DEAR MOTHER, The day before yesterday Henry and I decided to go to Petit Val. I looked forward with delight to seeing my beautiful home again. Mrs. Moulton promised to drive out and bring me back to Paris late in the afternoon. We drove to the Gare de la Bastille and took our tickets for La Varenne.
He was compelled to sue for pardon before Henry III.; his book was proscribed and burnt; but for the protection of the House of Guise, he would have shared the fate of his book, and was condemned to imprisonment in the Bastille. The learned Swedish historian Rudbeck may perhaps be included in our list of ill-fated authors, although his death was not brought about by the machinations of his foes.
The same officer proposed to lay down arms, on the promise that their lives should be spared. "Lower the bridge," rejoined the foremost of the assailants, "you shall not be injured." The gates were opened and the bridge lowered, on this assurance, and the crowd rushed into the Bastille.
He had seen Pope Pius burned in effigy in the Palais Royal, and the poor King brought back a prisoner from Varennes, a cheerful spectacle to the friend of humanity. He was on his way to be present at a dinner given in London on the 14th of July, to commemorate the taking of the Bastille; but the managers of the festivity thought it prudent that he should not attend.
"We shall both wind up in the Bastille or Vincennes at this rate," said he. "You must know that it is in serving the country that he has made these enemies. It is but five years since he made a peace at Nimeguen, by which he tore away sixteen fortresses from the Spanish Lowlands.
We now come to the promised extracts from the 'Memoires du Marechal de Richelieu': "Under the late king there was a time when every class of society was asking who the famous personage really was who went by the name of the Iron Mask, but I noticed that this curiosity abated somewhat after his arrival at the Bastille with Saint-Mars, when it began to be reported that orders had been given to kill him should he let his name be known.
Suddenly was heard the cry for which she had been tensely but unconsciously awaiting. Another cry like that had rung out in another mob across the seas more than a century before. "Ala Bastille!" became "To the Chippering!"
What wonder, then, that the people fixed their gaze upon it on that ominous fourteenth of July, and attacked it as the very citadel of tyranny? The Bastille fell, and the sound re-echoed through Europe. It was the signal of a new era and a new hope. The Revolution had begun that mighty movement which, in its meaning and consequences, dwarfs every other cataclysm in history.
Every instant the human sea grew wider and wider; it surged up against the rails and steps of the traitor's house; it was already certain that the place would be burst into like the Bastille, when the broken french window opened and Dr Hirsch came out on the balcony. For an instant the fury half turned to laughter; for he was an absurd figure in such a scene.
He would not, however, confess that he was an impostor; but merely said he did not know how to make the powder of projection, but had received a quantity from an Italian philosopher, and had used it all in his various transmutations in Provence. He lingered for seven or eight months in the Bastille, and died from the effects of his wound, in the forty-first year of his age.