Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Postby admin » Tue May 29, 2018 5:37 am

CHAPTER 2

La haine, dans ces lieux, n'a qu'un glaive assassin.
Elle marche dans l'ombre.
-- La Harpe, "Jeanne de Naples," Act iv. sc. 1.
(Hate, in these regions, has but the sword of the assassin. She moves in the shade.)


While such the designs and fears of Maximilien Robespierre, common danger, common hatred, whatever was yet left of mercy or of virtue in the agents of the Revolution, served to unite strange opposites in hostility to the universal death-dealer. There was, indeed, an actual conspiracy at work against him among men little less bespattered than himself with innocent blood. But that conspiracy would have been idle of itself, despite the abilities of Tallien and Barras (the only men whom it comprised, worthy, by foresight and energy, the names of "leaders"). The sure and destroying elements that gathered round the tyrant were Time and Nature; the one, which he no longer suited; the other, which he had outraged and stirred up in the human breast. The most atrocious party of the Revolution, the followers of Hebert, gone to his last account, the butcher-atheists, who, in desecrating heaven and earth, still arrogated inviolable sanctity to themselves, were equally enraged at the execution of their filthy chief, and the proclamation of a Supreme Being. The populace, brutal as it had been, started as from a dream of blood, when their huge idol, Danton, no longer filled the stage of terror, rendering crime popular by that combination of careless frankness and eloquent energy which endears their heroes to the herd. The glaive of the guillotine had turned against THEMSELVES. They had yelled and shouted, and sung and danced, when the venerable age, or the gallant youth, of aristocracy or letters, passed by their streets in the dismal tumbrils; but they shut up their shops, and murmured to each other, when their own order was invaded, and tailors and cobblers, and journeymen and labourers, were huddled off to the embraces of the "Holy Mother Guillotine," with as little ceremony as if they had been the Montmorencies or the La Tremouilles, the Malesherbes or the Lavoisiers. "At this time," said Couthon, justly, "Les ombres de Danton, d'Hebert, de Chaumette, se promenent parmi nous!" (The shades of Danton, Hebert, and Chaumette walk amongst us.)

Among those who had shared the doctrines, and who now dreaded the fate of the atheist Hebert, was the painter, Jean Nicot. Mortified and enraged to find that, by the death of his patron, his career was closed; and that, in the zenith of the Revolution for which he had laboured, he was lurking in caves and cellars, more poor, more obscure, more despicable than he had been at the commencement, -- not daring to exercise even his art, and fearful every hour that his name would swell the lists of the condemned, -- he was naturally one of the bitterest enemies of Robespierre and his government. He held secret meetings with Collot d'Herbois, who was animated by the same spirit; and with the creeping and furtive craft that characterised his abilities, he contrived, undetected, to disseminate tracts and invectives against the Dictator, and to prepare, amidst "the poor and virtuous people," the train for the grand explosion. But still so firm to the eyes, even of profounder politicians than Jean Nicot, appeared the sullen power of the incorruptible Maximilien; so timorous was the movement against him, -- that Nicot, in common with many others, placed his hopes rather in the dagger of the assassin than the revolt of the multitude. But Nicot, though not actually a coward, shrunk himself from braving the fate of the martyr; he had sense enough to see that, though all parties might rejoice in the assassination, all parties would probably concur in beheading the assassin. He had not the virtue to become a Brutus. His object was to inspire a proxy-Brutus; and in the centre of that inflammable population this was no improbable hope.

Amongst those loudest and sternest against the reign of blood; amongst those most disenchanted of the Revolution; amongst those most appalled by its excesses, -- was, as might be expected, the Englishman, Clarence Glyndon. The wit and accomplishments, the uncertain virtues that had lighted with fitful gleams the mind of Camille Desmoulins, had fascinated Glyndon more than the qualities of any other agent in the Revolution. And when (for Camille Desmoulins had a heart, which seemed dead or dormant in most of his contemporaries) that vivid child of genius and of error, shocked at the massacre of the Girondins, and repentant of his own efforts against them, began to rouse the serpent malice of Robespierre by new doctrines of mercy and toleration, Glyndon espoused his views with his whole strength and soul. Camille Desmoulins perished, and Glyndon, hopeless at once of his own life and the cause of humanity, from that time sought only the occasion of flight from the devouring Golgotha. He had two lives to heed besides his own; for them he trembled, and for them he schemed and plotted the means of escape. Though Glyndon hated the principles, the party (None were more opposed to the Hebertists than Camille Desmoulins and his friends. It is curious and amusing to see these leaders of the mob, calling the mob "the people" one day, and the "canaille" the next, according as it suits them. "I know," says Camille, "that they (the Hebertists) have all the canaille with them." -- (Ils ont toute la canaille pour eux.)), and the vices of Nicot, he yet extended to the painter's penury the means of subsistence; and Jean Nicot, in return, designed to exalt Glyndon to that very immortality of a Brutus from which he modestly recoiled himself. He founded his designs on the physical courage, on the wild and unsettled fancies of the English artist, and on the vehement hate and indignant loathing with which he openly regarded the government of Maximilien.

At the same hour, on the same day in July, in which Robespierre conferred (as we have seen) with his allies, two persons were seated in a small room in one of the streets leading out of the Rue St. Honore; the one, a man, appeared listening impatiently, and with a sullen brow, to his companion, a woman of singular beauty, but with a bold and reckless expression, and her face as she spoke was animated by the passions of a half-savage and vehement nature.

"Englishman," said the woman, "beware! -- you know that, whether in flight or at the place of death, I would brave all to be by your side, -- you know THAT! Speak!"

"Well, Fillide; did I ever doubt your fidelity?"

"Doubt it you cannot, -- betray it you may. You tell me that in flight you must have a companion besides myself, and that companion is a female. It shall not be!"

"Shall not!"

"It shall not!" repeated Fillide, firmly, and folding her arms across her breast. Before Glyndon could reply, a slight knock at the door was heard, and Nicot opened the latch and entered.

Fillide sank into her chair, and, leaning her face on her hands, appeared unheeding of the intruder and the conversation that ensued.

"I cannot bid thee good-day, Glyndon," said Nicot, as in his sans-culotte fashion he strode towards the artist, his ragged hat on his head, his hands in his pockets, and the beard of a week's growth upon his chin, -- "I cannot bid thee good-day; for while the tyrant lives, evil is every sun that sheds its beams on France."

"It is true; what then? We have sown the wind, we must reap the whirlwind."

"And yet," said Nicot, apparently not heeding the reply, and as if musingly to himself, "it is strange to think that the butcher is as mortal as the butchered; that his life hangs on as slight a thread; that between the cuticle and the heart there is as short a passage, -- that, in short, one blow can free France and redeem mankind!"

Glyndon surveyed the speaker with a careless and haughty scorn, and made no answer.

"And," proceeded Nicot, "I have sometimes looked round for the man born for this destiny, and whenever I have done so, my steps have led me hither!"

"Should they not rather have led thee to the side of Maximilien Robespierre?" said Glyndon, with a sneer.

"No," returned Nicot, coldly, -- "no; for I am a 'suspect:' I could not mix with his train; I could not approach within a hundred yards of his person, but I should be seized; YOU, as yet, are safe. Hear me!" -- and his voice became earnest and expressive, -- "hear me! There seems danger in this action; there is none. I have been with Collot d'Herbois and Bilaud-Varennes; they will hold him harmless who strikes the blow; the populace would run to thy support; the Convention would hail thee as their deliverer, the -- "

"Hold, man! How darest thou couple my name with the act of an assassin? Let the tocsin sound from yonder tower, to a war between Humanity and the Tyrant, and I will not be the last in the field; but liberty never yet acknowledged a defender in a felon."

There was something so brave and noble in Glyndon's voice, mien, and manner, as he thus spoke, that Nicot at once was silenced; at once he saw that he had misjudged the man.

"No," said Fillide, lifting her face from her hands, -- "no! your friend has a wiser scheme in preparation; he would leave you wolves to mangle each other. He is right; but -- "

"Flight!" exclaimed Nicot; "is it possible? Flight; how? -- when? -- by what means? All France begirt with spies and guards! Flight! would to Heaven it were in our power!"

"Dost thou, too, desire to escape the blessed Revolution?"

"Desire! Oh!" cried Nicot, suddenly, and, falling down, he clasped Glyndon's knees, -- "oh, save me with thyself! My life is a torture; every moment the guillotine frowns before me. I know that my hours are numbered; I know that the tyrant waits but his time to write my name in his inexorable list; I know that Rene Dumas, the judge who never pardons, has, from the first, resolved upon my death. Oh, Glyndon, by our old friendship, by our common art, by thy loyal English faith and good English heart, let me share thy flight!"

"If thou wilt, so be it."

"Thanks! -- my whole life shall thank thee. But how hast thou prepared the means, the passports, the disguise, the -- "

"I will tell thee. Thou knowest C -- , of the Convention, -- he has power, and he is covetous. 'Qu'on me meprise, pourvu que je dine' (Let them despise me, provided that I dine.), said he, when reproached for his avarice."

"Well?"

"By the help of this sturdy republican, who has friends enough in the Comite, I have obtained the means necessary for flight; I have purchased them. For a consideration I can procure thy passport also."

"Thy riches, then, are not in assignats?"

"No; I have gold enough for us all."

And here Glyndon, beckoning Nicot into the next room, first briefly and rapidly detailed to him the plan proposed, and the disguises to be assumed conformably to the passports, and then added, "In return for the service I render thee, grant me one favour, which I think is in thy power. Thou rememberest Viola Pisani?"

"Ah, -- remember, yes! -- and the lover with whom she fled."

"And FROM whom she is a fugitive now."

"Indeed -- what! -- I understand. Sacre bleu! but you are a lucky fellow, cher confrere."

"Silence, man! with thy eternal prate of brotherhood and virtue, thou seemest never to believe in one kindly action, or one virtuous thought!"

Nicot bit his lip, and replied sullenly, "Experience is a great undeceiver. Humph! What service can I do thee with regard to the Italian?"

"I have been accessory to her arrival in this city of snares and pitfalls. I cannot leave her alone amidst dangers from which neither innocence nor obscurity is a safeguard. In your blessed Republic, a good and unsuspected citizen, who casts a desire on any woman, maid or wife, has but to say, 'Be mine, or I denounce you!' In a word, Viola must share our flight."

"What so easy? I see your passports provide for her."

"What so easy? What so difficult? This Fillide -- would that I had never seen her! -- would that I had never enslaved my soul to my senses! The love of an uneducated, violent, unprincipled woman, opens with a heaven, to merge in a hell! She is jealous as all the Furies; she will not hear of a female companion; and when once she sees the beauty of Viola! -- I tremble to think of it. She is capable of any excess in the storm of her passions."

"Aha, I know what such women are! My wife, Beatrice Sacchini, whom I took from Naples, when I failed with this very Viola, divorced me when my money failed, and, as the mistress of a judge, passes me in her carriage while I crawl through the streets. Plague on her! -- but patience, patience! such is the lot of virtue. Would I were Robespierre for a day!"

"Cease these tirades!" exclaimed Glyndon, impatiently; "and to the point. What would you advise?"

"Leave your Fillide behind."

"Leave her to her own ignorance; leave her unprotected even by the mind; leave her in the Saturnalia of Rape and Murder? No! I have sinned against her once. But come what may, I will not so basely desert one who, with all her errors, trusted her fate to my love."

"You deserted her at Marseilles."

"True; but I left her in safety, and I did not then believe her love to be so deep and faithful. I left her gold, and I imagined she would be easily consoled; but since THEN WE HAVE KNOWN DANGER TOGETHER! And now to leave her alone to that danger which she would never have incurred but for devotion to me! -- no, that is impossible. A project occurs to me. Canst thou not say that thou hast a sister, a relative, or a benefactress, whom thou wouldst save? Can we not -- till we have left France -- make Fillide believe that Viola is one in whom THOU only art interested; and whom, for thy sake only, I permit to share in our escape?"

"Ha, well thought of! -- certainly!"

"I will then appear to yield to Fillide's wishes, and resign the project, which she so resents, of saving the innocent object of her frantic jealousy. You, meanwhile, shall yourself entreat Fillide to intercede with me to extend the means of escape to -- "

"To a lady (she knows I have no sister) who has aided me in my distress. Yes, I will manage all, never fear. One word more, -- what has become of that Zanoni?"

"Talk not of him, -- I know not."

"Does he love this girl still?"

