This was Armand S. Just's first visit to Paris since that memorable day when first hedecided to sever his connection from the Republican party, of which he and his beautifulsister Marguerite had at one time been amongst the most noble, most enthusiasticfollowers. Already a year and a half ago the excesses of the party had horrified him, andthat was long before they had degenerated into the sickening orgies which wereculminating to-day in wholesale massacres and bloody hecatombs of innocent victims.With the death of Mirabeau the moderate Republicans, whose sole and entirely pure aimhad been to free the people of France from the autocratic tyranny of the Bourbons, saw thepower go from their clean hands to the grimy ones of lustful demagogues, who knew no lawsave their own passions of bitter hatred against all classes that were not as self-seeking, asferocious as themselves.It was no longer a question of a fight for political and religious liberty only, but one ofclass against class, man against man, and let the weaker look to himself. The weaker hadproved himself to be, firstly, the man of property and substance, then the law-abidingcitizen, lastly the man of action who had obtained for the people that very same liberty ofthought and of belief which soon became so terribly misused.Armand St. Just, one of the apostles of liberty, fraternity, and equality, soon found thatthe most savage excesses of tyranny were being perpetrated in the name of those sameideals which he had worshipped.His sister Marguerite, happily married in England, was the final temptation which causedhim to quit the country the destinies of which he no longer could help to control. The sparkof enthusiasm which he and the followers of Mirabeau had tried to kindle in the hearts ofan oppressed people had turned to raging tongues of unquenchable flames. The taking ofthe Bastille had been the prelude to the massacres of September, and even the horror ofthese had since paled beside the holocausts of to-day.
Baroness Emma Orczy (1865-1945) was born in Hungary, the daughter of a baron. Raised in wealth among the aristocracy, she determined to achieve success as a painter and illustrator before starting a writing career. She wrote in English, although she did not speak the language until she was fifteen, and she produced many short stories and detective novels. Her greatest success came with the historical adventure novel The Scarlet Pimpernel.