Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter VII.: MOB SOVEREIGNTY. - Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 4
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Chapter VII.: MOB SOVEREIGNTY. - Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 4 
Illustrations of Political Economy (3rd ed) in 9 vols. (London: Charles Fox, 1834). Vol. 4.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The endeavours of individuals like Charles to make the people wise were of little avail, how ever successful at the moment, in opposition to influences of a different character which were perpetually at work upon the mob of Paris. The obstinacy of the king in refusing to sign the declaration of rights, the imbecility of the ministry, the arts and clamours of the leaders of different parties, and, above all, the destitution of which they took advantage, overcame all principles of subordination, all sentiments of loyalty, and filled the people with a rage which rendered them as blind to their own interests as unjust towards those of the ranks above them. Riot and waste spread and grew from day to day, and the wise saw no more prospect of relief than the foolish of danger.
The king had been told, on the day the Bastille was taken, that his capital was in a state of revolution; but, nearly three months afterwards, he was still wondering what the event might mean; talking over with the queen the kindnesses he had always intended showing to his people, and assuring the people's parliament that the best thing he could do for them was to preserve his dignity and prerogative. He could still at Versailles ride abroad unmolested in the mornings, feast his body-guard in the middle of the day, and look on while the ladies of the court were dancing in the evening, and sleep the whole night without hearing the drums and larums which kept all Paris awake; and could not therefore believe that all would not come right, when the people should have been persuaded of the atrocious unreasonableness of the Declaration they wanted him to sign. When he heard that they drowned their flour in hatred of him, he did all he could think of in ordering that more should be given them; and when the queen discovered that which every one would have kept from her,—that she was hated,—she curled her proud lip, and reared her graceful head, and thought that the citizens must be ignorant indeed if they fancied they could understand her springs of action, or believed that they could intimidate her. With the dauphin at her knee, she expatiated to the ladies of her court on the misfortune of kings and queens having any connexion at all with the people beneath them, whom it was at all times difficult to manage, and who might, as now, cause serious trouble, and interfere materially with the peace of royalty. She had at that moment little idea how the peace of royalty was to be invaded this very day.
A murmur of horror and looks of dismay penetrated even into the presence of her majesty, when tidings arrived of the approach of an army of women from Paris.
“Of women!” cried the gouvernance of the dauphin. “Is it because they can crave bread with a shriller wail?”
“Of women!” exclaimed the lady Alice de Thou. “They come to plead for the rights of their children. I remember when they brought the little ones in their arms after the storm, and we gave them all we had.”
“Of women!” said the queen, thoughtfully. Then, with fire in her eyes, she continued, looking steadfastly on the trembling chamberlain who brought the news, “Since they are women, it is my head they want. Is it not so? Speak. Are they not come for me?”
As soon as the chamberlain could speak, he muttered that he feared they were indeed not women, but ruffians in disguise.
“Aye, just so,” observed the queen. “Their womanhood is emblematical; and the hint of their purpose is not lost upon me. I hope they are indeed men, and can handle arms. I would take my death more willingly, being shot at as a mark, than being torn to pieces by the foul hands of the rabble. A death-blow from afar rather than a touch from any one of them!”
All present, except the chamberlain, were loud in their protestations against the possibility of any such danger. It was inconceivable; it was barbarous; it was horrific; it was a thing unheard of; in short, it was absolutely inconceivable. The chamberlain mournfully admitted that the whole was indeed inconceivable to all who had not witnessed the procession, like a troop of furies from the regions below, taking their way through every savage district on the earth, and swelling their ranks with all that could be gathered up of hideous and corrupt. That her majesty's sacred person should fall into such hands——
All now began to urge flight, and the queen was for a moment disposed to listen; but finding that the king was out shooting, had been sent for, and was expected every instant, she resolved to wait his arrival, and then it was too late. The poissardes, real and pretended, had by that time rushed into the place, filled the streets, stopped up the avenue, and taken up a position of control in the Chamber of Assembly. The king reached the palace through a back entrance, in safety, but it was in vain to think of leaving it again.
A hasty council was summoned, consisting of the royal family, and a few confidential servants, whose attachment to the persons of majesty might set against the enervating terror which had seized upon the ministers, and prevented their exerting any influence over these new and appalling circumstances. Within the circle, rapid consultation went on in low voices, while some kept watch at the doors. When discussing the necessity of signing the declaration of rights, —which was one of the demands of the mob without,—the queen's manner and tone were perceived suddenly to change, and she appeared to make light of the danger under which even her spirit had quailed but just before.