"It would seem so. She is his wife, the mother of his infant, who is with her."

"Wife! -- mother! He loves her. Aha! And why -- "

"No questions now. I will go and prepare Viola for the flight; you, meanwhile, return to Fillide."

"But the address of the Neapolitan? It is necessary I should know, lest Fillide inquire."

"Rue M -- T -- , No. 27. Adieu."

Glyndon seized his hat and hastened from the house.

Nicot, left alone, seemed for a few moments buried in thought. "Oho," he muttered to himself, "can I not turn all this to my account? Can I not avenge myself on thee, Zanoni, as I have so often sworn, -- through thy wife and child? Can I not possess myself of thy gold, thy passports, and thy Fillide, hot Englishman, who wouldst humble me with thy loathed benefits, and who hast chucked me thine alms as to a beggar? And Fillide, I love her: and thy gold, I love THAT more! Puppets, I move your strings!"

He passed slowly into the chamber where Fillide yet sat, with gloomy thought on her brow and tears standing in her dark eyes. She looked up eagerly as the door opened, and turned from the rugged face of Nicot with an impatient movement of disappointment.

"Glyndon," said the painter, drawing a chair to Fillide's, "has left me to enliven your solitude, fair Italian. He is not jealous of the ugly Nicot! -- ha, ha! -- yet Nicot loved thee well once, when his fortunes were more fair. But enough of such past follies."

"Your friend, then, has left the house. Whither? Ah, you look away; you falter, -- you cannot meet my eyes! Speak! I implore, I command thee, speak!"

"Enfant! And what dost thou fear?"

"FEAR! -- yes, alas, I fear!" said the Italian; and her whole frame seemed to shrink into itself as she fell once more back into her seat.

Then, after a pause, she tossed the long hair from her eyes, and, starting up abruptly, paced the room with disordered strides. At length she stopped opposite to Nicot, laid her hand on his arm, drew him towards an escritoire, which she unlocked, and, opening a well, pointed to the gold that lay within, and said, "Thou art poor, -- thou lovest money; take what thou wilt, but undeceive me. Who is this woman whom thy friend visits, -- and does he love her?"

Nicot's eyes sparkled, and his hands opened and clenched, and clenched and opened, as he gazed upon the coins. But reluctantly resisting the impulse, he said, with an affected bitterness, "Thinkest thou to bribe me? -- if so, it cannot be with gold. But what if he does love a rival; what if he betrays thee; what if, wearied by thy jealousies, he designs in his flight to leave thee behind, -- would such knowledge make thee happier?"

"Yes!" exclaimed the Italian, fiercely; "yes, for it would be happiness to hate and to be avenged! Oh, thou knowest not how sweet is hatred to those who have really loved!"

"But wilt thou swear, if I reveal to thee the secret, that thou wilt not betray me, -- that thou wilt not fall, as women do, into weak tears and fond reproaches, when thy betrayer returns?"

"Tears, reproaches! Revenge hides itself in smiles!"

"Thou art a brave creature!" said Nicot, almost admiringly. "One condition more: thy lover designs to fly with his new love, to leave thee to thy fate; if I prove this to thee, and if I give thee revenge against thy rival, wilt thou fly with me? I love thee! -- I will wed thee!"

Fillide's eyes flashed fire; she looked at him with unutterable disdain, and was silent.

Nicot felt he had gone too far; and with that knowledge of the evil part of our nature which his own heart and association with crime had taught him, he resolved to trust the rest to the passions of the Italian, when raised to the height to which he was prepared to lead them.

"Pardon me," he said; "my love made me too presumptuous; and yet it is only that love, -- my sympathy for thee, beautiful and betrayed, that can induce me to wrong, with my revelations, one whom I have regarded as a brother. I can depend upon thine oath to conceal all from Glyndon?"

"On my oath and my wrongs and my mountain blood!"

"Enough! get thy hat and mantle, and follow me."

As Fillide left the room, Nicot's eyes again rested on the gold; it was much, -- much more than he had dared to hope for; and as he peered into the well and opened the drawers, he perceived a packet of letters in the well-known hand of Camille Desmoulins. He seized -- he opened the packet; his looks brightened as he glanced over a few sentences. "This would give fifty Glyndons to the guillotine!" he muttered, and thrust the packet into his bosom.

O artist! -- O haunted one! -- O erring genius! -- behold the two worst foes, -- the False Ideal that knows no God, and the False Love that burns from the corruption of the senses, and takes no lustre from the soul!
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Re: Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Postby admin » Tue May 29, 2018 5:38 am

CHAPTER 3

Liebe sonnt das Reich der Nacht.
-- "Der Triumph der Liebe."
(Love illumes the realm of Night.)


Letter from Zanoni to Mejnour.

Paris.

Dost thou remember in the old time, when the Beautiful yet dwelt in Greece, how we two, in the vast Athenian Theatre, witnessed the birth of Words as undying as ourselves? Dost thou remember the thrill of terror that ran through that mighty audience, when the wild Cassandra burst from her awful silence to shriek to her relentless god! How ghastly, at the entrance of the House of Atreus, about to become her tomb, rang out her exclamations of foreboding woe: "Dwelling abhorred of heaven! -- human shamble- house and floor blood-bespattered!" (Aesch. "Agam." 1098.) Dost thou remember how, amidst the breathless awe of those assembled thousands, I drew close to thee, and whispered, "Verily, no prophet like the poet! This scene of fabled horror comes to me as a dream, shadowing forth some likeness in my own remoter future!" As I enter this slaughter-house that scene returns to me, and I hearken to the voice of Cassandra ringing in my ears. A solemn and warning dread gathers round me, as if I too were come to find a grave, and "the Net of Hades" had already entangled me in its web! What dark treasure-houses of vicissitude and woe are our memories become! What our lives, but the chronicles of unrelenting death! It seems to me as yesterday when I stood in the streets of this city of the Gaul, as they shone with plumed chivalry, and the air rustled with silken braveries. Young Louis, the monarch and the lover, was victor of the Tournament at the Carousel; and all France felt herself splendid in the splendour of her gorgeous chief! Now there is neither throne nor altar; and what is in their stead? I see it yonder -- the GUILLOTINE! It is dismal to stand amidst the ruins of mouldering cities, to startle the serpent and the lizard amidst the wrecks of Persepolis and Thebes; but more dismal still to stand as I -- the stranger from Empires that have ceased to be -- stand now amidst the yet ghastlier ruins of Law and Order, the shattering of mankind themselves! Yet here, even here, Love, the Beautifier, that hath led my steps, can walk with unshrinking hope through the wilderness of Death. Strange is the passion that makes a world in itself, that individualises the One amidst the Multitude; that, through all the changes of my solemn life, yet survives, though ambition and hate and anger are dead; the one solitary angel, hovering over a universe of tombs on its two tremulous and human wings, -- Hope and Fear!

How is it, Mejnour, that, as my diviner art abandoned me, -- as, in my search for Viola, I was aided but by the ordinary instincts of the merest mortal, -- how is it that I have never desponded, that I have felt in every difficulty the prevailing prescience that we should meet at last? So cruelly was every vestige of her flight concealed from me, -- so suddenly, so secretly had she fled, that all the spies, all the authorities of Venice, could give me no clew. All Italy I searched in vain! Her young home at Naples! -- how still, in its humble chambers, there seemed to linger the fragrance of her presence! All the sublimest secrets of our lore failed me, -- failed to bring her soul visible to mine; yet morning and night, thou lone and childless one, morning and night, detached from myself, I can commune with my child! There in that most blessed, typical, and mysterious of all relations, Nature herself appears to supply what Science would refuse. Space cannot separate the father's watchful soul from the cradle of his first-born! I know not of its resting-place and home, -- my visions picture not the land, -- only the small and tender life to which all space is as yet the heritage! For to the infant, before reason dawns, -- before man's bad passions can dim the essence that it takes from the element it hath left, there is no peculiar country, no native city, and no mortal language. Its soul as yet is the denizen of all airs and of every world; and in space its soul meets with mine, -- the child communes with the father! Cruel and forsaking one, -- thou for whom I left the wisdom of the spheres; thou whose fatal dower has been the weakness and terrors of humanity, -- couldst thou think that young soul less safe on earth because I would lead it ever more up to heaven! Didst thou think that I could have wronged mine own? Didst thou not know that in its serenest eyes the life that I gave it spoke to warn, to upbraid the mother who would bind it to the darkness and pangs of the prison-house of clay? Didst thou not feel that it was I who, permitted by the Heavens, shielded it from suffering and disease? And in its wondrous beauty, I blessed the holy medium through which, at last, my spirit might confer with thine!

And how have I tracked them hither? I learned that thy pupil had been at Venice. I could not trace the young and gentle neophyte of Parthenope in the description of the haggard and savage visitor who had come to Viola before she fled; but when I would have summoned his IDEA before me, it refused to obey; and I knew then that his fate had become entwined with Viola's. I have tracked him, then, to this Lazar House. I arrived but yesterday; I have not yet discovered him.

***

I have just returned from their courts of justice, -- dens where tigers arraign their prey. I find not whom I would seek. They are saved as yet; but I recognise in the crimes of mortals the dark wisdom of the Everlasting. Mejnour, I see here, for the first time, how majestic and beauteous a thing is death! Of what sublime virtues we robbed ourselves, when, in the thirst for virtue, we attained the art by which we can refuse to die! When in some happy clime, where to breathe is to enjoy, the charnel- house swallows up the young and fair; when in the noble pursuit of knowledge, Death comes to the student, and shuts out the enchanted land which was opening to his gaze, -- how natural for us to desire to live; how natural to make perpetual life the first object of research! But here, from my tower of time, looking over the darksome past, and into the starry future, I learn how great hearts feel what sweetness and glory there is to die for the things they love! I saw a father sacrificing himself for his son; he was subjected to charges which a word of his could dispel, -- he was mistaken for his boy. With what joy he seized the error, confessed the noble crimes of valour and fidelity which the son had indeed committed, and went to the doom, exulting that his death saved the life he had given, not in vain! I saw women, young, delicate, in the bloom of their beauty; they had vowed themselves to the cloister. Hands smeared with the blood of saints opened the gate that had shut them from the world, and bade them go forth, forget their vows, forswear the Divine one these demons would depose, find lovers and helpmates, and be free. And some of these young hearts had loved, and even, though in struggles, loved yet. Did they forswear the vow? Did they abandon the faith? Did even love allure them? Mejnour, with one voice, they preferred to die. And whence comes this courage? -- because such HEARTS LIVE IN SOME MORE ABSTRACT AND HOLIER LIFE THAN THEIR OWN. BUT TO LIVE FOREVER UPON THIS EARTH IS TO LIVE IN NOTHING DIVINER THAN OURSELVES. Yes, even amidst this gory butcherdom, God, the Ever-living, vindicates to man the sanctity of His servant, Death!

***

Again I have seen thee in spirit; I have seen and blessed thee, my sweet child! Dost thou not know me also in thy dreams? Dost thou not feel the beating of my heart through the veil of thy rosy slumbers? Dost thou not hear the wings of the brighter beings that I yet can conjure around thee, to watch, to nourish, and to save? And when the spell fades at thy waking, when thine eyes open to the day, will they not look round for me, and ask thy mother, with their mute eloquence, "Why she has robbed thee of a father?"

Woman, dost thou not repent thee? Flying from imaginary fears, hast thou not come to the very lair of terror, where Danger sits visible and incarnate? Oh, if we could but meet, wouldst thou not fall upon the bosom thou hast so wronged, and feel, poor wanderer amidst the storms, as if thou hadst regained the shelter? Mejnour, still my researches fail me. I mingle with all men, even their judges and their spies, but I cannot yet gain the clew. I know that she is here. I know it by an instinct; the breath of my child seems warmer and more familiar.

They peer at me with venomous looks, as I pass through their streets. With a glance I disarm their malice, and fascinate the basilisks. Everywhere I see the track and scent the presence of the Ghostly One that dwells on the Threshold, and whose victims are the souls that would ASPIRE, and can only FEAR. I see its dim shapelessness going before the men of blood, and marshalling their way. Robespierre passed me with his furtive step. Those eyes of horror were gnawing into his heart. I looked down upon their senate; the grim Phantom sat cowering on its floor. It hath taken up its abode in the city of Dread. And what in truth are these would-be builders of a new world? Like the students who have vainly struggled after our supreme science, they have attempted what is beyond their power; they have passed from this solid earth of usages and forms into the land of shadow, and its loathsome keeper has seized them as its prey. I looked into the tyrant's shuddering soul, as it trembled past me. There, amidst the ruins of a thousand systems which aimed at virtue, sat Crime, and shivered at its desolation. Yet this man is the only Thinker, the only Aspirant, amongst them all. He still looks for a future of peace and mercy, to begin, -- ay! at what date? When he has swept away every foe. Fool! new foes spring from every drop of blood. Led by the eyes of the Unutterable, he is walking to his doom.

