Robespierre the Incorruptible

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Read Books, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 328 pages
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ROBESPIERRE Ine Incorruptible By FRIEDRICH SIEBURG. Contents include: CHAPTER PACE FOREWORD -------ix I. THE LAST NIGHT ------i II. A BAD FRENCHMAN 20 III. THE MAN OF ACTION AND HIS REFLECTION - 34 IV. THE LIFE OF A SAD MAN 46 V. THE INCORRUPTIBLE - - - - - 61 VI. FIVE SHORT YEARS ------84 VII. THE HEAVENS CLOSE -----91 VIIL TERROR AND VIRTUE - - - - 104 IX. THE COMMUNITY OF THE FAITHFUL - - 117 X. POLITICS AND DEATH - - - - 134 XL THE ANGEL OF DEATH -----148 XIL THE STEELY BLAST ------163 XIII. A PARISIAN SUMMER - - - - 176 XIV. THE BUREAUCRACY OF DEATH - 199 XV WHAT A TYRANT LOOKED LIKE - 222 XVL THE RED MASS ------240 XVIL THE 9TH THERMIDOR -----261 XVIIL SLEEP - 300 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Maximilien Robespierre -----frontispiece Robespierre lying wounded - facing page 10 Statement of expenses of the Committee of Public Safety ---...----18 Saint-Just. Painting by David - - - - 154 The message to Couthon ------296 vii FOREWORD The details of place, time and circumstance are taken with out exception from contemporary sources. No events, no details, and no oral expressions are invented. Reference to die works and documents consulted would have necessitated foot notes on nearly every page. Out of consideration for the reader, therefore, all the sources are omitted. CHAPTER I: THE LAST NIGHT. At two oclock in the morning he was carried on a wooden board into the Tuileries. Carried up fifteen steps in his shattered skull the wounded man felt each step taken by his bearers like the stroke of a hammer then left into the ante room of the Committee of Public Safety. It was a large room, with two windows overlooking the gloomy gardens. Formerly it had been one of the Queens apartments. Theceiling, painted by Mignard of Avignon, por trayed a smiling Apollo in a landscape of pillars and pink clouds welcoming the goddess Minerva and her retinue, the Four Quar ters of the World. The dirty white of the walls, relieved only by thin gold beading, looked warm and yellow in the dim light of the candles. There were no curtains in the windows anyone pressing his face against the panes would see a few dripping trees and fleeting clouds, between which the restless summer stars were once more visible. The garden paths were dry again and steaming. The night was hot. The storm that had broken over Paris to wards midnight and flooded the streets with warm rain had brought but little coolness. That baking midsummer, which dried up fountains, withered flowers, destroyed food in the cup boards, and warped furniture and doors, did not allow people to rest at night. Those few, who naked and bathed in sweat had fallen asleep on their bare beds, had been awakened again by the ringing of the tocsin, by gunfire, by horses trotting on the cobbles and the march of armed men. Many a citizen had obeyed the call of the tocsin, silently put on his National Guards uniform, seized his musket and gone to the rallying-point for his section. Two hours later, drenched with rain, he had as silently returned home, answering his wifes anxious inquiry merely with Nothing special We marched to the Hotel de Ville, but when the storm came on we were or dered to dismiss. Then he had undressed, and standing for a little at the window had listened to the confused tumult of the gloomy, feverish city and watched the pale light that seemed to come from the river then he had stretched himself on his bed...

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