“Be careful;” she whispered to the person next her. “There is a creature of the duke of Orleans in the room. I wonder how he got in.”
The lady Alice, who was watching her, followed the glance of her eye, and saw that it rested on one whom she little expected to see.
“Madam!” she exclaimed, “it is my father!”
“Yes, my child; come to share your loyalty, now that the women below have made him afraid. If the palace is stormed, he must find a refuge once more under the Orleans provisioncarts, which are, i suppose, in waiting, as usual. We must give him no news to carry; and Alice, as soon as he is gone, I must have your head-dress to wear, as the best protection while your father points the way to us. I would not, however, be so cruel, my child, as to deck you with mine. You would lose your pretty head in a trice, and then the marquis would altogether go from us. It is through you that we are still favoured with his countenance occasionally.”
Alice's tearful eves had besought mercy for her parent long before the queen seemed disposed to yield it. While the adherence of the noblesse to the royal cause was regarded as a matter of course, and therefore not rewarded with extraordinary gratitude, all symptoms of halting or deflection were observed with scorn, and commented on without reserve by the haughty woman who regarded her rank and empire as natural, instead of conventional, and would as soon have dreamed of being denied the use of her limbs and senses as the privileges of royalty.
It was through her influence that the king refused to sign the declaration till the last moment,—when he was compelled to do so at a tremendous sacrifice of regal dignity;—at the bidding, namely, of twelve poissardes who forced their way into the presence with the deputies from the Assembly, and under the compulsion of threats of what might be expected from the army of eighteen thousand men who had marched from Paris during the afternoon, under the enforced command of Lafayette.
Never was anything beheld more dreary than the aspect, more disgusting than the incidents of this day and night. The skies frowned upon the scene, and wind and rain added to the difficulty of what was achieved, and the horror of what was witnessed. The deputies and their attendants, the poissardes, appeared in the king's presence, covered with mud and drenched with ram; the House of Assembly was crowded with women, who came in for shelter, taking their seats, among the members, now eating and drinking, and now lifting up an outcry to drown the voice of all unpopular deputy; the fires of the bivouacs in the streets were quenched with torrents of rain, again and again, and the peaceable inhabitants were in fear of being compelled at length to throw open their gates to the rabble. The leading figure of the mob, however, had a peculiar reason for disliking the weather, as he took care to show everybody. He was a gaunt looking ruffian, with a high pointed cap, and grotesque garb, well armed, but especially proud of an axe which he carried, ready for immediate use at the slightest hint from the leaders of the mob. With all his fear,—the only fear he seemed capable of,—that it should be rusted with the wet, and he thus delayed in his vocation, he could not refrain from brandishing it over his head, and displaying it in sight of the sentinels, and such of the body-guards as looked out now and then from the palace. This ruffian took his stand immediately under the king's window, prepared a cannon as a convenient block, and wanted impatiently for victims. He could not be persuaded to quit his post for shelter; but he did once step aside for brandy. On his return, he found two poissardes sitting astride on his cannon, face to face, tossing off their drams, and devouring the rations which their prompting demon had taken care to provide. The executioner warned them off, and prevailed by the offer of a better seat within five minutes. A hint was enough to show them his meaning. He just pointed towards an approaching group, consisting of an unfortunate soldier with whom some of the mob had picked a quarrel as he was going to his post for the night,— and his captors. The victim looked dogged. He saw the cold metal block on which the axe was presently to ring his death-stroke: he saw the fidgetty executioner, and the fierce women, gathering round, munching their suppers as if his life-blood was the draught they looked for to wash down the last mouthful he saw that no help was within reach or call. He saw all this, and seemed disposed to take quietly, though sullenly, what was inevitable. He stood firm while they pulled off his stock; he moved forwards when they pushed him; he kneeled when they pressed upon his shoulders; but some impatience in their manner of doing so excited his passions in a moment to their utmost strength. Before they could keep him down, he was not only on his feet again, but bounding high in the air, grappling with the executioner for the axe, kicking, trampling, buffeting all who laid hands on him, and creating a hubbub which brought the king to the window above, and conveyed to the senses of the ladies a knowledge of what was passing. It was a short struggle; but a struggle it was to the last, and force alone could subdue the victim. One virago clutched the hair of his head, and others held down his feet. When his blood flowed on the ground, and mixed with the puddles of rain, one or two stooped down to see how the eyes rolled and the nostrils yet quivered, while, on the other side the block, the executioner, mindful of his promise, tossed the headless body to a little distance, so that his friends might sit on it