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Title: Paris under the Commune - The Seventy-Three Days of the Second Siege; with Numerous Illustrations, Sketches Taken on the Spot, and Portraits (from the Original Photographs)
Author: Leighton, John
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     Socialism, or the Red Republic, is all one; for it would
   tear down the tricolour and set up the red flag. It would make
   penny pieces out of the Column Vendôme. It would knock down
   the statue of Napoleon and raise up that of Marat in its
   stead. It would suppress the Académie, the École
   Polytechnique, and the Legion of Honour. To the grand device
   Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, it would add "Ou la mort."
   It would bring about a general bankruptcy. It would ruin the
   rich without enriching the poor. It would destroy labour,
   which gives to each one his bread. It would abolish property
   and family. It would march about with the heads of the
   proscribed on pikes, fill the prisons with the suspected, and
   empty them by massacres. It would convert France into the
   country of gloom. It would strangle liberty, stifle the arts,
   silence thought, and deny God. It would bring into action
   these two fatal machines, one of which never works without the
   other--the assignat press and the guillotine. In a word, it
   would do in cold blood what the men of 1793 did in fever, and
   after the grand horrors which our fathers saw, we should have
   the horrible in all that was low and small.

(VICTOR HUGO, 1848.)


Early in June of the present year I was making notes and sketches,
without the least idea of what I should do with them. I was at the
Mont-Parnasse Station of the Western Railway, awaiting a train from
Paris to St. Cloud. Our fellow passengers, as we discovered afterwards,
were principally prisoners for Versailles; the guards, soldiers; and the
line, for two miles at least, appeared desolation and ruin.

The façade of the station, a very large one, was pockmarked all over by
Federal bullets, whilst cannon balls had cut holes through the stone
wall as if it had been cheese, and gone down the line, towards Cherbourg
or Brest! The restaurant below was nearly annihilated, the counters,
tables, and chairs being reduced to a confused heap. But there was a
book-stall and on that book-stall reposed a little work, entitled the
"Bataille des Sept Jours," a brochure which a friend bought and gave to
me, saying, "_Voilà la texte de vos croquis_," From seven days my ideas
naturally wandered to seventy-three--the duration of the reign of the
Commune--and then again to two hundred and twenty days--that included
the Commune of 1871 and its antecedents. Hence this volume, which I
liken to a French château, to which I have added a second storey and

And now that the house is finished, I must render my obligations to M.
Mendès and numerous French friends, for their kind assistance and
valuable aid, including my confrères of "_The Graphic_," who have
allowed me to enliven the walls with pictures from their stores; and
last, and not least, my best thanks are due to an English Peer, who
placed at my disposal his unique collection of prints and journals of
the period bearing upon the subject--a subject I am pretty familiar
with. Powder has done its work, the smell of petroleum has passed away,
the house that called me master has vanished from the face of the earth,
and my concierge and his wife are reported _fusillés_ by the
Versaillais; and to add to the disaster, my rent was paid in advance,
having been deposited with a _notaire_ prior to the First Siege.... But
my neighbours, where are they? In my immediate neighbourhood six houses
were entirely destroyed, and as many more half ruined. I can only speak
of one friend, an amiable and able architect, who, alas! remonstrated in
person, and received a ball from a revolver through the back of his
neck. His head is bowed for life. He has lost his pleasure and his
treasure, a valuable museum of art,--happily they could not burn his
reputation, or the monument of his life--a range of goodly folio volumes
that exist "_pour tous_."


LONDON, 1871





INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER--The 30th October, 1870--The Hôtel de Ville
invaded--Governor Trochu resigns--A Revolt attempted--Meetings, Place de
la Bastille--The Prussians enter Paris--Hostility of the National Guard

I. The Memorable 18th of March--Line and Nationals
Fraternise--Discipline at a Discount

II. Assassination of Generals Lecomte and Clément Thomas

III. Proclamation of M. Picard--The Government retires to Versailles

IV. The New Regime Proclaimed--Obscurity of New Masters

V. Paris Hesitates--Small Sympathy with Versailles

VI. The Buttes Montmartre

VII. An Issue Possible--An Approved Proclamation

VIII. Demonstration of the Friends of Order

IX. The Drama of the Rue de la Paix--Victims to Order

X. A Wedding

XI. The Bourse and Belleville

XII. Watching and Waiting

XIII. A Timid but Prudent Person

XIV Some Federal Opinions

XV. Proclamation of Admiral Saisset--Paris Satisfied.

XVI. A Widow

XVII. The Central Committee Triumphs

XVIII. Paris Elections

XIX. The Commune a Fact--A Motley Assembly

XX. Proclamation of the Elections

XXI. A Batch of Official Decrees--Landlord, and Tenant

XXII. Requisitions and Feasts

XXIII. Removals and Retirements

XXIV. A General Flight

XXV. An Envoy to Garibaldi

XXVI. Commencement of Civil War--Beyond the Arc de Triomphe

XXVII. Mont Valérien opens on the Federals--Contradictory News

XXVIII. Death of General Duval--Able Administration

XXIX. Antipathy to the Church--The Archbishop Interrogated

XXX. The Accomplices of Versailles

XXXI. Death of Colonel Flourens

XXXII. The Cross and the Red Flag

XXXIII. Colonel Assy of Creuzot--Disgrace of Lullier

XXXIV. Fighting goes on

XXXV. Federal Funerals

XXXVI. Prudent Counsel

XXXVII. Suppression of Newspapers

XXXVIII. The Second Bombardment--Avenue de la Grande Armée--Reckless Aim
of the Versaillais

XXXIX. The Plan of Bergeret

XL. Another General--Police and Pressgang--A Citizen of the World

XLI. Women and Children

XLII. Why is Conciliation Impossible?

XLIII. The Portable Guillotine

XLIV. The Common Grave

XLV. Idle Paris

XLVI. The Press

XLVII. Day follows Day

XLVIII. The Condemned Column--Model Decrees

XLIX. Thiers and Conciliation--Paris and France

L. Communist Caricatures--Political Satire

LI. Gustave Courbet--Federation of Art--Courbet, President

LII. Camp, Place Vendôme

LIII. Elections of the 16th of April

LIV. The "Change" under the Commune

LV. Elections sans Electors--Farce of Universal Suffrage

LVI. À la Mode de Londres

LVII. The Little Sisters of the Poor

LVIII. Bécon and Asnières taken--Declaration to the French
People--Federation of Communes--The Commune or the Deluge

LIX. A Court-Martial

LX. A Heroic Gamin

LXI. Killing the Dead

LXII. The Truce at Neuilly--Porte-Maillot destroyed--Neuilly in Ruins

LXIII. Masonic Mediation--The Envoy of Peace--Citizens and Brothers--A
White Flag on Porte-Maillot

LXIV. Prudent Monsieur Pyat

LXV. Resources of the Commune--The Royal Road to Riches

LXVI. The Prophecy of Proudhon

LXVII. Revolutionary Balloons

LXVIII. A Confession of Conscience

LXIX. Communist Journalism--Sensation Articles

LXX. Fort Issy falls

LXXI. Cluseret arrested

LXXII. The Executive Commission--Committee of Public Safety

LXXIII. A Competent Tribunal

LXXIV. The Password betrayed

LXXV. The Condemned Chapel

LXXVI. Restitution is Robbery

LXXVII. The Nuns of Picpus

LXXVIII. Rossel resigns--The Semblance of a Government

LXXIX. Want of Funds--The Sinews of War

LXXX. Passwords--The Chariot of Apollo--Refractories

LXXXI. Sacrilege--Clubs in the Churches

LXXXII. Refractories in Danger

LXXXIII. The Home of M. Thiers, Demolition and Removal

LXXXIV. Filial Love

LXXXV. Communal Secessionists--Save himself who can

LXXXVI. The Failing Cause--The Column Vendôme falls

LXXXVII. A Concert at the Tuileries

LXXXVIII. Cartridge Magazine Explosion

LXXXIX. The Advent of Action--Paris ceases to smile

XC. The Troops enter--Street Fortifications--Insurgents at home

XCI. Arrests and Murders

XCII. Fire and Sword

XCIII. Barricade at the Place de Clichy

XCIV. Rack and Ruin

XCV. Bloodshed and Brigandage

XCVI. Hôtel de Ville on Fire--A Furnace

XCVII. Pétroleurs and Pétroleuses

XCVIII. Streets of Paris

XCIX. The Expiring Demons--The Hostages--Reprisals--Cemeteries

C. Sewers and Catacombs

CI. Mourning and Sadness


Chronology of the Commune

Memoir of Rochefort.

The 18th of March

The Prussians and the Commune

Memoir of Gambon

Memoir of Lullier

Memoir of Protot

Translation from Victor Hugo

Note of Jourde

Last Proclamations of the Commune

Note of Férré

The Hostages--Gendarmes, &c.

President Bonjean

Note of Urbain.

Devastations of Paris

Official Report of General Ladmirault

Ammunition expended on Second Siege of Paris

List of Monuments and Buildings destroyed

Index to Plan--Damage by Fire, &c.



*Separate Plates on tinted paper.




























































































[Illustration: M. THIERS, Voted Chief of the Executive Power Feb.
18,1871, and President of the Republic, Sept. 1871.]




Late in the day of the 30th October, 1870, the agitation was great in
Paris; the news had spread that the village of Le Bourget had been
retaken by the Prussians. The military report had done what it could to
render the pill less bitter by saying that "_this village did not form a
part of the system of defence_," but the people though kept in ignorance
perceived instinctively that there must be weakness on the part of the
chiefs. After so much French blood had been shed in taking the place,
men of brave will would not have been wanting to occupy it. We admit
that Le Bourget may not have been important from a military point of
view, but as regarding its moral effect its loss was much to be

The irritation felt by the population of Paris was changed into
exasperation, when on the following day the news of the reduction of
Metz appeared in the _Official Journal_:

    "The Government has just been acquainted with the sad intelligence
    of the capitulation of Metz. Marshal Bazaine and his army were
    compelled to surrender, after heroic efforts, which the want of food
    and ammunition alone rendered it impossible to maintain. They have
    been made prisoners of war."

And after this the Government talks of an armistice! What! Strasburg,
Toul, Metz, and so many other towns have resisted to the last dire
extremity, and Paris, who expects succour from the provinces, is to
capitulate, while a single effort is left untried? Has she no more
bread? No more powder? Have her citizens no more blood in their veins?
No, no! No armistice!

In the morning, a deputation, formed of officers of the National Guards,
went to the Hôtel de Ville to learn from the Government what were its
intentions. They were received by M. Etienne Arago, who promised them
that the decision should be made known to them about two o'clock.

The rappel was beaten at the time mentioned; battalions of the National
Guards poured into the Place, some armed, many without arms.

Over the sea of heads the eye was attracted by banners, and enormous
placards bearing the inscriptions--

"Vive la République!

"No Armistice!"

or else

"Vive la Commune!

"Death to Cowards!"

Rochefort,[1] with several other members of the Government, shows
himself at the principal gate, which is guarded by a company of Mobiles.
General Trochu appears in undress; he is received with cries of "_Vive
la République! La levée en masse!_ No Armistice! The National Guards,
who demand the _levée en masse_, would but cause a slaughter. We must
have cannon first; we will have them." Alas! it had been far better to
have had none whatever, as what follows will prove. While some cry,
"Vive Trochu!" others shout, "Down with Trochu!" Before long the Hôtel
de Ville is invaded; the courts, the saloons, the galleries, all are
filled. Each one offers his advice, but certain groups insist positively
on the resignation of the Government. Lists of names are passed from
hand to hand; among the names are those of Dorian (president),
Schoelcher, Delescluze, Ledru Rollin, Félix Pyat.


Cries are raised that if the Government refuse to resign, its members
will be arrested.

"Yes! yes! seize them!" And an officer springs forward to make them
prisoners as they sit in council.

"Excuse me, Monsieur, but what warrant have you for so doing?" asks one
of the members.

"I have nothing to do with warrants. I act in the name of the people!"

"Have you consulted the people? Those assembled here do not constitute
the people."

The officer was disconcerted. Not long afterwards, however, the crowd is
informed that the members of the Government are arrested.

The principal scene took place in the cabinet of the ex-prefect. Citizen
Blanqui approaches the table; addressing the people, he requests them to
evacuate the room so as to allow the commission to deliberate. The
commission! What commission? Where does it spring from? No one knew
anything of it, so the members must evidently have named themselves.
Monsieur Blanqui had seen to that, no doubt. During this time the
adjoining room is the theatre of the most extraordinary excitement; the
men of the 106th Battalion, who were on guard in the interior of the
Hôtel de Ville, are compelled to use their arms to prevent any one else
entering. After some tumult and struggling, but without any spilling of
blood, some National Guards of this battalion manage to fight their way
through to the room in which the members of the Government are
prisoners, and succeed in delivering them.

At about two o'clock in the morning, the 106th Battalion had completely
cleared the Hôtel de Ville of the crowds. No violence had been done, and
General Trochu was reviewing a body of men ranged in battle order, which
extended from the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville to the Place de la Concorde.
An hour later, quiet was completely restored.

The members of the Government, who had been incarcerated during several
hours, now wished to show their authority; they felt that their power
had been shaken, and saw the necessity of strengthening it. What can a
Government do in such a case? Call for a plébiscite. But this time Paris
alone was consulted, and for a good reason. Thus, on the 1st November,
the people, of Paris were enjoined to express their wishes by answering
yes or no to this simple question:--

    "Do the people of Paris recognise the authority of the Government
    for the National Defence?"

This was clear, positive, and free from all ambiguity.

The partizans of the Commune declared vehemently that those who voted in
the affirmative were reactionists. "Give us the Commune of '93!" shouted
those who thought they knew a little more about the matter than the
rest. They were generally rather badly received. It is no use speaking
of '93! Replace your Blanquis, your Félix Pyats, your Flourens by men
like those of the grand revolution, and then we shall be glad to hear
what you have to say on the subject.

The inhabitants of Montmartre, La-Chapelle, Belleville, behaved like
good citizens, keeping a brave heart in the hour of misfortune.

However it came about, the Government was maintained by a majority of
557,995 votes against 62,638.

Well, Messieurs of the Commune, try again, or, still better, remain

During the night of the 21st of January the members of the National
Defence and the chief officers of the army were assembled around the
table in the council-room. They were still under the mournful impression
left by the fatal day of the nineteenth, on which hundreds of citizens
had fallen at Montretout, at Garches, and at Buzenval. Thanks to the
want of foresight of the Government, the people of Paris were rationed
to 300 grammes of detestable black bread a day for each person. All
representations made to them had been in vain. Ration our bread by
degrees, had been said, we should thus accustom ourselves to privation,
and be prepared insensibly, for greater sufferings, while the duration
of our provisions would be lengthened. But the answer always was:
"Bread? We shall have enough, and to spare." When the great crisis was
seen approaching, the public feeling showed itself by violent agitation.
It was not surprising, therefore, that all the faces of these gentlemen
at the council-table bore marks of great depression. The Governor of
Paris offered his resignation, as he was in the habit of doing after
every rather stormy sitting; but his colleagues refused to accept it, as
they had before. What was to be done? Had not the Governor of Paris
sworn never to capitulate? After a night spent in discussing the
question, the members of Government decided on the following plan of
action. You will see that it was as simple as it was innocent! The
following announcement was placarded on all the walls:--

    "The Government for the National Defence has decided that the chief
    commandment of the army of Paris shall in future be separate from
    the presidency of the Government.

    "General Vinoy is named Commandant-in-Chief of the army of Paris.

    "The title and functions of the Governor of Paris are suppressed."

The trick is played: if they capitulate now, it will no longer be the
act of the Governor of Paris. How ingenious this would have been, if it
had not been pitiful!

    "General Trochu retains the presidency of the Government."

By the side of this placard was the proclamation of General Thomas.


    "Last night, a handful of insurgents forced open the prison of
    Mazas, and delivered several of the prisoners, amongst whom was M.
    Flourens. The same men attempted to occupy the _mairie_ of the 20th
    arrondissement (Belleville), and to install the chiefs of the
    insurrection there; your commander-in-chief relies on your
    patriotism to repress this shameful sedition.

    "The safety of Paris is at stake.

    "While the enemy is bombarding our forts, the factions within our
    walls use all their efforts to paralyse the defence.

    "In the name of the public good, in the name of law, and of the high
    and sacred duty that commands you all to unite in the defence of
    Paris, hold yourselves ready to frustrate this most criminal
    attempt; at the first call, let the National Guard rise to a man,
    and the perturbators will be struck powerless.

    "The Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard,


    "A true copy.

    "Minister of the Interior ad interim,


    "Paris, 22nd January, 1871."

In the morning, large groups of people assembled from mere curiosity,
appeared on the Place of the Hôtel de Ville, which however wore a
peaceful aspect.

At about half-past two in the afternoon, a detachment of a hundred and
fifty armed National Guards issued from the Rue du Temple, and stationed
themselves before the Hôtel de Ville, crying, "Down with Trochu!" "Long
live the Commune!" A short colloquy was then held between several of the
National Guards and some officers of the Mobiles, who spoke with perfect
calmness. Suddenly, a shot is fired, and at the same moment, as in the
grand scene of a melodrama, the windows and the great door are flung
open, and two lines of Mobile Guards are seen, the front rank kneeling,
the second standing, and all levelling their muskets and prepared to
fire. Then came a volley which spread terror amidst the crowds of people
in the Place, who precipitated themselves in all directions, uttering
cries and shrieks. In another moment the Place is cleared. Ah! those
famous chassepots can work miracles.

The insurgents, during this mad flight of men, women, and children, had
answered the attack, some aiming from the shelter of angles and posts,
others discharging their rifles from the windows of neighbouring houses.

Then the order to cease firing is heard, and a train of litterbearers,
waving their handkerchiefs as flags, approach from the Avenue Victoria.
At the Hôtel de Ville one officer only is wounded, but on the Place lie
a dozen victims, two of whom are women.

At four o'clock the 117th Battalion of the National Guard takes up its
position before the municipal palace. They are reinforced by a
detachment of _gendarmes_, mounted and on foot, and by companies of
Mobiles, under the command of General Carréard.

General Clément Thomas hastens to address a few words to the 117th;
later, he paid with his life for thus appearing on the side of order.
Finally, General Vinoy arrives, followed by his staff, to take measures
against any renewed acts of aggression. Mitrailleuses and cannon are
stationed before the Hôtel de Ville; the drums beat the _rappel_
throughout the town, and a great number of battalions of National Guards
assemble in the Rue de Rivoli, at the Louvre, and on the Place de la
Concorde; others bivouac before the Palais de l'Industrie, while on the
other side of the Champs Elysées regiments of cavalry, infantry, and
mobiles, are drawn out. The agitators have disappeared, calm is
restored, within the city be it understood, for all this did not
interrupt the animated interchange of shells between the French and
Prussian batteries, and a great number of Parisians, who had twice
helped to disperse the insurgents of October and January, thought
involuntarily of the Commune of the 10th of August, 1793, which headed
the revolution, and said to themselves that there were perhaps some
amongst the present insurgents who, like the former, would rise up to
deliver them from the Prussians. For these agitators have some
appearance of truth on their side: "You are weak and timorous," they cry
to those in power; "you seem awaiting a defeat rather than expecting a
victory. Give place to the energetic, obscure though they may be; for
the men of the great Commune, of our first glorious revolution, they
also were for the greater part unknown. We have confidence in the army
of Paris, and we will break the iron circle of invasion."

Though the Communists have since then shown bravery, and sometimes
heroism, in their struggle against the Versailles troops, we are very
doubtful, now that we have seen their chiefs in action, whether the
efforts they talked of would have been crowned with success. Their
object was power, and, having nothing to risk and all to gain, they
would have forthwith disposed of public property in order to procure
themselves enjoyment and honours. The few right-minded men who at first
committed themselves, proved this by the fact of their giving in their
resignation a few days after the Commune had established itself.

Tranquillity had returned. In the morning of the 25th, guards patrolled
the Place de la Bastille, the Place du Château d'Eau, the Boulevard
Magenta, and the outer boulevards. Paris started as if she had been
aroused from some fearful dream, and the waking thought of the enemy at
her gates stirred up all her energies once more.

The Communists had been defeated for the second time; but they were soon
to take a terrible revenge.

The vow made by the Governor of Paris had been repeated by the majority
of the Parisians, and all parties seemed to have rallied round him under
the same device: vanquish or die. After the forts, the barricades, and
as a last resource, the burning of the city. Who knows? Perhaps the
fanatics of resistance had already made out the plan of destruction
which served later for the Commune. It has been proved that nothing in
this work of ruin was impromptu.

The news of the convention of the 28th of January, the preliminary of
the capitulation of Paris, was thus very badly received, and M.
Gambetta, by exhorting the people, in his celebrated circular of the
31st of January, to resist to the death, sowed the seeds of civil war:--


    "The enemy has just inflicted upon France the most cruel insult that
    she has yet had to endure in this accursed war, the too-heavy
    punishment of the errors and weaknesses of a great people.

    "Paris, the impregnable, vanquished by famine, is no longer able to
    hold in respect the German hordes. On the 28th of January, the
    capital succumbed, her forts surrendered to the enemy. The city
    still remains intact, wresting, as it were, by her own power and
    moral grandeur, a last homage from barbarity.

    "But in falling, Paris leaves us the glorious legacy of her heroic
    sacrifices. During five months of privation and suffering, she has
    given to France the time to collect herself, to call her children
    together, to find arms, to compose armies, young as yet, but valiant
    and determined, and to whom is wanting only that solidity which can
    be obtained but by experience. Thanks to Paris, we hold in our
    hands, if we are but resolute and patriotic, all that is needed to
    revenge, and set ourselves free once more.

    "But, as though evil fortune had resolved to overwhelm us, something
    even more terrible and more fraught with anguish than the fall of
    Paris, was awaiting us.

    "Without our knowledge, without either warning, us or consulting us,
    an armistice, the culpable weakness of which was known to us too
    late, has been signed, which delivers into the hands of the
    Prussians the departments occupied by our soldiers, and which
    obliges us to wait for three weeks, in the midst of the disastrous
    circumstances in which the country is plunged, before a national
    assembly can be assembled.

    "We sent to Paris for some explanation, and then awaited in silence
    the promised arrival of a member of the government, to whom we were
    determined to resign our office. As delegates of government, we
    desired to obey, and thereby prove to all, friends and dissidents,
    by setting an example of moderation and respect of duty, that
    democracy is not only the greatest of all political principles, but
    also the most scrupulous of governments.

    "However, no one has arrived from Paris, and it is necessary to act,
    come what may; the perfidious machinations of the enemies of France
    must be frustrated.

    "Prussia relies upon the armistice to enervate and dissolve our
    armies; she hopes that the Assembly, meeting after so long a
    succession of disasters, and under the impression of the terrible
    fall of Paris, wilt be timid and weak, and ready to submit to a
    shameful peace.

    "It is for us to upset these calculations, and to turn the very
    instruments which are prepared to crush the spirit of resistance,
    into spurs that shall arouse and excite it.

    "Let us make this same armistice into a code of instruction for our
    young troops; let us employ the three coming weeks in pushing on the
    organization of the defence and of the war more ardently than ever.

    "Instead of the meeting of cowardly reactionists that our enemies
    expect, let us form an assembly that shall be veritably national and
    republican, desirous of peace, if peace can ensure the honour, the
    rank, and the integrity of our country, but capable of voting for
    war rather than aiding in the assassination of France.


    "Remember that our fathers left us France, whole and indivisible;
    let us not be traitors to our history; let us not deliver up our
    traditional domains into the hands of barbarians. Who then will sign
    the armistice? Not you, legitimists, who fought so valiantly under
    the flag of the Republic, in the defence of the ancient kingdom of
    France; nor you, sons of the bourgeois of 1789, whose work was to
    unite the old provinces in a pact of indissoluble union; nor you,
    workmen of the towns, whose intelligence and generous patriotism
    represent France in all her strength and grandeur, the leader of
    modern nations; nor you, tillers of the soil, who never have spared
    your blood in the defence of the Revolution, which gave you the
    ownership of your land and your title of citizen.

    "No! Not one Frenchman will be found to sign this infamous act; the
    enemy's attempt to mutilate France will be frustrated, for, animated
    with the same love of the mother country and bearing our reverses
    with fortitude, we shall become strong once more and drive out the
    foreign legions.

    "To the attainment of this noble end, we must devote our hearts, our
    wills, our lives, and, a still greater sacrifice perhaps, put aside
    our preferences.

    "We must close our ranks about the Republic, show presence of mind
    and strength of purpose; and without passion or weakness, swear,
    like free men, to defend France and the Republic against all and

    "To arms!"

The Government, by obtaining from M. de Bismarck a condition that the
National Guards should retain their arms, hoped to win public favour
again, as one offers a rattle to a fractious child to keep him quiet;
and it published the news on the 3rd of February:

    "After the most strenuous efforts on our part, we have obtained, for
    the National Guard, the condition ratified by the convention of the
    28th January."

Three days after, on the 6th of February, Gambetta wrote:

    "His conscience would not permit him to remain a member of a
    government with which he no longer agreed in principle."

The candidates, elected in Paris on the 8th of February, were Louis
Blanc, Victor Hugo, Garibaldi, Gambetta, Rochefort, Delescluze, Pyat,
Lockroy, Floquet, Millière, Tolain, Malon. The provinces, on the other
hand, chose their deputies from among the party of reaction, the members
of which have been so well-known since under the name of _rurals._

Loud murmurs arose in the ranks of the National Guard, when the decrees
of the 18th and 19th of February, concerning their pay, were published;
and later, when an order from headquarters required the marching
companies to send in to the state depôt all their campaigning

On the 18th of February, M. Thiers was named chief of the executive
power by a vote of the Assembly.

On Sunday, the 26th of February, the Place de la Bastille, in which
manifestations had been held for the last two days in celebration of the
revolution of February '48, became as a shrine, to which whole
battalions of the National Guard marched to the sound of music, their
flags adorned with caps of liberty and cockades. The Column of July was
hung with banners and decorated with wreaths of immortelles. Violent
harangues, the theme of which was the upholding of the Republic "to the
death," were uttered at its foot. One man, of the name of Budaille,
pretended that he held proofs of the treachery of the Government for the
National Defence, and promised that he would produce them at the proper
time and place.

Up to this moment, the demonstrations seemed to have but one
result--that of impeding circulation; but they soon gave rise to scenes
of tumult and disorder. Towards one o'clock, when perhaps twenty or
thirty thousand persons were on the above Place, an individual, accused
of being a spy, was dragged by an infuriated mob to the river, and
flung, bound hand and foot, into the look by the Ile Saint Louis, amidst
the wild cries and imprecations of the madmen whose prey he had become.

The night of the 26th was very agitated; drums beat to arms, and on the
morning of the 27th the Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard issued
a proclamation, in which he appealed to the good citizens of Paris, and
confided the care of the city to the National Guard. This had no effect,
however, on the aspect of the Place de la Bastille; the crowd continued
to applaud, frantically, the incendiary speeches of the socialist party,
who had sworn to raise Paris at any cost.


On the same day, the 27th of February, the Government informed the
people of Paris of the result of the negociations with Prussia, in the
following proclamation:

    "The Government appeals to your patriotism and your wisdom; you hold
    in your hands the future of Paris and of France herself. It is for
    you to save or to ruin both!

    "After a heroic resistance, famine forced you to open your gates to
    the victorious enemy; the armies that should have come to your aid
    were driven over the Loire. These incontestable facts have compelled
    the Government for the National Defence to open negotiations of

    "For six days your negotiators have disputed the ground foot by
    foot; they did all that was humanly possible, to obtain less
    rigorous conditions. They have signed the preliminaries of peace,
    which are about to be submitted to the National Assembly.

    "During the time necessary for the examination and discussion of
    these preliminaries, hostilities would have recommenced, and blood
    would, have flowed afresh and uselessly, without a prolongation of
    the armistice.

    "This prolongation could only be obtained on the condition of a
    partial and very temporary occupation of a portion of Paris:
    absolutely to be limited to the quarter of the Champs Elysées. Not
    more than thirty thousand men are to enter the city, and they are to
    retire as soon as the preliminaries of peace have been ratified,
    which act can only occupy a few days.

    "If this convention were not to be respected the armistice would be
    at an end: the enemy, already master of the forts, would occupy the
    whole of Paris by force. Your property, your works of art, your
    monuments, now guaranteed by the convention, would cease to exist.

    "The misfortune would reach the whole of France. The frightful
    ravages of the war, which have not heretofore passed the Loire,
    would extend to the Pyrenees.

    "It is then absolutely true to say that the salvation of France is
    at stake. Do not imitate the error of those who would not listen to
    us when, eight months ago, we abjured them not to undertake a war
    which must be fatal.

    "The French army which defended Paris with so much courage will
    occupy the left of the Seine, to ensure the loyal execution of the
    new armistice. It is for the National Guard to lend its aid, by
    keeping order in the rest of the city.

    "Let all good citizens who earned honour as its chiefs, and showed
    themselves so brave before the enemy, reassume their authority, and
    the cruel situation of the moment will be terminated by peace and the
    return of public prosperity."

This clause of the occupation of Paris by the Prussians was regarded by
some people as a mere satisfaction of national vanity; but the greater
number considered it as an apple of discord thrown by M. de Bismarck,
who had every reason to desire that civil war should break out, thus
making himself an accomplice of the Socialists and the members of the
International. Confining ourselves simply to the analysis of facts, and
to those considerations which may enlighten public opinion respecting
the causes of events, we shall not allow ourselves to be carried over
the vast field of hypothesis, but preserve the modest character of
narrators. On the night of the 27th of February, the admiral commanding
the third section of the fortifications, having noticed the hostile
attitude of the National Guard, caused the troops which had been
disarmed in accordance with the conditions of the armistice to withdraw
into the interior of the city. The men of Belleville profited by the
circumstance to pillage the powder magazines which had been entrusted to
their charge, and on the following day they went, preceded by drums and
trumpets, to the barracks of the Rue de la Pépinière to invite the
sailors lodged there to join them in a patriotic manifestation on that
night. Believing that the object was to prevent the Prussians entering
Paris, a certain number of these brave fellows, who had behaved so
admirably during the siege, set out towards the Place de la Bastille but
having been met on their way by some of their officers, they soon
separated themselves from the rioters. Thirty of them had been invited
to an open-air banquet in the Place de la Bastille; but seeing the
probability of some disorder they nearly all retired, and on the
following morning only eight of them were missing at the roll-call. Not
one of the six thousand marines lodged in the barracks of the Ecole
Militaire absented himself. On the same day, the 28th, a secret
society, which we learned later to know and to fear, issued its first
circular under the name of the Central Committee of the National Guard;
the part since played by this body has been too important for us to omit
to insert this proclamation here: its decisions became official acts
which overthrew all constituted authority.



    "The general feeling of the population appears to be to offer no
    opposition to the entry of the Prussians into Paris. The Central
    Committee, which had emitted contrary advice, declares its intention
    of adhering to the following resolutions:--

    "'All around the quarters occupied by the enemy, barricades shall be
    raised so as to isolate completely that part of the town. The
    inhabitants of the circumscribed portion should be required to quit
    it immediately.

    "'The National Guard, in conjunction with the army, shall form an
    unbroken line along the whole circuit, and take care that the enemy,
    thus isolated upon ground which is no longer of our city, shall
    communicate in no manner with any of the other parts of Paris.

    "'The Central Committee engages the National Guard to lend, its aid
    for the execution of the necessary measures to bring about this
    result, and to avoid any aggressive acts which would have the
    immediate effect of overthrowing the Republic."'

But here is a little treacherous placard, manuscript and anonymous,
which takes a much fairer tone:--

    "A convention has permitted the Prussians to occupy the Champs
    Elysées, from the Seine to the Faubourg St. Honoré, and as far as
    the Place de la Concorde.

    "Be it so! The greater the injury, the more terrible the revenge.

    "But, if some panderer dare to pass the circle of our shame, let him
    be instantly declared traitor, let him become a target for our
    balls, an object for our petroleum, a mark for our Orsini bombs,[2]
    an aim for our daggers!

    "Let this be told to all.

    "By decision of the Horatii,

    "(Signed) POPULUS."

The effervescence in the minds of the people was so great, that the
entry of the Prussians was delayed for forty-eight hours, but on the
first of March, at ten in the morning, they had come into the city, and
the smoke of their bivouac fires was seen in the Champs Elysées. On the
evening of the same day, a telegram from Bordeaux announced that the
National Assembly had ratified the preliminaries of peace by a majority
of 546 voices against 107. On the following day the ex-Minister of
Foreign Affairs left for Versailles, and by nine o'clock in the evening,
everything was prepared for the evacuation of the troops, which was
effected by eleven, on the third of March. During the short period of
their stay, the city was in veritable mourning; the public edifices
(even the Bourse) were closed, as were the shops, the warehouses, and
the greater part of the cafés. At the windows hung black flags, or the
tricolour covered with black crape, and veils of the same material
concealed the faces of the statues[3] on the Place de la Concorde.

All these demonstrations had, however, a pacific character, and the
presence of the enemy in Paris gave rise to no serious incident.

Nevertheless, the agitation of the public mind was not allayed; some
attributed this to a plot the Socialists had formed, and which had
arrived at maturity. Others believed that the Prussians had left
emissaries, creators of disorder, behind them, in revenge for their
reception on the Place de la Concorde. In truth, their entry was
anything but triumphal; their national airs were received with hisses;
their officers were hooted as they promenaded in the Tuileries, and
those who attempted to visit the Louvre were compelled to retreat
without having satisfied their curiosity. On the evening of the 3rd of
March, a note emanating from the Ministry of the Interior, pointed out
in the following terms the danger to be feared from the Central

    "Incidents of the most regrettable nature have occurred during the
    last few days, and menace seriously the peace of the capital.
    Certain National Guards in arms, following the orders, not of their
    legitimate chiefs, but of an anonymous Central Committee, which
    could not give them any instructions without committing a crime
    severely punishable by the law, took possession of a considerable
    quantity of arms and ammunition of war, under the pretext of saving
    them from the enemy, whose invasion they pretended to fear. Such
    acts should at any rate have ceased after the departure of the
    Prussian army. But such is not the case, for this evening the
    guard-house at the Gobelins was invaded, and a number of cartridges

    "Those who provoke these disorders draw upon themselves a most
    terrible responsibility; it is at the very moment that the city of
    Paris, relieved from contact with the foreigner, desires to reassume
    its habits of serenity and industry, that these men are sowing
    trouble and preparing civil war. The Government appeals to all good
    citizens to aid in stifling in the germ these culpable


    "Let all who have at heart the honour and the peace of the city
    arise; let the National Guard, repulsing all perfidious
    instigations, rally round its officers, and prevent evils of which
    the consequences will be incalculable. The Government and the
    Commander-in-Chief (General d'Aurelle de Paladines, nominated on
    the same day by M. Thiers to the chief command of the National
    Guard) are determined to do their duty energetically; they will
    cause the laws to be executed; they count on the patriotism and the
    devotion of all the inhabitants of Paris."

It was indeed time to put a stop to the existing state of affairs, for
already twenty-six guns were in the possession of the insurgents, who
had formed a regular park of artillery in the Place d'Italie, and this
is the aspect of the Buttes Montmartre on the sixth of March, as
described by an eye-witness:--

    "The heights have become a veritable camp. Three or four hundred
    National Guards, belonging partly to the 61st and 168th Battalions,
    mount guard there day and night, and relieve each other regularly,
    like old campaigners. They have two drummers and four trumpeters,
    who beat the rappel or ring out the charge whenever the freak takes
    them, without any one knowing why or wherefore. The officers, with
    broad red belts, high boots, and their long swords dragging after
    them, parade the Place with pipes or cigars in their months. They
    glance disdainfully at the passers-by, and seem almost overpowered
    with the importance of the high mission they imagine themselves
    called upon to fulfil. "This is of what their mission consists: at
    the moment of the entry of the Prussians into Paris, the National
    Guard of Montmartre, fearing that the artillery would be taken from
    them to be delivered to the enemy, assembled and dragged their
    pieces, about twenty in number, up to the plateau which forms the
    summit of Montmartre, and then placed them in charge of a special
    guard. Now that the Prussians have left, they still keep their
    stronghold, thinking to use it in the defence of the Republic
    against the attacks of the reactionists. The guns are pointed
    towards Paris, and guard is kept without a moment's relaxation.
    There are four principal posts, the most important being at the foot
    of the hill, on the Place Saint Pierre. The guards bivouac in the
    open air, their muskets piled, ready at hand. Sentinels are placed
    at the corner of each street, most of them lads of sixteen or
    seventeen; but they are thoroughly in earnest, and treat the
    passers-by roughly enough.

    [Illustration: SENTINELS AT MONTMARTRE.]

    "All the streets which debouche on the Place Saint-Pierre are closed
    by barricades of paving-stones. The most important was formed of an
    overturned cart, filled with huge stones, and with a red flag reared
    upon the summit. A death-like silence reigned around. There were but
    few passers-by, none but National Guards with their guns on their

The appearance of the Boulevard de Clichy and Boulevard Rochechouart is
completely different. The cafés are overflowing with people, the
concert-rooms open. Men and women pass tranquilly to and fro, without
disturbing themselves about the cannon that are pointed towards them.

The Government, before coming to active measures, appealed to the good
sense of the people in a proclamation, dated the 8th of March, saying
that this substitution of legal authority by a secret power would retard
the evacuation of the enemy, and perhaps expose us to disasters still
more complete and terrible.

    "Let us look our position calmly in the face. We have been
    conquered; nearly half of our territory has been in the power of a
    million of Germans, who have imposed upon us a fine of five
    milliards. Our only means of discharging this weighty debt is by the
    strictest economy, the most exemplary conduct and care. We must not
    lose a moment before putting our hands to work, which is our one and
    solitary hope. And at this awful moment shall our miserable folly
    lead us into a civil strife?...

    "If, while they are meeting to treat with the enemy, our negotiators
    have sedition to fear, they will break down as they did on the 31st
    of October, when the events of the Hôtel de Ville authorised the
    enemy to refuse us an armistice which might have saved us."

This form of reasoning was not illogical, but those who were working in
secret for the furtherance of their own ambition, oared little to be
convinced, and their myrmidons obeyed them blindly, and gloated over the
wild, bombastic language of the demagogic press, which, though they did
not understand it, impressed them no less with its inflated phrases.

The Government, perceiving that it would be perhaps necessary to use
rigorous measures, gave orders to hasten the arrival of the rest of the
Army of the North.

Some few days after the 18th of March, they resolved to deal a decided
blow to the Democratic party in suppressing at once the _Vengeur_, the
_Mot d'Ordre_, the _Cri du Peuple_, the _Caricature_, the _Père
Duchesne_, and the _Bouche de Fer_.

The National Guards had a perfect mania for collecting cannon; after
having placed in battery the mitrailleuses and pieces of seven, the
produce of patriotic subscriptions, they also seized upon others
belonging to the State, and carried them off to the Buttes Montmartre,
where they had about a hundred pieces. The retaking of this artillery
was the matter in question. While they at Versailles were occupied with
the solution of the problem, the National Guards continued their
manifestations at the Place de la Bastille, dragging these pieces of
artillery in triumph from the Champ de Mars to the Luxembourg, from the
park of Montrouge to Notre Dame, from the Place des Vosges to the Place
d'Italie, and from the Buttes Montmartre to the Buttes Chaumont.

Before making use of force, the Government desired to make a last effort
at conciliation, and on the 17th of March the following proclamation was
posted on the walls:--


    "Once more we address ourselves to you, to your reason, and your
    patriotism, and we hope that you will listen to us.

    "Your grand city, which cannot live except with order, is profoundly
    troubled in some of its quarters, and this trouble, without
    spreading to other parts, is sufficient nevertheless to prevent the
    return of industry and comfort.

    "For some time a number of ill-advised men, under the pretext of
    resisting the Prussians, who are no longer within our walls, have
    constituted themselves masters of a part of the city, thrown up
    entrenchments, mounting guard there and forcing you to do the same,
    all by order of a secret committee, which takes upon itself to
    command a portion of the National Guard, thus setting aside the
    authority of General d'Aurelle de Paladines so worthy to be at your
    head, and would form a government in opposition to that which exists
    legally, the offspring of universal suffrage.

    "These men, who have already caused you so much harm, whom you
    yourselves dispersed on the 31st of October, are placarding their
    intention to protect you against the Prussians, who have only made
    an appearance within our walls, and whose definite departure is
    retarded by these disorders, and pointing guns, which if fired would
    only ruin your houses and destroy your wives and yourselves; in
    fact, compromising the very Republic they pretend to defend; for if
    it is firmly established in the opinion of France that the Republic
    is the necessary companion of disorder, the Republic will be lost.
    Do not place any trust in them, but listen to the truth which we
    tell you in all sincerity.

    "The Government instituted by the whole nation could have retaken
    before this these stolen guns, which at present only menace your
    safety, seized these ridiculous entrenchments which hinder nothing
    but business, and have placed in the hands of justice the criminals
    who do not hesitate to create civil war immediately after that with
    the foreigner, but it desired to give those who were misled the time
    to separate themselves from those who deceived them.

    "However, the time allowed for honourable men to separate themselves
    from the others, and which is deducted from your tranquillity, your
    welfare, and the welfare of France, cannot be indefinitely

    "While such a state of things lasts, commerce is arrested, your
    shops are deserted, orders which would come from all parts are
    suspended; your arms are idle, credit cannot be recreated, the
    capital which the Government requires to rid the territory of the
    presence of the enemy, comes to hand but slowly. In your own
    interest, in that of your city, as well as in that of France, the
    Government is resolved to act. The culprits who pretend to institute
    a Government of their own must be delivered up to justice. The guns
    stolen from the State must be replaced in the arsenals; and, in
    order to carry out this act of justice and reason, the Government
    counts upon your assistance.

    "Let all good citizens separate themselves from the bad; let them
    aid, instead of opposing, the public forces; they will thus hasten
    the return of comfort to the city, and render service to the
    Republic itself, which disorder is ruining in the opinion of France.

    "Parisians! We use this language to you because we esteem your good
    sense, your wisdom, your patriotism; but, this warning being given,
    you will approve of our having resort to force at all costs, and
    without a day's delay, that order, the only condition of your
    welfare, be re-established entirely, immediately, and unalterably."

As soon as the party of disorder saw the intentions of the Government of
Versailles thus set forth, a chorus of recriminations burst
forth:--"They want to put an end to the Republic!"--"They are about to
fire on our brothers!"--"They wish to set up a king," &c. The same
strain for ever! In order to prevent as far as possible the mischievous
effects of this insurrectionary propaganda, the Government issued the
following proclamation, which bore date the 18th of March:--


    "Absurd rumours are spread abroad that the Government contemplates a
    _coup d'état._

    "The Government of the Republic has not, and cannot have, any other
    object but the welfare of the Republic.

    "The measures which have been taken were indispensable to the
    maintenance of order; it was, and is still, determined to put an end
    to an insurrectionary committee, the members of which, nearly all
    unknown to the population of Paris, preach nothing but Communist
    doctrines, will deliver up Paris to pillage, and bring France into
    her grave, unless the National Guard and the army do not rise with
    one accord in the defence of the country and of the Republic."

The Government had many parleys with the insurrectionary National Guards
at Montmartre; at one moment there was a rumour that the guns had been
given up. It appeared that the guardians of this artillery had
manifested some intention of restoring it, horses had even been sent
without any military force to create mistrust, but the men declared that
they would not deliver the guns, except to the battalions to which they
properly belonged. Was there bad faith here? or had those who made the
promise undertaken to deliver up the skin before they had killed the

Public opinion shaped itself generally in somewhat the following
form:--"If they are tricking each other, that is not very dangerous!"

Many an honest citizen went to bed on the seventeenth of March full of
hope. He saw Paris marching with quick steps towards the
re-establishment of its business, and the resumption of its usual
aspect; the emigrants and foreigners would arrive in crowds, their
pockets overflowing with gold to make purchases and put the industry of
Paris under contributions the French and foreign bankers will rival each
other to pay the indemnity of five milliards.

The dream of good M. Prudhomme[4] was, however, somewhat clouded by the
figure of the Buttes Montmartre bristling with cannon; but the number of
guards had become so diminished, and they seemed so tired of the
business, that it appeared as if they were about to quit for good. The
following chapter will inform you what were the waking thoughts of the
Parisians on the morning of the eighteenth of March.



[Illustration: BUILDING A BARRICADE. MARCH 18. 1871.]


[Footnote 1: Memoir, see Appendix I.]

[Footnote 2: The police had seized, some time before, in Paris, ten
thousand Orsini bombs, and hundreds of others of a new construction,
charged with fulminating mercury.]

[Footnote 3: The eight gigantic female figures, representing the
principal towns of France: Strasbourg, Lille, Metz, &c., &c.]

[Footnote 4: "Joseph Prudhomme" is the typical representative of the
Parisian middle-class (_Bourgeois_); the honest simple father of family,
peaceful but patriotic, proud of his country and ready to die for it.]


Listen! What does that mean? Is it a transient squall or the first gust
of a tempest? Is it due to nature or to man's agency; is it an émeute or
the advent of a revolution that is to overturn everything?

Such were my reflections when awakened, on the 18th of March, 1871, at
about four in the morning, by a noise due to the tramp of many feet.
From my window, in the gloomy white fog, I could see detachments of
soldiers walking under the walls, proceeding slowly, wrapped in their
grey capotes; a soft drizzling rain falling at the time. Half awake, I
descended to the street in time to interrogate two soldiers passing in
the rear.

"Where are you going?" asked I.--"We do not know," says one; "Report
says we are going to Montmartre," adds the other.[5] They were really
going to Montmartre. At five o'clock in the morning the 88th Regiment of
the line occupied the top of the hill and the little streets leading to
it, a place doubtless familiar to some of them, who on Sundays and fête
days had clambered up the hill-sides in company with apple-faced rustics
from the outskirts, and middle-class people of the quarter; taking part
in the crowd on the Place Saint-Pierre, with its games and amusements,
and "assisting," as they would say, at shooting in a barrel, admiring
the ability of some, whilst reviling the stupidity of others; when they
had a few sous in their pockets they would try their own skill at
throwing big balls into the mouths of fantastic monsters, painted upon a
square board, while their country friends nibbled at spice-nuts, and
thought them delicious. But on this 18th of March morning there are no
women, nor spice-nuts, nor sport on the Place Saint-Pierre: all is slush
and dirt, and the poor lines-men are obliged to stand at ease, resting
upon their arms, not in the best of humour with the weather or the
prospect before them.

Ah! and the guns of the National Guard that frown from their embrasures
on the top of the hill, have they been made use of against the
Prussians? No! they have made no report during the siege, and were only
heard on the days on which they were christened and paid for; elegant
things, hardly to be blackened with powder, that it was always hoped
would be pacific and never dangerous to the capital. Cruel irony! those
guns for which Paris paid, and those American mitrailleuses, made out of
the savings of both rich and poor, the farthings of the frugal
housewife, and the napoleons of the millionaires; the contributions of
the artists who designed, and the poets who pen'd, are ruining Paris
instead of protecting it. The brass mouths that ate the bread of
humanity are turned upon the nation itself to devour it also.

But, to return to the 88th Regiment of Line, did they take the guns?
Yes, but they gave them up again, and to whom? why, to a crowd of women
and children; and as to the chiefs, no one seemed to know what had
become of them. It is related, however, that General Lecomte had been
made a prisoner and led to the Château-Rouge, and that at nine o'clock
some Chasseurs d'Afrique charged pretty vigorously in the Place Pigalle
a detachment of National Guards, who replied by a volley of bullets. An
officer of Chasseurs was shot, and his men ran away, the greater part,
it is said, into the wine-shops, where they fraternised with the
patriots, who offered them drink. I was told on the spot that General
Vinoy, who was on horseback, became encircled in a mob of women, had a
stone and a cap[6] thrown at him, and thought it prudent to escape,
leaving the National Guards and linesmen to promenade in good fellowship
three abreast, dispersing themselves about the outer boulevards and
about Paris. Indeed, I have just seen a drunken couple full of wine and
friendship, strongly reminding one of a duel ending in a jolly
breakfast. And who is to blame for this? Nobody knows. All agree that it
is a bungle,--the fault of maladministration and want of tact.
Certainly the National Guards at Montmartre had no right to hold the
cannons belonging to the National Guards, as a body, or to menace the
reviving trade and tranquillity of Paris, by means of guns turned
against its peaceful citizens and Government officials; but was it
necessary to use violence to obtain possession of the cannons? Should
not all the means of conciliation be exhausted first, and might we not
hope that the citizens at Montmartre would themselves end by abandoning
the pieces of artillery[7] which they hardly protected. In fact, they
were encumbered by their own barricades, and they might take upon
themselves to repave their streets and return to order.

Monsieur Thiers and his ministers were not of that opinion. They
preferred acting, and with vigour. Very well! but when resolutions are
formed, one should be sure of fulfilling them, for in circumstances of
such importance failure itself makes the attempt an error.[8]

Well! said the Government, who could imagine that the line would throw
up the butt ends of their muskets,[9] or that the Chasseurs, after the
loss of a single officer, would turn their backs upon the Nationals, and
that their only deeds should be the imbibing of plentiful potations at
the cost of the insurgents? But how could it be otherwise? Not many days
since the soldiers were wandering idly through the streets with the
National Guards; were billeted upon the people, eating their soup and
chatting with their wires and daughters, unaccustomed to discipline and
the rigour of military organisation; enervated by defeat, having been
maintained by their officers in the illusion of their invincibility;
annoyed by their uniform, of which they ceased to be proud, the
humiliated soldiers sought to escape into the citizen. Were the
commanding officers ignorant of the prevailing spirit of the troops?
Must we admit that they were grossly deceived, or that they deceived the
Government, when the latter might and ought to have been in a position
to foresee the result. Possibly the Assembly had the right to coerce,
but they had no right to be ignorant of their power. They must have
known that 100,000 arms (chassepots, tabatières,[10] and muskets) were
in the hands of disaffected men, clanking on the floors of the dealers
in adulterated wines and spirits, and low cabarets. The fact is, the
Government took a leap in the dark, and wondered when they found the
position difficult.


[Footnote 5: Appendix, note 2.]

[Footnote 6: A mark of insult.]

[Footnote 7: This useless artillery was much ridiculed; jokers said that
the notary of General Trochu was working out faithfully the "plan" of
his illustrious client in these tardy fortifications.]

[Footnote 8: How was the Government to act in the presence of these
facts; to await events, or to strike a great blow?

Some think that the resistance of the insurgents was strengthened by the
measures taken by Government, which ought to have been more diplomatic
and skilful. The agitation of these men of Montmartre, at the entry of
the Prussians, had calmed down in a few hours; it was now the duty of
Government to allay the irritation which had caused the insurgents to
form their Montmartre stronghold, and not to follow the advice of
infuriated reactionaries, who make no allowance for events and
circumstances, neither analysing the elements of that which they are
combating, nor weighing the measures they do not even know how to apply
with tact.

The guns had not been re-taken, but Paris was very calm. Dissensions had
broken out in the Montmartre Committee, some of whose members wished the
cannon to be returned (the Committee sat at No, 8 of the Rue des
Rosiers, with a court-martial on one hand, and military head-quarters on
the other). Danger seemed now to be averted, and the authorities had but
one thing to do, to allow all agitation to die out, without listening to
blind or treacherous counsellors, who advocated a system of immediate
repression. It was said, however, that the greater number of the members
of Government were inclined to temporise, but the provisional
appointment of General Valentin to the direction of the Prefecture of
Police, seemed to contradict this assertion.

During this time, the leaders who held Montmartre, spurred on by the
ambitious around them, and by those desirous of kindling civil war for
the sake of the illicit gains to be obtained from it, were getting up a
manifestation, which was to claim for the National Guard the right of
electing its commander-in-chief; and the post was to be offered to
Menotti Garibaldi. But though the men of Montmartre declared that all
who did not sign the manifestos were traitors, yet the addresses
remained almost entirely blank. The insurrection had evidently few
supporters. According to others, the insurrection of 1871 was the result
of a vast conspiracy, planned and nurtured under the influence of a six
months' siege. No simple Paris _émeute_, but a grand social movement,
organised by the great and universal revolutionary power; the Société
Internationale, Garibaldiism, Mazziniism, and Fenianism, have given each
other rendezvous in Paris. Cluseret, the American; Frankel, the
Prussian; Dombrowski, the Russian; Brunswick, the Lithuanian; Romanelli,
the Italian; Okolowitz, the Pole; Spillthorn, the Belgian; and La
Cécilia, Wroblewski, Wenzel, Hertzfel, Bozyski, Syneck, Prolowitz, and a
hundred others, equally illustrious, brought together from every quarter
of the globe; such were these ardent conspirators, all imbued, like
their colleagues the Flourens, the Eudes, the Henrys, the Duvals, and
_tutti quanti_, with the principles of the French school of democracy
and socialism.

This strong and terrible band, we are told, is under the command of a
chief who remains hidden and mute, while ostensibly it obeys the Pyats,
Delescluzes, and Rocheforts, politicians, who not being generals, never
condescend to fight.

In the first days of March all was prepared for a coming explosion, and
in spite of the departure of the Prussians, the Socialist party
determined that it should take place. (_Guerre des Communeux_, p. 61.)]

[Footnote 9: A sign that they refused to fight.]

[Footnote 10: A smooth-bore musket arranged as breech-loader, and called
a snuff-box, from the manner of opening the breech to adjust the


At three o'clock in the afternoon there was a dense group of linesmen
and Nationals in one of the streets bordering on the Elysée-Montmartre.
The person who told us this did not recollect the name of the street,
but men were eagerly haranguing the crowd, talking of General Lecomte,
and his having twice ordered the troops to fire upon the citizen

"And what he did was right," said an old gentleman who was listening.

Words that were no sooner uttered than they provoked a torrent of curses
and imprecations from the by-standers. But he continued observing that
General Lecomte had only acted under the orders of his superiors; being
commanded to take the guns and to disperse the crowd, his only duty was
to obey.

These remarks being received in no friendly spirit, hostility to the
stranger increased, when a vivandière approached, and looking the
gentleman who had exposed himself to the fury of the mob full in the
face, exclaimed, "It is Clément Thomas!" And in truth it was General
Clément Thomas; he was not in uniform. A torrent of abuse was poured
forth by a hundred voices at once, and the anger of the crowd seemed
about to extend itself to violence, when a ruffian cried out: "You
defend the rascal Lecomte! Well, we'll put you both together, and a
pretty pair you'll be!" and this project being approved of, the General
was hurried, not without having to submit to fresh insults, to where
General Lecomte had been imprisoned since the morning.

From this moment the narrative I have collected differs but little from
that circulated through Paris.

At about four o'clock in the afternoon the two generals were conducted
from their prison by a hundred National Guards, the hands of General
Lecomte being bound together, whilst those of Clément Thomas were free.
In this manner they were escorted to the top of the hill of Montmartre,
where they stopped before No. 6 of the Rue des Rosiers: it is a little
house I had often seen, a peaceful and comfortable habitation, with a
garden in front. What passed within it perhaps will never be known. Was
it there that the Central Committee of the National Guard held their
sittings in full conclave? or were they represented by a few of its
members? Many persons think that the house was not occupied, and that
the National Guards conducted their prisoners within its walls to make
the crowd believe they were proceeding to a trial, or at least to give
the appearance of legality to the execution of premeditated acts. Of one
thing there remains little doubt, namely, that soldiers of the line
stood round about at the time, and that the trial, if any took place,
was not long, the condemned being conducted to a walled enclosure at the
end of the street.

MARCH, 1871. The Hôtel de Ville of Paris, which witnessed so many
national ceremonies and republican triumphs, was commenced in 1533, and
it was finished in 1628. Here the first Bourbon, Henry IV., celebrated
his entry into Paris after the siege of 1589, and Bailly the _maire_, on
the 17th July, 1789, presented Louis XVI. to the people, wearing a
tricolor cockade. Henry IV. became a Catholic in order to enter "his
good city of Paris" whilst Louis XVI. wore the democratic insignia in
order to keep it. A few days later the 172 commissioners of sections,
representing the municipality of Paris, established the Commune. The
Hôtel de Ville was the seat of the First Committee of Public Safety, and
from the green chamber, Robespierre governed the Convention and France
till his fall on the 9th Thermidor. From 1800 to 1830 fêtes held the
place of political manifestations. In 1810 Bonaparte received
Marie-Louise here; in 1821, the baptism of the Duke of Bordeaux was
celebrated here; in 1825 fêtes were given to the Duc d'Angouleme on his
return from Spain, and to Charles X., arriving from Rheims. Five years
later, from the same balcony where Bailly presented Louis XVI. to the
people, Lafayette, standing by the side of Louis Philippe, said, "This
is the best of Republics!" It was here, in 1848, that De Lamartine
courageously declared to an infuriated mob that, as long as _he_ lived,
the red flag should not be the flag of France. During the fatal days of
June, 1848, the Hôtel de Ville was only saved from destruction by the
intrepidity of a few brave men. The Queen of England was received here
in 1865, and the sovereigns who visited Paris since have been fêted
therein. On the 4th of September the bloodless revolution was
proclaimed; and on the 31st of October, 1870, and the 22nd of January,
1871, Flourens and Blanqui made a fruitless attempt to substitute the
red flag for the tricolor; but their partisans succeeded on the 18th of
March, when it was fortified, and became the head-quarters of the
Commune of 1871.]

As soon as they had halted, an officer of the National Guard seized
General Clément Thomas by the collar of his coat and shook him violently
several times, exclaiming, whilst he held the muzzle of a revolver close
to his throat,--"Confess that you have betrayed the Republic." To this
Monsieur Clément Thomas only replied by a shrug of his shoulders; upon
this the officer retired, leaving the General standing alone in the
front of the wall, with a line of soldiers opposite.

Who gave the signal to fire is unknown, but a report of twenty muskets
rent the air, and General Clément Thomas fell with his face to the

"It is your turn now," said one of the assassins, addressing General
Lecomte, who immediately advanced from the crowd, stepping over the body
of Clément Thomas to take his place, awaiting with his back to the wall
the fatal moment.

"Fire!" cried the officer, and all was over.

Half an hour after, in the Rue des Acacias, I came across an old woman
who wanted three francs for a bullet--a bullet she had extracted from
the plaster of a wall at the end of the Rue des Rosiers.


It is ten o'clock in the evening, and if I were not so tired I would go
to the Hôtel de Ville, which, I am told, has been taken possession of by
the National Guards; the 18th of March is continuing the 31st of
October. But the events of this day have made me so weary that I can
hardly write all I have seen and heard. On the outer boulevards the wine
shops are crowded with tipsy people, the drunken braggarts who boast
they have made a revolution. When a stroke succeeds there are plenty of
rascals ready to say: I did it. Drinking, singing, and talking are the
order of the day. At every step you come upon "piled arms." At the
corner of the Passage de l'Elysée-des-Beaux-Arts I met crowds of people,
some lying on the ground; here a battalion standing at ease but ready
to march; and at the entrance of the Rue Blanche and the Rue Fontaine
were some stones, ominously posed one on the other, indicating symptoms
of a barricade. In the Rue des Abbesses I counted three cannons and a
mitrailleuse, menacing the Rue des Martyrs. In the Rue des Acacias, a
man had been arrested, and was being conducted by National Guards to the
guard-house: I heard he was a thief. Such arrests are characteristic
features in a Parisian émeute. Notwithstanding these little scenes the
disorder is not excessive, and but for the multitude of men in uniform
one might believe it the evening of a popular fête; the victors are
amusing themselves.

[Illustration: Sentinels, Rue Du Val De Grâce and Boulevard St. Michel.]

Among the Federals this evening there are very few linesmen; perhaps
they have gone to their barracks to enjoy their meal of soup and bread.

Upon the main boulevards noisy groups are commenting upon the events of
the day. At the corner of the Rue Drouot an officer of the 117th
Battalion is reading in a loud voice, or rather reciting, for he knows
it all by heart, the proclamation of M. Picard, the official poster of
the afternoon.

    "The Government appeals to you to defend your city, your home, your
    children, and your property.

    "Some frenzied men, commanded by unknown chiefs, direct against
    Paris the guns defended from, the Prussians.

    "They oppose force to the National Guard and the army.

    "Will you suffer it?

    "Will you, under the eyes of the strangers ready to profit by our
    discord, abandon Paris to sedition?

    "If you do not extinguish it in the germ, the Republic and France
    will be ruined for ever.

    "Their destiny is in your hands.

    "The Government desires that you should hold your arms energetically
    to maintain the law and preserve the Republic from anarchy. Gather
    round your leaders; it is the only means of escaping ruin and the
    domination of the foreigner.

    "The Minister of the Interior,


The crowd listened with attention, shouted two or three times "To
arms!" and then dispersed--I thought for an instant, to arm themselves,
though in reality it was only to reinforce another group forming on the
other side of the way.

This day the Friends of Order have been very apathetic, so much so that
Paris is divided between two parties: the one active and the other

To speak truly, I do not know what the population of Paris could have
done to resist the insurrection. "Gather round your chiefs," says the
proclamation. This is more easily said than done, when we do not know
what has become of them. The division caused in the National Guard by
the Coup d'Etat of the Central Committee had for its consequence the
disorganisation of all command. Who was to distinguish, and where was
one to find the officers that had remained faithful to the cause of

It is true they sounded the "rappel"[11] and beat the "générale";[12]
but who commanded it? Was it the regular Government or the revolutionary

More than one good citizen was ready to do his duty; but, after having
put on his uniform and buckled his belt, he felt very puzzled, afraid of
aiding the entente instead of strengthening the defenders of the law.
Therefore the peaceful citizen soldiers regarded not the call of the
trumpet and the drum.

It is wise to stay at home when one knows not where to go. Besides, the
line has not replied, and bad examples are contagious; moreover, is it
fair to demand of fathers of families, of merchants and tradesmen, in
fact of soldiers of necessity, an effort before which professional
soldiers withdraw? The fact is the Government had fled. Perhaps a few
ministers still remained in Paris, but the main body had gone to join
the Assembly at Versailles.

I do not blame their somewhat precipitate departure,[13] perhaps it was
necessary; nevertheless it seems to me that their presence would have
put an end to irresolution on the part of timid people.

Meanwhile, from the Madeleine to the Gymnase, the cafés overflowed with
swells and idlers of both sexes. On the outer boulevards they got drunk,
and on the inner tipsy, the only difference being in the quality of the
liquors imbibed.

What an extraordinary people are the French!


[Footnote 11: The roll call.]

[Footnote 12: Muster call in time of danger, which is beaten only by a
superior order emanating from the Commander-in-chief in a stronghold or
garrison town.]

[Footnote 13: The army of Paris was drawn off to Versailles in the night
of the 18th of March, and on the 19th, the employés of all the
ministries and public offices left Paris for the same destination.

On the 19th of March, as early as eight in the morning, Monsieur Thiers
addressed the following circular to the authorities of all the

    "The whole of the Government is assembled at Versailles: the
    National Assembly will meet there also.

    "The army, to the number of forty thousand men, has been assembled
    there in good order, under the command of General Vinoy. All the
    chiefs of the army, and all the civil authorities have arrived

    "The civil and military authorities will execute no other orders but
    those issued by the legitimate government residing at Versailles,
    under penalty of dismissal.

    "The members of the National Assembly are all requested to hasten
    their return, so as to be present at the sitting of the 20th of

    "The present despatch will be made known to the public.

    "A. THIERS."]


Next morning, the 19th of March, I was in haste to know the events of
last night, what attitude Paris had assumed after her first surprise.
The night, doubtless, had brought counsel, and perhaps settled the
discord existing between the Government and the Central Committee.

Early in the morning things appeared much as usual; the streets were
peaceful, servants shopping, and the ordinary passengers going to and
fro. In passing I met a casual acquaintance to whom I had spoken now and
then, a man with whom I had served during the siege when we mounted
guard on the ramparts. "Well," said I, "good morning, have you any
news?"--"News," replied he, "no, not that I know of. Ah I yes, there is
a rumour that something took place yesterday at Montmartre." This was
told me in the centre of the city, in the Rue de la Grange-Batelière.
Truly there are in Paris persons marvellously apathetic and ignorant. I
would wager not a little that by searching in the retired quarters, some
might be found who believe they are still governed by Napoleon III., and
have never heard of the war with Prussia, except as a not improbable

On the boulevards there was but little excitement. The newspaper vendors
were in plenty. I do not like to depend upon these public sheets for
information, for however impartial or sincere a reporter may be, he
cannot represent facts otherwise than according to the impression they
make upon him, and to value facts by the impression they make upon
others is next to impossible.

I directed my steps to the Rue Drouot in search of placards, and
plentiful I found them, and white too, showing that Paris was not
without a government; for white is the official colour even under a red

Taking out a pencil I copied hastily the proclamation of the new
masters, and I think that I did well, for we forget very quickly both
proclamations and persons. Where are they now, the official bills of
last year?

    "RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE. "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. "_To the

    "Citizens,--The people of Paris have shaken off the yoke endeavoured
    to be imposed upon them."

What yoke, gentlemen--I beg pardon, citizens of the Committee? I assure
you, as part of the people, that I have never felt that any one has
tried to impose one upon me. I recollect, if my memory serves me, that a
few guns were spoken of, but nothing about yokes. Then the expression
"People of Paris," is a gross exaggeration. The inhabitants of
Montmartre and their neighbours of that industrious suburb are certainly
a part of the people, and not the less respectable or worthy of our
consideration because they live out of the centre (indeed, I have always
preferred a coal man of the Chaussée Clignancourt to a coxcomb of the
Rue Taitbout); but for all that, they are not the whole population.
Thus, your sentence does not imply anything, and moreover, with all its
superannuated metaphor, the rhetoric is out of date. I think it would
have been better to say simply--

    "Citizens,--The inhabitants of Montmartre and of Belleville have
    taken their guns and intend to keep them."

But then it would not have the air of a proclamation. Extraordinary
fact! you may overturn an entire country, but you must not touch the
official style; it is immutable. One may triumph over empires, but must
respect red tape. Let us read on:

    "Tranquil, calm in our force, we have awaited without fear as
    without provocation, the shameless madmen who menaced the Republic."

The Republic? Again an improper expression, it was the cannons they
wanted to take.

    "This time, our brothers of the army...."

Ah! your brothers of the army! They are your brothers because they
fraternised and threw up the butt-ends of their muskets. In your family
you acknowledge no brotherhood except those who hold the same opinion.

    "This time, our brothers of the army would not raise their hands
    against the holy ark of our liberty."

Oh! So the guns are a holy ark now. A very holy metaphor, for people not
greatly enamoured of churchmen.

    "Thanks for all; and let Paris and France unite to build a Republic,
    and accept with acclamations the only government that will close for
    ever the flood gates of invasion and civil war.

    "The state of siege is raised.

    "The people of Paris are convoked in their sections to elect a
    Commune. The safety of all citizens is assured by the body of the
    National Guard.

    "Hôtel de Ville of Paris, the 19th of March, 1871.

    "The Central Committee of the National Guard:

    "Assy, Billioray, Ferrat, Babick, Ed. Moreau, Oh. Dupont, Varlin,
    Boursier, Mortier, Gouhier, Lavallette, Fr. Jourde, Rousseau, Ch.
    Lullier, Blanchet, G. Gaillard, Barroud, H. Geresme, Fabre,

There is one reproach that the new Parisian Revolution could not be
charged with; it is that of having placed at the head men of proved
incapacity. Those who dared to assert that each of the persons named
above had not more genius than would be required to regenerate two or
three nations would greatly astonish me. In a drama of Victor Hugo it is
said a parentless child ought to be deemed a gentleman; thus an obscure
individual ought, on the same terms, to be considered a man of genius.

But on the walls of the Rue Drouot many more proclamations were to be



    "To the National Guards of Paris.

    "CITIZENS,--You had entrusted us with the charge of organising the
    defence of Paris and of your rights."

Oh! as to that, no; a thousand times, no! I admit--since you appear to
cling to it--that Cannon are an ark of strength, but under no pretext
whatever will I allow that I entrusted you with the charge of organising
anything whatsoever. I know nothing of you; I have never heard you
spoken of. There is no one in the world of whom I am more ignorant than
Ferrat, Babick, unless it be Gaillard and Pougeret (though I was
national guard myself, and caught cold on the ramparts for the King of
Prussia[16] as much as anyone else). I neither know what you wish nor
where you are leading those who follow you; and I can prove to you, if
you like, that there are at least a hundred thousand men who caught cold
too, and who, at the present moment, are in exactly the same state of
mind concerning you "We are aware of having fulfilled our mission."

You are very good to have taken so much trouble, but I have no
recollection of having given you a mission to fulfil of any kind

    "Assisted by your courage and presence of mind!..."

Ah, gentlemen, this is flattery!

    "We have driven out the government that was betraying you.

    "Our mandate has now expired..."

Always this same mandate which we gave you, eh?

    "We now return it to you, for we do not pretend to take the place of
    those which the popular breath has overthrown.

    "Prepare yourselves, let the Communal election commence forthwith,
    and give to us the only reward we have ever hoped for--that of
    seeing the establishment of a true republic. In the meanwhile we
    retain the Hôtel de Ville in the name of the people.

    "Hôtel de Ville, Paris, 19th March, 1871.

    "The Central Committee of the National Guards:

    "Assy, Billioray, and others."

Placarded up also is another proclamation[17] signed by the citizens
Assy, Billioray, and others, announcing that the Communal elections will
take place on Wednesday next, 22nd of March, that is to say in three

This then is the result of yesterday's doings, and the revolution of
the 18th March can be told in a few words.

There were cannon at Montmartre; the Government wished to take them but
was not able, thanks to the fraternal feeling and cowardice of the
soldiers of the Line. A secret society, composed of several delegates of
several battalions, took advantage of the occasion to assert loudly that
they represented the entire population, and commanded the people to
elect the Commune of Paris--whether they wished or not.

What will Paris do now between these dictators, sprung from heaven knows
where, and the Government fled to Versailles?


[Footnote 14: No one may use white placards--they are reserved by the

The following is an extract from the _Official Journal_ of Versailles,
bearing the date of the 20th of March, which explains the official form
of the announcements made by the Central Committee:--

"Yesterday, 19th March, the offices of the _Official Journal_, in Paris,
were broken into, the employés having escaped to Versailles with the
documents, to join the Government and the National Assembly. The
invaders took possession of the printing machines, the materials, and
even the official and non-official articles which had been set up in
type, and remained in the composing-rooms. It is thus that they were
enabled to give an appearance of regularity to the publication of their
decrees, and to deceive the Parisian public by a false _Official

[Footnote 15: Here is an extract from the _Official Journal_ upon the
subject (numbers of the 29th March and 1st June):--

"In the insurrection, the momentary triumph of which has crushed Paris
beneath so odious and humiliating a yoke, carried the distresses of
France to their height, and put civilisation in peril, the International
Society has borne a part which has suddenly revealed to all the fatal
power of this dangerous association.

