Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/33

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with every kind of ostentation, to the public gaze. A public dinner of six hundred National Guards was got up in their honour; numerous patriotic and philanthropic toasts were drunk, and then, in an "ivresse," not altogether of wine, the newspapers say, but of patriotism and joy, the two youths were marched back through half Paris, preceded by a band of music, to the house of the uncle, where the rest of the Agasse family, old and young, male and female, came forth into the street to receive the congratulations of the tipsy crowd. Can we imagine any greater cruelty than the making a show of the grief of these unhappy people, and thus forcing them to celebrate, as it were,—in the incongruous novelties of gold lace and military promotion, and public exhibitions,—the violent death of their nearest and dearest relations?

While these tragical farces were playing, the poor culprits, who did not at all partake of the kind of enthusiasm their case excited, were endeavouring to escape from the painful honour of having this great moral experiment made in their persons: but in vain; their appeals were rejected, and at length they were, on the 8th of February, led forth to execution in a kind of triumph—of which it was remarked that they felt nothing but the aggravation of their own personal misery,—and were hanged with as much tenderness as old Izaak Walton hooked his worm; and, that preliminary process being over, the bodies were delivered with a vast parade of reverence and delicacy to the family. The surviving brother was con-