Introduction to the text
AN EPISODE IN THE HISTORY OF THE REIGN OF TERROR.
About eight o'clock on the night of the 22nd of January, 1793, while
the Reign of Terror was still at its height in Paris, an old woman
descended the rapid eminence in that city, which terminates before the
Church of St.Laurent. The snow had fallen so heavily during the
whole day, that the sound of footsteps was sarcely audible. The streets
were deserted ; and the fear that silence naturally inspires, was in-
creased by the general terror which then assailed France. The old
woman passed on her way, without perceiving a living soul in the
streets ; her feeble sight preventing her from observing in the distance,
by the lamp-light, several foot passengers, who flitted like shadows over
the vast space of the Faubourg, through which she was proceeding.
She walked on courageously through the solitude, as if her age were a
talisman which could shield her from every calamity. No sooner,
however, had she passed the Rue des Morts, than she thought she
heard the firm and heavy footsteps of a man walking behind her. It
struck her that she had not heard this sound for the first time.
Trembling at the idea of being followed, she quickened her pace, in order
to confirm her suspicions by the rays of light which proceeded from
an adjacent shop. As soon as she had reached it, she abruptly turned
her head, and perceived, through the fog, the outline of a human form.
This indistinct vision was enough : she shuddered violently the moment
she saw it --- doubting not that the stranger had followed her from the
moment she had quitted home. But the desire to escape from a spy
soon renewed her courage, and she quickened her pace, vainly thinking
that, by such means, she could escape from a man necessarily much
more active than herself.
After running for some minutes, she arrived at a pastry-cook's shop
--- entered --- and sank, rather than sat down, on a chair which stood
before the counter. The moment she raised the latch of the door, a
woman in the shop looked quickly through the windows towards the
street ; and, observing the old lady, immediately opened a drawer in the
counter, as if to take out something which she had to deliver to her.
Not only did the gestures and expression of the young woman show her
desire to be quickly relieved of the new-comer, as of a person whom it
was not safe to welcome ; but she also let slip a few words of impatience
at finding the drawer empty. Regardless of the old lady's presence,
she unceremoniously quitted the counter, retired to an inner apartment,
and called her husband, who at once obeyed the summons.
" Where have you placed the ------? " inquired she, with a mys-
terious air, glancing towards the visitor, instead of finishing the sentence.
Although the pastrycook could only perceive the large hood of black
silk, ornamented with bows of violet-coloured ribbon, which formed
the old lady's head-dress, he at once cast a significant look at his wife,
as much as to say --- " Could you think me careless enough to leave
what you ask for, in such a place as the shop ! " and then hurriedly
Surprised at the silence and immobility of the stranger lady, the
young woman approached her ; and, on beholding her face, experienced
VOL. XXXI z z
Although the complexion of the old lady was naturally colourless, like
that of one long accustomed to secret austerities, it was easy to see that
a recent emotion had cast over it an additional paleness. Her head-
dress was so disposed as completely to hide her hair ; and thereby to
give her face an appearance of religious severity. At the time of which
we write, the manners and habits of people of quality were so different
from those of the lower classes, that it was easy to identify a person of
distinction from outward appearance alone. Accordingly, the pastry-
cook's wife at once discovered that the strange visitor was an ex-aristo-
crat --- or, as we should now express it, " a born lady. "
" Madame ! " she exclaimed respectfully --- forgetting, at the moment,
that this, like all other titles, was now proscribed under the Republic.
The old lady made no answer, but fixed her eyes stedfastly on the
shop windows, as if they disclosed some object that terrified her.
" What is the matter with you, citizen ? " asked the pastrycook, who
made his appearance at this moment, and disturbed her reverie by
handing her a small pasteboard box, wrapped up in blue paper.
" Nothing, nothing, my good friends, she replied, softly. While
speaking, she looked gratefully at the pastrycook ; then, observing on his
head the revolutionary red cap, she abruptly exclaimed--- " You are a
Republican ! you have betrayed me ! "
The pastrycook and his wife indignantly disclaimed the imputation
by a gesture. The old lady blushed as she noticed it --- perhaps, with
shame, at having suspected them --- perhaps with pleasure, at finding
" Pardon me, " said she, with child-like gentleness, drawing from her
pocket a louis d'or. " There, " she continued, " there is the stipulated
There is a poverty which the poor alone can discover. The pastry-
cook and his wife felt the same conviction as they looked at each other
--- it was perhaps the last louis d'or which the old lady possessed.
