1920-12-23, English, Article, Journal or magazine article edition: HOW ROBESPIERRE CAME TO WOOLLOOMOOLOO. (23 December 1920)

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HOW ROBESPIERRE CAME TO WOOLLOOMOOLOO. (23 December 1920)
 
Bookmark: https://trove.nla.gov.au/version/258066913
Physical Description
  • 1276 words
  • article
  • Journals
  • Magazines
Published
  • xna, John Haynes and J.F. Archibald, 1920-12-23
Language
  • English

Edition details

Title
  • HOW ROBESPIERRE CAME TO WOOLLOOMOOLOO. (23 December 1920)
Appears In
  • The bulletin., v.41, no.2132, 1920-12-23 (ISSN: 0007-4039)
Other Contributors
  • SOLOMON MALAPROP.
Published
  • xna, John Haynes and J.F. Archibald, 1920-12-23
Physical Description
  • 1276 words
  • article
  • Journals
  • Magazines
Series
Part Of
  • The bulletin.
  • Vol. 41 No. 2132 (23 Dec 1920)
  • John Ryan Comic Collection (Specific issues).
Subjects
Summary
  • HOW ROBESPIERRE CAME TO WOOLLOOMOOLOO. This is neither the birth anniversary nor the death anniversary of Maximilien Marie Isidore de Robespierre —he really owned the aristocratic “de,” if that was any good to him, and was a barrister and a gentleman man without Act of Parliament —but it is necessary to drag him in by reason of the back yards of Woolloomooloo. The connection tion is intimate if not obvious. As a sort of preparation for Christmas the S. M. Herald published a description of that region of hideous overcrowding and mean streets —a blot of premeditated and purposeful poseful and sinful and unclean and sunless congestion in a vast empty land of sunshine shine ; about the most packed spot in the biggest and most packed city in Australia, it wept not only crocodile tears but whole crocodiles over the matter. Tlie fashion of crocodiling over Woolloomooloo had been revived vived a few weeks previously by a vicar of the district, who had described it as a place where it is held “that every girl has the right to be a mother.” This was because modesty and decency are crushed out of the souls of people, where hulking youths and big girls share the same rooms and even the same beds for sheer want of space (the space that money can’t buy), and where 12ft. by lift, back yards make any kind of seclusion sion impossible. All the preaching and teaching ing between the first day of Galilee and now can’t save these people of the meanest streets from the orthodox perdition—if there is such a place. Yet neither papers nor parsons sons ever demand the one obvious remedy— to let new cities or even new State capitals grow up at places like Jervis Bay, Twofold Bay, Port Stephens and Coif’s Harbor, where they want to grow and are only prevented by vast expenses in railway deviation and much trouble-* in railway omission. They would draw off a lot of population, and the only remedy for too many people is to have fewer people. But, then, it is unfashionable able to disturb the bloated pride of any congested Australian city. Better that people are miserable here and damned later on. Robespierre found France with some 27,000,000 people on an area only twothirds thirds that of N. S. Wales—about 135 people per square mile, while N. S. Wales has less than seven. It was a time of primitive medicine and primitive sanitation, consequently quently a few people made an insanitary crowd. Horrible forms of death, including the smallpox variety., now practically extinct, lived in the crowded places. People couldn’t live far out, for there were neither trams, railways nor motors. It was difficult to live far up, for lifts weren’t invented. Famines took place for lack of means to shift food from place to place. Robespierre had no abundance of empty places, as Australian politicians have, on which to build new cities. He decided that if there wasn’t room for surplus population elsewhere there was in Heaven. People would die anyhow, and why shouldn’t they die a little sooner for the good of others? He was the first man to be moved (except to tears) by the sight of Woolloomooloo. He reckoned that with 8,000,000 population, well spaced-out, all well-fed and clothed and housed and educated. cated. and all healthy. France would be better than with 27,000,000, many of them doomed to slum it to the grave. He couldn’t tell his secret to the people or to more than a fraction of his colleagues. The community didn’t mind much while it thought only its aristocratic enemies were being killed. It growled when barbers and seamstresses began to be included in the death lists, for they didn’t look like aristocrats ; still it admitted they might be. If it had known that it was proposed to w r eed out 60 per cent, of its whole numbers, including most of the executioners tioners when they had finished executing and were neither useful nor ornament&​l, the lid would have blown off the volcano in a minute. The Lonesome Cleaner made no very courageous end. But the courage of his life exceeded that of all the bulldogs in all the dog shows on earth. He was very lonesome. A few of his colleagues were told what the Terror was about, but it is questionable if any of them except St. Just remembered. The theory of the rest was that even a purposeless Terror was better than no Terror at all. Some of them found it a source of big income, for they sold protection and immunity just as these things will be sold when some of the laws at present under consideration sideration or lately passed in Australia are in working order. It doesn’t appear that he was naturally cruel. He didn’t attend executions and gloat. He was neat and spotlessly clean; also he was spotlessly bilious. He neither swore to excess nor wallowed lowed in luxury. He was no pursuer of the nude. It isn’t" alleged that any woman was the worse in her conventional morals for knowing him. He was called “the Incorruptible” ruptible” because he was, and also to distinguish tinguish him from all the other men who weren’t. And he was pious after a fashion and believed in God. He allowed the most objectionable Hebert to abolish religion with all manner of obscenities, as has been done lately in Russia, because he wasn’t strong enough at the moment to wipe out Hebert ; but he marked him for destruction all the same. Seven weeks before his own death Robespierre restored God. It isn’t everybody body who restores God. He even put on a new sky-blue coat for the occasion. He hated most of the instruments he had to use and got rid of all he could, partly to make room, according to his doctrine, and partly because they didn’t look pretty. Carrier was a huge, cowardly ruffian, with an itching palm. Marat was an unclean dwarf, who itched all over, and was insatiable for luxury, though he posed as a bread-and-water hermit. Danton ton was lazy, loud, incoherent, an unabashed robber, .a great eater and drinker, a pursuer of strange females (at least he had them brought to him), and he had a blunt nose and a head like a globe. Anaciiarsis Clootz was Prussian, wooden, wild and mad. Hebert hurt his leader's feelings by dancing on altars. Camille Desmoulins lacked restfulness. fulness. Egalite, whose vote was the majority of one which sent his cousin the king to death, was despicable and blotchy. This last made him repulsive to a man who was cleanly and honestly bilious without pimples. There is no more solitary figure in history than the Incorruptible going about alone amid crowds with all the back yards of France upon his mind, and not one really congenial soul, except perhaps St. Just, to swap bloodstains stains with. Having looked on Woolloomooloo with a seeing eye he set to work to repair its horrors Ixy the only means in sight, and he gave his life In the cause and left his reputation tation for the dogs to tear at. He acted, while Australian papers and parsons, with an easy and obvious remedy before them, neither act nor even point the way that others may act. So, writing without cant or anvthing special in orthodoxy, I fancy it may be easier for Maximilien Robespierre pierre on Judgment Day than for many vicars and some editors. The cleaning up of a back yard was given him to do, and he did it with all his might. SOLOMON MALAPROP.
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Language
  • English
Identifier
  • AP7 (LC)

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