to finish their meal, What are the invisible issues of life there was no one present to think, during the whole scene, unless the victim himself might have been conscious of his thoughts darting that way; but such was the visible issue of a life which a stupendous and delicate natural apparatus had been appointed to create, sustain, and develop. It had originated in the deepest passions of human nature; been maintained by appliances, both natural and moral, which the keenest powers can barely recognize, and not estimate; and developed for objects of which man has only the remotest ken. Such was the visible issue of this mighty series of operations. That the handy work of Providence should ever have been thus crushed, and its mysteries thus boldly made sport of, may in time appear as incredible as it would now seem that children had ever been encouraged to pull planets from their spheres in mockery, and quench the milky way,—supposing, such power to have been left in their hands. In the latter case, who would be answerable for the profanation ? Surely those who taught mockery in the place of reverence. Who then was answerable in the former case? Those who made the perpetrators ignorant through oppression, and savage by misrule. The responsibilities of a certain order through many centuries were called to judgment during the brief period before us; and the sentence of condemnation not only went forth on the four winds to the farthest corners of the globe, but shall be repeated down to those remote ages when it shall be forgotten on earth, though recorded in heaven, that man ever shed the blood of man.
One or two more such murders on the cannon and at the palace gates had not the effect of alarming the court or the really patriotic leaders of the people so far as to keep them on the watch through the night. The king believed that all was safe when he had given the signature which it was the professed object of the expedition to obtain. The queen was assured by Lafayette that the people were wearied, and that nothing was to be apprehended till morning; and the general himself reposed in his hotel in full confidence of the security of all parties. All were not, however, thus satisfied. Some of the deputies refused to withdraw from their chamber; and while all was sleep and silence in the palace, except where some watchful ear caught the soft tread of the sentinels in the corridors, and the pattering of the rain without, and at intervals, some tidings from the passing gust, of revelry in the streets,—while armed ruffians sang their songs, or snored in their dreams round the watch-fires where the shrill-voiced poissardes were broiling their rations, or heating their strong liquors,—a few of the wiser deputies sat, each in his place, with folded arms, and in perfect silence, while the light of a single lamp fell on their uncovered heads and thoughtful countenances, and foresight was invisibly presenting to each pictures of that which was about to befall their monarchy and themselves. Revellers, legislators, and sentinels were not the only ones who watched. One or two, who did not partake the general's confidence in the people thus strangely congregated, wandered from watch-fire to watch-fire, and about the precincts of the palace, to be in readiness to warn Lafayette of the first symptoms of movement.
Among these was Charles, whose anxiety had been awakened by the aspect of Paris after the departure of the army for Versailles. It was well known that Lafayette's generalship on this occasion was enforced; and not all the apparatus of triumph amidst which the troops marched out, —not all the drumming, and military music, and display of flags amidst the rain, and echo of shouting heard above the strong winds, could remove the impression of the hollowness of all this rejoicing,—the desperation of this defiance. When the sights and sounds were gone, a deep gloom settled down upon Paris. The shops were shut, the streets were silent, except where the waggons, laden with meat, bread, and brandy, converged towards the Versailles road, or where groups of two or three observers whispered their anticipations to each other, mindful of none but political storms, and questioning only whether the sun of royalty would not this night have a crimson setting, to rise upon their state no more.
Charles had been among these observers, and the tidings he brought home made his wife anxious to depart from this revolutionary city, and take refuge in their country possessions. She would be ready to go at any moment, she declared, and when would there be so favourable a time as when the place was half emptied of its inhabitants, the police otherwise engaged than in watching the proceedings of private individuals, and all fear at an end of any attack upon the wine-stores? Charles was half disposed to listen to the scheme, though his views of what was likely to happen differed as widely from his wife's as the prevailing tone of mind by which they were influenced. Marguerite feared the worst: her husband hoped all might yet be well, and thought it, at all events, a good thing that something decided must arise out of the present crisis. He determined to follow the march to Versailles, and to return as soon as he could anticipate the event, to bid Marguerite stay and make herself easy, or to carry her, her father and children into Guienne. While she was packing up the few necessaries she meant to take with her, and persuading all the household but her self to go early to rest, Charles was reconnoitring the proceedings of such as were preparing a terrible retribution for those under whose tyranny they had suffered.
