Página:Imbert de Saint-Amand Marie Antoinette.djvu/14

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to serve as benches for “dirty, dusty, drunken, sweaty spectatorgs in torn jackets, pikes on their shoulders, or with their bare arms crossed”? Do you hear the orators who “call each other beggars, pickpockets, robbers, assassins, to the discordant noise of hisses and those proper to their different groups of devils? They find the material of their metaphors in murder, they borrow them from the filthiest of sewers and dungheaps, and from places set apart for the prostitution of men and Women. Gestures render their figures of speech more compre- hensible; With the cynicism of dogs, they call every- thing by its own name, in an impious and obscene parade of oaths and curses. To destroy and ‘to pro- duce, death and generation, nothing else can be disentangled from the savage jargon which deafens one’s ears,’ And what is it that interrupts the speakers? “The little black owls of the cloister without monks and the steeple Without bells, mak-


ing themselves merry in the broken Windows in expectation of their prey. At first they are called to order by the tinkling of an ineffectual bell; but as their cries do not cease, they are shot at to make them keep silence. They fall, palpitating, bleeding, and ominous, into the midst of the pandemoniumi.”

So, then, clubs take the place of convents. Since the Constituent Assembly had decreed the abolition of monastic vows by its vote of February 13, 1790, many persons, rudely detached from their usual way of life and its duties, had abandoned their vocation.