Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/96

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
81
CREDITABLE CONDUCT OF SANSON.

Madame de Feuquières and twenty-three other persons are stated to have suffered on the 1st of July at the Barrière du Trône.

In the forty-nine days in which it is said to have stood at the Barriére du Trône it despatched 1270 persons of both sexes, and of all ages and ranks, and it became necessary to build a kind of sanguiduct, to carry off the streams of blood; and on the very last day, when the tyrant had already fallen, and that the smallest interruption would have sufficed to have stopped the fatal procession, forty-nine persons passed almost unguarded through the stupified streets to the place of execution. And here we have the last occasion to mention Sanson; and it is to his credit, as indeed all the personal details related of him seem to be. On the 9th Thermidor there was, about half-past three in the afternoon, just as this last batch of victims was about to leave the Conciergerie, a considerable commotion in the town, caused by the revolt against Robespierre. At that moment Fouquier, on his way to dine with a neighbour, passed through the court where the prisoners were ascending the fatal carts. Sanson, whose duty it was to conduct the prisoners to execution, ventured to stop the Accusateur Public, to represent to him that there were some rumours of a commotion, and to suggest whether it would not be prudent to postpone the execution till at least the next morning. Fouquier roughly replied that the law must take its course. He went to dinner, and the forty-nine victims went to the scaffold, whither in due time he followed them!