He was no spy; being devoted to no party, and acting for his own honest purposes; and he therefore used no concealment. He conversed with the riotous poissardes on public injuries, conferred with the deputies on public order, injuries, and exchanged a few words with the sentinels on the probability of an attack on the palace in the morning. The horrible threats breathed over the fires against the queen, the brutal exultation which appeared through mysterious and slang expressions respecting the royal household, made him wonder at the apparent defencelessness of the palace. He was by no means satisfied that all was safe till morning, and said so to a little muffled up man whom he found standing in the shadow, close by the great iron gates. He could not make out whether this man was a mere looker on, like himself, or a watch appointed by either party.
“Is it your own choice to be out to-night, sir; or are you occupying a post? Because, in the first case I would direct you where you might see more of the state of things than here; and, in the other, I would strongly recommend your appealing to the general for support.”
“Alas! yes. I am sent hither,” replied the quavering voice of the muffled up person. “None would willingly be abroad this night, and all my desire is to be left unobserved in this shadow at present;—unless, indeed, some friend should pass who might protect me, and from whom I might learn that which I am sent to ascertain.—You seem, sir, to be an orderly, honest man. Can you tell me whether the duke,—whether Orleans is at hand?”
“Orleans being the most honest and orderly of men, hey, marquis?” said Charles, laughing. “So you are sent out by lady Alice for tidings, and you wait here for them till Orleans passes by—Is it not so?”
“Ah! what can I do? These canaille will smother me again with flour, or drag me to the cold cannon;” and here the little man shivered, and his teeth chattered. “Do but bring me to Orleans, my good' sir, or get me a re-entrance into the palace, and I will—I will—This, morning air is so raw! and I am—I am—not fit for enterprise.”
Charles fully agreed with him; but having no interest to get a royal spy housed before his errand was done, he could only tell him that, to the best of his belief, Orleans was lingering about the road between Versailles and Paris, or hanging somewhere on the outskirts of the encampment to witness the issue, without being implicated.
“Ah! how he is happy in comparison with me!” cried the poor marquis. “I have never, sir, meddled with politics——”
“Further than as all the noblesse have operated,” interrupted Charles. “I mean in stimulating the people to meddle with politics. You have wrought at second hand, marquis, hitherto. Now is your time for taking your part finally, and acting in it,”
“Alas! what evils come of any one interfering in such affairs but ministers and deputies! Let them act, and let us be neutral. This is all I ask.”
“Aye, but, marquis, it is too late to ask this; because there has been great mistake about what is, and what is not, being neutral. I dare say you believed yourself neutral when you lay sleeping in bed, while your peasantry were keeping the frogs quiet in your ponds. I dare say you had no thought of politics in your boar hunts, or when three fathers of families were sent to the galleys for alarming the lady Alice's brooding doves. Yet you were all the while——”
The marquis's light blue eyes were now seen by the lamp light to be opened upon Charles with such an expression of vacant wonderment that it was plain there was no use in proceeding. He evidently had yet to learn the true province of politics; and, for his part, he thought the merchant must have drunk a little too deep in his own wine, to be talking of peasants and pigeons in connexion with an insurrection in Paris.—He would never have had courage to leave his nook by himself; but now that he had met a face that he knew, it required more courage to remain there by himself, and he therefore hooked Charles by the arm, and said he would be wholly guided by him. Charles would rather have dispensed with his attachment, but could not shake off the old man into darkness and helplessness, if he himself preferred venturing into the light of the watch-fires, and upon the threshold of Lafayette's lodging, whither he was warned he would be conveyed.
If the marquis had carried a bold front, nothing would have happened to him, any more than to his companion; but his slouched hat, halting gait, and shrinking deportment at once drew attention upon him. The consequence was that he heard double the number of threats, and imprecations ten times more horrid than had met Charles's ears before. If he had now regained entrance into the palace, he could have told that which would have made even the queen's fiery blood run cold, and have given the whole household a foretaste of worse horrors than even those of the ensuing day.
