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and slumbered undisturbed under silken undulating curtains, awakes now at the dismal sound of bars and bolts, surrounded by savage keepers, in the horrors of a sepulchral prison, and threatened by cruel executioners.
“The lightning, darting on his stripped brow, gives additional horror to this mansion of grief. But hope, that soothing necromancer, dwells secretly under the horrid vaults ; it strews flowers around, and softens the rigor of captivity ; it hovers round the unfortunate king, and solaces his poignant sorrows, mingling the delusions of dreams with the reality of sleep! Sleep then, wretched monarch, rest in peace! Hope has closed thy modest curtains, a good conscience watches at the head of thy bed, sleep, monarch, sleep !.... Those, who plot against thy life, are awake ; an implacable fury shakes her serpents among them ; the thirst of ambition devours them ; the shades of September haunt them ; these are frightful, they are bloody ; they vociferate, the just sleeps!.....Ye shall sleep no more !"
More now than in any part of my narration I quit the path of history. It does not belong to my feeble pencil to attempt the majestic task reserved for the future historian, that of a captive king defending the remnants of an embittered existence against an accusing senate. Once more, history will judge whether the monarch was guilty, for my part I shall only present him as unfortunate.
But, as all communications had ceased between him and me from the day, on which his deliverance was attempted, until that which preceded his death ; the keepers having redoubled their vigilance, Clery not being allowed to quit the tower, every object introduced being scrupulously examined, and large blinds being fixed before his majesty's windows, which defeated the object of the telegraphical apparatus, I must give up the recital to M. de Malesherbes. This venerable old man, who had been twice the minister of Louis during his prosperity, claimed, as an inestimable honour, the privilege of being his counsel during this prosecution. Each evening, when he returned from the Temple, he recorded on his faith
ful tablets what he had observed, heard or felt. He permitted me the next day to extract what I should find entertaining
Those extracts will enable me to conclude my recital respecting Louis XVI. I shall be careful to omit what is already well known. But besides the sensations experienced by a heart endowed with a deep and lively sensibility, besides the sentiments expressed by a mind profoundly versed in meditation, there are important details, not mentioned or known to Clery and those writers, who recorded the last days of the king. How precious will those details be to your heart, if you consider, that while you read them, we tread under foot the ashes of the man, whom they concerned, who traced them with his dying hand.
" MEMOIRS OF THE LAST DAYS OF LOUIS XVI."
COPIED FROM M. DE MALESHERBES TABLETS.
" After the famous results of the conferences held in the street of the Dry Tree ; and my liberty decreed by the tribunal of the seventh of August, I had retired into the country, convinced, that my presence in Paris could no longer be useful to him, who was
once my master, and that it might be dangerous to myself.
“ But, as soon as I heard, that the convention had determined, that Louis should be tried, and, that they would try him, I resolved to consecrate to his defence the few days of an expiring life ; too happy, if, at the expense of my life and health, I could guard my country against a crime by saving from the axe the best of men, the most wretched of kings.
“I supposed that my devotedness would be so much the more useful to him, who was the object of it, that being looked upon for a long time as a member of the philosophical sect, a denomination invented by prejudices to disgrace true philosophers, who never form sects, I should be above all suspicion of royalism. I presumed, that they would not believe, that an old man, grown grey in the robes of the ministry, could assume the defence of the accused, if he thought him guilty. Since old Malesherbes offered to defend the king, it was to be supposed, that Louis was innocent."
This was the conclusion drawn by the worthy, when they were made acquainted with my letter of Dec. 11th. The assembly gave it a favourable reception, and the king expressed his thanks. I record a fact here, which does more honour to those, who supported me, than it gave me pleasure. The first time, that I presented myself before the commission of the twenty one, charged, as it is well known, to report on the king's business, my arrival was noised about, and spread through the groups of the Tuileries and St. Honoré's street, through which my carriage passed. When I alighted, I was surrounded and embraced, pressed by a multitude of good citizens, and feeling women, who wished me to promise that I would save the king. One of those women presented me her child, three years old, and asked the liberty for him to kiss me, a request, which I granted with extreme pleasure. I did not feel, without the liveliest emotion, and the public did not observe with indifference, those little hạnds pressing my wrinkled face, and the flaxen locks of this lovely Infant mingled with the grey hair of an old man. withered with