O Viola, thy innocence protects thee! Thou whom the sweet humanities of love shut out even from the dreams of aerial and spiritual beauty, making thy heart a universe of visions fairer than the wanderer over the rosy Hesperus can survey, -- shall not the same pure affection encompass thee, even here, with a charmed atmosphere, and terror itself fall harmless on a life too innocent for wisdom?
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Re: Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Postby admin » Tue May 29, 2018 5:38 am

CHAPTER 4

Ombra piu che di notte, in cui di luce
Raggio misto non e;
Ne piu il palagio appar, ne piu le sue
Vestigia; ne dir puossi -- egli qui fue.
-- "Ger. Lib., canto xvi.-lxix.
(Darkness greater than of night, in which not a ray of light is mixed;...The palace appears no more: not even a vestige, -- nor can one say that it has been.)


The clubs are noisy with clamorous frenzy; the leaders are grim with schemes. Black Henriot flies here and there, muttering to his armed troops, "Robespierre, your beloved, is in danger!" Robespierre stalks perturbed, his list of victims swelling every hour. Tallien, the Macduff to the doomed Macbeth, is whispering courage to his pale conspirators. Along the streets heavily roll the tumbrils. The shops are closed, -- the people are gorged with gore, and will lap no more. And night after night, to the eighty theatres flock the children of the Revolution, to laugh at the quips of comedy, and weep gentle tears over imaginary woes!

In a small chamber, in the heart of the city, sits the mother, watching over her child. It is quiet, happy noon; the sunlight, broken by the tall roofs in the narrow street, comes yet through the open casement, the impartial playfellow of the air, gleesome alike in temple and prison, hall and hovel; as golden and as blithe, whether it laugh over the first hour of life, or quiver in its gay delight on the terror and agony of the last! The child, where it lay at the feet of Viola, stretched out its dimpled hands as if to clasp the dancing motes that revelled in the beam. The mother turned her eyes from the glory; it saddened her yet more. She turned and sighed.

Is this the same Viola who bloomed fairer than their own Idalia under the skies of Greece? How changed! How pale and worn! She sat listlessly, her arms dropping on her knee; the smile that was habitual to her lips was gone. A heavy, dull despondency, as if the life of life were no more, seemed to weigh down her youth, and make it weary of that happy sun! In truth, her existence had languished away since it had wandered, as some melancholy stream, from the source that fed it. The sudden enthusiasm of fear or superstition that had almost, as if still in the unconscious movements of a dream, led her to fly from Zanoni, had ceased from the day which dawned upon her in a foreign land. Then -- there -- she felt that in the smile she had evermore abandoned lived her life. She did not repent, -- she would not have recalled the impulse that winged her flight. Though the enthusiasm was gone, the superstition yet remained; she still believed she had saved her child from that dark and guilty sorcery, concerning which the traditions of all lands are prodigal, but in none do they find such credulity, or excite such dread, as in the South of Italy. This impression was confirmed by the mysterious conversations of Glyndon, and by her own perception of the fearful change that had passed over one who represented himself as the victim of the enchanters. She did not, therefore, repent; but her very volition seemed gone.

On their arrival at Paris, Viola saw her companion -- the faithful wife -- no more. Ere three weeks were passed, husband and wife had ceased to live.

And now, for the first time, the drudgeries of this hard earth claimed the beautiful Neapolitan. In that profession, giving voice and shape to poetry and song, in which her first years were passed, there is, while it lasts, an excitement in the art that lifts it from the labour of a calling. Hovering between two lives, the Real and Ideal, dwells the life of music and the stage. But that life was lost evermore to the idol of the eyes and ears of Naples. Lifted to the higher realm of passionate love, it seemed as if the fictitious genius which represents the thoughts of others was merged in the genius that grows all thought itself. It had been the worst infidelity to the Lost, to have descended again to live on the applause of others. And so -- for she would not accept alms from Glyndon -- so, by the commonest arts, the humblest industry which the sex knows, alone and unseen, she who had slept on the breast of Zanoni found a shelter for their child. As when, in the noble verse prefixed to this chapter, Armida herself has destroyed her enchanted palace, -- not a vestige of that bower, raised of old by Poetry and Love, remained to say, "It had been!"

And the child avenged the father; it bloomed, it thrived, -- it waxed strong in the light of life. But still it seemed haunted and preserved by some other being than her own. In its sleep there was that slumber, so deep and rigid, which a thunderbolt could not have disturbed; and in such sleep often it moved its arms, as to embrace the air: often its lips stirred with murmured sounds of indistinct affection, -- NOT FOR HER; and all the while upon its cheeks a hue of such celestial bloom, upon its lips a smile of such mysterious joy! Then, when it waked, its eyes did not turn first to HER, -- wistful, earnest, wandering, they roved around, to fix on her pale face, at last, in mute sorrow and reproach.

Never had Viola felt before how mighty was her love for Zanoni; how thought, feeling, heart, soul, life, -- all lay crushed and dormant in the icy absence to which she had doomed herself! She heard not the roar without, she felt not one amidst those stormy millions, -- worlds of excitement labouring through every hour. Only when Glyndon, haggard, wan, and spectre-like, glided in, day after day, to visit her, did the fair daughter of the careless South know how heavy and universal was the Death-Air that girt her round. Sublime in her passive unconsciousness, -- her mechanic life, -- she sat, and feared not, in the den of the Beasts of Prey.

The door of the room opened abruptly, and Glyndon entered. His manner was more agitated than usual.

"Is it you, Clarence?" she said in her soft, languid tones. "You are before the hour I expected you."

"Who can count on his hours at Paris?" returned Glyndon, with a frightful smile. "Is it not enough that I am here! Your apathy in the midst of these sorrows appalls me. You say calmly, 'Farewell;' calmly you bid me, 'Welcome!' -- as if in every corner there was not a spy, and as if with every day there was not a massacre!"

"Pardon me! But in these walls lies my world. I can hardly credit all the tales you tell me. Everything here, save THAT," and she pointed to the infant, "seems already so lifeless, that in the tomb itself one could scarcely less heed the crimes that are done without."

Glyndon paused for a few moments, and gazed with strange and mingled feelings upon that face and form, still so young, and yet so invested with that saddest of all repose, -- when the heart feels old.

"O Viola," said he, at last, and in a voice of suppressed passion, "was it thus I ever thought to see you, -- ever thought to feel for you, when we two first met in the gay haunts of Naples? Ah, why then did you refuse my love; or why was mine not worthy of you? Nay, shrink not! -- let me touch your hand. No passion so sweet as that youthful love can return to me again. I feel for you but as a brother for some younger and lonely sister. With you, in your presence, sad though it be, I seem to breathe back the purer air of my early life. Here alone, except in scenes of turbulence and tempest, the Phantom ceases to pursue me. I forget even the Death that stalks behind, and haunts me as my shadow. But better days may be in store for us yet. Viola, I at last begin dimly to perceive how to baffle and subdue the Phantom that has cursed my life, -- it is to brave, and defy it. In sin and in riot, as I have told thee, it haunts me not. But I comprehend now what Mejnour said in his dark apothegms, 'that I should dread the spectre most WHEN UNSEEN.' In virtuous and calm resolution it appears, -- ay, I behold it now; there, there, with its livid eyes!" -- and the drops fell from his brow. "But it shall no longer daunt me from that resolution. I face it, and it gradually darkens back into the shade." He paused, and his eyes dwelt with a terrible exultation upon the sunlit space; then, with a heavy and deep-drawn breath, he resumed, "Viola, I have found the means of escape. We will leave this city. In some other land we will endeavour to comfort each other, and forget the past."

"No," said Viola, calmly; "I have no further wish to stir, till I am born hence to the last resting-place. I dreamed of him last night, Clarence! -- dreamed of him for the first time since we parted; and, do not mock me, methought that he forgave the deserter, and called me 'Wife.' That dream hallows the room. Perhaps it will visit me again before I die."

"Talk not of him, -- of the demi-fiend!" cried Glyndon, fiercely, and stamping his foot. "Thank the Heavens for any fate that hath rescued thee from him!"

"Hush!" said Viola, gravely. And as she was about to proceed, her eye fell upon the child. It was standing in the very centre of that slanting column of light which the sun poured into the chamber; and the rays seemed to surround it as a halo, and settled, crown-like, on the gold of its shining hair. In its small shape, so exquisitely modelled, in its large, steady, tranquil eyes, there was something that awed, while it charmed the mother's pride. It gazed on Glyndon as he spoke, with a look which almost might have seemed disdain, and which Viola, at least, interpreted as a defence of the Absent, stronger than her own lips could frame.

Glyndon broke the pause.

"Thou wouldst stay, for what? To betray a mother's duty! If any evil happen to thee here, what becomes of thine infant? Shall it be brought up an orphan, in a country that has desecrated thy religion, and where human charity exists no more? Ah, weep, and clasp it to thy bosom; but tears do not protect and save."

"Thou hast conquered, my friend, I will fly with thee."

"To-morrow night, then, be prepared. I will bring thee the necessary disguises."

And Glyndon then proceeded to sketch rapidly the outline of the path they were to take, and the story they were to tell. Viola listened, but scarcely comprehended; he pressed her hand to his heart and departed.
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Re: Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Postby admin » Tue May 29, 2018 5:38 am

CHAPTER 5

Van seco pur anco
Sdegno ed Amor, quasi due Veltri al fianco.
-- "Ger. Lib." cant. xx. cxvii.
(There went with him still Disdain and Love, like two greyhounds side by side.)


Glyndon did not perceive, as he hurried from the house, two forms crouching by the angle of the wall. He saw still the spectre gliding by his side; but he beheld not the yet more poisonous eyes of human envy and woman's jealousy that glared on his retreating footsteps.

Nicot advanced to the house; Fillide followed him in silence. The painter, an old sans-culotte, knew well what language to assume to the porter. He beckoned the latter from his lodge, "How is this, citizen? Thou harbourest a 'suspect.'"

"Citizen, you terrify me! -- if so, name him."

"It is not a man; a refugee, an Italian woman, lodges here."

"Yes, au troisieme, -- the door to the left. But what of her? -- she cannot be dangerous, poor child!"

"Citizen, beware! Dost thou dare to pity her?"

"I? No, no, indeed. But -- "

"Speak the truth! Who visits her?"

"No one but an Englishman."

"That is it, -- an Englishman, a spy of Pitt and Coburg."

"Just Heaven! is it possible?"

"How, citizen! dost thou speak of Heaven? Thou must be an aristocrat!"

"No, indeed; it was but an old bad habit, and escaped me unawares."

"How often does the Englishman visit her?"

"Daily."

Fillide uttered an exclamation.

She never stirs out," said the porter. "Her sole occupations are in work, and care of her infant."

"Her infant!"

Fillide made a bound forward. Nicot in vain endeavoured to arrest her. She sprang up the stairs; she paused not till she was before the door indicated by the porter; it stood ajar, she entered, she stood at the threshold, and beheld that face, still so lovely! The sight of so much beauty left her hopeless. And the child, over whom the mother bent! -- she who had never been a mother! -- she uttered no sound; the furies were at work within her breast. Viola turned, and saw her, and, terrified by the strange apparition, with features that expressed the deadliest hate and scorn and vengeance, uttered a cry, and snatched the child to her bosom. The Italian laughed aloud, -- turned, descended, and, gaining the spot where Nicot still conversed with the frightened porter drew him from the house. When they were in the open street, she halted abruptly, and said, "Avenge me, and name thy price!"

"My price, sweet one! is but permission to love thee. Thou wilt fly with me to-morrow night; thou wilt possess thyself of the passports and the plan."

"And they -- "

"Shall, before then, find their asylum in the Conciergerie. The guillotine shall requite thy wrongs."

"Do this, and I am satisfied," said Fillide, firmly.

And they spoke no more till they regained the house. But when she there, looking up to the dull building, saw the windows of the room which the belief of Glyndon's love had once made a paradise, the tiger relented at the heart; something of the woman gushed back upon her nature, dark and savage as it was. She pressed the arm on which she leaned convulsively, and exclaimed, "No, no! not him! denounce her, -- let her perish; but I have slept on HIS bosom, -- not HIM!"