"On the 19th of March, the day after the outbreak of the terrible
sedition, of which the last horrors will form one of the most frightful
pages in history, there appeared upon the walls a placard which made
known to Paris the names of its new masters.

"With the exception of one, alone, (Assy), who had acquired a deplorable
notoriety, these names were unknown to almost all who read them; they
had suddenly emerged from utter obscurity, and people asked themselves
with astonishment, with stupor, what unseen power could have given them
an influence and a meaning which they did not possess in themselves.
This power was the International; these names were those of some of its

[Footnote 16: _Travailler pour le Roi de Prusse_, "to work for the King
of Prussia," is an old French saying, which means to work for nothing,
to no purpose.]



"That it is most urgent that the Communal administration of the City of
Paris shall be formed immediately,


"1st. The elections for the Communal Council of the City of Paris will
take place on Wednesday next, the 22nd of March.

"2nd. The electors will vote with lists, and in their own

"Each arrondissement will elect a councillor for each twenty thousand of
inhabitants, and an extra one for a surplus of more than ten thousand.

"3rd. The poll will be open from eight in the morning to six in the
evening. The result will be made known at once.

"4th. The municipalities of the twenty arrondissements are entrusted with
the proper execution of the present decree.

"A placard indicating the number of councillors for each arrondissement
will shortly be posted up.

"Hôtel de Ville, Paris, 29th March, 1871."]


Paris remains inactive, and watches events as one watches running water.
What does this indifference spring from? Surprise and the disappearance
of the chiefs might yesterday have excused the inaction of Paris, but
twenty-four hours have passed over, every man has interrogated his
conscience, and been able to listen to its answer. There has been time
to reconnoitre, to concert together; there would have been time to act!

Why is nothing done? Why has nothing been done yet? Generals Clément
Thomas and Lecomte have been assassinated; this is as incontestable as
it is odious. Does all Paris wish to partake with the criminals in the
responsibility of this crime? The regular Government has been expelled.
Does Paris consent to this expulsion? Men invested with no rights, or,
at least, with insufficient rights, have usurped the power. Does Paris
so far forget itself as to submit to this usurpation without resistance?

No, most assuredly no. Paris abominates crime, does not approve of the
expulsion of the Government, and does not acknowledge the right of the
members of the Central Committee to impose its wishes upon us. Why then
does Paris remain passive and patient? Does it not fear that it will be
said that silence implies consent? How is it that I myself, for example,
instead of writing my passing impressions on these pages, do not take my
musket to punish the criminals and resist this despotism? It is that we
all feel the present situation to be a, singularly complicated one. The
Government which has withdrawn to Versailles committed so many faults
that it would be difficult to side with it without reserve. The weakness
and inability the greater part of those who composed it showed during
the siege, their obstinacy in remaining deaf to the legitimate wishes of
the capital, have ill disposed us for depending on a state of things
which it would have been impossible to approve of entirely. In fine,
these unknown revolutionists, guilty most certainly, but perhaps
sincere, claim for Paris rights that almost the whole of Paris is
inclined to demand. It is impossible not to acknowledge that the
municipal franchise is wished for and becomes henceforth necessary.

It is for this reason that although aghast at the excesses in
perspective and those already committed by the dictators of the 18th
March, though revolted at the thought of all the blood spilled and yet
to be spilled--this is the reason that we side with no party. The past
misdeeds of the legitimate Government of Versailles damp our enthusiasm
for it, while some few laudable ideas put forth by the illegitimate
government of the Hôtel de Ville diminish our horror of its crimes, and
our apprehensions at its misdoings.

Then--why not dare say it?--Paris, which is so impressionable, so
excitable, so romantic, in admiration before all that is bold, has but a
moderate sympathy for that which is prudent. We may smile, as I did just
now, at the emphatic proclamation of the Central Committee, but that
does not prevent us from recognizing that its power is real, and the
ferocious elements that it has so suddenly revealed are not without a
certain grandeur. It might have been spitefully remarked that more than
one patriot in his yesterday evening walk on the outer boulevards and in
the environs of the Hôtel de Ville, had taken more _petit vin_ than was
reasonable in honour of the Republic and of the Commune, but that has
not prevented our feeling a surprise akin to admiration at the view of
those battalions hastening from all quarters at some invisible signal,
and ready at any moment to give up their lives to defend ... what? Their
guns, and these guns were in their eyes the palpable symbols of their
rights and liberties. During this time the heroic Assembly was
pettifogging at Versailles, and the Government was going to join them.
Paris does not follow those who fly.


The Butte-Montmartre is _en fête_. The weather is charming, and every
one goes to see the cannon and inspect the barricades, Men, women, and
children mount the hilly streets, and they all appear joyous ... for
what, they cannot say themselves, but who can resist the charm of
sunshine? If it rained, the city would be in mourning. Now the citizens
have closed their shops and put on their best clothes, and are going to
dine at the restaurant. These are the very enemies of disorder, the
small shopkeepers and the humble citizens. Strange contradiction! But
what would you have? the sun is so bright, the weather is so lovely.
Yesterday no work was done because of the insurrection; it was like a
Sunday. To-day therefore is the holiday-Monday of the insurrection.



In the midst of all these troubles, in which every one is borne along,
without any knowledge of where he is drifting--with the Central
Committee making proclamations on one side, and the Versailles
Government training troops on the other, a few men have arisen who have
spoken some words of reason. These men may be certain from this moment
that they are approved of by Paris, and will be obeyed By Paris--by the
honest and intelligent Paris--by the Paris which is ready to favour that
side which can prove that it has the most justice in it.

The deputies and maires of Paris have placarded the following



    "Citizens,--Impressed with the absolute necessity of saving Paris
    and the Republic by the removal of every cause of collision, and
    convinced that the best means of attaining this grand object is to
    give satisfaction to the legitimate wishes of the people, we have
    resolved this very day to demand of the National Assembly the
    adoption of two measures which we have every hope will contribute to
    bring back tranquillity to the public mind.

    "These two measures are: The election of all the officers of the
    National Guard, without exception, and the establishment of a
    municipal council, elected by the whole of the citizens.

    "What we desire, and what the public welfare requires under all
    circumstances; and which the present situation renders more
    indispensable than ever, is, order in liberty and by liberty.

    "_Vive la France!_ Vive la République!

    "_The representatives of the Seine_:

    "Louis Blanc, V. Schoelcher, Edmond Adam, Floquet, Martin Bernard,
    Langlois, Edouard Lockroy, Farcy, Brisson, Greppo, Millière.

    "_The maires and adjoints of Paris_:

    "1st Arrondissement: Ad. Adam, Meline, adjoints.--2nd
    Arrondissement: Tirard, maire, representative of the Seine; Ad.
    Brelay, Chéron, Loiseau-Pinson, adjoints.--3rd Arrondissement;
    Bonvalet, maire; Ch. Murat, adjoint.--4th Arrondissement: Vautrain,
    maire; Loiseau, Callon, adjoints.--5th Arrondissement: Jourdan,
    adjoint.--6th Arrondissement: Hérisson, maire; A. Leroy,
    adjoint.--7th Arrondissement: Arnaud (de l'Ariége), maire,
    representative of the Seine.--8th Arrondissement: Carnot, maire,
    representative of the Seine.--9th Arrondissement: Desmaret,
    maire.--10th Arrondissement: Dubail, maire; A. Murat,
    Degoyves-Denunques, adjoints.--11th Arrondissement: Motu, maire,
    representative of the Seine; Blanchon, Poirier, Tolain,
    representative of the Seine.--12th Arrondissement: Denizot, Dumas,
    Turillon, adjoints.--18th Arrondissement: Léo Meillet, Combes,
    adjoints.--14th Arrondissement: Héligon, adjoint.--15th
    Arrondissement: Jobbe-Duval, adjoint.--16th Arrondissement: Henri
    Martin, maire and representative of the Seine,--17th.
    adjoints.--18th. Arrondissement: CLÉMENCEAU, maire and
    representative of the people; J.B. LAFONT, DEREURE, JACLARD,

This proclamation has now been posted two hours, and I have not yet met
a single person who does not approve of it entirely. The deputies of the
Seine and the _maires_ of Paris have, by the flight of the Government to
Versailles, become the legitimate chiefs. We have elected them, it is
for them to lead us. To them belongs the duty of reconciling the
Assembly with the city; and it appears to us that they have taken the
last means of bringing about that conciliation, by disengaging all that
is legitimate and practical in its claims from the exaggeration of the
_émeute_. Let them therefore have all praise for this truly patriotic
attempt. Let them hasten to obtain from the Assembly a recognition of
our rights. In acceding to the demands of the deputies and the _maires_,
the Government will not be treating with insurrection; on the contrary,
it will effect a radical triumph over it, for it will take away from it
every pretext of existence, and will separate from it, in a definite
way, all those men who have been blinded to the illegal and violent
manner in which this programme is drawn up, by the justice of certain
parts of it.

If the Assembly consent to this, all that will remain of the 18th of
March will be the recollection--painful enough, without doubt--of one
sanguinary day, while out of a great evil will come a great benefit.

Whatever may happen, we are resolute; we--that is to say, all those who,
without having followed the Government of Versailles, and without having
taken an active part in the insurrection, equally desire the
re-establishment of legitimate power and the development of municipal
liberties--we are resolved to follow where our deputies and the _maires_
may lead us. They represent at this, moment the only legal authority
which seems to us to have fairly understood the difficulties of the
situation, and if, in the case of all hope of conciliation being lost,
they should tell us to take up arms, we will do so.


Paris has this evening, the 21st of March, an air of extraordinary
contentment; it has belief in the deputies and the _maires_, it has
trust even, in the National Assembly. People talk of the manifestation
of the Friends of Order and approve of it. A foreigner, a Russian,
Monsieur A---- J----, who has inhabited Paris for ten years, and is
consequently Parisian, has given me the following information, of which
I took hasty note:--

    "At half-past one o'clock to-day a group, of which I made one, was
    formed in the place of the New Opera-house. We numbered scarcely
    twenty persons, and we had a flag on which was inscribed, 'Meeting
    of the Friends of Order.' This flag was carried by a soldier of the
    line, an employé, it is said, of the house of Siraudin, the great
    confectioners. We marched along the boulevards as far as the Rue de
    Richelieu; windows were opened as we passed, and the people cried,
    '_Vive l'Ordre! Vive l'Assemblée Nationale! A bas la Commune!_' Few
    as we were at starting our numbers soon grew to three hundred, to
    five hundred, to a thousand. Our troop followed the Rue de
    Richelieu, increasing as it went. At the Place de la Bourse a
    captain at the head of his National Guards tried to stop us. We
    continued our course, the company saluted our flag as, we passed,
    and the drums beat to arms. After having traversed, still increasing
    in numbers, the streets which surround the Bourse, we returned to
    the boulevards, where the most lively enthusiasm burst out around
    us. We halted opposite the Rue Drouot. The _mairie_ of the Ninth
    Arrondissement was occupied by a battalion attached to the Central
    Committee--the 229th, I believe. Although there was some danger of a
    collision, we made our way into the street, resolved to do our duty,
    which was to protest against the interference with order and the
    disregard for established laws; but no resistance was opposed to us.
    The National Guards came out in front of the door of the _mairie_
    and presented arms to us, and we were about to continue our way,
    when some one remarked that our flag, on which, as I have already
    said, were the woods 'Meeting of the Friends of Order,' might expose
    us to the danger of being taken for '_réactionnaires_,' and that we
    ought to add the words '_Vive la République!_' Those who headed the
    manifestation came to a halt, and a few of them went into a café,
    and there wrote the words on the flag with chalk. We then resumed
    our march, following the widest and most frequented paths, and were
    received with acclamations everywhere. A quarter of an hour later we
    arrived at the Rue de la Paix and were marching towards the Place
    Vendôme, where the battalions of the Committee were collected in
    masses, and where, as is well known, the staff of the National Guard
    had its head-quarters. There, as in the Rue Drouot, the drums were
    beaten and arms presented to us; more than that, an officer came and
    informed the leaders of the manifestation that a delegate of the
    Central Committee begged them to proceed to the staff quarters. At
    this moment I was carrying the flag. We advanced in silence. When we
    arrived beneath the balcony, surrounded by National Guards, whose
    attitude was generally peaceful; there appeared on the balcony a
    rather young man, without uniform, but wearing a red scarf, and
    surrounded by several superior officers; he came forward and
    said--'Citizens, in the name of the Central Committee....' when he
    was interrupted by a storm of hisses and by cries of '_Vive l'Ordre!
    Vive l'Assemblée Nationale! Vive la République!_' In spite of these
    daring interruptions we were not subjected to any violence, nor
    even to any threats, and without troubling ourselves any more about
    the delegate, we marched round the column, and having regained the
    boulevards proceeded towards the Place de la Concorde. There, some
    one proposed that we should visit Admiral Saisset, who lived in the
    Rue Pauquet, in the quarter of the Champs Elysées, when a grave
    looking man with grey hair said that Admiral Saisset was at
    Versailles. 'But,' he added, 'there are several admirals amongst
    you.' He gave his own name, it was Admiral de Chaillé. From that
    moment he headed the manifestation, which passed over the Pont de la
    Concorde to the Faubourg St. Germain. Constantly received with
    acclamations, and increasing in numbers, we paraded successively all
    the streets of the quarter, and each time that we passed before a
    guard-house the men presented arms. On the Place St. Sulpice a
    battalion drew up to allow us to pass. We afterwards went along the
    Boulevard St. Michel and the Boulevard de Strasbourg. During this
    part of our course we were joined by a large group, preceded by a
    tricolor flag with the inscription, '_Vive l'Assemblée Nationale!_'
    From this time the two flags floated side by side at the head of the
    augmented procession. As we were about to turn into the Boulevard
    Bonne-Nouvelle, a man dressed in a paletot and wearing a grey felt
    hat, threw himself upon me as I was carrying the standard of the
    Friends of Order, but a negro, dressed in the uniform of the
    National Guard, who marched beside me, kept the man off, who
    thereupon turned against the person that carried the other flag,
    wrested it from him, and with extraordinary strength broke the
    staff, which was a strong one, over his knee. This incident caused
    some confusion; the man was seized and carried off, and I fear he
    was rather maltreated. We then made our way back to the boulevards.
    At our appearance the enthusiasm of the passers-by was immense; and
    certainly, without exaggeration, we numbered between three and four
    thousand persons by the time we got back to the front of the New
    Opera-house, where we were to separate. A Zouave climbed up a tree
    in front of the Grand Hôtel, and fixed our flag on the highest
    branch. It was arranged that we should meet on the following day, in
    uniform but without arms, at the same place."

This account differs a little from those given in the newspapers, but I
have the best reason to believe it absolutely true.

What will be the effect of this manifestation? Will those who desire
"Order through Liberty and in Liberty" succeed in meeting in
sufficiently large numbers to bring to reason, without having recourse
to force, the numerous partizans of the Commune? Whatever may happen,
this manifestation proves that Paris has no intention of being disposed
of without her own consent. In connection with the action of the
deputies in the National Assembly, it cannot have been ineffective in
aiding the coming pacification.

Many hopeful promises of concord and quiet circulate this evening
amongst the less violent groups.


What is this fusillade? Against whom is it directed? Against the
Prussians? No! Against Frenchmen, against passers-by, against those who
cry "_Vive la République et vive l'Ordre_." Men are falling dead or
wounded, women flying, shops closing, amid the whistling of the
bullets,--all Paris terrified. This is what I have just seen or heard.
We are done for then at last. We shall see the barricades thrown up in
our streets; we shall meet the horrid litters, from which hang hands
black with powder; every woman will weep in the evening when her husband
is late in returning home, and all mothers will be seized with terror.
France, alas! France, herself a weeping mother, will fall by the hands
of her own children.

I had started, in company with a friend, from the Passage Choiseul on my
way to the Tuileries, which has been occupied since yesterday by a
battalion devoted to the Central Committee. On arming at the corner of
the Rue St. Roch and the Rue Neuve des Petits Champs we perceived a
considerable crowd in the direction of the Rue de la Paix. "What is
going on now?" said I to my friend. "I think," said he, "that it is an
unarmed manifestation going to the Place Vendôme; it passed along the
boulevards a short time since, crying "_Vive l'Ordre_."

As we talked we were approaching the Rue de la Paix. All at once a
horrible noise was heard. It was the report of musketry. A white smoke
rose along the walls, cries issued from all parts, the crowd fled
terrified, and a hundred yards before us I saw a woman fall. Is she
wounded or dead? What is this massacre? What fearful deeds are passing
in open day, in this glorious sunshine? We had scarcely time to escape
into one of the cross-streets, followed by the frightened crowd, when
the shops were closed, hurriedly, and the horrible news spread to all
parts of terrified Paris.

Reports, varying extremely in form, spread with extraordinary rapidity;
some were grossly exaggerated, others the reverse. "Two hundred victims
have fallen," said one. "There were no balls in the guns," said another.
The opinions regarding the cause of the conflict were strangely various.
Perhaps we shall never know, with absolute certainty, what passed in the
Place, Vendôme and the Rue de la Paix. For myself, I was at once; too
far and too near the scene of action; too near, for I had narrowly
missed being killed; too far, for I saw nothing but the smoke and the
flight, of the terrified crowd.

One thing certain is that the Friends of Order who, yesterday, succeeded
in assembling a large number of citizens, had to-day tried to renew its
attempt at pacification by unarmed numbers. Three or four thousand
persons entered the Rue de la Paix towards two o'clock in the afternoon,
crying, "_L'Ordre! L'Ordre! Vive l'Ordre!_" The Central Committee had
doubtless issued severe orders, for the foremost sentinels of the Place,
far from presenting arms to the "Friends of Order," as they had done the
day before, formally refused to let them continue their way. And then
what happened? Two crowds were face to face; one unarmed, the other
armed, both under strong excitement, one trying to press forward, the
other determined to oppose its passage. A pistol-shot was heard. This
was a signal. Down went the muskets, the armed crowd fired, and the
unarmed dispersed in mad flight, leaving dead and wounded on their path.

But who fired that first pistol-shot? "One of the citizens of the
demonstration; and moreover, the sentinels had their muskets torn from
them;" affirm the partisans of the Central Committee, and they bring
forward, among other proofs; the evidence of an eye-witness, a foreign
general, who saw it all from a window of the Rue de la Paix. But these
assertions are but little to be relied upon. Can it be seriously
believed that a crowd, to all appearance peaceful, would commit such an
act of aggression? Who would have been insane enough to expose a mass of
unarmed people to such dire revenge, by a challenge as criminal as it
was useless? The account according to which the pistol was fired by an
officer of the Federal guard from the foot of the Place Vendôme, thus
giving the signal to those under his orders to fire upon the citizens,
improbable as appears such an excess of cold-blooded barbarity, is much
the more credible. And now how many women mourn their husbands and son's
wounded, and perhaps dead? How many victims have fallen? The number is
not yet known. Monsieur Barle, a lieutenant of the National Guard, was
shot in the stomach. Monsieur Gaston Jollivet, who some time ago
committed the offence, grave in our eyes, of publishing a comic ode in
which he allows himself to ridicule our illustrious and beloved master,
Victor Hugo, but was certainly guilty of none in desiring a return to
order, had his arm fractured, it is said. Monsieur Otto Hottinger, one
of the directors of the French Bank, fell, struck by two balls, while
raising a wounded man from the ground.

One of my friends assures me that half-an-hour after the fusillade he
was fired at, as he was coming out from a _porte-cochère_,[18] by
National Guards in ambuscade.

At four o'clock, at the corner of the Rue de la Paix and the Rue Neuve
des Petits Champs, an old man, dressed in a blouse, still lay where he
had fallen across the body of a _cantinière_, and beside him a soldier
of the line, the staff of a tricolour flag grasped in his dead hand. Is
this soldier the same of whom my friend Monsieur A---- J---- speaks in
his account of the first demonstration, and who was said to be an
employé at Siraudin's?

There were many other victims--Monsieur de Péne, the editor of
_Paris-Journal_, dangerously wounded by a ball that penetrated the
thigh; Monsieur Portel, lieutenant in the Eclaireurs Franchetti, wounded
in the neck and right foot; Monsieur Bernard, a merchant, killed;
Monsieur Giraud, a stockbroker, also killed. Fresh names are added to
the funereal list every moment.

Where will this revolution lead us, which was begun by the murder of two
Generals and is being carried on by the assassination of passers-by?


[Footnote 18: Porte-cochère (carriage gateway).]


In the midst of all this horror and terror I saw one little incident
which made me smile, though it was sad too; an idyl which might be an
elegy. Three hired carriages descended the Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. It
was a wedding. In the first carriage was the bride, young and pretty, in
tears; in the second, the bridegroom, looking anything but pleased. As
the horses were proceeding slowly on account of the hill, I approached
and inquired the cause of the discontent. A disagreeable circumstance
had happened, the _garçon d'honneur_ told me. They had been to the
_mairie_ to be married, but the _mairie_ had been turned into a
guard-house, and instead of the _mairie_ and his clerks, they found
soldiers of the Commune. The sergeant had offered to replace the
municipal functionary, but the grands-parents had not consented to such
an arrangement, and they were forced to return with the connubial knot
still to be tied. An unhappy state of things. "Pooh!" said an old woman
who was passing by, "they can marry to-morrow.--There is always time
enough to commit suicide."

It is true, they can marry to-morrow; but these young people wished to
be married to-day. What are revolutions to them? What would it have
mattered to the Commune had these lovers been united to-day? Is one ever
sure of recovering happiness that has once escaped? Ah! this
insurrection, I hate it for the men it has killed, and the widows it has
made; and also for the sake of those pretty eyes that glistened with
tears under the bridal wreath.


The _mairie_ of the Second Arrondissement seems destined to be the
centre of resistance to the Central Committee. The Federals have not
been able, or have not dared, to occupy it. In the quarter of the Place
de la Bourse and the Place des Victoires, National Guards have assembled
and declared themselves Friends of Order. But they are few in number.
Yesterday morning, the 23rd of March, they were reinforced by battalions
that joined them, one by one, from all parts of Paris. They obey the
orders, they say, of Admiral Saisset, raised to the superior command of
the National Guard. It is believed that there are mitrailleuses within
the Bourse and in the court of the Messageries. The massacre of the Rue
de la Paix decided the most timorous. There is a determination to have
done, by some means or other, with tyrants who represent in fact but a
small part of the population of Paris, and who wish to dominate over the
whole city. The preparations for resistance are being made between the
Hôtel de Ville on the one hand, where the members of the Committee are
sitting, formidably defended, and the Place Vendôme, crammed with
insurgents, on the other. Is it civil war--civil war, with all its
horrors, that is about to commence? A company of Gardes Mobiles has
joined the battalions of Order. Pupils of the Ecole Polytechnique come
and go between the _mairie_ of the Second Arrondissement and the Grand
Hôtel, where Admiral Saisset and his staff are said to be installed.[19]
A triple line of National Guards closes the entrance of the Rue Vivienne
against carriages and everybody who does not belong to the quarter.
Nevertheless, a large number of people, eager for information, manage to
pass the sentries in spite of the rule. On the Place de la Bourse a
great crowd discusses, and gesticulates around the piled bayonets which
glitter in the sun. I notice that the pockets of the National Guards are
crammed full; a large number of cartridges has been distributed.

The orders are strict: no one is to quit his post. There are men,
however, who have been standing there, without sleep, for twenty-four
hours. No one must leave the camp of the Friends of Order even to go and
dine. Those who have no money either have rations given them or are
provided at the expense of the _mairie_, from a restaurant of the Rue
des Filles Saint-Thomas, with a dinner consisting of soup and bouilli, a
plate of meat, vegetables, and a bottle of wine. I hear one of them

"If the Federals knew that we not only get our pay, but are also fed
like princes, they would come over to us, every man of them. As for us,
we are determined to obey the _maires_ and deputies of Paris." Much
astonishment is manifested at the absence of Vice-Admiral Saisset; as he
has accepted the command he ought to show himself. Certain croakers even
insinuate that the vice-admiral hesitates to organise the resistance,
but we will not listen to them, and are on the whole full of confidence
and resolution. "We are numerous, determined; we have right on our side,
and will triumph."

At about four o'clock an alarm is sounded. We hear cries of "To arms! To
arms!" The drums beat, the trumpets sound, the ranks are formed. The
ominous click, click, as the men cock their rifles, is heard on all
sides. The moment of action has arrived. There are more than ten
thousand men, well armed and determined. A company of Mobiles and the
National Guards defend the entrance of the Rue Vivienne. All this tumult
is caused by one of the battalions from Belleville, passing along the
boulevards with three pieces of cannon.

What is about to happen? When the insurgents reach the top of the Rue
Vivienne they seem to hesitate. In a few seconds the boulevards, which
were just now crowded, are suddenly deserted; and even the cafés are

At such a moment as this, a single accidental shot (several such have
happened this morning; a woman standing at a window at the corner of the
Rue Saint Marc was nearly killed by the carelessness, of one of the
Guards),--a single shot, a cry even, or a menacing gesture would suffice
to kindle the blaze. Nobody. moves or speaks. I feel myself tremble
before the possibility of an irreparable disaster; it is a solemn and
terrible moment.

The battalion from Belleville presents arms; we reply, and they pass on.
The danger is over; we breathe again. In a few seconds the crowd has
returned to the boulevards.


[Footnote 19: Lieutenant-Colonel de Beaugrand had improvised
staff-quarters at the Grand Hôtel, and the nomination of Admiral
Saisset, together with M. Schoelcher and Langlois, had strengthened the
enmity of the two parties. The Central Committee, seeing the danger
which threatened, announced that the Communal elections were adjourned
to Sunday the 26th March.]


It is two in the morning. Tired of doing nothing I take out my
note-book, seat myself on a doorstep opposite the Restaurant Catelain,
and jet down my memoranda by the light of a street lamp.

As soon as night came on, every measure of precaution was taken. We have
no idea by whom we are commanded, but it would appear that a serious
defence is contemplated, and is being executed with prudence. Is it
Admiral Saisset who is at our head? We hope so. Although we have been so
often disappointed in our chiefs, we have not yet lost the desire to
place confidence in some one. To-night we believe in the admiral. Ever
and anon our superior officers retire to the _mairies_, and receive
strict orders concerning their duty. We are quite an army in ourselves;
our centre is in the Place de la Bourse, our wings extend into the
adjoining streets. Lines of Nationals guard all the openings; sentinels
are posted sixty feet in front to give the alarm. Within the enclosed
space there is no one to be seen, but the houses are inhabited as usual.
The doors have been left open by order, and also all the windows on the
first floors. Each company, divided under the command of sergeants, has
taken possession of three or four houses. At the first signal of alarm
the street-doors are to be closed, the men to rush to the windows, and
from there to fire on the assailants. "Hold yourselves in readiness; it
is very possible you may be attacked. On the approach of the enemy the
guards in the streets are to fall back under fire towards the houses,
and take shelter there. Those posted at the windows are to keep up an
unceasing fire on the insurgents. In the meantime the bulk of our forces
will come to our aid, and clear the streets with their mitrailleuses."

So we waited, resolved on obedience, calm, with a silent but fervent
prayer that we might not be obliged to turn our arms against our

The night is beautiful. Some of our men are talking in groups on the
thresholds of the doors, others, rolled in their blankets, are lying on
the ground asleep. In the upper storeys of some of the houses lights are
still twinkling through the muslin curtains; lower down all is darkness.
Scarcely a sound is to be heard, only now and then the rumble of a heavy
cart, or perhaps a cannon in the distance; and nearer to us the sudden
noise of a musket that slips from its resting-place on to the pavement.
Every hour the dull sound of many feet is heard; it is the patrol of
Mobiles making its round. We question them as they pass.--"Anything
fresh?"--"Nothing," is the invariable reply.--"How far have you
been?"--"As far as the Rue de la Paix," they answer, and pass on.
Interrupted conversations are resumed, and the sleepers, who had been
awakened by the noise, close their eyes again. We are watching and
waiting,--may we watch and wait in vain!


Never have I seen the dawn break with greater pleasure. Almost everyone
has some time in his life passed such sleepless nights, when it seems to
him that the darkness will never disappear, and the desire for light and
day becomes a fearful longing. Never was dawn more grateful than after
that wretched night. And yet the fear of a disastrous collision did not
disappear with the night. It was even likely that the Federals might
have waited for the morning to begin their attack, just when fatigue is
greatest, sleep most difficult to fight against, and therefore
discipline necessarily slackened. Anyhow, the light seemed to reassure
us; we could scarcely believe that the crime of civil war could be
perpetrated in the day-time. The night had been full of fears, the
morning found us bright and happy. Not all of us, however. I smile as I
remember an incident which occurred a little before daylight. One of our
comrades, who had been lying near me, got up, went out into the street,
and paced up and down some time, as if to shake off cramp or cold. My
eyes followed him mechanically; he was walking in front of the houses,
the backs of which look out upon the Passage des Panoramas, and as he
did so he cast furtive glances through the open doorways. He went into
one, and came out with a disappointed expression on his face. Having
repeated this strange manoeuvre several times, he reached a
_porte-cochère_ that was down by the side of the Restaurant Catelain. He
remained a few minutes, then reappeared with a beaming countenance, and
made straight for where I was standing, rubbing his hands gleefully.

"Monsieur," said he, in a low voice, so as not to be overheard, "do you
approve of this plan of action, which consists, in case of attack, of
shooting from the windows on the assailants?"--"A necessity of street
fighting," said I. "Let us hope we shall not have to try it."--"Oh! of
course; but I should have preferred it if they had taken other
measures."--"Why?" I asked.--"Why, you see, when we are in the houses
the insurgents will try to force their way in."--I could not see what he
was driving at, so I said, "Most probably."--"But if they do get in?" he
insisted:--"I will trust to our being reinforced from the Place de la
Bourse before they can effect an entrance."--"Doubtless! doubtless!" he
answered; but I saw he was anything but convinced.--"But you know
reinforcements often arrive too late, and if the Federals should get in,
we shall be shot down like dogs in those rooms overhead!"--I
acknowledged that this would be, to say the least, disagreeable, but
argued that in time of war one must take one's chance.--"Do you think,
then, monsieur," he continued, "that, if in the event of the insurgents
entering we were to look out for a back door to escape by, we should be
acting the part of cowards?"--"Of cowards? no; but of excessively
prudent individuals? yes.":--"Well, monsieur, I am prudent, and there is
an end of it!" exclaimed my comrade, with an air of triumph, "and I
think I have found----"--"The back door in question?"--"Just go; look
down that passage in front of us; at the end there is a door which
leads--where do you think?"--"Into the Passage des Panoramas, does it
not?"--"Yes, monsieur, and now you see what I mean."--I told him I did
not think I did.--"Why, you see," he explained, "when the enemy comes we
must rush into that passage, shut the lower door, and make for our post
at the windows, where we will do our duty bravely to our last cartridge.
But suppose, in the meantime, that those devils, succeed in breaking
open the lower door with the butt end of their muskets--and it is not
very strong--what shall we do then?"--"Why, of course," I said, "we must
plant ourselves at the top of the staircase and receive them at the
point of our bayonets."--"By no means;" he expostulated.--"But we must;
it is our duty."--"Oh! I fancied we might have gained the door that
leads into the passage," he went on, looking rather shame-faced.--"What,
run away!"--"No, not exactly; only find some place of safety!"--"Well,
if it comes to that," I replied, "you may do just as you like; only I
warn you that the passage is occupied by a hundred of our men, and that
all the outlets are barricaded."--"No, not all," he said with
conviction, "and that is why I appeal to you. You are a journalist, are
you not?"--"Sometimes."--"Yes, but you are; and you know actors and all
those sort of people, and you go behind the scenes, I dare say, and know
where the actors dress themselves, and all that."--I looked at my brave
comrade in some surprise, but he continued without noticing me, "And,
you know all the ins and outs of the theatre, the corridors, the
trapdoors."--"Suppose I do, what good can that do you?"--"All the good
in the world, monsieur; it will be the saving of me. Why we shall only
have to find the actors' entrance of the _Variétés_, which is in the
passage, then ring, at the bell; the porter knows you, and will admit
us. You can guide us both up the staircase and behind the scenes, and we
can easily hunt out some hole or corner in which to hide until the fight
is over."--"Then," said I, feeling rather disgusted with my companion,
"we can bravely walk out of the front door on the boulevards, and go and
eat a comfortable breakfast, while the others are busy carrying away our
dead comrades from the staircase we ought to have helped to defend!"

The poor man looked at me aghast, and then went off. I saw that I had
hurt his feelings, and I thought perhaps I had been wrong in making him
feel the cowardice of his proposition. I had known him for some months;
he lived in the same street as I did, and I remembered that he had a
wife and children. Perhaps he was right in wishing to protect his life
at any price. I thought it over for a minute or two, and then it went
out of my mind altogether.

At four in the morning we had another alarm; in an instant every one was
on foot and rushing to the windows. The house to which I was ordered was
the very one that had inspired my ingenious friend with his novel plan
of evasion. I found him already installed in the room from whence we
were to fire into the street.--"You do not know what I have done," said
he, coming up to me.--"No."--"Well, you know the door which opens on to
the passage; you remember it?"--"Of course I do."--"I found there was a
key; so what do you think I did? I double-locked the door, and went and
slipped the key down the nearest drain! Ha! ha! The fellow who tries to
escape that way will be finely caught!"

I seized him cordially by the hand and shook it many times. He was
beaming, and I was pleased also. I could not help feeling that however
low France may have fallen, one must never despair of a country in which
cowards even can be brave.


On Friday, the 24th of March, at nine in the morning, we are still in
the quarter of the Bourse. Some of the men have not slept for
forty-eight hours. We are tired but still resolved. Our numbers are
increasing every hour. I have just seen three battalions, with
trumpeters and all complete, come up and join us. They will now be able
to let the men who have been so long on duty get a little rest. As to
what is going on, we are but very incompletely informed. The Federals
are fortifying themselves more strongly than ever at the Place de
l'Hôtel de Ville and the Place Vendôme. They are very numerous, and have
lots of artillery. Why do they not act on the offensive? Or do they
want, as we do, to avoid a conflict? Certainly our hand shall not be the
first to spill French blood. These hours of hesitation on both sides
calm men's minds. The deputies and mayors of Paris are trying to obtain
from the National Assembly the recognition of the municipal franchise.
If the Government has the good sense to make these concessions, which
are both legitimate and urgent, rather than remain doggedly on the
defensive, with the conviction that it has right on its ride; if, in a
word, it remembers the well-known maxim, "_Summum jus, summa injuria_,"
the horrors of civil war may be averted. We are told, and I fancy
correctly, that the Federal Guards are not without fear concerning the
issue of the events into which they have hurried. The chiefs must also
be uneasy. Even those who have declared themselves irreconcileable in
the hour of triumph would not perhaps be sorry now if a little
condescension on the part of the Assembly furnished them with a pretext
of not continuing the rebellion. Just now, several Guards of the 117th
Battalion, a part of which has declared for the Central Committee, who
happened to be passing, stopped to chat with our outposts. Civil war to
the knife did not at all appear to be their most ardent desire. One of
them said: "We were called to arms, what could we do but obey? They give
us our pay, and so here we are." Were they sincere in this? Did they
come with the hope of joining us, or to spy into what we were doing?
Others, however, either more frank or less clever at deception, declared
that they wanted the Commune, and would have, it at any price. This,
however, was by far the smaller number; the majority of the insurgents
are of the opinion of these men who joined in conversation with us. It
is quite possible to believe that some understanding might be brought
about. A fact has just been related to me which confirms me in my

The Comptoir d'Escompte was occupied by a post of Federals. A company of
Government Guards from the 9th Arrondissement marched up to take
possession. "You have been here for two whole days; go home and rest,"
said the officer in command of the latter. But the Federals obstinately
refused to be sent away. The officer insisted.--"We are in our own
quarter, you are from Belleville; it is our place to guard the Comptoir
d'Escompte."--It was all of no avail until the officer said: "Go away
directly, and we will give you a hundred francs."--They did not wait for
the offer to be repeated, but accepted the money and marched off. Now
men who are willing to sell their consciences at two francs a head--for
there were fifty of them--cannot have any very formidable political
opinions. I forgot to say that this post of Federals was commanded by
the Italian Tibaldi, the same who had been arrested in one of the
passages of the Hôtel de Ville during the riots of the 31st October.


The news is excellent, in a few hours perhaps it will be better. We
rejoice beforehand at the almost certain prospect of pacification. The
sun shines, the boulevards are crowded with people, the faces of the
women especially are beaming. What is the cause of all this joy? A
placard has just been posted up on all the walls in the city. I copy it
with pleasure.

    "DEAR FELLOW CITIZENS,--I hasten to announce to you that together
    with the Deputies of the Seine and the Mayors of Paris, we have
    obtained from the Government of the National Assembly: 1st. The
    complete recognition of your municipal franchises; 2nd. The right of
    electing all the officers of the National Guard, as well as the
    general-in-chief; 3rd. Modifications of the law on bills; 4th. A
    project for a law on rents, favourable to tenants paying 1,200
    francs a year, or less than that sum. Until you have confirmed my
    nomination, or until you name some one else in my stead, I shall
    continue to remain at my post to watch over the execution of these
    conciliatory measures that we have succeeded in obtaining, and to
    contribute to the well-being of the Republic!

    "The Vice-Admiral and

    Provisional Commander,


    Paris, 23rd March."

Well! this is opportune and to the purpose. The National Assembly has
understood that, in a town like Paris, a revolution in which a third of
the population is engaged, cannot be alone actuated by motives of
robbery and murder;[20] and that if some of the demands of the people
are illegitimate or premature, there are at least others, which it is
but right should obtain justice. Paris is never entirely in the wrong.
Certainly among the authors and leaders of the 18th March, there are
many who are very guilty. The murderers of General Lecomte and General
Clément Thomas should be sought out and punished. All honest men must
demand and expect that a minute inquiry be instituted concerning the
massacres in the Place Vendôme. It must be acknowledged that all the
Federals, officers and soldiers, are not devils or drunkards. A few
hundred men getting drunk in the cabarets--(I have perhaps been wrong to
lay so much stress here upon the prevalence of this vice among the
insurrectionists)--a few tipsy brutes, ought not to be sufficient to
authorise us to condemn a hundred thousand men, among whom are certainly
to be found some right-minded persons who are convinced of the justice
of their cause. These unknown and suddenly elevated chiefs, whom the
revolution has singled out, are they all unworthy of our esteem, and
devoid of capacity? They possess, perhaps, a new and vital force that it
would be right and perhaps necessary to utilise somehow. The ideas which
they represent ought to be studied, and if they prove useful, put into
practice. This is what the Assembly has understood and what it has done.
By concessions which enlarge rather than diminish its influence, it puts
all right-minded men, soldiers and officers, under the obligation of
returning to their allegiance. Those who, having read the proclamation
of Admiral Saisset, still refuse to recognise the Government, are no
longer men acting for the sake of Paris and the Republic, but rioters
guilty of pursuing the most criminal paths, for the gratification of
their own bad passions. Thus the tares will be separated from the wheat,
and torn up without mercy. Yesterday and the day before, at the Place de
la Bourse, at the Place des Victoires and the Bank, we were resolved on
resistance--resistance, nothing more, for none of us, I am sure, would
have fired a shot without sufficient provocation--and even this
resolution cost us much pain and some hesitation. We felt that in the
event of our being attacked, our shots might strike many an innocent
breast--and perhaps at the last moment our hearts would have failed us.
Now, no thoughts of that kind can hinder us. In recognising our demand,
the Assembly has got right entirely on its side, we shall now consider
all rebellion against the authority of which it makes so able a use, as
an act entailing immediate punishment. Until now, fearing to be
abandoned or misunderstood by the Government, we had determined to obey
the mayors and deputies elected by the people, but the Assembly, by its
judicious conduct, has shown itself worthy confidence. Let them command,
we are ready to obey.

Truly this change in the attitude of the Government is at once strange
and delightful. No later than yesterday their language was quite
different. The manner in which the majority received the mayors did not
lead us to expect a termination so favourable to the wishes of all
concerned. But this is all past, let us not recriminate. Let us rather
rejoice in our present good fortune, and try and forget the dangers
which seemed but now so imminent. I hear from all sides that the
Deputies of the Seine and the mayors, fully empowered, are busy
concluding the last arrangements. Municipal elections are talked of, for
the 2nd April; thus every cause for discontent is about to disappear.
Capital! Paris is satisfied. Shops re-open. The promenades are crowded
with people; the Place Vendôme alone does not brighten with the rest,
but it soon will. The weather is lovely, people accost each other in the
streets with a smile; one almost wonders they do not embrace. Is to-day
Friday? No, it is Sunday. Bravo! Assembly.


[Footnote 20: At the same time that the proclamation of Admiral Saisset
encouraged the partizans of the Assembly, proofs were not wanting of the
poverty of the Commune in money, as well as men: a new loan obtained
from the Bank of France, which had already advanced half a million of
francs, and the military nominations which raised Brunel, Eudes, and
Duval from absolute obscurity to the rank of general. These were
indications decidedly favourable to the party of order.]


On the ground-floor of the house of my neighbour there is an
upholsterer's workshop. The day before yesterday the master went out to
fetch some work, and this morning he had not yet returned. In an agony
of apprehension his wife went everywhere in search of him. His body has
just been found at the Morgue with a bullet through its head. Some say
he was walking across the Rue de la Paix on his way home, and was shot
by accident; but the _Journal Officiel_ announces that this poor man,
Wahlin, was a national guard, assassinated by the revolvers of the
manifestation. Whom are we to believe? Anyhow, the man is to be buried
tomorrow, and his poor wife is a widow.


What is the meaning of all this! Are we deceiving ourselves, or being
deceived? We await in vain the consummation of Admiral Saisset's
promises. In officially announcing that the Assembly had acceded to the
just demands of the mayors and deputies, did he take upon himself to
pass delusive hopes as accomplished facts? It seems pretty certain now
that the Government will make no concessions, that the proclamation is
only waste paper, and that the Provisional Commander of the National
Guard has been leading us into error--with a laudable intention
doubtless--or else has himself been deceived likewise. The united
efforts of the Deputies of the Seine and the Mayors of Paris have been
unequal to rouse the apathy of the Assembly.[21] In vain did Louis Blanc
entreat the representatives of France to approve the conciliatory
conduct of the representatives of Paris. "May the responsibility of what
may happen be on your own heads!" cried M. Clémenceau. He was right; a
little condescension might have saved all; such obstinacy is fatal.
Deprived of the countenance of the Assembly, and left to themselves, the
Deputies and Mayors of Paris, desirous above all of avoiding civil war,
have been obliged to accede to the wishes of the Central Committee, and
insist upon the municipal elections being proceeded with immediately.
They could not have acted otherwise, and yet it is humiliating for them
to have to bow before superior force, and their authority is compromised
by so doing. What the Assembly, representing the whole of France, could
have done with no loss of dignity, and even with honour to itself, the
former accomplish only at the risk of losing their influence; what to
the Assembly would have been an honourable concession is to them
dangerous although necessary submission. The Committee would have been
annulled if the Government had consented to the municipal elections, but
thanks to a tardy consent, rung from the Deputies and Mayors of Paris,
it triumphs. The result of the humiliation to which the representatives
of Paris have been forced to submit to prevent the effusion of blood,
will be the entire abdication of their authority, which will remain
vested in the Central Committee until the members of the Commune are
elected. Abandoned by the Government since the departure of the chief of
the executive power and the ministers, we rallied round the
representatives, who, unsustained by the Government, are obliged to
submit to the revolutionists. We must now choose between the Commune and

Therefore, to-day, Sunday, the 26th March, the male population of Paris
is hurrying to the poll. It is in vain that the journals have begged the
people not to vote; the elections were only announced yesterday, and the
electors have had no time to reconsider the choice they have to make,
and yet they insist on voting. Those who decline to obey the suggestions
of the Central Committee, will re-elect the late mayors or choose among
the deputies, but vote they will. The present attitude of the regular
Government has done much towards furthering the revolution. The mistakes
of the Assembly have diminished in the eyes of the public the crime of
revolt. Everywhere the murder of Generals Clément Thomas and Lecomte is
openly regretted; but those who repeat that the Central Committee
declares having had nothing to do with it, are listened to with
patience. The rumour that they were shot by soldiers gains ground, and
seems less incredulously received. As to the massacres of the Rue de la
Paix, we are told that this event is enveloped in mystery, that the
evidence is most contradictory, etc., etc.[22] There is evidently a
decided reactionary movement in favour of the partizans of the Commune.
Without approving their acts their activity is incontestable. They have
done much in a short time. People exclaim, "There are men for you!"
This state of things is very alarming to all those who have remained
faithful to the Assembly, which in spite of its errors has not ceased to
be the legal representative of the country. It is a cruel position for
the Parisians who are obliged to choose between a regular Government
which they would desire to obey, but which by its faults renders such
obedience impossible, and an illegitimate power, that, although guilty
in its acts, and stained with crime, still represents the opinions of
the republican majority. By to-night, therefore, the Commune will have
been called into existence; an illegal existence it may be argued,
doubtless, by the partizans of constitutional legality, who would
consider as null and void elections carried on without the consent of
the nation, as represented by the Assembly. Legal or not, however, the
elections have taken place, and the fact alone is of some importance. In
a few hours the Executive Power of the Republic will have to treat,
whether it will or no, with a force which has constituted itself with as
much legality as it had in its power to assume under the circumstances.


[Footnote 21: The news of the check which the Maires of Paris had
suffered in the Assembly suddenly loosened the bond which for two days
had united the friends of order, and profound discouragement seized upon
the public mind. It was at this moment that the deputies from the
Committee presented themselves at the Mairie of the first
arrondissement, preceded by three pieces of artillery, a very warlike
accompaniment to a deputation. It was arranged that the Communal
election should be managed by the existing Maires, and that the
battalions of each quarter of the city, whether federal or not, should
occupy the voting places of their sections; but this did not prevent the
Committee on the following morning occupying the Mairie of
Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, in spite of the arrangement, by their most
devoted battalions.]

[Footnote 22: The following are the terms in which the Commune spoke of
the events of the 18th March, and excused the murder of the two

"CITIZENS,--The day of the 18th of March, which for interested reasons
has been travestied in the most odious manner, will be called in
history, The Day of the People's Justice!

The Government, now subverted--always maladroit--rushed into a conflict
without considering either its own unpopularity, or the fraternal
feeling that animates the armies; the entire army, when ordered to
commit fratricide, replied with cries of "Vive la République!" "Vive la
Garde Nationale!"

Two men alone, who had rendered themselves unpopular by acts which we
now pronounce as iniquitous, were struck down in a moment of popular

The Committee of the Federation of the National Guard, in order to
render homage to truth, declare it was a stranger to these two

At the present moment the ministries are constituted, the prefect of
police has assumed his duties, the public offices are again active, and
we invite all citizens to maintain the utmost calmness and order."]


Crowds in the streets and promenades. This evening all the theatres will
be re-opened. In the meantime the voting is going on. The weather is
delightful, so I take a stroll along the promenades. Under the colonnade
of the Châtelet there is a long line of electors awaiting their turn. I
fancy that in this quarter the candidates of the Central Committee will
be surely elected. Women, in bright-coloured dresses and fresh spring
bonnets, are walking to and fro. I hear some one say that there are a
great many cannon at the Hôtel de Ville. Two friends meet together in
the square of the Arts et Métiers.--"Are you alone, madame?" says one
lady to another.--"Yes, madame; I am waiting for my husband, who is gone
to vote."

A child, who is skipping, cries out, "Mama, mama, what is the Commune?"

The fiacre drivers make the revolution an excuse for asking extravagant
fares; this does not prevent their having very decided political
opinions. One who, drove one would scarcely have been approved of by the
Central Committee.--"_Cocher_, what is the fare?" I ask.--"Five francs,
monsieur."--"All right; take me to the mairie Place Saint-Sulpice."
--"Beg pardon, monsieur, but if you are going to vote, it will be
ten francs!"

On the Boulevard de Strasbourg there are streams of people dressed in
holiday attire; itinerant dealers in tops, pamphlets, souvenirs of the
siege--bits of black bread, made on purpose, and framed and glazed, also
bits of shells--and scented soap, and coloured pictures; crowds of
beggars everywhere. In this part of the town the revolution looks very
much like a fair.

At the mairie of the 6th Arrondissement there are very few people. I
enter into conversation with one of the officials there. He tells me he
has never seen voting carried on with greater spirit.

I meet a friend who has just returned from Belleville, and ask him the
news, of course.--"The voting is progressing in capital order," he tells
me; "the men go up to the poll as they would mount the breach. They have
no choice but to obey blindly."--"The Central Committee?" I
inquire.--"Yes, but the Committee itself only obeys orders."
--"Whose?"--"Why those of the International, of course."

At a corner near the boulevards, a compact little knot of people is
stationed in front of a poster. I fancy they are studying the
proclamation of one of the candidates, but it turns out only to be a
play-bill. The crowd continues to thicken; the cafés are crammed; gold
chignons are plentiful enough at every table; here and there a red
Garibaldi shirt is visible, like poppies amongst the corn. Every now and
then a horseman gallops wildly past with dispatches from one section to
another. The results of some of the elections are creeping out. At
Montrouge, Bercy, Batignolles, and the Marais, they tell us the members
of the Central Committee are elected by a very large majority. Here the
hoarse voice of a boy strikes in,--"Buy the account of the grand
conspiracy of Citoyen Thiers against the Republic!" Then another chimes
in with wares of a less political and more vulgar nature. The movement
to and fro and the excitement is extraordinary. While the populace basks
in the sun the destiny of the city is being decided.--"M. Desmarest is
elected for the 9th Arrondissement," says some one close to
me.--"Lesueur is capital in the 'Partie de Piquet,'" says another. Oh!
people of Paris!


It is over. We have a "Municipal Council," according to some; a
"Commune," according to others. Not quite legally elected, but
sufficiently so. Eighty councillors, sixty of whom are quite unknown
men. Who can have recommended them, or, rather, imposed them on the
electors? Can there really be some occult power at work under cover of
the ex-Central Committee? Is the Commune only a pretext, and are we at
the début of a social and political revolution? I overheard a partizan
of the new doctrines say,--"The Proletariat is vindicating its rights,
which have been unjustly trampled on by the aristocratic bourgeoisie.
This is the workman's 1789!"

Another person expresses the same thing in rather a different form.
"This is the revolt of the _canaille_ against all kind of supremacy, the
supremacy of fortune, and the supremacy of intellect. The equality of
man before the law has been acknowledged, now they want to proclaim the
equality of intellect. Soon universal suffrage will give place to the
drawing of lots. There was a time in Athens when the names of the
archontes were taken haphazard out of a bag, like the numbers at loto."

However, the revolution has not yet clearly defined its tendencies, and
in the meantime what are we to think of the unknown beings who represent
it? A man in whom I have the greatest confidence, and who has passed his
life in studying questions of social science, and who therefore has
mixed in nearly all the revolutionary circles, and is personally
acquainted with the chiefs, said to me just now, in speaking of the new
Municipal Council,[23]--"It will be an assemblage of a very motley
character. There will be much good and much bad in it. We may safely
divide it into three distinct parts: firstly, ten or twelve men
belonging to the International, who have both thought and studied and
may be able to act, mixed with these several foreigners; secondly, a
number of young men, ardent but inexperienced, some of whom are imbued
with Jacobin principles; thirdly, and by far the largest portion,
unsuccessful plotters in former revolutions, journalists, orators, and
conspirators,--noisy, active, and effervescent, having no particular tie
amongst themselves except the absence of any common bond of unity with
the two former divisions, and being confounded now with one, now with
the other. The members of the International alone have any real
political value; they are Socialists. The Jacobin element is decidedly
dangerous."--If in reality the Communal Assembly is thus composed, how
will it act? Let us wait and see; in the meantime the city is calm.
Never did so critical a moment wear so calm an exterior. By the bye,
where are the Prussians?[24]


[Footnote 23: The _Figaro_ gives the following list of those who held
service under the Commune:--

    Anys-el-Bittar, Librarian MSS. Department, Bibliothèque Nationale.

    Biondetti, Surgeon 233rd Battalion. (Italian.)

    Babiok, a Member of the Commune. (Pole.)

    Beoka, Adjutant to the 207th Battalion. (Pole.)

    Cluseret, General, Delegate of War. (American.)

    Cernatesco, Surgeon of Francs Tireurs. (Pole.)

    Crapulinski, Colonel of Staff. (Pole.)

    Carneiro de Cunha, Surgeon 38th Battalion. (Portuguese.)

    Charalambo, Surgeon of the Federal Scouts. (Pole.)

    Dombrowski, General. (Russian.)

    Dombrowski (his brother), Colonel of Staff. (Russian.)

    Durnoff, Commandant of Legion. (Pole.)

    Echenlaub, Colonel. (German.)

    Ferrera Gola, General Manager of Field Hospitals. (Portuguese.)

    Frankel, a Member of the Commune. (Prussian.)

    Giorok, Commandant of the Fort d'Issy. (Valachian.)

    Grejorok, Commandant of the Artillery at Montmartre.(Valachian.)

    Kertzfeld, Chief Manager of Field Hospitals. (German.)

    Iziquerdo, Surgeon of the 88th Battalion. (Pole.)

    Jalowski, Surgeon of the Zouaves de la République. (Pole.)

    Kobosko, Despatch Bearer.

    La Cecilia, General. (Italian.)

    Landowski, Aide-de-Camp of General Dombrowski. (Pole.)

    Mizara, Commandant of the 104th Battalion. (Italian.)

    Maratuch, Surgeon's mate of the 72nd Battalion. (Hungarian.)

    Moro, Commandant of the 22nd Battalion. (Italian.)

    Okolowicz and his brothers, General and Staff Officers. (Poles.)

    Ostyn, a Member of the Commune. (Belgian.)

    Olinski, Chief of the 17th Legion. (Pole.)

    Pisani, Aide-de-Camp of Flourens. (Italian.)

    Potampenki, Aide-de-Camp of General Dombrowski. (Pole.)

    Ploubinski, Staff Officer. (Pole.)

    Pazdzierswski, Commandant of the Fort de Vanves. (Pole.)

    Piazza, Chief of Legion. (Italian.)

    Pugno, Music-manager at the Opera-house. (Italian.)

    Romanelli, Manager of the War Offices. (Italian.)

    Rozyski, Surgeon of the 144th Battalion. (Pole.)

    Rubinowicz, Surgeon of the Marines. (Pole.)

    Syneck, Surgeon of the 151st Battalion. (German.)

    Skalski, Surgeon of the 240th Battalion. (Pole.)

    Soteriade, Surgeon. (Spaniard.)

    Thaller, Under Governor of the Fort de Bicêtre. (German.)

    Van Ostal, Commandant of the 115th Battalion. (Dutch.)

    Vetzel, Commandant of the Southern Forts. (German.)

    Wroblewski, General Commandant of the Southern Army. (Pole.)

    Witton, Surgeon of the 72nd Battalion. (American.)

    Zengerler, Surgeon of the 74th Battalion, (German.)]

[Footnote 24: The Prussians and the Commune, see Appendix 3.]


Who can help being carried away by the enthusiasm of a crowd? I am not a
political man, I am only an observer who sees, hears, and feels.

I was on the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville at the moment when the names of
the successful candidates were proclaimed, and the emotion is still
fresh upon me.[25] There were perhaps a hundred thousand men there,
assembled from all quarters of the city. The neighbouring streets were
also full, and the bayonets glittering in the sun filled the Place with
brilliant flashes like miniature lightning. In the centre of the façade
of the building a platform was erected, over which presided a statue of
the Republic, wearing a Phrygian cap. The bronze basso-relievo of Henry
IV. had been carefully hidden with clusters of flags. Each window was
alive with faces. I saw several women on the roof, and the _gamins_ were
everywhere, hanging on to the sculptured ornaments, or riding fearlessly
on the shoulders of the marble busts. One by one the battalions had
taken up their position on the Place with their bands. When they were
all assembled they struck up the Marseillaise, which was re-echoed by a
thousand voices. It was grand in the extreme, and the magnificent hymn,
which late defeats had shorn of its glory, swelled forth again with all
its old splendour revived. Suddenly the cannon is heard, the voices rise
louder and louder; a sea of standards, bayonets, and human heads waves
backwards and forwards in front of the platform. The cannon roars, but
we only hear it between the intervals of the hymn. Then all the sounds
are confounded in one universal shout, that shout of the vast multitude
which seems to have but one heart and one voice. The members of the
Committee, each with a tricolor scarf across his breast, have taken
their places on the platform. One of them reads out the names of the
elected councillors. Then the cannon roars once more, but is almost
drowned by the deafening huzzas of the crowd. Oh! people of Paris, who
on the day of the "_Crosse en l'air_"[26] got tipsy in the wine-shops of
Montmartre, whose ranks furnished the murderers of Thomas and Lecomte,
who in the Rue de la Paix shot down unconscious passengers, who are
capable of the wildest extravagance and most execrable deeds, you are
also in your days of glory, grand and magnificent, when a volcano of
generous passions rages within, and the hearts even of those who condemn
you most, are scorched in the flames.


[Footnote 25: The result of the voting was made known at four o'clock on
the 28th March. The papers devoted to the Commune asserted, on the
following day, that _two hundred and fifteen_ battalions were assembled
on that day, and that the average strength of each corps was one
thousand men. Who could have believed that the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville
was capable of accommodating so many! This farcical assertion of the two
hundred and fifteen battalions has passed into a proverb.]

[Footnote 26: When they turned the butt-ends (_crosses_) of their guns
in the air, as a sign they would not fight.]


"Citizens," says the _Official Journal_ this morning, "your Commune is
constituted." Then follows decree upon decree. White posters are being
stuck up everywhere. Why are they at the Hôtel de Ville, if not to
publish decrees? The conscription is abolished. We shall see no more
poor young fellows marching through the town with their numbers in their
caps, and fired with that noble patriotism which is imbibed in the
cabarets at so much a glass. We shall have no more soldiers, but to make
up for that we shall all be National Guards. There's a glorious decree,
as Edgar Poë says. As to the landlords, their vexation is extreme; even
the tenants do not seem so satisfied as they ought to be. Not to have to
pay any rent is very delightful, certainly, but they scarcely dare
believe in such good fortune. Thus when Orpheus, trying to rescue
Eurydice from "the infernal regions," interrupts with "his harmonious
strains" the tortures of eternal punishment, Prometheus did not
doubtless show as much delight as he ought to have done, on discovering
that the beak of the vulture was no longer gnawing at his vitals,
"scarcely daring to believe in such good fortune." Orpheus is the
Commune; Eurydice, Liberty; "the infernal regions," the Government of
the 4th September; "the harmonious strains," the decrees of the Commune;
Prometheus, the tenant; and the vulture, the landlord!

In plain terms, however--forgive me for joking on such a subject--the
decree which annuls the payment of the rents for the quarters ending
October 1870, January 1871, and April 1871, does not appear to me at all
extravagant, and really I do not see what there is to object to in the
following lines which accompany it:--

    "In consideration of the expenses of the war having been chiefly
    sustained by the industrial, commercial, and working portion of the
    population, it is but just that the proprietors of houses and land
    should also bear their part of the burthen...."

Let us talk it over together, Mr. Landlord. You have a house and I live
in it. It is true that the chimneys smoke, and that you most
energetically refuse to have them repaired. However, the house is yours,
and you possess most decidedly the right of making a profit by it.
Understand, once for all, that I never contest your right. As for me, I
depend upon my wit, I do not possess much, but I have a tool--it may be
either a pen, or a pencil, or a hammer--which enables me, in the
ordinary course of things, to live and to pay with more or less
regularity my quarter's rent. If I had not possessed this tool, you
would have taken good care not to let me inhabit your house or any part
or portion thereof, because you would have considered me in no position
to pay you your rent. Now, during the war my tool has unquestionably
rendered me but poor service. It has remained ignobly idle in the
inkstand, in the folio, or on the bench. Not only have I been unable to
use it, but I have also in some sort lost the knack of handling it; I
must have some time to get myself into working order again. While I was
working but little, and eating less, what were you doing? Oh! I do not
mean to say that you were as flourishing as in the triumphant days of
the Empire, but still I have not heard of any considerable number of
landlords being found begging at the corners of the streets, and I do
not fancy you made yourselves conspicuous by your assiduous attendance
at the Municipal Cantines. I have even heard that you or many of your
brother-landlords took pretty good care not to be in Paris during the
Prussian siege, and that you contented yourselves with forming the most
ardent wishes, for the final triumph of French arms, from beneath the
wide-spreading oaks of your châteaux in Touraine and Beauce, or from the
safe haven of a Normandy fishing village; while we, accompanied it is
true by your most fervent prayers, took our turn at mounting guard, on
the fortifications during the bitter cold nights, or knee-deep in the
mud of the trenches. However, I do not blame those who sought safety in
flight; each person is free to do as he pleases; what I object to is
your coming back and saying, "During seven or eight months you have done
no work, you have been obliged to pawn your furniture to buy bread for
your wife and children; I pity you from the bottom of my heart--be so
kind as to hand me over my three quarters' rent." No, a thousand times
no; such a demand is absurd, wicked, ridiculous; and I declare that if
there is no possible compromise between the strict execution of the law
and his decree of the Commune, I prefer, without the least hesitation,
to abide by the latter; I prefer to see a little poverty replace for a
time the long course of prosperity that has been enjoyed by this very
small class of individuals, than to see the last articles of furniture
of five hundred thousand suffering wretches, put up to auction and
knocked down for one-twentieth part of their value. There must, however,
be some way of conciliating the interests of both landlords and tenants.
Would it be sufficient to accord delays to the latter, and force the
former to wait a certain time for their money? I think not; if I were
allowed three years to pay off my three quarters' rent, I should still
be embarrassed. The tool of the artisan is not like the peasant's plot
of ground, which is more productive after having lain fallow. During the
last few sad months, when I had no work to do, I was obliged to draw
upon the future, a future heavily mortgaged; when I shall perhaps
scarcely be able to meet the expenses of each day, will there be any
possibility of acquitting the debts of the past? You may sell my
furniture if the law gives you the right to do so, but I shall not pay!

The only possible solution, believe me, is that in favour of the
tenants, only it ought not to be applied in so wholesale a fashion.
Inquiries should be instituted, and to those tenants from whom the war
has taken away all possibility of payment an unconditional receipt
should be delivered: to those who have suffered less, a proportionate
reduction should be allowed; but those whom the invasion has not ruined
or seriously impoverished--and the number is large, among provision
merchants, café keepers, and private residents--let those pay directly.
In this way the landlords will lose lees than one may imagine, because
it will be the lowest rents that will be forfeited. The decree of the
Commune is based on a right principle, but too generally applied.

The new Government--for it is a Government--does not confine itself to
decrees. It has to install itself in its new quarters and make

In a few hours it has organized more than ten committees--the executive,
the financial, the public-service, the educational, the military, the
legal, and the committee of public safety. No end of committees and
committeemen: it is to be hoped that the business will be promptly


[Footnote 27: Organisation of the Commissions on the 31st of March:

    _Executive Commission_.--Citizens Eudes, Tridou, Vaillant,
    Lefrançais, Duval, Félix Pyat, Bergeret.

    _Commission of Finance_.--Victor Clément, Varlin, Jourde, Beslay,

    _Military Commission_.--General E. Duval, General Bergeret, General
    Eudes, Colonel Chardon, Colonel Flourens, Colonel Pindly, Commandant

    _Commission of Public Justice_.--Ranc, Protot, Léo Meillet,
    Vermorel, Ledroit, Babick.

    _Commission of Public Safety_.--Raoul Rigault, Ferré, Assy, Cournet,
    Oudet, Chalain, Gérardin.

    _Victualling Commission_.--Dereure, Champy, Ostyn, Clément, Parizel,
    Emile Clément, Fortuné Henry.

    _Commission of Industry and Trade_.--Malon, Frankel, Theiz, Dupont,
    Avrial, Loiseau-Pinson, Eugène Gérardin, Puget.

    _Commission of Foreign Affairs_.--Delescluze, Ranc, Paschal
    Grousset, Ulysse Parent, Arthur Arnould, Antoine Arnauld, Charles

    _Commission of Public Service_.--Ostyn, Billioray, Clément (J.B.)
    Martelet, Mortier, Rastoul.

    _Commission of Education_.--Jules Vallès, Doctor Goupil, Lefèvre,
    Urbain,[28] Albert Leroy, Verdure, Demay, Doctor Robinet.]

[Footnote 28: Memoir, see Appendix XIII.]


Come, let us understand each other. Who are you, members of the
Commune? Those among you who are in some sort known to the public do not
possess, however, enough of its confidence to make up for the want of
knowledge it has of the others. Have a care how you excite our mistrust.
You have published decrees that certainly are open to criticism, but
that are not entirely obnoxious, for their object is to uphold the
interests of that portion of the population, which you most particularly
represent, and from whom you hold your commission. We will forgive the
decrees if you do nothing worse. Yesterday, the 30th March, during the
night (why in the night?) some men wearing a red scarf and followed by
several others with arms, presented themselves at the Union Insurance
Company. On the porter refusing to deliver up the keys of the offices he
was arrested. They then proceeded to break open the doors with the
butt-end of their muskets, and put seals on the strong box. What can
this portend? Have you been elected to break open private offices and
put seals on cash-boxes? That same night, a friend of mine who happened
to be passing across one of the bridges on his way home, noticed that
the windows of the Hôtel de Ville were brilliantly lighted. Could they
be having a ball already? he wondered. He made inquiries and discovered
that it was not a ball, but a banquet; three or four hundred National
Guards from Belleville had invaded the apartments and had ordered a
dinner to be served to them. They were accompanied by a corresponding
number of female companions, and were drinking, talking, and singing to
their hearts' content. What do you mean by that, members of the Commune?
Have you been elected to keep open-house, and do you propose to inscribe
over the entrance of the municipal palace: "Ample accommodation for
feasts and banquets," as a companion to your motto of "Liberty,
Equality, and Fraternity?"


    "I tell you, you shall not go!"--"But I will."--"Well, you may, but
    not your furniture."--"And who shall prevent my carrying off my
    furniture if I choose?"--"I will."--"I defy

This animated discussion was being carried on at the door of a house, in
front of which a cart filled with furniture was standing; a crowd of
street boys was fast assembling, and the heads of curious neighbours
appeared grinning in all the windows.

A partizan of the Commune had determined to profit by the decree.
Matters at first had seemed to go on quietly. The concierge, taken aback
by the sudden apparition of the van, had not summoned up courage to
prevent the furniture from being stowed away in it. The landlord,
however, had got scent of the affair, and had hastened to this spot.
Now, the tenant was a determined character, and as the van-men refused
to mix themselves up in the fray, he himself shouldered his last article
of furniture and carried it to the van. He was about to place it within
cover of the awning, when the landlord, like a miser deprived of his
treasure, seized it and deposited it on the pavement. The tenant
re-grasped his spoil and thrust it again into the cart, from whence it
was instantly drawn forth again by the enraged landlord. This game was
carried on for some time, each as determined as the other, grasping;
snatching, and pulling this unfortunate piece of furniture until one
wrench, stronger than the former, entirely dislocated its component
parts, and laid it in a ruined heap upon the ground. This was the moment
for the tenant to show himself a man of spirit. Taking advantage of the
surprise of the landlord, he swept the broken remains of his property
deftly into the van, bounded on to the driver's seat, shook the reins,
cracked his whip, and started off at a thundering gallop, pursued by the
huzzas of the crowd, the cries of the van-men, and the oaths of the
disappointed landlord. The van and its team of lean cattle were soon
lost to view, and the landlord was left alone on his doorstep, shaking
his fist and muttering "Brigand!"


What a quantity of luggage! Even those who had the good fortune of
witnessing the emigration before the siege would never have supposed
that there could be so much luggage in Paris. Well-to-do looking trunks
with brass ornaments, black wooden boxes, hairy trunks, leathern
hat-boxes, and cardboard bonnet-boxes, portmanteaux and carpet bags are
piled up on vehicles of every description, of which more than ten
thousand block up the roads leading to the railway stations. Everybody
is wild to get away; it is whispered about that the Commune, the horrid
Commune, is about to issue a decree forbidding the Parisians to quit
Paris. So all prudent individuals are making off, with their bank-notes
and shares in their pocket-books. I see a man I know, walking very fast,
wearing a troubled expression on his face. I ask him where he is
going.--"you do not know what has happened to me?" he cries. I confess I
do not.--"The most extraordinary thing: I am condemned to
death!"--"You!" I exclaim.--"Yes! by the Commune!"--"And wherefore?" I
ask.--"Because I write on the _Figaro_."--"Why, I never knew
that!"--"Oh! not very often; but last year I addressed a letter to the
Editor, to explain to him that my new farce called 'My Aunt's Garters'
had nothing at all to do with 'My Uncle's Braces,' which is by somebody
else. You understand that I did not want to change the title, which is
rather good of its kind, so I wrote to the _Figaro_, and as my letter
was inserted, and as the Commune condemns all the contributors.... You
see ...!"--"Perfectly! Why, my dear fellow, you ought to have been off
before. Of course you go to Versailles?"--"Why, yes."--"By the railway?"
I cannot help having a joke at his expense.--"Yes, of course."--"Well,
if I were you, I would not, really; the engine might blow up, or you
might run into a luggage train. Such things do happen in the best of
times, and I think the Commune capable of anything to get rid of so
dangerous an adversary."--"You don't mean to say," says the poor little,
man in a tremor, "that they would go to such lengths! Well, at any rate
I will travel by the road."[29]

A little farther up the Boulevard des Italiens I see another
acquaintance. "What, still in Paris?" I say, shaking hands with him.--"I
am off this evening," he answers.--"Are you condemned to death?"--"No,
but I shall be tried to-night."--"The devil! Do you write on the
_Figaro_!"--"No, no, it is quite a long story. Three years ago, I made
the acquaintance of a charming blonde, who reciprocated my advances, and
made herself highly agreeable. In a word, I was smitten. Unfortunately
there was a husband in the case!"--"The devil there was!"--"He made
inquiries, and found out who I was, and ..."--"And invited you to mortal
combat?"--"Oh! no, he is a hosier. But from that day forth he became my
most bitter enemy."--"Very disagreeable of him, I am sure, but I do not
see how the enmity of this retail dealer obliges you to quit
Paris?"--"Why, you see he has a cousin who is elected a member of the
Commune."--"I understand your uneasiness; you fear the latent revenge of
this unreasonable hosier."--"I am to be tried to-night, but it is not
the fear of death which makes me fly. It is worse than that. Those
Hôtel de Ville people are capable of anything, and I hear they are going
to make a law on divorce. I know the malignity of the lady's
husband--and I believe he is capable of getting a divorce, and forcing
me to marry her!"

