History's Women: Misc. Articles: The Period of the Renaissance and Following - The Guillotine during the French Revolution

The Guillotine

The wife of the bloodthirsty Le Bon even secured lists of the persons arrested, brought to her every evening by the officers, and with her own hand placed the letter G against the names of those that were to be guillotined the next morning.

One day an extraordinary spectacle was to be exhibited, in the execution of twenty-eight persons at once, among them were thirteen young girls. Le Bon issued orders that the people should attend this spectacle, and these orders no one dared disobey, except at the hazard of his life. A widow, who on account of indisposition, was not able to be present at the execution herself, sent her daughter in her stead, having previously given her strict charge not to show the least sign of sympathy for the persons whose execution she was about to witness.

The daughter promised to keep command over herself, and actually did suppress her emotions till the sixteenth victim was brought on the scaffold. In her she beheld on of the most intimate friends of her youthful years, of whose sentence she had not had the least previous intimation. At this afflicting sight, tears burst from her eyes in spite of all her endeavors to restrain them. Unfortunately the stroke of the guillotine did not completely sever the head from the body, so that the executioner was obliged to finish his work with a knife. At this horrid spectacle the young lady fainted, which being observed by the wife of the Le Bon, who constantly sat upon the scaffold, the sanguinary fiend exclaimed, “Look at that monster of an aristocrat! Secure her!”

Both the mother and the daughter were immediately taken into custody; and the latter, two days after, atoned for her tears and fainting with her life. Many similar atrocities equally inconsistent and revolting, are met with curing the Reign of Terror.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.

History's Women: Misc. Articles: The Period of the Renaissance and Following - Public Executions during the French Revolution - Quote by Camille Desmoulins Regarding her Public Execution during the French Revolution