When she offered the coin her hand trembled : she had gazed upon it
with some sorrow, but with no avarice ; and yet, in giving it, she seemed
to be fully aware that she was making a sacrifice. The shopkeepers,
equally moved by pity and interest, began by comforting their con-
sciences with civil words.
" You seem rather poorly, citizen, " said the pastrycook.
" Would you like to take any refreshment, Madame ? " interrupted
" We have some excellent soup, " continued the husband.
" The cold has perhaps affected you, Madame, " resumed the young
woman ; " pray step in, and sit and warm yourself by our fire. "
" We may be Republicans, " observed the pastrycook ; " but the devil
is not always so black as he is painted. "
Encouraged by the kind words addressed to her by the shopkeepers,
the old lady confessed that she had been followed by a strange man,
and that she was afraid to return home by herself.
" Is that all ? " replied the valiant pastrycook. " I'll be ready to go
home with you in a minute, citizen. "
He gave the louis d'or to his wife, and then --- animated by that sort
of gratitude which all tradesmen feel at receiving a large price for an
" Do you imagine, Madame, that the man you are so much afraid of,
is still waiting outside the shop ? " asked the young woman.
" I feel certain of it, " replied the lady.
" Suppose he should be a spy ! Suppose the whole affair should be
a conspiracy ! Don't go ! Get back the box we gave her. " These
words whispered to the pastrycook by his wife, had the effect of cooling
his courage with extraordinary rapidity.
" I'll just say two words to that mysterious personage outside, and
relieve you of all annoyance immediately, " said he, hastily quitting the
The old lady, passive as a child, and half bewildered, reseated herself.
The pastrycook was not long before he returned. His face, which
was naturally ruddy, had turned quite pale ; he was so panic-stricken,
that his legs trembled under him, and his eyes rolled like the eyes of a
" Are you trying to get our throats cut for us, you rascally aris-
tocrat ? " cried he, furiously. " Do you think you can make me the
tool of a conspiracy ? Quick ! show us your heels ! and never let us
see your face again ! "
So saying, he endeavoured to snatch away the box, which the old lady
had placed in her pocket. No sooner, however, had his hands touched
her dress, than, preferring any perils in the street to losing the treasure
for which she had just paid so large a price, she darted with the activity
of youth towards the door, opened it violently, and disappeared in a
moment from the eyes of the bewildered shopkeepers.
Upon gaining the street again, she walked at her utmost speed ;
but her strength soon failed, when she heard the spy who had so
remorselessly followed her, crunching the snow under his heavy tread.
She involuntarily stopped short: the man stopped short too ! At first,
her terror prevented her from speaking, or looking round at him ; but it
is in the nature of us all --- even of the most infirm --- to relapse into
comparative calm immediately after violent agitation ; for, though our
feelings may be unbounded, the organs which express them have their
limits. Accordingly, the old lady, finding that she experienced no par-
ticular annoyance from her imaginary persecutor, willingly tried to
convince herself that he might be a secret friend, resolved at all hazards
to protect her. She reconsidered the circumstances which had attended
the stranger's appearance, and soon contrived to persuade herself that
his object in following her, was much more likely to be a good than
an evil one.
Forgetful, therefore, of the fear with which he had inspired the
pastrycook, she now went on her way with greater confidence. After a
walk of half an hour, she arrived at a house situated at the corner of a
street leading to the Barrière Pantin --- even at the present day, the
most deserted locality in all Paris. A cold north-easterly wind whistled
sharply across the few houses, or rather tenements, scattered about this
z z 2
The stranger, who still resolutely dogged the poor old lady's steps,
seemed struck with the scene on which his eyes now rested. He
stopped --- erect, thoughtful, and hesitating --- his figure feebly lighted by
a lamp, the uncertain rays of which scarcely penetrated the fog. Fear
had quickened the old lady's eyes. She now thought she perceived
something sinister in the features of the stranger. All her former
terrors returned, and she took advantage of the man's temporary inde-
cision, to steal away in the darkness towards the door of a solitary
house. She pressed a spring under the latch, and disappeared with the
rapidity of a phantom.
