Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/90

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75
EXECUTION OF MADAME ROLAND.

Here too, on the 9th November, 1793, between the deaths of the Queen and Madame Elizabeth was sent to the scaffold, by her own former friends and favourites,[1] Marie Phlipon, Madame Roland, a woman of humble birth with great ambition, narrow education with a great love of literature, strong passions with a cold temper, and possessing above all that dangerous species of talent which decides summarily and plausibly on the events of the moment, without having either the patience or the power to inquire whence they spring and whither they are tending. Her Memoirs, written in prison, in the subdued and conciliatory tone of adversity, and with the great charm of an easy yet forcible style, have recommended her to general sympathy, and to the enthusiastic admiration of all who partake her revolutionary opinions. Those who wish to think with unmixed admiration of Madame Roland must take her up where she left the world—at the guichet of the Conciergerie. Her former political life—full of animosity, faction, intolerance, bad faith, and even cruelty—will engage little favour; and, as happens in so many other cases in the history of the Revolution, we should cease to pity Madame Roland if we remembered that she suffered only what she had been during her reign—for she too had reigned—not reluctant to inflict on others. She died with great resolution, in company with a M. la Marche, who did not show so much

  1. Robespierre had been a peculiar favourite and protégé of hers.