"It shall be as thou wilt," said Nicot, with a devil's sneer; "but he must be arrested for the moment. No harm shall happen to him, for no accuser shall appear. But her, -- thou wilt not relent for her?"

Fillide turned upon him her eyes, and their dark glance was sufficient answer.
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Re: Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Postby admin » Tue May 29, 2018 5:39 am

CHAPTER 6

In poppa quella
Che guidar gli dovea, fatal Donsella.
-- "Ger. Lib." cant. xv. 3.
(By the prow was the fatal lady ordained to be the guide.)


The Italian did not overrate that craft of simulation proverbial with her country and her sex. Not a word, not a look, that day revealed to Glyndon the deadly change that had converted devotion into hate. He himself, indeed, absorbed in his own schemes, and in reflections on his own strange destiny, was no nice observer. But her manner, milder and more subdued than usual, produced a softening effect upon his meditations towards the evening; and he then began to converse with her on the certain hope of escape, and on the future that would await them in less unhallowed lands.

"And thy fair friend," said Fillide, with an averted eye and a false smile, "who was to be our companion? -- thou hast resigned her, Nicot tells me, in favour of one in whom he is interested. Is it so?"

"He told thee this!" returned Glyndon, evasively. "Well! does the change content thee?"

"Traitor!" muttered Fillide; and she rose suddenly, approached him, parted the long hair from his forehead caressingly, and pressed her lips convulsively on his brow.

"This were too fair a head for the doomsman," said she, with a slight laugh, and, turning away, appeared occupied in preparations for their departure.

The next morning, when he rose, Glyndon did not see the Italian; she was absent from the house when he left it. It was necessary that he should once more visit C -- before his final Departure, not only to arrange for Nicot's participation in the flight, but lest any suspicion should have arisen to thwart or endanger the plan he had adopted. C -- , though not one of the immediate coterie of Robespierre, and indeed secretly hostile to him, had possessed the art of keeping well with each faction as it rose to power. Sprung from the dregs of the populace, he had, nevertheless, the grace and vivacity so often found impartially amongst every class in France. He had contrived to enrich himself -- none knew how -- in the course of his rapid career. He became, indeed, ultimately one of the wealthiest proprietors of Paris, and at that time kept a splendid and hospitable mansion. He was one of those whom, from various reasons, Robespierre deigned to favour; and he had often saved the proscribed and suspected, by procuring them passports under disguised names, and advising their method of escape. But C -- was a man who took this trouble only for the rich. "The incorruptible Maximilien," who did not want the tyrant's faculty of penetration, probably saw through all his manoeuvres, and the avarice which he cloaked beneath his charity. But it was noticeable that Robespierre frequently seemed to wink at -- nay, partially to encourage -- such vice in men whom he meant hereafter to destroy, as would tend to lower them in the public estimation, and to contrast with his own austere and unassailable integrity and PURISM. And, doubtless, he often grimly smiled in his sleeve at the sumptuous mansion and the griping covetousness of the worthy Citizen C -- .

To this personage, then, Glyndon musingly bent his way. It was true, as he had darkly said to Viola, that in proportion as he had resisted the spectre, its terrors had lost their influence. The time had come at last, when, seeing crime and vice in all their hideousness, and in so vast a theatre, he had found that in vice and crime there are deadlier horrors than in the eyes of a phantom-fear. His native nobleness began to return to him. As he passed the streets, he revolved in his mind projects of future repentance and reformation. He even meditated, as a just return for Fillide's devotion, the sacrifice of all the reasonings of his birth and education. He would repair whatever errors he had committed against her, by the self-immolation of marriage with one little congenial with himself. He who had once revolted from marriage with the noble and gentle Viola! -- he had learned in that world of wrong to know that right is right, and that Heaven did not make the one sex to be the victim of the other. The young visions of the Beautiful and the Good rose once more before him; and along the dark ocean of his mind lay the smile of reawakening virtue, as a path of moonlight. Never, perhaps, had the condition of his soul been so elevated and unselfish.

In the meanwhile Jean Nicot, equally absorbed in dreams of the future, and already in his own mind laying out to the best advantage the gold of the friend he was about to betray, took his way to the house honoured by the residence of Robespierre. He had no intention to comply with the relenting prayer of Fillide, that the life of Glyndon should be spared. He thought with Barrere, "Il n'y a que les morts qui ne revient pas." In all men who have devoted themselves to any study, or any art, with sufficient pains to attain a certain degree of excellence, there must be a fund of energy immeasurably above that of the ordinary herd. Usually this energy is concentrated on the objects of their professional ambition, and leaves them, therefore, apathetic to the other pursuits of men. But where those objects are denied, where the stream has not its legitimate vent, the energy, irritated and aroused, possesses the whole being, and if not wasted on desultory schemes, or if not purified by conscience and principle, becomes a dangerous and destructive element in the social system, through which it wanders in riot and disorder. Hence, in all wise monarchies, -- nay, in all well-constituted states, -- the peculiar care with which channels are opened for every art and every science; hence the honour paid to their cultivators by subtle and thoughtful statesmen, who, perhaps, for themselves, see nothing in a picture but coloured canvas, -- nothing in a problem but an ingenious puzzle. No state is ever more in danger than when the talent that should be consecrated to peace has no occupation but political intrigue or personal advancement. Talent unhonoured is talent at war with men. And here it is noticeable, that the class of actors having been the most degraded by the public opinion of the old regime, their very dust deprived of Christian burial, no men (with certain exceptions in the company especially favoured by the Court) were more relentless and revengeful among the scourges of the Revolution. In the savage Collot d'Herbois, mauvais comedien, were embodied the wrongs and the vengeance of a class.

Now the energy of Jean Nicot had never been sufficiently directed to the art he professed. Even in his earliest youth, the political disquisitions of his master, David, had distracted him from the more tedious labours of the easel. The defects of his person had embittered his mind; the atheism of his benefactor had deadened his conscience. For one great excellence of religion -- above all, the Religion of the Cross -- is, that it raises PATIENCE first into a virtue, and next into a hope. Take away the doctrine of another life, of requital hereafter, of the smile of a Father upon our sufferings and trials in our ordeal here, and what becomes of patience? But without patience, what is man? -- and what a people? Without patience, art never can be high; without patience, liberty never can be perfected. By wild throes, and impetuous, aimless struggles, Intellect seeks to soar from Penury, and a nation to struggle into Freedom. And woe, thus unfortified, guideless, and unenduring, -- woe to both!

Nicot was a villain as a boy. In most criminals, however abandoned, there are touches of humanity, -- relics of virtue; and the true delineator of mankind often incurs the taunt of bad hearts and dull minds, for showing that even the worst alloy has some particles of gold, and even the best that come stamped from the mint of Nature have some adulteration of the dross. But there are exceptions, though few, to the general rule, -- exceptions, when the conscience lies utterly dead, and when good or bad are things indifferent but as means to some selfish end. So was it with the protege of the atheist. Envy and hate filled up his whole being, and the consciousness of superior talent only made him curse the more all who passed him in the sunlight with a fairer form or happier fortunes. But, monster though he was, when his murderous fingers griped the throat of his benefactor, Time, and that ferment of all evil passions -- the Reign of Blood -- had made in the deep hell of his heart a deeper still. Unable to exercise his calling (for even had he dared to make his name prominent, revolutions are no season for painters; and no man -- no! not the richest and proudest magnate of the land, has so great an interest in peace and order, has so high and essential a stake in the well being of society, as the poet and the artist), his whole intellect, ever restless and unguided, was left to ponder over the images of guilt most congenial to it. He had no future but in this life; and how in this life had the men of power around him, the great wrestlers for dominion, thriven? All that was good, pure, unselfish, -- whether among Royalists or Republicans, -- swept to the shambles, and the deathsmen left alone in the pomp and purple of their victims! Nobler paupers than Jean Nicot would despair; and Poverty would rise in its ghastly multitudes to cut the throat of Wealth, and then gash itself limb by limb, if Patience, the Angel of the Poor, sat not by its side, pointing with solemn finger to the life to come! And now, as Nicot neared the house of the Dictator, he began to meditate a reversal of his plans of the previous day: not that he faltered in his resolution to denounce Glyndon, and Viola would necessarily share his fate, as a companion and accomplice, -- no, THERE he was resolved! for he hated both (to say nothing of his old but never-to-be-forgotten grudge against Zanoni). Viola had scorned him, Glyndon had served, and the thought of gratitude was as intolerable to him as the memory of insult. But why, now, should he fly from France? -- he could possess himself of Glyndon's gold; he doubted not that he could so master Fillide by her wrath and jealousy that he could command her acquiescence in all he proposed. The papers he had purloined -- Desmoulins' correspondence with Glyndon -- while it insured the fate of the latter, might be eminently serviceable to Robespierre, might induce the tyrant to forget his own old liaisons with Hebert, and enlist him among the allies and tools of the King of Terror. Hopes of advancement, of wealth, of a career, again rose before him. This correspondence, dated shortly before Camille Desmoulins' death, was written with that careless and daring imprudence which characterised the spoiled child of Danton. It spoke openly of designs against Robespierre; it named confederates whom the tyrant desired only a popular pretext to crush. It was a new instrument of death in the hands of the Death-compeller. What greater gift could he bestow on Maximilien the Incorruptible?

Nursing these thoughts, he arrived at last before the door of Citizen Dupleix. Around the threshold were grouped, in admired confusion, some eight or ten sturdy Jacobins, the voluntary body- guard of Robespierre, -- tall fellows, well armed, and insolent with the power that reflects power, mingled with women, young and fair, and gayly dressed, who had come, upon the rumour that Maximilien had had an attack of bile, to inquire tenderly of his health; for Robespierre, strange though it seem, was the idol of the sex!

Through this cortege stationed without the door, and reaching up the stairs to the landing-place, -- for Robespierre's apartments were not spacious enough to afford sufficient antechamber for levees so numerous and miscellaneous, -- Nicot forced his way; and far from friendly or flattering were the expressions that regaled his ears.

"Aha, le joli Polichinelle!" said a comely matron, whose robe his obtrusive and angular elbows cruelly discomposed. "But how could one expect gallantry from such a scarecrow!"

"Citizen, I beg to advise thee (The courteous use of the plural was proscribed at Paris. The Societies Populaires had decided that whoever used it should be prosecuted as suspect et adulateur! At the door of the public administrations and popular societies was written up, "Ici on s'honore du Citoyen, et on se tutoye"!!! ("Here they respect the title of Citizen, and they 'thee' and 'thou' one another.") Take away Murder from the French Revolution and it becomes the greatest farce ever played before the angels!) that thou art treading on my feet. I beg thy pardon, but now I look at thine, I see the hall is not wide enough for them."

"Ho! Citizen Nicot," cried a Jacobin, shouldering his formidable bludgeon, "and what brings thee hither? -- thinkest thou that Hebert's crimes are forgotten already? Off, sport of Nature! and thank the Etre Supreme that he made thee insignificant enough to be forgiven."

"A pretty face to look out of the National Window" (The Guillotine.), said the woman whose robe the painter had ruffled.

"Citizens," said Nicot, white with passion, but constraining himself so that his words seemed to come from grinded teeth, "I have the honour to inform you that I seek the Representant upon business of the utmost importance to the public and himself; and," he added slowly and malignantly, glaring round, "I call all good citizens to be my witnesses when I shall complain to Robespierre of the reception bestowed on me by some amongst you."

There was in the man's look and his tone of voice so much of deep and concentrated malignity, that the idlers drew back, and as the remembrance of the sudden ups and downs of revolutionary life occurred to them, several voices were lifted to assure the squalid and ragged painter that nothing was farther from their thoughts than to offer affront to a citizen whose very appearance proved him to be an exemplary sans-culotte. Nicot received these apologies in sullen silence, and, folding his arms, leaned against the wall, waiting in grim patience for his admission.

The loiterers talked to each other in separate knots of two and three; and through the general hum rang the clear, loud, careless whistle of the tall Jacobin who stood guard by the stairs. Next to Nicot, an old woman and a young virgin were muttering in earnest whispers, and the atheist painter chuckled inly to overhear their discourse.

"I assure thee, my dear," said the crone, with a mysterious shake of head, "that the divine Catherine Theot, whom the impious now persecute, is really inspired. There can be no doubt that the elect, of whom Dom Gerle and the virtuous Robespierre are destined to be the two grand prophets, will enjoy eternal life here, and exterminate all their enemies. There is no doubt of it, -- not the least!"