The stranger, still standing motionless, contemplated the house, which
bore the same appearance of misery as the rest of the Faubourg. Built
of irregular stones, and stuccoed with yellowish plaster, it seemed, from
the wide cracks in the walls, as if a strong gust of wind would bring the
crazy building to the ground. The roof, formed of brown tiles, long
since covered with moss, was so sunk in several places that it threat-
ened to give way under the weight of snow which now lay upon it.
Each story had three windows, the frames of which, rotted with damp
and disjointed by the heat of the sun, showed how bitterly the cold must
penetrate into the apartments. The comfortless, isolated dwelling re-
sembled some old tower which Time had forgotten to destroy. One
faint light glimmered from the windows of the gable in which the top
of the building terminated ; the remainder of the house was plunged in
the deepest obscurity.
Meanwhile, the old woman ascended with some difficulty a rude and
dilapidated flight of stairs, assisting herself by a rope, which supplied
the place of bannisters. She knocked mysteriously at the door of one of
the rooms situated on the garret-floor, was quickly let in by an old man,
and then sank down feebly into a chair which he presented to her.
" Hide yourself ! Hide yourself ! " she exclaimed. " Seldom as we
venture out, our steps have been traced ; our proceedings are known ! "
" What is the matter ? " asked another old woman seated near the fire.
" The man whom we have seen loitering about the house since yes-
terday, has followed me this evening, " she replied.
At these words, the three inmates of the miserable abode looked on
each other in silent terror. The old man was the least agitated --- per-
haps for the very reason that his danger was really the greatest. When
tried by heavy affliction, or threatened by bitter persecution, the first
principle of a courageous man is, at all times, to contemplate calmly
the sacrifice of himself for the safety of others. The expression in the
faces of his two companions showed plainly, as they looked on the old
man, that he was the sole object of their most vigilant solicitude.
" Let us not distrust the goodness of God, my sisters, " said he, in
grave, reassuring tones. " We sang His praises even in the midst of
the slaughter that raged through our Convent. If it was His good will
that I should be saved from the fearful butchery committed in that
holy place by the Republicans, it was no doubt to reserve me for
another destiny which I must accept without a murmur. God watches
over His chosen, and disposes of them as seems best to His good will.
Think of yourselves, my sisters --- think not of me ! "
" Impossible ! " said one of the women. " What are our lives --- the
" Hark ! " cried the other nun ; " I hear footsteps coming up stairs. "
They all listened intently. The noise of footsteps ceased.
" Do not alarm yourselves, " said the priest. " Whatever happens, I
have already engaged a person on whose fidelity we can depend, to
escort you in safety over the frontier ; to rescue you from the martyrdom
which the ferocious will of Robespierre and his coadjutors of the Reign
of Terror would decree against every servant of the church. "
" Do you not mean to accompany us ? " asked the two nuns,
" My place, sisters, is with the martyrs --- not with the saved, " said
the old priest, calmly.
" Hark ! the steps on the staircase ! --- the heavy steps we heard
before ! " cried the women.
This time it was easy to distinguish, in the midst of the silence of
night, the echoing sound of footsteps on the stone stairs. The nuns, as
they heard it approach nearer and nearer, forced the priest into a recess
at one end of the room, closed the door, and hurriedly heaped some old
clothes against it. The moment after, they were startled by three dis-
tinct knocks at the outer door.
The person who demanded admittance appeared to interpret the
terrified silence which had seized the nuns on hearing his knock, into a
signal to enter. He opened the door himself, and the affrighted women
immediately recognized him as the man whom they had detected watch-
ing the house --- the spy who had watched one of them through the
streets that night.
The stranger was tall and robust, but there was nothing in his
features or general appearance to denote that he was a dangerous man.
Without attempting to break the silence, he slowly looked round the
room. Two bundles of straw, strewn upon boards, served as a bed for
the two nuns. In the centre of the room was a table, on which were
placed a copper candlestick, some plates, three knives, and a loaf of
bread. There was but a small fire in the grate, and the scanty supply
of wood piled near it, plainly showed the poverty of the inmates.
The old walls, which at some distant period had been painted, indicated
the miserable state of the roof, by the patches of brown streaked across
them by the rain, which had filtered drop by drop through the ceiling.
A sacred relic, saved probably from the pillage of the convent to which
the two nuns and the priest had been attached, was placed on the
chimney-piece. Three chairs, two boxes, and an old chest-of-drawers
completed the furniture of the apartment.
