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THE ELUSIVE PIMPERNEL

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Overview

Contents


I. Paris: 1793
II. A Retrospect
III. Ex-Ambassador Chauvelin
IV. The Richmond Gala
V. Sir Percy and His Lady
VI. For the Poor of Paris
VII. Premonition
VIII. The Invitation
IX. Demoiselle Candeille
X. Lady Blakeney's Rout
XI. The Challenge
XII. Time -- Place -- Conditions
XIII. Reflections
XIV. The Ruling Passion
XV. Farewell
XVI. The Passport
XVII. Boulogne
XVIII. No. 6
XIX. The Strength of the Weak
XX. Triumph
XXI. Suspense
XXII. Not Death
XXIII. The Hostage
XXIV. Colleagues
XXV. The Unexpected
XXVI. The Terms of the Bargain
XXVII. The Decision
XXVIII. The Midnight Watch
XXIX. The National Fete
XXX. The Procession
XXXI. Final Dispositions
XXXII. The Letter
XXXIII. The English Spy
XXXIV. The Angelus
XXXV. Marguerite





Chapter I: Paris: 1793

There was not even a reaction.

On! ever on! in that wild, surging torrent; sowing the wind of anarchy,
of terrorism, of lust of blood and hate, and reaping a hurricane of
destruction and of horror.

On! ever on! France, with Paris and all her children still rushes
blindly, madly on; defies the powerful coalition,--Austria, England,
Spain, Prussia, all joined together to stem the flow of carnage,--defies
the Universe and defies God!

Paris this September 1793!--or shall we call it Vendemiaire, Year I.
of the Republic?--call it what we will! Paris! a city of bloodshed, of
humanity in its lowest, most degraded aspect. France herself a gigantic
self-devouring monster, her fairest cities destroyed, Lyons razed to the
ground, Toulon, Marseilles, masses of blackened ruins, her bravest sons
turned to lustful brutes or to abject cowards seeking safety at the cost
of any humiliation.

That is thy reward, oh mighty, holy Revolution! apotheosis of equality
and fraternity! grand rival of decadent Christianity.

Five weeks now since Marat, the bloodthirsty Friend of the People,
succumbed beneath the sheath-knife of a virgin patriot, a month since
his murderess walked proudly, even enthusiastically, to the guillotine!
There has been no reaction--only a great sigh!... Not of content or
satisfied lust, but a sigh such as the man-eating tiger might heave
after his first taste of long-coveted blood.

A sigh for more!

A king on the scaffold; a queen degraded and abased, awaiting death,
which lingers on the threshold of her infamous prison; eight hundred
scions of ancient houses that have made the history of France; brave
generals, Custine, Blanchelande, Houchard, Beauharnais; worthy patriots,
noble-hearted women, misguided enthusiasts, all by the score and by the
hundred, up the few wooden steps which lead to the guillotine.

An achievement of truth!

And still that sigh for more!

But for the moment,--a few seconds only,--Paris looked round her mighty
self, and thought things over!

The man-eating tiger for the space of a sigh licked his powerful jaws
and pondered!

Something new!--something wonderful!

We have had a new Constitution, a new Justice, new Laws, a new Almanack!

What next?

Why, obviously!--How comes it that great, intellectual, aesthetic Paris
never thought of such a wonderful thing before?

A new religion!

Christianity is old and obsolete, priests are aristocrats, wealthy
oppressors of the People, the Church but another form of wanton tyranny.

Let us by all means have a new religion.

Already something has been done to destroy the old! To destroy! always
to destroy! Churches have been ransacked, altars spoliated, tombs
desecrated, priests and curates murdered; but that is not enough.

There must be a new religion; and to attain that there must be a new
God.

"Man is a born idol-worshipper."

Very well then! let the People have a new religion and a new God.

Stay!--Not a God this time!--for God means Majesty, Power, Kingship!
everything in fact which the mighty hand of the people of France has
struggled and fought to destroy.

Not a God, but a goddess.

A goddess! an idol! a toy! since even the man-eating tiger must play
sometimes.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013106475
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 223 KB

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