So, under one pretext and another, almost everyone is going away. As for
me, I am like a hardened Parisian--my boots have a rooted dislike to any
other pavement than that of the boulevards. Who is right, I, or those
who are rushing off? Is there really danger here for those who are not
ardently attached to the principles of the Commune? I try to believe
not. True there have been arrests--domiciliary visits and other illegal
and tyrannical acts--but I do not think it can last.[30] May we not hope
that the dangerous element in the Commune will soon be neutralised by
the more intelligent portion of the Municipal Council, if, indeed, that
portion exists? I cannot believe that a revolution, accomplished by
one-third of the population of Paris, and tolerated by another (the
remaining fraction having taken flight), can be entirely devoid of the
spirit of generosity and usefulness, capable only of appropriating the
funds of others, and unjustly imprisoning innocent citizens. Besides,
even if the Commune, instead of trying to make us forget the bloody
deeds with which it preceded its establishment, or seeking to repair the
faults of which it has been guilty, on the contrary continues to commit
such excesses, thus harrying to its ruin a city which has already
suffered so much, even then I will not leave it. I will cling to it to
the last, as a sailor who has grown to love the ship that has borne him
gallantly in so many voyages, clings to the wreck of his favourite, and
refuses to be saved without it.


[Footnote 29: The following is a document which completely justifies
these apprehensions:--

"30th March--The Commune of Paris--Orders from the Central Committee to
the officer in command, of the battalion on guard at the station of

"To stop all trains proceeding in the direction of Paris at the
Ouest-Ceinture station.

"To place an energetic man night and day at this post. This man is to
mount guard with a beam, which he is to throw across the rails at the
arrival of each train, so as to cause it to run off the rails, if the
engine-driver refuses to stop.

"HENRI, Chief of a Legion."]

[Footnote 30: Vexatious measures accumulated:

The pacific M. Glais-Bizoin was arrested in a tobacconist's shop, where
he was, doubtless, lighting a reactionary cigar. He fancied at first
that there had been a mistake, but he was taken before the Committee,
which caused him, however, to be liberated.

M. Maris Proth, a writer in _Charivari_, which is certainly not a
royalist journal, was arrested on the following day, and detained for a
longer time.

On the same day a search was made at the house of the publisher

[Illustration: Gambon.]


Garibaldi is expected. Gambon has gone to Corsica to meet him. He is to
be placed at the head of the National Guard. It is devoutly to be hoped
that he will not come.[31]

Firstly, because his presence at this moment would create new dangers;
and secondly, because this admirable and honoured man would compromise
his glory uselessly in our sorry discords. If I, an obscure citizen, had
the honour of being one of those to whom the liberator of Naples lends
an ear, I would go to him without hesitation, and, after having bent
before him as I would before some ancient hero arisen from his glorious
sepulchre, say to him,--"General, you have delivered your country. At
the head of a few hundred men you have won battles and taken towns. Your
name recalls the name of William Tell. Wherever there were chains to
rend and yokes to break, you were seen to hasten. Like the warriors Hugo
exalts in his _Légende des Siècles_, you have been the champion of
justice, the knight-errant of liberty. You appear to us victorious in a
distant vision, as in the realm of legend. For the glory of our age in
which heroes are wanting, it befits you to remain that which you are.
Continue afar off, so that you may continue great. It is not that your
glory is such that it can only be seen at a distance, and loses when
regarded, too nearly. Not so! But you would be hampered amongst us.
There is not space enough here for you to draw your sword freely. We are
adroit, strange, and complicated. You are simple, and in that lies your
greatness. We belong to our time, you have the honour to be an
anachronism. You would be useless to your friends, destructive to
yourself. What would you, a giant fighting with the sword, do against
dwarfs who have cannon? You are courageous, but they are cunning, and
would conquer you. For the sake of the nineteenth century you must not
be vanquished. Do not come; in your simplicity you would be caught in
the spider's web of clever mediocrity, and your grand efforts to tear
yourself free would only be laughed at. Great man, you would be treated
like a pigmy."

It is probable, however, that if I held such a discourse to General
Garibaldi, General Garibaldi would politely show me the door. Other and
more powerful counsellors have inspired him with different ideas.
Friendship dangerous indeed! How deeply painful is it that no man,
however intelligent or great, can clearly distinguish the line, where
the mission for which Heaven has endowed him ceases, and, disdaining all
celebrity foreign to his true glory, consent to remain such as future
ages will admire.[32]


[Footnote 31: The Citizen Gambon, representative of the Department of
the Seine, left Paris charged with a mission to seek Garibaldi, but was
arrested at Bonifacio, in the island of Corsica, just as he was
embarking for Caprera.

For Memoir, see Appendix 4.]

[Footnote 32: Garibaldi was chosen by the Central Committee for
Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard, but he refused in the
following terms, pretending not to be aware of the condition of Paris:--

"Caprera, 28th March, 1871.


"Thanks for the honour you have conferred upon me by my nomination as
Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard of Paris, which I love, and
whose dangers and glory I should be proud to share.

"I owe you, however, the following explanations:--

"A commandant of the National Guard of Paris, a commander of the Army of
Paris, and a directing committee, whatever they may be, are three powers
which are not reconcilable with the present situation of France.

"Despotism has the advantage over us, the advantage of the concentration
of power, and it is this same centralisation which you should oppose to
your enemies.

"Choose an honest citizen, and such are not wanting: Victor Hugo, Louis
Blanc, Félix Pyat, Edgar Quinet, or another of the elders of radical
democracy, would serve the purpose. The generals Oremer and Billot, who,
I see, have your confidence, may be counted in the number.

"Be assured that one honest man should be charged with the supreme
command and full powers; such a man would choose other honest men to
assist him in the difficult task of saving the country.

"If you should have the good fortune to find a Washington, France will
recover from shipwreck, and in a short time will be grander than ever.

"These conditions are not an excuse for escaping the duty of serving
republican France. No! I do not despair of fighting by the side of these
_braves_, and I am,

"Yours devotedly,

(Signed), "G. GARIBALDI."]


Monday, the 3rd of April.[33] A fearful day! I have been hurrying this
way and that, looking, questioning, reading. It is now ten o'clock in
the evening. And what do I know? Nothing certain; nothing except this,
which is awful,--they are fighting.

Yes, at the gates of Paris, Frenchmen against Frenchmen, beneath the
eyes of the Prussians, who are watching the battle-field like ravens:
they are fighting. I have seen ambulance waggons pass full of National
Guards. By whom have they been wounded? By Zouaves. Is this thing
credible, is it possible? Ah! those guns, cannon, and mitrailleuses, why
were they not all claimed by the enemy--all, every one, from soldiers
and Parisians alike? But little hindrance would that have proved. It had
been resolved--by what monstrous will?--that we should be hurled to the
very bottom of the precipice. These Frenchmen, who would kill Frenchmen,
would not be checked by lack of arms. If they could not shoot each
other, they would strangle each other.


This, indeed, was unlooked for. An insurrection was feared; men thought
of the June days; that evening when the battalions devoted to the
National Assembly camped in the neighbourhood of the Bank, we imagined,
as a horrible possibility, muskets pointed from between the stones of
barricades, blood flowing in the streets, men killed, women in tears.
But who could have foretold that a new species of civil war was
preparing? That Paris, separated from France, would be blockaded by
Frenchmen? That it would once more be deprived of communication with the
provinces; once more starved perhaps? That there would be, not a few men
struggling to the death in one of the quarters of the town, but two
armies in presence, each with chiefs, fortifications and cannon? That
Paris, in a word, would be besieged anew? How abominable a surprise of

The cannonading has been heard since morning. Ah! that sound, which,
during the siege, made our hearts beat with hope,--yes, with hope, for
it made us believe in a possible deliverance--how horrible it was this
morning. I went towards the Champs Elysées. Paris was deserted. Had it
understood at last that its honour, its existence even, were at stake in
this revolution, or was it only not up yet? Battalions were marching
along the boulevards, with music playing. They were going towards the
Place Vendôme, and were singing. The _cantinières_ were carrying guns.
Some one told me that men had been at work all night in the
neighbourhood of the Hôtel de Ville, and that the streets adjoining it
were blocked with barricades. But in fact no one knows anything, except
that there is fighting in Neuilly, that the "Royalists" have attacked,
and that "our brothers are being slaughtered." A few groups are
assembled in the Place de la Concorde. I approach, and find them
discussing the question of the rents,--yes, of the rents! Ah! it is
certain those who are being killed at this moment will not have to pay
their landlord. On reaching the Rond Point I can distinctly perceive a
compact crowd round the Triumphal Arch, and I meet some tired National
Guards who are returning from the battle. They are ragged, dusty, and
dreary. "What has happened?"--"We are betrayed!" says one.--"Death to
the traitors!" cries another.

No certain news from the field of battle. A runaway, seated outside a
café amidst a group of eager questioners, recounts that the barricade at
the Neuilly bridge has been attacked by _sergents de ville_ dressed as
soldiers, and Pontifical Zouaves carrying a white flag.--"A
parliamentary flag?" asks some one.--"No! a royalist flag," answered the
runaway.--"And the barricade has been taken?"--"We had no cartridges; we
had not eaten for twenty-four hours; of course we had to decamp."

Farther on a soldier of the line affirms that the barricade has been
taken again. The cannon roars still. Mont Valérien is firing, it is
said, on the Courbevoie barracks, where a battalion of Federal guards
was stationed yesterday.--"But they were off before daybreak," adds the

As I continue my road the groups become more numerous. I lift my head
and see a shell burst over the Avenue of the Grande Armée, leaving a
puff of white smoke hanging for a few seconds like a cloud-flake
detached by the wind.

On I go still. The height on which the Arc de Triomphe stands is covered
with people; a great many women and children among them. They are
mounted on posts, clinging to the projections of the Arch, hanging to
the sculpture of the bas-reliefs. One man has put a plank upon the tops
of three chairs, and by paying a few _sous_ the gapers can hoist
themselves upon it. From this position one can perceive a motionless,
attentive crowd reaching down the whole length of the Avenue of the
Grande Armée, as far as the Porte Maillot, from which a great cloud of
white smoke springs up every moment followed by a violent explosion,--it
is the cannon of the ramparts firing on the Rond Point of Courbevoie;
and beyond this the Avenue de Neuilly stretching far out in the
sunshine, deserted and dusty, a human form crossing it rapidly from time
to time; and farthest of all, beyond the Seine, beyond the Avenue de
l'Empereur, deserted too, the hill of Courbevoie, where a battery of the
Versailles troops is established. But stretch my eyes as I may I cannot
distinguish the guns; but a few men, sentinels doubtless, can be made
out. They are _sergents de ville_, says my right-hand neighbour; but he
on my left says they are Pontifical Zouaves. They must have good eyes to
recognise the uniforms at this distance. The most contradictory rumours
circulate as to the barricade on the bridge; it is impossible for one to
ascertain whether it has remained in the possession of the soldiers or
the Federals. There has been but little fighting, moreover, since I
came. A little later, at twelve o'clock, the fusillade ceases entirely.
But the battery on the ramparts continues to fire upon Courbevoie, and
Mont Valérien still shells Neuilly at intervals. Suddenly a flood of
dust, coming from Porte Maillot, thrusts back the thick of the crowd,
and as it flies, widening, and whirling more madly as it comes, everyone
is seized with terror, and rushes away screaming and gesticulating. A
shell has just fallen, it is said, in the Avenue of the Grande Armée.
Not a soul remains about the Triumphal Arch. The adjoining streets are
filled with people who have run to take shelter there. By little and
little, however, the people begin to recover themselves, the flight is
stopped in the middle, and, laughing at their momentary panic, they turn
back again. A quarter of an hour afterwards the crowd is everywhere as
compact as before.


This panorama gives an idea of the theatre of operations of the Second
Siege of Paris. The Prussians closed the eastern enceinte, whilst the
Federals held the southern forts to the last, with the exception of Issy
and Vanves that were abandoned. Point-du-Jour and Porte Maillot were the
parts particularly attacked; the former being defended by the Federal
gunboats on the Seine. Mont Valérien, it will be seen, commands the
whole of the distant plateau. About one mile and a half beyond the
Triumphal Arch the river Seine intersects the space from south to north,
enclosing the Bois de Boulogne and the villages of Neuilly, Villiers,
and Courcelles, being a sort of outer fortification. The walls of Paris
follow the same line, falling about half a mile on the other side of the
Arch, and parallel runs a line of railway within the fortified wall.

This view exhibits the portion the Prussians were permitted to occupy
for two days: all the outlets, except the west, being barricaded and

This spectacle, however, of combatants and gapers distresses me, and in
despair of learning anything I return into the city.

At some distance from the scene of events one gets better information,
or, at any rate, a great deal more of it. Imagination has better play
when it is farther from the fact. A hundred absurd stories reach me.
What appears tolerably certain is, that the Federals have received a
check, not very important in itself, the Versailles troops having made
but little advance, but at any rate a check which might have some
influence on the resolution of the National Guards. They have been told
that the army would not fight, that the soldiers of the line would turn
the butt-ends of their guns into the air at Neuilly as they had done at
Montmartre. But now they begin to believe that the army will fight, and
those who cry the loudest that it was the _sergents de ville_ and
Charette's Zouaves who led the attack alone, seem as if they said it to
give themselves courage and keep up their illusions.

But from which side did the first shot come? On this point everyone has
something to say, and no one knows what to believe. Official reports are
looked for with the utmost impatience. The walls, generally so
communicative, are mute up to this hour. The least improbable of the
versions circulated is the following: At break of day some shots are
said to have been exchanged between the Federal advanced guard and the
patrols of the Versailles troops. None dead or wounded; only powder
wasted, happily. A little later, and a few minutes after the arrival of
General Vinoy at Mont Valérien, a messenger with a flag of truce,
preceded by a trumpeter and accompanied by two _sergents de ville_
(inevitably), is said to have presented himself at the bridge of
Courbevoie. The name of the messenger has been given,--Monsieur
Pasquier, surgeon-in-chief to the regiment of mounted _gendarmes_. Two
of the National Guards go to meet him; after some words exchanged, one
of the Federals blows out Monsieur Pasquier's brains with his revolver,
and ten minutes later Mont Valérien opens a formidable fire, which
continues as fiercely four hours afterwards.

Meanwhile the drams beat to arms, on all sides. A considerable number of
battalions defile along the Boulevard Montmartre; more than twenty
thousand men, some say, who pretend to know. On they march, singing and
shouting "_Vive la Commune! Vive la République!_" They are answered by a
few shouts. These are not the Montmartre and Belleville guards alone;
peaceful faces of citizens and merchants may be seen under the military
_képis_, and many hands are white as no workman's are. They march in
good order,--they are calm and resolved; one feels that these men are
ready to die for a cause that they believe to be just. I raise my hat
as they pass; one must do honour to those who, even if they be guilty,
push their devotion so far as to expose themselves to death for their

But what are these convictions? What is the Commune? The men who sit at
the Hôtel de Ville have published no programme, yet they kill and are
killed for the sake of the Commune. Oh, words! words! What power they
have over you, heroic and most simple people!

In the evening out came a proclamation. There was so great a crowd
wherever it was posted up that I had not the chance of copying it; but
it ran somewhat in these terms:--

    "CITIZENS,--This morning the Royalists have ATTACKED.

    "Impatient, before our moderation they have ATTACKED.

    "Unable to bring French bayonets against us, they have opposed us
    with the Imperial Guard and Pontifical Zouaves.

    "They have bombarded the inoffensive village of Neuilly.

    "Charette's _chouans_, Cathelineau's _Vendéens_, Trochu's _Bretons_,
    Valentin's _gendarmes_, have rushed upon us.

    "There are dead and wounded.

    "Against this attack, renewed from the Prussians, Paris should rise
    to a man.

    "Thanks to the support of the National Guard, the victory will be

Victory! What victory? Oh, the bitter pain! Paris shedding the blood of
France, France shedding the blood of Paris! From whatever side the
triumph comes, will it not be accursed?


[Footnote 33: On the 1st of April several shots were fired under the
walls of Fort Issy, but it was not until the next day, the 2nd of April,
at nine o'clock in the morning, that the action commenced in earnest at
Courbevoie, by an attack of the Versailles army. The federals, who
thought themselves masters of the place, were stopped by the steady
firing of a regiment of gendarmerie and heavy cannonading from Mont
Valérien. At first the National Guards retreated, then disputed every
foot of ground with much courage. In the neighbourhood the desolation
and misery was extreme.

The revolution had now entered a new phase; the military proceedings had
begun, and it was about to be proved that, the Communist generals had
even less genius than those of the Défense Nationale, although it must
be admitted that the latter did not know the extent of the resources
they had at their disposal. When we remember the small advantage those
generals managed to derive from the heroism of the Parisian population,
who, during the second siege showed that they knew how to fight and how
to die, it is marvellous that many people have gone so far as to regret
that the émeute of the 31st of October was not successful, believing
that if the Commune had triumphed at that time, Paris would have been
saved. All this seems very doubtful now, and opinions have veered round
considerably, for it is not such men as Duval, Cluseret, La Cécilia,
Eudes, or Bergeret, who could have protected Paris against the science
of the Prussian generals.]

[Illustration: GENERAL BERGERET.]


To whom shall we listen? Whom believe? It would take a hundred pages,
and more, to relate all the different rumours which have circulated
to-day, the 4th of April, the second day of the horrible straggle. Let
us hastily note down the most persistent of these assertions; later I
will put some order into this pell-mell of news.

All through the night the drums beat to arms in every quarter of the
town. Companies assembled rapidly, and directed their way towards the
Place Vendôme or the Porte Maillot, shouting, "_A Versailles!_" Since
five this morning, General Bergeret has occupied the Rond-Point of
Courbevoie. This position has been evacuated by the troops of the
Assembly. How was this? Were the Federals not beaten yesterday?

(One thing goes against General Bergeret in the opinion of his troops:
he drives to battle in a carriage.)

He has formed his troops into columns. No less than sixty thousand men
are under his orders; two batteries of seven guns support the infantry;
omnibuses follow, filled with provisions. They march towards the Mont
Valérien; after having taken the fort, they will march on Versailles by
Rueil and Nanterre.[34] After they have taken the Mont Valérien! there
is not a moment's doubt about the success of the enterprise. "We were
assured," said a Federal general to me, "that the fort would open its
doors at the first sight of us." But they counted without General
Cholleton, who commands the fortress. The advance-guard of the Federals
is received by a formidable discharge of shot and shells. Panic! Cries
of rage! A regular rout to the words, "We are betrayed!"[35] The army of
the Commune is divided into two fragments: one--scarcely three
battalions strong--flies in the direction of Versailles, the other
regains Paris with praiseworthy precipitation. Must the Parisian
combatants be accused of cowardice for this flight? No! They were
surprised; had never expected such a reception from Mont Valérien; had
they been warned, they would have held out better. After all, there was
more fright than harm done in the affair; the huge fortress could have
annihilated the Communists, and it was satisfied with dispersing them.
But what has become of the three battalions that passed Mont Valérien?
Bravely they went forward.

In the meantime another movement was being made upon Versailles by
Meudon and Clamart. A small number of battalions had marched out during
the night, and are massed under cover of the forts of Issy and Vanves.
They have managed to establish a battery of a few guns on a wooded
eminence, at the foot of the glacis of Fort. Issy, and their pieces are
firing upon the batteries of the Versailles troops at Meudon, which are
answering them furiously. It is a duel of artillery, as in the time--the
good time, alas!--of the Prussians.

Up to this moment the information is tolerably clear; probable even, and
one is able to come to some idea of the respective positions of the
belligerents. But towards two o'clock in the afternoon all the reports
get confused and contradictory.

An estafette, who has come from the Porte Maillot, cried to a group
formed on the place of the New Opera-house, "We are victorious! Flourens
has entered Versailles at the head of forty thousand men. A hundred
deputies have been taken. Thiers is a prisoner."

Elsewhere it is said that in the rout of that morning, at the foot of
Mont Valérien, Flourens had disappeared. And where could he have found
the forty thousand men to lead them to Versailles?

At the same time a rumour spreads that General Bergeret has been
grievously wounded by a shell. "Pure exaggeration!" some one answers.
"The General has only had two horses killed under him."

Before him, rather, since he drives to battle. What appears most
certain of all is that there is furious fighting going on between Sèvres
and Meudon. I hear it said that the 118th of the line have turned the
butts of their guns into the air, and that the Parisians have taken
twelve mitrailleuses from the Versailles troops.

There is fighting, too, at Châtillon. The Federals have won great
advantages. Nevertheless an individual who went out that side to
investigate, announces that he saw three battalions return with very
little air of triumph, and that other battalions, forming the reserve,
had refused to march.

A shower of contradictions, in which the news for the most part has no
other source than the opinion and desire of the person who brings it. It
is by the result alone that we can appreciate what is passed. At one
moment I give up trying to get information as a bad job, but I begin
questioning again in spite of myself; the desire to know is even
stronger than the very strong certainty that I shall be able to learn

I turn to the Champs Elysées. The cannon is roaring; ambulance waggons
descend the Avenue, and stop before the Palais de l'Industrie; over the
way Punch is making his audience roar with laughter as usual. Oh! the
miserable times! The horrible fratricidal struggle! May those who were
its cause be accursed for ever!

While some are killing and others dying, the members of the Commune are
rendering decrees, and the walls are white with official proclamations.

    "Messieurs Thiers, Favre, Picard, Dufaure, Simon and Pothuan are
    impeached; their property will be seized and sequestrated until they
    deliver themselves up to public justice."

This impeachment and sequestration, will it bring back husbands to the
widows and fathers to the orphans?

    "The Commune of Paris adopts the families of citizens who have
    fallen or may fall in opposing the criminal aggression of the
    Royalists, directed against Paris and against the French republic."

Infinitely better than adopting the orphans would be to save the fathers
from death. Oh, these absurd decrees! You separate the Church from the
State; you suppress the budget of public worship; you confiscate the
property of the clergy. A pretty time to think about such acts! What is
necessary, what is indispensable, is to restore quiet, to avoid
massacres, and to stifle hatred. That you will not decree. No! no! That
which is now happening you have desired, and you still desire it; you
have profited by the provocations you have received to bring about the
most frightful conflict which the history of unfortunate France records;
and you will persevere, and in order to revive the fainting courage of
those whom you have devoted to inevitable defeat and death, you bring
into action all the hypocrisy with which you have charged your enemies!

    "Bergeret and Flourens have joined their forces; they are marching
    on Versailles. Success is certain!"

You cause this announcement to be placarded in the street--false news,
is it not? But men can only be led to their ruin by being deceived. You

    "The fire of the army of Versailles has not occasioned us any
    appreciable loss."

Ah! As to this let us ask the women who await at the gates of the city
the return of your soldiers, and crowd sobbing round the bloody litters!


[Footnote 34: The combined plan of the three generals of the Commune
consisted, like the famous plan of General Boum, in proceeding by three
different roads: the first column, under the orders of Bergeret,
seconded by Flourens, went by Rueil; the second, commanded by Duval,
marched upon Versailles by lower Meudon, Chaville, and Viroflay; covered
by the fire of Fort Issy, and the redoubt of Moulineaux; and lastly, the
third, with General Eudes at its head, took the Clamart road, protected
by the fort of Vanves.]

[Footnote 35: Though no fort covered Bergeret's eight battalions with
its fire, yet Bergeret was so sure that the artillerymen of Mont
Valérien would do as the line did on the 18th of March, i.e., refuse to
fire, that he advanced boldly as far as the bridge of Neuilly, and had
made a halt at the Rond-Point des Bergères, when a heavy cannonading
from Mont Valérien separated a part of the column from its main body.]


Every hour that flies by, becomes more sinister than the last. They
fight at Clamart as they fight at Neuilly, at Meudon and at Courbevoie.
Everywhere rage the mitrailleuses, the cannon, and the rifle; the
victories of the Communalists are lyingly proclaimed. The truth of their
pretended triumphs will soon be known; and unhappily victory will be as
detestable as defeat.

    General Duval has been made prisoner and put to death. "If you had
    taken me," asked General Vinoy, "would you not have shot
    me?"--"Without hesitation," replied Duval. And Vinoy gave the word
    of command, "Fire!"

But this anecdote, though widely spread, is probably false. It is
scarcely likely that a Commander-in-Chief of the Versailles troops would
have consented to hold such a dialogue with an "_insurgent_."

Flourens also is killed. Where and how is not yet known with any
certainty. Several versions are given. Some speak of a ball in the head,
or the neck, or the chest; others spread the report that his skull was
cut open by a sword.

Flourens is thought about and talked of by men of the most opposite
opinions. This singular man inspires no antipathy even amongst those who
might hold him in the greatest detestation. I shall one day try to
account for the partiality of opinion in favour of this young and
romantic insurgent.

Duval shot, Flourens killed, Bergeret lying in the pangs of death; the
enthusiasm of the Federals might well be cooled down. Not in the least!
The battalions that march along the boulevards have the same resolute
air, as they sing and shout "_Vive la Commune!_" Are they the dupes of
their chiefs to that extent as to believe the pompous proclamations with
their hourly announcements of attacks repelled, of redoubts taken, of
soldiers of the line made prisoners? It is not probable. And besides,
the guards of the respective quarters must see the return of those who
have been to the fight, and whose anxious wives are waiting on the steps
of the doors; must learn from them that the forward marches have in
reality been routs, and that many dead and wounded have been left on the
field, when the Commune reports only declare "losses of little
importance." Whence comes this ardour that the first rush and defeat
cannot check? Is it nourished by the reports, true or false, of the
cruelties of the Versaillais which are spread by the hundred? The
"murder" of Duval, the "assassination" of Flourens, prisoners shot,
_vivandières_ violated, all these culpable inventions--can they be
inventions, or does civil war make such barbarians of us?--are indeed of
a nature to excite the enthusiasm of hate, and the men march to a
probable defeat with the same air as they would march to certain
victory. Ah! whether led astray or not, whether guilty, even, or
whatever the motive that impels them, they are brave! And when they pass
thus they are grand. Yes! in spite of the rags that serve the greater
number of them for uniforms, in spite of the drunken gait of some, as a
whole they are superb! And the reason of the coldest partisan of order
at any price, struggles in vain against the admiration which these men
inspire as they march to their death.

It must be admitted, too, that there is much less disorder in the
command than might be expected. The battalions all know whom they are to
obey. Some go to the Hôtel de Ville, others to the Place Vendôme, many
to the forts, a few to the advanced posts; marches and counter-marches
are managed without confusion, and the combatants are in general well
provided with ammunition, and supplied with provisions. Far as one is
from esteeming the chiefs of the Federals, one is obliged to admit that
there is something remarkable in this rapid organisation of a whole army
in the midst of one of the most complete political convulsions. Who,
then, directs? Who commands? The members of the Commune, divided as they
are in opinion, do not appear capable, on account of their number and
lamentable inexperience, of taking the sole lead in military affairs. Is
there not some one either amongst them or in the background, who knows
how to think, direct, and act? Is it Bergeret? Is it Cluseret? The
future perhaps will unravel the mystery. In the meantime, and in spite
of the reverses to which the Federals have had to submit during these
last days, the whole of Paris unites in unanimous surprise at the
extreme regularity with which the administrative system of the war seems
to work, the surprise being the greater that, during the siege, the
"legitimate" chiefs with much more powerful means, and having
disciplined troops at their command, did not succeed in obtaining the
same striking results.

But would it not have been better far that that order had never existed?
Better a thousand times that the command had been less precise than that
those commanded should have been led to a death without glory? For the
last few days Neuilly, so joyous in times gone by with its busy shops,
its frequented _restaurants_ and princely parks; Neuilly, with the
Versailles batteries on one side and the Paris guns on the other, under
an incessant rain of shells and _mitraille_ from Mont Valérien; Neuilly,
with her bridge taken and re-taken, her barricades abandoned and
re-conquered, has been for the last few days like a vast abyss, into
which the Federal battalions, seized with mortal giddiness, are
precipitated one after another. Each house is a fortress. Yesterday, the
_gendarmes_ had advanced as far as the market of Sablonville; this
morning they were driven back beyond the church. Upon this church, a
child; the son of Monsieur Leullier, planted a red flag amidst a shower
of projectiles. "That child will make a true man," said Cluseret, the
war delegate. Ah, yes! provided he is not a corpse ere then. Shots are
fired from window to window. A house is assaulted; there are encounters,
on the stairs; it is a horrible struggle in which no quarter is given,
night and day, through all hours. The rage and fury on both sides are
terrific. Men that were friends a week ago have but one desire--to
assassinate each other. An inhabitant of Neuilly, who succeeded in
escaping, related this to me: Two enemies, a soldier of the line and a
Federal, had an encounter in the bathing establishment of the Avenue de
Neuilly, a little above the Rue des Huissiers. Now pursuing, now flying
from each other in their bayonet-fight, they reached the roof of the
house, and there, flinging down their arms, they closed in a mad
struggle. On the sloping roof, the tiles of which crush beneath them, at
a hundred feet from the ground, they struggled without mercy, without
respite, until at last the soldier felt his strength give way, and
endeavoured to escape from the gripe of his adversary. Then, the
Federal--the person from whom I learnt this was at an opposite window
and lost not a single one of their movements--the Federal drew a knife
from his pocket and prepared himself to strike his half-prostrate
antagonist, who, feeling that all hope was lost, threw himself flat on
the roof, seized his enemy by the leg, and dragging him with him by a
sudden movement, they rolled over and fell on to the pavement below.
Neither was killed, but the soldier had his face crimsoned with blood
and dust, and the Federal, who had fallen across his adversary,
despatched him by plunging his knife in his chest.

Such is this infamous struggle! Such is this savage strife! Will it not
cease until there is no more blood to shed? In the meantime, Paris of
the boulevards, the elegant and fast-living Paris, lounges, strolls, and
smiles. In spite of the numerous departures there are still enough blasé
dandies and beauties of light locks and lighter reputation to bring the
blush to an honest man's cheek. The theatres are open; "_La Pièce du
Pape_" is being played. Do you know "The Pope's Money?" It is a suitable
piece for diverting the thoughts from the horrors of civil war. A year
ago the Pope was supported by French bayonets, but his light coinage
would not pass in Paris. Now Papal zouaves are killing the citizens of
Paris, and we take light silver and lighter paper. The piece is flimsy
enough. It is not its political significance that makes it diverting,
but the _double-entendre_ therein. One must laugh a little, you
understand. Men are dying out yonder, we might as well laugh a little
here. Low whispers in the _baignoires_, munching of sugared violets in
the stage boxes--everything's for the best. Mademoiselle Nénuphar (named
so by antithesis) is said to have the most beautiful eyes in the world.
I will wager that that handsome man behind her has already compared them
to mitraille shot, seeing the ravages they commit. It would be
impossible to be more complimentary,--more witty and to the point. Ah!
look you, those who are fighting at this moment, who to-day by their
cannon and chassepots are exposing Paris to a terrible revenge, guilty
as these men are, I hold them higher than those who roar with laughter
when the whole city is in despair, who have not even the modesty to hide
their joys from our distresses, and who amuse themselves openly with
shameless women, while mothers are weeping for their children!

On the boulevards it is worse still; there, vice exhibits itself and
triumphs. Is it then true what a young fellow, a poor student and bitter
philosopher, said to me just now: "When all Paris is destroyed, when its
houses, its palaces, and its monuments thrown down and crushed, strew
its accursed soil and form but one vast ruin beneath the sky, then, from
out of this shapeless mass will rise as from a huge sepulchre, the
phantom of a woman, a skeleton dressed in a brilliant dress, with
shoulders bared, and a toquet on its head; and this phantom, running
from ruin to ruin, turning its head every now and then to see if some
libertine is following her through the waste--this phantom is the
leprous soul of Paris!"

When midnight approaches, the _cafés_ are shut. The delegates of the
Central Committee at the ex-prefecture have the habit of sending patrols
of National Guards to hasten and overlook the closing of all public
places. But this precaution, like so many others, is useless. There are
secret doors which escape the closest investigations. When the shutters
are put up, light filters through the interstices of the boards. Go
close up to them, apply your eye to one of those lighted crevices,
listen to the cannon roaring, the mitrailleuses horribly spitting, the
musketry cracking, and then look into the interior of the closed rooms.
People are talking, eating, and smoking; waiters go to and fro. There
are women too. The men are gay and silly. Champagne bottles are being
uncorked. "Ah! ah! it's the fusillade!" Lovers and mistresses are in
common here. This orgie has the most telling effect, I tell you, in the
midst of the city loaded with maledictions, a few steps from the
battle-field where the bayonets are dealing their death thrusts, and the
shells are scattering blood. And later, after the laughter and the songs
and the drink, they take an open carriage, if the night is fine, and go
to the Champs Elysées, and there mount upon the box by the coachman to
try and see the fight--if "those people" knew how to die as well as they
know how to laugh it would be better for them.

Other _bons viveurs_, more discreet, hide themselves on the first floors
of some houses and in some of the clubs. But they are betrayed by the
sparkle of the chandeliers which pierces the heavy curtains. If you walk
along by the walls you will hear the conversation of the gamesters and
the joyous clink of the gold pieces.

Ah! the cowardice of the merry ones! Oh, thrice pardonable anger of
those who starve!


At one o'clock this morning, the 5th of April, on my return from one of
these nightly excursions through Paris, I was following the Rue du Mont
Thabor so as to gain the boulevards, when on crossing the Rue
Saint-Honoré I perceived a small number of National Guards ranged along
the pavement. The incident was a common one, and I took no notice of it.
In the Rue du Mont Thabor not a person was to be seen; all was in
silence and solitude. Suddenly a door opened a few steps in front of
me; a man came out and hurried away in the direction opposite to that of
the church. This departure looked like a flight. I stopped and lent my
attention. Soon two National Guards rushed out by the same door, ran,
shouting as they went, after the fugitive, who had had but a short start
of them, and overtaking him, without difficulty brought him back between
them, while the National Guards that I had seen in the Rue Saint-Honoré
ran up at the noise. The exclamations and insults of all kinds that were
vociferated led me to ascertain that the man they had arrested was the
Abbé Deguerry, _curé_ of the Madeleine. He was dragged into the house,
the door was shut, and all sank into silence again.

That morning I learned that Monseigneur Darboy, the Archbishop of Paris,
was taken at the same hour and in almost similar circumstances.

[Illustration: ABBÉ DEGUERRY, Curé of the Madeleine.]

The arrests of several other ecclesiastics are cited. The _curé_ of St.
Séverin and the _curé_ of St. Eustache have been made prisoners, it is
said; the first in his own house, the second at the moment when he was
leaving his church. The _curé_ of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires was to have
been arrested also, but warned in time, he was able to place himself in

Monseigneur Darboy, being conducted to the ex-prefecture (why the
_ex_-prefecture? It seems to me it works just as well as when it was
purely and simply a prefecture), was cross-examined there by the citizen
delegate Rigault. It must be said that Monsieur Rigault had begun to
make himself talked about during these last few days. He is evidently a
man who has a natural vocation for the employment he has chosen, for he
arrests, and arrests, and still arrests. He is young, cold, and cynical.
But his cynicism does not exclude him from a certain gaiety, as we shall
see. It was the Citizen Rigault, then, who examined the Archbishop of
Paris. I am not inordinately curious, but I should very much like to
know what the cynical member of the Commune could ask of Monseigneur
Darboy. Having committed apparently but one crime, that of being a
priest, and having no inclination to disguise it, it is difficult to
know what the interrogatory could turn upon. Monsieur Rigault's
imagination furnished him no doubt with ample materials for the
interview, and he has probably as much vocation for the part of a
magistrate as for that of a police officer. But however it may be, the
journals of the Commune record this fragment with ill-disguised

[Illustration: RAOUL RIGAULT[36]]

[Illustration: MONSEIGNEUR DARBOY, Archbishop of Paris.]

"My children"--the white-haired Archbishop of Paris is reported to have
said at one moment.

"Citizen," interrupted the Citizen Rigault, who is not yet thirty, "you
are not before children, but before magistrates."

That was smart! And I can conceive the enthusiasm with which Monsieur
Rigault inspires the members of the Commune. But this excellent citizen
did not confine himself to this haughty repartee. I am informed (and I
have reason to believe with truth) that he added: "Moreover, that's too
old a tale. You have been trying it on these eighteen hundred years."

Now everyone must admit that this is as remarkable for its wit as for
its elegance, and it is just what might be expected of the amiable
delegate, who, the other day, in a moment of exaggerated clemency,
permitted an abbé to visit a prisoner in the Conciergerie, and furnished
him with a _laisser-passer_ that ran thus: "Admit the bearer, who styles
himself the servant of one of the name of God." Oh! what graceful,
charming wit!


[Footnote 36: Rigault became connected with Rochefort in the year 1869,
and with him was engaged on the journal called the _Marseillaise_, and
produced articles which subjected him more than once to fine and
imprisonment. In the month of September, 1870, he was appointed by the
Government of the National Defence, Commissaire of Police, but having
taken part in the insurrection of the 31st of October, he was, on the
following day, dismissed from office. Shortly after this he made his
appearance as a writer in Blanqui's paper the _Patrie en Danger_; but,
presently, he took a military turn, and got himself elected to the
command of a battalion of the National Guard. He seems to have been born
an informer or police spy, for we are told when at school, he used to
amuse himself by filling up lists of proscriptions, with the names of
his fellow-pupils. With such charming natural instincts, it is not at
all surprising that he was on the 18th of March, appointed by the
Commune Government, Prefect of Police.]


I am beginning to feel decidedly uncomfortable. This new decree of the
Commune seriously endangers the liberty of all those who are so
unfortunate as to have incurred the ill-will of their concierge, or
whose dealings with his next-door neighbour have not been of a strictly
amicable nature. Let us copy the 1st article of this ferocious decree.

    "All persons accused of complicity with the Government of Versailles
    shall be immediately taken and incarcerated."[37]

Pest! they do not mince matters! Why, the first good-for-nothing
rascal--to whom, perhaps, I refused to lend five francs seven years
ago--may go round to Citizen Rigault and tell him that I am in regular
communication with Versailles, whereupon I am immediately incarcerated.
For, I beg it may be observed, it is not necessary that the complicity
with "the traitors" should be proved. The denunciation is quite
sufficient for one to be sent to contemplate the blue sky through the
bars of the Conciergerie.[38] Besides, what do the words "complicity
with the Government of Versailles" mean? All depends upon the way one
looks at those things. I am not sure that I am innocent. I remember
distinctly having several times bowed to a pleasant fellow--I say
pleasant fellow, hoping that these lines will not fall under the
observation of any one at the Prefecture of Police--who at this very
moment is quite capable, the rogue, of eating a comfortable dinner at
the Hôtel des Réservoirs at Versailles in company with one or more of
the members of the National Assembly. You can understand now why I am
beginning to feel rather uncomfortable. To know a man who knows a
deputy, constitutes, I am fully persuaded--otherwise I am unworthy to
live under the paternal government of the Commune--a most decided
complicity with the men of Versailles. I really think it would be only
commonly prudent to steal out of Paris in a coal sack, as a friend of
mine did the other day, or in some other agreeable fashion.[39] See what
may come of a bow!



"Commune of Paris:

"Considering that the Government of Versailles has wantonly trampled on
the rights of humanity, and set at defiance the rights of war; that it
has perpetrated horrors such as even the invaders of our soil have
shrunk from committing;

"Considering that the representatives of the Commune of Paris have an
imperative duty devolving upon them,--that of defending the lives and
honour of two millions of inhabitants, who have committed their
destinies to their charge; and that it behoves them at once to take
measures equal to the gravity of the situation;

"Considering that the politicians and magistrates of the city ought to
reconcile the general weal with respect for public liberty,


"Art. 1. All persons charged with complicity with the Government of
Versailles will be immediately brought to justice and incarcerated.

"Art. 2. A 'jury, of accusation' will be summoned within the twenty-four
hours to examine the charges brought before it.

"Art. 3. The jury must pass sentence within the forty-eight hours.

"Art. 4. All the accused, convicted by the jury, will be retained as
hostages by the People of Paris.

"Art. 6. Every execution of a prisoner of war, or of a member of the
regular Government of the Commune of Paris, will be at once followed by
the execution of a triple number of hostages, retained by virtue of
article 4, who will be chosen by lot.

"Art. 6. All prisoners of war will be summoned before the 'jury of
accusation,' who will decide whether they be immediately set at liberty
or retained as hostages."]


Flourens is dead: we heard that last night for certain. A National Guard
had previously brought back the colonel's horse from Bougival, but it
was only a few hours ago that we heard any details. An attempt was made
to take him prisoner at Rueil. A gendarme called out to him to
surrender, he replied by a pistol shot; another gendarme advanced, and
wounded him in the side, a third cleft his skull with a sabre out. Some
people do not believe in the pistol shot, and talk of assassination. How
many such events are there, the truth of which will never be clearly
proved! One thing certain is, that Flourens is dead. His body was
recognised at Versailles by some one in the service of Garnier frères.
His mother started this morning to fetch the corpse of her son. It is
strange that one is so painfully affected by the violent death of this
man. He has been mixed up in all the revolutionary attempts of the last
few years, and ought to be particularly obnoxious to all peaceful and
order-loving citizens; but the truth is, his was a sincerely ardent and
enthusiastic spirit. He was a thorough believer in the principles he
maintained. Whatever may be the religion he professes, the apostle
inspires esteem, and the martyr compassion. This apostle, this martyr,
was born to affluence; son of an illustrious savant, he may be almost
said to have been born to hereditary distinction. He was still quite
young when he threw himself heart and soul into politics. There was
fighting in Crete, and so off he went. There he revolted against the
revolt itself, got imprisoned, escaped, outwitted the gendarmes, got
retaken: his adventures sound like a legend or romance. It is because he
was so romantic, that he is so interesting. He returned to France full
of generous impulses. He was as prodigal of his money as he had been of
his blood. In the bitter cold winters he fed and clothed the poor of
Belleville, going from attic to attic with money and consolation. You
remember what Victor Hugo says of the sublime Pauline Roland. The spirit
of Flourens much resembled hers. The patriot could act the part of a
sister of charity. At other times, an enthusiast in search of a social
Eldorado, he would put himself at the service of the most forlorn cause;
never was anyone so imprudent. He was of a most active and critical
disposition: it was impossible for him to remain quiet. When he was not
seemingly employed, he was agitating something in the shade. His
friendship for Rochefort was great. These two turbulent spirits, one
with his pen, the other with his physical activity, remind us each of
the other. Both ran to extremes, Rochefort in his literary invectives,
Flourens in his hairbreadth adventures. Although they were often allied,
these two, they were sometimes opposed. Have you never seen two young
artists in a studio performing the old trick, one making a speech, while
the other, with his head and body hidden in the folds of a cloak,
stretches forth his arms and executes the most extravagant gestures?
Rochefort and Flourens performed this farce in politics, the former
talking, the latter gesticulating; but on the day of the burial of
Victor Noir they went different ways. On that day Rochefort, to do him
justice, saved a large multitude of men from terrible danger. Flourens,
always the same, wished the body to be carried to Père Lachaise; on the
road there must have been a collision; that was what he desired, but he
was defeated. The tongue prevailed, a hundred thousand cries of
vengeance filled the air, but they were only cries, and no mischief was
done, except to a few graves in the Neuilly cemetery. Flourens awaited a
better occasion, but by no means passively. He was a man of barricades;
he did not seem to think that paving-stones were made to walk on, he
only cared to see them heaped up across a street for the protection of
armed patriots. Although he always wore the dress of a gentleman, he was
not one of those black-coated individuals who incite the men to
rebellion and keep out of the way while the fight is going on; he helped
to defend the barricades he had ordered to be thrown up. Wherever there
was a chance of being killed, he was sure to be; and in the midst of all
this he never lost his placid expression, nor the politeness of a
gentleman, nor the look of extreme youth which beamed from his eyes, and
must have been on his face even when he fell under the cruel blows of
the gendarmes. Now he is dead. He is judged harshly, he is condemned,
but he cannot be hated. He was a madman, but he was a hero. The conduct
of Flourens at the Hôtel de Ville in the night of the 31st October is
hardly in keeping with so favourable a view. The French forgive and
forget with facility--let that pass.

[Illustration: COLONEL FLOURENS.[40]]


[Footnote 38: Prison of Detention.]

[Footnote 39: The following is still more naïve:--A man takes a
return-ticket for the environs, and sometimes finds a guard silly enough
to allow him to pass on the supposition that such a ticket was
sufficient proof of his intention of returning to Paris.

Others get into the waiting-room without tickets, under the pretext of
speaking to some one there.

M. Bergerat, a poet, passed the barrier in a cart-load of charcoal.]

[Footnote 40: Flourens was born in 1838, and was the son of the
well-known _savant_ and physiologist of this name. He completed his
studies with brilliancy, and succeeded his father as professor of the
Collège de France. His opening lecture on the History of Man made a
profound impression on the scientific world. However, he retired from
this post in 1864, and turned his undivided attention to the political
questions of the day. Deeply compromised by certain pamphlets written by
him, he left France for Candia, where he espoused the popular cause
against the Turks. On his return to France he was imprisoned for three
months for political offences. Rochefort's candidature was hotly
supported by him. In 1870 he rose against the Government, with a large
force of the Belleville _faubouriens_. He was prosecuted, and took
refuge in London. After the fourth of September he was placed at the
head of five battalions of National Guards. He was again imprisoned for
having instigated the rising of October, and it was not till the
twenty-second of March that he was set at liberty. On the second of
April he set out for Versailles at the head of an insurgent troop. He
was met midway by a mounted patrol, and in the _mêlée_ that ensued he
was killed.]


In the midst of so many horrible events, which interest the whole mass
of the people, ought I to mention an incident which broke but one heart?
Yes, I think the sad episode is not without importance, even in so vast
a picture. It was a child's funeral. The little wooden coffin, scantily
covered with a black pall, was not larger, as Théophile Gautier says,
"than a violin case." There were few mourners. A woman, the mother
doubtless, in a black stuff dress and white crimped cap, holding by the
hand a boy, who had not yet reached the age of sorrowing tears, and
behind them a little knot of neighbours and friends. The small
procession crept along the wide street in the bright sunlight.

When it reached the church they found the door closed, and yet the money
for the mass had been paid the night before, and the hour for the
ceremony fixed. One of the women went forward towards the door of the
vestry, where she was met by a National Guard, who told her with a
superfluity of oaths that she must not go in, that the ---- curé, the
sacristan, and all the d---- fellows of the church were locked up, and
that they would no longer have anything to do with patriots. Then the
mother approached and said, "But who will bury my poor child if the curé
is in prison?" and then she began to weep bitterly at the thought that
there would be no prayers put up for the good of the little spirit, and
that no holy water would be sprinkled on its coffin. Yes, members of the
Commune, she wept, and she wept longer and more bitterly later at the
cemetery, when she saw them lower the body of her child into the grave,
without a prayer or a recommendation to God's mercy. You must not scoff
at her, you see she was a poor weak woman, with ideas of the narrowest
sort; but there are other mothers like her, quite unworthy of course to
bear the children of patriots, who do not want their dear ones to be
buried like dogs; who cannot understand that to pray is a crime, and to
kneel down before God an offence to humanity, and who still are weak
enough to wish to see a cross planted on the tombs of those they have
loved and lost! Not the cross of the nineteenth century--a red


[Footnote 41: Early in April the Commune forbade divine service in the
Pantheon. They out off the arms of the cross, and replaced it by the red
flag during a salute of artillery.]

[Illustration: COLONEL ASSY.]


Communal fraternity is decidedly in the ascendant; it is putting into
practice this admirable precept, "Arrest each other." They say M.
Delescluze has been sent to the Conciergerie. Yesterday Lullier was
arrested, to-day Assy. It was not sufficient to change Executive
Committees--if I may be allowed to say so--with no more ceremony than
one would change one's boots; the Commune conducts itself, in respect to
those members that become obnoxious to it, absolutely as if they were no
more than ordinary archbishops.

ON THE PANTHEON. (The hole in the dome was occasioned by a Prussian

What! Assy--Assy[42] of Creuzot--who signed before all his comrades the
proclamations of the Central Committee, in virtue, not only of his
ability, but in obedience to the alphabetical order of the thing--Assy
no longer reigns at the Hôtel de Ville!--publishes no more decrees,
discusses no longer with F. Cournet, nor with G. Tridon. Wherefore this
fall after so much glory? It is whispered about that Assy has thought it
prudent to put aside a few rolls of bank notes found in the drawers of
the late Government. What, is that all? How long have politicians been
so scrupulous? Members of the Commune, how very punctilious you have
grown. Now if the Citizen Assy were accused of having in 1843 been
intimately acquainted with a lady whose son is now valet to M. Thiers'
first cousin, or if he had been seen in a church, and it were clearly
proved that he was there with any other intention than that of
delicately picking the pockets of the faithful, then I could understand
your indignation. But the idea of arresting a man because he has
appropriated the booty of the traitors, is too absurd; if you go on
acting in that way people will think you are growing conscientious!

As to Citizen Lullier,[43] who was one of the first victims of
"fraternity," he is imprisoned because he did not succeed in capturing
Mont Valérien. I think with horror that if I had been in the place of
Citizen Lullier I should most certainly have had to undergo the same
punishment, for how in the devil's name I could have managed to
transport that impregnable fortress on to the council-table at the Hôtel
de Ville I have not the least conception. It is as bad as if you were in
Switzerland, and asked the first child you met to go and fetch Mont
Blanc; of course the child would go and have a game of marbles with his
companions, and come back without the smallest trace of Mont Blanc in
his arms, thereupon you would whip the youngster within an ace of his
life. However, it appears that M. Lullier objected to being whipped, or
rather imprisoned, and being as full of cunning as of valour he managed
to slip out of his place of confinement, without drum or trumpet. "Dear
Rochefort," he writes to the editor of _Le Mot d'Ordre_, "you know of
what infamous machinations I have been the victim." I suppose M.
Rochefort does, but I am obliged to confess that I have not the least
idea, unless indeed M. Lullier means by "machinations" the order that
was given him to bring Mont Valérien in his waistcoat pocket.
"Imprisoned without motive," he continues, "by order of the Central
Committee, I was thrown ..." (Oh! you should not have _thrown_ M.
Lullier) "into the Prefecture of Police," (the ex-Prefecture, if you
please), "and put in solitary confinement at the very moment when Paris
was in want of men of action and military experience." Oh, fie! men of
the Commune, you had at your disposal a man of action--who does not know
the noble actions of Citizen Lullier? A man of military experience--who
does not know what profound experience M. Lullier has acquired in his
numerous campaigns--and yet you put him, or rather throw him, into the
Prefecture! This is bad, very bad. "The Prefecture is transformed into a
state prison, and the most rigorous discipline is maintained." It
appears then that the Communal prison is anything but a fool's paradise.
"However, in spite of everything, I and my secretary managed to make our
escape calmly ..."--the calm of the high-minded--"from a cell where I
was strictly guarded, to pass two court-yards and a dozen or two of
soldiers, to have three doors opened for me while the sentinels
presented arms as I passed ..." What a wonderful escape: the adventures
of Baron Munchausen are nothing to it. What a fine chapter poor old
Dumas might have made of it. The door of the cell is passed under the
very nose of the jailer, who has doubtless been drugged with some
narcotic, of which M. Lullier has learnt the secret during his travels
in the East Indies; the twelve guards in the court-yards are seized one
after another by the throat, thrown on the ground, bound with cords, and
prevented from giving the alarm by twelve gags thrust into their twelve
mouths; the three doors are opened by three enormous false keys, the
work of a member of the Commune, locksmith by trade, who has remained
faithful to the cause of M. Lullier; and last, but not least, the
sentinels, plunged in ecstasy at the sight of the glorious fugitive,
present arms. What a scene for a melodrama! The most interesting figure,
however, in my opinion, is the secretary. I have the greatest respect
for that secretary, who never dreamt one instant of abandoning his
master, and I can see him, while Lullier is accomplishing his miracles,
calmly writing in the midst of the danger, with a firm hand, the
faithful account of these immortal adventures. "I have now," continues
the ex-prisoner of the ex-Prefecture, "two hundred determined men, who
serve me as a guard, and three excellent revolvers, loaded, in my
pocket. I had foolishly remained too long without arms and without
friends; now I am resolved to blow the brains out of the first man who
tries to arrest me!" I heard a bourgeois who had read this exclaim, that
he wished to Heaven each member of the Commune would come to arrest him
in turn. Oh! blood-thirsty bourgeois! Then Lullier finishes up by
declaring that he scorns to hide, but continues to show himself freely
and openly on the boulevards. What a proud, what a noble nature! Oh, ye
marionettes, ye fantoccini! Yet let me not be unjust; I will try and
believe in you once more, in spite of armed requisitions, in spite of
arrests, of robberies--for there have been robberies in spite of your
decrees--I will try and believe that you have not only taken possession
of the Hôtel de Ville for the purpose of setting up a Punch and Judy
show and playing your sinister farces; I want to believe that you had
and still have honourable and avowable intentions; that it is only your
natural inexperience joined to the difficulties of the moment which is
the cause of your faults and your follies; I want to believe that there
are among you, even after the successive dismissal of so many of your
members, some honourable men who deplore the evil that has been done,
who wish to repair it, and who will try to make us forget the crimes and
forfeits of the civil war by the benefits which revolution sometimes
brings in its train. Yes, I am naturally full of hope, and will try and
believe this; but, honestly, what hope can you have of inspiring
confidence in those who are not prejudiced as I am in favour of
innovators, when they see you arrest each other in this fashion, and
know that you have among you such generals as Bergeret, such honest
citizens as Assy, and such escaped lunatics as Lullier?


[Footnote 42: Assy, who first became publicly known as the leader of the
strike at Messrs. Schneider's works at Creuzot, was an engineer. He was
born in 1840. He became a member of the International Society, and was
selected in 1870 to organise the Creuzot strike. Being threatened with
arrest, he went to Paris, but did not remain there long, and on the 21st
of March in that year, a few days after his return to Creuzot, the
strike of the miners commenced. Assy was, finally, arrested and tried
before the Correctional Tribune of Paris as chief and founder of a
secret society, but he was acquitted of that charge.

At the siege of Paris, Assy was appointed as an officer in a free
guerilla corps of the Isle of France. Subsequently he was a lieutenant
in the 192nd battalion of the National Guard. Getting on the Central
Committee, he took an active share in the events that occurred.
Appointed commander of the 67th battalion on the 17th March, we find him
on the morning of the 18th as Governor of the Hôtel de Ville, and
colonel of the National Guard, organising with the members of the
committee the means of a serious resistance--giving orders for the
construction of barricades--stopping the transport of munitions and
provisions from Paris. Becoming a member of the Commune, he took an
active part in carrying into effect the decrees which led, among other
things, to the demolition of the Vendôme Column and of the house of M.
Thiers. He was arrested in April, and was succeeded as Governor of the
Hôtel de Ville by one Pindy, who retained the office till the army
entered Paris. Assy was held prisoner, _sur parole_, at the Hôtel de
Ville, till the 19th April, when he was liberated. After this Assy was
engaged in superintending the manufacture of munitions of war. He was
the sole superintendent of the supply, especially as regards quality.
Among the warlike stores manufactured were incendiary shells filled with
petroleum, intended to be thrown into Paris during the insurrection. It
is certain that these engines of destruction could only have been made
at the factory superintended by Assi. He was arrested on the 21st May.
Assy was one of the chiefs of the insurrection; he denied signing the
decrees for the execution of the hostages, or order for the enrolment of
the military in the National Guard. Assy was condemned by the tribunal
of Versailles, Sept. 2, to confinement for life in a French fortress--a
light penalty for the deeds of this important insurgent.]

[Footnote 43: Memoir, see Appendix 5.]

[Illustration: GENERAL CLUSERET.]


The fighting still continues, the cannonading is almost
incessant. However, the damage done is but small. To-day, the 7th April,
things seem to be in pretty much the same position as they were after
Bergeret had been beaten back and Flourens killed. The forts of Vanves
and Issy bombard the Versailles batteries, which in their turn vomit
shot and shell on Vanves and Issy. Idle spectators, watching from the
Trocadéro, see long lines of white smoke arise in the distance. Every
morning, Citizen Cluseret,[44] the war delegate, announces that an
assault of gendarmes has been victoriously repulsed by the garrisons in
the forts. It is quite certain that if the Versaillais do attack they
are repulsed, as they make no progress whatever; but do they attack,
that is the question? I am rather inclined to think that these attacks
and repulses are mere inventions. It seems evident to me that the
generals of the National Assembly, who are now busy establishing
batteries and concentrating their forces, will not make a serious
attempt until they are certain of victory. In the meantime they are
satisfied to complete the ruin of the forts which were already so much
damaged by the Prussians.

Between Courbevoie and the Porte Maillot the fighting is continual.
Ground is lost and gained, such and such a house that was just now
occupied by the Versaillais is now in the hands of the Federals, and
_vice versâ_. Neither side is wholly victorious, but the fighting goes
on. What! is there no one to cry out "Enough! Enough blood, enough
tears! Enough Frenchmen killed by Frenchmen, Republicans killed by
Republicans." Men fall on each side with the same war cry on their lips.
Oh! when will all this dreadful misunderstanding cease?


[Footnote 44: The biography of this general of the Commune is very
imperfect, down to the time when he was elected for the 1st
Arrondissement of Paris, and was thereupon appointed Minister of War, or
in Communal phraseology, Delegate at the War Department. He seems to
have been one of those beings, without country or family, but who are
blessed, by way of compensation, with a plurality of names; we do not
know whether Cluseret was really his own, or how many aliases he had
made use of.

It is said that he was formerly captain in a battalion of Chasseurs
d'Afrique, but was dismissed the army upon being convicted of
defalcations, in connection with the purchase of horses, and, that soon
after his dismissal from the French army, he went to the United States,
where he served in the revolutionary war, and attained to the rank of
General. Then we have another story, to the effect that having been
entrusted with the care of a flock of lambs, the number of the animals
decreased so rapidly, that nothing but the existence of a large pack of
wolves near at hand, could possibly have accounted for it in an honest
way; this affair is said to have occurred at Churchill, Such vague
charges as these however deserve but little credit.

After closing his career as a shepherd, he became a defender of the
Pope's flock, enlisting in the brigade against which Garibaldi took the
field. The next we hear of him is that he joined the Fenians, and made
an attempt to get possession of Chester Castle, but that he fell under
suspicion of being a traitor, and was glad to escape to France, where,
report says, he found refuge with a religious community.

          "When the devil was sick,
          The devil a monk would be;
          But when the devil was well,
          The devil a monk was he!"



Thirty men carrying muffled drums, thirty more with trumpets draped in
crape, head a long procession; every now and then the drums roll
dismally, and the trumpets give a long sad wail.

Numerous detachments of all the battalions come next, marching slowly,
their arms reversed. A small bunch of red immortelles is on every
breast. Has the choice of the colour a political signification, or is it
a symbol of a bloody death?

Next appears an immense funeral car draped with black, and drawn by four
black horses; the gigantic pall is of velvet, with silver stars. At the
corners float four great trophies of red flags.

Then another car of the same sort appears, another, and again another;
in each of them there are thirty-two corpses. Behind the cars march the
members of the Commune bare-headed, and wearing red scarfs. Alas! always
that sanguinary colour! Last of all, between a double row of National
Guards, follows a vast multitude of men, women, and children, all
sorrowful and dejected, many in tears.

The procession proceeds along the boulevards; it started from the
Beaujon hospital, and is going to the Père Lachaise: as it passes all
heads are bared. One man alone up at a window remains covered; the crowd
hiss him. Shame on him who will not bow before those who died for a
cause, whether it may be a worthy one or not! On looking on those
corpses, do not remember the evil they caused when they were alive. They
are dead now, and have become sacred. But remember, oh! remember, that
it is to the crimes of a few that are due the deaths of so many, and let
us help to hasten the hour when the criminals, whoever they be, and to
whatever party they belong; will feel the weight of the inexorable
Nemesis of human destiny.


We are to have no more letters! As in the time of the siege, if you
desire to obtain news of your mother or your wife, you have no other
alternative than to consult a somnambulist or a fortune-teller. This is
not at all a complicated operation; of course you possess a ribbon or a
look of hair, something appertaining to the absent person. This suffices
to keep you informed, hour by hour, of what she says, does, and thinks.
Perhaps you would prefer the ordinary course of things, and that you
would rather receive a letter than consult a charlatan. But if so, I
would advise you not to say so. They would accuse you of being, what you
are doubtless, a reactionist, and you might get into trouble.

Yesterday a young man was walking in the Champs Elysées, a Guard
National stalked up to him and asked him for a light for his cigar.--"I
am really very sorry," said he, "but my cigar has gone out."--"Oh! your
cigar is out, is it? Oh! so you blush to render a service to a patriot!
Reactionist that you are!" Thereupon a torrent of invectives was poured
on the poor young man, who was quickly surrounded by a crowd of eager
faces: One charming young person exclaimed, "Why, he is a disguised
sergent-de-ville!"--"Yes, yes; he is a gendarme!" is echoed on all
sides.--"I think he looks like Ernest Picard," says one.--"Throw him
into the Seine," says another.--"To the Seine, to the Seine, the spy!"
and the unfortunate victim is pushed, jostled, and hurried off. A dense
crowd of National Guards, women, and children had by this time
collected, all crying out at the top of their voices, and without any
idea of what was the matter, "Shoot him! throw him the water! hang him!"
Superstitious individuals leaned towards hanging for the sake of the
cords. As to the original cause of the commotion, no one seemed to
remember anything about it. I overheard one man say,--"It appears that
they arrested him just as he was setting fire to the ambulance at the
Palais de l'Industrie!" As to what became of the young man I do not
know; I trust he was neither hanged, shot, nor drowned. At any rate, let
it be a lesson to others not to get embroiled in dangerous adventures of
that kind; and whatever your anxiety may be concerning your family or
affairs, you would do well to hide it carefully under a smiling
exterior. Suppose you meet one of your friends, who says to you, "My
dear fellow, how anxious you must be?" You must answer, "Anxious! oh,
not at all. On the contrary, I never felt more free of care in my
life."--"Oh! I thought your aunt was ill, and as you do not receive any
letters ..."--"Not receive any letters!" you continue in the same
strain, "who told you that? Not receive any letters! why, I have more
than I want! what an idea!"--"Then you must be strangely favoured," says
your mystified companion; "for since Citizen Theiz[45] has taken
possession of the Post-office, the communications are stopped."--"Don't
believe it. It is a rumour set on float by the reactionists. Why, those
terrible reactionists go so far as to pretend that the Commune has
imprisoned the priests, arrested journalists, and stopped the
newspapers!"--"Well, you may say what you please, but a proclamation of
Citizen Theiz announces that communication with the departments will not
be re-established for some days."--"Nothing but modesty on his part; he
has only to show himself at the Post-office, and the service, which has
been put out of order by those wretched reactionists, will be
immediately reorganised."--"So I am to understand that you have news
every day of your aunt."--"Of course."--"Well, I am delighted to hear
it; for one of my friends, who arrived from Marseilles this morning,
told me that your aunt was dead."--"Dead, good heavens! what do you
mean? Now I think of it, I did not get a letter this morning."--"There
you see!"

You must not, however, allow your sorrow to carry you away, at the risk
of your personal safety, but answer readily. "I see it all, for a wonder
I did not get a letter this morning; Citizen Theiz is a kind-hearted
man, and did not want to make me unhappy."


[Footnote 45: A working chaser, and one of the most active and
influential members of the International Society. He was among the
accused who were tried in July, 1870, and was condemned to two years'
imprisonment. On the formation of the Central Committee, he was
appointed Vice-President. It was Theiz who saved the General Post
Office, Rue J.J. Rousseau, from the total destruction decreed by other
members of the Commune. His fate is not well known. Director of the
General Post-office in the Rue J.J. Rousseau, he is said to have saved
that important establishment, doomed to destruction by the Commune.
Theiz escaped from Paris to London on the 29th of July; he took an
active part in the struggle to the last, and was close to Vermorel when
wounded at the barricade of the Château d'Eau.]


The queen of the age is the Press. Lately dethroned and somewhat shorn
of her majesty, but still a queen. It is in vain that the press has
sometimes degraded itself in the eyes of honest men by stooping to
applaud and approve of crimes and excesses, that journalists have done
what they can to lower it; still the august offspring of the human mind,
the press, has really lost neither its power nor its fascination.
Misunderstood, misapplied, it may have done some harm, but no one can
question the signal service which it has been able to render, or the
nobility of its mission. If it has sometimes been the organ of false
prophets, its voice has also been often raised to instruct and

When last night you went secretly, in a manner worthy of the act, to
seize on the printing presses of the _Journal des Débats_, the _Paris
Journal_, and the _Constitutionnel_, were you aware of what you were
doing? You imagined, perhaps, this act would have no other result than
that of suppressing violently a private concern--which is one kind of
robbery--and of reducing to a state of beggary--which is a crime--the
numerous individuals, journalists, printers, compositors, and others who
are employed on the journal, and who live by its means. You have done
worse than this. You have stopped, as far as it was in your power, the
current of human progress. You have suppressed man's noblest.
right--the right of expressing his opinions to the world; you are no
better than the pickpocket who appropriates your handkerchief. You have
taken our freedom of thought by the throat, and said, "It is in my way,
I will strangle it." Wherefore have you acted thus? To shut the mouths
of those who contradict you, is to admit that you are not so very sure
of being in the right. To suppress the journals is to confess your fear
of them; to avoid the light is to excite our suspicion concerning the
deeds you are perpetrating in the darkness. We shut our windows when we
do not desire to be seen. Little confidence is inspired by closed doors.
Your councils at the Hôtel de Ville are secret as the proceedings of
certain legal cases, the details of which might be hurtful to public
morality. Again I say, wherefore this mystery? What strange projects
have you on foot? Do you discuss among you, propositions of a nature
which your modesty declines to make known to the world? This fear of
publicity, of opposition, you have proved afresh, by the nocturnal
visits of your National Guards to the printing offices, wherein they
forced an entrance like housebreakers. Shall we be reduced to judge of
your acts, and of the bloody incidents of the civil war, only by your
own asseverations and those of your accomplices? You must be very
determined to act guiltily and to be obliged to tell lies, as you take
so much trouble to get rid of those, who might pass sentence on you, and
who might convict you of falsehood. Therefore you have not only
committed a crime in so doing, but made a great mistake as well. No one
can meddle with the liberty of the press with impunity. The persecution
of the press always brings with it its own punishment. Look back to the
many years of the Imperial Government, to the few months of the
Government of the 4th of September; of all the crimes perpetrated by the
former, of all the errors committed by the latter, those crimes and
errors which most particularly hastened the end were those that were
levelled against the freedom of the press. The most valable excuse in
favour of the revolt of the 18th of March was certainly the suppression
of several journals by General Vinoy, with the consent of M. Thiers. How
can you be so rash as to make the very same mistakes which have been the
destruction of former governments, and also so unmindful of your own
honour as to commit the very crime which reduces you to the same level
as your enemies?

Ah I truly those who were ready to judge you with patience and
impartiality, those who at first were perhaps, on the whole, favourable
to you, because it seemed to them that you represented some of the
legitimate aspirations of Paris, even those, seeing you act like
thoughtless tyrants, will feel it quite impossible to blind themselves
any longer to your faults; those who having wished to esteem you for the
sake of liberty, will for the sake of liberty, be obliged to despise


It cannot be true. I will not believe it. It cannot be possible that
Paris is to be again bombarded: and by whom? By Frenchmen! In spite of
the danger I was told there was to be apprehended near Neuilly, I wished
to see with my own eyes what was going on. So this morning, the 8th
April, I went to the Champs Elysées.

Until I reached the Rond Point there was nothing unusual, only perhaps
fewer people to be seen about. The omnibus does not go any farther than
the corner of the Avenue Marigny. An Englishwoman, whom the conductor
had just helped down, came up to me and asked me the way; she wanted to
go to the Rue Galilée, but did not like to walk up the wide avenue. I
pointed out to her a side-street, and continued my way. A little higher
up a line of National Guards, standing about ten feet distant from each
other, had orders to stop passengers from going any farther. "You can't
pass."--"But ...," and I stopped to think of some plausible motive to
justify my curiosity. However, I was saved the trouble. Although I had
only uttered a hesitating "but," the sentinel seemed to consider that
sufficient, and replied, "Oh, very well, you can pass."

