The hour , some little time before sunset , and the place , the West Barricade , at the very spot where , a decade later ,
a proud tyrant 55 raised an undying monument to the nation 's glory and
his 2 own vanity .
During the greater part of the day the guillotine had been kept busy at its ghastly work : all that
France 3 had boasted of in the past centuries , of ancient names , and blue blood , had paid toll to
her 3 desire for liberty and for fraternity .
The carnage had only ceased at this late hour of the day because there were other more interesting sights for
the people 4 to witness , a little while before the final closing of the barricades for the night .
the crowd 7 rushed away from
the Place de la Greve 5 and made for the various barricades in order to watch this interesting and amusing sight .
It was to be seen every day , for
those aristos 6 were
such fools 99 !
They 6 were
of course , all of
the people 4 103
them 6 ,
men , women , and children , who happened to be
the great men who since the Crusades had made the glory of
France 3 10
the people 4 , had crushed
them 4 under the scarlet heels of
their 6 dainty buckled shoes , and now
the people 4 had become
and crushed -- not beneath
the rulers of
France 3 12
their 4 heel , for
they 4 went shoeless mostly in these days -- but a more effectual weight , the knife of the guillotine .
And daily , hourly , the hideous instrument of torture claimed
its many victims 13 --
old men 14 ,
young women 15 ,
tiny children 16 until the day when it would finally demand the head of
a King 17 and of
a beautiful young Queen 18 .
But this was as it should be : were not
the people 4 now
the rulers of
France 3 12
Every aristocrat 19 was
a traitor 100 , as had been before
him 19 : for two hundred years now
the people 4 had sweated , and toiled , and starved , to keep a lustful court in lavish extravagance ; now
had to hide for
the descendants of
those who had helped to make those courts brilliant 21 6
their 6 lives -- to fly , if
they 6 wished to avoid the tardy vengeance of
the people 4 .
they 6 did try to hide , and tried to fly : that was just the fun of the whole thing .
Every afternoon before the gates closed and
the market carts 22 went out in procession by the various barricades ,
endeavoured to evade the clutches of
some fool of
an aristo 24 23
the Committee of Public Safety 25 .
In various disguises , under various pretexts ,
they 6 tried to slip through the barriers , which were so well guarded by
citizen soldiers of
the Republic 27 26
's clothes 28
women in male attire 30 ,
: there were some of all sorts :
children disguised in
' rags 31
CI-DEVANT counts , marquises , even dukes , who wanted to fly from
some other equally accursed country 98
, and there try to rouse foreign feelings against the glorious Revolution , or to raise
an army 35
in order to liberate
the wretched prisoners in
the Temple 37
, who had once called
France 3 38
they 6 were nearly always caught at the barricades ,
Sergeant Bibot 39 especially at
the West Gate 40 had a wonderful nose for scenting
an aristo in the most perfect disguise 41 .
Then , of course , the fun began .
Bibot 39 would look at as a cat looks upon the mouse , play with
him 42 , sometimes for quite a quarter of an hour , pretend to be hoodwinked by the disguise , by the wigs and other bits of theatrical make-up which hid the identity of
a CI-DEVANT noble marquise or count 43 .
Bibot 39 had a keen sense of humour , and it was well worth hanging round that West Barricade , in order to see
him 39 catch
an aristo 44 in the very act of trying to flee from the vengeance of
the people 4 .
Bibot 39 would let actually out by the gates , allowing
him 42 to think for the space of two minutes at least that
he 42 really had escaped out of
Paris 0 , and might even manage to reach
the coast 45 of
England 34 in safety , but
Bibot 39 would let
the unfortunate wretch 42 walk about ten metres towards
the open country 46 , then
he 39 would send
two men 47 after
him 42 and bring
him 42 back , stripped of
his 42 disguise .
that was extremely funny , for as often as not
the fugitive 42 would prove to be
a woman 48 ,
some proud marchioness , who looked terribly comical when
's clutches after all , and knew that a summary trial would await
the next day and after that , the fond embrace of Madame la Guillotine 104
No wonder that on this fine afternoon in September the crowd round
Bibot 39 's gate was eager and excited .
The lust of blood grows with its satisfaction , there is no satiety :
the crowd 49 had seen a hundred noble heads fall beneath the guillotine to-day , it wanted to make sure that it would see
another hundred 50 fall on the morrow .
Bibot 39 was sitting on an overturned and empty cask close by the gate of the barricade ; a small detachment of
citoyen soldiers 51 was under
his 39 command .
The work had been very hot lately .
Those cursed aristos 6 were becoming terrified and tried
their 6 hardest to slip out of
Paris 0 :
, were all
men , women and children ,
whose ancestors 97
, even in remote ages , had served
those traitorous Bourbons 52 6
themselves 6 and right food for the guillotine .
Bibot 39 had had the satisfaction of unmasking
some fugitive royalists 53 and sending
them 53 back to be tried by
the Committee of Public Safety 25 , presided over by
that good patriot 54 ,
Citoyen Foucquier-Tinville 106 .
