of two movable sections which, when fitted together, showed a round hole about the size of a man's neck. The upper section of the panel slipped into a groove in such a way that it could be raised or lowered. For the time being, the two semicircles which, when united, formed the collar, were apart. At the foot of the two posts was seen a plank, which moved on hinges and looked like a balance. Beside this plank, there was a long basket, and between the two posts, in front, and at the end of the trestle, a square basket.
It was painted red.
Everything was of wood, except the triangle, which was of iron. One felt that this had been built by men, it was so ugly, mean, petty; and that it was worthy of being set up there by genii, it was so formidable.
This misshapen structure was the guillotine.
In front, a few feet away, in the ravine, there was another monster, la Tourgue. A monster of stone offering a counterpart to the monster of wood, and, we may add, when man has touched wood and stone, the wood and stone are no longer merely wood and stone, but become a part of man.
An edifice is a dogma, a machine is an idea.
La Tourgue was that fatal result of the past which is called the Bastille in Paris, the Tower of London in England, the Spielberg in Germany, the Escurial in Spain, the Kremlin in Moscow, the castle of Saint-Angelo in Rome.
Fifteen hundred years were condensed in la Tourgue, the Middle Ages, vassalage, serfdom, feudalism; in the guillotine, one year, '93; and these twelve months counterbalanced these fifteen centuries.
La Tourgue was the monarchy; the guillotine was the Revolution.
On one side, debt; on the other, maturity. On one side, the inextricable Gothic complication, the serf, the seigneur, the slave, the master, the commonalty, the nobility, the complex code with its ramification of customs, judge and priest in coalition, innumerable bonds, the treasury, the salt taxes, the mortmain, the capitations, the exceptions, the prerogatives, the prejudices, the fanaticisms, the royal privilege of bankruptcy, the sceptre, the