the ancient misery of mankind. I am six thousand years old.”

“That is true,” replied Danton; “for six thousand years Cain has been preserved in hatred, like a toad in a stone. The stone breaks, and Cain leaps forth among men, to be known as Marat.”

“Danton!” cried Marat; and a livid glare shone in his eyes.

“Well, what is it?” said Danton.

Thus conversed these three terrible men, – conflicting thunderbolts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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