When they had arrived at the last of the line of fires, the marquis believed his purgatory to be nearly over, and indulged himself in a few ejaculations of thankfulness on the occasion. He was overheard, seized, dragged to the light, his coat torn open, and his hat pushed back. The queue looked suspicious; the manner of speech, mixed up, as even these people could perceive, of high breeding and imbecility, gave assurance that he was a court adherent; to which there was to be opposed only his own and Charles's assurance that he was a companion and friend of Orleans. The knot of drinkers hesitated whether to cut off his head or let him go, and the marquis stood panting with open lips and closed teeth, when an amiable creature, partly masculine in her attire, and wholly so in her address, proposed a half measure.
“If he is one of them,” she observed, “we shall find him again in the palace presently; so let us mark him.”
With the word, she seized the poor man's nose with the left hand, a burning stick with the right, and branded his forehead with a cross; then pushed him away, and turned to Charles, offering to drink to him in his own liquor, the choicest in Paris, if Orleans said true. She pointed at the same time to a waggon near, on which, to his amazement, Charles saw piled wine-casks with his own mark, and brandy-bottles sealed with his own seal.
Perceiving at a glance that his cellars must have been forced since he left home, and that all further resistance would be useless, he determined to yield to his wife's desire to quit Paris; and he hastened to discharge his duty of rousing and warning the general, before turning his back on this scene of disorder.
Lafayette was up in a moment, and, though still trusting in the peaceable disposition of the people, dressed himself hastily, that he might be among them by daybreak. Before he could leave his hotel, however, warning sounds came from the direction of the palace, and messengers succeeded one another rapidly, stating that an attack was being made on the great iron gates, that blood had already been shed, and that the lives of the, whole royal family seemed to be at the people's mercy. The general threw himself upon a horse which happened to be standing saddled below, and galloped off, before Charles could recommend the marquis de Thou to his protection, should he happen to find him in the hands of the populace. His own anxiety to get home was such as ill to brook any delay, and to admit little other interest of any kind; but chance threw him once more in the path of the old man.
As he was making the best of his way towards the Paris road, stemming the tide of people that was rushing towards the palace, he was suddenly jostled and thrown down by an impulse in the contrary direction. Nor was he the only one. Many were bruised, some trampled, while a fugitive burst through the throng, followed by a knot of pursuers, who overthrew all that came in their way, while their mingled curses and laughter contrasted strangely with the panting cry of the pursued. Some cried out that it was the king; others uttered imprecations against him as one of the hated guards; while Charles saw, amidst his tattered, seared, and helpless condition, that it was no other than the poor marquis. His desperation gave the hunted man strength to clear the mob, and to fly some way beyond, till he reached the trees of the avenue, where there was an end of his safety unless some better aid was brought him than his own failing strength. His enemies dogged him, surrounded him;— some brandishing pitchforks, others large knives, and not a few firing off their muskets to give a new impulse to his terror. This sight was intolerable to Charles, who saw in such cruelty none of the palliations which he had admitted in the case of some former acts of violence. Forgetting all but what was before his eyes, he snatched a pike, threw himself in front of the pursuit, reached the victim just as he fell exhausted at the foot of a tree, and stood astride over him, with one hand in an attitude of defence, while the other beckoned to the people to listen. He shouted amid the din, and the few words which were heard by those nearest to him served his purpose of diverting their thoughts from immediate murder. He told them that, in the name of the marquis's tenantry, he demand ed that the marquis should be placed in the custody of the Assembly of deputies, to answer for an infringement of the new laws by which the property of the peasantry was protected. He told them that the general was gone to the palace, to mediate between the queen and the poissardes, and as it would be a pity that those who heard him should be absent from so interesting a spectacle, he and one or two more would take charge of the criminal, and convey him before the sitting deputies. A well-timed roll of the drums and discharge of musketry confirmed his appeal, and drew away his auditors, so that in a few moments, when the last lingerers had gratified themselves with pricking their victim a little with the points of their various weapons, Charles found himself alone with the almost lifeless old man.