The avenue seemed more and more deserted as I advanced. The shutters of
all the houses were closed. Here and there a passenger slipped along
close to the walls of the houses, ready to take refuge within the
street-doors, which had been left open by order, directly they heard the
whizzing of a shell. In front of the shop of a carriage-builder,
securely closed, were piled heaps of rifles; most of the National Guards
were stretched on the pavement fast asleep, while some few were walking
up and down smoking their pipes, and others playing at the plebeian game
of "bouchon."[46] I was told that a shell had burst a quarter of an hour
before at the corner of the Rue de Morny. A captain was seated there on
the ground beside his wife, who had just brought him his breakfast; the
poor fellow was literally cut in two, and the woman had been carried
away to a neighbouring chemist's shop dangerously wounded. I was told
she was still there, so I turned my steps in that direction. A small
group of people were assembled before the door. I managed to get near,
but saw nothing, as the poor thing had been carried into the surgery.
They told me that she had been wounded in the neck by a bit of the
shell, and that she was now under the care of one of the surgeons of the
Press Ambulance. I then continued my walk up the avenue. The
cannonading, which had seemed to cease for some little time, now began
again with greater intensity than ever. Clouds of white smoke arose in
the direction of the Porte Maillot, while bombs from Mont Valérien burst
over the Arc de Triomphe. On the right and left of me were companies of
Federals. A little further on a battalion, fully equipped, with blankets
and saucepans strapped to their knapsacks, and loaves of bread stuck
aloft on their bayonets, moved in the direction of Porte Maillot. By
the side of the captain in command of the first company marched a woman
in a strange costume, the skirt of a vivandière and the jacket of a
National Guard, a Phrygian cap on her head, a chassepot in her hand, and
a revolver stuck in her belt. From the distance at which I was standing
she looked both young and pretty. I asked some Federals who she was; one
told me she was the wife of Citizen Eudes,[47] a member of the Commune,
and another that she was a newspaper seller in the Avenue des Ternes,
whose child had been killed in the Rue des Acacias the night before by a
fragment of a shell, and that she had sworn to revenge him. It appeared
the battalion was on its way to support the combatants at Neuilly, who
were in want of help. From what I hear the gendarmes and sergents de
ville had fought their way as far as the Rue des Huissiers. Now I had no
doubt the Versailles generals had made use of the gendarmes and sergents
de ville, who were most of them old and tried soldiers, but if in very
truth they were wherever the imagination of the Federals persisted in
placing them, they must either have been as numerous as the grains of
sand on the sea-shore, or else their leaders must have found out a way
of making them serve in several places at once. Having followed the
battalion, I found myself a few yards in front of the Arc de Triomphe.
Suddenly a hissing, whizzing sound is heard in the distance, and rapidly
approaches us; it sounds very much like the noise of a sky-rocket. "A
shell!" cried the sergeant, and the whole battalion to a man, threw
itself on the ground with a load jingling of saucepans and bayonets.
Indeed there was some danger. The terrible projectile lowered as it
approached, and then fell with a terrific noise a little way from us, in
front of the last house on the left-hand side of the avenue. I had never
seen a shell burst so near me before; a good idea of what it is like may
be had from those sinister looking paintings, that one sees sometimes
suspended round the necks of certain blind beggars, supposed to
represent an explosion in a mine. I think no one was hurt, and the
mischief done seemed to consist in a Wide hole in the asphalte and a
door reduced to splinters. The National Guards got up from the ground,
and several of them proceeded to pick up fragments of the shell. They
had, however, not gone many yards when another cry of alarm was given,
and again we heard the ominous Whizzing sound; in an instant we were all
on our faces. The second shell burst, but we did not see it; we only saw
at the top of the house that had already been struck, a window open
suddenly and broken panes fall to the ground. The shell had most likely
gone through the roof and burst in the attic. Was there anyone in those
upper stories? However, we were on our legs again and had doubled the
Arc de Triomphe. I had succeeded in ingratiating myself with the men of
the rear-guard, and I hoped to be able to go as far with them as I
pleased. Strange enough, and I confess it with _naif_ delight, I did not
feel at all afraid. Although half an inch difference in the inclination
of the cannon might have cost me my life, still I felt inclined to
proceed on my way. I begin to think that it is not difficult to be brave
when one is not naturally a coward! Beneath the great arch were
assembled a hundred or so of persons who seemed to consider themselves
in safety, and who from time to time ventured a few steps forward, for
the purpose of examining the damage done to Etex's sculptured group by
three successive shells. But in the Avenue de la Grande Armée only three
Federals were to be seen, and I think I was the only man in plain
clothes they had allowed to go so far. I could distinctly perceive a
small barricade erected in front of the Porte Maillot on this side of
the ramparts. The bastion to the right was hard at work cannonading the
heights of Courbevoie; great columns of smoke, succeeded by terrific
explosions, testified to the zeal of the Communist artillerymen. Beyond
the ramparts the Avenue de Neuilly extended, dusty and deserted.
Unfortunately the sun blinded me, and I could not distinguish well what
was going on in the distance. By this time the sound of musketry was
heard distinctly. I was told they were fighting principally at Saint
James and in the park of Neuilly. I tried to pass out of the gates with
the battalion, but an officer caught sight of me, and in no measured
tones ordered me back. I ought not to complain, however, he rendered me
good service; for although the fire of the Versaillais had somewhat
diminished, I do not think the place could have been much longer
tenable, to judge from the quantities of bits of shell that strewed the
road; from the numerous litters that were being borne away with their
bloody burthens; from the railway-station in ruins, and the condition of
the neighbouring houses, which had nearly all of them great black holes
in their fronts. The Federals did not seem at all impressed by their
critical position; sounds of laughter reached me from the interior of a
casemate, from the chimney of which smoke was arising, and guards
running hither and thither were whistling merrily the _Chant du Départ_,
with a look of complete satisfaction.

Damaged on the other side. During the Prussian siege it was defended
from injury, though no shells reached it. Uncovered before the civil

I managed to reach the Rue du Débarcadère, which is situated close to
the ramparts. An acquaintance of mine lives there. I knew he was away,
but I thought the porter would recognise and allow me to take up a
position at one of the windows. Next door, the corner house, I found a
shell had gone into a wine-merchant's shop there, who could very well
have dispensed with such a visitor, and had behaved in the most unruly
fashion, breaking the glass, smashing the tables and counter, but
neither killing nor wounding anybody. The porter knew me quite well, and
invited me to walk upstairs to the apartments of my friend, situated on
the third floor. From the windows I could not see the bastion, which was
hidden by the station; but to the left, in the distance, beyond the Bois
de Boulogne, wherein I fancied I perceived troops moving between the
branches, but whether Versaillais or Parisians I could not tell, arose
the tremendous Mont Valérien bathed in sunlight. The flashes from the
cannon, which in daylight have a pale silver tint, succeeded each other
rapidly; the explosions were formidable, and the fort was crowned with a
wreath of smoke. They appeared to be firing in the direction of
Levallois, rather than on the Porte Maillot. The Federals did not seem
to attempt to reply. Turning myself towards the right I could scan
nearly the whole length of the Avenue de Neuilly. The bare piece of
ground which constitutes the military zone was completely deserted;
several shells fell there that had been aimed doubtless at the Porte
Maillot or the bastion. The position I had taken up at the window was
rather a perilous one. I was just behind the bastion. Beyond the
military zone most of the houses seemed uninhabited, but I saw
distinctly the National Guards in front of the Restaurant Gilet, making
their soup on the side-walk. I was too far away to judge of the extent
of the mischief done by the cannonading, but I was told that several
roofs had fallen in and many walls had been thrown down in that quarter.
All that I could see of the market-place was empty; but the sound of
musketry, and the smoke which issued from the houses on one side of it,
told me that the Federals were there in sufficient numbers. A little
further on I saw the barrels of the rifles sticking out of the windows,
with little wreaths of smoke curling out of them; small knots of armed
men every now and then marched hurriedly across the avenue, and
disappeared into the opposite houses. Partly on account of the distance,
and partly on account of the blinding sun, and partly, perhaps, on
account of the emotion I experienced, which made me desire and yet fear
to see, I could distinguish the bridge but indistinctly, with the dark
line of a barricade in front of it. What surprised me most in the battle
which I was busily observing, was the extraordinarily small number of
combatants that were visible, when suddenly--it was about two o'clock in
the afternoon--the Versailles batteries at Courbevoie, which had been
silent for some time, began firing furiously. The horrid screech of the
mitrailleuse drowned the hissing of the shells; the whole breadth of the
long avenue was covered by a kind of white mist. The bastion in front of
me replied energetically. It seemed to me as if the interior part of my
ear was being rent asunder, when suddenly I heard a dull heavy sound,
such as I had not heard before, and I felt the house tremble beneath me.
Loud cries arose from the National Guards on the ramparts. I fancied
that a rain of shot and shell had destroyed the drawbridge of the Porte
Maillot; but it was not so; in the distance I saw that the clouds of
smoke were rolling nearer and nearer, and that the roar of the musketry,
which had greatly increased, sounded close by. I felt sure that a rush
was being made from Courbevoie--that the Versaillais were advancing. The
shells were flying over our heads in the direction of the Champs
Elysées. I began to distinguish that a tumultuous mass of human beings
were marching on in the smoke, in the dust, in the sun. The guns on the
bastion now thundered forth incessantly. There was no mistaking by this
time, there were the Versaillais; I could see the red trowsers of the
men of the line. The Federals were shooting them down from the windows.
Then I saw the advanced guard stop, hesitate beneath the balls which
seemed to rain on them from the Place du Marché, and presently retire.
Whereupon a large number of Federals poured forth from the houses, and,
walking close to the walls, to be as much as possible out of the way of
the projectiles, hurried after the retreating enemy. But suddenly, when
they had arrived a little too far for me to distinguish anything very
clearly, they in their turn came to a standstill, and then retraced
their steps, and returned to their positions within the houses. The fire
from the Versaillais then sensibly diminished, but that of the bastions
continued its furious attack. It was thus that I witnessed one of those
_chassé-croisés_ under fire, which have become so frequent since this
dreadful civil war was concentrated at Neuilly.


As it would have been most imprudent to follow the railway cutting, or
to have gone back by the Avenue de la Grande Armée, where the Versailles
shells were still falling, I walked up the Rue du Débarcadère, and then
turned into the Rue Saint-Ferdinand, and soon found myself in the Place
des Ternes, in front of the church. There was a most dismal aspect about
the whole of this quarter. Situated close to the ramparts, it is very
much exposed, and had suffered greatly. Nearly all the shops were shut;
some of the doors, however, of those where wine or provisions, are sold,
were standing open, while on the shutters of others were inscribed in
chalk, "The entrance is beneath the gateway." I was astonished to see
that the church was open, a rare sight in these days. Why, is it
possible that the Commune has committed the unqualifiable imprudence of
not arresting the curé of Saint-Ferdinand, and that she is weak
enough--may she not have to regret it!--to permit the inhabitants of
Ternes to be baptised, married, and buried according to the deplorable
rites and ceremonies of Catholicism, which has happily fallen into
disuse in the other quarters of Paris? I can now understand why the
shells fall so persistently in this poor arrondissement: the anger of
the goddess of Reason (shall we not soon have a goddess of Reason?) lies
heavily on this quarter, the shame of the capital, where the inhabitants
still try to look as if they believed in heaven! In spite of everything,
however, I entered the church; there were a great many women on their
knees, and several men too. The prayers of the dead were being said over
the coffin of a woman who, I was told, was killed yesterday by a ball
in the chest, whilst crossing the Avenue des Ternes, just a little above
the railway bridge. A ball, how strange! yet I was assured such was the
case. It is pretty evident, then, that the Versaillais were considerably
nearer to Paris, on this side at least, than the official despatches
lead us to suppose.

On returning to the street I directed my steps in the direction of the
Place d'Eylau. Two National Guards passed me, bearing a litter between
them.--"Oh, you can look if you like," said one. So I drew back the
checked curtain. On the mattress was stretched a woman, decently
dressed, with a child of two or three years lying on her breast. They
both looked very pale; one of the woman's arms was hanging down; her
sleeve was stained with blood; the hand had been carried away.--"Where
were they wounded?" I asked.--"Wounded! they are dead. It is the wife
and child of the velocipede-maker in the Avenue de Wagram; if you will
go and break the news to him you will do us a good service."

It was therefore quite true, certain, incontestable. The balls and
shells of the Versaillais were not content with killing the combatants
and knocking down the forts and ramparts. They were also killing women
and children, ordinary passers-by; not only those who were attracted by
an imprudent curiosity to go where they had no business, but
unfortunates who were necessarily obliged to venture into the
neighbouring streets, for the purpose of buying bread. Not only do the
shells of the National Assembly reach the buildings situated close to
the city walls, but they often fall considerably farther in, crushing
inoffensive houses, and breaking the sculpture on the public monuments.
No one can deny this. I have seen it with my own eyes. Anyhow, the
projectiles fall nearer and nearer the centre. Yesterday they fell in
the Avenue de la Grande Armée; to-day they fly over the Arc de Triomphe,
and fall in the Place d'Eylau and the Avenue d'Uhrich. Who knows but
what to-morrow they will have reached the Place de la Concorde, and the
next day perhaps I may be killed by one on the Boulevard Montmartre?
Paris bombarded! Take care, gentlemen of the National Assembly! What the
Prussians did, and what gave rise to such a clamour of indignation on
the part of the Government of the 4th September, it will be both
infamous and imprudent for you to attempt. You kill Frenchmen who are in
arms against their countrymen,--alas! that is a horrible necessity in
civil war,--but spare the lives and the dwellings of those who are not
arrayed against you, and who are perhaps your allies. It is all very
well to argue that guns are not endowed with the gifts of intelligence
and mercy, and that one cannot make them do exactly what one likes; but
what have you done with those marvellous marksmen who, during the siege,
continually threw down the enemy's batteries and interrupted his works
with such extraordinary precision, and who pretended that at a distance
of seven thousand metres they could hit the gilded spike of a Prussian
helmet? Wherefore have they become so clumsy since they changed places
with their adversaries? Joking apart, in a word, you are doing yourself
the greatest injury in being so uselessly cruel; every shell overleaping
the fortifications is not only a crime, but a great mistake. Remember,
that in this horrible duel which is going on, victory will not really
remain with that party which shall have triumphed over the other, by the
force of arms (yours undoubtedly), but to the one who, by his conduct,
shall have succeeded in proving to the neutral population, which
observes and judges, that right was on his side. I do not say but what
your cause is the best; for although we may have to reproach you with an
imprudent resistance, unnecessary attacks, and a wilful obstinacy not to
see what was legitimate and honourable in the wishes of the Parisians,
still we must consider that you represent, legally, the whole of France.
I do not say, therefore, but what your cause is the best; frankly
though, can you hope to bring over to your side that large body of
citizens, whose confidence you had shaken, by massacring innocent people
in the streets, and destroying their dwellings? If this bombardment
continues, if it increases in violence as it seems likely to do, you
will become odious, and then, were you a hundred times in the right,
you will still be in the wrong. Therefore, it is most urgent that you
give orders to the artillerymen of Courbevoie and Mont Valérien, to
moderate their zeal, if you do not desire that Paris--neutral
Paris--should make dangerous comparisons between the Assembly which
flings us its shells, and the Commune which launches its decrees, and
come to the conclusion that decrees are less dangerous missiles than
cannon-balls. As to the legality of the thing, we do not much care about
that; we have seen so many governments, more or less legal, that we are
somewhat _blasés_ on that point; and a few millions of votes have
scarcely power enough to put us in good humour with shot and shell.
Certainly the Commune, such as the men at the Hôtel de Ville have
constituted it, is not a brilliant prospect. It arrests priests, stops
newspapers, wishes to incorporate us, in spite of ourselves, in the
National Guard; robs us--so we are told; lies inveterately--that is
incontestable, and altogether makes itself a great bore; but what does
that matter?--human nature is full of weaknesses, and prefers to be
bored than bombarded.


During the Prussian siege the sailors of the French navy played an
important part, their bravery, activity, and ingenuity being much
esteemed by the Parisians. Some, of them took the red side, and manned
the gun-boats on the Seine. Knowing the prestige attached to the brave
marines, the Communist generals made use of the naval clothes found in
the marine stores, and dressed therein some of the valliant heroes of
Belleville and Montmartre.]


[Footnote 46: The game of pitch-halfpenny, in, which, in France, a cork
(_bouchon_), with halfpence on the top of it, is placed on the ground.]

[Footnote 47: General Eudes was the Alcibiades, or rather the Saint
Just, of the Commune. He had the face and manners of a fashionable
_tenorino_, the luxurious taste of the Athenian, the cruel inflexibility
of Robespierre's protégé. He was born at Bonay, in the arrondissement of
Coutances. His father was a tradesman of the Boulevard des Italians. In
his examination before the Council of War in August, 1870, Eudes called
himself a shorthand writer and law student, though his real position was
said to be that of a linendraper's clerk. His first notable exploit was
the assassination of a fireman at La Villette. For this crime he was
brought before the First Council of War at Paris. Here he informed the
President, in somewhat unparliamentary terms, that "the betrayers of the
country were not the Republicans, and that to destroy the Imperial
Government was to annihilate the Prussians." In spite of the eloquent
appeal of his counsel, he was condemned to death. The events of the
fourth of September prevented the execution of this sentence, and he
lived to take an active part in the agitation of the thirty-first of
October. He was again tried for this conduct and acquitted, together
with Vermorel, Ribaldi, Lefrançais and others. Eudes' name figures in
the first decrees of the Commune, and on the last of those of the
Committee of Public Safety. On the second of April he was appointed
Delegate for War, and, conjointly with Cluseret, organised ten corps of
the Enfants Perdus of Belleville. He promised to each of his volunteers
an annuity of 300 francs and a decoration. Eudes was an atheist of the
most violent type, and sayings are attributed to him which make one


Where is Bergeret? What have they done with Bergeret? We miss Bergeret.
They have no right to suppress Bergeret, who, according to the official
document, was "himself" at Neuilly; Bergeret, who drove to battle in an
open carriage; who enlivened our ennui with a little fun. They were
perfectly at liberty to take away his command and give it to whomsoever
they chose; I am quite agreeable to that, but they had no right to take
him away and prevent him amusing us. Alas! we do not have the chance so

Rumours are afloat that he has been taken to the Conciergerie. Poor
Bergeret! and why is he so treated? Because he got the Federals beaten
in trying to lead them to Versailles?


Citizens, if you will allow me to express my humble opinion on the
subject, I shall take the opportunity of insinuating that the plan of
Citizen Bergeret--which has, I acknowledge, been completely
unsuccessful--was the only possible one capable of transforming into a
triumphant revolution, the émeute of Montmartre, now the Commune of

Let us look at it from a logical point of view, if you please. Does it
seem possible to you, that Paris can hold its own against the whole of
the rest of France? No, most certainly not. Today, especially, after the
disasters that have occurred to the communal insurrectionists of
Marseilles, Lyons, and Toulouse--disasters which your lying official
reports have in vain tried to transform into successes; today, I say,
you cannot possibly nourish any delusive hopes of help from the
provinces. In a few days, you will have the whole country in array in
front of your ramparts and your ruined fortresses, and then you are
lost; yes, lost, in spite of all the blinded heroism of those whom you
have beguiled to the slaughter. The only hope you could reasonably have
conceived was that of profiting by the first moment of surprise and
disorder, which the victorious revolt had occasioned among the small
number of hesitating soldiery which then constituted the whole of the
French army; to surprise Versailles, inadequately defended, and seize,
if it were possible, on the Assembly and the Government. Your sudden
revolution wanted to be followed up by a brusque attack, there would
then have been some hope--a faint one, I confess, but still a hope, and
this plan of Bergeret, by the very reason of its audacity, should not
have been condemned by you, who have only succeeded through violence and
audacity, and can only go on prospering by the same means. Now what do
you mean to do? To resist the whole of France? To resist your enemies
inside the walls, besides those enemies outside, who increase in numbers
and confidence every day? Your defeat is certain, and from this day
forth is only a question of time. You were decidedly wrong to put
Bergeret "in the shade" as they say at the Hôtel de Ville,--firstly,
because he amused us; and secondly, because he tried the only thing that
could possibly have succeeded--an enterprise worthy of a brilliant


[Footnote 48: General Bergeret, Member of the Central Committee,
Delegate of War, &c., was a bookseller's assistant. He emerged in 1869
from a printing-office to support the irreconcileable candidates in the
election meetings.

Events progressed, and on the 18th of March Victor Bergeret reappeared,
resplendent in gold lace and embroidery, happy to have found at last a
government, to which Jules Favre did not belong.

When Bergeret, who never had any higher grade than that of sergeant in
the National Guard, was made general, he believed himself to be a
soldier. A friend of this pasteboard officer said one day, "If Bergeret
were to live a hundred years, he would always swear he had been a

On the 8th April, Victor Bergeret was arrested by order of the Executive
Commission for having refused obedience to Cluseret, a general too, and
his superior, and he was incarcerated in the prison of Mazas, where he
remained for a short time, until the day when Cluseret was shut up there
himself. In fact, Cluseret went into the very cell which Bergeret had
just quitted, and found an autograph note written on the wall by his
predecessor, and addressed to himself. The words ran thus:--


"You have had me shut up here, and you will be here yourself before
eight days are over.


On leaving the prison of Mazas, Bergeret was still kept a prisoner for a
time in a magnificent apartment of the Hôtel de Ville, decorated with
gilded panneling and cerise-coloured satin. His wife was allowed to join
him here, and he also obtained permission to keep with him a little
terrier, of which he was extremely fond. Shortly afterwards he was
reinstated, took his place again in the Communal Assembly, and was
attached to the commission of war. The beautiful palace of the president
of the Corps Législatif was now his residence, and there he delighted in
receiving the friends who had known him when he was poor. His invariable
home-dress in palace as in prison, was red from head to foot: red
jacket, red trousers, and red Phrygian cap.

One day, a short time after his release from prison, he said to an
intimate friend:--"Affairs are going well, but the Commune is in need of
money, I know it, and they are wrong not to confide in me. I would lend
them ten thousand francs willingly." The generalship had singularly
enriched the booksellers assistant, Victor Bergeret.]



Who takes Bergeret's place? Dombrowski.[49] Who had the idea of doing
this? Cluseret. First of all we had the Central Committee, then we had
the Commune, and now we have Cluseret. It looks as if Cluseret had
swallowed the Commune, which had previously swallowed and only half
digested the Central Committee. We are told that Cluseret is a great
man, that Cluseret is strong, that Cluseret will save Paris. Cluseret
issues decrees, and sees that they are executed. The Commune says, "_we
wish_;" but Cluseret says, "_I wish_." It is he who has conceived and
promulgated the following edict:

    "In consideration of the patriotic demands of a large number of
    National Guards, who, although they are married men, wish to have
    the honour of defending their municipal rights, even at the expense
    of their lives ..."

I should like to know some of those National Guards who attach so little
importance to their lives! Show me two, and I will myself consent to be
the third. But I am interrupting Dictator Cluseret.

    "The decree of the fifth of April is therefore modified:"

The decree of the fifth of April was made by the Commune, but Cluseret
does not care a straw for that.

    "From seventeen to nineteen, service in the marching-companies is
    voluntary, but from nineteen to forty it is obligatory for the
    National Guards, married or unmarried.

    "I recommend all good patriots to be their own police, and to see
    that this edict is carried out in their respective quartern, and to
    force the refractory to serve."

As to the last paragraph of Cluseret's decree it is impossible to joke
about it, it is by far too odious. This exhortation in favour of a
press-gang,--this wish that each man should become a spy upon his
neighbour (he says it in so many words), fills me with anger and
disgust. What! I may be passing in the streets, going about my own
business, and the first Federal who pleases, anybody with dirty hands, a
wretch you may be sure, for none but a wretch would follow the
recommendations of Cluseret,--an escaped convict, may take me by the
collar and say, "Come along and be killed for the sake of my municipal
independence." Or else I may be in bed at night, quietly asleep, as it
is clearly my right to be, and four or five fellows, fired with
patriotic ardour, may break in my door, if I do not hasten to open it on
the first summons like a willing slave, and, whether I like it or not,
drag me in night-cap and slippers, in my shirt perhaps, if it so pleases
the brave _sans-culottes_, to the nearest outpost. Now I swear to you,
Cluseret, I would not bear this, if I had not, during the last few
hungry days of the siege, sold to a curiosity dealer--your colleague now
in the Commune--my revolver, which I had hoped naïvely might defend me
against the Prussians! Think, a revolver with six balls, if you please,
and which, alas! I forgot to discharge!

We can only hope that even at this moment, when the revolution has
brought out of the darkness into the light, so many rascals and cowards,
just as the sediment rises to the top when the wine is shaken, we must
hope, that there will be found in Paris, nobody to undertake the mean
office of spy and detective; and that the decree of M. Cluseret will
remain a dead-letter, like so many other decrees of the Commune. I will
not believe all I am told; I will not believe that last night several
men, without any precise orders, without any legal character whatever,
merely National Guards, introduced themselves into peaceful families;
waking the wife and children, and carrying off the husband as one
carries off a housebreaker or an escaped convict. I am told that this is
a fact, that it has happened more than fifty times at Montmartre,
Batignolles, and Belleville; yet I will not believe it.[50] I prefer to
believe that these tales are "inventions of Versailles" than to admit
the possibility of such infamy.

Come now, Cluseret, War Delegate, whatever he likes to call himself.
Where does he come from, what has he done, and what services has he
rendered, to give him a right thus to impose his sovereign wishes upon

He is not a Frenchman; nor is he an American; for the honour of France I
prefer his being an American. His history is as short as it is
inglorious. He once served in the French army, and left, one does not
know why; then went to fight in America during the war. His enemies
affirm that he fought for the Slave States, his friends the contrary. It
does not seem very clear which side he was on--both, perhaps. Oh,
America! you had taken him from us, why did you not keep him? Cluseret
came back to us with the glory of having forsworn his country.
Immediately the revolutionists received him with open arms. Only think,
an American! Do you like America? People want to make an America
everywhere. Modern Republics have had formidable enemies to contend
with--America and the revolution of '98. We are sad parodists. We cannot
be free in our own fashion, but are always obliged to imitate what has
been or what is. But that which is adapted to one climate or country, is
it always that which is the fittest thing for another? I will return,
however, to this subject another time. America, who is so vaunted, and
whom I should admire as much as could reasonably be wished, if men did
not try to remodel France after her image, one must be blind not to see
what she has of weakness and of narrowness, amid much that is truly
grand. It was said to me once by some one, "The American mind may be
compared to a compound liqueur, composed of the yeast of Anglo-Saxon
beer, the foam of Spanish wines, and the dregs of the _petit-bleu_ of
Suresnes, heated to boiling point by the applause and admiration given
by the genuine pale ale, the true sherry, and authentic Château-Margaux
to these their deposits. From time to time the caldron seethes with a
little too much violence, and the bubbling drink pours over upon the old
world, bringing back to the pure source, to the true vintage, their
deteriorated products. Oh! The poor wines of France! How many
adulterations have they been submitted to!" Calumny and exaggeration no
doubt; but I am angry with America for sending Cluseret back, as I am
angry with the Commune for having imposed him on Paris. The Commune,
however, has an admirable excuse: it has not, perhaps, found among true
Frenchmen one with an ambition criminal enough to direct, according to
her wishes, the destruction of Paris by Paris, and France by France.


[Footnote 49: There are two versions of Dombrowski's earlier history. By
his admirers he was said to have headed the last Polish insurrection:
the party of order stigmatise him as a Russian adventurer, who had
fought in Poland, but against the Poles, and in the Caucasus, in Italy,
and in France--wherever; in fine, blows were to be given and money
earned. He entered France, like many other adventurous knights, in
Garibaldi's suite, came to Paris after the siege, and immediately after
the outbreak of the eighteenth of March was created general by the
Commune, and gathered round him in guise of staff the most illustrious,
or least ignoble, of those foreign parasites and vagabonds, who have
made of Paris a grand occidental Bohemian Babel. These soldiers of
fortune, most of whom had been "unfortunate" at home, formed the marrow
of the Commune's military strength.

Dombrowski had gained a name for intrepidity even among these men of
reckless courage and adventurous lives. He maintained strict discipline,
albeit to a not very moral purpose. Whoever dared connect his name with
the word defeat was shot. Like many other Communist generals he took the
most stringent measures for concealing the truth from his soldiers, and
thus staved off total demoralisation until the Versailles troops were in
the heart of Paris. His relations with the Federal authorities were not
of an uniformly amiable character.]

[Footnote 50: A poor Italian smith told me he had three men seized. They
had taken a stove near the fortifications of Ternes, when they were
arrested. "But we are Italians!" they cried. It was no excuse, for the
Federals replied, "Italians! so much the better; you shall serve as


It was not enough that men should be riddled with balls and torn to
pieces by shells. The women are also seized with a strange enthusiasm in
their turn, and they too fall on the battle-field, victims of a terrible
heroism. What extraordinary beings are these who exchange the needle for
the needle-gun, the broom for the bayonet, who quit their children that
they may die by the sides of their husbands or lovers? Amazons of the
rabble, magnificent and abject, something between Penthesilea and
Théroigne de Méricourt. There they are seen to pass as cantinières,
among those who go forth to fight. The men are furious, the women are
ferocious,--nothing can appal, nothing discourage them. At Neuilly, a
vivandière is wounded in the head; she turns back a moment to staunch
the blood, then returns to her post of danger. Another, in the 61st
Battalion, boasts of having killed three _gardiens de la paix_[51] and
several _gendarmes_. On the plain of Châtillon a woman joins a group of
National Guards, takes her stand amongst them, loads her gun, fires,
re-loads and fires again, without the slightest interruption. She is the
last to retire, and even then turns back again and again to fire. A
_cantinière_ of the 68th Battalion was killed by a fragment of shell
which broke the little spirit-barrel she carried, and sent the splinters
into her stomach. After the engagement of the 3rd of April, nine bodies
were brought to the _mairie_ of Vaugirard. The poor women of the quarter
crowd there, chattering and groaning, to look for husbands, brothers and
son's. They tear a dingy lantern from each other, and put it close to
the pale faces of the dead, amongst whom they find the body of a young
woman literally riddled with shot. What means the wild rage that seizes
upon these furies? Are they conscious of the crimes they commit; do they
understand the cause for which they die? Yesterday, in a shop of the Rue
de Montreuil, a woman entered with her gun on her shoulder and her
bayonet covered with blood. "Wouldn't you do better to stay at home and
wash your brats?" said an indignant neighbour. Whereupon arose a furious
altercation, the virago working herself into such a fury that she sprang
upon her adversary, and bit her violently in the throat, then withdrew a
few steps, seized her gun, and was going to fire, when she suddenly
turned pale, her weapon fell from her hands, and she sank back dead. In
her wild passion she had broken a blood vessel. Such are the women of
the people in this terrible year of 1871. It has its _cantinières_ as
'93 had its _tricoteuses_,[52] but the cantinières are preferable, for
the horrible in them partakes of a savage grandeur. Fighting as they are
against brothers and kinsfolk, they are revolting, but against a foreign
enemy, they would have been sublime.

Children, even, do not remain passive in this fearful conflict. The
children! you cry,--but do not smile; one of my friends has just seen a
poor boy whose eye has been knocked in with the point of a nail. It
happened thus. It was on Friday evening in the principal street of
Neuilly. Two hundred boys--the eldest scarcely twelve years old--had
assembled there; they carried sticks on their shoulders, with knives and
nails stuck at the end of them. They had their army roll, and their
numbers were called over in form, and their chiefs--for they had
chiefs--gave the order to form into half sections, then to march in the
direction of Charenton; a mite of a child trudged before, blowing in a
penny trumpet bought at a toy-shop, and they had a cantinière, a little
girl of six. Soon, they met another troop of children of about the same
numbers. Had the encounter been previously arranged? Had it been decided
that they should give battle? I cannot tell you this, but at all events
the battle took place, one party being for the Versailles troops, the
other for the Federals. Such a battle, that the inhabitants of the
quarter had the greatest difficulty in separating the combatants, and
there were killed and wounded, as the official despatches of the
Commune would give it; Alexis Mercier, a lad of twelve, whom his
comrades had raised to the dignity of captain, was killed by the blow of
a knife in the stomach.

Ah! believe it, these women drunk with hate, these children playing at
murder, are symptoms of the terrible malady of the times. A few days
hence, and this fury for slaughter will have seized all Paris.


[Footnote 51: The Gardiens de la Paix replaced the Sergents de Ville.
They carried no sword, and wore a cap with a tricoloured band and
cockade; in fact were the policemen of Paris. The Gendarmerie are the
country police.]

[Footnote 52: Tricoteuses (knitters), women who attended political
clubs--working whilst they listened--1871 refined upon the idea of 1793.
The first revolution had its Tricoteuses, that of 1871 its


May conciliation be hoped for yet? Alas! I can scarcely think so. The
bloody fight will have a bloody end. It is not alone between the Commune
of Paris and the Assembly of Versailles that there lies an abyss which
only corpses can fill. Paris itself, at this moment--I mean the Paris
sincerely desirous of peace--is no longer understood by France; a few
days of separation have caused strange divisions in men's minds; the
capital seems to speak the country's language no longer. Timbuctoo is
not as far from Pekin, as Versailles is distant from Paris. How can one
hope under such circumstances, that the misunderstanding, the sole cause
of our misfortunes, can be cleared away? How can one believe that the
Government of Monsieur Thiers will lend an ear to the propositions
carried there by the members of the Republican Union of the rights of
Paris,[53] by the delegates of Parisian trade and by the emissaries of
the Freemasons;[54] when the principal object of all these propositions
is the definitive establishment of the Republic, and the fall and entire
recognition of our municipal liberties. The National Assembly is at the
same point as it was on the eve of the 18th of March; it disregards now,
as it did then, the legitimate wishes of the population, and, moreover,
it will not perceive the fact that the triumphant insurrection--in spite
of the excesses that everyone condemns--has naturally added to the
validity of our just revendications. The "Communists" are wrong, but the
Commune, the true Commune, is right; this is what Paris believes, and,
unhappily, this is what Versailles will not understand; it wants to
remain, as to the form of its government, weakly stationary; it makes a
municipal law that will be judged insufficient; and, as it obstinately
persists in errors which were worn out a month ago and are rotten now,
they will soon consider the "conciliators" whose ideas have progressed
from day to day, as the veritable agents of the insurrection, and send
them, purely and simply, about their business.

Nevertheless, the desire of seeing this fratricidal war at an end, is so
great, so ardent, so general, that convinced as we are of the
uselessness of their efforts, we admire and encourage those who
undertake the almost hopeless task of pacification with persistent
courage. True Paris has now but one flag, which is neither the crimson
rag nor the tricolour standard, but the white flag of truce.


Do you know what the Abbaye de Cinq-Pierres is, or rather what it was?
Mind, not Saint-Pierre, but Cinq-Pierres (Five Stones). Gavroche,[55]
who loves puns and is very fond of slang, gave this nickname to a set of
huge stones which stood before the prison of La Roquette, and on which
the guillotine used to be erected on the mornings when a capital
punishment was to take place. The executioner was the Abbé de
Cinq-Pierres, for Gavroche is as logical as he is ingenious. Well! the
abbey exists no longer, swept clean away from the front of the Roquette
prison. This is splendid! and as for the guillotine itself, you know
what has been done with that. Oh! we had a narrow escape! Would you
believe that that infamous, that abominable Government of Versailles,
conceived the idea, at the time it sat in Paris, of having a new and
exquisitely improved guillotine, constructed by anonymous carpenters? It
is exactly as I have the honour of telling you. You can easily verify
the fact by reading the proclamation of the "_sous-comité en exercice._"
What is the "active under-committee?" I admit that I am in total
ignorance on the subject; but, what does it matter! In these times when
committees spring up like mushrooms, it would be absurd to allow oneself
to be astonished at a committee--and especially a sub-committee--more or
less. Here is the proclamation:--

"CITIZENS,--Being informed that a guillotine is at this moment in course
of construction,..." Dear me, yes, while you were fast asleep and
dreaming, with no other apprehension than that of being sent to prison
by the members of the Commune, a guillotine was being made. Happily, the
sub-committee was not asleep. No, not they! "... a guillotine ordered
and paid for ...". Are you quite sure it was paid for, good
sub-committee? For that Government, you know, had such a habit of
cheating poor people out of their rights. "... by the late odious
government; a portable and rapid guillotine." Ha! What do you say to
that? Does not that make your blood run cold? Rapid, you understand;
that is to say, that the guillotining of twelve or fifteen hundred
patriots in a morning would have been play to the Abbé of Cinq-Pierres.
And portable, too! A sort of pocket guillotine. When the members of the
Government had a circuit to make in the provinces, they would have
carried their guillotine with their seals of office, and if, at Lyons,
Marseilles, or any other great town, they had met a certain number of
scoundrels--Snip, snap! In the twinkling of an eye, no more scoundrels
left. Oh! how cunning! But let us go on reading. "The sub-committee of
the eleventh arrondissement ..." Oh! so there is a sub-committee for
each arrondisement, is there? "... has had these infamous instruments of
monarchical domination ..." One for you, Monsieur Thiers! "... seized,
and has voted their destruction for ever." Very good intentions,
sub-committee, but you can't write grammar. "In consequence, they will
be burnt in front of the _mairie_, for the purification of the
arrondissement and the preservation of the new liberties." And
accordingly, a guillotine was burnt on the 7th of April, at ten o'clock
in the morning, before the statue of Voltaire.

The ceremony was not without a certain weirdness. In the midst of a
compact crowd of men, women, and children, who shook their fists at the
odious instrument, some National Guards of the 187th Battalion fed the
huge flames with broken pieces of the guillotine, which crackled,
blistered, and blazed, while the statue of the old philosopher, wrapped
in the smoke, must have sniffed the incense with delight. When nothing
remained but a heap of glowing ashes, the crowd shouted with joy; and
for my own part, I fully approved of what had just been done as well as
of the approbation of the spectators. But, between you and me, do you
not think that many of the persons there had often stationed themselves
around the guillotine with rather different intentions than that of
seeing it burnt? And then, if in reducing this instrument of death to
ashes, they wished to prove that the time is past when men put men to
death, it seems to me that they ought not to stop at this. While we are
at it, let us burn the muskets too,--what say you?


[Footnote 53: The citizens, united under the denomination of the League
of Republican Union of the Rights of Paris, had adopted the following
programme, which seemed to them to express the wishes of the

"Recognition of the Republic.

"Recognition of the rights of Paris to govern itself, to regulate
its police, its finances, its public charities, its public instruction,
and the exercise of its religious liberty by a council freely elected
and all-powerful within the scope of its action.

"The protection of Paris exclusively confided to the National Guard,
formed of all citizens fit to serve.

"It is to the defence of this programme that the members of the League
wish to devote their efforts, and they appeal to all citizens to aid
them in the work, by making known their adhesion, so that the members of
the League, thereby strengthened and supported, may exercise a powerful
mediatory influence, tending to bring about the return of peace, and to
secure the maintenance of the Republic.

"Paris, 6th April, 1871."

Here follow the signatures of former representatives, _maires_, doctors,
lawyers, literary men, merchants, and others.]


"In the presence of the fearful events which make all France shudder and
mourn, in the sight of the precious blood that flows in streams, the
Freemasons, who represent the sentiments of humanity and have spread
them through the world, come once more to declare before you, government
and members of the Assembly, and before you, members of the Commune,
these great principles which are their law and which ought to be the law
of every one who has the heart of a man.

"The flag of the Freemasons bears inscribed upon it, the noble
device--Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Union. The Freemasons uphold
peace among men, and, in the name of humanity, proclaim the
inviolability of human life. The Freemasons detest all wars, and cannot
sufficiently express grief and horror at civil warfare. Their duty and
their right are to come between you and to say:

"'In the name of humanity, in the name of fraternity, in the name of the
distracted country, put a stop to this effusion of blood; we ask of you,
we implore of you, to listen to our appeal.'"]

[Footnote 55: Gavroche is a street boy of Paris, a _gamin_ immortalized
by Victor Hugo in "Les Misérables," a master of Parisian _argot_


I have just witnessed a horrible scene. Alas! what harrowing spectacles
meet our eyes on every side, and will still before all this comes to an
end. I accompanied a poor old woman to a cemetery in the east of Paris.
Her son, who had engaged himself in a battalion of Federal guards, had
not been home for five days. He was most likely dead, the neighbours
said, and one bade her "go and look at the Cimetière de l'Est, they have
brought in a load of bodies there." Imagine a deep trench and about
thirty coffins placed side by side. Numbers of people came there to
claim their own among the dead. To avoid crowding, the National Guards
made the people walk in order, two or three abreast, and thus they were
marshalled among the tombs and crosses. The poor woman and I followed
the others. From time to time I heard a burst of sobs; some one amongst
the dead had been recognised. On we go slowly, step by step, as if we
were at the doors of a theatre. At last we arrive before the first
coffin. The poor mother I have come with is very weak and very sad; it
is I who lift up the thin lid of the coffin. A grey-haired corpse is
lying within it, from the shoulders downwards nothing but a heap of torn
flesh, and clothes, and congealed blood. We continue on. The second
coffin also contains the body of an old man; no wounds are to be seen;
he was probably killed by a ball. Still we advance. I observe that the
old men are in far greater number than the young. The wounds are often
fearful. Sometimes the face is entirely mutilated. When I had closed the
lid of the last coffin the poor mother uttered a cry of relief; her son
was not there! For myself, I was stupefied with horror, and only
recovered my senses on being pushed on by the men behind me, who wanted
to see in their turn. "Well! when will he have done?" said one. "I
suppose he thinks that it is all for him."

[Illustration: Burning the Guillotine. April]


What is absolutely stupefying in the midst of all this, is the smiling
aspect of the streets and the promenades. The constantly increasing
emigration is only felt by the diminution in the number of depraved
women and dissipated men; enough, however, remain to fill the cafés and
give life to the boulevards. It might almost be said that Paris is in
its normal state.

Every morning, from the Champs Elysées, Les Ternes, and Vaugirard,
families are seen removing into the town, out of the way of the
bombardment, as at the time when Jules Favre anathematised the barbarity
of the Prussians. Some pass in cabs, others on foot, walking sadly, with
their bedding and household furniture piled on a cart. If you question
these poor people, they will all tell you of the shells from the
Versailles batteries, destroying houses and killing women and children.
What matters it? Paris goes her usual round of business and pleasure.
The Commune suppresses journals and imprisons journalists. Monsieur
Richardet, of the _National_, was marched off to prison yesterday, for
the sole crime of having requested a passport of the savage Monsieur
Rigault; the Commune thrusts the priests into cells, and turns out the
young girls from the convents, imprisons Monsieur O'yan, one of the
directors of the Seminary of St. Sulpice; hurls a warrant of arrest at
Monsieur Tresca, who escapes; tries to capture Monsieur Henri Vrignault,
who however, succeeds in reaching a place of safety; the Commune causes
perquisitions to be made by armed men in the banking houses, seizes upon
title deeds and money; has strong-boxes burst open by willing
locksmiths; when the locksmiths are tired, the soldiers of the Commune
help them with the butt-ends of their muskets. They do worse still,
these Communists--they do all that the consciousness of supreme power
can suggest to despots without experience; each day they send honest
fathers of families to their death, who think they are suffering for the
good cause, when they are only dying for the good pleasure of Monsieur
Avrial and Monsieur Billioray. Well! and what is Paris doing all this
time? Paris reads the papers, lounges, runs after the last news and
ejaculates: "Ah! ah! they have put Amouroux into prison! The Archbishop
of Paris has been transferred from the Conciergerie to Mazas! Several
thousand francs have been stolen from Monsieur Denouille! Diable!
Diable!" And then Paris begins the same round of newspaper reading,
lounging, and gossiping again. Nothing seems changed. Nothing seems
interrupted. Even the proclamation of the famous Cluseret, who
threatens us all with active service in the marching regiments, has not
succeeded in troubling the tranquillity and indifference of the greater
number of Parisians. They look on at what is taking place, as at a
performance, and only bestow just enough interest upon it to afford them
amusement. This evening the cannonading has increased; on listening
attentively, we can distinguish the sounds of platoon-firing; but Paris
takes its glass of beer tranquilly at the Café de Madrid and its
Mazagran at the Café Riche. Sometimes, towards midnight, when the sky is
clear, Paris goes to the Champs Elysées, to see things a little nearer,
strolls under the trees, and smoking a cigar exclaims: "Ah! there go the
shells." Then leisurely compares the roar of the battle of to-day to
that of yesterday. In strolling about thus in the neighbourhood of the
shells, Paris exposes itself voluntarily to danger; Paris is
indifferent, and use is second nature. Then bed-time comes, Paris looks
over the evening papers, and asks, with a yawn, where the devil all this
will end? By a conciliation? Or the Prussians perhaps? And then Paris
falls asleep, and gets up the next morning, just as fresh and lusty as
if Napoleon the Third were still Emperor by the grace of God and the
will of the French nation.


An insertion in the _Journal Officiel_ of Versailles has justly
irritated the greater part of the French press. This is the paragraph.
"False news of the most infamous kind has been spread in Paris where no
independent journal is allowed to appear." From these few lines it may
be concluded, that in the eyes of the Government of Versailles the whole
of the Paris newspapers, whose editors have not deserted their posts,
have entirely submitted to the Commune, and only think and say what the
Commune permits them to think and say. This is an egregious calumny. No,
thank heaven! The Parisian press has not renounced its independence, and
if no account is taken (as is perfectly justifiable) of a heap of
miserable little sheets which no sooner appear than they die, and of
some few others edited by members of the Commune, one would be obliged
to acknowledge, on the contrary, that since the 18th of March the great
majority of journals have exhibited proofs of a proud and courageous
independence. Each day, without allowing themselves to be intimidated,
either by menaces of forcible suppression or threats of arrest, they
have fearlessly told the members of the Commune their opinion without
concealment or circumlocution. The French press has undoubtedly
committed many offences during the last few years, and is not altogether
irresponsible for the troubles which have overwhelmed the unhappy
country; but reparation is being made for these offences in this present
hour of danger, and the fearless attitude which it has maintained before
these men of the Hôtel de Ville, atones nobly for the past. It has
constituted itself judge; condemns what is condemnable, resists
violence, endeavours to enlighten the masses. Sometimes too--and this is
perhaps its greatest crime in the eyes of the Versailles Government--it
permits itself to disapprove entirely of the acts of the National
Assembly; some journals going as far as to insinuate that the Government
is not altogether innocent of the present calamities. But what does this
prove? That the press is no more the servant of the Assembly than it is
the slave of the Commune; in a word, that it is free.

And what false news is this of which the _Journal Officiel_ of
Versailles complains, and against which it seems to warn us? Does it
think it likely that we should be silly enough to give credence to the
shouts of victory that are recorded each morning, on the handbills of
the Commune? Does it suppose that we look upon the deputies as nothing
but a race of anthropophagi who dine every day off Communists and
Federals at the _tables d'hôte_ of the Hôtel des Réservoirs? Not at
all. We easily unravel the truth, from the entanglement of exaggerations
forged by the men of the Hôtel de Ville; and it is precisely this just
appreciation of things that we owe to those papers which the _Journal
Officiel_ condemns so inconsiderately.

But it is not of fake news alone, probably, that the Versailles Assembly
is afraid. It would not perhaps be sorry that we should ignore the real
state of things, and I wager that if it had the power it would willingly
suppress ill-informed journals--although they are not Communist the
least in the world--who allow themselves to state that for six days the
shells of Versailles have fallen upon Les Ternes, the Champs Elysées and
the Avenue Wagram, and have already cost as many tears and as much
bloodshed, as the Prussian shells of fearful memory.


Wednesday, 12th April.--Another day passed as yesterday was, as
to-morrow will be. The Versaillais attack the forts of Vanves and Issy
and are repulsed. There is fighting at Neuilly, at Bagneux, at Asnières.
In the town requisitions and arrests are being made. A detachment of
National Guards arrives before the Northern railway-station. They
inquire for the director, but director there is none. Embarrassing
situation this. The National Guards cannot come all this way for
nothing. Determined on arresting some one, they carry off M. Félix
Mathias, head of the works, and M. Coutin, chief inspector. An hour
later other National Guards imprison M. Lucien Dubois, general inspector
of markets, in the depôt of the ex-Prefecture of Police. Here and there
a few journalists are arrested without cause, to serve as examples; some
priests are despatched to Mazas, among others M. Lartigues, _curé_ of
_Saint Leu_. Yesterday the following was placarded on the shut doors of
the church at Montmartre:

    "Since priests are bandits and churches retreats where they have
    morally assassinated the masses, causing _France to cower beneath
    the clutches of the infamous Bonapartes, Favres, and Trochus_, the
    delegates of the stone masons at the ex-Prefecture of Police give
    orders that the church of Saint-Pierre (not Cinq-Pierres this time)
    shall be closed, and decrees the imprisonment of its priests and its
    _Frères Ignorantins_. Signed by Le Mousau."

To-day it is the turn of the church of Notre Dame de Lorette. A
considerable number of worshippers had assembled in the holy place. The
National Guards arrive, headed by men in plain clothes. Under the Empire
such men were called spies. The women found praying are turned out,
those who do not obey promptly enough, with blows. This done, the guards
retire. What they had come there for is not known. But what we are
certain of is, that they will begin again to-morrow in this same church,
or in another. The days resemble each other as the children of an
accursed family. What frightful catastrophe will break this shameful


Eh! What? It is impossible! Are your brains scattered? I speak
figuratively, awaiting the time when they will be scattered in earnest.
It must be some miserable jester who has worded, printed, and placarded
this unconscionable decree. But no, it is in the usual form, the usual
type. This is rather too much, Gentlemen of the Commune; it outsteps the
bounds of the ridiculous; you count a little too much this time on the
complicity of some of the population, and on the patience of others.
Here is the decree:


Erected by the first Napoleon to commemorate his German campaign of

An imitation of the Column of Trajan, at Rome, slightly taller.

It cost 1,500,000 francs!]


    "Considering that the Imperial column of the Place Vendôme is a
    monument of barbarian, a symbol of brute force, of false glory, an
    encouragement of military spirit, a denial of international rights,
    a permanent insult offered by the conquerors to the conquered, a
    perpetual conspiracy against one of the great principles of the
    French Republic, namely: Fraternity,


    "_Sole article_.--The Colonne Vendôme is to be demolished."

Now I must tell you plainly, you are absurd, contemptible, and odious!
This sorry farce outstrips all one could have imagined, and all that the
Versailles papers said of you must have been true; for what you are
doing now is worse than anything they could ever have dared to imagine.
It was not enough to violate the churches, to suppress the
liberties,--the liberty of writing, the liberty of speaking, the liberty
of free circulation, the liberty of risking one's life or not. It was
not enough that blood should be recklessly spilled, that women should be
made widows and children orphans, trade stopped and commerce ruined; it
was not enough that the dignity of defeat--the only glory
remaining--should be swallowed up in the shameful disaster of civil war;
in a word, it was not sufficient to have destroyed the present,
compromised the future; you wish now to obliterate the past! Funereal
mischief! Why, the Colonne Vendôme is France, and a trophy of its past
greatness,--alas, at present in the shade--is not the monument, but the
record of a victorious race who strode through the world conquering as
they went, planting the tricolour everywhere. In destroying the Colonne
Vendôme, do not imagine that you are simply overthrowing a bronze column
surmounted by the statue of an emperor; you disinter the remains of your
forefathers to shake their fleshless bones, and say to them, "You were
wrong in being brave and proud and great; you were wrong to conquer
towns, to win battles; you were wrong to astound the universe by raising
the vision of France glorified. It is scattering to the wind the ashes
of heroes! It is telling those aged soldiers, seen formerly in the
streets (where are they now? Why do we meet them no longer? Have you
killed them, or does their glory refuse to come in contact with your
infamy?) It is telling the maimed soldiers of the Invalides, "You are
but blockheads and brigands. So you have lost a leg, and you an arm! So
much the worse for you idle scamps. Look on these rascals crippled for
their country's honour!" It is like snatching from them the crosses
they have won, and delivering them into the hands of the shameless
street urchins, who will cry, "A hero! a hero!" as they cry "Thief!
thief!" There is certainly purer and less costly grandeur than that
which results from war and conquests. You are free to dream for your
country a glory different to the ancient glory; but the heroic past, do
not overthrow it, do not suppress it, now especially, when you have
nothing with which to replace it, but the disgraces of the present. Yet,
no! Complete your work, continue in the same path. The destruction of
the Colonne Vendôme is but a beginning, be logical and continue; I
propose a few decrees:

    "The Commune of Paris, considering that the Church of Notre Dame de
    Paris is a monument of superstition, a symbol of divine tyranny, an
    affirmation of fanaticism, a denial of human rights, a permanent
    insult offered by believers to atheists, a perpetual conspiracy
    against one of the great principles of the Commune, namely, the
    convenience of its members,


    "The Church of Notre Dame shall be demolished."

What say you to my proposition? Does it not agree with your dearest
desire? But you can do better and better: believe me you ought to have
the courage of your opinions.

    "The Commune of Paris, considering that the Museum of the Louvre
    contains a great number of pictures, of statues, and other objects
    of art, which, by the subjects they represent, bring eternally to
    the mind of the people the actions of gods, and kings, and priests;
    that these actions indicated by flattering brush or chisel are often
    delineated in such a way as to diminish the hatred that priests,
    kings, and gods should inspire to all good citizens; moreover, the
    admiration excited by the works of human genius is a perpetual
    assault on one of the great principles of the Commune, namely, its


    "_Sole article_.--The Museum of the Louvre shall be burned to the

Do not attempt to reply that in spite of the recollections of religion
and despotism attached to these monuments you would leave Notre Dame and
the Museum of the Louvre untouched for the sake of their artistic
importance. Beware of insinuating that you would have respected the
Colonne Vendôme had it possessed some merit as a work of art. You!
respect the masterpieces of human art! Wherefore? Since when, and by
what right? No, little as you may have been known before you were
masters, you were yet known enough for us to assert that one of
you--whom I will name: M. Lefrançais--wished in 1848 to set fire to the
_Salon Carré_; there is another of you--whom I will also name: M. Jules
Vallès--asserts that Homer was an old fool. It is true that M. Jules
Vallès is Minister of Public Instruction. If you have spared Notre Dame
and the Museum of the Louvre up to this moment, it is that you dared not
touch them, which is a proof, not of respect but of cowardice.

Ah! our eyes are open at last! We are no longer dazzled by the
chimerical hopes we nourished for a moment, of obtaining, through you
communal liberties. You did but adopt those opinions for the sake of
misleading us, as a thief assumes the livery of a house to enter his
master's room and lay hands on his money. We see you now as you are. We
had hoped that you were revolutionists, too ardent, too venturous
perhaps, but on the whole impelled by a noble intention: you are nothing
but insurgents, insurgents whose aim is to sack and pillage, favoured by
disturbances and darkness. If a few well-intentioned men were among you,
they have fled in horror. Count your numbers, you are but a handful. If
there still remain any among you, who have not lost all power of
discriminating between justice and injustice, they look towards the
door, and would fly if they dared. Yet this handful of furious fools
governs Paris still. Some among us have been ordered to their death,
and they have gone! How long will this last? Did we not surrender our
arms? Can we not assemble, as we did a month ago near the Bank, and deal
justice ourselves without awaiting an army from Versailles? Ah I we must
acknowledge that the deputies of the Seine and the Maires of Paris,
misled like ourselves, erred in siding with the insurrectionists. They
wished to avert street fighting. Is the strife we are witnessing not far
more horrible than that we have escaped? One day's struggle, and it
would have ended. Yes, we were wrong to lay down our arms; but who could
have believed--the excesses of the first few days seemed more like the
sad consequences of popular effervescence than like premeditated
crimes--who could have believed that the chiefs of the insurrection lied
with such impudence as is now only too evident, and that before long the
Commune would be the first to deprive us of the liberties it was its
duty to protect and develope? The "Rurals" were right then,--they who
had been so completely in the wrong in refusing to lend an attentive ear
to the just prayers of a people eager for liberty, they were right when
they warned us against the ignorance and wickedness of these men. Ah!
were the National Assembly but to will it, there would yet be time to
save Paris. If it really wished to establish a definite Republic, and
concede to the capital of France the right, free and entire, of electing
an independent municipality, with what ardour should we not rally round
the legitimate Government! How soon would the Hôtel de Ville be
delivered from the contemptible men who have planted themselves there.
If the National Assembly could only comprehend us! If it would only
consent to give Paris its liberty, and France its tranquillity, by means
of honourable concessions!


The delegates of the League of the Republican Union of the Rights of
Paris returned from Versailles to-day, the 14th April, and published the
following reports:--

    "CITIZENS,--The undersigned, chosen by you to present your programme
    to the Government of Versailles, and to proffer the good offices of
    the League to aid in the conclusion of an armistice, have the honour
    of submitting you an account of their mission.

    "The delegates, having made known to Monsieur Thiers the programme
    of the League, he replied that as chief of the sole legal government
    existing in France he had not to discuss the basis of a treaty, but
    notwithstanding he was quite ready to treat with such persons whom
    he considered as representing Republican principles, and to acquaint
    them with the intentions of the chief of the executive power.

    "It is in accordance with these observations, which denote, in fact,
    the true character of our mission, that Monsieur Thiers has made the
    following declarations on different points of our programme.

    "Respecting the recognition of the Republic, Monsieur Thiers answers
    for its existence as long as he remains in power. A Republican state
    was put into his hands, and he stakes his honour on its

Ay! it is precisely that which will not satisfy Paris--Paris sighing for
peace and liberty. We have all the most implicit faith in Thiers'
honour. We are assured that the words, "French Republic" will head the
white Government placards as long as he remains in power. But when
Thiers is withdrawn from power--National Assemblies can be capricious
sometimes--what assures us that we shall not fall victims to a
monarchical or even an imperial restoration? Ghosts can appear in French
history as well as in Anne Radcliffe's novels. To attempt to consider
the elected members who sit at Versailles as sincere Republicans is an
effort beyond the powers of our credulity. You see that Thiers himself
dares not speak his thoughts on what might happen were he to withdraw
from power. Thus we find ourselves, as before, in a state of transition,
and this state of transition is just what appals us. We address
ourselves to the Assembly, and ask of it, "We are Republican; are you
Republican?" And the Assembly pretends to be deaf, and the deputies
content themselves with humming under their breaths, some the royal tune
of "The White Cockade," and others the imperial air of "Partant pour la
Syrie." This does not quite satisfy us. It is true that Thiers says he
will maintain the form of government established in Paris as long as he
possibly can; but he only promises for himself, and it results clearly
from all this that we shall not keep the Republic long, since its
definite establishment depends in fact on the majority in the Assembly,
while the Assembly is royalist, with a slight sprinkle of imperialism
here and there. But let us continue the reading of the reports.

    "Respecting the municipal franchise of Paris, Monsieur Thiers
    declares that Paris will enjoy its franchise on the same conditions
    as those of the other towns, according to a common
    law, such as will be set forth by the Assembly of the representatives
    of all France. Paris will have the common right,
    nothing less and nothing more."

This again is little satisfactory. What will this common right be? What
will the law set forth by the representatives of all France be worth?
Once more we have the most entire confidence in Thiers. But have we the
right to expect a law conformable to our wishes from an assembly of men
who hold opinions radically opposed to ours on the point which is in
fact the most important in the question--on the form of government?

    "Concerning the protection of Paris, now exclusively confided to the
    National Guards, Monsieur Thiers declares that he will proceed at
    once to the organization of the National Guard, but that cannot be
    to the absolute exclusion of the army."

In my personal opinion, the President is perfectly right here; but from
the point of view which it was the mission of the delegates of the
Republican Union to take, is not this third declaration as evasive as
the preceding?

    "Respecting the actual situation and the means of putting an end to
    the effusion of blood, Monsieur Thiers declares that not recognising
    as belligerents the persons engaged in the struggle against the
    National Assembly, he neither can nor will treat the question of an
    armistice; but he declares that if the National Guards of Paris make
    no hostile attack, the troops of Versailles will make none either,
    until the moment, yet undetermined, when the executive power shall
    resolve upon action and commence the war."

Oh, words! words! We are perfectly aware that Thiers has the right to
speak thus, and that all combatants are not belligerents. But what! Is
it as just as it is legal to argue the point so closely, when the lives
of so many men are at stake; and is a small grammatical concession so
serious a thing, that sooner than make it one should expose oneself to
all the horrible feelings of remorse that the most rightful conqueror
experiences at the sight of the battle-field?

    "Monsieur Thiers adds: 'Those who abandon the contest, that is to
    say, who return to their homes and renounce their hostile attitude,
    will be safe from all pursuit.'"

Is Thiers quite certain that he will not find himself abandoned by the
Assembly at the moment when he enters upon this path of mercy and

    "Monsieur Thiers alone excepts the assassins of General Lecomte and
    General Clément Thomas, who if taken will be tried for the crime."

And here he is undoubtedly right. We must have been blind indeed the
day that this double crime failed to open our eyes to the true
characters of the men who, if they did not commit it or cause it to be
committed, made at least no attempt to discover the criminals!

    "Monsieur Thiers, recognising the impossibility for a great part of the
    population, now deprived of work, to live without the allotted pay,
    will continue to distribute that pay for several weeks longer.

    "Such, citizens, is, etc., etc."

This report is signed by A. Dessonnaz, A. Adam, and Donvallet. Alas! we
had foreseen what the result of the honourable attempt made by the
delegates of the Republican Union would be. And this result proves that
not only is the National Guard at war with the regular troops, but that
a persistent opposition is also made by the National Assembly of
Versailles to the most reasonable portion of the people of Paris. And
yet the Assembly represents France, and speaks and acts only as she is
commissioned to speak and act. The truth then is this,--Paris is
republican and France is not republican; there is division between the
capital and the country. The present convulsion, brought about by a
group of madmen, has its source in this divergence of feeling. And what
will happen? Will Paris, once more vanquished by universal suffrage,
bend her neck and accept the yoke of the provincials and rustics? The
right of these is incontestable; but will it, by reason of superiority
of numbers, take precedence of our right, as incontestable as theirs?
These are dark questions, which hold the minds of men in suspense, and
which, in spite of our desire to bring the National Assembly over to our
side, the greater part of whose members could not join us without
betraying their trust, cause us to bear the intolerable tyranny of the
men of the Hôtel de Ville, even while their sinister lucubrations
inspire us with disgust.


During this time the walls resound with fun. Paris of the street and
gutter--Paris, Gavroche and blackguard, rolls with laughter before the
caricatures which ingenious salesmen stick with pins on shutters and
house doors. Who designed these wild pictures, glaringly coloured and
common, seldom amusing and often outrageously coarse? They are signed
with unknown names--pseudonyms doubtless; their authors, amongst whom it
is sad to think that artists of talent must be counted, are like women,
high born and depraved, mixing with their faces masked in hideous

These vile pictures with their infamous calumnies keep up and even
kindle contempt and hatred in ignorant minds. Laughter is often far from
innocent. But the passers-by think little of this, and are amused enough
when they see Jules Favre's head represented by a radish, or the
_embonpoint_ of Monsieur Picard by a pumpkin. Where will all this
unwholesome stuff be scattered in a few days? Flown away and dispersed.
Eccentric amateurs will tear their hair at the impossibility of
obtaining for their collections these frivolous witnesses of troubled
times. I will make a few notes so as to diminish their despair as far as
I am able.

A green soil and a red sky--In a black coffin is a half-naked woman,
with a Phrygian cap on her head, endeavouring to push up the lid with
all her might. Jules Favre, lean, small, head enormous, under lip thick
and protruding, hair wildly flying like a willow in a storm, wearing a
dress coat, and holding a nail in one hand and a hammer in the other,
with his knee pressed upon the coffin-lid, is trying to nail it down, in
spite of the very natural protestations of the half-naked woman. In the
distance, and running towards them, is Monsieur Thiers, with a great
broad face and spectacles, also armed with a hammer. Below is written:
"If one were to listen to these accursed Republics, they would never
die." Signed, Faustin. Same author--Same woman. But this time she lies
in a bed hung with red flags for curtains. Her shoulders a little too
bare, perhaps, for a Republic, but she must be made attractive to her
good friends the Federals. At the head of the bed a portrait of
Rochefort; Rochefort is the favoured one of this lady, it seems. Were I
he, I should persuade her to dress a little more decently. Three black
men, in brigands' hats, their limbs dragging, and their faces distorted,
approach the bed, singing like the robbers in Fra Diavolo: "Ad.... vance
... ad ... vance ... with ... pru ... dence ...!" The first, Monsieur
Thiers, carries a heavy club and a dark lantern; Jules Favre, the
second, brandishes a knife, and the third, carries nothing, but wears a
peacock's feather in his hat, and.... I have never seen Monsieur
Picard, but they tell me that it is he.

The young Republic again, with shoulders bare and the style of face of a
_petite dame_ of the Rue Bossuet. She comes to beg Monsieur Thiers,
cobbler and cookshop-keeper, who "finds places for pretenders out of
employ, and changes their old boots for new at the most reasonable
prices," to have her shoes mended. "Wait a bit! wait a bit!" says the
cobbler to himself, "I'll manage 'em so as to put an end to her

Here is a green monkey perched on the extreme height of a microscopic
tribune. At the end of his tail he wears a crown; on his head is a
Phrygian cap. It is Monsieur Thiers of course. "Gentlemen," says he, "I
assure you that I am republican, and that I adore the vile multitude."
But underneath is written: "We'll pluck the Gallic cock!" The author of
this is also Monsieur Faustin. I have here a special reproach to add to
what I have already said of these objectionable stupidities. I do not
like the manner in which the author takes off Monsieur Thiers; he quite
forgets the old and well-known resemblance of the chief of the executive
power to Monsieur Prud'homme, or what is the same thing, to Prud'homme's
inventor, Henri Monnier. One day Gil Perez the actor, met Henri Monnier
on the Boulevard Montmartre. "Well, old fellow!" cried he, "are you
back? When are you and I going to get at our practical jokes again?"
Henri Monnier looked profoundly astonished; it was Monsieur Thiers!

The next one is signed Pilotel. Pilotel, the savage commissioner! He who
arrested Monsieur Chaudey, and who pocketed eight hundred and fifteen
francs found in Monsieur Chaudey's drawers. Ah! Pilotel, if by some
unlucky adventure you were to succumb behind a barricade, you would cry
like Nero: "Qualis artifex pereo!" But let us leave the author to
criticise the work. A Gavroche, not the Gavroche of the _Misérables_,
but the boy of Belleville, chewing tobacco like a Jack-tar, drunk as a
Federal, in a purple blouse, green trousers, his hands in his pockets,
his cap on the nape of his neck; squat, violent, and brutish. With an
impudent jerk of the head he grumbles out: "I don't want any of your
kings!" This coarse sketch is graphic and not without merit.

Horror of horrors! "Council of Revision of the Amazons of Paris," this
next is called. Oh! if the brave Amazons are like these formidable
monstrosities, it would be quite sufficient to place them in the first
rank, and I am sure that not a soldier of the line, not a guardian of
the peace, not a _gendarme_ would hesitate a moment at the sight, but
all would fly without exception, in hot haste and in agonised terror,
forgetting in their panic even to turn the butt ends of their muskets in
the air. One of these Amazons--but how has my sympathy for the amateurs
of collections led me into the description of these creatures of
ugliness and immodesty?--one of them.... but no, I prefer leaving to
your imagination those Himalayan masses of flesh, and pyramids of
bone--these Penthesileas of the Commune of Paris that are before me.

Ah! Here is choleric old "Father Duchesne" in a towering passion, with
short legs, bare arms, and rubicund face, topped with an immense red
cap. In one hand he holds a diminutive Monsieur Thiers and stifles him
as if he were a sparrow. Here, the drawing is not only vile, but stupid

This time we have the nude, and it is not the Republic, but France that
is represented. If the Republic can afford to bare her shoulders, France
may dispense with drapery entirely. She has a dove which she presses to
her bosom. On one side is a portrait of Monsieur Rochefort. Again! Why
this unlovely-looking journalist is a regular Lovelace. Finally, two
cats (M. Jules Favre and M. Thiers) are to be seen outside the garret
window with their claws ready for pouncing. "Poor dove!" is the tame
inscription below the sketch.[56]

vingt-cinq mille noms d'un moutard! What will you want next?

PETIT PARIS. I'll have the moon!]

Next we find a Holy Family, by Murillo. Jules Favre, as Joseph, leads
the ass by the reins, and a wet-nurse, who holds the Comte de Paris in
her arms instead of the infant Jesus, is seated between the two
panniers, trying to look at once like Monsieur Thiers and the Holy
Virgin. The sketch is called "The Flight.... to Versailles." Oh! fie!
fie! Messieurs the Caricaturists, can you not be funny without trenching
on sacred ground?

We might refer to dozens more. Some date from the day when Paris shook
off the Empire, and are so infamous that, by a natural reaction of
feeling, they inspire a sort of esteem for those they try to make you
despise; others, those which were seen by everyone during the siege, are
less vile, because, of the patriotic rage which originated them, and
excused them; but they are as odious as they can be nevertheless. But
the amateurs of collections who neglected to buy fly-sheets one by one
as they appeared, must be satisfied with the above.


[Footnote 56: As a power for the encouragement of virtue and the
suppression of vice, caricature cannot be too highly estimated, though
often abused. It is doubtful which exercises the greater influence, poem
or picture. In England, perhaps, picture wields the greater power; in
France, song. Yet, "let me write the ballads and you may govern the
people," is an English axiom which was well known before pictures became
so plentiful or so popular, or the refined cartoons of Mr. Punch were
ever dreamt of. In Paris, where art-education is highly developed,
fugitive designs seems to have, with but few exceptions, descended into
vile abuse and indecent metaphor, the wildest invective being exhausted
upon trivial matters--hence the failure.

The art advocates of the Commune, with but few exceptions, seem to have
been of the most humble sort, inspired with the melodramatic taste of
our Seven Dials or the New Out, venting itself in ill-drawn heroic
females, symbols of the Republic, clad in white, wearing either mural
crowns or Phrygian caps, and waving red flags. They are the work of
aspiring juvenile artists or uneducated men. I allude to art favourable
to the Commune, and not that coëval with it, or the vast mass of
pictorial unpleasantly born of gallic rage during the Franco-Prussian
war, including such designs as the horrible allegory of Bayard, "Sedan,
1870," a large work depicting Napoleon III. drawn in a calèche and four,
over legions of his dying soldiers, in the presence of a victorious
enemy and the shades of his forefathers', and the well-known subject, so
popular in photography, of "The Pillory," Napoleon between King William
and Bismarck, also set in the midst of a mass of dead and dying
humanity. Paper pillories are always very popular in Paris, and under
the Commune the heads of Tropmann and Thiers were exhibited in a wooden
vice, inscribed Pantin and Neuilly underneath. And, again, in another
print, entitled "The Infamous," we have Thiers, Favre, and MacMahon,
seen in a heavenly upper storey, fixed to stakes, contemplating a dead
mother and her child, slain in their happy home, the wounds very
sanguine and visible, the only remaining relict being a child of very
tender years in an overturned cradle; beneath is the inscription "Their
Works." Communal art seems also to have been very severe upon landlords,
who are depicted with long faces and threadbare garments, seeking alms
in the street, or flying with empty bags and lean stomachs from a very
yellow sun, bearing the words "The Commune, 1871." Whilst as a contrast,
a fat labourer, with a patch on his blouse, luxuriates in the same
golden sunshine. As a sample of the better kind of French art, we give
two fac-similes, by Bertal, from _The Grelot_, a courageous journal
started during the Commune; it existed unmolested, and still continues.
We here insert a fac-simile of a sketch called "Paris and his

"What destruction the unhappy, spoiled, and ill-bred child whose name is
Paris has done, especially of late!

"France, his strapping nurse, put herself in a passion in vain, the
child would not listen to reason. He broke Trochu's arms, ripped up
Gambetta, to see what there was inside. He blew out the lantern of
Rochefort; as to Bergeret himself, he trampled him under foot.

"He has dislocated all his puppets, strewed the ground with the _débris_
of his fancies, and he is not yet content,--'What do you want, you
wretched baby?'--'I want the moon!' The old woman called the Assembly
was right in refusing this demand,--'The moon, you little wretch, and
what would you do with it if you had it?'--'I would pull it to bits, as
I did the rest.'"

Further on will be found "Paris eating a General a day" (Chapter
LXXVIII). Early in June, 1871 there appeared in the same journal "The
International Centipede," "John Bull and the Blanche Albion." The Queen
of England, clad in white, holding in her hands a model of the Palace of
Westminster, and sundry docks, resists the approach of an interminable
centipede, on which she stamps, vainly endeavouring to impede the
progress of the coil of fire and blood approaching to soil and fire her
fair robe; beside her stands John Bull, in a queer mixed costume, half
sailor, with the smalls and gaiters of a coalheaver. He bears the Habeas
Corpus Act under his arm, but stands aghast and paralysed, it never
seeming to have occurred to the artist that this "Monsieur John Boule,
Esquire," was well adapted by his beetle-crushers to stamp out the
vermin. Perhaps, it is needless to add, that the snake-like form issues
from a hole in distant Prussia, meandering through many nations, causing
great consternation, and that M. Thiers is finishing off the French
section in admirable style.]


