Page:Ninety-three.djvu/164

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160
NINETY-THREE.

"Yes."

"I knew both of them. Well?"

"They were so much frightened that they saluted all the redcaps of all the turnkeys, and one day they refused to play a game of piquet because they were given a pack of cards with kings and queens."

"Well?"

"They were guillotined yesterday."

"Both of them?"

"Both of them."

"On the whole, how did they behave in prison?"

"Like cowards."

"And how were they on the scaffold?"

"Fearless."

And Dussaulx uttered this exclamation,—

"It is easier to die than to live."

Barère was in the midst of reading a report concerning la Vendée. Nine hundred men of Morbihan bad set out with cannon to the relief of Nantes. Redon was threatened by the peasants. Paimbœuf was attacked. A fleet was cruising about Maindrin to prevent invasion. From Ingrande to Maure, the entire left bank of the Loire was bristling with Royalist batteries. Ten thousand peasants had possession of Pornic. They were crying, "Long live the English!" A letter from Santerre to the Convention, which Barère read, ended thus: "Seven thousand peasants have attacked Vannes. We repulsed them and they left four cannon in our hands—"

"And how many prisoners?" interupted a voice.

Barére continued,—"Postscript of the letter: 'We have no prisoners, because we no longer take any.'"

Marat, always immovable, was not listening; he seemed to be absorbed by his own stern thoughts. In his hand he held a paper which he crumpled between his fingers, and if any one had unfolded this paper he could have read these lines in Momoro's handwriting and which were probably a reply to some question asked by Marat.

"Nothing can be done against the sovereign power of the delegated commissioners, above all, against the delegates of the Committee of Public Welfare. It was in vain that Génisseux said, in the session of May sixth: 'Each commissioner is more than a king,' it was of no use. They have power over life and death. Massade, at Angers;