"You live in the rue Beaubourg, and you are Monsieur Derues, formerly a retail grocer?" "The same, my brother." "Should you require a reference, I can give it. Chance, madame, has made you acquainted with a man whose reputation for piety and honour is well established; he will permit me to add my praises to yours." "Indeed, I do not know how I deserve so much honour."
And yet, crippled with debt, without a penny in the world, this daring grocer of the Rue Beaubourg, for such was M. Derues' present condition in life, could cheerfully and confidently engage in a transaction as considerable as the purchase of a large estate for 130,000 livres! The origin of so enterprising a gentleman is worthy of attention.
I had some business in one of the most crowded parts of Paris; I took a chair, and Edouard walked beside me. In the rue Beaubourg we were suddenly surrounded by a mob of low people, who were quarrelling. Carriages stopped the way, and the horses of one of these took fright in the confusion and uproar, and bolted, in spite of the coachman's endeavours to keep them in hand.
No one had dared to ask for mercy; no one had dared to bring any help. They left them to die there. One of the combatants of the Rue Beaubourg was more fortunate. They were pursuing him. He rushed up a staircase, reached a roof, and from there a passage, which proved to be the top corridor of an hotel. A key was in the door.
Derues having a business appointment which he was bound to keep, desired his wife to accompany the Lamottes to the Hotel de France, and in case of their not being able to find rooms there, mentioned three others as the only ones in the quarter where they could be comfortably accommodated. Two hours later Madame de Lamotte and her son returned to his house in the rue Beaubourg.
It is raining. They will tramp about there all day. To-night they will be tired out and will go home to bed." M. Etienne Arago entered hastily at this juncture and said: "There are seven wounded and two killed already. Barricades have been erected in the Rue Beaubourg and in the Rue Saint Avoye." After a suspension of the session M. Guizot arrived.
His landlord, wearied of all this clamour, and most especially weary of never getting any rent without a fight for it, gave him notice to quit. Derues removed to the rue Beaubourg, where he continued to act as commission agent under the name of Cyrano Derues de Bury.
On the 31st the servant at the Rue Beaubourg was told that she could go to her home at Montrouge, whither Derues had previously sent his two children. Mme. Derues, who was in an interesting condition, was sent out for an hour by her husband to do some shopping. Derues was alone with his patient. In the evening a friend, one Bertin, came to dine with Derues.
He primed the pistol and added more powder to what was already in the pan. Then the two men parted. A certain Gallais, afterwards killed in the Rue Beaubourg in the affair of April, boasted of having in his house seven hundred cartridges and twenty-four flints. The government one day received a warning that arms and two hundred thousand cartridges had just been distributed in the faubourg.
The house which Derues occupied stood opposite the rue des Menoriers, and was pulled down quite lately to make way for the rue Rambuteau. In 1776 it was one of the finest houses of the rue Beaubourg, and it required a certain income to be able to live there, the rents being tolerably high.