Robespierre 55 and
Danton 56 both had commended
Bibot 39 for
his 39 zeal and
Bibot 39 was proud of the fact that
he 39 on
his 39 own initiative had sent
at least fifty aristos 57 to the guillotine .
all the sergeants in command at the various barricades 58 had had special orders .
Recently a very great number of
aristos 59 had succeeded in escaping out of
France 3 and in reaching
England 34 safely .
There were curious rumours about these escapes ;
they 59 had become very frequent and singularly daring ;
the people 4 's minds were becoming strangely excited about it all .
Sergeant Grospierre 60 had been sent to the guillotine for allowing
a whole family of aristos 61 to slip out of the North Gate under
his 60 very nose .
It was asserted that these escapes were organised by
a band of Englishmen , whose daring seemed to be unparalleled , and who , from sheer desire to meddle in what did not concern
spare time in snatching away
lawful victims destined for Madame la Guillotine 6 62
These rumours soon grew in extravagance ; there was no doubt that
this band of meddlesome Englishmen 62 did exist ; moreover ,
they 62 seemed to be under the leadership of
a man whose pluck and audacity were almost fabulous 63 .
Strange stories were afloat of how
he 63 and
became suddenly invisible as
those aristos whom
they 64 reached the barricades and escaped out of the gates by sheer supernatural agency .
No one 65 had seen
these mysterious Englishmen 62 ; as for ,
he 63 was never spoken of , save with a superstitious shudder .
Citoyen Foucquier-Tinville 54 would in the course of the day receive a scrap of paper from some mysterious source ; sometimes
he 54 would find it in the pocket of
his 54 coat , at others it would be handed to
him 54 by someone in
the crowd 66 , whilst
he 54 was on
his 54 way to the sitting of
the Committee of Public Safety 25 .
The paper always contained a brief notice that
the band of meddlesome Englishmen 62 were at work , and it was always signed with a device drawn in red -- a little star-shaped flower , which
we 67 in
England 34 call the Scarlet Pimpernel .
Within a few hours of the receipt of this impudent notice ,
would hear that
the citoyens of
the Committee of Public Safety 25 68
so many royalists and aristocrats 69 had succeeded in reaching
the coast 45 , and were on
their 69 way to
England 34 and safety .
The guards at the gates 70 had been doubled ,
the sergeants in command 71 had been threatened with death , whilst liberal rewards were offered for the capture of
these daring and impudent Englishmen 62 .
There was a sum of five thousand francs promised to
the man who laid hands on
the mysterious and elusive Scarlet Pimpernel 63 72
Everyone 73 felt that
Bibot 39 would be
that man 74 , and
Bibot 39 allowed that belief to take firm root in
everybody 75 's mind ; and so , day after day ,
people 76 came to watch
him 39 at
the West Gate 40 , so as to be present when
he 39 laid hands on
any fugitive aristo who perhaps might be accompanied by
that mysterious Englishman 63 77
“ Bah ! ”
he 39 said to
trusted corporal 78
Citoyen Grospierre 60 was
a fool 101 !
Had it been
me 39 now , at
that North Gate 79 last week . . . ”
Citoyen Bibot 39 spat on the ground to express
his 39 contempt for 's stupidity .
“ How did it happen ,
citoyen 39 ? ” asked
the corporal 78 .
Grospierre 60 was at the gate , keeping good watch , ” began
Bibot 39 , pompously , as
the crowd 80 closed in round
him 39 , listening eagerly to
his 39 narrative .
We 81 've all heard of
this meddlesome Englishman 63 ,
this accursed Scarlet Pimpernel 107 .
He 63 wo n't get through
MY 39 gate , MORBLEU !
he 63 be .
Grospierre 60 was
a fool 84 .
The market carts 85 were going through the gates ; there was one laden with casks , and driven by
an old man 86 , with .
Grospierre 60 was a bit drunk , but
he 60 thought
himself 60 very clever ;
he 60 looked into the casks -- most of them , at least -- and saw they were empty , and let
the cart 88 go through . ”
A murmur of wrath and contempt went round the group of
ill-clad wretches , who crowded round
Citoyen Bibot 39 89
“ Half an hour later , ” continued
the sergeant 39 , “ up comes
with a squad of
a captain of
the guard 91 90
some dozen soldiers with
him 90 92
a cart 93 gone through ? '
he 90 asks of
Grospierre 60 , breathlessly .
' Yes , ' says
Grospierre 60 , ' not half an hour ago . '
you 90 have let
them 94 escape , ' shouts
the captain 90 furiously .
You 60 'll go to the guillotine for this ,
citoyen sergeant 60 !
that cart 93 held concealed
the CI-DEVANT Duc de Chalis 95 and ! '
' What ! '
Grospierre 60 , aghast .
' Aye !
the driver 63 was none other than
that cursed Englishman 63 ,
the Scarlet Pimpernel 108 . ' ”
A howl of execration greeted this tale .
Citoyen Grospierre 60 had paid for
his 60 blunder on the guillotine , but what
a fool 60 !
a fool 60 !