At one corner near the mantel-shelf, a door had been constructed
which indicated that there was a second room in that direction.
An expression of pity appeared on the countenance of the stranger,
as his eyes fell on the two nuns, after having surveyed their wretched
apartment. He was the first to break the strange silence that had
hitherto prevailed, by addressing the two poor creatures before him in
such tones of kindness as were best adapted to the nervous terror under
which they were evidently suffering.
The nuns still kept silence.
" If my presence causes you any anxiety, " he went on, " tell me so
at once, and I will depart ; but believe me, I am really devoted to your
interests ; and if there is anything in which I can befriend you, you may
confide in me without fear. I am, perhaps, the only man in Paris whom
the law cannot assail, now that the Kings of France are no more.
There was such a tone of sincerity in these words, as he spoke them,
that Sister Agatha (the nun to whom the reader was introduced at
the outset of this narrative, and whose manners exhibited all the court
refinement of the old school) instinctively pointed to one of the chairs,
as if to request the stranger to be seated. His expression showed a
mixture of satisfaction and melancholy, as he acknowledged this little
attention, of which he did not take advantage until the nuns had first
" You have given an asylum here, " continued he, " to a venerable
priest, who has miraculously escaped from massacre at a Carmelite
" Are you the person, " asked Sister Agatha, eagerly, " appointed to
protect our flight from --- ? "
" I am not the person whom you expected to see, " he replied
" I assure you, sir, " interrupted the other nun, anxiously, " that we
have no priest here ; we have not, indeed. "
" You had better be a little more careful about appearances on a
future occasion, " he replied gently, taking from the table a Latin
breviary. " May I ask if you are both in the habit of reading the
Latin language ? " he inquired, with a slight inflexion of sarcasm in his
No answer was returned. Observing the anguish depicted on the
countenance of the nuns, the trembling of their limbs, the tears that
filled their eyes, the stranger began to fear that he had gone too far.
" Compose yourselves, " he continued, frankly. " For three days I
have been acquainted with the state of distress in which you are living.
I know your names, and the name of the venerable priest whom you
are concealing. It is--- "
" Hush ! do not speak it, " cried Sister Agatha, placing her finger on
" I have now said enough, " he went on, " to show that if I had con-
ceived the base design of betraying you, I could have accomplished my
object before now. "
On the utterance of these words, the priest, who had heard all that
had passed, left his hiding-place, and appeared in the room.
" I cannot believe, sir, " said he, " that you are leagued with my per-
secutors ; and I therefore willingly confide in you. What do you
require of me ? "
The noble confidence of the priest --- the saint-like purity expressed in
his features --- must have struck even an assassin with respect. The
mysterious personage who had intruded on the scene of misery and
resignation which the garret presented, looked silently for a moment on
" Father, I am come to entreat you to celebrate a mortuary mass for
the repose of the soul of --- of a --- of a person whose life the laws once held
sacred, but whose corpse will never rest in holy ground. "
An involuntary shudder seized the priest, as he guessed the hidden
meaning in these words. The nuns, unable to imagine what person
was indicated by the stranger, looked on him with equal curiosity and
" Your wish shall be granted, " said the priest, in low, awe-struck tones.
" Return to this place at midnight, and you will find me ready to cele-
brate the only funeral service which the church can offer in expiation of
the crime to which I understand you to allude. "
The stranger trembled violently for a moment, then composed him-
self, respectfully saluted the priest and the two nuns, and departed
without uttering a word.
About two hours afterwards, a soft knock at the outer door announced
the mysterious visitor's return. He was admitted by Sister Agatha,
who conducted him into the second apartment of their modest retreat,
where everything had been prepared for the midnight mass. Near the
fire-place the nuns had placed their old chest of drawers, the clumsy
workmanship of which was concealed under a rich altar-cloth of green
velvet. A large crucifix, formed of ivory and ebony, was hung against
the bare plaster wall. Four small tapers, fixed by sealing-wax on the
temporary altar, threw a faint and mysterious gleam over the crucifix,
but hardly penetrated to any other part of the walls of the room. Thus
almost exclusively confined to the sacred objects immediately above and
around it, the glow from the tapers looked like a light falling from
heaven itself on that unadorned and unpretending altar. The floor of
the room was damp. The miserable roof, sloping on either side, was
pierced with rents, through which the cold night air penetrated into the
rooms. Nothing could be less magnificent, and yet nothing could be
more truly solemn than the manner in which the preliminaries of the
funeral ceremony had been arranged. A deep, dread silence, through
which the slightest noise in the street could be heard, added to the
dreary grandeur of the midnight scene --- a grandeur majestically ex-
pressed by the contrast between the homeliness of the temporary
church, and the solemnity of the service to which it was now devoted.