What has Monsieur Courbet to do among these people? He is a painter, not
a politician. A few beery speeches uttered at the Hautefeuille Café
cannot turn his past into a revolutionary one, and an order refused for
the simple reason that it is more piquant for a man to have his
button-hole without ornament than with a slip of red ribbon in it, when
it is well known that he disdains whatever every one else admires, is
but a poor title to fame. To your last, Napoleon Gaillard![57] To your
paint-brushes, Gustave Courbet! And if we say this, it is not only from
fear that the meagre lights of Monsieur Courbet are insufficient, and
may draw the Commune into new acts of folly,--(though we scarcely know,
alas! if there be any folly the Commune has left undone,)--but it is,
above all, because we fear the odium and ridicule that the false
politician may throw upon the painter. Yes! whatever may be our horror
for the nude women and unsightly productions with which Monsieur
Courbet[58] has honoured the exhibitions of paintings, we remember with
delight several, admirably true to nature, with sunshine and summer
breezes playing among the leaves, and streams murmuring refreshingly
over the pebbles, and rocks whereon climbing plants cling closely; and,
besides these landscapes, a good picture here and there, executed, if
not by the hand of an artist--for the word artist possesses a higher
meaning in our eyes--at least by the hand of a man of some power, and we
hate that this painter should be at the Hôtel de Ville at the moment
when the spring is awakening in forest and field, and when he would do
so much better to go into the woods of Meudon or Fontainebleau to study
the waving of the branches and the eccentric twists and turns of the
oak-tree's huge trunk, than in making answers to Monsieur
Lefrançais--iconoclast in theory only as yet--and to Monsieur Jules
Vallès, who has read Homer in Madame Dacier's translation, or has never
read it at all. That one should try a little of everything, even of
polities, when one is capable of nothing else, is, if not excusable,
at any rate comprehensible; but when a man can make excellent boots like
Napoleon Gaillard, or good paintings like Gustave Courbet, that he
should deliberately lay himself open to ridicule, and perhaps to
everlasting execration, is what we cannot admit. To this Monsieur
Courbet would reply: "It is the artists that I represent; it is the
rights and claims of modern art that I uphold. There must be a great
revolution in painting as in politics; we must federate too, I tell you;
we'll decapitate those aristocrats, the Titians and Paul Veroneses;
we'll establish, instead of a jury, a revolutionary tribunal, which
shall condemn to instant death any man who troubles himself about the
ideal--that king whom we have knocked off his throne; and at this
tribunal I will be at once complainant, lawyer, and judge. Yes! my
brother painters, rally around me, and we will die for the Commune of
Art. As to those who are not of my opinion, I don't care the snap of a
finger about them." By this last expression the friends of Monsieur
Gustave Courbet will perceive that we are not without some experience of
his style of conversation. Courbet, my master, you don't know what you
are talking about, and all true artists will send you to old Harry, you
and your federation. Do you know what an artistic association, such as
you understand it, would result in? In serving the puerile ambition of
one man--its chief, for there will be a chief, will there not, Monsieur
Courbet?--and the puerile rancours of a parcel of daubers, without name
and without talent. Artist in our way we assert, that no matter, what
painter, even had he composed works superior in their way to Courbet's
"_Combat de Cerfs_" and "_Femme au Perroquet_," who came and said, "Let
us federate," we would answer him plainly: "Leave us in peace, messieurs
of the federation, we are dreamers and workers; when we exhibit or
publish and are happy enough to meet with a man who will buy or print a
few thousand copies of our work without reducing himself to beggary, we
are happy. When that is done, we do not trouble ourselves much about our
work; the indulgence of a few friends, and the indignation of a few
fools, is all we ask or hope for. We federate? Why? With whom? If our
work is bad, will the association with any society in the world make it
good? Will the works of others gain anything by their association with
ours? Let us go home, _messieurs les artistes_, let us shut our doors,
let us say to our servants--if we have any--that we are at home to no
one, and, after having cut our best pencil, or seized our best pen, let
us labour in solitude, without relaxation, with no other thought than
that of doing the best we can, with no higher judge than that of our own
artistic conscience; and when the work is completed, let us cordially
shake hands with those of our comrades who love us; let us help them,
and let them bring help to us, but freely, without obligation, without
subscriptions, without societies, and without statutes. We have nothing
to do with these free-masonries, absurd when brought into the domain of
intelligence, and in which two or three hundred people get together to
do that, which some new-comer, however unknown his budding fame, would
accomplish at a blow, in the face of all the associations in the world."
This is what I should naïvely reply to Monsieur Courbet if he took it
into his head to offer me any advice or compact whatsoever to sign.


[Illustration: IN PROGRESS OF REMOVAL, JUNE 7 1871]

The artists have done still better than we should; they have not
answered at all, for one cannot call the "General Assembly of all the
Artists in Design," presided over by Monsieur Gustave Courbet, and held
on the 13th of April, 1871, in the great amphitheatre of the Ecole de
Médecine, a real meeting of French artists. We know several celebrated
painters, and we saw none of them there. The citizens Potier and Boulaix
had been named secretaries. We congratulate them; for this high
distinction may, perhaps, aid in founding their reputation, which was in
great want of a basis of some kind. But there were some sculptors there,
perhaps? We saw some long beards, beards that were quite unknown to us,
and their owners may have been sculptors, perhaps. For Paris is a city
of sculptors. But if artists were wanting, there were talkers enough.
Have you ever remarked that there are no orators so indefatigable as
those who have nothing to say? And the interruptions, the clamour, the
apostrophising, more highly coloured than courteous! Such an
overwhelming tumult was never heard:--

    "No more jury!"

    "Yes! yes! a jury! a jury!"

    "Out with the reactionist!"

    "Down with Cabanel!"

    "And the women? Are the women to be on the jury?"

    "Neither the women, nor the infirm."

And all the time there is Monsieur Gustave Courbet, the chairman,
desperately ringing his bell for order, and launching some expressive
exclamation from time to time. And the result of all this? Absolutely
nothing at all! No! stop! There were a few statutes proposed--and every
one amused himself immensely. "Well! so much the better," said
one. "Every one laughed, and no harm was done to anybody."

We beg your pardon! There was a great deal of harm done--to Monsieur


[Footnote 57: Gaillard Senior (a sort of Odger), cobbler of Belleville
and democratic stump orator. Appointed, April 8, to the Presidency of
the Commission of Barricades.]

[Footnote 58: As a painter Courbet has been very diversely judged. He
was the chief of the ultra-realistic school, and therefore a natural
subject for the contempt and abuse of the admirers of "legitimate art."
But his later use of the political power entrusted to him has drawn down
upon him the wrath of an immense majority of the French public, which
his artistic misdemeanours had scarcely touched. On the sixteenth of
April he was elected a member of the Commune by the 6th arrondissement
of Paris, and forthwith appointed Director of the Beaux Arts. Until this
time his life had been purely professional, and consequently of mediocre
interest for the general public. He was born at Ornans, department of
the Doubs, in 1819, and received his primary instructions from the Abbé
Gousset, afterwards Archbishop of Rheims. He first applied himself to
the study of mathematics, painting the while, and apparently aiming at a
fusion of both pursuits. He subsequently read for the bar for a short
time, and, finally, adopting art as his sole profession, threw himself
heart and soul into a Rénaissance movement as the apostle of a new
style. The peculiarities of his manner soon brought him into notoriety,
and a school of imitators grouped itself around him. His pride became a
proverb. In 1870 he was offered the cross of the Legion of Honour, and
refused it, arrogantly declaring that he would have none of a
distinction given to tradesmen and ministers. The part he took in the
destruction of the Colonne Vendôme is familiar to all readers of the
English press. Three weeks after the fall of the Commune he was
denounced by a Federal officer, and discovered at the house of a friend
hiding in a wardrobe, and in September was condemned by the tribunal at
Versailles to six months' imprisonment and a fine of 600 francs--a
slight penalty that astonished everyone.]


It is forbidden to cross the Place Vendôme, and naturally, walking there
is prohibited too. I had been prowling about every afternoon for the
last few days, trying to pass the sentinels of the Rue de la Paix,
hoping that some lucky chance might enable me to evade the military
order; all I got for my pains was a sharply articulated "_Passes au
large!_" and I remained shut out.

To-day, as I was watching for a favourable opportunity, a _petite dame_
who held up her skirts to show her stockings, which were as red as the
flag of the Hôtel de Ville--out upon you for a female Communist!
--approached the sentinel and addressed him with her most
gracious, smile. And oh, these Federals! The man in office forgot his
duty, and at once began with the lady a conversation of such an intimate
description, that for discretion's sake I felt myself obliged to take a
slight turn to the left, and a minute later I had slipped into the
forbidden Place.

A Place?--no, a camp it might more properly be called. Here and there,
are seen a crowd of little tents, which would be white if they were
washed, and littered about with straw. Under the tents lie National
Guards; they are not seen, but plainly heard, for they are snoring. You
remember the absurd old bit of chop-logic often repeated in the classes
of philosophy? One might apply it thus: he sleeps well who has a good
conscience; the Federals sleep well; ergo, the Federals have a good
conscience. Guards walk to and fro with their pipes in their mouths. If
I were to say that these honourable Communists show by their easy
manner, gentlemanly bearing, and superior conversation, that they belong
to the cream of Parisian society, you would perhaps be impertinent
enough not to believe one word of what I said. I think it, therefore,
preferable in every way to assert the direct contrary. There is a group
of them flinging away their pay at the usual game of _bouchon_. "The
Soldier's Pay and the Game of Cork" is the title that might be given by
those who would write the history of the National Guard from the
beginning of the siege to the present time. And if to the cork they
added the bottle, they might pride themselves upon having found a
perfect one. This is how it comes to pass. The wife is hungry, and the
children are hungry, but the father is thirsty, and he receives the pay.
What does he do? He is thirsty, and he must drink; one must think of
oneself in this world. When he has satisfied his thirst, what remains? A
few sous, the empty bottle, and the cork. Very good. He plays his last
sou on the famous game, and in the evening, when he returns home, he
carries to his family--what?--the empty bottle!

On the Place two barricades have been made, one across the Rue de la
Paix, and the other before the Rue Castiglione. "Two formidable
barricades," say the newspapers, which may be read thus: "A heap of
paving stones to the right, and a heap of paving stones to the left." I
whisper to myself that two small field-pieces, one on the place of the
New Opera-house, and the other at the Rue de Rivoli, would not be long
before they got the better of these two barricades, in spite of the guns
that here and there display their long, bright cylinders.

The Federals have decidedly a taste for gallantry. About twenty women--I
say young women, but not pretty women--are selling coffee to the
National Guards, and add to their change a few ogling smiles meant to be

As to the Column, it has not the least appearance of being frightened by
the decree of the Commune which threatens it with a speedy fall. There
it stands like a huge bronze I, and the emperor is the dot upon it. The
four eagles are still there, at the four corners of the pedestal, with
their wreaths of immortelles, and the two red flags which wave from the
top seem but little out of place. The column is like the ancient honour
of France, that neither decrees nor bayonets can intimidate, and which
in the midst of threats and tumult, holds itself aloft in serene and
noble dignity.


Who would think it? They are voting. When I say "they are voting," I
mean to say "they might vote;" for as for going to the poll, Paris seems
to trouble itself but little about it. The Commune, too, seems somewhat
embarrassed. You remember Victor Hugo's song of the Adventurers of the

        "En partant du golfe d'Otrente
          Nous étions trente,
        Mais en arrivant à Cadix
          Nous n'étions que dix."[59]

The gentlemen of the Hôtel de Ville might sing this song with a few
slight variations. The Gulf of Otranto was not their starting point, but
the Buttes Montmartre; though to make up for it they were eighty in
number. On arriving at C----, no, I mean, the decree of the Colonne
Vendôme, they were a few more than ten, but not many. What charming
stanzas in imitation of Victor Hugo might Théodore de Banville and
Albert Glatigny write on the successive desertions of the members of the
Commune. The first to withdraw were the _maires_ of Paris, frightened to
death at having been sent by the votes of their fellow-citizens into an
assembly which was not at all, it appears, their ideal of a municipal
council. And upon this subject Monsieur Desmarest, Monsieur Tirard, and
their _adjoints_ will perhaps permit me an unimportant question. What
right had they to persuade their electors and the Friends of Order, to
vote for the Commune of Paris if they were resolved to decline all
responsibility when the votes had been given them? Their presence at the
Hôtel de Ville, would it not have infused--as we hoped--a powerful
spirit of moderation even in the midst of excesses that could even then
be foretold? When they have done all they can to persuade people to
vote, have they the right to consider themselves ineligible? In a word,
why did they propose to us to elect the Commune of Paris if the Commune
were a bad thing? and if it were a good thing, why did they refuse to
take their part in it? Whatever the cause, no sooner were they elected
than they sent in their resignations. Then the hesitating and the timid
disappeared one after another, not having the courage to continue the
absurdity to the end. Add to all this the arrests made in its very
bosom by the Assembly of the Hôtel de Ville itself, and you will then
have an idea of the extent of the dilemma. A few days more and the
Commune will come to an end for want of Communists, and then we shall
cry, "Haste to the poll, citizens of Paris!" And the white official
handbills will announce supplementary elections for Sunday, 16th of

But here comes the difficulty; there may be elections, but not the
shadow of an elector. Of candidates there are enough, more than enough,
even to spare; Toting lists where the electors' names are inscribed;
ballot-urns-no, ballot-boxes this time-to receive the lists; these are
all to be found, but voters to put the lists into the ballot-boxes, to
elect the candidates, we seek them in vain. The voting localities may be
compared to the desert of Sahara viewed at the moment when not a caravan
is to be seen on the whole extent of the horizon, so complete is the
solitude wherever the eager crowd of voters was expected to hasten to
the poll. Are we then so far from the day when the Commune of Paris, in
spite of the numerous absentees, was formed--thanks to the strenuous
efforts of the few electors left to us? Alas! At that time we had still
some illusions left to us, whilst now.... Have you ever been at the
second representation of a piece when the first was a failure? The first
day there was a cram, the second day only the claque remained. People
had found oat the worth of the piece, you see. Nevertheless, though the
place is peopled only with silence and solitude, the claque continues to
do its duty, for it receives its pay. For the same reason one sees a few
battalions marching to the poll, all together, in step, just as they
would march to the fighting at the Porte Maillot; and as they return
they cry, "Oh! citizens, how the people are voting! Never was such
enthusiasm seen!" But behind the scenes,--I mean in the Hôtel de
Ville,--authors and actors whisper to each other: "There is no doubt
about it, it is a failure!"


[Footnote 59:

        On leaving the gulf of Otranto
          There were thirty of us there,
        But on arriving at Cadiz
          There were no more than ten.



And what has become of the Bourse? What are the brokers and jobbers
saying and doing now? I ask myself this question for the first time, as
in ordinary circumstances, the Bourse is of all sublunary things that
which occupies me the least. I am one of those excessively stupid
people, who have never yet been able to understand how all those
black-coated individuals can occupy three mortal hours of every day, in
coming and going beneath the colonnade of the "temple of Plutus." I know
perfectly well that stockbrokers and jobbers exist; but if I were asked
what these stockbrokers and jobbers do, I should be incapable of
answering a single word. We have all our special ignorances. I have
heard, it is true, of the _Corbeille_,[60] but I ingeniously imagined,
in my simple ignorance, that this famous basket was made in wicker work,
and crammed with sweet-scented leaves and flowers, which the gentlemen
of the Bourse, with the true gallantry of their nation, made up into
emblematical bouquets to offer to their lady friends. I was shown,
however, how much I was deceived by a friend who enlightened me, more or
less, as to what is really done in the Bourse in usual times, and what
they are doing there now.

I must begin by acknowledging that in using the worn metaphor of the
"temple of Plutus" just now, I knew little of what I was talking about.

The Bourse is not a temple; if it were it would necessarily be a church
or something like one, and consequently would have been closed long ago
by our most gracious sovereign, the Commune of Paris.

The Bourse, then, is open; but what is the good of that? you will say,
for all those who haunt it now, could get in just as well through closed
doors and opposing railings; spectres and other supernatural beings
never find any difficulty in insinuating themselves through keyholes and
slipping between bars. 'Poor phantoms! Thanks to the weakness of our
Government, which has neglected to put seals on the portals of the
Bourse, they are under the obligation of going in and coming out like
the most ordinary individuals; and a Parisian, who has not learned, by a
long intimacy with Hoffmann and Edgar Poë, to distinguish the living
from the dead, might take these ghosts of the money-market for simple
_boursiers_. Thank heaven! I am not a man to allow myself to be deceived
by specious appearances on such a subject, and I saw at once with whom I
had to do.

On the grand staircase there were four or five of them, spectres lean as
vampires who have not sucked blood for three months; they were walking
in silence, with the creeping, furtive step peculiar to apparitions who
glide among the yew-trees in church-yards. From time to time one of them
pulled a ghost of a notebook from his ghost of a waistcoat-pocket, and
wrote appearances of notes with the shadow of a pencil. Others gathered
together in groups, and one could distinctly hear the rattling of bones
beneath their shadowy overcoats. They spoke in that peculiar voice which
is only understood by the _confrères_ of the magi Eliphas Levy, and they
recall to each other's mind the quotations of former days, Austrian
funds triumphant, Government stock at 70 (_quantum mutata ab illâ_),
bonds of the city of Paris 1860-1869, and the fugitive apotheosis of the
Suez shares. They said with sighs: "You remember the premiums? In former
times there were reports made, in former times there were settling days
at the end of the month, and huge pocket-book's were so well filled,
that they nearly burst; but now, we wander amidst the ruins of our
defunct splendour, as the shade of Diomedes wandered amid the ruins of
his house at Pompeii. We are of those who were; the imaginary quotations
of shares that have disappeared, are like vain epitaphs on tombs, and
we, despairing ghosts, we should die a second time of grief, if we were
not allowed to appear to each other in this deserted palace, here to
brood over our past financial glories!" Thus spoke the phantoms of the
money market, and then added: "Oh! Commune, Commune, give us back our
settling days?" From time to time a phantom, which still retains its
haughty air, and in which we recognise a defunct of distinction, passes
near them. In the days of Napoleon the Third and the Prussians this was
a stockbroker; it passed along with a mass of documents under its
arm,--as the father of Hamlet, rising from the grave, still wore his
helmet and his sword. It enters the building, goes towards the
_Corbeille_, shouts out once or twice, is answered only by an echo in
the solitude, and then returns, saluted on his passage by his
fellow-ghost. And to think that a little bombardment, followed by a
successful attack, seven or eight houses set on fire by the Versailles
shells, seven or eight hundred Federals shot, a few women blown to
pieces, and a few children killed, would suffice to restore these
desolate spectres to life and joy. But, alas! hope for them is deferred;
the last circular of Monsieur Thiers announces that the great military
operations will not commence for several days. They must wait still
longer yet. The people who cross the Place de la Bourse draw aside with
a sort of religious terror from the necropolis where sleep the three per
cents and the shares of the _Crédit Foncier_; and if the churches were
not closed, more than one charitable soul would perhaps burn a candle to
lay the unquiet spirits of these despairing jobbers.


[Footnote 60: A circular space in the great hall of the Bourse, enclosed
with a railing, and in which the stockbrokers stand to take bids. It is
nicknamed the basket (_corbeille_).]


The game is played, the Commune is _au complet_. In the first
arrondissement 21260 electors, are inscribed, and there were 9 voters!
Monsieur Vésinier had 2 votes, and Monsieur Vésinier was elected.
Monsieur Lacord--more clever still--has no votes at all, and, triumphing
by the unanimity of his electors, Monsieur Lacord will preside over the
Commune of Paris in future. A very logical arrangement. It must be
evident to all serious minds that the legislators of the Hôtel de Ville
have promulgated _in petto_ a law which they did not think it necessary
to make known, but which exists nevertheless, and most be couched
somewhat in the following terms:--"Clause 1st. The elections will not be
considered valid, if the number of voters exceed a thousandth part of
the electors entered.--Clause 2nd. Every candidate who has less than
fifteen votes will be elected; if he has sixteen his election will be a
matter of discussion." The poll is just like the game called, "He who
loses gains, and he who gains loses!" and the probable advantages of
such an arrangement are seen at once. Now let us do a bit of Communal
reasoning. By whom was France led within an inch of destruction? By
Napoleon the Third. How many votes did Napoleon the Third obtain? Seven
millions and more. By whom was Paris delivered into the hands of the
Prussians? By the dictators of the 4th September. How many votes did the
dictators of the 4th September get for themselves in the city of Paris?
More than three hundred thousand. _Ergo_, the candidates who obtain the
greatest number of votes are swindlers and fools. The Commune of Paris
cannot allow such abuses to exist; the Commune maintains universal
suffrage--the grand basis of republican institutions--but turns it
topsy-turvy. Michon has only had half a vote,--then Michon is our

Ah! you do not only make us tremble and weep, you make us laugh too.
What is this miserable parody of universal suffrage? What is this farce
of the will of the people being represented by a half a dozen electors?
The unknown individual, who owes his triumph to the kindness of his
concierge and his water-carrier, becomes a member of the Commune. I
shall be governed by Vésinier, with Briosne and Viard as supporters. Do
you not see that the few men, with any sense left, who still support
you, have refused to present themselves as candidates, and that even
amongst those who were mad enough to declare themselves eligible, there
are some who dispute the validity of the elections? No; you see nothing
of all this, or rather it suits you to be blind. What are right and
justice to you? Let us reign, let us govern, let us decree, let us
triumph. All is contained in that. Rogeard pleases us, so we'll have
Rogeard. If the people won't have Rogeard, so much the worse for the
people. Beautiful! admirable! But why don't you speak out your opinion
frankly? There were some honest brigands (_par pari refertur_) in the
Roman States who were perhaps no better than you are, but at least they
made no pretension of being otherwise than lawless, and followed their
calling of brigands without hypocrisy. When, by the course of various
adventures, the band got diminished in numbers, they stuck no handbills
on the walls to invite people to elect new brigands to fill up the
vacant places; they simply chose among the vagabonds and such like
individuals those, who seemed to them, the most capable of dealing a
blow with a stiletto or stripping a traveller of his valuables, and the
band, thus properly reinforced, went about its usual occupations. The
devil! _Messieurs_, one must say what is what, and call things by their
names. Let us call a cat a cat, and Pilotel a thief. The time of
illusions is past; you need not be so careful to keep your masks on; we
have seen your faces. We have had the carnival of the Commune, and now
Ash-Wednesday is come. You disguised yourselves cunningly, _Messieurs_;
you routed out from the old cupboards and corners of history the
cast-off revolutionary rags of the men of '98; and, sticking some
ornaments of the present fashion upon them,--waistcoats à la Commune and
hats à la Federation,--you dressed yourselves up in them and then struck
attitudes. People perceived, it is true, that the clothes that were made
for giants, were too wide for you pigmies; they hung round your figures
like collapsed balloons; but you, cunning that you were, you said, "We
have been wasted by persecution." And when, at the very beginning, some
stains of blood were seen upon your old disguises; "Pay no attention,"
said you, "it is only the red flag we have in our pockets that is
sticking out." And it happened that some few believed you. We ourselves,
in the very face of all our suspicions, let ourselves be caught by the
waving of your big Scaramouche sleeves, that were a great deal too long
for your arms. Then you talked of such beautiful things: liberty,
emancipation of workmen, association of the working-classes, that we
listened and thought we would see you at your task before we condemned
you utterly. And now we have seen you at your task, and knowing how you
work, we won't give you any more work to do. Down with your mask, I tell
you! Come, false Danton, be Rigault again, and let Sérailler's[61] face
come out from behind that Saint Just mask he has on. You, Napoléon
Gaillard, though you are a shoemaker, you are not even a Simon. Drop the
Robespierre, Rogeard! Off with the trappings borrowed from the dark,
grand days! Be mean, small, and ridiculous,--be yourselves; we shall all
be a great deal more at our ease when you are despicable and we are
despising you again.

Paris said to you yesterday just what I am telling you now. This almost
general abstention of electors, compared with the eagerness of former
times, is but the avowal of the error to which your masquerade has given
rise. And what does it prove but the resolution to mix in your carnival
no more? We see clearly through it now, I tell you, that the saturnalia
is wearing to its end. In vain does the orchestra of cannon and
mitrailleuses, under the direction of the conductor, Cluseret, play
madly on and invite us to the fête. We will dance no more, and there is
an end of it!

But it will be fatal to Paris if, after saying this, she sit satisfied.
Contempt is not enough, there must be abhorrence too, and actual
measures taken against those we abhor. It is not sufficient to neglect
the poll, one abstains when one is in doubt, but now that we doubt no
longer it is time to act. While wrongful work is being done, those that
stand aside with folded arms become accomplices. Think that for more
than a fortnight the firing has not ceased; that Neuilly and Asnières
have been turned into cemeteries; that husbands are falling, wives
weeping, children suffering. Think that yesterday, the 18th of April,
the chapel of Longchamps became a dependance--an extra dead-house--of
the ambulances of the Press, so numerous were that day's dead. Think of
the savage decrees passed upon the hostages and the refractory, those
who shunned the Federates; of the requisitions and robberies; of the
crowded prisons and the empty workshops, of the possible massacres and
the certain pillage. Think of our own compromised honour, and let us be
up and doing, so that those who have remained in Paris during these
mournful hours, shall not have stood by her only to see her fall and


[Footnote 61: Sérailler, a member of the International, intrusted with a
commission to London on behalf of the Central Committee to borrow cash
for the daily pay of thirty sous to the National Guard.]


Paris! for once I defy you to remain indifferent. You have had much to
bear, during these latter days; it has been said to you, that you should
kneel in your churches no more, and you have not knelt there; that the
newspapers that pleased you, should be read no more, and you have not
read them. You have continued to smile--with but the tips of your lips,
it is true--and to promenade on the boulevards. But now comes stalking
on that which will make you shudder indeed! Do you know what I have just
read in the _Indépendance Belge_? Ah! poor Paris, the days of your glory
are past, your ancient fame is destroyed, the old nursery rhyme will
mock you, "_Vous n'irez plus au Bois, vos lauriers sont coupés._"[62]
This is what has happened; you are supplanted on the throne of fashion.
The world, uneasy about the form of bonnet to be worn this sorrowful
year, and seeing you occupied with your internal discords, anxiously
turned to London for help, and London henceforth dictates to all the
modistes of the universe. City of desolation, I pity you! No more will
you impose your sovereign laws, concerning _Suivez-moi-jeune-homme_[63]
and dog-skin gloves. No more will your boots and shirt-collars reach,
by the force of their reputation, the sparely-dressed inhabitants of the
Sandwich Islands. And, deepest of humiliations, it is your old rival, it
is your tall and angular sister, it is the black city of London, who
takes your glittering sword and transforms it into a policeman's baton
of wood! You are destined to see within your walls--if any walls remain
to you--your own wives and daughters clog their dainty tread with
encumbrances of English leather, flatten their heads beneath
mushroom-shaped hats, surround themselves with crinoline and flounces,
and wear magenta, that abominable mixture of red and blue which always
filled your soul with horror. Then, to increase the resemblance of your
Parisian women with the Londoners or Cockneys (for it is time you learnt
the fashionable language of England), your dentists will sell them new
sets of teeth, called insular sets, which can be fitted over their
natural front teeth, and will protrude about a third of an inch beyond
the upper lip. And they will have corsets offered them whose aim is to
prolong the waist to the farthest possible limits and compress the
fairest forms--a fact, for report says they lace in London, whilst here
we have nearly abandoned the corset. Well, my Paris, do you tremble and
shiver? Oh! when those days of horror come to pass! when you see that
not only have you forfeited your pride, but your vanity too; when you
are convinced that the Commune has not only rendered you odious, but
ridiculous as well; ah! then, when you wear bonnets that you have not
invented, how deeply will you regret that you did not rebel on that day,
when some of the best of your citizens were put _au secret_ in the cells
of Mazas prison![64]


[Footnote 62: The refrain of a nursery song,--

        "Go no more to the wood, for all the laurels are cut."


[Footnote 63: The long floating ends of the neck ribbons.]

[Footnote 64: The Parisian play-writer's English exhibits all the
typical peculiarities noted above. We have our ideal, if not typical,
Frenchman, little less truthful perhaps--taken from refugees and
excursionists, from the close-cropped, dingy denizen of Leicester
Square; our tourist suits, heavy pedestrian toots, "wide-awakes," and
faded fashions, used up in travel--all these things are put down to
insular peculiarities.]


I have just heard or read, a touching story; and here it is as I
remember it. In the Faubourg Saint Antoine lives a community of women
with whom the aged of the poor find shelter; those who have become
infirm, or have dropped into helpless childishness, whether men or
women, are received there without question or payment. There they are
lodged, fed and clothed, and humbly prayed for.

Last evening, sleep was just beginning to reign in the little community.
The old people had been put to rest, each Little Sister had done her
duty and was asleep, when the report of a gun resounded at the
house-door. You can imagine the startings and the terror. The Little
Sisters of the poor are not accustomed to have such noises in their
ears, and there was a tumult and hubbub such as the house had never
known, while they hurriedly rose, and the old people stared at each
other from their white beds in the long dormitories. When the house-door
was got open, a party of men, with a menacing look about them, strode in
with their guns and swords, making a horrible racket. One of them was
the chief, and he had a great beard and a terrible voice. All the Little
Sisters gathered in a trembling crowd about the superior.

"Shut the doors," cried the captain, "and if one of these women attempt
to escape--one, two, three, fire!" Then the Good Mother--that is the
Little Sisters' name for their superior--made a step forward and said,
"What do you wish, messieurs?"

"Citizens, _sacrebleu!_"

The Good Mother crossed herself and, repeated, "What do you wish, my

[Illustration: Federal Visit to The Little Sisters of The Poor.]

Now, if Citizen Rigault, who put Monseigneur Darboy down so wittily, had
been there, how briskly he would have told the stupid woman that these
were National Guards, and not brothers, before her. But even Rigault
cannot be everywhere at once. "We want to inspect your funds," replied
the officer. The Good Mother signed to him to follow, opened a cupboard,
pulled out a drawer, and said, "This is what we have." The box had
twenty-two francs in it. "Is that all?" asked the captain in a
suspicious tone.--"Nothing more, monsieur," she said; "besides, you can
look everywhere for yourselves." So the National Guards spread through
the house, opened the rooms, searched the cupboards and chests, and came
at last, without having found anything, to the dormitories, where the
Little Sisters' old nurselings were lying. Every head was upraised in
astonishment and fear, and all, stammering and trembling, began
jabbering out at once, "What are you doing here? You are not going to
hurt the good Sisters? It's a shame! It's infamous! Go away! It's
cowardly! My good monsieur, what will become of us if you take them
away?" The old women were furious, and the old men in lamentations.
Officer and men scarcely expected such a scene, and began to hesitate in
their search. "Well, well, my good people," said the officer, who had
been the most violent, and had now softened down, "we won't take the
Little Sisters away, and we won't hurt them either. There, there--are
you satisfied?"--and the men began to go downstairs again.--"My sister,
you have not shut your drawer," said the captain, as he passed the
cupboard.--"That is true, monsieur; I am not in the habit of doing it.
In our house, you see, it is quite useless."--"Never mind, shut it
to-day at any rate. How can I know all the men I have about me?" And as
he spoke, the captain turned back, shut the drawer himself, without
touching the contents, and gave the key to the superior. He seemed quite
ill at ease, and got out at last, "We didn't know ... if we had known it
was like this ... you see we had been told ... yes, yes, it is very good
of you to take care of those poor old folks upstairs." Now that the man
seemed embarrassed and showed some kindliness in his manner, a Little
Sister who had quite got over her fear, went up to him and told him how
frightened they had been for a whole month past; that they had been told
that the Reds wanted to take their house. Ah! it was horrible! But
monsieur would protect them, would he not?

"That I will," bravely answered the captain; "give me your hand. And
now, if any one wants to harm you, he will have me to deal with first."

A few minutes later, the National Guards were gone, the Little Sisters
and the old nurslings were at rest again, and the house was just as
silent and peaceful as if it were no abominable resort of plotters and

But if I had been the Commune of Paris, would I not have shot that


The people of the Hôtel de Ville said to themselves, "All our fine
doings and talking come to nothing, the delegate Cluseret and the
commandant Dombrowski send us the most encouraging despatches in vain,
we shall never succeed in persuading the Parisian population, that our
struggle against the army of Versailles is a long string of decisive
victories; whatever we may do, they will finish by finding out that the
federate battalions gave way strangely in face of the iron-plated
mitrailleuses the day before yesterday at Asnières, and it would be
difficult to make them believe that this village, so celebrated for
fried fish and Paris Cockneys, is still in our possession, unless we can
manage to persuade them that although we have evacuated Asnières, we
still energetically maintain our position there. The fact is, affairs
are taking a tolerably bad turn for us. How are we to get over the
inconvenience of being vanquished? What are we to do to destroy the bad
impression produced by our doubtful triumphs?" And thereupon the members
of the Commune fell to musing. "Parbleu!" cried they, after a few
moments' reflection--the elect of Paris are capable of more in a single
second than all the deputies of the National Assembly in three
years--"Let decrees, proclamations, and placards be prepared. By what
means, did we succeed in imposing on the donkeys of Paris? Why, by
decrees, by proclamations, by placards. Courage, then, let us persevere.
Ha! the traitors have taken the château of Bécon, and have seized upon
Asnières. What matters! quick, eighty pens and eighty inkstands. To
work, men of letters; painters and shoemakers, to work! Franckel, who is
Hungarian; Napoléon Gaillard, who is a cobbler; Dombrowski, who is a
Pole; and Billioray, who writes _omelette_ with an h, will make perhaps
rather a mess of it. But, thank heaven! We have amongst us Félix Pyat,
the great dramatist; Pierre Denis, who has made such bad verses that he
must write good prose; and lastly, Vermorel, the author of '_Ces
Dames_,' a little book illustrated with photographs for the use of
schools, and '_Desperanza_,' a novel which caused Gustave Flaubert many
a nightmare. To work, comrades, to work! We have been asked for a long
time what we understand by the words--La Commune. Tell them, if you
know. Write it, proclaim it, and we will placard it. Even if you don't
know, tell them all the same; the great art of a good cook consists in
making jugged hare without hare of any kind." And this is why there
appeared this morning on the walls an immense placard, with the
following words in enormous letters: "Declaration to the French people."

Twenty days ago a long proclamation, which pretended to express and
define the tendencies of the revolution of the eighteenth of March,
would perhaps have had some effect. To-day we have awaked from many
illusions, and the finest phrases in the world will not overcome our
obstinate indifference. Let us, however, read and note.


    "In the painful and terrible conflict which once more imposes upon
    Paris the horrors of the siege and the bombardment, which makes
    French blood flow, which causes our brothers, our wives, our
    children, to perish, crushed by shot and shell, it is urgent that
    public opinion should not be divided, that the national conscience
    should not be troubled."

That's right! I entirely agree with you; it is undoubtedly very urgent
that public opinion should not be divided. But let us see what means you
are going to take to obtain so desirable a result.

    "Paris and the whole nation must know what is the nature, the
    reason, the object of the revolution which is now being

Doubtless; but if that be indispensable to-day, would it have been less
useful on the very first day of the revolution; we do not see why you
have made us wait quite so long for it.

    "The responsibility of the mourning, the suffering, and the
    misfortunes of which we are the victims should fall upon those who,
    after having betrayed France and delivered Paris to the foreigner,
    pursue with blind obstinacy the destruction of the capital, in order
    to bury under the ruins of the Republic and of Liberty the double
    evidence of their treason and their crime."

Heigho! what a phrase! These clear and precise expressions, that throw
so much light on the gloom of the situation, are these yours, Félix
Pyat? Did the Commune say "_Pyat Lux!_" Or were they yours, Pierre
Denis? Or yours, Vermorel? I particularly admire the double evidence
buried under the ruins of the Republic. Happy metaphor!

    "The duty of the Commune is to affirm and determine the aspirations
    and the views of the population of Paris; to fix precisely the
    character of the movement of the 18th of March, misunderstood,
    misinterpreted, and vilified by the men who sit at Versailles."

Ah, yes, that is the duty of the Commune, but for heaven's sake don't
keep us waiting, you see we are dying with impatience.

    "Once more, Paris labours and suffers for the whole of France, and
    by her combats and her sacrifices prepares the way for intellectual,
    moral, administrative and economic regeneration, glory and

That is so true that since the Commune existed in Paris, the workshops
are closed, the factories are idle, and France, for whom the capital
sacrifices herself, loses something like fifty millions a day. These are
facts, it seems to me; and I don't see what the traitors of Versailles
can say in reply.

    "What does Paris demand?"

Ah! yes, what does she ask? Truly we should not be sorry to know. Or
rather, what do you ask; for in the same way as Louis le Grand had the
right to say, "The State, I am the State," you may say "Paris, we are

    "Paris demands the recognition and the consolidation of the
    Republic, the only form of government compatible with the rights of
    the people, and the regular and free development of society."

This once you are right. Paris demands the Republic, and must yearn for
it eagerly indeed, since neither your excesses nor your follies have
succeeded in changing its mind.

    "It demands the absolute entirety of the Commune extended to all the
    localities of France, ensuring to everyone the integrity of its
    rights, and to every Frenchman the free exercise of his faculties
    and abilities as man, citizen, and workman. The rights of the
    Commune should have no other limit, but the equal rights of all
    other Communes adhering to the contract, an association which would
    assure the unity of France."

This is a little obscure. What I understand is something like this. You
would make France a federation of Communes, but what is the meaning of
words "adherence to the contract?" You admit then that certain Communes
might refuse their adhesion. In that case what would be the situation
of these rebels? Would you leave them free? Or would you force them to
obey the conventions of the majority? Do you think it would be
sufficient, in the case of such a town as Pezenas, for example, refusing
to adhere, that the association would be incomplete? That is to say,
that French unity would not exist? Are you very sure about Pezenas? Who
tells you that Pezenas may not have its own idea of independence, and
that, we may not hear presently that it has elected a duke who raises an
army and coins money. Duke of Pezenas! that sounds well. Remember, also,
that many other localities might follow the example of Pezenas, and
perhaps in order to insure the entirety of the Commune, it might have
been wise to have asked them if they wanted it. Now, what do you
understand by "localities?" Marseilles is a locality; an isolated farm
in the middle of a field is also a locality. So France would be divided
into an infinite number of Communes. Would they agree amongst
themselves, these innumerable little states? Supposing they are agreed
to the contract, it is not impossible that petty rivalries should lead
to quarrels, or even to blows; an action about a party-wall might lead
to a civil war. How would you reduce the recalcitrant localities to
reason? for even supposing that the Communes have the right to subjugate
a Commune, the disaffected one could always escape you by declaring that
it no longer adheres to the social compact. So that if this secession
were produced not only by the vanity of one or more little hamlets, but
by the pride of one or more great towns, France would find herself all
at once deprived of her most important cities. Ah! messieurs, this part
of your programme certainly leaves something to be desired, and I
recommend you to improve it, unless indeed you prefer to suppress it

    "The inherent rights of the Commune are 'the vote of the Commmunal
    budget, the levying and the division of taxes, the direction of the
    local services, the organisation of the magistrature, of the police,
    and of education, and of the administration of the property
    belonging to the Commune.'"

This paragraph is cunning. It does not seem so at first sight, but look
at it closely, and you will see that the most Machiavellic spirit has
presided over its production. The ability consists in placing side by
side with the rights which incontestably belong to the Commune, other
rights which do not belong to it the least in the world, and in not
appearing to attach more importance to one than to the other, so that
the reader, carried away by the evident legitimacy of many of your
claims, may say to himself, "Really all that is very just." Let us
unravel if you please this skein of red worsted so ingeniously tangled.
The vote of the Communal budget, receipts and expenses, the levying and
division of taxes, the administration of the Communal property, are
rights which certainly belong to the Commune; if it had not got them it
would not exist. And why do they belong to it? Because it alone could
know what is good for it in these matters, and could come to such
decision upon them, as it thought fit, without injuring the whole
country. But it is not the same as regards measures concerning the
magistracy, the police, and education. Well, suppose one fine day a
Commune should say, "Magistrates? I don't want any magistrates; these
black-robed gentry are no use to me; let others nourish these idlers,
who send brave thieves and honest assassins to the galleys; I love
assassins and I honour thieves, and more, I choose that the culprits
should judge the magistrates of the Republic." Now, if a Commune were to
say that, or something like that, what could you answer in reply?
Absolutely nothing; for, according to your system, each locality in
France has the right to organise its magistracy as it pleases. As
regards the police and education, it would be easy to make out similar
hypotheses, and thus to exhibit the absurdity of your Communal
pretensions. Should a Commune say, "No person shall be arrested in
future, and it is prohibited under pain of death to learn by heart the
fable of the wolf and the fox." What could you say to that? Nothing,
unless you admitted that you were mistaken just now in supposing, that
the integrity of the Commune ought to have no other limit but the right
of equal independence of all the other Communes. There exists another
limit, and that is the general interests of the country, which cannot
permit one part of it to injure the rest, by bad example or in any other
way; the central power alone can judge those questions where a single
absurd measure--of which more than one "locality" may probably be
guilty--might compromise the honour or the interests of France; the
magistracy, the police, and education, are evidently questions of that

The other rights of the Commune are, always be it understood, according
to the declaration made to the French people:

    "The choice by election or competition; with the responsibility and
    the permanent right of control over magistrates and communal
    functionaries of every class;

    "The absolute guarantee of individual liberty, of liberty of
    conscience, and of liberty of labour;

    "The permanent participation of the citizens in Communal affairs by
    the free manifestations of their opinions, and the free defence of
    their interests: guarantees to this effect to be given by the
    Commune, the only power charged with the surveillance and the
    protection of the full and just exercise of the rights of meeting
    and publicity;

    "The organisation of the city defences and of the National Guard,
    which elects its own officers, and alone ensures the maintenance of
    order in the city."

With regard to the affirmation of these rights we may repeat that which
we have said above, that some of them really belong to the Commune, but
that the greater part of them do not.

    "Paris desires nothing more in the way of local guarantees, on
    condition, let it be understood, of finding in the great central
    administration ..."

    "... In the great central administration appointed by the federated
    Commune the realisation and the practice of the same principles."

That is to say, in other words, that Paris will consent willingly to be
of the same opinion as others, if all the world is of the same opinion
as itself.

    "But, thanks to its independence, and profiting by its liberty of
    action, Paris reserves to itself the right of effecting, as it
    pleases, the administrative and economic reforms demanded by the
    population; to create proper institutions for the development and
    propagation of instruction, production, commerce, and credit; to
    universalize power and property,..."

Whew! Universalize property! Pray what does that mean, may I ask?
Communalism here presents a singular likeness to Communism!

    "... According to the necessities of the moment, the desire of those
    interested, and the lessons famished by experience:

    "Our enemies deceive themselves or the country when they accuse
    Paris of wishing to impose its will or its supremacy on the rest of
    the nation, and to pretend to a dictatorship which would be a
    positive offence against the independence and the sovereignty of the
    other Communes:

    "They deceive themselves, or they deceive the country, when they
    accuse Paris of desiring the destruction of French unity,
    constituted by the Revolution amid the acclamations of our fathers
    hurrying to the Festival of the Federation from all points of
    ancient France:

    "Political unity as imposed upon us up to the present time by the
    empire, the monarchy, and parliamentarism, is nothing more than
    despotic centralization, whether intelligent, arbitrary, or onerous.

    "Political unity, such as Paris demands, is the voluntary
    association of all local initiatives, the spontaneous and free
    cooperation of individual energies with one single common
    object--the well-being and the security of all.

    "The Communal revolution, inaugurated by the popular action of the
    18th of March, ushers in a new era of experimental, positive, and
    scientific politics."

Do you not think that during the last paragraphs the tone of the
declaration is somewhat modified? It would seem as though Felix Pyat had
become tired, and handed the pen to Pierre Denis or to Delescluze,
--after Communalism comes socialism.

    "Communal revolution is the end of the old governmental and clerical
    world, of militarism, of officialism (this new editor seems fond of
    words ending in ism), of exploitation, of commission, of monopolies,
    and of privileges to which the proletariat owes his thralldom, and
    the country her misfortunes and disasters."

Of course there is nothing in the world that would please me better; but
if I were very certain that Citizen Rigault did not possess an improved
glass enabling him to observe me from a distance of several miles,
without leaving his study or his armchair, if I were very certain that
Citizen Rigault could not read over my shoulder what I am writing at
this moment, I might perhaps venture to insinuate, that the revolution
of the 18th of March appears to me to be, at the present moment, the
apotheosis of most of the crimes which it pretends to have suppressed.

    "Let then our grand and beloved country, deceived by falsehood and
    calumnies, be reassured!"

Well, in order that she may be reassured there is only one thing to be
done,--be off with you!

    "The struggle going on between Paris and Versailles is one of those
    which can never be terminated by deceitful compromises. There can be
    no doubt as to the issue. (Oh, no! there is no doubt about it.)
    Victory, pursued with indomitable energy by the National Guard, will
    remain with principle and justice.

    We ask it of France."

Where is the necessity, since you have the indomitable energy of the
National Guard?".

    "Convinced that Paris under arms possesses as much calmness as
    bravery ..."

You will find that a very difficult thing to persuade France to believe.

    "... That it maintains order with equal energy and enthusiasm ..."

Order? No doubt, that which reigned at Warsaw; the order that reigned on
the day after the 2nd of December.

    "... That it sacrifices itself with as much judgment as heroism ..."

Yes; the judgment of a man who throws himself out of a fourth-floor
window to prove that his head is harder than the paving-stones.

    "... That it is only armed through devotion for the glory and
    liberty of all--let France cause this bloody conflict to cease!"

She'll cause it to cease, never fear, but not in the way you understand

    "It is for France to disarm Versailles ..."

Up to the present time she has certainly done precisely the contrary.

    "... by the manifestations of her irresistible will. As she will be
    partaker in our conquests, let her take part in our efforts, let her
    be our ally in this conflict, which can only finish by the triumph
    of the Communal idea, or the ruin of Paris."

The ruin of Paris! That is only, I suppose, a figurative expression.

    "For ourselves, citizens of Paris, it is our mission to accomplish
    the modern revolution, the grandest and most fruitful of all those
    that have illuminated history.

    "Our duty is to struggle and to conquer!


Such is this long, emphatic, but often obscure declaration. It is not
wanting, however, in a certain eloquence; and, although frequently
disfigured by glaring exaggerations, it contains here and there some
just ideas, or at least, such as conform to the views of the great
majority. Will it destroy the bad effect produced by the successive
defeats of the Federals at Neuilly and at Asnières? Will it produce any
good feeling towards the Commune in the minds of those who are daily
drawing farther and farther from the men of the Commune? No; it is too
late. Had this proclamation been placarded fifteen or twenty days
sooner, some parts of it might have been approved and the rest
discussed. Today we pass it by with a smile. Ah! many things have
happened during the last three days. The acts of the Commune of Paris no
longer allow us to take its declarations seriously, and we look upon its
members as too mad--if not worse--to believe that by any accident they
can be reasonable. These men have finished by rendering detestable
whatever good there originally was in their idea.


[Footnote 65: He was born in 1841, in the department of the Rhône. His
education was completed very early. At the age of twenty he was engaged
on two journals of the opposition, _La Jeune France_, and _La Jeunesse_.
Those papers were soon suppressed, and their young contributor was
imprisoned for three months. In 1864 he became one of the staff of the
_Presse_, whence he passed to the _Liberté_ in 1866. Two years later he
founded the _Courrier Français_; but from the multiplicity of fines
imposed upon it, and from the imprisonment of its founder, the new
journal expired very shortly. After a year's incarceration at
Sainte-Pélagie, Vermorel was engaged on the _Réforme_, which continued
to appear until the fall of the Empire. During the siege he served as a
private in the National Guard. He became a member of the Committee of
Justice under the Commune, and was one of those who, at its fall,
neither deserted nor disgraced it. He is reported to have mounted a
barricade armed only with a cane, crying "I come here to die and not to
fight." His mother obtained permission to transport his remains to


We have a court-martial; it is presided over by the citizen Rossel,
chief of the grand staff of the army. It has just condemned to death the
Commandant Girod, who refused to march against the "enemy." The
Executive Committee, however, has pardoned Commandant Girod. Let us look
at this matter a little. If the Executive Committee occupies its time in
undoing what the court-martial has done, I can't quite understand why
the executive has instituted a court-martial at all. If I were a member
of the latter I should get angry. "What! I should say, they instal me in
the hall where the courts-martial are held, they appoint guards to
attend upon me, and my president has the right to say, 'Guards, remove
the prisoner.' In a word, they convert me into something which resembles
a judge as much as a parody can resemble the work burlesqued, and when
I, a member of the court-martial, desire to take advantage of the rights
that have been conferred upon me, and order the Commandant Girod to be
shot, they stand in the way of justice, and save the life of him I have
condemned. This is absurd! I had a liking for this commandant, and I
wished him to die by my hands."

Never mind, court-martial, take it coolly; you will have your revenge
before long. At this moment there are at least sixty-three ecclesiastics
in the prisons of Mazas, the Conciergerie, and La Santé. Although they
are not precisely soldiers, they will be sent before you to be judged,
and you may do just what you like with them, without any fear of the
executive commission interposing its veto. The refractory also will give
you work to do, and against them you can exercise your pleasure. As to
the Commandant Girod, his is a different case, you understand. He is the
friend of citizen Delescluze. The members of the Commune have not so
many friends that they can afford to have any of them suppressed. But
don't be downcast; a dozen priests are well worth a major of the
National Guard.


It is precisely because the men that the Commune sends to the front,
fight and die so gloriously, that we feel exasperated against its
members. A curse upon them, for thus wasting the moral riches of Paris!
Confusion to them, for enlisting into so bad a service, the first-rate
forces which a successful revolt leaves at their disposal. I will tell
you what happened yesterday, the 22nd of April, on the Boulevard Bineau;
and then I think you will agree with me that France, who has lost so
much, still retains some of the bright, dauntless courage which was her.
pride of old.

A trumpeter, a mere lad of seventeen, was marching at the head of his
detachment, which had been ordered to take possession of a barricade
that the Versailles troops were supposed to have abandoned. When I say,
"he marched," I am making a most incorrect statement, for he turned
somersets and executed flying leaps on the road, far in advance of his
comrades, until his progress was arrested by the barricade; this he
greeted with a mocking gesture, and then, with a bound or two, was on
the other side. There had been some mistake, the barricade had not been
abandoned. Our young trumpeter was immediately surrounded by a pretty
large number of troops of the line, who had lain hidden among the sacks
of earth and piles of stones, in the hope of surprising the company
which was advancing towards them. Several rifles were pointed at the
poor boy, and a sergeant said: "If you move a foot, if you utter a
sound, you die!" The lad's reply was to leap to the highest part of the
barricade and cry out, with all the strength of his young voice, "Don't
come on! They are here!" Then he fell backwards, pierced by four balls,
but his comrades were saved!


Another, and a sadder scene happened in the Avenue des Ternes. A
funeral procession was passing along. The coffin, borne by two men, was
very small, the coffin of a young child. The father, a workman in a
blouse, walked behind with a little knot of other mourners. A sad sight,
but the catastrophe was horrible. Suddenly a shell from Mont Valérien
fell on the tiny coffin, and, bursting, scattered the remains of the
dead child upon the living father. The corpse was entirely destroyed,
with the trappings that had surrounded it. Massacring the dead! Truly
those cannons are a wonderful, a refined invention!


At last the unhappy inhabitants of Neuilly are able to leave their
cellars. For three weeks, they have been hourly expecting the roofs of
their houses to fall in and crush them; and with much difficulty have
managed during the quieter moments of the day to procure enough to keep
them from dying of starvation. For three weeks they have endured all the
terrors, all the dangers of battle and bombardment. Many are dead--they
all thought themselves sure to die. Horrible details are told. A little
past Gilet's restaurant, where the omnibus office used to be, lived an
old couple, man and wife. At the beginning of the civil war, two shells
burst, one after another, in their poor lodging, destroying every
article of furniture. Utterly destitute, they took refuge in the cellar,
where after a few hours of horrible suspense, the old man died. He was
seventy, and the fright killed him; his wife was younger and stronger,
and survived. In the rare intervals between the firing she went out and
spoke to her neighbours through the cellar gratings--"My husband is
dead. He must be buried; what am I to do?"--Carrying him to the
cemetery was of course out of the question; no one could have been found
to render this mournful duty. Besides, the bearers would probably have
met a shell or a bullet on the way, and then others must have been found
to carry them. One day, the old woman ventured as far as the Porte
Maillot, and cried out as loud as she could, "My husband is dead in a
cellar; come and fetch him, and let us both through the gates!"--The
sentinel facetiously (let us hope it was nothing worse) took aim at her
with his rifle, and she fled back to her cellar. At night, she slept by
the side of the corpse, and when the light of morning filtered into her
dreary place of refuge, and lighted up the body lying there, she sobbed
with grief and terror. Her husband had been dead four days, when
putrefaction set in, and she, able to bear it no longer, rushed out
screaming to her neighbours: "You must bury him, or I will go into the
middle of the avenue and await death there!"--They took pity on her, and
came down into her cellar, dug a hole there and put the corpse in it.
During three weeks she continued there, resting herself on the
newly-turned earth. To-day, when they went to fetch her she fainted with
horror; the grave had been dug too shallow, and one of the legs of the
corpse was exposed to gaze.

[Illustration: FEMALE CURIOSITY AT PORTE MAILLOT. "Prenez garde,

This morning, the 25th of April, at nine o'clock, a dense crowd moved up
the Champs Elysées: pedestrians of all ages and classes, and vehicles of
every description. The truce obtained by the members of the _Republican
Union of the rights of Paris_ was about to begin, and relief was to be
carried to the sufferers at Neuilly. However, some precautions were
necessary, for neither the shooting nor the cannonade had ceased yet,
and every moment one expected to see some projectile or other fall among
the advancing multitude. In the Avenue de la Grande Armée a shell had
struck a house, and set fire to it. Gradually the sound of the artillery
diminished, and then died away entirely; the crowd hastened to the


The chapel was erected by Louis Philippe in memory of the Duke of
Orleans, killed on the spot, July 18th, 1842.]

The Porte Maillot has been entirely destroyed for some time, in spite of
what the Commune has told us to the contrary; the drawbridge is torn
from its place, the ruined walls and bastions have fallen into the moat.
The railway-station is a shapeless mass of blackened bricks, broken
stones, glass, and iron-work; the cutting where the trains used to pass
is half filled up with the ruins. It is impossible to get along that
way. Fancy the hopeless confusion here, arising among this myriad of
anxious beings, these hundreds of carts and waggons, all crowding to the
same spot. Each one presses onwards, pushing his neighbour, screaming
and vociferating; the National Guards try in vain to keep order. To add
to the difficulties there is some form to be gone through about passes.
I manage to hang on to a cart which is just going over the bridge; after
a thousand stoppages and a great deal of pushing and squeezing, I
succeeded in getting out, my clothes in rags. A desolate scene meets my
eyes. In front of us, is the open space called the military zone, a
dusty desert, with but one building remaining, the chapel of Longchamps;
it has been converted into an ambulance, and the white flag with the red
cross is waving above it. Truly the wounded there must be in no little
danger from the shells, as it lies directly in their path. To the left
is the Bois de Boulogne, or rather what used to be the wood, for from
where I stand but few trees are visible, the rest is a barren waste. I
hasten on, besides I am hard pressed from behind. Here we are in
Neuilly, at last. The desolation is fearful, the reality surpassing all
I could have imagined. Nearly all the roofs of the houses are battered
in, rafters stick out of the broken windows; some of the walls, too,
have fallen, and those that remain standing are riddled with blackened
holes. It is there that the dreadful shells have entered, breaking,
grinding furniture, pictures, glasses, and even human beings. We crunch
broken glass beneath our feet at every step; there is not a whole pane
in all the windows. Here and there are houses which the bullets seemed
to have delighted to pound to atoms, and from which dense clouds of red
and white dust are wafted towards us. Well, Parisians, what do you say
to that? Do you not think that Citizen Cluseret, although an American,
is an excellent patriot, and "In consideration of Neuilly being in
ruins, and of this happy result being chiefly due to the glorious
resistance organized by the delegate Citizen Cluseret, decrees: That the
destroyer of Neuilly, Citizen Cluseret, has merited the gratitude of
France and the Republic."


The firing ceased from nine in the morning until five in the afternoon,
when Paris cabs, furniture-vans, ambulance-waggons, band-barrows, and
all sorts of vehicles were requisitioned to bring in the sad remains and
dilapidated household goods of the suburban _bombardés_. They entered
by the gate of Ternes--for that of Porte Maillot was in ruins and
impassable. Many went to the Palais de l'Industrie, in the Champs
Elysées, where a commission sat to allot vacant apartments in Paris. On
this occasion some robberies were committed, and refractories escaped:
it is even said that hard-hearted landlords wished to prevent their
lodgers from departing--an object in which the proprietors were not very
successful. The poor woman perched on the top of her relics, saved from
the cellar in which she had lived in terror for fourteen days, deplores
the loss of her husband and the shapeless mass of ruin and rubbish she
once called her happy home; whilst her boys bring in green stuff from
the surburban gardens, and a middle-aged neighbour stalks along with his
pet parrot, the bird all the while amusing himself with elaborate
imitations of the growl of the mitrailleuse and the hissing of shells
ending with terrific and oft-repeated explosions.]

Out of all the houses, or rather from what was once the houses, emerge
the inhabitants carrying different articles of furniture, tables,
mattresses, boxes. They come out as it were from their graves. Relations
meet and embrace, after having suffered almost the bitterness of death.
Thousands run backwards and forwards; the carts are heaped up to
overflowing, everything that is not destroyed must be carried away. A
large van filled with orphan children moves on towards the barrier; a
sister of charity is seated beside the driver. The most impatient of the
refugees are already through the Porte Maillot; who will give them
hospitality there? No one seems to think of that. The excitement caused
by all this movement is almost joyous under the brilliant rays of the
sun. But time presses, in a few minutes the short truce will have
expired. Stragglers hurry along with heavy loads. At the gates, the
crowding and confusion are greater than in the morning. Carts heavily
laden, move slowly and with difficulty; the contents of several are
spilled on the highway. More shouting, crowding, and pushing, until the
gates are passed at last, and the emigrant crowd disperses along the
different streets and avenues into the heart of Paris. A happy release
from bondage, but what a dismal promised land!

Then the cannonading and musketry on either side recommences. Destroy,
kill, this horrible quarrel can only end with the annihilation of one of
the two parties engaged. Go on killing each other if you will have it
so, combatants, fellow-countrymen. Some wretched women and children will
at least sleep in safety to-night, in spite of you!

[Illustration: _Federal Officer_. Pardon, Monsieur, but we cannot allow
civilians to remain here.

_Monsieur_. I wait for Valérien to open upon us.]

Yes, my good friends and idlers, the sad scene would not have been
complete without your presence to relieve its sadness. If respect for
your persons kept you away from danger, it at least gives zest to the
place, a locality that in a few short minutes will be dangerous again.
At five the armistice was over, but for all that, the National Guard had
great difficulty in clearing the ground, until real danger, the
excitement sought for, arrived, and sent the spectators much further up
the Avenue de la Grande Armée.

[Illustration: MDLLE, ET SES COUSINES. 5.30. Great guns of Valérien, why
do you not begin! Know you that tubes charged with bright eyes are
directed against you!]


I had almost made up my mind not to continue these notes. Tired and
weary, I remained two days at home, wishing to see nothing, hear
nothing, trying to absorb myself in my books, and to take up the lost
thread of my interrupted studies, but all to no purpose.

It is ten in the morning, and I am out again in search of news. How many
things may have happened in two days! Not far from the Hôtel de Ville
excited groups are assembled at the corners of the streets that lead out
of the Rue de Rivoli. They seem waiting for something--what are they
waiting for? Vague rumours, principally of a peaceful and conciliatory
nature, circulate from group to group, where women decidedly

"If _they_ help us we are saved!" says a workwoman, who is holding a
little boy in the dress of a national guard by the hand.--"Who?" I
ask.--"Ah! Monsieur, it is the Freemasons who are taking the side of the
Commune; they are going to cross Paris before our eyes. The Commune must
be in the right if the Freemasons think so."--"Here they come!" says the
little boy, pulling his mother along with all his strength.

[Illustration: PROTOT[66], DELEGATE OF JUSTICE.]

The vehicles draw up on one side to make room, the crowd presses to the
edge of the pavement. The drums beat, a military band strikes up the
"Marseillaise." First come five staff-officers, and then six members of
the Commune, wearing their red scarfs, fringed with gold. I fancy I
recognize Citizens Delescluze and Protot among them. "They are going to
the Hôtel de Ville!" cries an enthusiastic butcher-boy, holding a large
basket of meat on his head, which he steadies with one hand, while with
the other he makes wild signs to two companions on the other side of
the way. "I saw them this morning in the Place du Carrousel," he
continues in the same strain. "That was fine, I tell you! And then this
battalion came to fetch them, with the music and all. Now they are going
to salute the Republic; come along, I say. Double quick time!" So the
butcher-boy, and the woman with the child, and myself, and all the rest
of the bystanders, turn and follow the eight or ten thousand members of
Parisian freemasonry who are crowding along the Rue de Rivoli. In the
front and rear of the procession I notice a large number of unarmed men,
dressed in loose Zouave trousers of dark-blue cloth, with white gaiters,
white bands, and blue jackets. Their heads are mostly bare. I am told
these are the Communist sharpshooters. Ever so far on in front of us a
large white banner is floating, bearing an inscription which I cannot
manage to read on account of the distance. However, the butcher-boy has
made it out, and informs us that "Love one another" is written there.
Happy, delusive Freemasons! "Tolerate one another" is scarcely
practicable! In the meantime we continue to follow at the heels of the
procession. There is much shouting and noise, here and there a feeble
"_Vive la Commune!_" But the principal cries are, "Down with the
murderers! Death to assassins! Down with Versailles!" A Freemason doffs
his hat and shouts, "_Vive la Paix!_ It is peace we are going to seek!"

I am still sadly confused, and cannot make up my mind what all this is
about. Patience, however, I shall know all at the Hôtel de Ville. Here
we are. The National Guard keeps the ground, and the whole procession
files into the Cour d'Honneur. Carried on by the crowd, I find myself
near the entrance and can see what is going on inside. The whole of the
Commune is out on the balcony, at the top of the grand staircase, in
front of the statue of the Republic, which like the Communists wears a
red scarf. Great trophies of red flags are waving everywhere. Men
bearing the banners of the society are stationed on every step; on each
is inscribed, in golden letters, mottos of peace and fraternity. A
patriarchal Freemason, wearing his collar and badges, has arrived in a
carriage; they help him to alight with marks of the greatest respect.
The court is by this time full to overflowing, an enthusiastic cry of
"Vive la Franc Maçonnerie! Vive la République Universelle!" is re-echoed
from mouth to mouth. Citizen Félix Pyat, member of the Commune, who is
on the balcony, comes forward to speak. I congratulate myself on being
at last about to hear what all this means. But I am disappointed. The
pushing and squeezing is unbearable. I have vigorously to defend my hat,
stick, purse, and cigar-case, and am half stifled besides. I almost
despair of catching a single word, but at last succeed in hearing a
few detached sentences:--"Universal nationality.... liberty, equality,
and fraternity.... manifestos of the heart...." (what is that?) "the
standard of humanity.... ramparts...." If I could only get a little
nearer--the words "homicidal balls.... fratricidal bullets.... universal
peace...." alone reach me. Is it to hear such stuff as this, that the
Freemasons have come to the Hôtel de Ville? I suppose so, for after a
little more of the same kind the whole is drowned in a stupendous roar
of "Vive la Commune!" and "Vive la République!" I have given up all hope
of ever understanding.

[Illustration: FÉLIX PYAT.[67]]

"They have come to draw lots to see who is to go and kill M. Thiers,"
cries a red-haired gamin.--"Idiot," retorts his comrade, "they have no
arms!"--"Listen, and you will hear," says the first, which is capital
advice, if I could but follow it. The pushing becomes intolerable, when
suddenly the bald head of an unfortunate citizen executes a fatal
plunge--I can breathe at last--and the following words reach me pretty
clearly:--"The Commune has decided that we shall choose five members who
are to have the honour of escorting you, and we are to draw
lots...."--"There! was I not right?" cries he of the carrotty hair; "I
knew they were going to draw lots!" A cleverly administered blow,
however, soon silences his elation, and we hear that the lots have been
drawn, and that five members are chosen to aid "this glorious, this
victorious act." There seems more rhyme than reason in this. "An act
that will be read of in the future history of France and of humanity."
Here the irrepressible breaks out again:--"Now I am sure they are going
to kill M. Thiers!" Whereupon his irritated adversary seizes him by the
collar, gives his head some well-applied blows against the curb-stone,
and then, pushing through the crowd, carries him off bodily. As for me,
my curiosity unsatisfied, I grow resigned--may the will of the Commune
be done--and I give it up. More hopeless mystification from the Citizen
Beslay, who regrets not having been chosen to aid in this "heroic act."
He also alludes to the drawing of lots, and I begin after all to fancy
poor M. Thiers must be at the bottom of it all, but he continues:
--"Citizens, what can I say after the eloquent discourse of
Félix Pyat? You are about to interest yourselves in an act of
fraternity...." (then something horrible is surely contemplated) "in
hoisting your banner on the walls of our city, and mixing in our ranks
against our enemies of Versailles." A sudden light breaks upon me. In
the meantime Citizen Beslay is embracing the nearest Freemason, while
another begs the honour of being the first to plant his banner, the
Persévérance, which was unfurled in 1790, on the ramparts. Here a band
plays the "Marseillaise," horribly out of tune; a red flag is given to
the Freemasons, with an appropriate harangue; then the Citizen Térifocq
takes back the flag, with another harangue, and ends by waving it aloft
and roaring, "Now, citizens, no more words; to action!"

This is clear, the Freemasons are to hoist their banner on to the walls
of Paris side by side with the standard of the Commune; and who is blind
enough to imagine, that the shells and bullets, indiscriminately
homicidal, fratricidal, and infanticidal as they prove, are imbued with
tact sufficient to steer clear of the Freemasons' banners, and injure in
their flight only those of the Commune? As the Versailles projectiles
have only one end in view, that of piercing both the Parisians and their
standards, as a national consequence if both Parisians and standards are
pierced, it is likewise most probable that the Masonic banners will not
remain unscathed in so dangerous a neighbourhood. And if so, what will
be the result? According to Citizen Térifocq "the Freemasons of Paris
will call to their aid the direst vengeance; the Masons of all the
provinces of France will follow their example; everywhere the brothers
will fraternise with the troops which are marching on to help Paris. On
the other hand, if the Versailles gunners do not aim at the Masons, but
only at the National Guards (_sic!_), then the Masons will join the
battalions in the field, and encourage by their example the gallant
soldiers, defenders of the city." This is all rather complicated--what
can come of it? Escorted by an ever-increasing crowd, we reach the Place
de la Bastille. Several discourses are spouted forth at the foot of the
column, but the combined effects of noise, dust, and fatigue have
blunted my senses, and I hear nothing; it seems, however to be about the
same thing over again, for the same acclamations of the crowd greet the
same gestures on the part of the orators.

We are off again down the Boulevards; the long procession, with its
waving banners and glittering signs, is hailed by the populace with
delight. Having reached the Place de la Concorde, I loiter behind.
Groups are stationed here and there. I go from one to another, trying to
gather what these open-air politicians think of all this Masonic parade.
Shortly fugitives are seen hurrying back from the Champs Elysées,
shouting, and gesticulating. "Horror! Abomination! They respect nothing!
Vengeance!" I hear a brother-mason has been killed by a shell opposite
the Rue du Colysée; that the white flag is riddled with shot; that the
Versailles rifles have singled out, killed and wounded several masons.

In a very short time the terrible news, increased and exaggerated as it
spread, filled every quarter of Paris with consternation. I returned
home in a most perplexed state of mind, from which I could not arouse
myself until the arrival, towards evening, of a friend, a freemason, and
consequently well informed. This, it appears, is what took place.

"At the moment when the procession arrived in the Champs Elysées it
formed itself into several groups, each choosing a separate avenue or
street. One followed the Faubourg St. Honoré and the Avenue Friedland as
far as the Triumphal Arch, till it reached the Porte Maillot; a second
proceeded to the Porte des Ternes by the Avenue des Ternes; a third to
the Porte Dauphine by the Avenue Ührich. Not a single freemason was
wounded on the way, though shells fell on their passage from time to
time. The VV.'.[Transcriber's note: triangular symbol of three dots here]
of each lodge marched at the head, displaying their masonic banners.


"As soon as the white flag was seen flying from the bastion on the right
of the Porte Maillot, the Versailles batteries ceased firing. The
freemasons were then able to pass the ramparts and proceed towards
Neuilly. There they were received rather coldly by the colonel in
command of the detachment. The officers, including those in high
command, were violently indignant against Paris. But the soldiers
themselves seemed utterly weary of war.

"After some parleying the members of the manifestation obtained leave to
send a certain number of delegates to Versailles, in order to make a
second attempt at conciliation with the Government."

Will this new effort be more successful than the preceding one? Will the
company of freemasons obtain what the Republican Union failed in
procuring? I would fain believe it, but cannot. The obstinacy of the
Versailles Assembly has become absolute deafness, though we must admit
that the freemasons' way of trying to bring about reconciliation was
rather singular, somewhat like holding a knife at Monsieur Thiers'
throat and crying out, "Peace or your life!"


[Footnote 66: Memoir, see Appendix 6.]

[Footnote 67: Félix Pyat was born in 1810 at Vierzon. He came to
Paris for the purpose of studying law, but soon abandoned his
intention for the more genial profession of journalist. He
contributed to the _Figaro_, the _Charivari_, the _Revue de Paris_,
and the _National_. In 1848 he was named Commissary-General, and
subsequently deputy of the department of the Cher. Having signed
Ledru-Rollin's call to arms, he was obliged after the events of June
to take refuge in England. Profiting by the amnesty of the fifteenth
of August, 1869, he returned to France, but made himself so
obnoxious to the Government by his virulent abuse of the Empire,
that he was again expelled. The revolution of the fourth of
September allowed him to re-enter France. He commenced an immediate
and violent attack on the new government, which he continued until
his journal, _Le Combat_, was suppressed. Needless to say that he
was one of the chief actors in the insurrections of the thirty-first
of October and the twenty-second of January. He was elected deputy,
but soon resigned, for the purpose of connecting himself with the
cause of the Commune. He edited the _Vengeur_ and the _Commune_
newspapers, and obtained a decree suppressing nearly all rival or
antagonistic publications. At the fall of the Commune he fled no one
knows where.]