"How delightful!" said the girl; "ce cher Robespierre! -- he does not look very long-lived either!"

"The greater the miracle," said the old woman. "I am just eighty-one, and I don't feel a day older since Catherine Theot promised me I should be one of the elect!"

Here the women were jostled aside by some newcomers, who talked loud and eagerly.

"Yes," cried a brawny man, whose garb denoted him to be a butcher, with bare arms, and a cap of liberty on his head; "I am come to warn Robespierre. They lay a snare for him; they offer him the Palais National. 'On ne peut etre ami du peuple et habiter un palais.'" ("No one can be a friend of the people, and dwell in a palace." -- "Papiers inedits trouves chez Robespierre," etc., volume ii. page 132.)

"No, indeed," answered a cordonnier; "I like him best in his little lodging with the menuisier: it looks like one of US."

Another rush of the crowd, and a new group were thrown forward in the vicinity of Nicot. And these men gabbled and chattered faster and louder than the rest.

"But my plan is -- "

"Au diable with YOUR plan! I tell you MY scheme is -- "

"Nonsense!" cried a third. "When Robespierre understands MY new method of making gunpowder, the enemies of France shall -- "

"Bah! who fears foreign enemies?" interrupted a fourth; "the enemies to be feared are at home. MY new guillotine takes off fifty heads at a time!"

"But MY new Constitution!" exclaimed a fifth.

"MY new Religion, citizen!" murmured, complacently, a sixth.

"Sacre mille tonnerres, silence!" roared forth one of the Jacobin guard.

And the crowd suddenly parted as a fierce-looking man, buttoned up to the chin, his sword rattling by his side, his spurs clinking at his heel, descended the stairs, -- his cheeks swollen and purple with intemperance, his eyes dead and savage as a vulture's. There was a still pause, as all, with pale cheeks, made way for the relentless Henriot. (Or H_a_nriot. It is singular how undetermined are not only the characters of the French Revolution, but even the spelling of their names. With the historians it is Vergniau_d_, -- with the journalists of the time it is Vorgniau_x_. With one authority it is Robespierre, -- with another Robe_r_spierre.) Scarce had this gruff and iron minion of the tyrant stalked through the throng, than a new movement of respect and agitation and fear swayed the increasing crowd, as there glided in, with the noiselessness of a shadow, a smiling, sober citizen, plainly but neatly clad, with a downcast humble eye. A milder, meeker face no pastoral poet could assign to Corydon or Thyrsis, -- why did the crowd shrink and hold their breath? As the ferret in a burrow crept that slight form amongst the larger and rougher creatures that huddled and pressed back on each other as he passed. A wink of his stealthy eye, and the huge Jacobins left the passage clear, without sound or question. On he went to the apartment of the tyrant, and thither will we follow him.
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Re: Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Postby admin » Tue May 29, 2018 5:39 am

CHAPTER 8

Constitutum est, ut quisquis eum HOMINEM dixisset fuisse, capitalem penderet poenam.
-- St. Augustine, "Of the God Serapis," l. 18, "de Civ. Dei," c. 5.)
(It was decreed, that whoso should say that he had been a MAN, should suffer the punishment of a capital offence.)


Robespierre was reclining languidly in his fauteuil, his cadaverous countenance more jaded and fatigued than usual. He to whom Catherine Theot assured immortal life, looked, indeed, like a man at death's door. On the table before him was a dish heaped with oranges, with the juice of which it is said that he could alone assuage the acrid bile that overflowed his system; and an old woman, richly dressed (she had been a Marquise in the old regime) was employed in peeling the Hesperian fruits for the sick Dragon, with delicate fingers covered with jewels. I have before said that Robespierre was the idol of the women. Strange certainly! -- but then they were French women! The old Marquise, who, like Catherine Theot, called him "son," really seemed to love him piously and disinterestedly as a mother; and as she peeled the oranges, and heaped on him the most caressing and soothing expressions, the livid ghost of a smile fluttered about his meagre lips. At a distance, Payan and Couthon, seated at another table, were writing rapidly, and occasionally pausing from their work to consult with each other in brief whispers.

Suddenly one of the Jacobins opened the door, and, approaching Robespierre, whispered to him the name of Guerin. (See for the espionage on which Guerin was employed, "Les Papiers inedits," etc., volume i. page 366, No. xxviii.) At that word the sick man started up, as if new life were in the sound.

"My kind friend," he said to the Marquise, "forgive me; I must dispense with thy tender cares. France demands me. I am never ill when I can serve my country!"

The old Marquise lifted up her eyes to heaven and murmured, "Quel ange!"

Robespierre waved his hand impatiently; and the old woman, with a sigh, patted his pale cheek, kissed his forehead, and submissively withdrew. The next moment, the smiling, sober man we have before described, stood, bending low, before the tyrant. And well might Robespierre welcome one of the subtlest agents of his power, -- one on whom he relied more than the clubs of his Jacobins, the tongues of his orators, the bayonets of his armies; Guerin, the most renowned of his ecouteurs, -- the searching, prying, universal, omnipresent spy, who glided like a sunbeam through chink and crevice, and brought to him intelligence not only of the deeds, but the hearts of men!

"Well, citizen, well! -- and what of Tallien?"

"This morning, early, two minutes after eight, he went out."

"So early? -- hem!"

"He passed Rue des Quatre Fils, Rue de Temple, Rue de la Reunion, au Marais, Rue Martin; nothing observable, except that -- "

"That what?"

"He amused himself at a stall in bargaining for some books."

"Bargaining for books! Aha, the charlatan! -- he would cloak the intriguant under the savant! Well!"

"At last, in the Rue des Fosses Montmartre, an individual in a blue surtout (unknown) accosted him. They walked together about the street some minutes, and were joined by Legendre."

"Legendre! approach, Payan! Legendre, thou hearest!"

"I went into a fruit-stall, and hired two little girls to go and play at ball within hearing. They heard Legendre say, 'I believe his power is wearing itself out.' And Tallien answered, 'And HIMSELF too. I would not give three months' purchase for his life.' I do not know, citizen, if they meant THEE?"

"Nor I, citizen," answered Robespierre, with a fell smile, succeeded by an expression of gloomy thought. "Ha!" he muttered; "I am young yet, -- in the prime of life. I commit no excess. No; my constitution is sound, sound. Anything farther of Tallien?"

"Yes. The woman whom he loves -- Teresa de Fontenai -- who lies in prison, still continues to correspond with him; to urge him to save her by thy destruction: this my listeners overheard. His servant is the messenger between the prisoner and himself."

"So! The servant shall be seized in the open streets of Paris. The Reign of Terror is not over yet. With the letters found on him, if such their context, I will pluck Tallien from his benches in the Convention."

Robespierre rose, and after walking a few moments to and fro the room in thought, opened the door and summoned one of the Jacobins without. To him he gave his orders for the watch and arrest of Tallien's servant, and then threw himself again into his chair. As the Jacobin departed, Guerin whispered, --

"Is not that the Citizen Aristides?"

"Yes; a faithful fellow, if he would wash himself, and not swear so much."

"Didst thou not guillotine his brother?"

"But Aristides denounced him."

"Nevertheless, are such men safe about thy person?"

"Humph! that is true." And Robespierre, drawing out his pocket- book, wrote a memorandum in it, replaced it in his vest, and resumed, --

"What else of Tallien?"

"Nothing more. He and Legendre, with the unknown, walked to the Jardin Egalite, and there parted. I saw Tallien to his house. But I have other news. Thou badest me watch for those who threaten thee in secret letters."

"Guerin! hast thou detected them? Hast thou -- hast thou -- "

And the tyrant, as he spoke, opened and shut both his hands, as if already grasping the lives of the writers, and one of those convulsive grimaces that seemed like an epileptic affection, to which he was subject, distorted his features.

"Citizen, I think I have found one. Thou must know that amongst those most disaffected is the painter Nicot."

"Stay, stay!" said Robespierre, opening a manuscript book, bound in red morocco (for Robespierre was neat and precise, even in his death-lists), and turning to an alphabetical index, -- "Nicot! -- I have him, -- atheist, sans-culotte (I hate slovens), friend of Hebert! Aha! N.B. -- Rene Dumas knows of his early career and crimes. Proceed!"

"This Nicot has been suspected of diffusing tracts and pamphlets against thyself and the Comite. Yesterday evening, when he was out, his porter admitted me into his apartment, Rue Beau Repaire. With my master-key I opened his desk and escritoire. I found herein a drawing of thyself at the guillotine; and underneath was written, 'Bourreau de ton pays, lis l'arret de ton chatiment!' (Executioner of thy country, read the decree of thy punishment!) I compared the words with the fragments of the various letters thou gavest me: the handwriting tallies with one. See, I tore off the writing."

Robespierre looked, smiled, and, as if his vengeance were already satisfied, threw himself on his chair. "It is well! I feared it was a more powerful enemy. This man must be arrested at once."

"And he waits below. I brushed by him as I ascended the stairs."

"Does he so? -- admit! -- nay, -- hold! hold! Guerin, withdraw into the inner chamber till I summon thee again. Dear Payan, see that this Nicot conceals no weapons."

Payan, who was as brave as Robespierre was pusillanimous, repressed the smile of disdain that quivered on his lips a moment, and left the room.

Meanwhile Robespierre, with his head buried in his bosom, seemed plunged in deep thought. "Life is a melancholy thing, Couthon!" said he, suddenly.

"Begging your pardon, I think death worse," answered the philanthropist, gently.

Robespierre made no rejoinder, but took from his portefeuille that singular letter, which was found afterwards amongst his papers, and is marked LXI. in the published collection. ("Papiers inedits,' etc., volume ii. page 156.)

"Without doubt," it began, "you are uneasy at not having earlier received news from me. Be not alarmed; you know that I ought only to reply by our ordinary courier; and as he has been interrupted, dans sa derniere course, that is the cause of my delay. When you receive this, employ all diligence to fly a theatre where you are about to appear and disappear for the last time. It were idle to recall to you all the reasons that expose you to peril. The last step that should place you sur le sopha de la presidence, but brings you to the scaffold; and the mob will spit on your face as it has spat on those whom you have judged. Since, then, you have accumulated here a sufficient treasure for existence, I await you with great impatience, to laugh with you at the part you have played in the troubles of a nation as credulous as it is avid of novelties. Take your part according to our arrangements, -- all is prepared. I conclude, -- our courier waits. I expect your reply."

Musingly and slowly the Dictator devoured the contents of this epistle. "No," he said to himself, -- "no; he who has tasted power can no longer enjoy repose. Yet, Danton, Danton! thou wert right; better to be a poor fisherman than to govern men." ("Il vaudrait mieux," said Danton, in his dungeon, "etre un pauvre pecheur que de gouverner les hommes.")

The door opened, and Payan reappeared and whispered Robespierre, "All is safe! See the man."

The Dictator, satisfied, summoned his attendant Jacobin to conduct Nicot to his presence. The painter entered with a fearless expression in his deformed features, and stood erect before Robespierre, who scanned him with a sidelong eye.

It is remarkable that most of the principal actors of the Revolution were singularly hideous in appearance, -- from the colossal ugliness of Mirabeau and Danton, or the villanous ferocity in the countenances of David and Simon, to the filthy squalor of Marat, the sinister and bilious meanness of the Dictator's features. But Robespierre, who was said to resemble a cat, had also a cat's cleanness; and his prim and dainty dress, his shaven smoothness, the womanly whiteness of his lean hands, made yet more remarkable the disorderly ruffianism that characterised the attire and mien of the painter-sans-culotte.

"And so, citizen," said Robespierre, mildly, "thou wouldst speak with me? I know thy merits and civism have been overlooked too long. Thou wouldst ask some suitable provision in the state? Scruple not -- say on!"

"Virtuous Robespierre, toi qui eclaires l'univers (Thou who enlightenest the world.), I come not to ask a favour, but to render service to the state. I have discovered a correspondence that lays open a conspiracy of which many of the actors are yet unsuspected." And he placed the papers on the table. Robespierre seized, and ran his eye over them rapidly and eagerly.

"Good! -- good!" he muttered to himself: "this is all I wanted. Barrere, Legendre! I have them! Camille Desmoulins was but their dupe. I loved him once; I never loved them! Citizen Nicot, I thank thee. I observe these letters are addressed to an Englishman. What Frenchman but must distrust these English wolves in sheep's clothing! France wants no longer citizens of the world; that farce ended with Anarcharsis Clootz. I beg pardon, Citizen Nicot; but Clootz and Hebert were THY friends."