On each side of the altar, the two aged women kneeling on the tiled
floor, unmindful of its deadly dampness, were praying in concert with
the priest, who, clothed in his sacerdotal robes, raised on high a golden
chalice, adorned with precious stones, the most sacred of the few relics
saved from the pillage of the Carmelite Convent.
The stranger, approaching after an interval, knelt reverently between
the two nuns. As he looked up towards the crucifix, he saw, for the
first time, that a piece of black crape was attached to it. On beholding
this simple sign of mourning, terrible recollections appeared to be
awakened within him ; the big drops of agony started thick and fast on
his massive brow.
Gradually,as the four actors in this solemn scene still fervently
prayed together, their souls began to sympathize the one with the other,
Mending in one common feeling of religious awe. Awful, in truth, was
the service in which they were now secretly engaged ! Beneath that
The most gorgeous mass ever celebrated in the gorgeous Cathedral
of St. Peter, at Rome, could not have expressed the sincere feeling of
prayer so nobly as it was now expressed, by those four persons, under
that lowly roof !
There was one moment, during the progress of the service, at which
the nuns detected that tears were trickling fast over the stranger's
cheeks. It was when the Pater Noster was said.
On the termination of the midnight mass, the priest made a sign to
the two nuns, who immediately left the room. As soon as they were
alone, he thus addressed the stranger:---
" My son, if you have imbrued your hands in the blood of the mar-
tyred King, confide in me, and in my sacred office. Repentance so
deep and sincere as yours appears to be, may efface even the crime of
regicide, in the eyes of God. "
" Holy father, " replied the other, in trembling accents, " no man is
less guilty than I am of shedding the King's blood. "
" I would fain believe you, " answered the priest. He paused for a
moment as he said this, looked stedfastly on the penitent man before
him, and then continued :---
" But remember, my son, you cannot be absolved of the crime of
regicide, because you have not co-operated in it. Those who had the
power of defending their King, and who, having that power, still left
the sword in the scabbard, will be called to render a heavy account at
the day of judgment, before the King of kings ; yes, a heavy and an
awful account indeed ! for, in remaining passive, they became the invo-
luntary accomplices of the worst of murders. " "
" Do you think then, father, " murmured the stranger, deeply abashed,
" that all indirect participations are visited with punishment ? Is the soldier
guilty of the death of Louis who obeyed the order to guard the scaffold ?
The priest hesitated.
" I should be ashamed, " continued the other, betraying by his ex-
pression some satisfaction at the dilemma in which he had placed the
old man --- " I should be ashamed of offering you any pecuniary recom-
pense for such a funeral service as you have celebrated. It is only
possible to repay an act so noble by an offering which is priceless.
Honour me by accepting this sacred relic. The day perhaps will come
when you will understand its value. "
So saying, he presented to the priest a small box, extremely light in
weight, which the aged ecclesiastic took, as it were, involuntarily ; for
he felt awed by the solemn tones in which the man spoke as he offered
it. Briefly expressing his thanks for the mysterious present, the priest
" The house you now inhabit, " said the stranger, addressing the nuns
as well as the priest, " belongs to a landlord who outwardly affects
extreme republicanism, but who is at heart devoted to the royal cause.
He was formerly a huntsman in the service of one of the Bourbons, the
Prince de Conti, to whom he is indebted for all that he possesses. So
long as you remain in this house you are safer than in any other place
in France. Remain here, therefore. Persons worthy of trust will
supply all your necessities, and you will be able to await in safety the
prospect of better times. In a year from this day, on the 2lst of Janu-
ary, should you still remain the occupants of this miserable abode, I
will return to repeat with you the celebration of to-night's expiatory
mass. " He paused abruptly, and bowed without adding another word ;
then delayed a moment more, to cast a parting look on the objects of
poverty which surrounded him, and left the room.