No! no! Monsieur Félix Pyat, you must remain, if you please. You have
been of it, you are of it, and you shall be of it. It is well that you
should go through all the tenses of the verb, I am not astonished that a
man as clever as you, finding that things were taking a bad turn, should
have thought fit to give in your resignation. When the house is burning,
one jumps out of window. But your cleverness has been so much pure loss,
for your amiable confederates are waiting in the street to thrust you
back into the midst of the flames again. It is in vain that you have
written the following letter, a chef-d'oeuvre in its way, to the
president of

    "CITIZEN PRESIDENT,--If I had not been detained at the Ministry of
    War on the day when the election took place, I should have voted
    with the minority of the Commune. I think that the majority, for
    this once, is in the wrong."

    "For this once" is polite.

    "I doubt if she will ever retrieve her error."

    If the Commune were to retrace its steps at each error it made, it
    would advance slowly.

    "I think that the elected have not the right of replacing the
    electors. I think that the representatives have not the right of
    taking the place of the sovereign power. I think that the Commune
    cannot create a single one of its own members, neither make them nor
    unmake them; and, therefore, that it cannot of itself furnish that
    which is wanted to legalise their nominations'."

Oh! Monsieur Félix Pyat, legality is strangely out of fashion, and it is
well for Versailles that it is so.

    "I think also, seeing that the war has changed the population...."

Yes; the war has changed the population, if not in the way you
understand it, at least in this sense, that a great many reasonable
people have gone mad, and that many--ah! how many?--are now dead.

    "I think that it was more just to change the law than to violate it.
    The ballot gave birth to the Commune, and in completing itself
    without it, the Commune commits suicide. I will not be an accomplice
    in the fault."

We understand that; it is quite enough to be an accomplice in the crime.

    "I am so convinced of this truth, that if the Commune persist in
    what I call an usurpation of the elective power, I could not
    reconcile the respect due to the rote of the majority with the
    respect due to my own conscience; I shall therefore be obliged, much
    to my regret, to give in my resignation to the Commune before the

    "_Salut et Fraternité_.


"Before the victory" is exquisitely comic! But, carried away by the
desire of exhibiting the wit of which he is master, Monsieur Félix Pyat
fails to perceive that his irony is a little too transparent, that
"before the victory" evidently meant "before the defeat," and that
consequently, without taking into account the excellent reasons given in
his letter to the president of the Commune, we shall only recollect that
rats run away when the vessel is about to sink. But this time the rats
must remain at the bottom of the hold. Tour colleagues, Monsieur Pyat,
will not permit you to be the only one to withdraw from the honours,
since you have been with them in the strife. Not daring to fly
themselves, they will make you stay. Vermorel will seize you by the
collar at the moment you are about to open the door and make your
escape; and Monsieur Pierre Denis,[68] who used to be a poet as well as
a cobbler, will murmur in your ear these verses of Victor Hugo[69],
which, with a few slight modifications, will suit your case exactly:--

     "Maintenant il se dit: 'L'empire est chancelant;
          La victoire est peu sûre.'
     Il cherche à s'en aller, furtif et reculant.
          Reste dans la masure!"

     "Tu dis: 'Le plafond croule; ils vont, si l'on me voit,
          Empêcher que je sorte.'
     N'osant rester ni fuir, tu regardes le toit,
          Tu regardes la porte.

     "Tu mets timidement la main sur le verrou;
          Reste en leurs rangs funèbres!
     Reste! La loi qu'ils ont enfouie en un trou
          Est là dans les ténèbres.

     "Reste! Elle est là, le flanc percé de leurs couteaux,
          Gisante, et sur sa bière
     Ils ont mis une dalle. Un pan de ton manteau
          Est pris sous cette pierre.

     "Tu ne t'en iras pas! Quoi! quitter leur maison!
          Et fuir leur destinée!
     Quoi! tu voudrais trahir jusqu'à la trahison
          Elle-même indignée!

     "Quoi! n'as-tu pas tenu l'échelle à ces fripons
          En pleine connivence?
     Le sac de ces voleurs ne fut-il pas, réponds,
          Cousu par toi d'avance?

     "Les mensonges, la haine au dard froid et visqueux,
          Habitent ce repaire;
     Tu t'en vas! De quel droit, étant plus renard qu'eux
          Et plus qu'elle vipère?"

And Monsieur Félix Pyat will remain, in spite of the thousand and one
good reasons he would find to make a short tour in Belgium. His
colleagues will try persuasion, if necessary--"You are good, you are
great, you are pure; what would become of us without you?" and they will
hold on to him to the end, like cowards who in the midst of danger cling
to their companions, shrieking out, "We will die together!" and embrace
them convulsively to prevent their escape.


[Footnote 68: A writer in the _Vengeur_.]

[Footnote 69: For translation, see Appendix 7.]


An anonymous writer, who is no other, it is said, than the citizen
Delescluze, has just published the following:--

    "The Commune has assured to itself the receipt of a sum of 600,000
    francs a day--eighteen millions a month."

There was once upon a time a French forger, named Collé, celebrated for
the extent and importance of his swindling, and who possessed, it was
said, a very large fortune. When questioned upon the subject, he used to
answer: "I have assured to myself a receipt of a hundred francs a
day--three thousand francs a month."

Between Collé and the Commune there exists a difference, however: in the
first place, Collé affected a particular liking for the clergy, whose
various garbs he used frequently to assume, and the Commune cannot
endure _curés_ and secondly, while Collé, in assuring himself a receipt
of three thousand francs a month, had done all that was possible for him
to do, the Commune puts up with a miserable eighteen millions, when it
might have ensured to itself a great deal more. It is astounding, and, I
may add, little in accordance with its dignity, that it should be
satisfied with so moderate an allowance. You show too much modesty; it
is not worth while being victorious for so little. Eighteen millions--a
mere nothing! Your delicacy might be better understood were you more
scrupulous as to the choice of your means. Thank Heaven! you do not err
on that score. Come! a little more energy, if you please. "But!" sighs
the Commune, "I have done my best, it seems to me. Thanks to Jourde,[70]
who throws Law into the shade, and to Dereure,[71] the shoemaker
--Financier and Cobbler of La Fontaine's Fable--I pocket daily
the gross value of the sale of tobacco, which is a pretty speculation
enough, since I have had to pay neither the cost of the raw materials
nor of the manufacture. I have besides this, thanks to what I call the
'regular income from the public departments,' a good number of little
revenues which do not cost me much and bring me in a good deal. Now
there's the Post, for instance. I take good care to despatch none of the
letters that are confided to me, but I manage to secure the price of the
postage by an arrangement with my employés. This shows cleverness and
tact, I think. Finally, in addition to this, I get the railway companies
to be kind enough to drop into my pockets the sum of two millions of
francs: the Northern Railway Company will supply me with three hundred
and ninety-three thousand francs; the Western, with two hundred and
seventy-five thousand; the Eastern, three hundred and fifty-four
thousand francs; the Lyons Railway Company, with six hundred and
ninety-two thousand francs; the Orleans Railway, three hundred and
seventy-six thousand francs. It is the financial delegate, Monsieur
Jourde, who has the most brains of the whole band, who planned this
ingenious arrangement. And, in truth, I consider that I have done all
that is in my power, and you are wrong in trying to humiliate me by
drawing comparisons between myself and Collé, who had some good, in him,
but who was in no way equal to me." My dear, good Commune, I do not deny
that, you have the most excellent intentions; I approve the tobacco
speculation and the funds drawn from the public service money, in which
you include, I suppose, the profits made in your nocturnal visits to the
public and other coffers, and your fruitful rounds in the churches. As
to the tax levied on railways, it inspires me with an admiration
approaching enthusiasm. But, for mercy's sake, do not allow yourself to
stop there. Nothing is achieved so long as anything remains to be done.
You waste your time in counting up the present sources of your revenues,
while so many opportunities remain of increasing them. Are there no
bankers, no stock-brokers, no notaries, in Paris? Send a few of these
honest patriots of yours to the houses of the reactionaries. A hundred
thousand francs from one, two hundred thousand francs from another; it
is always worth the taking. From small streams come great rivers. In
your place I would not neglect the shopkeepers' tills either, or the
money-chests of the rich. They are of the _bourgeoisie_, those people,
and the _bourgeois_ are your enemies. Tax them, _morbleu!_ Tax them by
all means. Have you not all your friends and your friends' friends to
look after? Is it false keys that fail you? But they are easily made,
and amongst your number you will certainly find one or two locksmiths
quite ready to help you. Take Pilotel, for instance: a sane man, that!
There were only eight hundred francs in the escritoire of Monsieur
Chaudey, and he appropriated the eight hundred francs. Thus, you see,
how great houses and good governments are founded. And when there is no
longer any money, you must seize hold of the goods and furniture of your
fellow-citizens. You will find receivers of stolen goods among you, no
doubt. They told me yesterday that you had sent the Titiens and Paul
Veroneses of the Louvre to London, in order to be able to make money out
of them. A most excellent measure, that I can well explain to myself,
because I can understand that Monsieur Courbet must have a great desire
to get rid of these two painters, for whom he feels so legitimate and
profound a hatred. But, alas! it was but a false report. You confined
yourselves to putting up for sale the materials composing the Column of
the Place Vendôme; dividing them into four lots, two lots of stone and
cement, and two lots of metal. Two lots only? Why! you know nothing
about making the best of your merchandise. There is something better
than stone and metal in this column. There is that in it which a number
of silly people used to call in other times the glory of France. What a
pretty spectacle--when the sale by auction is over--to see the buyers
carrying away under their arms--one, a bit of Wagram; another, a bit of
Jena; and some, who had thought to be buying a pound or two of bronze,
having made the acquisition of the First Consul at Arcole or the Emperor
at Austerlitz. It is a sad pity that you did not puff up the value and
importance of your sale to the bidders. Your speculation would then have
turned out better. You have managed badly, my dear Commune; you have not
known how to take advantage of your position. Repair your faults, impose
your taxes, appropriate, confiscate! All may be yours, disdain nothing,
and have no fear of resistance; everyone is afraid of you. Here! I have
five francs in my own pocket, will you have them?


[Footnote 70: Jourde occupied the position of financial Minister under
the Commune Government. He is well-educated, and is said to be one of
the most intellectually distinguished of the Federal functionaries. He
is a medical student, and said to be twenty-seven years of age. See
Appendix 8.]

[Footnote 71: A working cobbler, and member of the International
Society, which he represented at the Congress of Bâle. He occupied a
post on the _Marseillaise_ newspaper, became a Commissary of Police
after the fourth of September, and took part on the popular side in the
outbreak of the thirty-first of October. He was deprived of his office
by General Trochu's government, and appointed one of the delegates for
justice, by the authorities of the Commune.]


    "The social revolution could end but in one great catastrophe, of
    which the immediate effects would be--

    "To make the land a barren waste:

    "To put a strait jacket upon society:

    "And, if it were possible that such a state of things could be
    prolonged for several weeks--

    "To cause three or four millions of human beings to perish by
    horrible famine.

    "When the Government shall be without resources, when the country
    shall be without produce and without commerce:

    "When starving Paris, blockaded by the departments, will no longer
    discharge its debts and make payments, no longer export nor import:

    "When workmen, demoralised by the politics taught at the clubs and
    the closing of the workshops, will have found a means of living, no
    matter how:

    "When the State appropriates to itself the silver and ornaments of
    the citizens for the purpose of sending them to the Mint:

    "When perquisitions made in the private houses are the only means of
    collecting taxes:

    "When hungry bands spread over the country, committing robbery and

    "When the peasant, armed with loaded gun, has to neglect the
    cultivation of his crops in order to protect them:

    "When the first sheaf shall have been stolen, the first house
    forced, the first church profaned, the first torch fired, the first
    woman violated:

    "When the first blood shall have been spilt:

    "When the first head shall have fallen:

    "When abomination and desolation shall have spread over all France--

    "Oh! then you will know what we mean by a social revolution:

    "A multitude let loose, arms in hand, mad with revenge and fury:

    "Soldiers, pikes, empty homes, knives and crowbars:

    "The city, silent and oppressed; the police in our very homes,
    opinions suspected, words noted down, tears observed, sighs counted,
    silence watched; spying and denunciations:

    "Inexorable requisitions, forced and progressive loans, paper money
    made worthless:

    "Civil war, and the enemy on the frontiers:

    "Pitiless proconsuls, a supreme committee, with hearts of stone--

    "This would be the fruits of what they call democratic and social

Who wrote this admirable page?--Proudhon.

O all-merciful Providence! Take pity on France, for she has come to


A balloon! A balloon! Quick! A balloon! There is not a moment to be
lost. The inhabitants of Brive-la-Gaillarde and the mountaineers of
Savoy are thirsting for news; let us shower manna on them. Write away!
Pierre Denis! Pump in your gas, emulators of Godard! And may the four
winds of heaven carry our "Declarations" to the four quarters of France!
Ah! ah! The Versaillais--band of traitors that they are!--did not
calculate on this. They raise soldiers, the simpletons; they bombard our
forts and our houses, the idiots! But we make decrees, and distribute
our proclamations throughout the country by means of an unlimited number
of revolutionary aeronauts. May they be guided by the wind which blows
across the mountains! How the honest labourers, the good farmers, the
eager workers of the departments will rejoice when they receive,
dropping, from the sky, the pages on which are inscribed the rights and
duties of the man of the present day! They will not hesitate one single
instant. They will leave their fields, their homes, their workshops, and
cry, "A musket! a musket!" with no thought that they leave behind them
women without husbands, and children without fathers! They will fly to
us, happy to conquer or die for the glory of Citizen Delescluze and
Citizen Vermorel! What ardour! What patriotism! Already they are on
their way; they are coming, they are come! Those who had no fire-arms
have seized their pickaxes or pieces of their broken ploughs! Hurrah!
Forward! March! To arms, citizens, to arms! Hail to France, who comes to
the rescue of Paris!

All to no purpose. I tell you the people of Brive-la-Gaillarde and the
mountaineers of Savoy have not once thought of taking up arms. They have
never been more tranquil or more resolute on remaining in peace and
quiet than now. When they see one of your balloons--always supposing
that it has any other end in view than of depositing repentant
communists in safe, snug corners, pass the lines of the Versailles
troops--when they see one of your balloons, they simply exclaim,
"Hulloa! Here's a balloon! Where in the world can it come from?" If
some printed papers fall from the sky, the peasant picks them up,
saying, "I shall give them to my son to read, when he returns from
school." The evening comes, the son spells them out, while the father
listens. The son cannot understand; the father falls asleep. "Ah! those
Parisians!" cries the mother. Can you wonder? These people are born to
live and die without knowing all that is admirable in the men of the
Hôtel de Ville. They are fools enough to cling to their own lives and
the lives of those near them. They do not go to war amongst themselves;
they are poor ignorant creatures, and you will never make them believe
that when once they have paid their taxes, worked, fed their wives and
children, there still remains to them one duty to fulfil, more holy,
more imperative than all others,--that of coming to the Porte-Maillot to
receive a ball or a fragment of shell in their skulls.

But these balloons might be made of some use, nevertheless. Pick out
one, the best made, the largest in size, the best rigged; put in Citizen
Félix Pyat--who, you may be sure, will not be the last to sit down--and
Citizen Delescluze too, nor must we omit Citizen Cluseret, nor any of
the citizens who at the present moment constitute the happiness of Paris
and the tranquillity of France! Now inflate this admirable balloon,
which is to bear off all your hopes, with the lightest gases. Then blow,
ye winds, terrifically, furiously, and bear it from us! Balloons can be
capricious at times. Have you read, the story of Hans Pfaal? Good
Heavens! if the wind could only carry them away, up to the moon, or even
a great deal further still.


I'm surprised myself, as I re-read the preceding pages, at the strange
contradictions I meet with. During the first few days I was almost
favourable to the Commune; I waited, I hoped. To-day all is very
different. When I write down in the evening what I have seen and thought
in the day, I allow myself to blame with severity men that inspired me
formerly with some kind of sympathy. What has taken place? Have my
opinions changed? I do not think so. Besides, I have in reality but one
opinion. I receive impressions, describing these impressions without
reserve, without prejudice. If these stray leaves should ever be
collected in a volume, they will at least possess the rare merit of
being thoroughly sincere. Is it then, that my nature is modified? By no
means. If I were indulgent a month ago, it was that I did not know those
of whom I spoke, and that I am of a naturally hopeful and benevolent
disposition: if I now show myself severe, it is that--like the rest of
Paris--I have learned to know them better.


The Commune has naturally brought an infinite number of journals into
existence. Try, if you will, to count the leaves of the forest, the
grains of sand on the seashore, the stars in the heavens, but do not, in
your wildest dreams, attempt to enumerate the newspapers that have seen
the light since the famous day of the 18th of March. Félix Pyat has a
journal, _Le Vengeur_; Vermorel has a journal, _Le Cri du People_;
Delescluze has a journal, _Le Reveil_; there is not a member of the
Commune but indulges in the luxury of a sheet in which he tells his
colleagues daily all the evil he thinks of them. It must be acknowledged
that these gentlemen have an extremely bad opinion one of the other. I
defy even the _Gaulois_ of Versailles--yes, the _Gaulois_ itself--to
treat Félix Pyat as Vermorel treats him, and if it be remembered on the
other hand what Félix Pyat says of Vermorel, the _Gaulois_ will be found
singularly good-natured. Napoleon cautioned us long ago "to wash our
dirty linen at home," but good patriots cannot be expected to profit by
the counsels of a tyrant. So the columns of the Commune papers are
devoted to the daily and mutual pulling to pieces of the Commune's
members. But where will these ephemeral sheets be in six months, in one
month, or in a week's time perhaps? The wind which wafts away the leaves
of the rose and the laurel, will be no less cruel for the political
leaves. Let us then, for the sake of posterity, offer a specimen of what
is--or as we shall soon say, what was--the Communalist press of to-day.
Be they edited by Marotteau, or Duchesne, or Paschal Grousset, or by any
other emulator of Paul-Louis Courier, these worthy journals are all much
alike, and one example will suffice for the whole.

[Illustration: VERMESCH (PÈRE DUCHESNE).[72]]

First of all, and generally in enormous type, stand the LATEST NEWS, the
news from the Porte Maillot where the friends of the Commune are
fighting, and the news from Versailles where the enemies of the country
are sitting. They usually run somewhat in this style:--

    "It is more and more confirmed that the Assembly of Versailles is
    surrounded and made prisoner by the troops returned from Germany.
    The generals of the Empire have newly proclaimed Napoleon: the
    Third, Emperor. After a violent quarrel about two National Guards
    whom Marshal MacMahon had had shot, but had omitted to have cooked
    for his soldiers, Monsieur Thiers sent a challenge to the Marshal,
    by his two seconds. These seconds were no other than the Comte de
    Chambord and the Comte de Paris. Marshal MacMahon chose the
    ex-Emperor and Paul de Cassagnac. The duel took place in the Rue
    des Reservoirs, in the midst of an immense crowd. The Marshal was
    killed, and was therefore obliged to renounce the command of the
    troops. But the Assembly would not accept his resignation.

    "We are in the position to assert that a company of the 132nd
    Battalion has this morning surrounded fifteen thousand gendarmes and
    sergents-de-ville, in the park of Neuilly. Seeing that all
    resistance was useless, the supporters of Monsieur Thiers
    surrendered without reserve. Among them were seventeen members of
    the National Assembly, who, not content with ordering the
    assassination of our brothers, had wished also to be present at the


    "A person worthy of credit has related to us the following fact:--A
    _cantinière_ of the 44th Battalion (from the Batignolles quarter),
    was in the act of pouring out a glass of brandy for an artilleryman
    of the Fort of Vanves, when suddenly the artilleryman was out in two
    by a Versailles shell; the brave _cantinière_ drank off the contents
    of the glass just poured out for the dead man who lay in bits at her
    feet, and took his place at the guns. She performed her new part of
    artilleryman so bravely, that ten minutes later there was not a
    single gun uninjured in the Meudon battery. As to those who were
    serving the pieces there, they were all hurled to a distance of
    several miles, and amongst them were said to have been
    recognised--we give this news however with great reserve--Monsieur
    Ollivier, the ex-minister of the ex-Emperor, and Count von Bismarck,
    who wished to verify for himself the actual range of the guns that
    he had lent to his good friends of Versailles."

After the LATEST NEWS come the reports of the day, the _bulletin du
jour_ as it is called now, and it is in this that the editor, a member
of the Commune, reveals his talent. We trust that the following example
is not quite unworthy of the pen of Monsieur Félix Pyat, or the
signature of Monsieur Vermorel:--

    "Paris, 29th April, 1871.

    "They are lying in wait for us, these tigers athirst for blood.

    "They are there, these Vandals, who have sworn that in all Paris not
    a single man shall be spared, nor a single stone, left standing.

    "But we are not in their power yet. No, nor shall we ever be.

    "The National Guard is on the watch; victorious and sublime, their
    soldierly breasts are not of flesh and blood, but of bronze, from
    which the balls rebound as they stand, dauntless, before the enemy.

    "Ah! so these lachrymose Jules Favres, these fat Picards, these
    hungry Jules Ferrys, said amongst themselves, 'We will take Paris,
    we will tear it up, and its soil shall be divided after the victory
    between the wives of the _sergents de ville!_' They are beginning
    to understand all the insanity of their plan. Why, it is Paris that
    will take Versailles, that will take all those blear-eyed old men
    who, because they cannot look steadily at Monsieur Thiers' face,
    fancy that it is the sun.

    "It is in vain that they gorge with blood and wine their deceived
    soldiers; the moment is approaching when these men will no longer
    consent to march against the city which is fighting for them.
    Already, yesterday, the mêlée of a battle could be distinguished
    from the fort of Vanves; the line had come to blows with the
    _gendarmes_ of Valentin and Charette's Zouaves. Courage, Parisians!
    A few more days and you will have triumphed over all the infamy that
    dares to stop the march of the victorious Commune!

    "But it is not enough to vanquish the enemies without, we must get
    rid also of the enemies that are within.

    "No more pity! no more vacillation! The justice of the people is
    wearied of formalities, and cries out for vengeance. Death to spies!
    Death to the _réactionaires_! Death to the priests! Why does the
    Commune feed this collection of malefactors in your prisons, while
    the money they cost us daily would be so useful to the women and
    children of those who are fighting for the cause of Paris? We are
    assured that one of the prisoners ate half a chicken for his dinner
    yesterday; how many good patriots might have been saved from
    suffering with the sum which was taken from the chests of the
    Republic for this orgie! There is no longer time to hesitate; the
    Versaillais are shooting and mutilating the prisoners; we must
    revenge ourselves! We must show them such an example, that in
    perceiving from afar the heads of their infamous accomplices, the
    traitors of Versailles, stuck upon our ramparts, confounded by the
    magnanimity of the Commune, they will lay down their arms at last,
    and deliver themselves up as prisoners.

    "As to the refractory of Paris, we cannot find words to express the
    astonishment we experience at the weakness that has been shown with
    regard to them.

    "What! we permit that there should still be cowards in Paris? I
    thought they were all at Versailles. We allow still to remain
    amongst us men who are not of our opinion? This state of things has
    lasted too long. Let them take their muskets or die. Shoot them
    down, those who refuse to go forward. They have wives and children,
    they are fathers of families, they say; a fine reason indeed! The
    Commune before everything! And, besides, there must be no pity for
    the wives of _réactionaires_ and the children of spies!"

The _bulletins du jour_ are sometimes set forth in gentler terms; but we
have chosen a fair average specimen between the lukewarm and the most

Then comes the solid, serious article, generally written by a pen
invested with all due authority, by the man who has the most head in the
place. The subject varies according to circumstances; but the main point
of the article is generally to show that Paris has never been so rich,
so free, nor so happy, as under the government of the Commune; and this
is a truth that is certainly not difficult to prove. Is not the fact of
being able to live without working the best possible proof that people
are well off? Well! look at the National Guards; they have not touched a
tool for a whole month, and they have such a supply of money that they
are obliged to make over some of it to the wineshop-keepers in exchange
for an unlimited number of litres and sealed bottles. Then, who could
say that we are not free? The journals that allowed themselves to assert
the contrary have been prudently suppressed. Besides, is it not being
free to have shaken off the shameful yoke of the men who sold France; to
be no longer subjected to the oppression of snobs, _réactionaires_, and
traitors? And as to the most perfect happiness, it stands to reason,
since we are both free and rich, that we must be in the incontestable
enjoyment of it. Finally, after the official dispatches edited in the
style you are acquainted with, and after the accounts of the last
battles, come the miscellaneous news, the _faits divers_; and here it is
that the ingenuity of the writers displays itself to the greatest

    "Yesterday evening, towards ten o'clock, the attention of the
    passers-by in the Rue St. Denis was attracted by cries which seemed
    to proceed from a four-storied house situated at the corner of the
    Rue Sainte-Apolline. The cries were evidently cries of despair. Some
    people went to the nearest guardhouse to make the fact known, and
    four National Guards, preceded by their corporal, entered the house.
    Guided by the sound of the cries they arrived at the fourth storey,
    and broke open the door. A horrible spectacle was then exposed to
    the view of the Guards and of the persons who had followed them in
    their quest. Three young children lay stretched on the floor of the
    room, the disorder of which denoted a recent struggle. The poor
    little things were without any covering whatever, and there were
    traces of blows upon their bodies; one of them had a cut across the
    forehead. The National Guards questioned the children with an almost
    maternal kindness. They had not eaten for four days, and, in
    consequence of this prolonged fast, they were in such a state of
    moral and physical abasement that no precise information could be
    obtained from them. The corporal then addressed himself to the
    neighbours, and soon became acquainted with a part of the terrible

    "In this room lived a poor work-girl, young and pretty. One day, as
    she was carrying back her work to the shop, she observed that she
    was followed by a well-dressed man, whose physiognomy indicated the
    lowest passions. He spoke to her, and was at first repulsed; but,
    like the tempter Faust offering jewels to Marguerite, he tempted her
    with bright promises, and the poor girl, to whom work did not always
    come, listened to the base seducer. Blame her not too harshly, pity
    her rather, and reserve all your indignation for the wretch who
    betrayed her.

    "After three years, which were but anguish and remorse to the
    miserable woman, and during which she had no other consolation but
    the smiles of the children whose very existence was a crime, she was
    becoming reconciled at last to her life, when the father of her
    children deserted her.

    "This desertion coincided with the glorious revolution of the 18th
    of March; and the poor work-girl, who had still room in her heart
    for patriotism, found some consolation in reflecting that the day,
    so miserable for her, had at least brought happiness to France.

    "A fortnight passed, the poor abandoned mother had given up all hope
    of ever seeing the father of her three children again, when one
    evening--it was last Friday--a man, wrapped in a black cloak,
    introduced himself into the house, and made inquiries of the
    _concierge_--a great patriot, and commander of the 114th
    Battalion--whether Mademoiselle O... were at home? Upon an answer in
    the affirmative from the heroic defender of Right and Liberties of
    Paris, the man mounted the stairs to the poor workwoman's rooms. It
    was he--the seducer; the _concierge_ had recognised him. What passed
    between the murderer and his victims? That will be known,
    perhaps--never! But certain it is, that an hour afterwards he went
    out, still enveloped in his black mantle.

    "The next day, and the days following, the _concierge_ was much
    astonished not to see his lodger of the fourth floor, who was
    accustomed to stop and talk with him on her way to fetch her _café
    au lait_. But his deep sense of duty as commander of the 114th
    Battalion occupied his mind so thoroughly, that he paid but little
    attention to the incident. Neither did he regard the sighs and sobs
    which were heard from the upper stories. He can scarcely be blamed
    for this negligence; he was studying his _vade-mecum_.

    "On the fourth day, however, the cries were so violent that they
    began to inspire the passers-by with alarm, and we have related how
    four men, headed by their _caporal_, were sought for to inquire into
    the cause.

    "We have already told what was seen and heard, but the explanations
    of the neighbours were not sufficient to clear up the darkest side
    of the mystery, and perhaps the truth would never have been known if
    the _caporal_--exhibiting, by a rare proof of intelligence, how far
    he was worthy of the grade with which his comrades had honoured
    him--had not been inspired with the idea of lifting up the curtain
    of the bed.

    "Horror! Upon the bed lay stretched the corpse of the unhappy
    mother, a dagger plunged into her heart, and in her clutched hand
    was found a paper upon which the victim, before rendering her last
    breath, had traced the following lines:--

    "'I die, murdered by him who has betrayed me; he would have murdered
    also my three children, if a noise in the next room had not caused
    him to take flight. He had come from Versailles for the express
    purpose of accomplishing this quadruple crime, and, by this means,
    obliterate every trace of his past villany. His name is Jules Ferry.
    You who read this, revenge me!'"


[Footnote 72: Vermesch, who was born at Lille, in 1846, though not an
official member of the Commune, was one of its most powerful champions.
He was founder and principal editor of the _Père Duchesne_, a poor
imitation of the journal, published under the same title, by Hébert, in
the time of the first Revolution. This paper, one of the most
characteristic of the Commune, was filled with trivialities, in the
vilest taste and slang, which cannot be rendered in English. The first
number of Vermesch's journal was published on the 6th of March, but was
suppressed by General Vinoy; it re-appeared, however, on the eighteenth
of the same month, and met with such prodigious success, that even its
editor himself was astonished. Intoxicated with the result, the writers
became more and more virulent, and not content with penning the vilest
personal abuse, Vermesch assumed the _rôle_ of public informer. For
instance, he denounced M. Gustave Chaudey, a writer in the _Siècle_, in
the _Père Duchesne_ of the 12th of April, and that journalist was
arrested in consequence on the following day. The journal became, not
only the medium of all kinds of personal abuse and vengeance, but did
the duty of inquisitor for the Communal Government, for whom it produced
a terrible crop of victims. The _Official Journal_ contained a number of
decrees, the drafts of which at first appeared in _Père Duchesne_.

Amongst other acts, Vermesch organised what he called the battalion of
the Enfants of the _Père Duchesne_, and considering the origin of this
corps, the character of the rabble which filled its ranks may easily be
imagined. The children of such a father could only be found amidst the
lowest dregs of the Parisian population; fit instruments for the
infamous work which was afterwards to be done.]

[Footnote 73: Paschal Grousset prepared himself for politics by the
study of medicine; from the anatomy of heads he passed to the dissection
of ideas. Having turned journalist, he wrote scientific articles in
_Figaro_, contributed to the _Standard_, and was one of the editors of
the _Marseillaise_ when the challenge, which gave rise to the death of
Victor Noir and the famous trial at Tours, was sent to Prince Pierre
Bonaparte. Immediately after the revolution of the eighteenth of March
he started the _Nouvelle République_, an ephemeral publication which
only lived a week. On the second of April he commenced the _Affranchi_,
or journal of free men, as he called it, Vesinier joining him in the
management of it. The popularity of Grousset caused him to be elected a
member of the Commune in April, and the Government soon appointed him
Minister of Foreign Affairs. He communicated circulars to the
representatives of different nations at Paris, in order to obtain a
recognition of the Commune; he also sent proclamations to the large
towns of France, appealing to arms. But his means of communication with
other governments, and indeed with his own envoys, was very restricted.

He was one of those who took refuge at the _Mairie_ of the Eleventh
Arrondissement, and who, knowing well that the struggle was really over,
said to the silly heroes who protected them, "All is well. The
Versailles mob is turned, and you will soon join your brethren in the
Champs Elysées." Many of them that night entered the valley of the
shadow of death! On the third of June the ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs
was arrested in the Rue Condorcet, dressed as a woman, and marched off
to Versailles.]


    "Issy is taken!

    "Issy is not taken!

    "Mégy[74] has delivered it up!

    "Eudes holds it still."

I have heard nothing but contradictory news since this morning. Is Fort
Issy in the hands of the Versailles troops--yes or no? Hoping to get
better information by approaching the scene of conflict, I went to the
Porte d'Issy, but returned without having succeeded in learning

There were but few people in that direction; some National Guards,
sheltered by a casemate, and a few women, watching for the return of
their sons and husbands, were all I saw. The cannonading was terrific;
in less than a quarter of an hour I heard five shells whistle over my

Towards twelve o'clock the drawbridge was lowered, and I saw a party of
about sixty soldiers, dusty, tired, and dejected, advancing towards me.
These were some of the "revengers of the Republic."

"Where do you come from?" I asked them.

"From the trenches. There were four hundred of us, and we are all that

But when I asked them whether the Fort of Issy were taken, they made no

Following the soldiers came four men, bearing a litter, on which a dead
body lay stretched; and it was with this sad procession that I
re-entered Paris. From time to time the men deposited their load on the
ground, and went into a wine-shop to drink. I took advantage of one of
these moments when the corpse lay abandoned, to lift the cloak that had
been spread over it. It was the body of a young man, almost a lad; his
wound was hidden, but the collar of his shirt was dyed crimson with
blood. When the men returned for the third time, their gait was so
unsteady that it was with difficulty they raised the poor boy's bier,
and then went off staggering. At the turning of a street the corpse
fell, and I ran up as it was being picked from the ground; one of the
drunken men was shedding tears, and maudling out, "My poor brother!"


[Footnote 74: Mégy, the famous governor of the Fort of Issy, was
implicated in the last, supposed, plot against the life of Napoleon III.
Having shot one of the police agents charged with his arrest, he was
tried and condemned to death. He was, however, delivered from prison on
the fourth of September, and appointed to the command of a battalion of
National Guards, with which he marched against the Hôtel de Ville on the
thirty-first of October and the twentieth of January. He was named a
member of the Commune on the eighteenth of March, and set fire to the
Cour des Comptes and the Palace of the Légion d'Honneur on the
twenty-third of May, 1871.]


We shall see no more of Cluseret! Cluseret is done for, Cluseret is in
prison![75] What has he done? Is he in disgrace on account of Fort Issy?
This would scarcely be just, considering that if the fort were evacuated
yesterday it was reoccupied this morning; by the bye, I cannot explain
satisfactorily to myself why the Versaillais should have abandoned this
position, which they seem to have considered of some importance. If it
is not on account of Fort Issy that Cluseret was politely asked to go
and keep Monseigneur Darboy company, why was it? I remember hearing
yesterday and the day before something about a letter of General
Fabrice, in which that amiable Prussian, it is reported, begged General
Cluseret to intercede with the Commune in behalf of the imprisoned
priests. Is it possible that the Communal delegate, at the risk of
passing for a Jesuit, could have made the required demand? Why, M.
Cluseret, that was quite enough for you to be put in prison, and shot
too into the bargain. However, you did not intercede for anybody, for
the very excellent reason that General Fabrice no more thought of
writing to you, than of giving back Alsace and Lorraine. So we must
search somewhere else for the motive of this sudden eclipse. Some say
there was a quarrel with Dombrowski, that the latter thought fit to
sign a truce without the authority of Cluseret--a truce, what an idea!
Has Dombrowski any scruples about slaughter?--that Cluseret flew into a
great rage; but that his rival got the best of it in the end. You see if
one is an American and the other a Pole, the Commune must have a hard
time of it between the two!

No, neither the evacuation of Fort Issy--in spite of what the _Journal
Officiel_ says--Monseigneur Darboy, nor the quarrel with Dombrowski are
the real causes of the fall of Cluseret. Cluseret's destiny was to fall;
Cluseret has fallen because he did not like gold lace and
embroidery--"that is the question," all the rest are pretexts.

So the noble delegate imagined he could quietly issue a proclamation one
morning commanding all the officers under his orders to rip off the gold
and silver bands which luxuriantly ornament their sleeves and caps![76]
He thought his staff would forego epaulets and other military gewgaws.
Why, the man must have been mad! What would Cora or Armentine have said
if they had seen their military heroes stalk into the Café de Suède or
the Café de Madrid, shorn of all their brilliant appendages, which made
them look so wonderfully like the monkey-general at the Neuilly fair, in
the good old times, when there were such things as fairs, and before
Neuilly was a ruin. Ask any soldier, Federal or otherwise, if he will
give up his pay, or his jingling sword, or even his rank; he may perhaps
consent, but ask him to rip off his embroidery, and he will answer,
never! How can you imagine a man of sense consenting not to look like a

Another of these absurd prescriptions has done much to lower Cluseret in
public estimation. One day he took it into his head to prevent his
officers from galloping in the streets and boulevards, under the
miserable pretext that the rapid evolutions of these horsemen had
occasioned several accidents. Well, and if they had, do you think a
gallant captain of horse is going to deprive himself of the pleasure of
curvetting within sight of his lady love, for the pitiful reason, that
he may perchance upset an old woman or two or three children? Citizen
Cluseret does not know what he is talking about! It is certain that if
this valiant general has such a very great horror of accidents, he
should begin by stopping the firing at Courbevoie, which is a great deal
more dangerous than the galloping of a horse on the Boulevard
Montmartre. As you may imagine, the officers went on galloping and
wearing their finery under the very nose of the general, while he walked
about stoically in plain clothes. However, although they did not obey
him, they owed him a grudge for the orders he had given. Opposition was
being hatched, and was ready to burst forth on the first opportunity,
which happened to be the evacuation of Fort Issy.[76] Cluseret has
fallen a victim to his taste for simplicity, but he carries with him the
regrets of all the illused cab-horses which, in the absence of
thoroughbreds, have to suffice the gallant staff, and who, poor
creatures, were only too delighted not to gallop.


[Footnote 75: General Cluseret was a great personage for a time with the
Communists, and his military talents were lauded to the skies, but
suddenly he was committed to prison, and was succeeded in the command of
the army by Rossel. The cause of his imprisonment is not clear. Some say
that he was discovered to be in correspondence with the Thiers
government, others that he was suspected of aiming at the Dictatorship.
During the confusion that occurred on the first entry of the Versailles
troops into Paris, when the Archbishop of Paris and the other so-called
"hostages" had been barbarously assassinated, when the Louvre, the
Palais Royal, and the Hôtel de Ville were in flames, Cluseret escaped
from prison, and was not heard of again until it was reported that his
body had been found buried beneath the rubbish of the last barricade.
Was report correct?]


"CITOYENS,--I notice with pain that, forgetful of our modest origin, the
ridiculous mania for trimmings, embroidery, and shoulder-knots has begun
to take hold upon you.

"To work! You have for the first time accomplished a revolution by, and
for, labour.

"Let us not forget our origin, and, above all, do not let us be ashamed
of it, Workmen we were! workmen let us remain!

"In the name of virtue against vice, of duty against abuse, of austerity
against corruption, we have triumphed; let us not forget the fact.

"Let us be, above all, men of honour and duty; we shall then found an
austere Republic, the only one that has or can have reason for its

"I appeal to the good sense of my fellow-citizens: let us have no more
tags and lace, no more glitter, no more frippery which costs so little
at the shops yet is so dear to our responsibility.

"In future, anyone who cannot deduce proof of his right to wear the
insignia of his nominal rank, or, who shall add to the regular uniform
of the National Guard, tags, lace, or other vain distinctions, will be
liable to be punished.

"I profit by this occasion to remind each of you of the necessity of
absolute obedience to the authorities, for in obeying those whom you
have elected you are only obeying yourselves.

"The Delegate of War,

"Paris, April 7th, 1871,

(Signed) "E. CLUSERET."]


Suppose that a man in disguise goes into the opera ball intoxicated,
rushes hither and thither, gesticulating, insulting the women, mocking
the men, turns off the gas, then sets light to some curtains, until such
a hue and cry is raised that he is turned out of the place. Whereupon
our mask runs off to the nearest costumier's, changes his clown's dress
for that of a pantaloon, and returns to the opera to recommence his old
tricks, saying, "I have changed my dress, no one will recognise me." But
he is wrong, there is no mistaking his way of doing business.

The crowd surrounds him and cries, "We recognise you, _beau masque!_"
and if he has had the imprudence to secure the doors, they throw him out
of window.

We recognise you, Executive Commission;[77] it is in vain that you
disguise yourself in the bloody rags of the Committee of Public Safety,
your are still yourself, you are still Félix Pyat, you are still
Ranvier, you have never ceased to be Gérardin; you hope to make
yourself obeyed more readily under this lugubrious costume, but you
mistake. Command us to go and fight, and we will not budge; pursue us,
and we will hardly run away; put us in prison, and we will only laugh.
You are no more a Terror, than Gil-Pérez the actor is Talma; the knocks
you receive have pushed aside your false nose; it is in vain that you
decree, that you rob, that you incarcerate; you are too grotesque to be
terrible. Even if you carried the parody out to the end, and thought
fit to erect a guillotine and sharpen the knife, we should even then
decline to look seriously upon you, and were we to see one by one five
hundred heads fell into the basket, we should still persist in thinking
that your axe was of wood, and your guillotine of cardboard!



[Footnote 77: The affair of the 30th of April signally disappointed the
chiefs of the insurrection, who decreed the formation of a Committee of
Public Safety, and caused Cluseret to disappear. "The incapacity and
negligence of the Delegate of War having," they said, "almost lost them
the possession of Fort Issy, the Executive Commission considered it
their duty to propose the arrest of Citizen Cluseret, which was
forthwith decreed by the Commune."]


The Parisian _Official Journal_ says: "The members of the Commune are
not amenable to any other tribunal than their own" (that of the
Commune). Ah! truly, men of the Hôtel de Ville, you imagine that, do
you? Have you forgotten that there are such tribunals as court-martials
and assizes?


M. Rossel is really very unfortunate! What is M. Rossel?[78] Why, the
provisional successor of Citizen Cluseret. It was not a bad idea to put
in the word _provisional_. The Commune had confided to him the care of
military matters, which he had accepted, but with an air of
condescension. This "Communeux" looks to me like an aristocrat. At any
rate he has not been fortunate. Scarcely had he taken upon himself the
safety of Paris, when the redoubt of Moulin-Saquet was surprised by the
Versaillais. This accident was not calculated to enhance the courage of
the Federals. The whole affair has been kept as dark as possible, but
the porter of the house where I live, who was there, has told me strange

"Will you believe, Monsieur, that I had just finished a game of cards
with the captain, and was preparing to have a bit of sleep, for it was
near upon eleven o'clock, when I thought I heard something like the
noise of troops marching. I looked round to see if any one heard it
besides myself, but the men were already asleep, and a circular line of
boots was sticking out all round the tents. The captain said: 'I daresay
it is the patrol from the Rue de Villejuif.'--'Oh, yes,' said I, 'from
the barricade,' and I fell to sleep without a thought of danger. In
fact, there seemed nothing to fear, as the Moulin-Saquet overlooks the
whole of the plain which stretches from Vitry to Choisy-le-Roi, and from
Villejuif to the Seine. It was impossible for a man to approach the
redoubt without being seen by the sentinel. I had, therefore, been
asleep a few minutes when I was awoke by the following dialogue:--'Stop!
who goes there?'--'The patrol.'--'Corporal, forward!'--Oh! said I to
myself, it is our comrades come to see us; there will be some healths
drunk before morning, and I got up to go and give them a welcome. The
captain was also astir. 'The password!' he cried. The chief of the
patrol came forward and answered--'Vengeance!' I remember wondering at
the moment why he spoke so loud in giving the pass-word, when suddenly
I saw three men rush forward, seize our captain, and throw him down. At
the same time two or three hundred men, dressed as National Guards,
threw themselves into the camp, rushed upon the sleeping artillery-men
with their bayonets, and then fired several volleys into the tents where
our poor comrades were asleep. What I had taken at first for National
Guards were only those devils of sergents-de-ville dressed up! So, you
see, as it was each man for himself, and the high road for everybody, I
just threw myself down on my face, and let myself drop into the
trenches. There was no fear of the noise of my fall being heard in the
riot. I managed to hide myself pretty well in a hole I found there, and
which had doubtless been made by a shell. I could not see anything, but
I heard all that was going on. Clic! clac! clic! went the rifles, almost
like the cracking of a whip, answered by the most dismal cries from the
wounded. I could hear also the grinding of wheels, and made sure they
were taking away our guns, the robbers! When all was silent except the
groans of the dying men, I crept out of my hiding place. Would you
believe it, Monsieur, I was the only one able to stand up; the
Versaillais had taken all those who had not run away or were not
wounded; I saw them, the pilfering thieves, making off towards Vitry, as
fast as their legs could carry them!"

"You have no idea, lieutenant," I said to the porter, "how the
Versaillais got to know the pass-word?"--"No, only the captain, who is
an honest fellow enough, but rather too fond of the bottle, went in the
evening to the route d'Orléans where there are lots of wine-shops
..."--"And you think he got tipsy, and let the pass-word out to some spy
or other?"--"I would not swear he did not; but what I am more sure of,
is that we are betrayed!"

Alas! yes, unfortunates, you are betrayed, but not in the way you think.
You are being cheated by these madmen and criminals who are busy
publishing decrees at the Hôtel de Ville, while you are dying by scores
at Issy, Vanves, Montrouge, Neuilly, and the Moulin-Saquet; they betray
you when they talk of Royalists and Imperialists; they deceive you when
they tell you, that victory is certain, and that even defeat would be
glorious. I tell you, that victory is impossible, and that your defeat
will be without honour; for when you fell, crying, "Vive la Commune!"
"Vive la République!" the Commune is Félix Pyat, and the Republic,


[Footnote 78: Colonel Rossel was one of the most capable members of the
Commune Government. He was born in 1844, and was the son of Commandant
Louis Rossel, an officer who acquired a high reputation in the Chinese
war. The young Louis Rossel received a sound military education at the
Prytanée of La Flèche, and subsequently at the École Polytechnique, at
which latter institution he gained high honours. He served as captain of
engineers in the army of Metz, and was one of the officers who signed
the protestation against the surrender of Bazaine. He succeeded in
eluding the vigilance of the Prussians, and appeared at Tours to offer
his services to the Government of National Defence. Gambetta, then
Minister of War, appointed Rossel to the rank of colonel in the
so-called auxiliary army. After the signature of the peace
preliminaries, the new government refused to ratify the promotion
granted by Gambetta, but offered Rossel the rank of major. This
seriously offended the ex-Dictator's ex-colonel, who shortly after the
tenth of March, put his sword at the disposition of the Commune. He was
at first appointed chief of the staff of General Cluseret, whom he
subsequently replaced as delegate for war. On April 16 he became
president of the Communist court-martial; he acted with great vigour in
all military affairs until the 10th of May, when the Commune ordered his



Malediction on the man who imagined this decree; malediction on the
assembly that approved it; and cursed be the hand which shall first
touch a stone of that tomb! Oh I believe me, I am not among those who
regret the times of royal prerogatives, and who believe that everything
would have gone well, in the most peaceful country in the world, if
Louis XVII had only succeeded to the throne after his father, Louis XVI.
The author of the revolution of 1798 knew what he was about in
multiplying such terrible catastrophes. The name of that author was
Infallible Necessity. Indeed I am quite ready to confess that the
indolent husband of Marie Antoinette had none of those qualities which
make a great king, and I will even add, if you wish it absolutely, that
the solitary fact of being a king is a crime worthy a thousand deaths.
As to Marie Antoinette herself--"the Austrian," _Père Duchesne_ would
call her--I allow that in history she is not quite so amiable as she
appears in the novels of Alexandra Dumas, and that her near relationship
to the queen Caroline-Marie, whose little suppers at Naples, in company
with Lady Hamilton, one is well acquainted with, gives some excuse for
the calumnies of which she has been the object. Have I said enough to
prevent myself being the recipient, in the event of a Bourbon
restoration, of the most modest pension that ever came out of a royal
treasury? Well, in spite of what I have said, and in spite of what I
think, I repeat, "Do not touch that tomb!" Like the Column Vendôme,
which is the symbol of an heroic and terrible epoch in history, the
Chapelle Expiatoire[79] is a souvenir of the old monarchical reign, an
age which was neither devoid of sorrow, nor of honour for France. Can
you not be republican without suppressing history, which was royalist?
The last remains of monarchy repose in peace beneath that gloomy
monument; may it be respected, as we respect the ashes of those who
respected it; and you, breakers of images, profaners of past glory, do
you not fear, in executing your decree, to produce an effect
diametrically opposed to that which you desire? By persecuting kings
even in their last resting-place, are you not afraid to excite the pity,
the regret perhaps, of those whose consciences still hesitate? In the
interest of the Republic, I say, take care! The memory of the dead
stalks forth from open sepulchres!


[Footnote 79: This chapel was erected by Louis XVIII. upon the spot
where, during the Revolution of 1793, the remains of Louis XVI, and his
Queen had been obscurely interred.]


Rejoice, poor housewives, who, on days of poverty, were obliged to carry
to the Mont-de-Piété[80] the discoloured remains of your wedding dress,
or your husband's Sunday coat; rejoice, artisans, who, after a day of
toil, thought your bed so hard since your last mattress was taken to the
Rue des Blancs-Manteaux, to rejoin your last pair of sheets. The Commune
has decreed that "all objects in pawn at the Mont-de-Piété, for a sum
not exceeding twenty francs, shall be given back gratuitously to all
persons who shall prove their legitimate right to the said objects."
Thanks to this benevolent decree, you may now hope that things you have
pawned will be restored to you before three or four hundred days!

Count on your fingers; the number of articles to which the decree
applies is at least 1,200,000. As there are only three offices for the
claimants to apply to, and considering the forms which have to be
observed, I do not think more than three thousand objects can be given
back daily; the Commune says four thousand, but the Commune does not
know what it is talking about. However, even if we calculate four
thousand a-day, the whole would take up ten or twelve months.

During this time men and women, whom poverty had long ere this taught
the road to the Mont-de-Piété, would have to get up early, neglect the
daily work by which they live, and go and stand awaiting their turn at
the office, frozen in winter, baked in summer, thankful to obtain a
moment's rest upon one of the wooden benches in the great bare hall; and
when they have been there a long, weary time, to see their number, drawn
by lot, put off to the next day or the day after, or the week or the
month following perhaps.

Still we must not blame the Commune for the sad disappointment of this
long delay, it would be impossible to shorten it. One thing, which is
less impossible, is to indemnify the administration of the Mont-de-Piété
for this gratuitous restitution. Citizen Jourde, delegate of the
finances, says, "I will give 100,000 francs a-week." Without stopping to
consider where this able political economist means to get his weekly
100,000 francs, I will be content with remarking that this sum would in
no wise cover the loss to the Mont-de-Piété, and that the Commune will
only be giving alms out of other people's purses. If, however, thanks to
this decree, some few poor creatures are enabled to get back those goods
and chattels which they were obliged to dispose of in the hour of need,
there will not be much cause to complain. The Mont-de-Piété usually does
a very good business, and there will always be enough misery in Paris
for it to grow rich upon. Besides, the Commune owes the poor wounded,
mutilated, dying fellows who have been brought from Neuilly and Issy, at
least a mattress to die in some little comfort upon.


[Footnote 80: The governmental pawnbroking establishments. All the
pawnbroking is carried on by the Government.]


They have put them into the prison of Saint-Lazare. Whom? The nuns of
the convent of Picpus. They have put them there because they have been
arrested. But why were they arrested? That is what Monsieur Rigault
himself could not clearly explain. Some of the nuns are old. They have
been living long in seclusion, and have only changed cells; having been
the captives of Heaven, they have become the prisoners of Citizen
Mouton. In such an abject place too, poor harmless souls! Victor Hugo
has said, speaking of that wretched prison, "Saint-Lazare! we must crush
that edifice." Yes, later, when we have the time; we must now pull down
the Column Vendôme and the Chapelle Expiatoire. In the meantime these
poor ladies are very sad. One of my friends went to see them; they have
neither their prayer-books nor their crucifix; they have had even the
amulets they wore round their necks taken from them. This seems nothing
to you, citizens of the Commune. You are men of advanced opinions. You
care as much about a crucifix as a fish for an apple; and perhaps you
are right. You have studied the question, and you say in the evening,
looking up at the stars, "There is no God." But you must understand that
with these poor nuns it is quite a different matter. They have not read
philosophical treatises; they still believe that the Almighty created
the world in six days, and that the Son died on the cross for the sake
of the world. When they were free, or rather when they were in a prison
of their own choosing, they prayed in the morning, they prayed at noon,
they prayed at night, and only interrupted this most pernicious
occupation for the purpose of teaching poor little girls that it is good
to be virtuous, honest, and grateful, and that Heaven rewards those who
do rightly. That was their occupation, poor simple souls, and you have
sent them to Saint Lazare for that. You should have chosen another
prison, for their presence must be disagreeable to the usual female
denizens of the place. But there, or elsewhere, they do not complain;
they only ask for a prayer-book and a wooden crucifix. Come, Citizen
Delegate of the ex-Prefecture, one little concession, and unless the
future of the Republic is likely to be compromised by so doing, give
them a cross. A cross is only two pieces of wood placed one on the
other. I promise you there will be wood enough in the forest the day
honest men make up their minds to exercise their muscles on your backs,
you bullying slave-drivers!


After Bergeret came Cluseret; after Cluseret, Rossel. But Rossel has
just sent in his resignation. My idea is, that we take back Cluseret,
that we may have Bergeret, and so on, unless we prefer to throw
ourselves into the open arms of General Lullier. The choice of another
general for the defence of Paris is however no business of mine; and the
Commune, a sultan without a favourite, may throw his handkerchief if he
pleases, to the tender Delescluze, as some say he has the intention--I
have not the least objection. Why should not Delescluze[81] be an
excellent general? He is a journalist, and what journalist does not know
more about military matters than Napoleon I., or Von Moltke himself? In
the meantime we are in mourning for our third War Delegate, and we shall
no longer see Rossel on his dark bay, galloping between the Place
Vendôme and the Fort Montrouge. He has just written the following letter
to the members of the Commune:--

[Illustration: QUELLE GOURMANDE! Paris at Table

--Waiter--Two or three more stuffed generals!

--We are out of them.

--Very well, then a dozen colonels in caper sauce.

--A Dozen?--Yes! Directly!!]

    "CITIZENS, MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNE,--Having been charged by you with
    the War Department, I feel myself no longer capable of bearing the
    responsibility of a command wherein every one deliberates, and no
    one obeys.

    "When it was necessary to organise the artillery, the Central
    Committee of Artillery deliberated, but nothing was done.
    After a month's revolution, that service is only carried on, thanks
    to the energy of a very small number of volunteers.

    "On my nomination to the Ministry, I wanted to further the search
    for arms, the requisition of horses, and the pursuit of refractory
    citizens; I asked help of the Commune.

    "The Commune deliberated, but passed no resolutions.

    "Later, the Central Committee came and offered its services to the
    War Department; I accepted them in the most decisive manner, and
    delivered up to its members all the documents I had concerning its
    organisation. Since then the Central Committee has been
    deliberating, and has done nothing. During this time the enemy
    multiplied its venturesome attacks on Fort Issy; had I had the
    smallest military force at my command, I would have punished them
    for it.

    "The garrison, badly commanded, took flight; the officers
    deliberated, and sent away from the fort Captain Dumont, an
    energetic man, who had been ordered to command them. Still
    deliberating, they evacuated the fort, after having stupidly talked
    of blowing it up,--as difficult a thing for them to do as to defend

[Illustration: DELESCLUZE, DELEGATE OF WAR.[82]]

    "Even that was not enough. Yesterday, when every one ought to have
    been at work or fighting, the chiefs were deliberating upon another
    system of organisation from that which I had adopted, so as to make
    up for their want of forethought and authority. The results of their
    council were a project, when we want men, and a declaration of
    principles, when we wanted acts.

    "My indignation brought them back to other thoughts, and they
    promised me for to-day the largest force they could possibly muster,
    --an organised one of not more than 12,000 men. With these I undertook
    to march on the enemy. These men were to muster at eleven o'clock: it
    is now one, and they are not ready, and the promised 12,000 has
    dwindled to about 7,000, which is not at all the same thing.

    "Thus, the utter uselessness of the artillery committee prevented
    the organization of the artillery; the hesitation of the Central
    Committee stopped all arrangements; the petty discussions of the
    officers, paralyses the concentration of the troops.

    "I am not a man to mind having recourse to violence. Yesterday,
    while the chiefs discussed, a company of men with loaded rifles
    awaited in the court. But I did not want to take upon myself the
    initiative of so energetic a measure, or draw upon myself the odium
    of such executions as would have been necessary to extricate
    obedience and victory from such a chaos. Even if I had been
    protected by the publicity of my acts, I need not have given up my

    "But the Commune has not had the courage to confront publicity.
    Twice I wished to give some necessary explanations, and twice, in
    spite of me, it insisted on a secret council.

    "My predecessor was wrong to remain in so absurd a position.

    "Enlightened by his example, and knowing that the strength of a
    revolutionary, only consists in the clearness of his position, I
    have only two alternatives, either to break the chains which impede
    my actions, or to retire.

    "I will not break the chains, because those chains are you, and your
    weakness,--I will not touch the sovereignty of the people.

    "I retire; and have the honour to beg for a cell at Mazas.


Most certainly I do not like the Paris Commune, such as the men of the
Hôtel de Ville understand it. Deceived at first by my own delusive
hopes, I now am sure that we have nothing to expect from it but follies
upon follies, crimes upon crimes. I hate it on account of the suppressed
newspapers, of the imprisoned journalists, of the priests shut up at
Mazas like assassins, of the nuns shut up at Saint-Lazare like
courtesans; I hate it because it incites to the crime of civil war those
who would have been ready to fight against the Prussians, but who do not
wish to fight against Frenchmen; I hate it on account of the fathers of
families sent to battle and to death; on account of our ruined ramparts,
our dismantled forts, each stone of which as it falls wounds or
destroys; on account of the widowed women and the orphaned children, all
of whom they can never pension in spite of their decrees; I cannot
pardon them the robbing of the banks, nor the money extorted from the
railway companies, nor the loan-shares sold to a money-changer at Liège;
I hate it on account of Clémence the spy, and Allix the madman. I am
sorry to think that two or three intelligent men should be mixed up with
it, and have to share in its fall. I hate it particularly on account of
the just principles it at one time represented, and of the admirable and
fruitful ideas of municipal independence, which it, was not able to
carry out honestly, and which, because of the excesses that have been
committed in their name, will have lost for ever, perhaps, all chance of
triumphing. Still, great as is my horror of this parody of a government
to which we have had to submit for nearly two months, I could not
forbear a feeling of repulsion on reading the letter of Citizen Rossel.
It is a capitally written letter, firm, concise, conclusive, differing
entirely from the bombastic, unintelligible documents to which the
Commune has accustomed us; and besides, it brings to light several
details at which I rejoice, because it permits me to hope that the reign
of our tyrants is nearly at an end. I am glad to hear that the Commune,
if it possesses artillery, is short of artillerymen. It delights me to
learn that they can only dispose of seven thousand combatants. I had
feared that it would be enabled to kill a great many more; and as to
what Citizen Rossel says of the committees and officers who deliberate
but do not act, it is most pleasant news, for it convinces me, that the
Commune has not the power to continue much longer a war, which can but
result in the death of Paris; and yet I highly disapprove of the letter
of Citizen Rossel, because it is on his part an act of treachery, and it
is not for the friends and servants of the Commune to reveal its faults
and to show up its weaknesses. Who obliged Rossel, commander of the
staff, to take the place of his general, disgraced and imprisoned? Did
he not accept willingly a position, the difficulties of which he had
already recognised? He says himself that his predecessor was wrong to
have stayed in so absurd a position, and why did he voluntarily put
himself there, where he blamed another for remaining? If the new
delegate hoped by his own cleverness to modify the position, he ought
not, the position remaining the same, accuse anything but his own
incapacity. In a word, the conclusion at which we arrive is, that he
only accepted power to be able to throw it off with effect, like Cato,
who only went to the public theatres for the purpose of fussily leaving
the place, at the moment when the audience called the actors before the
curtain. Not being able or perhaps willing to save the Commune, M.
Rossel desired to save himself at its expense. There is something
ungentlemanly in this. Do not, however, imagine for a moment that I
believe in M. Rossel having been bought by M. Thiers. All those
ridiculous stories of sums of money having been offered to the members
of the Commune, are merely absurd inventions.[84] What do you think they
say of Cluseret? That he was in the habit of taking his breakfast at the
Café d'Orsay, and afterwards playing a game of dominoes. One day his
adversary is reported to have said to him, "If you will deliver the fort
of Montrouge to the Versaillais, I will give you two millions." What
fools people must be to believe such absurdities! Rossel has not sold
himself, for the very good reason that nobody ever thought of buying
him. It was his own idea to do what he did. For the pleasure of being
insolent and showing his boldness, he has pulled down from its pedestal
what he adored, consequently the most criminal among the members of the
Commune, once a swindler, now a pilferer, is free to say to M. Rossel,
who is, I am told, a man of intelligence and honesty, "You are worse
than I am, for you have betrayed us!"


[Footnote 81: PARIS AT DINNER.--An ogress, gentleman! A famished
creature, faring sumptuously; her face flushed with wine, her eyes
bright, her hands trembling. Madame Lutetia is a strapping woman still,
with a queenly air about her, in spite of the red patches on her tunic;
somewhat shorn of her ornaments, it is true, as she has had to pawn the
greater part of her jewelry, but the orgie once over she will be again
what she was before.

For the time being she is wholly absorbed in her gastronomic exertions.
She has already devoured a Bergeret with peas, a Lullier with anchovy
sauce, an Assy and potatoes, a Cluseret with tomatos, a Rossel with
capers, besides a large quantity of small fry, and she is not yet
appeased. The _maître-d'hôtel_ Delescluze waits upon her somewhat in
trepidation, with a sickly smile on his face. What if, after such a meal
of generals and colonels, the ogress were to devour the waiter!--_Fac
simile of design from the "Grelot," 17th May, 1871_.]

[Footnote 82: Delescluze's wild life began at Dreux, in 1809. Driven
from home on account of his bad conduct, he came to Paris, and obtained
employment in an attorney's office, from which he was very soon
afterwards, it is said, discharged for robbery. In 1834, he underwent
the first of his long list of imprisonments, for the part he took in the
April revolution, and in the following year, being compromised in a
conspiracy against the safety of the state, he took refuge in Belgium,
Where he obtained the editorship of the _Courrier de Charleroi_. In 1840
he returned to Paris, where he founded a journal called the _Révolution
Démocratique et Sociale_, which brought him fifteen months' imprisonment
and twenty thousand francs fine. After a long period of liberty of
nearly eight years, he was condemned to transportation by the High Court
of Justice, but the condemnation was given in his absence, for he had
slipped over to England, where he remained until 1853. On his returning
in that year to France he was immediately imprisoned at Mazas,
transferred afterwards to Belle-Isle, and then successively to the hulks
of Corte, Ajaccio, Toulon, Brest, and finally to Cayenne. These sojourns
lasted until 1868, when the amnesty permitted him to return to France,
where he made haste to bring out another new journal, _Le Réveil_, which
of course earned him fines and imprisonments with great rapidity, three
of each within the twelvemonth.

In the month of February, 1871, he was elected deputy by a large number
of votes; and later, when the Assembly went to Bordeaux, sat there for
some time, and then gave in his resignation, in order to take part with
the Commune.

By the Commune he was made delegate at the Ministry of War, after the
pretended flight of Rossel, and in a sitting of the 20th of April, in
which the project of burning Paris was discussed, Delescluze ended his
speech with the words--"If we must die, we will give to Liberty a pile
worthy of her."]

[Footnote 83: He was convinced of the hopelessness of any further
struggle after the capture of Fort Issy; gave in his resignation, and
hid himself to escape the vengeance of his former colleagues. He was
supposed to be in England or Switzerland, whereas, in fact, he had fled
no farther than the Boulevard Saint Germain. He was arrested by the
police on the ninth of June, disguised as an employé of the Northern
Railway. He was first interrogated at the Petit Luxembourg, and
afterwards conducted handcuffed to Versailles, where three mouths after
he was tried by court-martial and sentenced to military degradation and

[Footnote 84: "A plot had just been discovered between Bourget of the
Internationale, Billioray, member of the Commune, and Cérisier, captain
of the 101st Battalion of the insurgent National Guard. For a certain
sum of money they were to deliver Port Issy into the hands of General
Valentin, of the Versailles army. The succession of Rossel to the
Ministry of War frustrated the whole project.

"In the night of the 17th of May another attempt of the same kind met
with failure. The Communists Bourget, Billioray, Mortier, Cérisier, and
Pilotel, the artist, traitors to their own treacherous cause, were to
open the gates to the soldiers of Versailles, an hour after midnight, at
the Point du Jour; the soldiers to be disguised as National Guards. But,
at the appointed hour, Cérisier took fright, and contented himself with
the money he had received on account (twenty-five thousand francs) in
payment for his treachery, and did no more. When the Versailles troops
presented themselves at the gates, they had to beat a retreat under a
heavy fire of mitrailleuses." _Guerre des Communeux_.]


I was told the following by an eye-witness of the scene. In a small room
at the Hôtel de Ville five personages were seated round a table at
dinner. The repast was of the most modest kind, and consisted of soup,
one dish of meat, one kind of vegetable, cheese, and a bottle of vin
ordinaire each. One would have thought, oneself in a restaurant at two
francs a head, if it had not been that the condiments had got musty
during the siege; besides, there was something solemn and official in
the very smell of the viands which took away one's appetite. However,
our five personages swallowed their food as fast as they could. At the
head of the table sat Citizen Jourde. Jourde looks about eight and
twenty; he has a delicate looking, mathematical head, with brown curly
hair and sallow complexion, a kind of Henri Heine of the Finance. Tall
and thin, with his red scarf tied round his waist, he reminds us of one
of the old Convention of '89. They sat for some time in silence, as if
they were observing each other. At the end of the first course, Jourde
took up a spoon and examined it, saying, "Silver! true there is silver
at the Hôtel de Ville, I will send for it to-morrow!" One of the other
guests said, "Pardon me, I have to answer for it, and shall not give it
up."--"Oh, yes you will," answered Jourde, "I will have an order sent to
you from the Domaine,"[85] and then, as if he were thinking aloud, goes
on to express his satisfaction at having found an unexpected sum of
three hundred thousand francs, as it were on the dinner-table. A whole
day's pay! He will be able to put by four millions at the end of the
week; he tries to be economical, but the war runs away with everything.
"You must at least give me three days' notice for the payment of sums
amounting to more than a hundred thousand francs," says he, with a
shrug of the shoulders, particularly addressed to Beslay. Then he speaks
of his hopes of reducing the Prussian debt before the year is out, if
the Commune lives so long; touches on subjects connected with the taxes,
patents and duties, "or else bank-notes worth fire hundred francs in the
morning, will only be worth twenty sous in the evening; money is scarce,
it is leaving the city. I do not see much copper about, but if you leave
me alone, I promise to succeed." All this was said in a tone of the most
sincere conviction. When the dinner was over, he hastily bowed and
rushed off, without having taken any notice of what was said to him.
Every now and then cries arose in the streets, and made the members of
the Commune start as they sat there behind their sombre curtains. "Do
you think they can come in?" asked some one of Johannard, to which he
replies, "What a wild idea! Delescluze knows it is impossible, and
Dombrowski, a cold unexcitable fellow, only laughs when people mention
it; does he not, Rigault?" Thereupon the personage addressed, who has
not yet spoken, bows his head in sign of acquiescence. He looks young in
spite of his thick, black beard; his eyes are weak, his expression is
sly and disagreeable, and looks as if he might sometimes have his hours
of coarse joviality. Then a portière was lowered, or a door shut, and
the person who had overheard the preceding heard and saw no more.



[Footnote 85: The Commune occupied the Mint, and directed Citizen
Camelinat, bronze-fitter, to manufacture gold and silver coin to the
amount of 1,500,000 francs. Of that sum, 76,000 francs only was saved by
the Versailles troops on their entry. The different articles of gold and
silver found at the Hôtel des Monnaies represented a total weight of
1,186 lbs., and consisted of objects taken from the churches, religious
houses, and government offices, Imperial plate, and presents to the city
of Paris. All these objects have been sent to the repository of the
Domaine, where they maybe claimed on identification by their owners.]

[Footnote 86: Fontaine was nominated on the 18th of March director of
the public domains and of registration. His name figures in the history
of the revolutions, émeutes, and insurrections of Paris from 1848. He
was a professional insurgent.]


I am beginning to regret Cluseret. He was impatient, especially in
speech. He used to say "Every man a National Guard!" But with Cluseret,
as with one's conscience, there were possible conciliations. You had
only to answer the decrees of the war-delegate by an enthusiastic "Why I
am delighted, indeed I was just going to beg you to send me to the
Porte-Maillot;" which having done, one was free to go about one's
business without fear of molestation. As to leaving Paris, in spite of
the law which condemned every man under forty to remain in the city;
nothing was easier. You had but to go to the Northern Railway Station,
and prefer your request to a citizen, seated at a table behind a
partition in the passport office.[87] When he asked you your age you had
only to answer "Seventy-eight," passing your hand through your sable
locks as you spoke--"Only that? I thought you looked older," the
accommodating individual would answer, at the same time putting into
your hand a paper on which was written some cabalistic sign. One day I
had taken it into my head to go and spend two hours at Bougival, and my
pass bore the strange word "Carnivolus" written on it. Provided with
this mysterious document, I was enabled to procure a first-class ticket
and jump into the next train that started. I was free, and nothing could
have prevented my going, if such had been my wish, to proclaim the
Commune at Mont Blanc or Monaco.

How the times are changed! The Committee of Public Safety and the
Central Committee now join together in making the lives of the poor
_réfractaires_[88] a burthen to them. I do not speak of the
disarmaments, which have nothing particularly disagreeable about them,
for an unarmed man may clearly nourish the hope that he is not to be
sent to battle. But there are other things, and I really should not
object to be a little over eighty for a few days. Domiciliary visits
have become very frequent. Four National Guards walk into the house of
the first citizen they please, and politely or otherwise, explain to him
that it is his strict duty to go into the trenches at Vanves and kill as
many Frenchmen as he can. If the citizen resists he is carried off, and
told that on account of his resistance he will have the honour of being
put at the head of his battalion at the first engagement. These visits
often end in violence. I am told that in the Rue Oudinot a young man
received a savage bayonet thrust because he resisted the corporal's
order; and as these occurrences are not uncommon, the _réfractaires_
cannot be said to live in peace and comfort. They are subject to
continual terror, the sour visage of their _concierge_ fills them with
misgivings, he may be one of the Commune. As to going to bed, it must
not be thought of; it is during the hours of night that the Communal
agents are particularly active. This necessity of changing domicile has
lead to certain Amélias and Rosalines and other ladies of that
description having the words "Hospitality to _Réfractaires_" written in
pencil on their cards. Men who decline to take advantage of such
opportunities have to go about from hôtel to hôtel, giving imaginary
names, suspicious of the waiters, and awaking at the least sound,
thinking it is the noise of feet ascending the stairs, or the rattle of
muskets on the landing. The day before yesterday a number of
_réfractaires_, having the courage of despair, walked to the Porte
Saint-Ouen--"Will you let us out?" asked they of the commanding officer,
who answered in a decided negative; whereupon the party, which was three
hundred strong, fell upon the captain and his men, whom they disarmed,
and five minutes afterwards they were running free across the fields.

Others employ softer means of corruption; resort to the wine-shops of
Belleville, where they make themselves agreeable in every way, and soon
succeed in entering into friendly conversation with some of the least
ferocious among the Federals of the place.


