Never did the fate of so many men and so many ideas depend so plainly on a chance! And yet this was not a chance. Drouet was the means of the king's destruction: if he had not recognised the monarch from his resemblance with his portrait on the assignats if he had not rode with all speed, and reached Varennes before the carriages, in two hours more the king and his family must have been saved.

The assignats now are only a quarter of their face value, so that for two hundred louis I should get eight hundred louis in assignats, of which I would take two hundred, and you could take the rest."

All in vain. The official tables of depreciation show that the assignats continued to fall. A forced loan, calling in a billion of these, checked this fall, but only for a moment. The "interconvertibility scheme" between currency and bonds failed as dismally as the "interconvertibility scheme" between currency and land had failed.

"No, citizen. Now the man cuts off his hair, and folds it in the paper." "The one who sleeps?" "No, the one who was just now writing. He is now writing something on the back of the paper in which he wrapped the hair; now he opens a little red pocket-book, and takes papers out of it; they are assignats, he counts them and then puts them back in the pocket-book.

"The hairdresser who lived in our street," said Manon; "he became a great patriot, you know, and orator; and, what with his eloquence and his luck in dealing in assignats, he has made his fortune and mine." "And yours! then he is your husband?"

* For instance, a young monk, for writing fanatic letters, and signing resolutions in favour of foederalism a hosier, for facilitating the return of an emigrant a man of ninety, for speaking against the revolution, and discrediting the assignats a contractor, for embezzling forage people of various descriptions, for obstructing the recruitment, or insulting the tree of liberty.

When Jean Blaise paid mine host in assignats, the citoyen Poitrine complained bitterly that he never saw what he called "square money" nowadays, and promised a fine candle to the beggar who'd bring back the "yellow boys" again. He offered the citoyennes their pick of flowers.

Our embarrassment for small change is renewed: many of the communes who had issued bills of five, ten, and fifteen sols, repayable in assignats, are become bankrupts, which circumstance has thrown such a discredit on all this kind of nominal money, that the bills of one town will not pass at another.

Never was there more skillful puffing. A pamphlet signed "Marchant" and dedicated to "People of Good Faith" was widely circulated, in which Marchant took pains to show the great advantage of the mandats as compared with assignats, how land could be more easily acquired with them; how their security was better than with assignats; how they could not, by any possibility, sink in values as the assignats had done.

At Toulouse, as in Paris and elsewhere, commissioners take from prisoners every object of value and, accordingly, in many cases, all gold, silver, assignats, and jewelry, which, confiscated for the Treasury, stop half-way in the hands of those who make the seizure.