To the two simple-minded nuns, the whole affair had all the interest
of a romance. Their faces displayed the most intense anxiety, the mo-
ment the priest informed them of the mysterious gift which the stranger
had so solemnly presented to him. Sister Agatha immediately opened
the box, and discovered in it a handkerchief, made of the finest cambric,
and soiled with marks of perspiration. They unfolded it eagerly, and
then found that it was defaced in certain places with dark stains.
" Those stains are blood stains ! " exclaimed the priest.
" The handkerchief is marked with the royal crown ! " , cried Sister
Both the nuns dropped the precious relic, marked by the King's
blood, with horror. To their simple minds, the mystery which was
attached to the stranger, now deepened fearfully. As for the priest,
from that moment he ceased, even in thought, to attempt identifying
his visitor, or discovering the means by which he bad become possessed
of the royal handkerchief.
Throughout the atrocities practised during a year of the Reign of
Terror, the three refugees were safely guarded by the same protecting
interference, ever at work for their advantage. At first, they received
large supplies of fuel and provisions ; then the two nuns found reason
to imagine that one of their own sex had become associated with their
invisible protector, for they were furnished with the necessary linen and
clothing which enabled them to go out without attracting attention by
any peculiarities of attire. Besides this, warnings of danger constantly
came to the priest in the most unexpected manner, and always oppor-
tunely. And then, again, in spite of the famine which at that period
afflicted Paris, the inhabitants of the garret were sure to find placed
every morning at their door, a supply of the best wheaten bread, regu-
larly left for them by some invisible hand.
They could only guess that the agent of the charitable attentions
thus lavished on them, was the landlord of the house, and that the person
by whom he was employed was no other than the stranger who had
celebrated with them the funeral mass for the repose of the King's soul.
Thus, this mysterious man was regarded with especial reverence by the
priest and the nuns, whose lives for the present and whose hopes for
the future, depended on their strange visitor. They added to their
usual prayers at night and morning, prayers for him.
" Welcome back again ! most welcome ! " cried they ; " we have
been anxiously awaiting you. "
The stranger raised his head, looked gloomily on the nuns, and made
no answer. Chilled by his cold reception of their kind greeting, they
did not venture to utter another word. He seemed to have frozen at
their hearts, in an instant, all the gratitude, all the friendly aspirations
of the long year that had passed. They now perceived but too plainly
that their visitor desired to remain a complete stranger to them, and
that they must resign all hope of ever making a friend of him. The
old priest fancied he had detected a smile on the lips of their guest
when he entered, but that smile --- if it had really appeared --- vanished
again the moment he observed the preparations which had been made
for his reception. He knelt to hear the funeral mass, prayed fervently
as before, and then abruptly took his departure ; briefly declining, by a
few civil words, to partake of the simple refreshment offered to him, on
the expiration of the service, by the two nuns.
Day after day wore on, and nothing more was heard of the stranger
by the inhabitants of the garret. After the fall of Robespierre, the
church was delivered from all actual persecution, and the priest and the
nuns were free to appear publicly in Paris, without the slightest risk of
danger. One of the first expeditions undertaken by the aged ecclesi-
astic led him to a perfumer's shop, kept by a man who had formerly
been one of the Court tradesmen, and who had always remained faithful
to the Royal Family. The priest, clothed once more in his clerical
dress, was standing at the shop door talking to the perfumer, when he
observed a great crowd rapidly advancing along the street.
" What is the matter yonder ? " he inquired of the shopkeeper.
" Nothing, " replied the man, carelessly, " but the cart with the con-
demned criminals going to the place of execution. Nobody pities them
---and nobody ought ! "
" You are not speaking like a Christian, " exclaimed the priest.
" Why not pity them ?"
" Because, " answered the perfumer, " those men who are going to
execution are the last accomplices of Robespierre. They only travel the
same fatal road which their innocent victims took before them.
The cart with the prisoners condemned to the guillotine had by this
time arrived opposite the perfumer's shop. As the old priest looked
curiously towards the state criminals, he saw, standing erect and un-
daunted among his drooping fellow prisoners, the very man at whose
desire he had twice celebrated the funeral service for the martyred
King of France !
" Who is that, standing upright in the cart ? " cried the priest,
The perfumer looked in the direction indicated, and answered---
THE EXECUTIONER OF LOUIS THE SIXTEENTH ! "
Introduction to the text