"You are on duty, Tuesday, at the Porte de la Chapelle?"--"Why,
yes."--"So that you might very easily let a comrade out who wants to go
and pay a visit at Saint-Denis?"--"Quite out of the question; the others
would prevent me, or denounce me to the captain."--"You think there is
nothing to be done with the captain?"--"Oh! no; he is a staunch patriot,
he is!"--"How very tiresome; and I wanted most particularly to go to
Saint-Denis on Tuesday evening. I would gladly give twenty francs out of
my own pocket for the sake of a little walk outside the
fortifications."--"There is only one way."--"And how is that?"--"You
don't care much about going out by the door, do you?"--"Well, no; what I
want is to get outside."--"Oh! then listen to me; come to La-Chapelle
early on Tuesday evening, and walk up and down the rampart. I will try
and be on duty at eight o'clock, and look out for you. When I see you I
will take care not to say _qui vive_."--"That's easy enough; and what
then?"--"Why, then I will secure around you a thick rope which of course
you will have with you!"--"The devil!"--"And I will throw you into the
trench."--"By Jove! That will be a leap."--"Oh! I will do it very
carefully, without hurting you. I will let you slip softly down the
wall."--"Humph!"--"When you reach the ground below, in an instant you
can be up and off into the darkness. Do you accept? Yes or no?"--"I
should certainly prefer to drive out of the city in a coach and six,
but nevertheless I accept."

Generally, this plan answers admirably. They say that the Federals of
Belleville and Montmartre make a nice little income with this kind of
business. Sometimes, however, the plan only half succeeds, and either
the rope breaks, or the Federal considers, he may manage capitally to
reconcile his interest with his duty, by sending a ball after the
escaped _réfractaire_.

Disguises are also the order of the day. A poet, whose verses were
received at the Comédie Française with enthusiasm during the siege,
managed to get away, thanks to an official on the Northern Railway, who
lent him his coat and cap. Another poet--they are an ingenious
race--conceived a plan of greater boldness. One day on the Boulevard he
called a fiacre, having first taken care to choose a coachman of
respectable age, "_Cocher_, drive to the Rue Montorgueil, to the best
restaurant you can find." On the way the poet reasoned thus to himself:
"This coachman has in his pocket, as they all have, a Communal passport,
which allows him to go out and come into Paris as he pleases; let me
remember the fourth act of my last melodrama, and I am saved."

The cab stopped in front of a restaurant of decent exterior not far from
Philippe's. The young man went in, asked for a private room, and told
the waiter to send up the coachman, as he had something to say to him,
and to procure a boy to hold the horse. The coachman walked into the
room, where the breakfast was ready served.

"Now, coachman, I am going to keep you all day, so do not refuse to
drink a glass with me to keep up your strength."

An hour after the poet and the coachman had breakfasted like old
friends; six empty bottles testified that neither one nor the other were
likely to die of thirst. The poet grumbled internally to himself as he
thought of the three bottles of Clos-Vougeot, one of Léoville, two of
Moulin-au-Vent, that had been consumed, and the fellow not drunk yet.
Then he determined to try surer means, and called to the waiter to
bring champagne. "It is no use, young fellow," laughed the coachman, who
was familiar at least, if he was not drunk; "champagne won't make any
difference; if you counted on that to get my passport, you reckoned
without your host!"--"The devil I did," cried the poor young man,
horrified to see his scheme fall through, and to think of the prodigious
length of the bill he should have to pay for nothing.--"Others, have
tried it on, but I am too wide awake by half," said the coachman, adding
as he emptied the last bottle into his glass, "give me two ten-franc
pieces and I will get you through."--"How can I be grateful enough?"
cried the poet, although in reality he felt rather humiliated to find
that the grand scene in his fourth act had not succeeded.--"Call the
waiter, and pay the bill." The waiter was called, and the bill paid with
a sigh. "Now give me your jacket."--"My jacket?"--"Yes, this thing in
velvet you have on your back." The poet did as he was bid. "Now your
waistcoat and trousers."--"My trousers! Oh, insatiable coachman!"--"Make
haste will you, or else I shall take you to the nearest guard-room for a
confounded _réfractaire_, as you are." The clothes were immediately
given up. "Very well; now take mine, dress yourself in them, and let's
be off." While the young man was putting on with decided distaste the
garments of the _cocher_, the latter managed to introduce his ponderous
bulk into those of the poet. This done, out they went. "Get up on the
box."--"On the box?"--"Yes, idiot," said the coachman, growing more and
more familiar; "I am going to get into the cab, now drive me wherever
you please." The plan was a complete success. At the Porte de Châtillon
the disguised poet exhibited his passport, and the National Guard who
looked in at the window of the carriage cried out, "Oh, he may pass; he
might be my grandfather." The cab rolled over the draw-bridge, and it
was in this way that M ...,--ah! I was just going to let the cat out of
the bag--it was in this way that our young poet broke the law of the
Commune, and managed to dine that same evening at the Hôtel des
Réservoirs at Versailles, with a deputy of the right on his left hand,
and a deputy of the left on his right hand.

Shall I go away? Why not? Do I particularly wish to be shut up one
morning in some barrack-room, or sent in spite of myself to the
out-posts? My position of _réfractaire_ is sensibly aggravated by the
fact of my being in rather a dangerous neighbourhood. For the last few
days, I have felt rather astonished at the searching glances that a
neighbour always casts upon me, when we met in the street. I told my
servant to try and find out who this man was. Great heavens! this
scowling neighbour of mine is Gérardin--Gérardin of the Commune! Add to
this the perilous fact, that our _concierge_ is lieutenant in a Federal
battalion, and you will have good reason to consider me the most
unfortunate of _réfractaires_. However, what does it matter? I decide on
remaining; I will stay and see the end, even should the terrible Pyat
and the sweet Vermorel both of them be living under the same roof with
me, even if my _concierge_ be M. Delescluze himself!


[Footnote 87: The decree which rendered obligatory the service in the
marching companies of the National Guard, and the establishment of
courts-martial, spread terror among the population, and thousands of
people thronged daily to the Prefecture of Police. Sometimes, the queue
extended from the Place Dauphine to beyond the Pont Neuf. But soon
afterwards, stratagems of every kind were put into requisition to escape
from the researches of the Commune, which became more eager and
determined, from day to day, after the publication of the following
decree, the chef-d'oeuvre of the too famous Raoul Rigault:--


"Delivery of Passports.

"Considering that the civil authority cannot favour the non-execution of
the decrees of the Commune, without failing in its duty, and that it is
highly necessary that all communications with those who carry on this
savage war against us should be prevented,

"The member of the Committee of Public Safety, Delegate at the
Prefecture of Police,


"Art. 1. Passports can only be delivered on the production of
satisfactory documents.

"Art. 2. No passport will be delivered to individuals between the ages
of seventeen and thirty-five years, as such fall within the military

"Art. 3. No passport will be issued to any member of the old police, or
who are in relation with Versailles.

"Art. 4. Any persons who come within the conditions of Articles 2 or 3,
and apply for passports, will be immediately sent to the dépôt of the
ex-Prefecture of Police.


"Member of the Committee of Public Safety."]

[Footnote 88: Those who decline to join the Commune.]


Glorious news! I have seen Lullier again. We had lost Cluseret, lost
Rossel; Delescluze does not suffice, and except for Dombrowski and La
Cécilia with his prima-donna-like name, the company of the Commune would
be sadly wanting in stars. Happily! Lullier has been restored to us.
What had become of him? he only wrote seven or eight letters a day to
Rochefort and Maroteau, that I can find out. How did he manage to employ
that indomitable activity of his, and that of his two hundred friends,
who with their red Garibaldis and blue sailor trousers made him the most
picturesque escort you can imagine? Was he meditating some gigantic
enterprises the dictatorship that Cluseret had dreamed of and Rossel
disdained, was he about to assume it for the good of the Republic? I
have no idea; but whatever he has been doing, I have seen him again at
the club held in the church of Saint Jacques.

[Illustration: GENERAL LA CÉCILIA.[89]]

Ha! ha! Worthless hypocrites and inquisitors, who for the last eighteen
hundred years have crushed, degraded, and tortured the poor; you thought
our turn was never to come, you monks, priests, and archbishops! Thanks
to the Commune you now preach in the prisons of the Republic; you may
confess, if you like, the spiders of your dungeons, and give the holy
viaticum to the rats which play around your legs! You can no longer do
any harm to patriots. No more churches, no more convents! Those who
have not houses in the Champs Elysées shall lodge in your convents; in
your churches shall be held honest assemblies, which will give the
people their rights; as to their duties, that is an invention of
reactionists. No more of your sermons or speeches: after Bossuet,
Napoléon Gaillard!

[Illustration: THE CHURCH OF SAINT EUSTACHE. Used as a Red Club. Partly
destroyed by fire.]

On entering the church of Saint Eustache yesterday, I was agreeably
surprised to find the font full of tobacco instead of holy-water, and to
see the altar in the distance covered with bottles and glasses. Some one
informed me that was the counter. In one of the lateral chapels, a
statue of the Virgin had been dressed out in the uniform of a
vivandière, with a pipe in her mouth. I was, however, particularly
charmed with the amiable faces of the people I saw collected there. The
sex to which we owe the _tricoteuses_ was decidedly in the majority. It
was quite delightful not to see any of those elegant dresses and
frivolous manners, which have for so long disgraced the better half of
the human race. Thank heaven! my eyes fell with rapture on the heroic
rags of those ladies who do us the honour of sweeping our streets for
us. Many of these female patriots were proud to bear in the centre of
their faces a rubicund nose, that rivalled in colour the Communal flag
on the Hôtel de Ville. Oh, glorious red nose, the distinguished sign of
Republicanism! As to the men, they seemed to have been chosen among the
first ranks of the new aristocracy. It was charming to note the military
elegance with which their caps were slightly inclined over one ear;
their faces, naturally hideous, were illuminated with the joy of
freedom, and certainly the thick smoke which emanated from their pipes,
must have been more agreeable as an offering, than the faint vapours of
incense that used to arise from the gilded censers. "Marriage,
citoyennes, is the greatest error of ancient humanity. To be married is
to be a slave. Will you be slaves?"--"No, no!" cried all the female part
of the audience, and the orator, a tall gaunt woman with a nose like the
beak of a hawk, and a jaundice-coloured complexion, flattered by such
universal applause, continued, "Marriage, therefore, cannot be tolerated
any longer in a free city. It ought to be considered a crime, and
suppressed by the most severe measures. Nobody has the right to sell his
liberty, and thereby to set a bad example to his fellow citizens. The
matrimonial state is a perpetual crime against morality. Don't tell me
that marriage may be tolerated, if you institute divorce. Divorce is
only an expedient, and if I may be allowed to use the word, an Orleanist
expedient!" (Thunders of applause.) "Therefore, I propose to this
assembly, that it should get the Commune of Paris to modify the decree,
which assures pensions to the legitimate or illegitimate companions of
the National Guards, killed in the defence of our municipal rights. No
half measures. We, the illegitimate companions, will no longer suffer
the legitimate wives to usurp rights they no longer possess, and which
they ought never to have had at all. Let the decree be modified. All for
the free women, none for the slaves!"


The orator descends from the pulpit amidst the most lively
congratulations. I am told by some one standing near me, that the orator
is a monthly nurse, who used to be a somnambulist in her youth. But the
crowd opens now to give place to a male orator, who mounts the spiral
staircase, passes his hand through his hair, and darts a piercing glance
on the multitude beneath. It is Citizen Lullier.

This young man has really a very agreeable physiognomy; his forehead is
intelligent, his eyes pleasant. Looking on M. Lullier's sympathetic
face, one is sorry to remember his eccentricities. But what is all this
noise about? What has he said? what has he done? I only heard the words
"Dombrowski," and "La Cécilia." Every one starts to his feet,
exasperated, shouting. Several chairs are about to be flung at the
orator. He is surrounded, hooted. "Down with Lullier! Long live
Dombrowski!" The tumult increases. Citizen Lullier seems perfectly calm
in the midst of it all, but refuses to leave the pulpit; he tries in
vain to speak and explain. Two women, two amiable hags, throw themselves
upon him; several men rush up also; he is taken up bodily and carried
away, resisting to the utmost and shouting to the last. The people jump
up on the chairs, Lullier has disappeared, and I hear him no more; what
have they done with him!

What do you think of all this, gentlemen and Catholics! Do you still
regret the priests and choristers who used awhile ago to preach and
chant in the Parisian churches? Where is the man, who at the very sight
of this new congregation, so tolerant, so intelligent, listening with
such gratitude to these noble lessons of politics and morality; where is
the man, who could any longer blind himself to the admirable influence
of the present revolution? Innumerable are the benefits that the Paris
Commune showers upon us! As I leave the church, a little vagabond walks
up to the font, and taking a pinch of tobacco,--"In the name of the...!"
says he, then fills his pipe; "In the name of the ...!" proceeding to
strike a lucifer, adds, "In the name of the ...!"--"Confound the
blasphemous rascal!" say I, giving him a good box on the ears. After
having written these lines I felt inclined to erase them; on second
thoughts I let them remain--they belong to history!


[Footnote 89: A political refugee, who left his country in 1869 for
Prussia, where he taught mathematics in the University of Ulm, and
afterwards accepted service under Garibaldi.]


This morning I took a walk in the most innocent manner, having committed
no crime that I knew of. It was lovely weather, and the streets looked
gay, as they generally do when it is very bright, even when the hearts
of the people are most sad. I passed through the Rue Saint-Honoré, the
Palais Royal, and finally the Rue Richelieu. I beg pardon for these
details, but I am particularly careful in indicating the road I took, as
I wish the inhabitants of the places in question, to bear witness that I
did not steal in passing a single quartern loaf, or appropriate the
smallest article of jewellery. As I was about to turn on to the
boulevards, one of the four National Guards who were on duty, I do not
know what for, at the corner of the street, cried out, "You can't pass!"
All right, thought I to myself; there is nothing fresh I suppose, only
the Commune does not want people to pass; of course, it has right on its
side. Thereupon I began to retrace my steps. "You can't pass," calls out
another sentinel, by the time I have reached the other side of the

This is strange, the Commune cannot mean to limit my walk to a
melancholy pacing up and down between two opposite pavements. A sergeant
came up to me; I recognised him as a Spaniard, who during the siege
belonged to my company. "Why are you not in uniform?" he asked me, with
a roughness that I fancied was somewhat mitigated by the remembrance of
the many cigars I had given him, the nights we were on guard during the
siege. I understood in an instant what they wanted with me, and replied
unhesitatingly, "Because it is not my turn to be on guard,"--"No, of
course it's not, it never is. You have been taking your ease this long
time, while others have been getting killed." It was evident this
Spaniard had not taken the cigars I had given him, in good part, and was
now revenging himself.--"What do you want with me?" I said; "let's have
done with this." Instead of answering, he signed to two Federals
standing near, who immediately placed themselves one on each side of me,
and cried, "March!" I was perfectly agreeable, although this walk was
not exactly in the direction I had intended. On the way I heard a woman
say, "Poor young man I They have taken him in the act." I was conducted
to the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, and marched into the vestry,
where about fifty _réfractaires_ were already assembled.

Behind a deal table, on which were placed a small register, an inkstand
stuck in a great bung, and two quill pens, sat three young men, almost
boys, in uniform. You might have imagined them to be Minos, Aeacus, and
Rhadamanthus, at the age when they played at leap-frog. "Your name?"
said Rhadamanthus, addressing me. I did not think twice about it, but
gave them a name which has never been mine. Suddenly some one behind me
burst out laughing; I turned round and recognised an old friend, whom I
had not noticed among the other prisoners. "Your profession?" inquired
Minos.--"Prizefighter," I answered, putting my arms akimbo and looking
as ferocious as possible, by way of keeping up the character I had
momentarily assumed. To the rest of the questions that were addressed to
me, I replied in the same satisfactory manner. When it was over, Minos
said to me, "That is enough; now go and sit down, and wait until you are
called."--"Pardon me, my young friend, but I shall not go and sit down,
nor shall I wait a moment more."--"Are you making fun of us? We are
transacting most serious business, our lives are at stake. Go and sit
down."--"I have already had the honour to remark, my dear Rhadamanthus,
that I did not mean to sit down. Be kind enough to allow me to depart
instantly."--"You ask _me_ to do this?"--"Yes! you!" I shouted in a
tremendous voice. The three judges looked at me in great perplexity, and
began whispering amongst themselves. A prize fighter, by jingo! I
thought the moment had come to strike a decisive blow, so I pulled out
of my pocket a little green card, which I desired them to examine.
Immediately Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanthus got up, bowed to me most
respectfully, and called out to two National Guards who were at the
door, "Allow the citizen to pass."--"By-the-bye," said I, pointing, to
my friend, "this gentleman is with me."--"Allow both the citizens to
pass," shouted the lads in chorus.--"This is capital," cried my friend
as soon as we were well outside the door.--"How did you manage?"--"I
have a pass from the Central Committee."--"In your own name?"--"No, I
bought it of the widow of a Federal; who was on very good terms with
Citizen Félix Pyat."--"Why, it is just like a romance."--"Yes, but a
romance that allows me to live pretty safely in the midst of this
strange reality. Anyhow, I think we had better look out for other



At ten o'clock in the evening I was walking up the Rue
Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. In these times the streets are quite deserted at
that hour. Looking on in front I saw that the Place Saint-Georges was
lighted up by long tongues of flame, that the wind blew hither and
thither. I hastened on, and was soon standing in front of M. Thiers'
house.[90] At the open gate stood a sentinel; a large fire had been
lighted in the court by the National Guards; not that the night was
cold, they seemed to have lighted it merely for the pleasure of burning
furniture and pictures, that had been left behind by the Communal
waggoners. They had already begun to pull down the right side of the
house; a pickaxe was leaning against a loosened stone; the roof had
fallen in, and a rafter was sticking out of one of the windows. The fire
rose higher and higher; would it not be better that the flames should
reach the house and consume it in an hour or two, than to see it being
gradually pulled down, stone by stone, for many days to come? In the
court I perceived several trucks full of books and linen. A National
Guard picked up a small picture that was lying near the gate; I bent
forward and saw that it was a painting of a satyr playing on a flute.
How sad and cruel all this seemed! The men lounging about looked
demoniacal in the red light of the fire. I turned away, thinking not of
the political man, but of the house where he had worked, where he had
thought, of the books that no longer stood on the shelves, of the
favourite chair that had been burnt on the very hearth by which he had
sat so long; I thought of all the dumb witnesses of a long life
destroyed, dispersed, lost, of the relatives, and friends whose traces
had disappeared from the rooms empty to-day, in ruins to-morrow; I
thought of all this, and of all the links that would be broken by a
dispersion, and I trembled at the idea that some day--in these times
anything seems possible--men may break open the doors of my modest
habitation, knock about the furniture of which I have grown fond,
destroy my books which have so long been the companions of my studies,
tear the pictures from my walls, and burn the verses that I love for the
sake of the trouble they have given me to make,--kill, in a word, all
that renders life agreeable to me, more cruelly than if four Federals
were to take me off and shoot me at the corner of a street. But I am
not a political man. I belong to no party--who would think of doing me
any injury? I am perfectly harmless, with my lovesick metaphor. Ah I how
egotistical one is! It was of my own home that I thought while I stood
in front of the ruin in the Place Saint-Georges. I confess that I was
particularly touched by the misfortunes of that house, because it
awakened in me the fear of my own, misfortune, most improbable, and most
diminutive, it is true, in comparison with that.



[Footnote 90: It should be remarked that the destruction of M. Thiers'
house coincided with the first success of the Versailles army; it was
the spirit of hatred and mad destructiveness which dictated the
following decree, issued by the Committee of Public Safety on the 10th
of May:--

"Art. 1. The goods and property of Thiers (they even denied him the
appellation of citizen) are seized by order of the administration of
public domains.

"Art. 2. The house of Thiers, situated at the Place Saint-Georges, to be

On the following day the National Assembly, in presence of the activity
exhibited by M. Thiers, declared that the proscribed, whose house was
demolished, had exhibited proofs of an amount of patriotism and
political ability which inspired every confidence in the future. On the
12th of the same month works were commenced at Versailles for the
formation of a railway-station sufficient for all the wants of an
important army, the initiation of which was due to M. Thiers; a
conference was opened on the 19th April with the Western Railway
Company, the plans were approved on the 22nd of the same month, and the
preliminary works were commenced on the 12th of May. When these are
terminated, they will consist of thirty-five parallel lines of rails,
more than a mile in length. But the principal point in the plan is, that
by means of branches to Pontoise and Chevreuse, this immense station may
be placed in direct communication with all the lines of railway in
France. It is easy enough to draw the following conclusion, namely, that
if the necessity should ever again arise, Paris would cease to be the
central depot for all commercial movements, and thus the paralysis of
the affairs of the whole country would be avoided, in case the Parisian
populace should again be bitten by the barricade mania. At one time it
was feared that the collections of M. Thiers were destroyed in the
conflagration at the Tuileries; but M. Courbet reports that on the 12th
of May he asked what he ought to do about the different things taken at
the house of M. Thiers, and if they were to be sent to the Louvre or to
be publicly sold, and he was then appointed a member of the commission
to examine the case. Regarding his conduct at the time of the
demolishing of the house of M. Thiers, he arrived too late, he says, to
make an inventory; the furniture and effects had been already packed by
the _employés_ of the Garde Meuble; "I made some observations about it,
and on going through the empty apartments, I noticed two small figures
that I packed in paper, thinking they might be private _souvenirs_, and
that I would return them some day to their owner. All the other things
were already destroyed or gone."]


An anecdote: Parisian all over; but with such stuff are they amused!

Raoul Rigault, the man who arrests, was breakfasting with Gaston
Dacosta, the man who destroys. These two friends are worthy of each
other. Rigault has incarcerated the Archbishop of Paris, but Dacosta
claims the merit of having loosened the first stone in M. Thiers' house.
But however, Rigault would destroy if Dacosta were not there to do so;
and if Rigault did not arrest, Dacosta would arrest for him.

They talked as they ate. Rigault enumerated the list of people he had
sent to the Conciergerie and to Mazas, and thought with consternation
that soon there would be no one left for him to arrest. Suddenly he
stopped his fork on its way to his mouth, and his face assumed a most
doleful expression.--"What's the matter?" cried Dacosta, alarmed.--"Ah!"
said Rigault, tears choking his utterance, "Papa is not in
Paris."--"Well, and what does it matter if your father is not
here?"--"Alas!" exclaimed Rigault, bursting out crying, "I could have
had him arrested!"[91]


[Footnote 91: The illegality of his conduct, however, was too
glaring even for the Commune, and he was removed from his post on a
complaint made by Arthur Arnould, to the committee, concerning the
arbitrary arrest of a number of persons. Cournet was appointed to the
Prefecture in Rigault's stead, but the amateur policeman and informer
did not renounce work; he found the greatest pleasure, as he himself
expressed it, in acting the spy over the official spies. This man was a
well-known frequenter of the low cafés of the Quartier Latin, and his
face bore such evidences of his debauched life, that though only
twenty-eight years of age, he looked nearer forty.]



The horrible cracking sound that is heard at sea when a vessel splits
upon a rock, is not a surer sign of peril to the terrified crew, than
are the vain efforts, contradictions and agitation at the Hôtel de
Ville, the forerunners of disaster to the men of the Commune. Listen!
the vessel is about to heave asunder. Everybody gives orders, no one
obeys them. One man looks defiantly at another; this man denounces that,
and Rigault thinks seriously of arresting them both. There is a majority
which is not united, and a minority that cannot agree amongst
themselves. Twenty-one members retire, they do well.[92] I am glad to
find on the list the names of the few that Paris' still believes in, and
whom, thanks to this tardy resignation, it will not learn to despise.
For instance, Arthur Arnould. But why should they take the trouble to
seek out a pretext? Why did they not say simply: "We have left them
because we find them full of wickedness; we were blinded as you were at
first, but now we in our turn see clearly; a good cause has been lost by
madmen or worse, and we have abandoned it because, if we were to stay a
moment longer, now that we are no longer blinded, we should be
committing a criminal act" Such words as these would have opened the
eyes of so many wretched beings, who are going to their deaths and think
they do well to die! As to those who remain, they must feel that their
power is slipping from them. They did not arrest or detain Rossel; it
would seem as if they dared not touch him because he was right in
thinking what he said, although he was very wrong to say it as he did.
While the Commune hesitates, the military plans of the Versaillais are
being carried out. Vanves taken, Montrouge in ruins, breaches opened at
the Point-du-Jour, at the Porte-Maillot, at Saint-Ouen; the Communists
have only to choose now, between flight and the horrors of a terrible
death struggle! May they fly, far, far away, beyond the reach of
vengeance, despised, forgotten if that be possible! I am told that the
Central Committee is trying now to substitute itself for the Commune,
which was elected by its desire.[94] One born of the other, they will
die together.



[Illustration: PORTE MAILLOT & Avenue de la Grande Armée.]


[Footnote 92: An important document has just made the round of the
Communal press--the manifesto of the minority of the Commune, in which
twenty-one members declare their refusal to take any farther part in the
deliberations of the body, which they accuse of having delivered its
powers into the hands of the Committee of Public Safety, and thus
rendering itself null. This declaration is signed by:--Arthur Arnould,
Avrial, Andrieux, Arnold, Clémence, Victor Clément, Courbet, Franckel,
Eugène Gérardin, Jourde, Lefrançais, Longuet, Malon, Ostyn, Pindy,
Sérailler, Tridon, Theisz, Varlin, Vermorel, Jules Vallès.

Adding to these twenty-one secessionists, twenty-one members who have
resigned:--Adam, Barré, Brelay, Beslay, De Bouteiller, Chéron,
Desmarest, Ferry, Fruneau, Goupil, Loiseau-Pinson, Leroy, Lefèvre,
Méline, Murat, Marmottan, Nast, Ulysse Parent, Robineat, Rane, Tirard;

Three who have not sat: Briosne, Menotti Garibaldi, Rogeard;

Two dead: Duval, Flourens;

One captured: Blanqui;

One escaped: Charles Gérardin;

Five incarcerated: Allix, Panille dit Blanchet, Brunel, Emile Clément,

Out of 101 members elected to the Commune on the 26th of March and the
16th of April, only forty-seven now remain:--Amouroux, Ant. Arnaud,
Assy, Babick, Billioray, Clément, Champy, Chardon, Chalain, Demay,
Dupont, Decamp, Dereure, Durant, Delescluze, Eudes, Henry Fortuné,
Ferré, Gambon, Geresme, Paschal Grousset, Johannard, Ledroit, Langevin,
Lonclas, Mortier, Léo Meiller, Martelet, J. Miot, Oudet, Protot, Paget,
Pilotel, Félix Pyat, Philippe, Parisel, Pottier, Régère, Raoul Rigault,
Sicard, Triquet, Urbain, Vaillant, Verdure, Vésmier, Viart.]

[Footnote 93: Arnould is a man of about forty-seven years of age, small
in stature, lively and intelligent. He has written in many of the
Democratic journals of Paris and the provinces; and his literary talents
are of a good kind. Being connected with Rochefort's journal, the
_Marseillaise_, he was sent by the latter to challenge Pierre Bonaparte,
and was a witness at the trial which followed the murder of Victor Noir.

Although naturally drawn by his connections into the movement of the
eighteenth of March, he always protested loudly against the arbitrary
acts of the Commune, and it is surprising that he did not fall under
accusation, by his colleagues. He opposed particularly the proposals for
the suppression of newspapers. "It is prodigious to me," he said, in
full meeting of the committee, "that people will still talk of arresting
others for expressing their opinions."

He voted against the organisation of the Committee of Public Safety on
the ground:--

"That such an institution would be directly opposed to the political
opinions of the electoral body, of which the Commune is the

He protested most energetically against secret imprisonment--

"Secret incarceration has something immoral in it; it is moral torture
substituted for physical.

"I cannot understand men who have passed their life in combating the
errors of despotism, falling into the same faults when they arrive at
power. Of two things one: either secret imprisonment is an indispensable
and good thing; or, it is odious. If it was good it was wrong to oppose
it, and if it be odious and immoral, we ought not to continue it."

What on earth had he then to do in the Commune?

"Que diable allait-il faire dans cette galère?"]


"Central Committee.

"To the People of Paris! To the National Guard!

"Rumours of dissensions between the majority of the Commune and the
Central Committee have been spread by our common enemies with a
persistency which, once for all, must be crushed by public compact.

"The Central Committee, appointed to the administration of military
affairs by the Committee of Public Safety, will enter upon office from
this day.

"This Committee, which has upheld the standard of the Communal
revolution, has undergone no change and no deterioration. It is today
what it was yesterday, the legitimate defender of the Commune, the basis
of its power, at the same time as it is the determined enemy of civil
war; the sentinel placed by the people to protect the rights that they
have conquered,

    "In the name, then, of the Commune, and of the Central Committee,
    who sign this pact of good faith, let these gross suspicions and
    calumnies be swept away. Let hearts beat, let hands be ready to
    strike in the good cause, and may we triumph in the name of union
    and fraternity.

    "Long live the Republic!

    "Long live the Commune!

    "Long live the Communal Federation!

    "The Commission of the Commune, BERGERET, CHAMPY, GERESME, LEDROIT,

    "The Central Committee. "Paris, 18th May, 1871."



It was five o'clock in the afternoon. The day had been splendid and the
sun shone brilliantly on Caesar still standing on the glorious pedestal
of his victories. Outside the barricades of the Rue de la Paix and the
Rue Castiglione, the crowd was standing in a compact mass, as far as the
Tuileries on one side and the New Opera House on the other. There must
have been from twenty to twenty-fire thousand people there. Strangers
accosted each other by the title of Citizen, I heard some talking about
an eccentric Englishman who had paid three thousand francs for the
pleasure of being the last to climb to the summit of the column. Nearly
every one blamed him for not having given the money to the people.
Others said that Citizen Jourde would not manage to cover his expenses;
Abadie[95] the engineer had asked thirty-two thousand francs to pull
down the great trophy, and that the stone and plaster was after all, not
covered with more than an inch or two of bronze, that it was not so many
metres high, and would not make a great many two-sous pieces after all.
These sous seemed to occupy the public mind exceedingly, but the
principal subjects of conversation, were the fears concerning the
probable effects of the fall.


The event was slow in accomplishment. The wide Place was thinly
sprinkled with spectators, not more than three hundred in all,
privileged beings with tickets, or wearing masonic badges; or officers
of the staff. Bergeret at one of the windows was coolly smoking a
cigarette; military bands were assembled at the four angles of the
Place; the sound of female laughter reached us from the open windows of
the Ministère de la Justice. The horses of the mounted sentinels
curvetted with impatience; bayonets glittered in the sun; children gaped
wearily, seated on the curbstone. The hour of the ceremony was past; a
rope had broken. Around the piled faggots on which the column was to
fall, great fascines of flags of the favourite colour were flying.

The crowd did not seem to enjoy being kept in suspense, and proclaimed
their impatience by stamping with measured tread, and crying "Music!"

At half-past five there was a sudden movement and bustle around the
barricade of the Rue Castiglione. The members of the Commune appeared
with their inevitable red scarfs.[96] Then there was a great hush. At
the same instant the windlass creaked; the ropes which hung from the
summit of the column tightened; the gaping hole in the masonry below,
gradually closed; the statue bent forward in the rays of the setting
sun, and then suddenly describing in the air a gigantic sweep, fell
among the flags with a dull, heavy thud, scattering a whirlwind of
blinding dust in the air.

Then the bands struck up the "Marseillaise," and cries of "Vive la
Commune" were re-echoed on all sides by the terror or the indifference
of the multitude. In a marvellously short time, however, all was quiet
again, so quiet, indeed, that I distinctly heard a dog bark as it ran
frightened across the Place.

I daresay the members of the Commune, who presided over the
accomplishment of this disgraceful deed, exclaimed in the pride of their
miserable hearts, "Caesar, those whom you salute shall live!"

Everybody of course wished to get a bit of the ruin, as visitors to
Paris eagerly bought bits of siege bread framed and glazed, and there
was a general rush towards the place; but the National Guards crossed,
their bayonets in front of the barricade, and no one was allowed to
pass. So that the crowd quickly dispersed to its respective dinners. "It
is fallen!" said some to those who had not been fortunate enough to see
the sight. "The head of the statue came off--no one was killed." The
boys cried out, "Oh, it was a jolly sight all the same!" But the greater
part of the people were silent as they trudged away.

Then night came on, and next day a land-mark and a finger-post seemed
missing in our every-day journey. Until we lose a familiar object we
hardly appreciate its existence.


[Footnote 95: Abadie arranged to demolish the Colonne Vendôme for 32,000
or 38,000 francs, forfeiting 600 francs for every day's delay after the
fourth of May. This reduced the sum to be paid to him by 6000 francs.]

[Footnote 96: Regarding Courbet and the destruction of the Column, he
rejects the accusation on the ground that this decree had been voted
previously to his admission in the Commune, and on the request he had
made under the Government of the 4th of May of removing the column to
the esplanade of the Invalides. He affirms that the official paper has
altered his own words at the Commune, and he pretends having proposed to
the Government to rebuild the column at his own expense, if it can be
proved that he has been the cause of its destruction.]


On the sixteenth, I received a prospectus through my concierge. There
was to be a concert, mixed with speeches--a sort of popular fête at the
Tuileries. The places varied in price from ten sous to five francs. Five
francs the Salle des Maréchaux; ten sous the garden, which was to be
illuminated with Venetian lamps among the orange-trees; the whole to be
enlivened by fireworks from the Courbevoie batteries.

I had tact enough not to put on white gloves, and set out for the

It was not a fairy-like sight; indeed, it was a most depressing
spectacle. A crowd of thieves and vagabonds, of dustmen and rag-pickers,
with four or five gold bands on their sleeves and caps, (the insignia of
officers of the National Guard), were hurrying along down the grand
staircase, chewing "imperiales," spitting, and repeating the old jokes
of '93. As to the women--they were sadly out of place. They simpered,
and gave themselves airs, and some of them even beat time with their
fans, as Mademoiselle Caillot was singing, to look as if they knew
something about music.

concert held in the Tuileries by the Commune took place on Sunday, the
21st of March, when Anteuil and Passy had been in the power of the army
for several hours. Two days later the old palace was in flames. Citizen
Félix Pyat had advanced the preservation of the Tuileries in the
_Vengeur_, proposing to convert it into an asylum for the victims of
work and the martyrs of the Republic. "This residence," he wrote, "ought
to be devoted to the people, who had already taken possession of it."]

The concert took place in the Salle des Maréchaux: a platform had been
erected for the performers. The velvet curtains with their golden bees
still draped the windows. From the gallery above I could see all that
was going on. The Imperial balcony opens out of it; I went there, and
leaned on the balustrade with a certain feeling of emotion. Below were
the illuminated gardens, and far away at the end of the Champs Elysées,
almost lost in the purple of the sky, rose the Arc de Triomphe de

The roaring of the cannon at Vanves and Montrouge reached me where I
stood. When the duet of the "_Maître de Chapelle_" was over, I returned
into the hall; the distant crashing of the mitrailleuse at Neuilly,
borne towards us on the fresh spring breeze, in through the open
windows, joined its voice to the applause of the audience.

Oh! what an audience! The faces in general looked fit subjects for the
gibbet; others were simply disgusting: surprise, pleasure, and fear of
Equality were reflected on every physiognomy. The carpenter, Pindy,
military governor of the Hôtel de Ville, was in close conversation with
a girl from Philippe's. The ex-spy Clémence muttered soft speeches into
the ear of a retired _chiffonnière_, who smiled awkwardly in reply. The
cobbler Dereure was intently contemplating his boots; while Brilier,
late coachman, hissed the singers by way of encouragement, as he would
have done to his horses. They were going to recite some verses: I only
waited to hear--


an Alexandrine, doubtless, launched at the National Assembly, and made
my way to the garden as quickly as I could.

There, in spite of the Venetian lamps, all was very dull and dark. The
walks were almost deserted, although it was scarcely half-past nine. I
took a turn beneath the trees: the evening was cold; and I soon left the
gardens by the Rue de Rivoli gate. A good many people were standing
there "to see the grand people come from the fête"--a fête given by
lackeys in a deserted mansion!


I was busy writing, when suddenly I heard a fearful detonation, followed
by report on report. The windows rattled: I thought the house was
shaking under me. The noise continued: it seemed as if cannon were
roaring on all sides. I rushed down into the street; frightened people
were running hither and thither, and asking questions. Some thought that
the Versaillais were bombarding Paris on all sides. On the Boulevards I
was told it was the fort of Vanves that had been blown up. At last I
arrived on the Place de la Concorde: there the consternation was great,
but nothing was known for certain. Looking up, I saw high up in the sky
what looked like a dark cloud, but which was not a cloud. I tried again
and again to obtain information. It appeared pretty certain that an
explosion had taken place near the Ecole Militaire-doubtless at the
Grenelle powder-magazine, I then turned into the Champs Elysées. A
distant cracking was audible, like the noise of a formidable battery of
mitrailleuses. Puffs of white smoke arose in the air and mingled with
the dark cloud there. I no longer walked, I ran: I hoped to be able to
see something from the Rond Point de l'Etoile. Once there, a grand and
fearful sight met my eyes. Vast columns of smoke rolled over one another
towards the sky. Every now and then the wind swept them a little on one
side, and for an instant a portion of the city was visible beneath the
rolling vapours. Then in an instant a flame burst out--only one, but
that gigantic, erect, brilliant, as one that might dart forth from a
Tolcano suddenly opened, up through the smoke which was reddened,
illumined by the eruption of the fire. At the same moment there were
explosions as of a hundred waggons of powder blown up one after another.
All this scene, in its hideous splendour, blinded and deafened me. I
wanted to get nearer, to feel the heat of the burning, to rush on. I had
the fire-frenzy!


Going down to the Quai de Passy, I found a dense crowd there. Some one
screamed out: "Go back! go back! the fire will soon reach the
cartridge-magazine." The words had scarcely been uttered, when a storm
of balls fell like hail amongst us. Each person thought himself wounded,
and many took to their heels. It did not enter into my head to run away.
From where I was then, the sight was still more terribly beautiful, and
the crowd that had withdrawn from the spot soon re-assembled again.
Dreadful details were passed from mouth to mouth. Four five-storied
houses had fallen; no one dared to think even of the number of the
victims. Bodies had been seen to fall from the windows, horribly
mutilated; arms and legs had been picked up in different places. Near
the powder-magazine is a hospital, which was shaken from foundation to
roof: for an instant it had trembled violently as if it were going to
fall. The nurses, dressers, and even the sick had rushed from the wards,
shrieking in an agony of fear; the frightened horses, too, with blood
streaming down their sides, pranced madly among the fugitives, or
galloped away as fast as they could from the awful scene.

As to the cause of the explosion, opinions varied much. Some said it was
owing to the negligence of the overseers or the imprudence of the
workwomen; others, that the fire was caused by a shell. A woman rushed
up to us, screaming out that she had just seen a man arrested in a shed
in the Champ de Mars, who acknowledged having blown up the
powder-magazine, by order of the Versailles government. Of course this
was inevitable. The Commune would not let such a good opportunity pass
for accusing its enemies. A few innocent people will be arrested, tried
with more or less form, and shot; when they are so many corpses, the
Commune will exclaim, "You see they must have been guilty: they have
been shot!"

As evening came on I turned home, thinking that the cup was now filled
to overflowing, and that the devoted city had had to suffer defeat,
civil war, infamy, and death; but that this last disaster seemed almost
more than divine justice. Ever and anon I turned my head to gaze again.
In the gathering gloom, the flames looked blood-red, as if the Commune
had unfurled its sinister banner over that irreparable disaster.


[Footnote 97: Razoua served in a regiment of Spahis in Africa. Becoming
acquainted with the journalists who used to frequent the Café de Madrid,
he was a constant attendant there. He took up literature, and in 1867
published some violent articles in the _Pilori_ of Victor Noir. He
afterwards went with Delescluze to the _Réveil_, where his revolutionary
principles were manifested. In the month of February, 1871, he was
elected a member of the National Assembly by the people of Paris. After
having sat for some time at Bordeaux, he gave his resignation, and
became one of the Communal council.

Appointed governor of the École Militaire, he distinguished himself in
no way in his position, except by the sumptuous dinners and déjeûners
with which he regaled his friends.]


I have gazed so long on what was passing around me that my eyes are
weary. I have watched the slow decline of joy, of comfort and luxury,
almost without knowing how everything has been dying around me, as a man
in a ball-room where the candles are put out, one by one, may not
perceive at first the gathering gloom. To see Paris, as it is at the
present moment, as the Commune has made it, requires an effort. Let me
shut my eyes, and evoke the vision of Paris as it was, living, joyous,
happy even in the midst of sadness. I have done so--I have brought it
all back to me; now I will open my eyes and look around me.

In the street that I inhabit not a vehicle of any kind is visible. Men
in the uniform of National Guards pass and repass on the pavement; a
lady is talking with her _concierge_ on the threshold of one of the
houses. They talk low. Many of the shops are closed; some have only the
shutters up; a few are quite open. I see a woman at the bar of the
wine-shop opposite, drinking.

Some quarters still resist the encroachments of silence and apathy. Some
arteries continue to beat. Some ribbons here and there brighten up the
shop-windows: bare-headed shopgirls pass by with a smile on their lips;
men look after them as they trip along. At the corner of the Boulevards
a sort of tumult is occasioned by a number of small boys and girls,
venders of Communal journals, who screech out the name and title of
their wares at the top of their voices. But even there where the crowd
is thickest, one feels as if there were a void. The two contrary ideas
of multitude and solitude seem to present themselves at once in one's
mind. A weird impression! Imagine a vast desert with a crowd in it.

The Boulevards look interminable. There used to be a hundred obstacles
between you and the distance; now there is nothing to prevent your
looking as far as you like. Here and there a cab, an omnibus or two, and
that is all. The passers-by are no longer promenaders. They have come
out because they were obliged: without that they would have remained at
home. The distances seem enormous now, and people who used to saunter
about from morning till night will tell you now that "the Madeleine is a
long way off." Very few men in black coats or blouses are to be seen;
only very old men dare show themselves out of uniform. In front of the
café's are seated officers of the Federal army, sometimes seven or eight
around a table. When you get near enough, you generally find they are
talking of the dismissal of their last commander. Here and there a lady
walks rapidly by, closely veiled, mostly dressed in black, with an
unpretending bonnet. The gallop of a horse is distinctly audible--in
other times one would never have noticed such a thing; it is an express
with despatches, a Garibaldian, or one of the _Vengeurs de Flourens_,
who is hoisted on a heavy cart-horse that ploughs the earth with its
ponderous forefeet. Several companies of Federals file up towards the
Madeleine, their rations of bread stuck on the top of their bayonets.
Look down the side-streets, to the right or the left, and you will see
the sidewalks deserted, and not a vehicle from one end to the other of
the road. Even on the Boulevards there are times when there is no one to
be seen at all. However, beneath it all there is a longing to awaken,
which is crushed and kept down by the general apathy.

In the evening one's impulses burst forth; one must move about; one must
live. Passengers walk backwards and forwards, talking in a loud voice.
But the crowd condenses itself between the Rue Richelieu and the Rue du
Faubourg Montmartre. Solitude has something terrible about it just now.
People congregate together for the pleasure of elbowing each other, of
trying to believe they are in great force. Quite a crowd collects round
a little barefooted girl, who is singing at the corner of a street. A
man seated before a low table is burning _pastilles_; another offers
barley-sugar for sale; another has portraits of celebrities. Everybody
tries hard to be gay; but the shops are closed, and the gas is sparingly
lighted, so that broad shadows lie between the groups.

Some few persons go to the theatres; the playbills, however, are not
seductive. If you go in, you will find the house nearly empty; the
actors gabble their parts with as little action as possible. You see
they are bored, and they bore us. Sometimes when some actor, naturally
comic, says or does something funny, the audience laughs, and then
suddenly leaves off and looks more serious than before. Laughter seems
out of place. One does not know how to bear it; so one walks up and down
the corridors, then instead of returning to the play, wanders out again
on to the Boulevard. It is ten o'clock--dreadfully late. Many of the
cafés are already closed for the night. At Tortoni's and the Café
Anglais, not a glimmer is visible. The crowd has nearly disappeared.
Only a few officers remain, who have been drinking all the evening in an
_estaminet_. They call to each other to hurry on; perhaps one of them is
drunk, but even he is not amusing. Let us go home. Scarcely anyone is
left in the street. A bell is rung here and there, as the last of us
reach our respective homes.

That, Commune de Paris, is what you have made of Paris! The Prussians
came, Paris awaited them quietly with a smile; the shells fell on its
houses, it ate black bread, it waited hours in the cold to obtain an
ounce of horse-flesh or thirty pounds of green wood; it fought, but was
vanquished; it was told to surrender, and "it was given up," as they say
at the Hôtel de Ville; and yet through all, Paris had not ceased to
smile. And this, they say, constitutes its greatness; it was the last
protestation against unmerited misfortunes; it was the remembrance of
having once been proud and happy, and the hope of becoming so again; it
was, in a word, Paris declaring it was Paris still. Well, what neither
defeats, nor famine, nor capitulation could do, thou hast done! And
accursed be thou, O Commune; for, as Macbeth murdered sleep, thou hast
murdered our smiles!


The roaring of cannon close at hand, the whizzing of shells, volleys of
musketry! I hear this in my sleep, and awake with a start. I dress and
go out. I am told the troops have come in. "How? where? when?" I ask of
the National Guards who come rushing down the street, crying out, "We
are betrayed!" They, however, know but very little. They have come from
the Trocadero, and have seen the red trousers of the soldiers in the
distance. Fighting is going on near the viaduct of Auteuil, at the Champ
de Mars. Did the assault take place last night or this morning? It is
quite impossible to obtain any reliable information. Some talk of a
civil engineer having made signals to the Versaillais; others say a
captain in the navy was the first to enter Paris.[98] Suddenly about
thirty men rush into the streets crying, "We must make a barricade." I
turn back, fearing to be pressed into the service. The cannonading
appears dreadfully near. A shell whistles over my head. I hear some
one say, "The batteries of Montmartre are bombarding the Arc de
Triomphe;" and strange enough, in this moment of horror and uncertainty,
the thought crosses my mind that now the side of the arch on which is
the bas-relief of Rude will be exposed to the shells. On the Boulevard
there is only here and there a passenger hurrying along. The shops are
closed; even the café's are shut up. The harsh screech of the
mitrailleuse grows louder and nearer. The battle seems to be close at
hand, all round me. A thousand contradictory suppositions rush through
my brain and hurry me along, and here on the Boulevard there is no one
that can tell me anything. I walk in the direction of the Madeleine,
drawn there by a violent desire to know what is going on, which
silences the voice of prudence. As I approach the Chaussée d'Antin I
perceive a multitude of men, women, and children running backwards and
forwards, carrying paving-stones. A barricade is being thrown up; it is
already more than three feet high. Suddenly I hear the rolling of heavy
wheels; I turn, and a strange sight is before me--a mass of women in
rags, livid, horrible, and yet grand, with the Phrygian cap on their
heads, and the skirts of their robes tied round their waists, were
harnessed to a mitrailleuse, which they dragged along at full speed;
other women pushing vigorously behind. The whole procession, in its
sombre colours, with dashes of red here and there, thunders past me; I
follow it as fast as I can. The mitrailleuse draws up a little in front
of the barricade, and is hailed with wild clamours by the insurgents.
The Amazons are being unharnessed as I come up. "Now," said a young
_gamin_, such as one used to see in the gallery of the Théâtre Porte St.
Martin, "don't you be acting the spy here, or I will break your head
open as if you were a Versaillais."--"Don't waste ammunition," cried an
old man with a long white beard--a patriarch of civil war--"don't waste
ammunition; and as for the spy, let him help to carry paving-stones.
Monsieur," said he, turning to me with much politeness, "will you be so
kind as to go and fetch those stones from the corner there?"

[Illustration: Cafe Life Under the Commune.]

[Illustration: SPECTACLES DE PARIS.]

I did as I was bid, although I thought, with anything but pleasure, that
if at that moment the barricade were attacked and taken, I might be shot
before I had the time to say, "Allow me to explain." But the scene which
surrounds me interests me in spite of myself. Those grim hags, with
their red headdresses, passing the stones I give them rapidly from hand
to hand, the men who are building them up only leaving off for a moment
now and then to swallow a cup of coffee, which a young girl prepares
over a small tin stove; the rifles symmetrically piled; the barricade,
which rises higher and higher; the solitude in which we are
working--only here and there a head appears at a window, and is quickly
withdrawn; the ever-increasing noise of the battle; and, over all, the
brightness of a dazzling morning sun--all this has something sinister
and yet horribly captivating about it. While we are at work, they talk;
I listen. The Versaillais have been coming in all night.[99] The Porte
de la Muette and the Porte Dauphine have been surrendered by the 13th
and the 113th battalions of the first arrondissement. "Those two numbers
13 will bring them ill-luck," says a woman. Vinoy is established at the
Trocadéro, and Douai at the Point du Jour: they continue to advance. The
Champ de Mars has been taken from the Federals after two hours'
fighting. A battery is erected at the Arc de Triomphe, which sweeps the
Champs Elysées and bombards the Tuileries. A shell has fallen in the Rue
du Marché Saint Honoré. In the Cours-la-Reine the 188th battalion stood
bravely. The Tuileries is armed with guns, and shells the Arc de
Triomphe. In the Avenue de Marigny the gendarmes have shot twelve
Federals who had surrendered; their bodies are still lying on the
pavement in front of the tobacconist's. Rue de Sèvres, the _Vengeurs de
Flourens_ have put to flight a whole regiment of the line: the
_Vengeurs_ have sworn to resist to a man. They are fighting in the
Champs Élysées, around the Ministère de la Guerre, and on the Boulevard
Haussman. Dombrowski has been killed at the Château de la Muette. The
Versaillais have attacked the Western Saint Lazare station, and are
marching towards the Pépinière barracks. "We have been sold, betrayed,
and surprised; but what does it matter, we will triumph. We want no more
chiefs or generals; behind the barricades every man is a marshal!"

[Illustration: _Place de la Concorde_]

[Illustration: _Poor Pradier's Statues. Lille suffers from her friends
in fight--whilst Strasbourg--in crape--mourns the foe of France._]


Eight or ten men come flying down the Chaussée d'Antin; they join,
crying out, "The Versaillais have taken the barracks; they are
establishing a battery. Delescluze has been captured at the Ministère de
la Guerre."--"It is false!" exclaims a vivandière; "we have just seen
him at the Hôtel de Ville."--"Yes, yes," cry out other women, "he is at
the Hôtel de Ville. He gave us a mitrailleuse. Jules Vallès embraced us,
one after another; he is a fine man, he is! He told us all was going
well, that the Versaillais should never have Paris, that we shall
surround them, and that it will all be over in two days."--"Vive la
Commune!" is the reply. The barricade is by this time finished. They
expect to be attacked every second. "You," said a sergeant, "you had
better be off, if you care for your life." I do not wait for the man to
repeat his warning. I retrace my steps up the Boulevard, which is less
solitary than it was. Several groups are standing at the doors. It
appears quite certain that the troops of the Assembly have been pretty
successful since they came in. The Federals, surprised by the suddenness
and number of the attacks, at first lost much ground. But the resistance
is being organised. They hold their own at the Place de la Concorde; at
the Place Vendôme they are very numerous, and have at their disposal a
formidable amount of artillery. Montmartre is shelling furiously. I turn
up the Rue Vivienne, where I meet several people in search of news. They
tell me that "two battalions of the Faubourg Saint Germain have just
gone over to the troops, with their muskets reversed. A captain of the
National Guard has been the first in that quarter to unfurl the
tricolour. A shell had set fire to the Ministère des Finances, but the
firemen in the midst of the shot and shell had managed to put it out."
At the Place de la Bourse I find three of four hundred Federals
constructing a barricade; having gained some experience, I hurry on to
escape the trouble of being pressed into the service. The surrounding
streets are almost deserted; Paris is in hiding. The cannonading is
becoming more furious every minute. I cross the garden of the Palais
Royal. There I see a few loiterers, a knot of children are skipping. The
Rue de Rivoli is all alive with people. A battalion marches hurriedly
from the Hôtel de Ville; at the head rides a young man mounted on a
superb black horse. It is Dombrowski. I had been told he was dead. He is
very pale. "A fragment of shell hit him in the chest at La Muette, but
did not enter the flesh," says some one. The men sing the _Chant du
Départ_ as they march along. I see a few women carrying arms among the
insurgents; one who walks just behind Dombrowski has a child in her
arms. Looking in the direction of the Place de la Concorde, I see smoke
arising from the terrace of the Tuileries. In front of the Ministère des
Finances, this side of the barricade is a black mass of something; I
think I can distinguish wheels; it is either cannon or engines. All
around is confusion. I can hear the musketry distinctly, but the noise
seems to come from the Champs Élysées; they are not firing at the
barricade. I turn and walk towards the Hôtel de Ville: mounted expresses
ride constantly past; companies of Federals are here and there lying on
the ground around their piled muskets. By the Rue du Louvre there is
another barricade; a little further there is another and then
another.[100] Close to Saint Germain l'Auxerrois women are busy pulling
down the wooden seats; children are rolling empty wine-barrels and
carrying sacks of earth. As one nears the Hôtel de Ville the barricades
are higher, better armed, and better manned. All the Nationals here
look ardent, resolved, and fierce. They say little, and do not shout at
all. Two guards, seated on the pavement, are playing at picquet. I push
on, and am allowed to pass. The barricades are terminated here, and I
have nothing to fear from paving-stones. Looking up, I see that all the
windows are closed, with the exception of one, where two old women are
busy putting a mattress between the window and the shutter. A sentinel,
mounting guard in front of the Café de la Compagnie du Gaz, cries out to
me, "You can't pass here!" I therefore seat myself at a table in front
of the café, which has doubtless been left open by order, and where
several officers are talking in a most animated manner. One of them
rises and advances towards me. He asks me rudely what I am doing there.
I will not allow myself to be abashed by his tone, but draw out my pass
from my pocket and show it him, without saying a word. "All right," says
he, and then seats himself by my side, and tells me, "I know it already,
that a part of the left bank of the river is occupied by the troops of
the Assembly, that fighting is going on everywhere, and that the army
on this side is gradually retreating.--Street fighting is our affair,
you see," he continues. "In such battles as that, the merest gamin from
Belleville knows more about it than MacMahon.... It will be terrible.
The enemy shoots the prisoners." (For the last two months the Commune
had been saying the same thing.) "We shall give no quarter."--I ask him,
"Is it Delescluze who is determined to resist?"--"Yes," he answers.[101]
"Lean forward a little. Look at those three windows to the left of the
trophy. That is the Salle de l'État-Major. Delescluze is there giving
orders, signing commissions. He has not slept for three days. Just now I
scarcely knew him, he was so worn out with fatigue. The Committee of
Public Safety sits permanently in a room adjoining, making out
proclamations and decrees."--"Ha, ha!" said I, "decrees!"--"Yes,
citizen, he has just decreed heroism!"[102] The officer gives me several
other bits of information. Tells me that "Lullier this very morning has
had thirty _réfractaires_ shot, and that Rigault has gone to Mazas to
look after the hostages." While he is talking, I try to see what is
going on in the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville. Two or three thousand
Federals are there, some seated, some lying on the ground. A lively
discussion is going on. Several little barrels are standing about on
chairs; the men are continually getting up and crowding round the
barrels, some have no glasses, but drink in the palms of their hands.
Women walk up and down in bands, gesticulating wildly. The men shout,
the women shriek. Mounted expresses gallop out of the Hôtel, some in the
direction of the Bastille, some towards the Place de la Concorde. The
latter fly past us crying out, "All's well!" A man comes out on the
balcony of the Hôtel de Ville and addresses the crowd. All the Federals
start to their feet enthusiastically.--"That's Vallès," says my
neighbour to me. I had already recognised him. I frequently saw him in
the students' quarter in a little _crémerie_ in the Rue Serpente. He was
given to making verses, rather bad ones by-the-bye; I remember one in
particular, a panegyric on a green coat. They used to say he had a
situation in the _pompes funèbres_.[103] His face even then wore a
bitter and violent expression. He left poetry for journalism, and then
journalism for politics.


To-day he is spouting forth at a window of the Hôtel de Ville. I cannot
catch a word of what he says; but as he retires he is wildly applauded.
Such applause pains me sadly. I feel that these men and these women are
mad for blood, and will know how to die. Alas! how many dead and dying
already! neither the cannonading nor the musketry has ceased an instant.
I now see a number of women walk out of the Hôtel, the crowd makes room
for them to pass. They come our way. They are dressed in black, and have
black crape tied round their arms and a red cockade in their bonnets. My
friend the officer tells me that they are the governesses who have taken
the places of the nuns. Then he walks up to them and says, "Have you
succeeded?"--"Yes," answers one of them, "here is our commission. The
school children are to be employed in making sacks and filling them with
earth, the eldest ones to load the rifles behind the barricades. They
will receive rations like National Guards, and a pension will be given
to the mothers of those who die for the Republic. They are mad to fight,
I assure you. We have made them work hard during the last month, this
will be their holiday!" The woman who says this is young and pretty, and
speaks with a sweet smile on her lips. I shudder. Suddenly two staff
officers appear and ride furiously up to the Hôtel de Ville; they have
come from the Place Vendôme. An instant later and the trumpets sound.
The companies form in the Place, and great agitation reigns in the
Hôtel. Men rush in and out. The officers who are in the café where I am
get up instantly, and go to take their places at the head of their men.
A rumour spreads that the Versaillais have taken the barricades on the
Place de la Concorde.--"By Jove! I think you had better go home," says
my neighbour to me, as he clasps his sword belt; "we shall have hot work
here, and that shortly." I think it prudent to follow this advice. One
glance at the Place before I go. The companies of Federals have just
started off by the Rue de Rivoli and the quays at a quick march, crying
"Vive la Commune!" a ferocious joy beaming in their faces. A young man,
almost a lad, lags a little behind, a woman rushes up to him, and lays
hold of his collar, screaming, "Well, and you, are you not going to get
yourself killed with the others?"


I reach the Rue Vieille-du-Temple, where another barricade is being
built up. I place a paving-stone upon it and pass on. Soon I see open
shops and passengers in the streets. This tradesmen's quarter seems to
have outlived the riot of Paris. Here one might almost forget the
frightful civil war which wages so near, if the conversation of those
around did not betray the anguish of the speakers, and if you did not
hear the cannon roaring out unceasingly, "People of Paris, listen to me!
I am ruining your houses. Listen to me! I am killing your children."

On the boulevards more barricades; some nearly finished, others scarcely
commenced. One constructed near the Porte Saint Martin looks formidable.
That spot seems destined to be the theatre of bloody scenes, of riot and
revolution. In 1852, corpses laid piled up behind the railing, and all
the pavement tinged with blood. I return home profoundly sad; I can
scarcely think.--I feel in a dream, and am tired to death; my eyelids
droop of themselves; I am like one of those houses there with closed

Near the Gymnase I meet a friend whom I thought was at Versailles. We
shake hands sadly. "When did you come back?" I ask.--"To-day; I followed
the troops."--Then turning back with me he tells me what he has seen. He
had a pass, and walked into Paris behind the artillery and the line, as
far as the Trocadéro, where the soldiers halted to take up their line of
battle. Not a single man was visible along the whole length of the
quays. At the Champ de Mars he did not see any insurgents. The musketry
seemed very violent near Vaugirard on the Pont Royal and around the
Palais de l'Industrie. Shells from Montmartre repeatedly fell on the
quays. He could not see much,--however only the smoke in the distance.
Not a soul did he meet. Such frightful noise in such solitude was
fearful. He continued his way under shelter of the parapet. In one place
he saw some gamins cutting huge pieces of flesh off the dead body of a
horse that was lying in the path. There must have been fighting there.
Down by the water a man fishing while two shells fell in the river, a
little higher up, a yard or two from the shore. Then he thought it
prudent to get nearer to the Palais de l'Industrie. The fighting was
nearly over then, but not quite. The Champs Elysées was melancholy in
the extreme; not a soul was there. This was only too literally true; for
several corpses lay on the ground. He saw a soldier of the line lying
beneath a tree, his forehead covered with blood. The man opened his
month as if to speak as he heard the sound of footsteps, the eyelids
quivered and then there was a shiver, and all was over. My friend walked
slowly away. He saw trees thrown down and bronze lamp-posts broken;
glass crackled under his feet as he passed near the ruined kiosques.
Every now and then turning his head he saw shells from Montmartre fall
on the Arc de Triomphe and break off large fragments of stone. Near the
Tuileries was a confused mass of soldiery against a background of smoke.
Suddenly he heard the whizzing of a ball and saw the branch of a tree
fall. From one end of the avenue to the other, no one; the road
glistened white in the sun. Many dead were to be seen lying about as he
crossed the Champs Elysées. All the streets to the left were full of
soldiery; there had been fighting there, but it was over now. The
insurgents had retreated in the direction of the Madeleine. In many
places tricolor flags were hanging from the windows, and women were
smiling, and waving their handkerchiefs to the troops. The presence of
the soldiery seemed to reassure everybody. The concierges were seated
before their doors with pipes in their mouths, recounting to attentive
listeners the perils from which they had escaped; how balls pierced the
mattresses put up at the windows, and how the Federals had got into the
houses to hide. One said, "I found three of them in my court; I told a
lieutenant they were there, and he had them shot. But I wish they would
take them away; I cannot keep dead bodies in the house." Another was
talking with some soldiers, and pointing out a house to them. Four men
and a corporal went into the place indicated, and an instant afterwards
my friend heard the cracking of rifles. The concierge rubbed his hands
and winked at the bystanders, while another was saying, "They respect
nothing those Federals; during the battle they came in to steal. They
wanted to take away my clothes, my linen, everything I have, but I told
them to leave that, that it was not good enough for them, that they
ought to go up to the first floor, where they would find clocks and
plate, and I gave them the key. Well, Messieurs, you would never believe
what they have done, the rascals! They took the key and went and
pillaged everything on the first floor!" My friend had heard enough, and
passed on. The agitation everywhere was very great. The soldiers went
hither and thither, rang the bells, went into the houses; and brought
out with them pale-faced prisoners. The inhabitants continued to smile
politely, but grimly. Here and there dead bodies were lying in the road.
A man who was pushing a truck allowed one of the wheels to pass over a
corpse that was lying with its head on the curbstone. "Bah!" said he,
"it won't do him any harm." The dead and wounded were, however, being
carried away as quickly as possible.


[Illustration: IN THE RUES.]

[Illustration: SHOT MARKS--EN PROFIL.]

[Illustration: ON THE BOULEVARDS]

[Illustration: PLUS DE LUMIÈRE!!]

[Illustration: PLUS D'OMBRE!]

[Illustration: BULLET HOLE--EN FACE]

The cannon had now ceased roaring, and the fight was still going on
close at hand--at the Tuileries doubtless. The townspeople were tranquil
and the soldiery disdainful. A strange contrast; all these good citizens
smiling and chatting, and the soldiers, who had come to save them at the
peril of their lives, looking down upon them with the most careless
indifference. My friend reached the Boulevard Haussmann; there the
corpses were in large numbers. He counted thirty in less than a hundred
yards. Some were lying under the doorways; a dead woman was seated on
the bottom stair of one of the houses. Near the church of "La Trinité"
were two guns, the reports from which were deafening; several of the
shells fell on a bathing establishment in the Rue Taitbout opposite the
Boulevard. On the Boulevard itself, not a person was to be seen. Here
and there dark masses, corpses doubtless. However, the moment the noise
of the report of a gun had died away, and while the gunners were
reloading, heads were thrust out from doors to see what damage had been
done--to count the number of trees broken, benches torn up, and kiosques
overturned. From some of the windows rifles were fired. My friend then
reached the street he lived in and went home. He was told that during
the morning they had violently bombarded the Collège Chaptal, where the
Zouaves of the Commune had fortified themselves; but the engagement was
not a long one, they made several prisoners and shot the rest.

My friend shut himself up at home, determined not to go out. But his
impatience to see and hear what was going on forced him into the streets
again. The Pépinière barracks were occupied by troops of the line; he
was able to get to the New Opera without trouble, leaving the Madeleine,
where dreadful fighting was going on, to the right. On the way were to
be seen piled muskets, soldiers sitting and lying about, and corpses
everywhere. He then managed, without incurring too much danger, to reach
the Boulevards, where the insurgents, who were then very numerous, had
not yet been attacked. He worked for some little time at the barricade,
and then was allowed to pass on. It was thus that we had met. Just as we
were about to turn up the Faubourg Montmartre a man rushed up saying
that three hundred Federals had taken refuge in the church of the
Madeleine, followed by gendarmes, and had gone on fighting for more than
an hour. "Now," he finished up by saying, "if the _curé_ were to return
he would find plenty of people to bury!"

I am now at home. Evening has come at last; I am jotting down these
notes just as they come into my head. I am too much fatigued both in
mind and body to attempt to put my thoughts into order. The cannonading
is incessant, and the fusillade also. I pity those that die, and those
that kill! Oh! poor Paris, when will experience make you wiser?


[Footnote 98: It was known by this time at Versailles in what a
desperate condition was the Commune, by the information of persons
devoted to order, but who remained amongst the insurgents to keep watch
over and restrain them as much as possible.

The Versailles authorities know that, thanks to the well-directed fire
of Montretout, the bastions of the Point du Jour were no longer tenable,
and that their defenders had abandoned them and had organized new works
of defence; nevertheless, the operations were earned on just as
systematically as if the fire of the besieged had not ceased for several
days, when, on Sunday, the 21st May, about midday, an officer on duty in
the trenches, in course of formation in the Bois de Boulogne, perceived
a man making signs with a white handkerchief near the military post of
Saint Cloud; the officer immediately approached near enough to hear the
bearer of the flag of truce, say:--

"My name is Ducatel, and I belong to the service of the Engineers of
Roads and Bridges, and I have been a soldier. I declare that your
entrance into Paris is easy, and as a guarantee of the truth of what I
say, I am about to give myself up;" so saying, he passed over the fosse
by means of one of the supports of the drawbridge, in spite of several
shots fired at him by Federals hidden in the houses at Auteuil, but none
of which reached him.

A few resolute men now passed over the fosse, and arrived without
accident on the other side. A few insurgents, who were still there, made
off without loss of time, leaving the invaders to establish themselves,
and wait for reinforcements.

A short time after a white flag was exhibited in the neighbouring
bastion, which bore the number 62, and the fire from Montretout and Mont
Valérien was stopped, the infantry of the Marine took possession of the
gate, out the telegraphic wires which were supposed to be in
communication with torpedoes, while information was immediately
despatched to Versailles of these important events.

The division of General Vergé, placed for the time under the orders of
General Douay, entered the gate at half-past three in the afternoon, and
took possession of Point du Jour, after having taken several barricades;
at one of these, Ducatel was sent with a flag of trace towards the
insurgents, who offered to surrender, but he received a bayonet wound,
was carried off to the École Militaire, tried by court-martial and
condemned to death, from which he was fortunately snatched by the
arrival of the Versailles troops at the Trocadéro at two o'clock in the

At the same time, the first corps d'armée (that of General L'Admirault),
made its way into the city by the Portes d'Auteuil and Passy, and took
up a strong position in the streets of Passy.]

[Footnote 99: At ten o'clock at night, the army had taken possession of
the region comprised between the _ceinture_, or circular railway, and
the fortifications, the streets of Auteuil to the viaduct, and the
bridge of Grenelle.

At midnight, the movement which had been suspended for a time to rest
the troops, was recommenced all along the line.

At two o'clock in the morning, General Douay occupied the Trocadéro; and
at about four o'clock his soldiers, after a short struggle, captured the
chateau of La Muette, making about six hundred prisoners, and then,
advancing in the direction of Porte Maillot, they joined the troops of
General Clinchant, who had got within the ramparts on that side.

At the break of day, the tricolour floated over the Arc de Triomphe,
without the Versailles forces having sustained sensible loss. All this
passed on the right bank of the Seine.]

[Footnote 100: The insurrectionists followed a decided and pre-conceived
plan. The barricades, which intersected the streets of Paris in every
direction, were arranged on a general system which showed considerable
skill. Was this ensemble a conception of Cluseret? or a plan of
Gaillard, or Eudes, or Rossel? No one now could say which, but at any
rate we are able to deduce the plan from the facts and set it out as

Within the line of the fortifications the insurgents had formed a second
line of defence, which runs on the right bank of the river, by the
Trocadero, the Triumphal Arch, the Boulevard de Courcelles, the
Boulevard de Batignolles, and the Boulevard de Rochechouart; and on the
left across the bridge of Iéna, the Avenue de la Bourdonnaye, the École
Militaire, the Boulevard des Invalides, the Boulevard Montparnasse, and
the Western Railway Station. Along the whole extent of this circuit the
entrances of the streets were barricades, and the "Places" turned into

From this double _enceinte_ of fortifications the lines of defence
converged along the great boulevards, the Rue Royale, by the Ministry of
Marine, the terrace of the Tuileries Gardens, the Place de la Concorde,
the Palace of the Corps Législatif, the Rue de Bourgogne, and the Rue de
Varenne. This third _enceinte_ of defence was the pride of the
insurgents; they were never tired of admiring their celebrated barricade
of the Rue St. Florentin, and that which intercepted the quay at the
corner of the Tuileries Gardens on the Place de la Concorde.

This is not all. Supposing that the third line were forced, the
insurgents would not even then be without resource. On the left bank of
the Seine they fell back successively on the Rue de Grenelle, Rue Saint
Dominique, and Rue de Lille, all three closed by barricades; on the
right bank they could carry on the struggle by the Rue
Neuve-des-Petits-Champs, the Rue de la Paix, and the Place Vendôme, and
even when beaten back from these last retreats, they could still defend
the Rue St. Honoré and operate a retreat by the Palace of the Tuileries,
the Louvre, and the Hôtel de Ville.]

[Footnote 101: In the following proclamation, published on the 21st May,
Delescluze stimulated the Communist party, which felt its power melting
away on all sides:


"CITIZENS,--We have had enough of militaryism; let us have no more
stuffs embroidered and gilt at every seam!

"Make room for the people, the real combatants, the bare arms! The hour
of the revolutionary war has struck!

"The people know nothing of scientific manoeuvres, but with a rifle in
hand and the pavement beneath their feet, they fear not all the
strategists of the monarchical school.

"To arms, citizens! To arms! You must conquer, or, as you well know,
fall again into the pitiless hands of the _réactionaires_ and clericals
of Versailles; those wretches who with intention delivered France up to
Prussia, and now make us pay the ransom of their treason!

