I Will Repay HTML version
Chapter XXIX. Père Lachaise
It was not difficult to guess which way the crowd had gone; yells, hoots, and
hoarse cries could be heard from the farther side of the river.
Citizen Santerne had been unable to keep the mob back until the arrival of the
cavalry reinforcements. Within five minutes of the abduction of Déroulède and
Juliette the crowd had broken through the line of soldiers, and had stormed the
cart, only to find it empty, and the prey dissappeared.
"They are safe in the Temple by now!" shouted Santerne hoarsely, in savage
triumph at seeing them all baffled.
At first it seemed as if the wrath of the infuriated populace, fooled in its lust for
vengeance, would vent itself against the commandant of Paris and his soldiers;
for a moment even Santerre's ruddy cheeks had paled at the sudden vision of
this unlooked for danger.
Then just as suddenly the cry was raised.
"To the Temple!"
"To the Temple! To the Temple!" came in ready response.
The cry was soon taken up by the entire crowd, and in less than two minutes the
purlieus of the Hall of Justice were deserted, and the Pont St Michel, then the
Cité and the Pont au Change, swarmed with the rioters. Thence along the north
bank of the river, and up the Rue du Temple, the people still yelling, muttering,
singing the "_Ça ira,_" and shouting: "_A la lanterne! A la lanterne!_"
Sir Percy Blakeney and his little band of followers had found the Pont Neuf and
the adjoining streets practically deserted. A few stragglers from the crowd,
soaked through with the rain, their enthusiasm damped, and their throats choked
with the mist, were sulkily returning to their homes.
The desultory group of six _sansculottes_ attracted little or no attention, and Sir
Percy boldly challenged every passer-by.
"The way to the Rue du Temple, citizen?" he asked once or twice, or:
"Have they hung the traitor yet? Can you tell me, citizeness?"
A grunt or an oath were the usual replies, but no one took any further notice of
the gigantic coal-heaver and his ragged friends.
At the corner of one of the cross streets, between the Rue du Temple and the
Rue des Archives, Sir Percy Blakeney suddenly turned to his followers:
"We are close to the rabble now," he said in a whisper, and speaking in English;
"do you all follow the nearest stragglers, and get as soon as possible into the
thickest of the crowd. We'll meet again outside the prison--and remember the
He did not wait for an answer, and presently disappeared in the mist.
Already a few stragglers, hangers-on of the multitude, were gradually coming into
view, and the yells could be distinctly heard. The mob had evidently assembled
in the great square outside the prison, and was loudly demanding the object of its