Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/89

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broke into the Tuileries, on the 20th of June, 1792; the royal family were momentarily dispersed by the sudden irruption. The Queen and the Dauphin, were in one part of the apartments, the King alone in another, where his heroic sister hastened to join him. The mob, who had been trained to particular hostility to the Queen, mistook Madame Elizabeth fox her, and maltreated her with great grossness of language and serious menaces of violence. One of the terrified attendants was about to endeavour to save the princess by apprizing the assassins that she was not the Queen, when, with equal magnanimity and presence of mind, Madame Elizabeth,—desiring that if any one should be sacrificed it might be herself,—stopped him by whispering, "Oh no, don't undeceive them" Neither Greek nor Roman story have any superior instance of self-devotion. This noble creature had been in close confinement in the Temple from the 13th of August, 1792, down to the day of her trial, seeing no one but her little niece, and watched day and night by her persecutors; yet she was doomed to die—the devil only knows why—for some imaginary and impossible conspiracy. During the long transit to the scaffold she was seen to encourage with pious gestures her fellow-sufferers, and when, on the scaffold, one of the executioners (we hope not Sanson) rudely tore off the covering of her neck, she turned—her own hands being tied—to another, and said, softly and sublimely, "I implore you, for the love of your mother, to cover my neck!"