I Will Repay HTML version

Chapter XXIV. The trial of Juliette
It is all indelibly placed on record in the "Bulletin du Tribunal Révolutionnaire,"
under date 25th Fructidor, year I. of the Revolution.
Anyone who cares may read, for the Bulletin is in the Archives of the
Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris.
One by one the accused had been brought forth, escorted by two men of the
National Guard in ragged, stained uniforms of red, white, and blue; they were
then conducted to the small raised platform in the centre of the hall, and made to
listen to the charge brought against them by Citizen Foucquier-Tinville, the Public
They were petty charges mostly: pilfering, fraud, theft, occasionally arson or
manslaughter. One man, however, was arraigned for murder with highway
robbery, and a woman for the most ignoble traffic, which evil feminine ingenuity
could invent.
These two were condemned to the guillotine, the others sent to the galleys at
Brest or Toulon--the forger along with the petty thief, the housebreaker with the
absconding clerk.
There was no room in the prison for ordinary offences against the criminal code;
they were overfilled already with so-called traitors against the Republic.
Three women were sent to the penitentiary at the Salpêtriere, and were dragged
out of the court shrilly protesting their innocence, and followed by obscene jeers
from the spectators on the benches.
Then there was a momentary hush.
Juliette Marny had been brought in.
She was quite calm, and exquisitely beautiful, dressed in a plain grey bodice and
kirtle, with a black band round her slim waist and a soft white kerchief folded
across her bosom. Beneath the tiny, white cap her golden hair appeared in
dainty, curly profusion; her child-like, oval face was very white, but otherwise
quite serene.
She seemed absolutely unconscious of her surroundings, and walked with a firm
step up to the platform, looking neither to the right nor to the left of her.
Therefore she did not see Déroulède. A great, a wonderful radiance seemed to
shine in her large eyes--the radiance of self-sacrifice.
She was offering not only her life, but everything a woman of refinement holds
most dear, for the safety of the man she loved.
A feeling that was almost physical pain, so intense was it, overcame Déroulède,
when at last he heard her name loudly called by the Public Prosecutor.
All day he had waited for this awful moment, forgetting his own misery, his own
agonised feeling of an irretrievable loss, in the horrible thought of what she would
endure, what she would think, when first she realised the terrible indignity, which
was to be put upon her.
Yet for the sake of her, of her chances of safety and of ultimate freedom, it was
undoubtedly best that it should be so.