By Ruth Scurr
Ruth Scurr deals a considerable advent to Carlyle and his masterwork, via a chain of conscientiously chosen extracts.
Read or Download Carlyle's The French Revolution: Continuum Histories 5 (Continuums Histories) PDF
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Additional resources for Carlyle's The French Revolution: Continuum Histories 5 (Continuums Histories)
Have the destroyers descended on us, then? From the Bridge of Sevres to utmost Vincennes, from Saint-Denis to the Champ-de-Mars, we are begirt! Alarm, of the vague unknown, is in every heart. The Palais Royal has become a place of awestruck interjections, silent shakings of the head: one can fancy with what dolorous sound the noon-tide cannon (which the Sun fires at the crossing of his meridian) went off there; bodeful, like an inarticulate voice of doom. Are these troops verily come out ‘against Brigands’?
Singular Guillotin, respectable practitioner: doomed by a satiric destiny to the strangest immortal glory that ever kept obscure mortal from his resting-place, the bosom of oblivion! Guillotin can improve the ventilation of the Hall; in all cases of medical police and hygiene be a present aid: but, greater far, he can produce his ‘Report on the Penal Code;’ and reveal therein a cunningly devised Beheading Machine, which shall become famous and world-famous. This is the product of Guillotin’s endeavours, gained not without meditation and reading; which product popular gratitude or levity christens by a feminine derivative name, as if it were his daughter: La Guillotine!
Nevertheless the hungry poor are already burning Town Barriers, where Tribute on eatables is levied; getting clamorous for food. The twelfth July morning is Sunday; the streets are all placarded with an enormous-sized De par le Roi, ‘inviting peaceable citizens to remain within doors,’ to feel no alarm, to gather in no crowd. Why so? What mean these ‘placards of enormous size’? Above all, what means this clatter of military; dragoons, hussars, rattling in from all points of the compass towards the Place Louis Quinze; with a staid gravity of face, though saluted with mere nicknames, hootings and even missiles?
Carlyle's The French Revolution: Continuum Histories 5 (Continuums Histories) by Ruth Scurr