New PDF release: Carlyle's The French Revolution: Continuum Histories 5

By Ruth Scurr

Ruth Scurr bargains a considerable creation to Carlyle and his masterwork, by way of a sequence of rigorously chosen extracts.

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Sample text

Let it be Messenger Mercury, our Supreme Usher de Breze. On the morrow, which is the 20th of June, these Hundred and Forty-nine false Curates, no longer restrainable by his Grace of Paris, will desert in a body: let De Breze intervene, and produce – closed doors! Not only shall there be Royal Session, in that Salle des Menus; but no meeting, nor working (except by carpenters), till then. Your Third Estate, self-styled ‘National Assembly,’ shall suddenly see itself extruded from its Hall, by carpenters, in this dexterous way; and reduced to do nothing, not even to meet, or articulately lament, – till Majesty, with Seance Royale and new miracles, be ready!

To which his Majesty puts end, by taking off his own royal hat again. The session terminates without further accident or omen than this; with which, significantly enough, France has opened her States-General. INERTIA. That exasperated France, in this same National Assembly of hers, has got something, nay something great, momentous, 40 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION indispensable, cannot be doubted; yet still the question were: Specially what? A question hard to solve, even for calm onlookers at this distance; wholly insoluble to actors in the middle of it.

Tyranny impends in red wrath: help for you is none if not in your own right hands. This day ye must do or die. All morning, since nine, there has been a cry everywhere: To the Bastille! Repeated ‘deputations of citizens’ have been here, passionate for arms; whom de Launay has got dismissed by soft speeches through portholes. Towards noon, Elector Thuriot de la Rosiere gains admittance; finds de Launay 54 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION indisposed for surrender; nay disposed for blowing up the place rather.

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