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Les royalistes à la mitraille

Les royalistes à la mitraille

      5 octobre 1795. Bonaparte est calme, comme à l’exercice. D’ailleurs l’affaire a tous les aspects d’une manœuvre, ici, en plein Paris. Il pointe lui-même les canons, comme il l’a appris à l’École royale d’artillerie d’Auxonne. Le combat s’annonce différent du siège de Toulon, deux ans plus tôt. Là-bas, on tirait sur des objectifs à distance, sur des redoutes. Ici, il n’y a rien à viser. Les pièces sont chargées à mitraille, et le champ de tir est à débouché zéro. Les canonniers tireront sur ordre presque à bout portant. Toute personne se présentant sur les marches de l’église Saint-Roch sera instantanément déchiquetée.

       Tout est prêt. La rumeur s’amplifie. L’ennemi marche sur la Convention, après avoir été repoussé des Tuileries. Bonaparte réfléchit. Il a grandi sous la royauté, a été élevé dans ses écoles militaires. À présent, il doit défendre cette République minée de toutes parts, contre le retour de royauté. De toute évidence, la Convention thermidorienne est usée, comme le prouve cette insurrection, et le débarquement raté des émigrés à Quiberon. Bonaparte était à la prise des Tuileries en août 1792, comme simple spectateur. Il a vu la rage de la populace, supposée républicaine, et le massacre des gardes suisses.

        Et si la France avait toujours besoin d’un roi ? Ou du moins d’une personnalité unique. Forte. Emblématique. Un empereur peut-être. Mais voilà l’ennemi qui se présente devant l’église Saint-Roch, passage obligé vers la Convention. Bonaparte avait tout prévu. En fait d’ennemi, ce sont des civils surexcités, armés au mieux de fusils, mais semblant peu capables d’ajuster une cible. En cette journée d’octobre, le ciel est gris à Paris.

      Stupéfaits face aux hommes de Bonaparte, les royalistes se ressaisissent rapidement, et tentent d’amadouer les canonniers. Mais ceux-ci demeurent imperturbables, se contant d’attendre un ordre de leur chef. Bonaparte observe les royalistes. La haine lui dans leurs yeux. Tous sont bien vêtus. Ils sont remplis de suffisance, d’arrogance. Tous souhaitent un retour à leur monde, où le hasard de la naissance privilégie les nantis.

      Bonaparte ne fait pas partie de leur monde. Il appartient à la majorité des Français, le peuple. Ceux qui ne sont pas nés dans l’aisance. Ceux qui ont du se battre depuis le début pour exister, pour sortir du lot. Ceux pour qui le mérite a valeur de vertu.

      Les royalistes sont dépassés par l’histoire. La grandeur n’a nul besoin d’eux.

      Bonaparte abaisse la main. Les canons rugissent.

      Il faut que les destinées s’accomplissent.

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