De Launay: the governor of the Bastille fortress-prison, slain during its capture.

Saint-Antoine: a working-class suburb of Paris familiar to readers of Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities (1859) as a hotbed of revolution. Here in Dickens's novel the Defarges' wineshop is located.

Marais: a manufacturing quarter of Paris.

Régiment Dauphiné: assigned as bodyguard to the heir of the French throne.

Nave: the hub of a wagon or carriage wheel.

Felloe: a segment of the iron rim of a wooden coach or wagon wheel.

Orcus: in Roman mythology, the abode of the dead; the classical underworld.

Invalide: military veterans, called into active duty in times of crisis.

Mahlstrom: a powerful whirlpool off the coast of Norway; used figuratively, any resistless influence or movement (also, "maelstrom," from Dutch "malen" [to grind] and "stroom" [a stream).

Hôtel-de-Ville: city-hall.

Brest: a naval station in northwest France.

diligence: a commercial stagecoach.

Gardes Françaises: French guards (soldiers).

Peruke: wig (worn on formal occasions by the upper-class).

Natural Philosophy: science.

paillasse: a straw mattress, of the type used as bedding in 18th c. prisons.

Babel: see Genesis 11: 9; a confusion of many tongues and voices. Carlyle later alludes to Babel Tower, by which the people of Babel hoped to reach Heaven itself and for which they were punished, the tower being a symbol of their hubris.

Crack of Doom: The angel Gabriel's blowing a trumpet to signify Judgment Day and the end of human history.

book>Benevolence: from Fauchet's Narrative (Deux Amis, I, 324).

Spinola-Santerre: Carlyle is likening a leader of the Paris revolutionary mob to the Genoese General Ambrogio Spinola, Marquis of Los Balbases (1539-1630), who captured the Protestant fortress of Breda in Holland in 1625 during the Thirty Years War. The event, bolstering Spanish and Catholic fortunes, was commemorated on a large-scale oil painting by the great Spanish court-painter Velazquez.

Canaille: a vulgar multitude or mob.

Curé: a parish priest.

Chimera: a mythical, fire-breathing monster.

chamade: a drum or trumpet signal for a parley.

Swiss: Swiss mercenaries employed by various foreign nations, including pre-revolutionary France; Swiss guards still serve as the Pope's army in the Vatican city-state.

The Titans warring with Olympus: a reference to classical myth of the old gods of earth, the Titans, being defeated by the new deities of Mount Olympus under the leadership of thunder-wielding Zeus.


Victorian Web Overview Thomas Carlyle French Revolution

Last modified 18 August 2004