"Nay," said Nicot, apologetically, "we are all liable to be deceived. I ceased to honour them whom thou didst declare against; for I disown my own senses rather than thy justice."

"Yes, I pretend to justice; that IS the virtue I affect," said Robespierre, meekly; and with his feline propensities he enjoyed, even in that critical hour of vast schemes, of imminent danger, of meditated revenge, the pleasure of playing with a solitary victim. (The most detestable anecdote of this peculiar hypocrisy in Robespierre is that in which he is recorded to have tenderly pressed the hand of his old school-friend, Camille Desmoulins, the day that he signed the warrant for his arrest.) "And my justice shall no longer be blind to thy services, good Nicot. Thou knowest this Glyndon?"

"Yes, well, -- intimately. He WAS my friend, but I would give up my brother if he were one of the 'indulgents.' I am not ashamed to say that I have received favours from this man."

"Aha! -- and thou dost honestly hold the doctrine that where a man threatens my life all personal favours are to be forgotten?"

"All!"

"Good citizen! -- kind Nicot! -- oblige me by writing the address of this Glyndon."

Nicot stooped to the table; and suddenly when the pen was in his hand, a thought flashed across him, and he paused, embarrassed and confused.

"Write on, KIND Nicot!"

The painter slowly obeyed.

"Who are the other familiars of Glyndon?"

"It was on that point I was about to speak to thee, Representant," said Nicot. "He visits daily a woman, a foreigner, who knows all his secrets; she affects to be poor, and to support her child by industry. But she is the wife of an Italian of immense wealth, and there is no doubt that she has moneys which are spent in corrupting the citizens. She should be seized and arrested."

"Write down her name also."

"But no time is to be lost; for I know that both have a design to escape from Paris this very night."

"Our government is prompt, good Nicot, -- never fear. Humph! -- humph!" and Robespierre took the paper on which Nicot had written, and stooping over it -- for he was near-sighted -- added, smilingly, "Dost thou always write the same hand, citizen? This seems almost like a disguised character."

"I should not like them to know who denounced them, Representant."

"Good! good! Thy virtue shall be rewarded, trust me. Salut et fraternite!"

Robespierre half rose as he spoke, and Nicot withdrew.

"Ho, there! -- without!" cried the Dictator, ringing his bell; and as the ready Jacobin attended the summons, "Follow that man, Jean Nicot. The instant he has cleared the house seize him. At once to the Conciergerie with him. Stay! -- nothing against the law; there is thy warrant. The public accuser shall have my instruction. Away! -- quick!"

The Jacobin vanished. All trace of illness, of infirmity, had gone from the valetudinarian; he stood erect on the floor, his face twitching convulsively, and his arms folded. "Ho! Guerin!" the spy reappeared -- "take these addresses! Within an hour this Englishman and his woman must be in prison; their revelations will aid me against worthier foes. They shall die: they shall perish with the rest on the 10th, -- the third day from this. There!" and he wrote hastily, -- "there, also, is thy warrant! Off! "And now, Couthon, Payan, we will dally no longer with Tallien and his crew. I have information that the Convention will NOT attend the Fete on the 10th. We must trust only to the sword of the law. I must compose my thoughts, -- prepare my harangue. To- morrow, I will reappear at the Convention; to-morrow, bold St. Just joins us, fresh from our victorious armies; to-morrow, from the tribune, I will dart the thunderbolt on the masked enemies of France; to-morrow, I will demand, in the face of the country, the heads of the conspirators."
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Re: Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Postby admin » Tue May 29, 2018 5:39 am

CHAPTER 8

Le glaive est contre toi tourne de toutes parties.
-- La Harpe, "Jeanne de Naples," Act iv. sc. 4.
(The sword is raised against you on all sides.)


In the mean time Glyndon, after an audience of some length with C -- , in which the final preparations were arranged, sanguine of safety, and foreseeing no obstacle to escape, bent his way back to Fillide. Suddenly, in the midst of his cheerful thoughts, he fancied he heard a voice too well and too terribly recognised, hissing in his ear, "What! thou wouldst defy and escape me! thou wouldst go back to virtue and content. It is in vain, -- it is too late. No, _I_ will not haunt thee; HUMAN footsteps, no less inexorable, dog thee now. Me thou shalt not see again till in the dungeon, at midnight, before thy doom! Behold -- "

And Glyndon, mechanically turning his head, saw, close behind him, the stealthy figure of a man whom he had observed before, but with little heed, pass and repass him, as he quitted the house of Citizen C -- . Instantly and instinctively he knew that he was watched, -- that he was pursued. The street he was in was obscure and deserted, for the day was oppressively sultry, and it was the hour when few were abroad, either on business or pleasure. Bold as he was, an icy chill shot through his heart, he knew too well the tremendous system that then reigned in Paris not to be aware of his danger. As the sight of the first plague- boil to the victim of the pestilence, was the first sight of the shadowy spy to that of the Revolution: the watch, the arrest, the trial, the guillotine, -- these made the regular and rapid steps of the monster that the anarchists called Law! He breathed hard, he heard distinctly the loud beating of his heart. And so he paused, still and motionless, gazing upon the shadow that halted also behind him.

Presently, the absence of all allies to the spy, the solitude of the streets, reanimated his courage; he made a step towards his pursuer, who retreated as he advanced. "Citizen, thou followest me," he said. "Thy business?"

"Surely," answered the man, with a deprecating smile, "the streets are broad enough for both? Thou art not so bad a republican as to arrogate all Paris to thyself!"

"Go on first, then. I make way for thee."

The man bowed, doffed his hat politely, and passed forward. The next moment Glyndon plunged into a winding lane, and fled fast through a labyrinth of streets, passages, and alleys. By degrees he composed himself, and, looking behind, imagined that he had baffled the pursuer; he then, by a circuitous route, bent his way once more to his home. As he emerged into one of the broader streets, a passenger, wrapped in a mantle, brushing so quickly by him that he did not observe his countenance, whispered, "Clarence Glyndon, you are dogged, -- follow me!" and the stranger walked quickly before him. Clarence turned, and sickened once more to see at his heels, with the same servile smile on his face, the pursuer he fancied he had escaped. He forgot the injunction of the stranger to follow him, and perceiving a crowd gathered close at hand, round a caricature-shop, dived amidst them, and, gaining another street, altered the direction he had before taken, and, after a long and breathless course, gained without once more seeing the spy, a distant quartier of the city.

Here, indeed, all seemed so serene and fair that his artist eye, even in that imminent hour, rested with pleasure on the scene. It was a comparatively broad space, formed by one of the noble quays. The Seine flowed majestically along, with boats and craft resting on its surface. The sun gilt a thousand spires and domes, and gleamed on the white palaces of a fallen chivalry. Here fatigued and panting, he paused an instant, and a cooler air from the river fanned his brow. "Awhile, at least, I am safe here," he murmured; and as he spoke, some thirty paces behind him, he beheld the spy. He stood rooted to the spot; wearied and spent as he was, escape seemed no longer possible, -- the river on one side (no bridge at hand), and the long row of mansions closing up the other. As he halted, he heard laughter and obscene songs from a house a little in his rear, between himself and the spy. It was a cafe fearfully known in that quarter. Hither often resorted the black troop of Henriot, -- the minions and huissiers of Robespierre. The spy, then, had hunted the victim within the jaws of the hounds. The man slowly advanced, and, pausing before the open window of the cafe, put his head through the aperture, as to address and summon forth its armed inmates.

At that very instant, and while the spy's head was thus turned from him, standing in the half-open gateway of the house immediately before him, he perceived the stranger who had warned; the figure, scarcely distinguishable through the mantle that wrapped it, motioned to him to enter. He sprang noiselessly through the friendly opening: the door closed; breathlessly he followed the stranger up a flight of broad stairs and through a suite of empty rooms, until, having gained a small cabinet, his conductor doffed the large hat and the long mantle that had hitherto concealed his shape and features, and Glyndon beheld Zanoni!
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Re: Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Postby admin » Tue May 29, 2018 5:40 am

CHAPTER 9

Think not my magic wonders wrought by aid
Of Stygian angels summoned up from hell;
Scorned and accursed be those who have essayed
Her gloomy Dives and Afrites to compel.
But by perception of the secret powers
Of mineral springs in Nature's inmost cell,
Of herbs in curtain of her greenest bowers,
And of the moving stars o'er mountain tops and towers.
-- Wiffen's "Translation of Tasso," cant. xiv. xliii.


"You are safe here, young Englishman!" said Zanoni, motioning Glyndon to a seat. "Fortunate for you that I come on your track at last!"

"Far happier had it been if we had never met! Yet even in these last hours of my fate, I rejoice to look once more on the face of that ominous and mysterious being to whom I can ascribe all the sufferings I have known. Here, then, thou shalt not palter with or elude me. Here, before we part, thou shalt unravel to me the dark enigma, if not of thy life, of my own!"

"Hast thou suffered? Poor neophyte!" said Zanoni, pityingly. "Yes; I see it on thy brow. But wherefore wouldst thou blame me? Did I not warn thee against the whispers of thy spirit; did I not warn thee to forbear? Did I not tell thee that the ordeal was one of awful hazard and tremendous fears, -- nay, did I not offer to resign to thee the heart that was mighty enough, while mine, Glyndon, to content me? Was it not thine own daring and resolute choice to brave the initiation! Of thine own free will didst thou make Mejnour thy master, and his lore thy study!"

"But whence came the irresistible desires of that wild and unholy knowledge? I knew them not till thine evil eye fell upon me, and I was drawn into the magic atmosphere of thy being!"

"Thou errest! -- the desires were in thee; and, whether in one direction or the other, would have forced their way! Man! thou askest me the enigma of thy fate and my own! Look round all being, is there not mystery everywhere? Can thine eye trace the ripening of the grain beneath the earth? In the moral and the physical world alike, lie dark portents, far more wondrous than the powers thou wouldst ascribe to me!"

"Dost thou disown those powers; dost thou confess thyself an imposter? -- or wilt thou dare to tell me that thou art indeed sold to the Evil one, -- a magician whose familiar has haunted me night and day?"

"It matters not what I am," returned Zanoni; "it matters only whether I can aid thee to exorcise thy dismal phantom, and return once more to the wholesome air of this common life. Something, however, will I tell thee, not to vindicate myself, but the Heaven and the Nature that thy doubts malign."

Zanoni paused a moment, and resumed with a slight smile, --

"In thy younger days thou hast doubtless read with delight the great Christian poet, whose muse, like the morning it celebrated, came to earth, 'crowned with flowers culled in Paradise.'

('L'aurea testa
Di rose colte in Paradiso infiora.'
-- Tasso, "Ger. Lib." iv. l.)

"No spirit was more imbued with the knightly superstitions of the time; and surely the Poet of Jerusalem hath sufficiently, to satisfy even the Inquisitor he consulted, execrated all the practitioners of the unlawful spells invoked, --

'Per isforzar Cocito o Flegetonte.'
(To constrain Cocytus or Phlegethon.)

But in his sorrows and his wrongs, in the prison of his madhouse, know you not that Tasso himself found his solace, his escape, in the recognition of a holy and spiritual Theurgia, -- of a magic that could summon the Angel, or the Good Genius, not the Fiend? And do you not remember how he, deeply versed as he was for his age, in the mysteries of the nobler Platonism, which hints at the secrets of all the starry brotherhoods, from the Chaldean to the later Rosicrucian, discriminates in his lovely verse, between the black art of Ismeno and the glorious lore of the Enchanter who counsels and guides upon their errand the champions of the Holy Land? HIS, not the charms wrought by the aid of the Stygian Rebels (See this remarkable passage, which does indeed not unfaithfully represent the doctrine of the Pythagorean and the Platonist, in Tasso, cant. xiv. stanzas xli. to xlvii. ("Ger. Lib.") They are beautifully translated by Wiffen.), but the perception of the secret powers of the fountain and the herb, -- the Arcana of the unknown nature and the various motions of the stars. His, the holy haunts of Lebanon and Carmel, -- beneath his feet he saw the clouds, the snows, the hues of Iris, the generations of the rains and dews. Did the Christian Hermit who converted that Enchanter (no fabulous being, but the type of all spirit that would aspire through Nature up to God) command him to lay aside these sublime studies, 'Le solite arte e l' uso mio'? No! but to cherish and direct them to worthy ends. And in this grand conception of the poet lies the secret of the true Theurgia, which startles your ignorance in a more learned day with puerile apprehensions, and the nightmares of a sick man's dreams."

