Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/63

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strated with on the exorbitancy of the charge, he replied "that the high charges arose from his workmen demanding enormous wages, from a prejudice against the object in view." On which Rœderer remarks, "The prejudice, indeed, exists; but I have had offers from other persons to undertake the work, provided they should not be asked to sign contracts, or in any other way have their names exposed as connected with this object." This is very remarkable, and affords a practical confirmation of Maury's apprehension, for we see that the artificers of Paris, even so far forward in the Revolution as April, 1792, shrank from any avowed connexion with the instrument which, after a few months' exercise, became the delight of the Parisian mob, and not of the mob alone, and was absolutely canonised in the philosophical rubric as La Sainte Guillotine—nay, it became the model of ornaments for women, and of toys for children. These were sold by permission of the police in the streets, and the toymen furnished living sparrows to be decapitated by the instruments. Just before the trial of the Queen, one of these toys was presented to her son, then a prisoner in the Temple, by the notorious Chaumette, who, within a few months, died by the object of his predilection.

In the mean time it seems that Schmidt, who had been employed by the officer at Strasburgh, offered to make a machine for 960 francs (38l.); this offer was accepted, and he was put in communication with M. Louis; and Schmidt became, in fact, the inventor