Notebook

In his early thirties, Peuchet had been elected as a representative of the Commune of Paris but had grown disgusted with the violence of the mob. He became a secret royalist overnight. By posing as a blood-red revolutionary, he secured the job of dealing with fleeing émigrés, refractory priests and royalist conspirators. In this way, he claimed, he was able to save many people from the guillotine. “Running with the wolves,” he later told his friends, “does not mean having to share their meals.” Of course, to keep his job in such terrible times, he must have sacrificed a few to save the many. Even so, he was never out of danger. The infamous Billaud-Varenne, who demanded the exection of the King “within twenty-four hours”, warned Peuchet: “Friend, take care. You have the face of a fanatical moderate.”

Graham Robb, “Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris”.

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