Again Zanoni paused, and again resumed: --

"In ages far remote, -- of a civilisation far different from that which now merges the individual in the state, -- there existed men of ardent minds, and an intense desire of knowledge. In the mighty and solemn kingdoms in which they dwelt, there were no turbulent and earthly channels to work off the fever of their minds. Set in the antique mould of casts through which no intellect could pierce, no valour could force its way, the thirst for wisdom alone reigned in the hearts of those who received its study as a heritage from sire to son. Hence, even in your imperfect records of the progress of human knowledge, you find that, in the earliest ages, Philosophy descended not to the business and homes of men. It dwelt amidst the wonders of the loftier creation; it sought to analyse the formation of matter, -- the essentials of the prevailing soul; to read the mysteries of the starry orbs; to dive into those depths of Nature in which Zoroaster is said by the schoolmen first to have discovered the arts which your ignorance classes under the name of magic. In such an age, then, arose some men, who, amidst the vanities and delusions of their class, imagined that they detected gleams of a brighter and steadier lore. They fancied an affinity existing among all the works of Nature, and that in the lowliest lay the secret attraction that might conduct them upward to the loftiest. (Agreeably, it would seem, to the notion of Iamblichus and Plotinus, that the universe is as an animal; so that there is sympathy and communication between one part and the other; in the smallest part may be the subtlest nerve. And hence the universal magnetism of Nature. But man contemplates the universe as an animalcule would an elephant. The animalcule, seeing scarcely the tip of the hoof, would be incapable of comprehending that the trunk belonged to the same creature, -- that the effect produced upon one extremity would be felt in an instant by the other.) Centuries passed, and lives were wasted in these discoveries; but step after step was chronicled and marked, and became the guide to the few who alone had the hereditary privilege to track their path.

At last from this dimness upon some eyes the light broke; but think not, young visionary, that to those who nursed unholy thoughts, over whom the Origin of Evil held a sway, that dawning was vouchsafed. It could be given then, as now, only to the purest ecstasies of imagination and intellect, undistracted by the cares of a vulgar life, or the appetites of the common clay. Far from descending to the assistance of a fiend, theirs was but the august ambition to approach nearer to the Fount of Good; the more they emancipated themselves from this limbo of the planets, the more they were penetrated by the splendour and beneficence of God. And if they sought, and at last discovered, how to the eye of the Spirit all the subtler modifications of being and of matter might be made apparent; if they discovered how, for the wings of the Spirit, all space might be annihilated, and while the body stood heavy and solid here, as a deserted tomb, the freed IDEA might wander from star to star, -- if such discoveries became in truth their own, the sublimest luxury of their knowledge was but this, to wonder, to venerate, and adore! For, as one not unlearned in these high matters has expressed it, 'There is a principle of the soul superior to all external nature, and through this principle we are capable of surpassing the order and systems of the world, and participating the immortal life and the energy of the Sublime Celestials. When the soul is elevated to natures above itself, it deserts the order to which it is awhile compelled, and by a religious magnetism is attracted to another and a loftier, with which it blends and mingles.' (From Iamblichus, "On the Mysteries," c. 7, sect. 7.) Grant, then, that such beings found at last the secret to arrest death; to fascinate danger and the foe; to walk the revolutions of the earth unharmed, -- think you that this life could teach them other desire than to yearn the more for the Immortal, and to fit their intellect the better for the higher being to which they might, when Time and Death exist no longer, be transferred? Away with your gloomy fantasies of sorcerer and demon! -- the soul can aspire only to the light; and even the error of our lofty knowledge was but the forgetfulness of the weakness, the passions, and the bonds which the death we so vainly conquered only can purge away!"

This address was so different from what Glyndon had anticipated, that he remained for some moments speechless, and at length faltered out, --

"But why, then, to me -- "

"Why," added Zanoni, -- "why to thee have been only the penance and the terror, -- the Threshold and the Phantom? Vain man! look to the commonest elements of the common learning. Can every tyro at his mere wish and will become the master; can the student, when he has bought his Euclid, become a Newton; can the youth whom the Muses haunt, say, 'I will equal Homer;' yea, can yon pale tyrant, with all the parchment laws of a hundred system-shapers, and the pikes of his dauntless multitude, carve, at his will, a constitution not more vicious than the one which the madness of a mob could overthrow? When, in that far time to which I have referred, the student aspired to the heights to which thou wouldst have sprung at a single bound, he was trained from his very cradle to the career he was to run. The internal and the outward nature were made clear to his eyes, year after year, as they opened on the day. He was not admitted to the practical initiation till not one earthly wish chained that sublimest faculty which you call the IMAGINATION, one carnal desire clouded the penetrative essence that you call the INTELLECT. And even then, and at the best, how few attained to the last mystery! Happier inasmuch as they attained the earlier to the holy glories for which Death is the heavenliest gate."

Zanoni paused, and a shade of thought and sorrow darkened his celestial beauty.

"And are there, indeed, others, besides thee and Mejnour, who lay claim to thine attributes, and have attained to thy secrets?"

"Others there have been before us, but we two now are alone on earth."

"Imposter, thou betrayest thyself! If they could conquer Death, why live they not yet?" (Glyndon appears to forget that Mejnour had before answered the very question which his doubts here a second time suggest.)

"Child of a day!" answered Zanoni, mournfully, "have I not told thee the error of our knowledge was the forgetfulness of the desires and passions which the spirit never can wholly and permanently conquer while this matter cloaks it? Canst thou think that it is no sorrow, either to reject all human ties, all friendship, and all love, or to see, day after day, friendship and love wither from our life, as blossoms from the stem? Canst thou wonder how, with the power to live while the world shall last, ere even our ordinary date be finished we yet may prefer to die? Wonder rather that there are two who have clung so faithfully to earth! Me, I confess, that earth can enamour yet. Attaining to the last secret while youth was in its bloom, youth still colours all around me with its own luxuriant beauty; to me, yet, to breathe is to enjoy. The freshness has not faded from the face of Nature, and not an herb in which I cannot discover a new charm, -- an undetected wonder.

As with my youth, so with Mejnour's age: he will tell you that life to him is but a power to examine; and not till he has exhausted all the marvels which the Creator has sown on earth, would he desire new habitations for the renewed Spirit to explore. We are the types of the two essences of what is imperishable, -- 'ART, that enjoys; and SCIENCE, that contemplates!' And now, that thou mayest be contented that the secrets are not vouchsafed to thee, learn that so utterly must the idea detach itself from what makes up the occupation and excitement of men; so must it be void of whatever would covet, or love, or hate, -- that for the ambitious man, for the lover, the hater, the power avails not. And I, at last, bound and blinded by the most common of household ties; I, darkened and helpless, adjure thee, the baffled and discontented, -- I adjure thee to direct, to guide me; where are they? Oh, tell me, -- speak! My wife, -- my child? Silent! -- oh, thou knowest now that I am no sorcerer, no enemy. I cannot give thee what thy faculties deny, -- I cannot achieve what the passionless Mejnour failed to accomplish; but I can give thee the next-best boon, perhaps the fairest, -- I can reconcile thee to the daily world, and place peace between thy conscience and thyself."

"Wilt thou promise?"

"By their sweet lives, I promise!"

Glyndon looked and believed. He whispered the address to the house whither his fatal step already had brought woe and doom.

"Bless thee for this," exclaimed Zanoni, passionately, "and thou shalt be blessed! What! couldst thou not perceive that at the entrance to all the grander worlds dwell the race that intimidate and awe? Who in thy daily world ever left the old regions of Custom and Prescription, and felt not the first seizure of the shapeless and nameless Fear? Everywhere around thee where men aspire and labour, though they see it not, -- in the closet of the sage, in the council of the demagogue, in the camp of the warrior, -- everywhere cowers and darkens the Unutterable Horror. But there, where thou hast ventured, alone is the Phantom VISIBLE; and never will it cease to haunt, till thou canst pass to the Infinite, as the seraph; or return to the Familiar, as a child! But answer me this: when, seeking to adhere to some calm resolve of virtue, the Phantom hath stalked suddenly to thy side; when its voice hath whispered thee despair; when its ghastly eyes would scare thee back to those scenes of earthly craft or riotous excitement from which, as it leaves thee to worse foes to the soul, its presence is ever absent, -- hast thou never bravely resisted the spectre and thine own horror; hast thou never said, 'Come what may, to Virtue I will cling?'"

"Alas!" answered Glyndon, "only of late have I dared to do so."

"And thou hast felt then that the Phantom grew more dim and its power more faint?"

"It is true."

"Rejoice, then! -- thou hast overcome the true terror and mystery of the ordeal. Resolve is the first success. Rejoice, for the exorcism is sure! Thou art not of those who, denying a life to come, are the victims of the Inexorable Horror. Oh, when shall men learn, at last, that if the Great Religion inculcates so rigidly the necessity of FAITH, it is not alone that FAITH leads to the world to be; but that without faith there is no excellence in this, -- faith in something wiser, happier, diviner, than we see on earth! -- the artist calls it the Ideal, -- the priest, Faith. The Ideal and Faith are one and the same. Return, O wanderer, return! Feel what beauty and holiness dwell in the Customary and the Old. Back to thy gateway glide, thou Horror! and calm, on the childlike heart, smile again, O azure Heaven, with thy night and thy morning star but as one, though under its double name of Memory and Hope!"

As he thus spoke, Zanoni laid his hand gently on the burning temples of his excited and wondering listener; and presently a sort of trance came over him: he imagined that he was returned to the home of his infancy; that he was in the small chamber where, over his early slumbers, his mother had watched and prayed. There it was, -- visible, palpable, solitary, unaltered. In the recess, the homely bed; on the walls, the shelves filled with holy books; the very easel on which he had first sought to call the ideal to the canvas, dust-covered, broken, in the corner. Below the window lay the old churchyard: he saw it green in the distance, the sun glancing through the yew-trees; he saw the tomb where father and mother lay united, and the spire pointing up to heaven, the symbol of the hopes of those who consigned the ashes to the dust; in his ear rang the bells, pealing, as on a Sabbath day. Far fled all the visions of anxiety and awe that had haunted and convulsed; youth, boyhood, childhood came back to him with innocent desires and hopes; he thought he fell upon his knees to pray. He woke, -- he woke in delicious tears, he felt that the Phantom was fled forever. He looked round, -- Zanoni was gone. On the table lay these lines, the ink yet wet: --

"I will find ways and means for thy escape. At nightfall, as the clock strikes nine, a boat shall wait thee on the river before this house; the boatman will guide thee to a retreat where thou mayst rest in safety till the Reign of Terror, which nears its close, be past. Think no more of the sensual love that lured, and wellnigh lost thee. It betrayed, and would have destroyed. Thou wilt regain thy land in safety, -- long years yet spared to thee to muse over the past, and to redeem it. For thy future, be thy dream thy guide, and thy tears thy baptism."

The Englishman obeyed the injunctions of the letter, and found their truth.
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Re: Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Postby admin » Tue May 29, 2018 5:40 am

CHAPTER 10

Quid mirare meas tot in uno corpore formas?
-- Propert.
(Why wonder that I have so many forms in a single body?)


Zanoni to Mejnour.

***

"She is in one of their prisons, -- their inexorable prisons. It is Robespierre's order, -- I have tracked the cause to Glyndon. This, then, made that terrible connection between their fates which I could not unravel, but which (till severed as it now is) wrapped Glyndon himself in the same cloud that concealed her. In prison, -- in prison! -- it is the gate of the grave! Her trial, and the inevitable execution that follows such trial, is the third day from this. The tyrant has fixed all his schemes of slaughter for the 10th of Thermidor. While the deaths of the unoffending strike awe to the city, his satellites are to massacre his foes. There is but one hope left, -- that the Power which now dooms the doomer, may render me an instrument to expedite his fall. But two days left, -- two days! In all my wealth of time I see but two days; all beyond, -- darkness, solitude. I may save her yet. The tyrant shall fall the day before that which he has set apart for slaughter! For the first time I mix among the broils and stratagems of men, and my mind leaps up from my despair, armed and eager for the contest."