On hearing that his further existence probably depended on his reaching the assembly while the mob was engaged elsewhere, the marquis made an effort to rise and walk, and found himself so much less hurt than frightened that he accomplished the transit with small difficulty. Such a deplorable object was never before presented to the Assembly, at least under the title of a marquis. He had scarcely a shred of clothing under the soldier's cloak which Charles had borrowed from a sentinel at the door. His powdered hair was dripping with rain, and his face smeared with blood. He wept bitterly; murmuring, in the tones of a woman, his wonder as to what he could have ever done to offend the people, and how the world could have grown so cruel and ungrateful. The Assembly had little leisure at this time, and were glad to accept Charles's offer of conveying the prisoner away, and his guarantee that the marquis should set out for his estate in the provinces without delay, and not return till the troubles of the capital were at an end. The marquis was little disposed to make opposition.
“Take me away,” he said, “though I only fly from one doom to another. You say my tenants are enraged against me; and I say that they will drink my blood. The vile are sovereigns in these days, and the noble have the knife at their throats, from day to day. O, if they had killed me under the tree, it would have been over; but now it is still to come. O save me! Do not leave me! Make me your servant. Employ me as you will; but do not let them kill me!”
Charles recommended that the old man should in fact travel into Guienne as his servant, and take possession of his chateau or not, according to the apparent disposition of the peasantry when they should arrive.—Not a moment was to be lost in proceeding to Paris, if the departure of the family was to take place while the populace and the troops were engaged at Versailles, and the whole attention of the magistracy was directed upon what was passing there.
An empty cart was found in which to stow the marquis, while his protector walked by its side. They left behind them the most fearful spectacles of that day,—the murder of some of the guards, the narrow escape of the queen, the brutal joy of the mob at the enforced consent of the royal family to be conveyed to Paris, and the beginning of that dreadful march itself, as anomalous, as disgusting, as any spectacle that was ever presented as a pageant. But, one circumstance which signalized that march, they were also witnesses to. Half-way between Versailles and Paris, on a mound planted with trees, a figure was seen, moving behind the stems, and peeping forth at every sound of wheels or footsteps. It was Orleans, who had stationed himself here to watch the issue of his plot,—the return of the expedition, with the bodies of his royal cousins, dead or alive.
With some difficulty, he was persuaded to come down and speak to his humble servant the marquis ; and when he did greet him, it was with something very like a smile at his crest-fallen appearance, and querulous complainings.
“My good friend, these are strange times,” he observed. “I should think your valet has hardly had time to attend to you this morning. However, you will find plenty unoccupied at Paris to renew your powder.—O, you wish to go at once, and shoot on your own territory. Well; perhaps you are wise, since our kind of shooting here is not exactly to your taste. You must take care, however; for I hear that more bullets fly from behind the hedges there than in the open fields. Farewell, my dear sir, for I see your companion is impatient. He wants to be keeping guard over his wine-cellars. I wish him an ample fortune out of the wines therein contained at this moment.”
Charles's impatience was not only on account of his own affairs. He distrusted Orleans so far as to be vexed that the marquis whispered to him their plan of escape. There was no particular sign of interest in the duke's countenance at the relation; and it only remained to be hoped that no harm would come of this unnecessary confidence. The marquis was far from thinking it unnecessary, as a word from the duke would procure passports for the whole family. This word Orleans was prevailed upon to write, and furnished with it, the marquis poured out his gratitude more vehemently than, but a few months before, before would have supposed possible; and then bade his vehicle proceed, watching from a distance how the duke once more passed the enclosure, and took his station among the trees as before.
The cellars were found to be indeed more than half emptied; and of the casks that remained, one or two were staved, to drown the gunpowder and other combustibles. No attack had been made upon the house, and Marguerite had sufficiently got the better of her terrors, to be ready for' immediate departure. No obstacle arose, and Steele, with Pierre under him, consented to remain in charge of the property till Charles could return, after having deposited his family in security.
The marquis made a rather singular-looking valet, with a manner alternating between superciliousness and awkward deference,—a strutting gait when he forgot what he was about, and a cringing one when he happened to cast a glance upon his dress. He passed muster very well, however, as a battered old soldier turned valet; his strut passing for regimental paces, and his cringe being ascribed to the honourable wounds he was supposed to bear. M. Raucourt took off the attention of all who might be disposed to make remarks, by telling every body that he was going to see his olive groves. The party travelled with more speed than the dismal procession from Versailles; so that before the royal family was mournfully ushered into the Hotel de Ville at dusk, Charles and his household were some leagues on their journey southwards.