I Will Repay HTML version

Chapter XII. The sword of Damocles
"In the name of the Republic!"
Absorbed in his thoughts, his dreams, his present happiness, Déroulède had
heard nothing of what was going on in the house, during the past few seconds.
At first, to Anne Mie, who was still singing her melancholy didty over her work in
the kitchen, there had seem nothing unusual in the peremptory ring at the front-
door bell. She pulled down her sleeves over her thin arms, smoothed down her
cooking apron, then only did she run to see who the visitor might be.
As soon as she had opened the door, however, she understood.
Five men were standing before her, four of whom wore the uniform of the
National Guard, and the fifth, the tricolour scarf fringed with gold, which denoted
service under the Convention.
This man seemed to be in command of the others, and he immediately stepped
into the hall, followed by his four companions, who at a sign from him, effectively
cut off Anne Mie from what had been her imminent purpose--namely, to run to
the study and warn Déroulède of his danger.
That it was danger of the most certain, the most deadly kind she never doubted
for one moment. Even had her instinct not warned her, she would have guessed.
One glance at the five men had sufficed to tell her: their attitude, their curt word
of command, their air of authority as they crossed the hall--everything revealed
the purpose of their visit: a domiciliary search in the house of Citizen-Deputy
Merlin's Law of the Suspect was in full operation. Someone had denounced the
Citizen-Deputy to the Committee of Public Safety; and in this year of grace, 1793,
and I. of the Revolution, men and women were daily sent to the guillotine on
Anne Mie would have screamed, had she dared, but instinct such as hers was far
too keen, to betray her into so injudicious an act. She felt that, were Paul
Déroulède's eyes upon her at this moment, he would wish her to remain calm
and outwardly serene.
The foremost man--he with the tricolour scarf--had already crossed the hall, and
was standing outside the study door. It was his word of command which first
roused Déroulède from his dream:
"In the name of the Republic!"
Déroulède did not immediately drop the small hand, which a moment ago he had
been covering with kisses. He held it to his lips once more, very gently, lingering
over this last fond caress, as if over an eternal farewell, then he straightened out
his broad, well-knit figure, and turned to the door.
He was very pale, but there was neither fear nor even surprise expressed in his
earnest, deep-set eyes. They still seemed to be looking afar, gazing upon a
heaven-born vision, which the touch of her hand and the avowal of his love had
conjured up before him.
"In the name of the Republic'"