Not a member?     Existing members login below:
Holidays Offer
 

I Will Repay

Chapter XXVI. Sentence of death
The "Bulletin du Tribunal Révolutionnaire" tells us that both the accused had
remained perfectly calm during the turmoil which raged within the bare walls of
the Hall of Justice.
Citizen-Deputy Déroulède, however, so the chroniclers aver, though outwardly
impassive, was evidently deeply moved. He had very expressive eyes, clear
mirrors of the fine, upright soul within, and in them there was a look of intense
emotion as he watched the crowd, which he had so often dominated and
controlled, now turning in hatred against him.
He seemed actually to be seeing with a spiritual vision, his own popularity wane
and die.
But when the thick of the crowd had pushed and jostled itself out of the hall, that
transient emotion seemed to disappear, and he allowed himself quietly to be led
from the front bench, where he had sat as a privileged member of the National
Convention, to a place immediately behind the dock, and between two men of
the National Guard.
From that moment he was a prisoner, accused of treason against the Republic,
and obviously his mock trial would be hurried through by his triumphant enemies,
whilst the temper of the people was at boiling point against him.
Complete silence had succeeded to the raging tumult of the past few moments.
Nothing now could be heard in the vast room, save Foucquier-Tinville's hastily
whispered instructions to the clerk nearest to him, and the scratch of the latter's
quill pen against the paper.
The President was, with equal rapididy, affixing his signature to various papers
handed up to him by the other clerks. The few remaining spectators, the
deputies, and those among the crowd who had elected to see the close of the
debate, were silent and expectant.
Merlin was mopping his forehead as if in intense fatigue after a hard struggle;
Robespierre was coolly taking snuff.
From where Déroulède stood, he could see Juliette's graceful figure silhouetted
against the light of the petrol lamp. His heart was torn between intense misery at
having failed to save her and a curious, exultant joy at thought of dying beside
her.
He knew the procedure of this revolutionary tribunal well--knew that within the
next few moments he too would be condemned, that they would both be hustled
out of the crowd and dragged through the streets of Paris, and finally thrown into
the same prison, to herd with those who, like themselves, had but a few hours to
live.
And then to-morrow at dawn, death for them both under the guillotine. Death in
public, with all its attendant horrors: the packed tumbril; the priest, in civil clothes,
appointed by this godless government, muttering conventional prayers and
valueless exhortations.
And in his heart there was nothing but love for her--love and an intense pity--for
the punishment she was suffering was far greater than her crime. He hoped that
 
Remove