***

A crowd had gathered round the Rue St. Honore; a young man was just arrested by the order of Robespierre. He was known to be in the service of Tallien, that hostile leader in the Convention, whom the tyrant had hitherto trembled to attack. This incident had therefore produced a greater excitement than a circumstance so customary as an arrest in the Reign of Terror might be supposed to create. Amongst the crowd were many friends of Tallien, many foes to the tyrant, many weary of beholding the tiger dragging victim after victim to its den. Hoarse, foreboding murmurs were heard; fierce eyes glared upon the officers as they seized their prisoner; and though they did not yet dare openly to resist, those in the rear pressed on those behind, and encumbered the path of the captive and his captors. The young man struggled hard for escape, and, by a violent effort, at last wrenched himself from the grasp. The crowd made way, and closed round to protect him, as he dived and darted through their ranks; but suddenly the trampling of horses was heard at hand, -- the savage Henriot and his troop were bearing down upon the mob. The crowd gave way in alarm, and the prisoner was again seized by one of the partisans of the Dictator. At that moment a voice whispered the prisoner, "Thou hast a letter which, if found on thee, ruins thy last hope. Give it to me! I will bear it to Tallien." The prisoner turned in amaze, read something that encouraged him in the eyes of the stranger who thus accosted him. The troop were now on the spot; the Jacobin who had seized the prisoner released hold of him for a moment to escape the hoofs of the horses: in that moment the opportunity was found, -- the stranger had disappeared.

***

At the house of Tallien the principal foes of the tyrant were assembled. Common danger made common fellowship. All factions laid aside their feuds for the hour to unite against the formidable man who was marching over all factions to his gory throne. There was bold Lecointre, the declared enemy; there, creeping Barrere, who would reconcile all extremes, the hero of the cowards; Barras, calm and collected; Collet d'Herbois, breathing wrath and vengeance, and seeing not that the crimes of Robespierre alone sheltered his own.

The council was agitated and irresolute. The awe which the uniform success and the prodigious energy of Robespierre excited still held the greater part under its control. Tallien, whom the tyrant most feared, and who alone could give head and substance and direction to so many contradictory passions, was too sullied by the memory of his own cruelties not to feel embarrassed by his position as the champion of mercy. "It is true," he said, after an animating harangue from Lecointre, "that the Usurper menaces us all. But he is still so beloved by his mobs, -- still so supported by his Jacobins: better delay open hostilities till the hour is more ripe. To attempt and not succeed is to give us, bound hand and foot, to the guillotine. Every day his power must decline. Procrastination is our best ally -- " While yet speaking, and while yet producing the effect of water on the fire, it was announced that a stranger demanded to see him instantly on business that brooked no delay.

"I am not at leisure," said the orator, impatiently. The servant placed a note on the table. Tallien opened it, and found these words in pencil, "From the prison of Teresa de Fontenai." He turned pale, started up, and hastened to the anteroom, where he beheld a face entirely strange to him.

"Hope of France!" said the visitor to him, and the very sound of his voice went straight to the heart, -- "your servant is arrested in the streets. I have saved your life, and that of your wife who will be. I bring to you this letter from Teresa de Fontenai."

Tallien, with a trembling hand, opened the letter, and read, --

"Am I forever to implore you in vain? Again and again I say, 'Lose not an hour if you value my life and your own.' My trial and death are fixed the third day from this, -- the 10th Thermidor. Strike while it is yet time, -- strike the monster! -- you have two days yet. If you fail, -- if you procrastinate, -- see me for the last time as I pass your windows to the guillotine!"

"Her trial will give proof against you," said the stranger. "Her death is the herald of your own. Fear not the populace, -- the populace would have rescued your servant. Fear not Robespierre, -- he gives himself to your hands. To-morrow he comes to the Convention, -- to-morrow you must cast the last throw for his head or your own."

"To-morrow he comes to the Convention! And who are you that know so well what is concealed from me?"

"A man like you, who would save the woman he loves."

Before Tallien could recover his surprise, the visitor was gone.

Back went the Avenger to his conclave an altered man. "I have heard tidings, -- no matter what," he cried, -- "that have changed my purpose. On the 10th we are destined to the guillotine. I revoke my counsel for delay. Robespierre comes to the Convention to-morrow; THERE we must confront and crush him. From the Mountain shall frown against him the grim shade of Danton, -- from the Plain shall rise, in their bloody cerements, the spectres of Vergniaud and Condorcet. Frappons!"

"Frappons!" cried even Barrere, startled into energy by the new daring of his colleague, -- "frappons! il n'y a que les morts qui ne reviennent pas."

It was observable (and the fact may be found in one of the memoirs of the time) that, during that day and night (the 7th Thermidor), a stranger to all the previous events of that stormy time was seen in various parts of the city, -- in the cafes, the clubs, the haunts of the various factions; that, to the astonishment and dismay of his hearers, he talked aloud of the crimes of Robespierre, and predicted his coming fall; and, as he spoke, he stirred up the hearts of men, he loosed the bonds of their fear, -- he inflamed them with unwonted rage and daring. But what surprised them most was, that no voice replied, no hand was lifted against him, no minion, even of the tyrant, cried, "Arrest the traitor." In that impunity men read, as in a book, that the populace had deserted the man of blood.

Once only a fierce, brawny Jacobin sprang up from the table at which he sat, drinking deep, and, approaching the stranger, said, "I seize thee, in the name of the Republic."

"Citizen Aristides," answered the stranger, in a whisper, "go to the lodgings of Robespierre, -- he is from home; and in the left pocket of the vest which he cast off not an hour since thou wilt find a paper; when thou hast read that, return. I will await thee; and if thou wouldst then seize me, I will go without a struggle. Look round on those lowering brows; touch me NOW, and thou wilt be torn to pieces."

The Jacobin felt as if compelled to obey against his will. He went forth muttering; he returned, -- the stranger was still there. "Mille tonnerres," he said to him, "I thank thee; the poltroon had my name in his list for the guillotine."

With that the Jacobin Aristides sprang upon the table and shouted, "Death to the Tyrant!"
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Re: Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale, by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Postby admin » Tue May 29, 2018 5:40 am

CHAPTER 11

Le lendemain, 8 Thermidor, Robespierre se decida a prononcer son fameux discours.
-- Thiers, "Hist. de la Revolution."
(The next day, 8th Thermidor, Robespierre resolved to deliver his celebrated discourse.)


The morning rose, -- the 8th of Thermidor (July 26). Robespierre has gone to the Convention. He has gone with his laboured speech; he has gone with his phrases of philanthropy and virtue; he has gone to single out his prey. All his agents are prepared for his reception; the fierce St. Just has arrived from the armies to second his courage and inflame his wrath. His ominous apparition prepares the audience for the crisis. "Citizens!" screeched the shrill voice of Robespierre "others have placed before you flattering pictures; I come to announce to you useful truths.

***

And they attribute to me, -- to me alone! -- whatever of harsh or evil is committed: it is Robespierre who wishes it; it is Robespierre who ordains it. Is there a new tax? -- it is Robespierre who ruins you. They call me tyrant! -- and why? Because I have acquired some influence; but how? -- in speaking truth; and who pretends that truth is to be without force in the mouths of the Representatives of the French people? Doubtless, truth has its power, its rage, its despotism, its accents, touching, terrible, which resound in the pure heart as in the guilty conscience; and which Falsehood can no more imitate than Salmoneus could forge the thunderbolts of Heaven. What am I whom they accuse? A slave of liberty, -- a living martyr of the Republic; the victim as the enemy of crime! All ruffianism affronts me, and actions legitimate in others are crimes in me. It is enough to know me to be calumniated. It is in my very zeal that they discover my guilt. Take from me my conscience, and I should be the most miserable of men!"

He paused; and Couthon wiped his eyes, and St. Just murmured applause as with stern looks he gazed on the rebellious Mountain; and there was a dead, mournful, and chilling silence through the audience. The touching sentiment woke no echo.

The orator cast his eyes around. Ho! he will soon arouse that apathy. He proceeds, he praises, he pities himself no more. He denounces, -- he accuses. Overflooded with his venom, he vomits it forth on all. At home, abroad, finances, war, -- on all! Shriller and sharper rose his voice, --

"A conspiracy exists against the public liberty. It owes its strength to a criminal coalition in the very bosom of the Convention; it has accomplices in the bosom of the Committee of Public Safety...What is the remedy to this evil? To punish the traitors; to purify this committee; to crush all factions by the weight of the National Authority; to raise upon their ruins the power of Liberty and Justice. Such are the principles of that Reform. Must I be ambitious to profess them? -- then the principles are proscribed, and Tyranny reigns amongst us! For what can you object to a man who is in the right, and has at least this knowledge, -- he knows how to die for his native land! I am made to combat crime, and not to govern it. The time, alas! is not yet arrived when men of worth can serve with impunity their country. So long as the knaves rule, the defenders of liberty will be only the proscribed."

For two hours, through that cold and gloomy audience, shrilled the Death-speech. In silence it began, in silence closed. The enemies of the orator were afraid to express resentment; they knew not yet the exact balance of power. His partisans were afraid to approve; they knew not whom of their own friends and relations the accusations were designed to single forth. "Take care!" whispered each to each; "it is thou whom he threatens." But silent though the audience, it was, at the first, wellnigh subdued. There was still about this terrible man the spell of an overmastering will. Always -- though not what is called a great orator -- resolute, and sovereign in the use of words; words seemed as things when uttered by one who with a nod moved the troops of Henriot, and influenced the judgment of Rene Dumas, grim President of the Tribunal. Lecointre of Versailles rose, and there was an anxious movement of attention; for Lecointre was one of the fiercest foes of the tyrant. What was the dismay of the Tallien faction; what the complacent smile of Couthon, -- when Lecointre demanded only that the oration should be printed! All seemed paralyzed. At length Bourdon de l'Oise, whose name was doubly marked in the black list of the Dictator, stalked to the tribune, and moved the bold counter-resolution, that the speech should be referred to the two committees whom that very speech accused. Still no applause from the conspirators; they sat torpid as frozen men. The shrinking Barrere, ever on the prudent side, looked round before he rose. He rises, and sides with Lecointre! Then Couthon seized the occasion, and from his seat (a privilege permitted only to the paralytic philanthropist) (M. Thiers in his History, volume iv. page 79, makes a curious blunder: he says, "Couthon s'elance a la tribune.' (Couthon darted towards the tribune.) Poor Couthon! whose half body was dead, and who was always wheeled in his chair into the Convention, and spoke sitting.), and with his melodious voice sought to convert the crisis into a triumph.

He demanded, not only that the harangue should be printed, but sent to all the communes and all the armies. It was necessary to soothe a wronged and ulcerated heart. Deputies, the most faithful, had been accused of shedding blood. "Ah! if HE had contributed to the death of one innocent man, he should immolate himself with grief." Beautiful tenderness! -- and while he spoke, he fondled the spaniel in his bosom. Bravo, Couthon! Robespierre triumphs! The reign of Terror shall endure! The old submission settles dovelike back in the assembly! They vote the printing of the Death-speech, and its transmission to all the municipalities. From the benches of the Mountain, Tallien, alarmed, dismayed, impatient, and indignant, cast his gaze where sat the strangers admitted to hear the debates; and suddenly he met the eyes of the Unknown who had brought to him the letter from Teresa de Fontenai the preceding day. The eyes fascinated him as he gazed. In aftertimes he often said that their regard, fixed, earnest, half-reproachful, and yet cheering and triumphant, filled him with new life and courage. They spoke to his heart as the trumpet speaks to the war-horse. He moved from his seat; he whispered with his allies: the spirit he had drawn in was contagious; the men whom Robespierre especially had denounced, and who saw the sword over their heads, woke from their torpid trance. Vadier, Cambon, Billaud-Varennes, Panis, Amar, rose at once, -- all at once demanded speech. Vadier is first heard, the rest succeed. It burst forth, the Mountain, with its fires and consuming lava; flood upon flood they rush, a legion of Ciceros upon the startled Catiline! Robespierre falters, hesitates, -- would qualify, retract. They gather new courage from his new fears; they interrupt him; they drown his voice; they demand the reversal of the motion. Amar moves again that the speech be referred to the Committees, to the Committees, -- to his enemies! Confusion and noise and clamour! Robespierre wraps himself in silent and superb disdain. Pale, defeated, but not yet destroyed, he stands, -- a storm in the midst of storm!

The motion is carried. All men foresee in that defeat the Dictator's downfall. A solitary cry rose from the galleries; it was caught up; it circled through the hall, the audience: "A bas le tyrant! Vive la republique!" (Down with the tyrant! Hurrah for the republic!)
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