Página:Imbert de Saint-Amand Marie Antoinette.djvu/18

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soldiers; gentlemen in French coats, powdered hair, swords at their sides, hats under their arms, silk stockings and low shoes; democrats close—cropped and unpowdered., with English frock coats and American cravats; ragged sans-culottes i11 red caps, weave in and out in ceaseless motion.

Do you know what was the chief distraction of this crowd in April, 1792? The debut of that new and fashionable machine, the guillotine. It was used for the first time on the 25th, for a criminal guilty of rape. Sensitive people congratulated each other on the mitigated torment, which they were pleased to consider a humanitarian improvement. The excellent philanthropist, Doctor Guillotin, was lauded to the skies. His machine was nam.ed guil- lotine in his honor, just as the stage-coaches established by Turgot had been called turgotines.

\Vhat enthusiasm, what infatuation, for this guil- lotine, already so famous and destined to be so much more so! The editors of the Moniteur declare in a lyric outburst that it is worthy of the approach- ing century. The truth is that it accelerates and makes less difficult the eXecutioner’s task. In the end the crowd would become disgusted with massa- cres. The delays of the gibbet would weary their patience. The sans-culottes, who doubtless have a presentiment of all that is going to happen, wel- come the guillotine, then, with acclamations. At the Amibigu theatre a ballet-pantomime, called Les Quatre Fils Ag/man, is given, a11d all Paris runs to