PDF : Love and liberty : a thrilling narrative of the French Revolution of 1792 by Alexandre Dumas,

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: Love and liberty

Of all the remarkably interesting events connected with the French Revolution, perhaps the one most worthy of notice is the flight of Louis XVI, and his capture at Varennes. At the time when I determined to take the trip of which I will give you some details, and which put me in possession of the memoirs I am about to publish — that is to say, about the 19th of June, 1856 — I had read almost all that had been written concerning the above-mentioned flight. I wish to start from Chalons because from the fact of the King being recognized there, came the train of events which ended at Varennes on the evening of his arrest. 

The capture of Louis at Varennes was the culminating point of royalty. For although it took seven hundred and four years to arrive at Varennes, it took but nineteen months to descend from Varennes to the Place de la Revolution. It is not because the heads of three persons, who were in the carriage that took royalty to the precipice, fell on the scaffold, that we mark out the event as the greatest in the French Revolution, and, indeed, in the whole history of France. No! It is because the arrest of the King in the little town of Varennes, unknown on the 22nd of June, and on the morrow fatally immortalized, was the source of the political convulsions which have since occurred. My resolution to go to Varennes once taken, I started from Paris on the 19th of June, 1856, and on the 20th of the same month, at one o'clock the next morning, I arrived at Chalons. I was, as you know, in search of details actually seen by eye-witnesses. I soon discovered two old men who could give me the necessary information. One was a Monsieur Ricaise, at Chalons — one of the postilions who drove the King; the other, Monsieur Mathieu, notary, at St. Mariehould, who had seen the horses changed at the moment that Drouet recognized the King.

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