"If you desire the generous blood which you have shed like water during
the last six weeks not to have been shed in vain, if you would see
liberty and equality established in France, if you would spare your
children sufferings and misery such as you have endured, you will rise
as one man, and before your formidable bands the enemy who indulges the
idea of bringing you again under his yoke, will reap nothing but the
harvest of the useless crimes with which he has disgraced himself during
the past two months.

"Citizens! your representatives will fight and die with you, if fall we
must; but, in the name of our glorious France, mother of all the popular
revolutions, the permanent source of ideas of justice and unity, which
should be and which will be the laws of the world, march to the
encounter of the enemy, and let your revolutionary energy prove to him
that Paris may he sold, but can never be delivered up or conquered.

"The Commune confides in you, and you may trust the Commune!

"The civil delegate at the Ministry of War,



"Countersigned by the Committee of Public Safety:--Antoine Arnauld,
Billioray, E. Eudes, F. Gambon, G. Ranvier."

Such was the despairing cry of the insurrection at bay.]

[Footnote 102: See Appendix, No. 9.]

[Footnote 103: There are no private undertakers and funeral furnishers
in Paris. It is all done by a company, under the supervision of
Government, a very large concern, called the _Pompes Funèbres_.]

[Footnote 104: Jules Vallès was one of the most conspicuous among the
men of the 18th of March. He had been journalist, working printer, a
clerk at the Hôtel de Ville, editor of a newspaper, pamphleteer, and
café orator in turn, but always noisy and boastful. André Gill, the
caricaturist, once drew him as an undertaker's dog, dragging a saucepan
behind him, and the caricature told Vallès' story well enough. In face
he was ugly, but energetic in expression, almost to ferociousness.

He was born at Puy, in 1833, and on leaving the college of Nantes, came
to study law in Paris, but politics occupied him chiefly, and he soon
got himself shut up in Mazas as a political prisoner. After some time
spent in confinement, he obtained his liberty, and published at Nantes,
a pamphlet under the title of "Money: by a literary man become a
journalist;" and the pamphlet, having gained him some slight popularity,
he was engaged, later, on the _Figaro_, to write the reports of the
Bourse, and in the meantime he eked out his slender salary by working as
a clerk at the Hôtel de Ville. When Ernest Feydeau brought out the
_Epoque_, in 1864, Jules Vallès published a few articles in its columns,
and a little later became a writer on the _Evénement_, with the
magnificent salary of eighteen thousand francs a year. A month
afterwards, he was without occupation again, but he soon re-appeared
with a new journal of his own, _La Rue, La Sue_, in its turn, however,
only lived during a few numbers, and Jules Vallès now took up café
politics, and practised table oratory at the _Estaminet de Madrid_,
where he fostered and expounded the projects which he has since brought
to so fearful a result.

In 1869, he became one of the most inveterate speakers at election
meetings, and presented himself as a candidate for the Corps Législatif.
He was not elected, but the profession of opinions that he then made was
certain to obtain him a seat in the Communal Assembly. One of the last
articles in the _Cri du People_ of Jules Vallès announced the fatal
resolution of defending Paris by all possible means. An article
finishing with this prophetic sentence, "M. Thiers, if he is chemist
enough will understand us."]


It is imprudent to go out; the night was almost peaceable, the morning
is hideous. The roar of musketry is intense and without interruption. I
suppose there must be fighting going on in the Rue du Faubourg
Montmartre. I start back, the noise is so fearful. In the Cour Trévise
not a person to be seen, the houses are closely shut and barred. On a
second floor I hear a great moving of furniture, and hear quite
distinctly the sound of sobbing, of female sobbing. I hear that the
second floor of the house is inhabited by a member of the Commune and
his family. I am about to go up and see if I can be of any help to the
women in case of danger, when I see a man precipitately enter the Court.
He wears a uniform of lieutenant; I recognise him, it is the porter. He
stops, looks around him, and seeing that he is alone, takes his rifle in
both hands and throws it with all his strength over the high wall which
is on the left hand of the Court. That done, he rushes into the house.
There I distinctly hear him say to his wife, "The barricade is taken,
give me a _blouse_, they are at Montmartre. We are done for!" I think,
the porter must have made a mistake, and that the battery is not taken
yet, for I hear the whistling of a shell that, seems to come from
Montmartre. The deafening clamour on all sides redoubles, all the
separate noises seem to confound themselves in one ceaseless roar, like
the working of a million of hammers on a million of anvils. I can
scarcely bear it; my hands clutch the door-posts convulsively. I lean
out as far as I can, but see nothing but a company of soldiers preceded
by two gendarmes, who are entering the Court. They stop before the door
of the house. Several of them go in, and then I hear the sound of a door
suddenly opened and shut, and heavy steps on the wooden floor. I feel
myself trembling; this man they have come to arrest--are they going to
shoot him here, in his own apartment, before his wife? Thank God, no!
The two gendarmes reappear in the street holding the prisoner between
them; his hands are bound; the soldiers surround them, and they are
going to march away, when the man, lifting up his arms, cries fiercely,
"I have but one regret, that I did not blow up the whole of the
quarter." At this instant the window above is opened, and a woman with
grey hair leans out, crying, "Die in peace, I will avenge you!" At these
words the soldiers arrest their steps, and the two gendarmes re-enter
the house. They are going to take the wife prisoner after having taken
the husband. I fall back into a chair horrified; I shut my eyes not to
see, and I press my hands on my ears, not to hear the dreadful sound of
the musketry, but the horrible shrill noise is triumphant, and I hear it
all the same.


Oh! those that hear it not, how happy they must be; they will never
understand how fearful this continuous, this dreadful noise is, and to
feel that each ball is aimed at some breast, and each shell brings ruin
in its train. Fear and horror wrings one's heart and maddens one's
brain. Visions pass before one's eyes of corpses, of houses crushing
sleeping inmates, of men falling and crying out for mercy! and one
feels quite strange to go on living among the crowds that die!

I have been out a little while, a ball whistled over my shoulder, and
flattened itself against an iron bar on a shop front. I heard a mass of
glass shiver into fragments on the pavement. I determined to return

On my way back, I had to pass in front of a liqueur shop, the door of
which was open, and several men were talking there. I stopped to learn
the news. Montmartre is taken; the Federals had not opposed much
resistance; but a great deal of firing had gone on in the side streets
and lanes. Seven insurgents were surrounded. "Give yourselves up, and
your lives will be saved," cried out the soldiers. They replied, "We are
prisoners;" but one of them drew his revolver and shot an officer in the
leg. Then the soldiers took the seven men, threw them into a large hole,
and shot them from above like so many rabbits. Another man told me that
he had seen a child lying dead at the corner of the Rue de Rome. "A
pretty little fellow," he said, "his brains were strewed on the pavement
beside him." A third, that when all the fighting was over at the Place
Saint-Pierre a rifle shot was heard, and a captain of Chasseurs fell
dead. The major who was there, looked up and saw a man trying to hide
himself behind a chimney pot; the soldiers got into the house, seized
him on the roof, and brought him down into the Place. What did the
insurgent do, but walked up to the major, smiling, and hit him a blow on
the cheek. The major set him up against a wall, and blew his brains out
with a revolver. Another insurgent who was arrested, made an insulting
grimace at the soldiers; they shot him. On the southern sides of Paris,
the operations of the army have not been so fortunate as on this. In the
Faubourg St. Germain it advances very slowly, if it advance at all. The
Federals fight with heroic courage at the Mont-Parnasse Station, the Rue
Notre-Dame-des-Champs, and the Croix-Rouge; from the corners of the
streets, from the windows, from the balconies proceed shots rarely
ineffective. This sort of warfare fatigues the soldiers, particularly
as the discipline prevents them from using the same measures. At
Saint-Quen, likewise, the march of the troops is stayed; the barricade
of the Rue de Clichy holds out, and will hold out some time. In other
quarters the advantages gained by the Versaillais are evident. Here and
there some small show of resistance is offered, but the insurgents are
flying. I cannot tell whether all these floating rumours are true. As I
return home, I look round; in the Rue Geoffrey-Marie, near the Faubourg
Montmartre, I see a National Guard alone in the middle of the street,
nothing to screen him whatsoever; he loads his rifle and fires, loads
and fires again; again and again! Thirty-three times! Then the rifle
slips to the ground, and the man staggers and falls.


This morning, the 23rd, after a combat of three hours, the barricade of
the Place de Clichy has not yet yielded. Yet two battalions of National
Guards had, at the beginning of the fight, reversed their arms, and were
fraternising with the soldiers on the Place de la Maine, a hundred and
fifty yards from the scene of the fray. The cracking of the rifles, the
explosion of shells, and the sound of mitrailleuses filled the air. The
smell of powder was stifling. Dreadful cries arose from the poor wounded
wretches; and the whizzing projectiles from Montmartre rent the air
above in their fiery course. "Beneath us," said an inhabitant of
Batignolles who gave me these particulars, "beneath us the city lay like
a seething caldron."

The beating of drums and the sharp trumpet-calls mixed in this monstrous
din, and were every now and then lost in the tremendous noise of the

About half-past one the sounds grew quieter; the barricade was taken.
The insurgents were retreating to La Chapelle and Belleville in
disorder; the soldiers of the line rushed like a torrent into the Avenue
de Clichy, leaving a tricolour flag hoisted upon the dismantled

Here and there, in the streets, the struggle had not ceased. In the Rue
Blanche a rifle-shot proceeded from a ground-floor; the man was taken
and executed outside his own door. The artillery was moving up the Rue
Chaptal towards Montmartre and La Chapelle. The day was very hot; pails
of water were thrown over the guns to quench their burning thirst. All
the young men who were found in the streets were provisionally put under
arrest, for they feared everyone, even children, and horrible vengeance
and thirst for blood had seized upon all. Suddenly an isolated shot
would be heard, followed a minute or two after by five or six others.
One knew reprisal had been done.

At about four o'clock in the afternoon, when the quarters of Belleville
and Clichy were pretty well cleared of troops, two insurgents were
walking, one behind the other, in the Rue Léonie. The one who walked
last lifted his rifle and fired carelessly in the direction of the
windows; the report sounded very loudly in the silent street, and a pane
of glass fell in fragments to the ground. The insurgent who was in front
did not even turn his head; these men seem to have become quite reckless
and deaf to everything.

What the troops feared the most were the sharp-shooters hidden in the
houses, aiming through little holes and cracks; suddenly a snap would be
heard, and the officers would lift their glassed to their eyes; more
often nothing was to be seen at all, but if the slightest shadow were
visible behind a window curtain, the order was, "Search that house!" The
executions did not take place in the apartments. Now and then an
inhabitant or two were brought down into the street, and those never


It is the middle of the night; and I awake with a terrible start. A
bright red light streams through the panes. I throw open the window; the
sky to the left is one mass of dark smoke and lurid streaks of light--it
is a fire, Paris on fire![105] I dress and go out. At the corner of the
Rue de Trévise a sentinel stops me, "You can't pass." I am so bewildered
that I do not think of noticing whether he is a Federal or a soldier.
What am I to do, where am I to go? Although an hour ago balls were
whistling around, there are now people at every window. "The Ministère
des Finances is on fire! the Rue Royale! the Louvre!" The Louvre! I can
scarcely avoid a cry of horror. In a minute the enormity of the disaster
has broken upon me. Oh! _chefs-d'oeuvre_ without number! I see you
devoured, consumed, reduced to ashes! I see the walls tottering, the
canvases fall from the frames and shrivel up; the "Marriage of Canaan"
is in flames! Raphael is struggling in the burning furnace! Leonardo da
Vinci is no more! This was, indeed, an unexpected calamity! Fortune had
reserved this terrible surprise for us! But I will not believe it, these
rumours are false, doubtless! How should these people who inhabit this
quarter know what I am ignorant of? Yet over our heads the sky is tinged
with black and red!


A strange smell fills the air, like that of a monstrous petroleum lamp
just lighted. That dreaded word, petroleum, makes me shudder. Once
distinctly I hear the sound of a vast body falling heavily. Not to be
able to obtain information is terrible; not to know what is going on,
while all around seems on fire; the day is beginning to break, the
musketry and the cannonading commences afresh, it is a hell, with
death for its girdle! In front of me I see the corner of a building
lighted up by the fire, on which little spirals of smoke are reflected
from the distant conflagration. I rush home, I want to hide myself, to
sleep, to forget. When I am in my room, I see through the white curtains
of the window a bright light. I tremble and rush to the window! It is
the gilt letters of a signboard, on the opposite side of the way, that
are darting forth brilliant flashes, borrowed from the distant flames.

[Illustration: A BAY of the TUILERIES--from the PLACE du CARROUSEL.]



[Footnote 105: The 24th May the COMMITTEE FOR PUBLIC SAFETY issued these
cold-blooded decrees:--

    "Citizen Millière, at the head of one hundred and fifty
    fuse-bearers, is to set fire to all houses Of suspicious aspect, as
    well as to the public monuments of the left bank of the Seine.

    "Citizen Dereure, with one hundred and fifty fuse-bearers, is
    charged with the 1st and 2nd Arrondissement.

    "Citizen Billioray, with one hundred men, is charged with the 9th,
    10th, and 20th Arrondissements.

    "Citizen Vésinier, with fifty men, has the Boulevards of the
    Madeleine and of the Bastille especially entrusted to him.

    "These Citizens are to come to an understanding with the officers
    commanding the barricades, for the execution of these orders.


    "Paris, 3 Prairial, year 79."


[Illustration: Millière[106]]


Certainly I nursed no vain illusions. What you had done, gentlemen of
the Commune, had enlightened me as to your value, and as to the purity
of your intentions. Seeing you lie, steal, and kill, I had said to you,
"You are liars, robbers, and murderers;" but truly, in spite of Citizen
Félix Pyat, who is a coward, and Citizen Miot, who is a fool; in spite
of Millière, who shot _réfractaires_, and Philippe, whose trade shall be
nameless; in spite of Dacosta, who amused himself with telling the
Jesuits at the Conciergerie, "Mind, you are to be shot in an hour," and
then an hour afterwards returning to say, "I have thought about it, and
it is for tomorrow;" in spite of Johannard, who executed a child of
fifteen guilty of selling a suppressed newspaper; in spite of Rigault,
who, chucking the son of Chaudey under the chin, laughingly said to him,
"Tomorrow, little one, we shall shoot papa;" in spite of all the madmen
and fools that constituted the Commune de Paris, who after being guilty
of more extravagances than are necessary to get a man sent to the
Madhouse of Charenton, and more crimes than are sufficient to shut him
up in prison at Sainte-Pélagie, had managed, by means of every form, of
wickedness and excess, to make our beloved Paris a frightened slave,
crouching to earth under their abominable tyranny; in spite of
everything, I could not have dreamed that even their demoniac fury could
have gone so far as to try to burn Paris, after having ruined it! Nero
of the gutter! Sardanapalus drunk with vitriol! So your vanity wanted
such a volcano to engulf you, and you wished to die by the light of such
an _auto-da-fé_. Instead of torches around your funeral car, you wished
the Tuileries, the library of the Louvre, and the Palace of the Legion
of Honour burnt to ashes, the Rue Royale one vast conflagration, where
the walls as they fell buried alive women and children, and the Rue de
Lille vomiting fire and smoke like the crater of Vesuvius.


It has pleased you that thousands of families should be ruined, their
savings scattered in the ashes of the vanished papers of the burnt
Ministère des Finances and the _Caisse des dépôts_. In seeing that the
art-galleries of the Louvre had remained intact, only its library burnt,
you must have been seized with mad rage. How! Notre Dame not yet in
flames? Sainte-Chapelle not on fire? Have you no more petroleum, no
more flaming torches? The cry "To Arms!" is not enough, you must shout
"To Fire!" Would you consume the entire city, and make of its ruins a
horrible monument to your memory?

Do not say, "We have not done this; it is the people who are working out
their own revenge, and we stand for nothing, we are as gentle as lambs.
Ranvier would not hurt a fly." Away with all this pretence; were you not
on the balcony of the Hôtel de Ville with your blood-red scarfs,
uttering your commands? The populace, deceived and blinded, have but
obeyed you. Do not all the circumstances leading to this stupendous
catastrophe, reveal an elaborate and digested plan, determined long
beforehand? Did we not read this notice, daily, in your official
journal: "All those who have petroleum are requested immediately to
declare the quantities in their possession?" Was there not a quick-match
extinguished in the quarter of the Invalides that was to have
communicated the flames to barrels of powder placed, long ago, in the
great sewers? Yes, what has taken place you had decreed. If the
disasters have not been more terrible, is it not, that, surprised at the
sudden arrival of the troops, you had not the time to finish your
preparations? Yes, you are the criminals! It was Eudes who gave out the
petroleum to the _Pétroleuses_; it was Felix Pyat who laid the train of
gunpowder. It is Tridon who said: "Take care that the phials be not
uncorked." The public incendiary committee has well performed its duty!
Wicked criminals! Execrable madmen! May Heaven bear me witness that my
heart abhors revenge, is always inclined to pardon--but for these! What
chastisement can be great enough to appease the wrath of justice! What
vow of repentance could be offered up fervent enough to be received in
Heaven, even at the moment when, struck down by balls, they offer their
lives as expiation? Misguided humanity!




Au Citoyen Lucas,

Faites de suite flamber Finances et venez nous retrouver. 4 prairial, an



[Footnote 106: This Milliere, formerly an advocate and writer on the
_Marseillaise_, was a native of St-Etienne, and fifty-four years of age,
a cool speaker, and advocate of advanced ideas, that got him several
imprisonments. In March 1870 he was taken from the prison of
Sainte-Pélagie to give evidence at Tours against Pierre Bonaparte for
the murder of Victor Noir, where his lucid depositions told greatly
against the prisoner. When regaining his liberty he became more
revolutionary than ever, writing during the siege in the _Patrie en
Danger_. At the peace he became one of the members for Paris, and sat at
Bordeaux and Versailles, agitating social subjects and the law of
lodgers. About the 10th of April he took part with the Commune, and at
the entrance of the troops was taken at the Luxembourg after having
fired six rounds from a revolver, was shot on the steps of the Pantheon,
and died as he opened his shirt front, shouting, "_Vive la République!
Vive la Liberté! Vive l'Humanité!_"]

[Illustration: FERRÉ][107]


With three friends I stood upon the roof of a house near the new opera,
watching what was passing around. The spectacle was such, that horror
paralyses every other sentiment, even that of self-preservation.
Consternation sits encircled by a blazing atmosphere of terror! The
Hôtel de Ville is in flames; the smoke, at times a deep red, envelops
all, so that it is impossible to distinguish more than the outlines of
immense walls; the wind brings, in heavy gusts, a deadly odour--of burnt
flesh, perhaps--which turns the heart sick and the brain giddy. On the
other side the Tuileries, the Légion d'Honneur, the Ministère de la
Guerre, and the Ministère des Finances are flaming still, like five
great craters of a gigantic volcano! It is the eruption of Paris! Alone,
a great black mass detaches itself from the universal conflagration, it
is the Tour Saint-Jacques, standing out like a malediction.

One of the three friends, who are with me on the roof of the house, was
able, about an hour ago, to get near the Hôtel de Ville. He related to
me what follows:--

    "At the moment of my arrival, the flames burst forth from all the
    windows of the Hôtel de Ville, and the most intense terror seized
    upon all the inhabitants blocked up in the surrounding quarters, for
    a terrible rumour is spread; it is said that more than fifty
    thousand pounds of powder is contained in the subterranean vaults.
    The incendiaries must have poured the demoniacal liquid in rivers
    through the great halls, down the great staircases, from the very
    garrets, to envelop even the Salle du Trône. The great fire throws a
    blood-red glare over the city, and on the quays of the Institute.
    Night is so like day that a letter may be read in the street. Is
    this the end of the famous capital of France? Have the infamous
    fiends of the committee for public safety ordered, in their cowardly
    death-agony, that this should be the end? Yes, it is the ruin of all
    that was grand, generous, radiant, and consolatory for our country
    that they have decided to consummate, with a chorus of hellish
    laughter, in which terror and ferocity struggle with brutal

    "In the midst of this horror, confused rumours are circulated. It is
    said that the heat will penetrate to the cellars and cause an
    explosion of whole quarters. Then what will become of the
    inhabitants, and the riches that they have accumulated? The heat is
    overwhelming between the Tuileries and the Hôtel de Ville--that is,
    over the space of about a mile. The two barricades of the Rue de
    Rivoli and of the Rue de la Coutellerie, near which are the offices
    of the municipal services--the lighting of the city, the octroi,
    waters, sewers, etc.,--will not be taken until too late, in spite of
    the energy with which the army attacks them. It is feared that the
    flame will reach the neighbourhood of the great warehouses, so
    thickly do the burning flakes fall and scatter destruction. The
    barricades of the quays are still intact, it will be another hour
    yet before they are taken. The firemen are there furiously at work,
    but their efforts are insufficient! It would take tons of ammonia to
    slake the fury of the petroleum which flows like hot lava upon the
    place from the Hôtel de Ville, and the horrible reflection reddens
    the waters of the Seine, so that the current of the river seems to
    flow with blood, which stains the stones as it dashes against the
    arches of the bridge!"

These scenes are being pictured to me as I gaze upon the terrible
conflagration, and all that is told me I seem to see. An irresistible
longing to be near seizes me. I am under the power of an invincible
attraction. I lean forward, my arms outstretched; I run a great risk of
falling, but what matters? The sight of these almost sublime horrors has
burnt itself into my very brain!


[Footnote 107: Ferré, the friend of Raoul Bigault, and his colleague in
the Commission of General Safety, like the latter, had inhabited the
prisons for a considerable time for his political writings, seditious
proposals, plots against the state, etc. He is a small man about five
feet high, and very active. He signed with avidity the suppression of
nearly all the journals of Paris, and the sentence of death of a great
number of unfortunate prisoners, with the approbation of Raoul Bigault.
He willingly undertook to announce to the Archbishop of Paris that his
last hour had arrived. The following order, drawn up by him, was found
on the body of an insurgent:--"Set fire to the Ministry of Finance
immediately, and return here.

4 Prairial, An 79.

(Signed) TH. FERRÉ."

See Appendix, No. 10.]


She walks with a rapid step, near the shadow of the wall; she is poorly
dressed; her age is between forty and fifty; her forehead is bound with
a red checkered handkerchief, from which hang meshes of uncombed hair.
The face is red and the eyes blurred, and she moves with her look bent
down on the ground. Her right hand is in her pocket, or in the bosom of
her half-unbuttoned dress; in the other hand she holds one of the
high, narrow tin cans in which milk is carried in Paris, but which now,
in the hands of this woman, contains the dreadful petroleum liquid. As
she passes a _poste_ of regulars, she smiles and nods; when they speak
to her she answers, "My good Monsieur!" If the street is deserted she
stops, consults a bit of dirty paper that she holds in her hand, pauses
a moment before the grated opening to a cellar, then continues her way,
steadily, without haste. An hour afterwards, a house is on fire in the
street she has passed. Who is this woman? Paris calls her a
_Pétroleuse_.[109] One of these _pétroleuses_, who was caught in the act
in the Rue Truffault, discharged the six barrels of a revolver and
killed two men before being passed over to execution. Another was seen
falling in a doorway of a house in the Rue de Boulogne, pierced with
balls--but this one was a young girl; a bottle filled with petroleum
fell from her hand as she dropped. Sometimes one of these wretched
women, might be seen leading by the hand a little boy or girl; and the
child probably carrying a bottle of the incendiary liquid in his pocket
with his top and marbles.


Used as a Federal Ambulance Hospital.]

[Illustration: LES PÉTROLEURS]

[Illustration: PÉTROLEUSES]


[Footnote 108: On the Wednesday succeeding the explosion of the
powder-magazine in the garden of the Luxembourg, which unroofed a
portion of the palace, and destroyed the windows, and did fearful damage
to the surrounding houses, all the Communeux disappeared from the
neighbourhood. The following night four men returned, bringing a
quantity of petroleum with them. They gave orders that the six hundred
wounded men who were then lying in the Palace should be taken away
immediately. They had commenced their sinister project, and were pouring
the petroleum about in the cellars, when the soldiers of the Brigade
Paturel were informed of it, and arrived in time to prevent its
execution. The criminals were taken and shot on the spot.]

[Footnote 109: The incendiaries formed a veritable army, composed of
returned convicts, the very dregs of the prisons, pale, thin lads, who
looked like ghosts, and old women, that looked like horrible witches;
their number amounted to eight thousand! This army had its chiefs, and
each detachment was charged with the firing of a quarter. The order for
the conflagration of public edifices bore the stamp of the Commune, and
of the Central Committee, and the seal of the delegate at the Ministry
of War. For the private houses more expeditive means were used. Small
tickets, of the size of postage stamps, were found pasted upon walls of
houses in different parts of Paris, with the letters B.P.B. (_bon pour
brûler_), literally, good for burning. Some of the tickets were square,
others oval, with a bacchante's head in the centre. They were affixed on
spots designated by the chiefs. Every _pétroleuse_ was to receive ten
francs for each house she fired. Sept. 5,1871. Amongst the insurgents
tried at Versailles, three pétroleuses were condemned to death, and one
to imprisonment for life, a host of others being transported or
otherwise punished.]


It is seven in the evening, the circulation has become almost
impossible. The streets are lined with patrols, and the regiments of the
Line camp upon the outer boulevards. They dine, smoke, and bivouac, and
drink with the citizens on the doorsteps of their houses. In the
distance is heard the storm of sounds which tells of the despairing
resistance of Belleville, and along the foot of the houses are seen
square white patches, showing the walled-up cellars, every hole and
crevice being plastered up to prevent insertion of the diabolical
liquid--walled up against _pétroleurs_ and pétroleuses, strings of
prisoners, among whom are furious women and poor children, their hands
tied behind their backs, pass along the boulevards towards Neuilly.
Night comes on, not a lamp is lighted, and the streets become deserted
as by degrees the sky becomes darker. At nine o'clock the solitude is
almost absolute. The sound of a musket striking the pavement is heard
from time to time; a sentinel passes here and there, and the lights in
the houses grow more and more rare.


The hours and the days pass and resemble each other horribly. To write
the history of the calamities is not yet possible. Each one sees but a
corner of the picture, and the narratives that are collected are vague
and contradictory; it appears certain now that the insurrection is
approaching the end. It is said that the fort of Montrouge is taken; but
it still hurls its shells upon Paris. Several have just fallen in the
quarter of the Banque. There is fighting still at the Halles, at the
Luxembourg, and at the Porte Saint-Martin. Neither the cannonading nor
the fusillade has ceased, and our ears have become accustomed to the
continued roar. But, in spite of the barbarous heroism of the Federals,
the force of their resistance is being exhausted. What has become of the

We continue to note down the incidents as they reach us.

It is said that Assy has been taken, close to the New Opera House. He
was going the nightly rounds, almost alone--"Who's there!" cried a
sentinel. Assy, thinking the man was a Federal, replied, "You should
have challenged me sooner." In an instant he was surrounded, disarmed,
and carried off. However, it is a very unlikely tale; it is most
improbable that Assy should not know that the New Opera was in the hands
of the Versaillais.

They say that Delescluze has fled, that Dombrowski has died[110] in an
ambulance, and that Millière is a prisoner at Saint-Denis. But these are
merely rumours, and I am utterly ignorant as to their worth. The only
thing certain is that the search is being carried on with vigour. Close
by the smoking ruins of what was once the Hôtel de Ville they caught
Citizen Ferraigu, inspector of the barricades; he confessed to having
received from the Committee of Public Safety particular orders to burn
down the shop of the Bon-Diable. Had one of these committeemen been an
assistant there, and did he owe his former master a grudge? Ferraigu had
a bottle of petroleum in his pocket; he was shot. I am told that at the
Théâtre du Châtelet a court-martial has been established on the stage.
The Federals are brought up twenty at a time, judged, and condemned,
they are then marched out on to the Place, with their hands tied behind
their backs. A mitrailleuse, standing a hundred yards off, mows them
down like grass. It is an expeditious contrivance. In a yard, in the Rue
Saint-Denis, is a stable filled with corpses; I have myself seen them
there. The Porte Saint-Martin Theatre is quite destroyed, a guard is
stationed near. This morning three _pétroleuses_ were shot there, the
bodies are still lying on the boulevards. I have just seen two
insurgents walking between four soldiers; one an old man, the other
almost a lad. I heard the elder one say to the younger, "All our misery
comes of our having arms. In '48 we had none, so we took those of the
soldiers, and then they were without. Now there is more killing and less
business done." A few minutes after the little procession passed up the
Rue d'Hauteville, and I heard the reports of two rifles. Oh! what
horrible days! I feel a prey to the deepest dejection--if it were but
over! The town looks wretched; even where the fighting is not going on,
the houses are closed and the streets deserted, except here and there: a
lonely passenger hurrying along, or a wretched prisoner marching between
four soldiers. It is all very dreadful! In the streets where the battle
is still raging the shutters are not closed; as soon as the soldiers get
into a new quarter of the town they cry out, "Shut the windows, open the
shutters." The reason for this is, that the open barred outer shutters,
or _persiennes_, form a capital screen through which aim maybe taken
with a gun. As for me, in the midst of this horror and sadness, I feel
like a madman in the night. The rumour that the hostages have been shot
at Mazas gains ground.[111] I am told that the Archbishop, the Abbé
Degueiry, and Chaudey have all been assassinated. It was Bigault who
ordered these executions. He has since been taken, and fell, crying
"Down with murderers!" This reminds one of Dumollard, the assassin,
calling the jurymen "Canaille!" Millière is said to have been shot in
the Place du Panthéon. When they told him to kneel down he drew
himself up to his full height, his eyes flashing defiance. Strange
caprice of nature, to make these scoundrels brave.






In the meantime, the Commune is in its death throes. Like the dragon of
fairy lore, it dies, vomiting flames. La Villette is on fire, houses are
burning at Belleville and on the Buttes-Chaumont. The resistance is
concentrated on one side at Père la Chaise, and on the other at the
Mont-Parnasse cemetery. The insurrection was mistress of the whole of
Paris, and then the army came stretching its long arms from the Arc de
Triomphe to Belleville, from the Champ-de-Mars to the Panthéon. Trying
hard to burst these bonds, tightly surrounded, now resisting, now
flying, the _émeute_ has at last retreated. It is over there now, in two
cemeteries; it watches from behind tombstones; it rests the barrels of
its rifles on marble crosses, and erects a battery on a sepulchre. The
shells of the Versaillais fall in the sacred enclosure, plough up the
earth, and unbury the dead. Something round rolled along a pathway, the
combatants thought it was a shell; it was a skull! What must these men
feel who are killing and being killed in the cemetery! To die among the
dead seems horrible. But they never give it a thought; the bloody thirst
for destruction which possesses them allows them only to think of one
thing, of killing! Some of them are gay, they are brave, these men.
That makes it only the more dreadful; these wretches are heroic! Behind
the barricades there have been instances of the most splendid valour. A
man at the Porte Saint-Martin, holding a red flag in his hand, was
standing, heedless of danger, on a pile of stones. The balls showered
around him, while he leant carelessly against an empty barrel which
stood behind.--"Lazy fellow," cried a comrade--"No," said he, "I am only
leaning that I may not fall when I die." Such are these men; they are
robbers, incendiaries, assassins, but they are fearless of death. They
have only that one good quality. They smile and they die. The
vivandières allow themselves to be kissed behind the tombstones; the
wounded men drink with their comrades, and throw wine on their wounds,
saying, "Let us drink to the last." And yet, in an hour perhaps, the
soldiers will fight their way into the cemeteries, which their balls
reach already, they too mad with rage; then the horrible bayonet
fighting will commence, man against man among the tombs, flying over the
mounds, desecrating the monuments, everything that imagination can
conjure up of most profane and terrible--a battle in a cemetery!




[Footnote 110: The most reliable account of his death is given by a
medical student who attended him in his last moments. "Dombrowski was
passing with several members of the Commune in the Rue Myrrha, near the
Rue des Poissonniers, when he was struck by a bullet, which traversed
the lower part of his body. He was carried to a neighbouring chemist's,
where I bandaged the wound. Before his transportation to the
Lariboisière Hospital, he ordered the fire to cease, but the troops
defending the barricade disobeyed the injunction. His sword was handed
by me to a captain of the 45th of the Line. His last words were nearly
identical with those which he uttered as he fell: 'I am no traitor!'"
His worst enemies have said of him that he was a good soldier in a bad

[Footnote 111: At the prison of Sainte-Pélagie, on Tuesday, the 23rd of
May, the unfortunate gendarmes, who had been made prisoners on the 18th,
were shot, together with M. Chaudey, a writer, on the _Siècle_, arrested
at the office of the journal, and conducted, first to Mazas and
afterwards to Sainte-Pélagie. (Appendix 11).

According to the _Siècle_, the "Procureur" of the Commune, Raoul
Rigault, presented himself, at the office at about eleven at night, and
having sent for M. Chaudey, said to him, without any preamble: "I am
here to tell you that you have not an hour to live."

"You mean to say that I am to be assassinated," replied Chaudey.

"You are to be shot, and that directly," was the other's rejoinder.

But, on reaching the prison, the National Guards who had been summoned
refused to do the odious work, and the Procureur went himself to find
others more docile. Chaudey was led before them, Raoul Rigault drew his
sword to give the signal, the muskets were levelled and fired, and
Chaudey fell, but wounded only. A sergeant gave him the death blow by
discharging his pistol at his head. The next day, a hundred and fifty
hostages of the Commune, confined at the Prefecture of Police, amongst
whom were Prince Galitzin and Andreoli, a journalist, were about to be
shot by an order of Ferré, when the incendiary fires broke out and
prevented the execution of the order. At eleven o'clock, Raoul Rigault
commanded the prisoners to be released, and enjoined them to fight for
the Commune; upon their refusal, a shower of balls was discharged at
them. The prisoners rushed for refuge into the Rue du Harlay, which was
in flames, and were afterwards rescued by a detachment of the line.

That same day was fatal to Raoul Rigault. He was perceived by a party of
infantry at the moment when he was ringing at the door of a house in the
Rue Gay Lussac. His colonel's uniform instantly made him a mark for the
soldiers; he had time to enter the house, however, but was soon
discovered, gave his name, and allowed himself to be taken off towards
the Luxembourg, but before reaching it, he began to shout, "Vive la
Commune!" "Down with the assassins!" and made an effort to escape. The
soldiers thrust him against a wall and shot him down.

The next day, the 24th, marked the fate of the hostages, who, in
expectation of an attack of the Versaillais, had been transferred from
Mazas to La Roquette. "Monseigneur Darboy," writes an eye-witness
(Monsieur Dubutte, miraculously saved by an error of name), "occupied
cell No. 21 of the 4th division, and I was at a short distance from him,
in No. 26. The cell in which the venerable prelate was confined had been
the office of one of the gaolers; it was somewhat larger than the rest,
and Monseigneur's companions in captivity had succeeded in obtaining for
him a chair and a table. On Wednesday, the 24th, at half-past seven in
the evening, the director of the prison--a certain Lefrançais, who had
been a prisoner in the hulks for the space of six years--went up, at the
head of fifty Federals, into the gallery, near which the most important
prisoners were incarcerated. Here they ranged themselves along the
walls, and a few moments later one of the head-gaolers opened the door
of the archbishop's cell, and called him out. The prelate answered, "I
am here!" Then the gaoler passed on to M. le President Bonjean's cell
(Appendix 12), then to that of Abbé Allard, member of the International
Society in Aid of the Wounded; of Père du Coudray, Superior of the
School of Ste-Geneviève; and Père Clère, of the Brotherhood of Jesus;
the last called being the Abbé Deguerry, curé of the Madeleine. As the
names were called, each prisoner was led out into the gallery and down
the staircase to the courtyard; each side, as far as I could judge, was
lined with Federal guards, who insulted the prisoners in language that I
cannot repeat. Amid the hues and cries of these wretches my unfortunate
companions were conducted across the courtyard to the infirmary, before
which a file of soldiers were drawn up for the execution. Monseigneur
Darboy advanced and addressed his murderers--addressed them words of
pardon: then two of the men approached the prelate, and falling on their
knees implored his pardon. The rest of the Federals threw themselves
upon them, and thrust them aside with oaths, then, turning to the
prisoners, they heaped fresh insults upon them. The chief officer of the
detachment, however, imposed silence on the men, and uttering an oath,
said, 'You are here to shoot these men, not to insult them.' The
Federals were silenced, and upon the command of their lieutenant, they
loaded their muskets.

"Père Allard was placed against the wall, and was the first who was
struck; then Monseigneur Darboy fell, and the six prisoners were thus
shot in turn, showing, at this supreme moment, a saintly dignity and a
noble courage."]


Where are these men going with hurried steps, and with lanterns in their
hands? Their uniform is that of the National Guard, and consequently of
Federals, but the tricolour band which they wear on the arm would seem
to indicate that they belong to the Party of Order. They are making
their way by one of the entries of the sewers, and preceded by an
officer are disappearing beneath the sombre vaults. Calling to mind the
sinister expression of a Communal artillery commander--"The reactionary
quarters will all be blown up; not one shall be spared," it is
impossible to avoid feeling a shudder of terror. What if the
incendiaries all wearing the badge of the Party of Order, be about to
set fire to mines prepared beforehand, or to barrels of petroleum ready
to be staved in! The wild demons of the Commune are capable of
everything; an invention of incendiary firemen is quoted as an example
of the diabolical genius which presided over the work of destruction;
individuals wearing the fireman's uniform were seen to throw combustible
liquids by means of pumps and pails on the burning houses, instead of
aiding to extinguish the flames.

[Illustration: PARIS UNDERGROUND.]



Fortunately, the fear is unfounded, the object of these men, on the
contrary, is to cut the wires which connect all parts with inflammable
materials, torpedoes, and other atrocious machines. They have already
passed several nights in destroying this underground telegraphic system.
The duty is not without danger; for not only are they exposed to the
terrible consequences of a sudden explosion, but also to the risk of
being taken and shot without trial, as traitors to the Commune. That is,
should they chance to fall in with hostile bands, or appear in
unfriendly quarters. It appears that these determined and devoted
citizens have already lost two of their companions in the execution of
this perilous duty. The intention of the Commune was to charge the whole
of the main sewers and subways with combustibles; but luckily they had
not time to mature their schemes, the advance of the Versailles troops
being too quick for them. The Catacombs were included in the
arrangement; for did not the able Assy direct his agent Fossé to keep
them open, as a means of escape? Alas! these subterranean passages that
underlie so large a portion of ancient Paris, what stories could they
not tell of starved fugitives and maimed culprits dragging their weary
limbs into the darkness of these gloomy caverns, only that they might
die there in peace! Men and women, whose forms will in a few short weeks
be unrecognisable, whose whitened bones will be crushed and kicked aside
by the future explorer, who may perchance penetrate the labyrinths, and
whose dust will finally be mixed up and undistinguishable from that of
the bones and skulls taken from ancient cemeteries and graveyards with
which this terrible Golgotha is decorated in Mosaic.


The fire is out, let us contemplate the ruins.[112] The Commune is
vanquished. Look at Paris, sad, motionless, laid waste. This is what we
have come to! Consternation is in every breast, solitude is in every
street. We feel no longer either anger or pity; we are resigned, broken
by emotion; we see processions of prisoners pass on their way to
Versailles, and we scarcely look at them; no one thinks of saying
either, "Wretches!" or "Poor fellows!" The soldiers themselves are very
silent. Although they, are the victors they are sad; they do not drink,
they do not sing. Paris might be a town that had been assaulted and
taken by dumb enemies; the irritation has worn itself off, and the tears
have not yet come. The tricolour flags which float from all the windows
surprise us; there does not seem any reason for rejoicing. Yet, of late
especially, the triumph of the Versaillais has been ardently wished for
by the greater portion of the population; but all are so tired that they
have not the energy to rejoice. Let us look back for a moment. First the
siege, with famine, separation and poverty; then the insurrection of
Montmartre, surprises, hesitations, cannonading night and day, ceaseless
musketry, mothers in tears, sons pursued, every calamity has fallen on
this miserable city. It has been like Rome under Tiberius, then like
Rome after the barbarians had overrun it. The cannon balls have fallen
upon Sybaris. So much emotion, so many horrors have worn out the city;
and then all this blood, this dreadful blood. Corpses in the streets,
corpses within the houses, corpses everywhere! Of course they were
terribly guilty, these men that were taken, that were killed; they were
horrible criminals, those women who poured brandy into the glasses and
petroleum on the houses! But, in the first moment of victory, were there
no mistakes? Were those that were shot all guilty? Then the sight of
these executions, however merited, was cruelly painful. The innocent
shuddered at the doom of justice. True, Paris is quiet now, but it is
the quiet of the battle-field on the morrow of a victory; quiet as
night, and as the tomb! An unsupportable uneasiness oppresses us; shall
we ever be able to shake off this apathy, to pierce through this gloom?
Paris, rent and bleeding, turns with sadness from the past, and dares
not yet raise her eyes to the future!

[Illustration: THE NEW MASTERS




The damage done to the pier was by a Prussian shell in Jan. 1871.]





    On August 15th, the _Times_ reporter gave the number awaiting trial
    at Versailles at 30,000. On the 7th September they had reached
    39,000, daily arrests adding to the number; out of these, 35,000
    only had their charges made out, of which 13,900 had been examined,
    2,800 writs of release having been issued, though only a few
    hundreds have been set at liberty. There are only 94 reporting
    officers: 20 attached to the Council of War, 6 to the Orangerie, 4
    to Satory, 3 to the Prison des Femmes, and 16 to the Western Ports:
    17 more are to be added shortly.

[Illustration: MARSHAL MACMAHON, Duc de Magenta.

Commander-in-chief of the Army of Versailles.]

[Illustration: LIGHT & AIR ONCE MORE]


[Illustration: PARIS VERSAILLES]


[Footnote 112: See Appendix 15, 16, 17, and 18.]



FROM THE 18th OF MARCH TO THE 29th MAY, 1871.

The dash (--) in each day after the commencement of military operations
divides the civil from the military.

_Saturday, 18th March_: Early in the morning troops take possession of
the Buttes Montmartre and Belleville. The soldiers charged with the
recovery of the pieces of artillery fraternise with the people and the
National Guard. Arrest of Generals Lecomte and Clement Thomas: they are
shot at Montmartre without trial. National Guards take possession of the
Hôtel de Ville, the Prefecture of Police is invaded by Raoul Rigault,
Duval, and others.

_Sunday, 19th March_: The Central Committee of the National Guard take
possession of the offices of the _Journal Officiel_. Arrest of General
Chanzy. Gustave Flourens, imprisoned at Mazas, is set at liberty by the
new masters of Paris. M. Thiers addresses a circular to the country
enjoining obedience to the only authority, that of the Assembly.

_Tuesday, 21st March_: Manifestation of the "Friends of Order."
Procession for public demonstration. Sitting of the Assembly at
Versailles. M. Jules Favre advises prompt measures. Appeal to the people
and army.

_Wednesday, 22nd March_: Friends of Order shot in the Rue de la Paix.
Lullier arrested by order of the Central Committee.

_Thursday, 23rd March_: Vice-Admiral Saisset is appointed by the
Assembly Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard.

_Friday, 24th March_: The delegates Brunel, Eudes, Duval, are promoted
to the rank of generals by the Central Committee. Vice-Admiral Saisset's

_Saturday, 29th March_: Occupation of the Mairie of the 1st
Arrondissement by the Federals. First placard of the Committee of
Conciliation. Rumour of the arrest of Lullier reproached for moderation.
Vice-Admiral Saisset retires to Versailles. _Sunday, 26th March_:
Municipal elections to constitute the Commune of Paris.

_Tuesday, 28th March_: 4 p.m., names of the elect proclaimed at the
Hôtel de Ville. Arrival of General Chanzy at Versailles.

_Wednesday, 29th March_: Conscription abolished--all citizens to be
National Guards. Pawnbroking decree. Organisation of commissions:
executive, financial, military, etc. Ministers to be called delegates.

_Saturday, 1st April_: The Executive Committee issues a decree to
suppress the rank and functions of General-in-Chief. General Eudes
appointed Delegate of War; Bergeret to the staff of the National Guard,
in place of Brunel; Duval to the military command of the ex-Prefecture
of Police, where Raoul Rigault was civil delegate.

_Sunday, 2nd April_: Military operations commence 9 a.m. Action at
Courbevoie. Flourens marches his troops to Versailles, _viâ_ Rueil.

_Monday, 3rd April_: The corps d'armée of General Bergeret at the Rond
Point near Neuilly, is stopped by the artillery of Mont Valérien.
Exchange of shot between Fort Issy and Fort Vanves, occupied by
insurgents, and Meudon.--The separation of Church and State decreed.

_Tuesday, 4th April_: General Duval made prisoner in the engagement at
Châtillon and shot. Death of Flourens at Rueil.--Delescluze, Cournet,
and Vermorel succeed Generals Bergeret, Eudes, and Duval on the
Executive Commission. Cluseret Delegate of War, and Bergeret commandant
of Paris forces.

_Wednesday, 6th April_: General Cluseret commences active operations.
Military service compulsory for all citizens under forty. Abbé Deguerry,
and Archbishop of Paris arrested.

_Thursday, 6th April_: Extension of action to Neuilly and Courbevoie.
Versailles army decreed by executive authority. Obsequies of Flourens at
Versailles.--Decree concerning the complicity with Versailles, and
arrest of hostages. The rank of general suppressed by the Commune.
Dombrowski succeeds Bergeret as Commandant of Paris.

_Friday, 7th April_: Decree for disarming the Réfractaires. The
guillotine is burnt on the Place Voltaire.

_Saturday, 8th April_: Federals abandon Neuilly.--Commission of
barricades created and presided over by Gaillard Senior. Military
occupation of the railway termini by the insurgents.

_Sunday, 9th April_: Insurgents attempt to retake Châtillon, but are
repulsed. Forts Vanves and Montrouge disabled. Mont Valérien shells the
Avenue des Ternes.--Assy and Bergeret arrested by order of the Commune.

_Tuesday, 11th April_: Marshal MacMahon, Commander-in-Chief, distributes
his forces. Commences the investment of fort Issy.

_Wednesday, 12th April_: Versailles batteries established on Châtillon.
The Orleans railway and telegraph out. Communications of the insurgents
with the south intercepted.--Decree ordering the fall of the Column
Vendôme. Decree concerning the complementary elections.

_Thursday, 13th April:_ Courbet presides at a meeting of artists at the
École de Médecine. Publication of the reports of the sittings of the

_Friday, 14th April_: The redoubt of Gennevilliers taken. The troops of
Versailles make advances to the Château de Bécon, a post of
importance.--Lullier takes the command of the flotilla on the Seine.

_Sunday, 16th April_: Complementary elections. Organisation of a
court-martial under the presidence of Rossel, chief officer of the

_Monday, 11th April_: Capture and fortification of the Château de Bécon.

_Tuesday, 18th April_: Station and houses at Asnières taken by the army
of Versailles.

_Thursday, 20th April_: The village of Bagneux is occupied by the
Versaillais.--Reorganisation of commissions. Eudes appointed
inspector-general of the southern forts. Transfers his quarters from
Montrouge to the Palace of the Legion of Honour.

_Saturday, 22nd April_: Deputation from the Freemasons to Versailles.

_Monday, 24th April_: Raoul Rigault takes the office of public
prosecutor, resigning the Prefecture of Police to Cournet.

_Tuesday, 25th April_: The Versailles batteries at Breteuil, Brimborion,
Meudon, and Moulin de Pierre trouble the Federal Fort Issy, and battery
between Bagneux and Châtillon shells Fort Vanves. Truce at Neuilly from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The inhabitants of Neuilly enter Paris by the Porte des

_Wednesday, 26th April_: Capture of Les Moulineaux, outpost of the
insurgents, by the troops, who strongly fortify themselves on the 27th
and 28th.

_Saturday, 29th April_: Cemetery and park of Issy taken by the
Versaillais in the night.--Freemasons make a new attempt at
conciliation. The Commune levies a sum of two millions of francs from
the railway companies.

_Sunday, 30th April_: A flag of truce sent to Fort Issy by the
Versaillais, calling upon the Federals to surrender. General Eudes puts
fresh troops in the fort, and takes the command himself.--Cluseret
imprisoned at Mazas by order of the Commune. Rossel appointed
provisional Delegate of War.

_Monday, 1st May_: The Versaillais take the station of Clamart and the
Château of Issy.--Creation of the Committee of Public Safety. Members:
Antoine Arnauld, Léo Meillet, Ranvier, Félix Pyat, Charles Gérardin.

_Wednesday, 3rd May_: The troops of General Lacretelle carry the redoubt
of Moulin Saquet.

_Friday, 5th May_: Colonel Rossel appointed to the direction of military
affairs. He defines the military quarters: General Dombrowski, Place
Vendôme; General La Cécilia, at the Ecole Militaire; General Wroblewski,
at the Elysée; General Bergeret, at the Corps Législatif; General Eudes
at the Palace of the Legion of Honour. The Central Committee of the
National Guard charged with Administration of War under the supervision
of the military commission. The Chapelle Expiatoire condemned to
destruction--the materials to be sold by auction.

_Saturday, 6th May_: Concert at the Tuileries in aid of the ambulances.
Suppression of newspapers.

_Monday, 8th May_: Battery of Montretout (70 marine guns) opens fire.

_Tuesday, 9th May_: Morning, insurgents evacuate the Fort Issy.--The
Committee of Public Safety renewed. Members: Ranvier, Antoine Arnauld,
Gambon, Eudes, Delescluze. Rossel resigns; his letter to the Commune.

_Wednesday, 10th May_: Cannon from the Fort Issy taken to
Versailles.--Decree for the demolition of M. Thiers' house. Delescluze
appointed Delegate of War.

_Friday, 12th May_: Troops take possession of the Couvent des Oiseaux at
Issy, and the Lyceum at Vanves.

_Saturday, 13th May_: Triumphal entry of the troops into Versailles with
flags and cannon taken from the Convent. The evacuation of the village
of Issy completed. Fort Vanves taken by the troops.

_Sunday, 14th May_: Vigorous cannonade from the batteries of Courbevoie,
Bécon, Asnières on Levallois and Clichy: both villages evacuated.
Commencement of the demolition of house of M. Thiers.

_Monday, 15th May_: Report of the rearmament of Montmartre.

_Tuesday, 16th May_: The Column Vendôme falls.

_Wednesday, 11th May_: Powder magazine and cartridge factory near the
Champ de Mars blown up.

_Sunday, 21st May_: 2 p.m. the troops enter Paris.--Rochefort arrives at
Versailles. Raoul Rigault and Régère charged with the hostage decree.

_Monday, 22nd May_: Noon, explosion of the powder magazine of the Manège
d'Etat-Major (staff riding-school). The hostages transferred from Mazas
to La Roquette. Assy arrested in Paris by the Versaillais. The Assembly
votes the re-erection of the Column Vendôme.

_Tuesday, 23rd May_: Montmartre taken. Death of Dombrowski. Morning,
Assy arrives at Versailles. Execution of gendarmes and Gustave Chaudey
at the prison of Sainte-Pélagie. Night, the Tuileries are set on fire.
Delescluze and the Committee of Public Safety hold permanent sittings at
the Hôtel de Ville.

_Wednesday, 24th May_: One p.m., the powder magazine at the Palais du
Luxembourg blown up. The Committee of Public Safety organise detachments
of fusee-bearers. Raoul Rigault shot in the afternoon by the soldiers.
In the evening, execution in the Prison of La Roquette of the
Archbishop, Abbé Deguerry, etc.

_Thursday, 26th May_: The forts Montrouge, Hautes-Bruyères, Bicêtre
evacuated by the insurgents. The death of Delescluze is reported to have
taken place this day. Executions in the Avenue d'Italie of the Pères
Dominicains of Arcueil.

_Friday, 26th May_: Sixteen priests shot in the Cemetery of Père
Lachaise by the insurgents.

_Saturday, 27th May_: The Buttes Chaumont, the heights of Belleville,
and the Cemetery of Père Lachaise carried by the troops. Taking of the
prison La Roquette by the Marines. Deliverance of 169 hostages.

_Sunday, 28th May_: The investment of Belleville complete.

_Monday, 29th May_: Six. p.m., the federal garrison of the fortress of
Vincennes surrendered at discretion.

I. (Page 2.)


Henri Rochefort, personal enemy of the Empire, republican humourist of
the _Marseillaise_, and the lukewarm socialist of the _Mot d'Ordre_, who
could answer to the judge who demanded his name, "I am Henri Rochefort,
Comte de Lucey," has been reproached by some with his titles of
nobility, and with the childish pleasure that he takes in affecting the
plebeian. It is said of him that he aspires but to descend, but who
would condemn him for spurning the petrifactions of the Faubourg
Saint-Germain? A man must march with the times.

Rochefort has distinguished himself among the young men by the
marvellous tact that he has shown in discovering the way to popular
favour. If I were allowed to compare a marquis to one of the canine
species, I should say that he has a keen scent for popularity; but one
must respect rank in a period like ours, when we may go to sleep to the
shouts of the _canaille_, and awake to the melodious sounds of "_Vive
Henri V!_" "Long live the King!"

Born in January, 1830, Henri Rochefort was the son of a marquis,
although his father, lately dead, was a _vaudevilliste_ and his mother a
_pâtissère_. From such a fusion might have emanated odd tastes, such as
preferring truffles to potatoes, but putting the knife into requisition
whilst eating green peas. But in his case Mother Nature had intermingled
elements so cleverly that Rochefort could be republican and royalist,
catholic and atheist, without being accused for all that of being a
political weathercock.

As a writer of drollery and scandal in the _Charivari_, would it have
been well if he had used his title as a badge? Later, when contributing
to the _Nain Jaune_, the _Soleil_, the _Evénement_, and the _Figaro_,
when everyone would have been enchanted to call him _mon cher Comte_, he
never displayed his rank, except when on the ground, face to face with
the sword or pistol of Prince Achille Murat or Paul de Cassagnac.

A frequenter of _cafés_, living fast, bitter with journalists,
hail-fellow with comedians, he lavished his wit for the benefit of minor
theatres, and expended the exuberance of his patrician blood in comic
odes. Dispensing thus some of his strength in such pieces as the
_Vieillesse de Brididi_, the _Foire aux Grotesques_, and _Un Monsieur
Bien-Mis_, in 1868 he founded the _Lanterne_, and thenceforth became
the most ardent champion of the revolutionary party; and in the
brilliant articles we all know, he cast its light on the follies of
others under the pretext that they were his own. This satirical
production reached the eleventh number, when its author, overstepping
all bounds, took Napoleon by the horns and the gendarmes by the nose,
and committed other extravagances, until the Government fined him to the
amount of ten thousand francs penalties, and ordered him a short repose
in the prison of Sainte-Pélagie. The notoriety attaching to his name
dates from that period, and the events which accompanied the violent
death of Victor Noir tended to augment his popularity and to convert him
into the leader of a party, or the bearer of a flag, around which
rallied all the elements of the struggle against established authority.
He escaped to Belgium, and studied socialism, which he expounded later
to an admiring audience of seventeen to eighteen thousand electors at
Belleville. Elected deputy by the 20th Arrondissement, M. de Rochefort
became, in 1869, a favourite representative of that class of the
Parisian population whose bad instincts he had flattered and whose
tendencies to revolt against authority he had encouraged, and in virtue
of these claims he was chosen to form part of the Government of the
National Defence. As President of the Commission of Barricades, after
the 4th of September, during the siege of Paris, in the midst of the
difficulties of all sorts caused to the Government of the National
Defence by the investment of the capital, M. De Rochefort, making more
and more common cause with the revolutionary party, separated himself
from his colleagues in the Government who refused to permit the
establishment of a second Government, the Commune, within a besieged
city. By this act he openly declared himself a partisan of the Commune,
and immediately after the acceptance of the preliminaries of peace he
resigned his position as a deputy, alleging that his commission was at
an end, and retired to Arcachon.

His wildly sanguinary articles in the _Marseillaise_, and the compacts
sealed with blood, with Flourens and his associates, now had so
exhausted our poor Rochefort that at the moment of flourishing his
handkerchief as the standard of the _canaille_, he dropped pale and
fainting to the ground, attacked by a severe illness. He was hardly
convalescent when the events of the 18th of March occurred. But early in
April, he exerted himself to assume the direction of the _Mot d'Ordre_,
which, after having been suppressed by order of General Vinoy, the
military commandant of Paris, had reappeared immediately upon the
establishment of the Commune. He arrived on the scene of contest about
the 8th or 10th of April. The daily report of military operations states
the movements of the enemy, and points out what should be done to meet
and resist him most advantageously (12th, 13th, and 14th of April; 10th;
16th, and 20th of May). Imaginary successes, the inaccuracy of which
must in most instances have been known to the chief editor of the _Mot
d'Ordre_, encouraged the hopes of the insurgents, while the
announcement of unsuccessful combats was delayed with evident intention;
the most ridiculous stories, the falsity of which was evident to the
plainest common sense, and which could not escape the intelligence of M.
Rochefort, were published in his journal, and kept up the popular
excitement (12th, 15th, 19th, 26th, 27th, and 28th of April; 6th and 7th
of May). It was in this manner that the pretended Pontifical Zouaves
were brought upon the scene, with emblazoned banners, which were seized
by the soldiers of the Commune (18th and 19th of April, 8th and 10th of
May); that the Government of Versailles was furnished with war material
given by, or purchased from the Prussians (27th and 28th of April, 6th
and 17th of May); that it was again accused of making use of explosive
bullets (18th and 19th of May), and of petroleum bombs (20th of April,
and 2nd, 5th, 17th, and 19th of May); and that the best-known and most
respected generals had been guilty of the grossest acts of cruelty and
barbarity. Incitement to civil war (2nd and 26th of April and 14th and
24th of May) followed, as did also the oft-repeated accusation against
the Government of wishing to reduce Paris by famine; indescribable
calumnies directed against the Chief of the Executive Power (2nd, 16th,
20th, and 30th of April, and 8th of May), against the minister, the
Chambers (16th of April and 14th of May), and the generals (12th, 16th,
and 26th of April). The director of the _Mot d'Ordre_ then finding that
men's minds were prepared for all kinds of excesses, started the idea of
the demolition of M. Thiers's house by way of reprisal (6th of April);
he mentioned the artistic wealth which it contained. He also referred to
the dwellings of other ministers. He returned persistently to this idea,
and on the 17th of May he invited the people, in the name of justice, to
burn off-hand that other humiliating monument which is styled the
History of the Consulate and of the Empire--in short, he insists on the
execution of these acts of Vandalism. He did not call for the
destruction of the Column Vendôme, but approved of the decree. He
demands the destruction of the Expiatory Chapel of Louis XVI. (20th of
April), and suggests the seizure of the crown jewels, which were in the
possession of the bank (14th of April). In short, M. Rochefort, having
entered upon a road which must naturally lead to extremes, finally
arrives at a proposition for assassination. In the same way as he
pointed out to the demolishers the house of M. Thiers, and to the
bandits released by the Commune the treasures of the Church, so he
points out to the assassins the unfortunate hostages.

A few days before the end of the reign of the Commune he judged it
prudent, "seeing the gravity of events," to suspend the publication of
his journal and to quit Paris.

He was arrested at Meaux. It was the "_Meaux de la fin_,"[113] said a
friend and fellow-writer.

He arrived at Versailles on the twenty-first of May, at two o'clock,
the same day on which the troops entered Paris. On Sept. 20 Rochefort
was tried with the Communists before the military tribunal of
Versailles. Physically he seemed to have suffered much during his three
months of incarceration. He is reported to have made anything but a
brilliant defence, and to have restricted himself to pleading past
actions and good services. He said that he suppressed _The Marseillaise_
at a loss of 20,000 francs per month, when he had no other private means
of support, because he thought the effect of its articles would weaken
the plan of Trochu for the defence of Paris, and that when he (M.
Rochefort) held the _forces populaires_, and had an _occasion unique_,
he chose to play a subordinate part. He stated himself a journalist
_under_ the reign of the Commune, and not an active power _in_ the
Commune from which in the end he had to fly. Rochefort owned that his
articles in the _Mot d'Ordre_ had been more or less violent, but he
pleaded the cause his "_façon plus ou moins nerveuse à écrire_" and that
from illness he did not sometimes see his own journal. When pandering to
a vulgar audience, Rochefort seemed to have lost his rich vein of
satire, and to have lost himself in vile abuse. On the 21st he was
sentenced to transportation for life within the enceinte of a French


[Footnote 113: "_Le mot de la fin_," the final word--the finale.]

II. (Page 27.)


It was on the day of the 18th of March, exactly six months after the
appearance of Prussians beneath the walls of Paris, that the Government
had chosen for the repression of the rebellion. At four o'clock in the
morning, the troops of the army of Paris received orders to occupy the
positions that had been assigned to them. All were to take part in the
action, but it is just to add here that the most arduous and fatiguing
part fell to the share of the Lustielle division, composed of the
Paturel brigade (17th battalion of Chasseurs), and of the Lecomte
brigade (18th battalion of Chasseurs). Three regiments of infantry were
entrusted with the guard of the Hôtel de Ville; another, the 89th,
mounted guard at the Tuileries. The Place de la Bastille was occupied by
a battalion of the 64th, and two companies of the 24th. Three other
battalions remained confined to barracks on the Boulevard du Prince
Eugene. The Rue de Flandre, the Rue de Puebla, and the Rue de Crimée
were filled with strong detachments of Infantry; a battalion of the
Republican Guard and the 35th Regiment of Infantry were drawn up in the
neighbourhood of the Buttes Chaumont. The whole quarter around the Place
Clichy was occupied by the Republican Guard, foot Chasseurs, mounted
gendarmes, Chasseurs d'Afrique, and a half battery of artillery. Other
troops, starting from this base-line of operation, were led up the
heights of Montmartre, together with companies of Gardiens de la Paix
(the former Sergents-de-Ville converted into soldiers). At six o'clock
in the morning the first orders were executed; the Gardiens de la Paix
surrounded a hundred and fifty or two hundred insurgents appointed to
guard the park of artillery, and the troops made themselves masters of
all the most important points. The success was complete. Nothing
remained to be done but to carry off the guns. Unhappily, the horses
which had been ordered for this purpose did not arrive at the right
moment. The cause of this fatal delay remains still unknown, but it is
certain that they were still on the Place de la Concorde at the time
when they ought to have been harnessed to the guns at Montmartre. Before
they arrived, agitation had broken out and spread all over the quarter.
The turbulent population, complaining in indignant tones of circulation
being stopped, insulted the sentinels placed at the entrances of the
streets, and threatened the artillerymen who were watching them. At the
same time, the Central Committee caused the rappel to be beaten, and
towards seven o'clock in the morning ten or twelve thousand National
Guards from the arrondissements of Batignolles, Montmartre, La Villette,
and Belleville poured into the streets. Crowds of lookers-on surrounded
the soldiers who were mounting guard by the recaptured pieces, the women
and children asking them pleadingly if they would have the heart to fire
upon their brothers.

Meanwhile, about a dozen tumbrils, with their horses, had arrived on the
heights of the Buttes, the guns were dragged off, and were quietly
proceeding down hill, when, at the corner of the Rue Lepic and the Rue
des Abbesses, they were stopped by a concourse of several hundred people
of the quarter, principally women and children. The foot soldiers, who
were escorting the guns, forgetting their duty, allowed themselves to be
dispersed by the crowd, and giving way to perfidious persuasion, ended
by throwing up the butt ends of their guns. These soldiers belonged to
the 88th Battalion of the Lecomte brigade. The immediate effect of their
disaffection was to abandon the artillerymen to the power of the crowd
that was increasing every moment, rendering it utterly impossible for
them either to retreat or to advance. And the result was, that at nine
o'clock in the morning the pieces fell once more into the hands of the
National Guards.

Judging that the enterprise had no chance of succeeding by a return to
the offensive, Général Vinoy ordered a retreat, and retired to the
quarter of Les Ternes. This movement had been, moreover, determined by
the bad news arriving from other parts of Paris. The operations at
Belleville had succeeded no better than those at Montmartre. A
detachment of the 35th had, it is true, attacked and taken the Buttes
Chaumont, defended only by about twenty National Guards; but as soon as
the news of the capture had spread in the quarter, the drums beat to
arms, and in a short time the troops were found fraternising with the
National Guards of Belleville, who got possession again of the Buttes
Chaumont, and not only retook their own guns, but also those which the
artillery had brought up to support the manoeuvre of the infantry of the
line. At the same time, the 120th shamefully allowed themselves to be
disarmed by the people, and the insurgents became masters of the
barracks of the Prince Eugène.

At about four o'clock in the afternoon, two columns of National Guards,
each composed of three battalions, made their way towards the Hôtel de
Ville, where they were joined by a dozen other battalions from the left
bank of the river; at the same hour, the insurgent guards of Belleville
took and occupied the Imprimerie Nationale, the Napoleon Barracks, the
staff-quarters of the Place Vendôme, and the railway stations; the
arrest of Général Chanzy completed the work of the day, which had been
put to profitable account by the insurgents.--"_Guerre de Comunneux de

III. (Page 77.)


The enemies of yesterday, the Prussians, did not disdain to enter into
communication with the Central Committee on the 22nd of March. This was
an additional reason for the new masters of Paris to regard their
position as established, and the _Official Journal_ took care to make
known to the public the following despatch received from Prussian

"To the actual Commandant of Paris, the Commander-in-Chief of the third
corps d'armée.

"Head-quarters, Compiègne,

"21st March, 1871.

"The undersigned Commander-in-Chief takes the liberty of informing you
that the German troops that occupy the forts on the north and east of
Paris, as well as the neighbourhood of the right bank of the Seine, have
received orders to maintain a pacific and friendly attitude, so long as
the events of which the interior of Paris is the theatre, do not assume
towards the German forces a hostile character, or such as to endanger
them, but keep within the terms settled by the treaty of peace.

"But should these events assume a hostile character, the city of Paris
will be treated as an enemy.

"For the Commandant of the third corps of the Imperial armies,

"(Signed) Chief of the Staff, VON SCHLOSHEIM,


Paschal Grousset, the delegate of the Central Committee for Foreign
Affairs, who had succeeded Monsieur Jules Favre, but who instead of
minister was called delegate, which was much more democratic, replied as

"Paris, 22nd March, 1871.

"To the Commandant-in-Chief of the Imperial Prussian Armies.

"The undersigned, delegate of the Central Committee for Foreign Affairs,
in reply to your despatch dated from Compiègne the 21st instant, informs
you that the revolution, accomplished in Paris by the Central Committee,
having an essentially municipal character, has no aggressive views
whatever against the German armies.

"We have no authority to discuss the preliminaries of peace voted by the
Assembly at Bordeaux.

"The member of the Central Committee, Delegate for Foreign Affairs.


It was very logical of you, Monsieur Grousset, to avow that you had no
authority to discuss the preliminaries of peace voted by the Assembly.
What right had you then to substitute yourselves for it? He did not,
however, thus remain midway in his diplomatic career, for after the
election of the Commune he thought it his duty to address the following
letter to the German authorities:--


"To the Commander-in-chief of the 3rd Corps.


"The delegate of the Commune of Paris for Foreign Affairs has the honour
to address to you the following observations:--

"The city of Paris, like the rest of France, is interested in the
observance of the conditions of peace concluded with Prussia; she has
therefore a right to know how the treaty will be executed. I beg you, in
consequence, to have the goodness to inform me if the Government of
Versailles has made the first payment of five hundred millions, and if
in consequence of such payment, the chiefs of the German army have fixed
the date for the evacuation of the part of the territory of the
department of the Seine, and also of the forts which form an integral
portion of the territory of the Commune of Paris.

"I shall be much obliged, General, if you will be good enough to
enlighten me in this respect.

"The Delegate for Foreign Affairs,


The German general did not think fit, as far as we know, to send any
answer to the above.

IV. (Page 88.)


There are certain legendary names which when spoken or remembered evoke
a second image and raise a double personality, Castor implies Pollux;
Ninos, Euryalus; Damon, Pythias. An inferior species of union connects
Saint Anthony with his pig, Roland with his mare, and the infinitely
more modern Gambon with his historic cow. He was "the village Hampden"
of the Empire. By withstanding the tyranny of Caesar's tax-gatherer and
refusing to pay the imperial rates, he obtained a popularity upon which
he existed until the Commune gave him power. His history is brief. About
a year before the fall of the Second Empire, he declared that he would
pay no more taxes imposed by the Government. Thereupon, all his
realizable property, consisting of one cow, was seized by the
authorities and sold for the benefit of the State. This procured him the
commiseration of the entire party of _irréconciliables_. A subscription
was opened in the columns of the _Marseillaise_ to replace the
sequestrated animal, and "La vache à Gambon"--"Gambon's cow"--became a
derisive party cry. Gambon had been a deputy in 1848, and when the
Commune came into power took a constant though not remarkable part in
its deliberations. He was appointed member of the Delegation of Justice
on the twentieth of April.

V. (Page 120.).


Charles Ernest Lullier was born in 1838, admitted into the Naval School
in 1854, and appointed cadet of the second class in 1856. He was
expelled the Naval School for want of obedience and for his irascible
character. When on board the Austerlitz he was noted for his quarrelsome
disposition and his violent behaviour to his superiors as well as his
equals, which led to his removal from the ship and to his detention for
a month on board the Admiral's ship at Brest. He was first brought into
notoriety by his quarrel with Paul de Cassagnac, the editor of the
_Pays_, whom he challenged, and who refused his cartel. Lullier is
celebrated for several acts of the most violent audacity. He struck one
of the Government counsel in the Palais de Justice, and openly
threatened the Minister of Marine. He was condemned several times for
political offences and breaches of discipline. On the fourth of
September he left Sainte-Pélagie at the same time as Rochefort. He
attacked the new government in every possible way; and when the events
of the 18th March occurred, M. Lullier--the man of action, the man
recommended by Flourens--seized the opportunity to justify the hopes
formed of him by his political associates, who had not lost sight of
him, and who elected him military chief of the insurrection. As General
of the National Guard, he has given us the history of his deeds during
the 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd March. He has since complacently
described the energy with which he executed his command, has explained
the means he used, and the points occupied by the insurgents; and has
described in the same style the occupation of the Paris forts by the
National Guard.

When, on the 18th of March, the Central Committee offered him the
command in chief of the National Guard, he would only accept it on the
following conditions:--

1. The raising of the state of siege.

2. The election by the National Guard of all its officers, including the

3. Municipal franchises for Paris--that is to say, the right of the
citizens to meet--to appoint magistrates for the city, and to tax
themselves by their representatives.

On being appointed he made it a condition that the initiative should
rest with him, and then he began to execute his duties with a zeal which
never relaxed till his arrest on the 22nd March. By his orders,
barricades were erected in the Rue de Rivoli, where he massed the
insurgent forces. He ordered the occupation of the Hôtel de Ville and
the Napoleon Barracks by Brunel, the commander of the insurgents. At
midnight he took possession of the Prefecture of Police, at one o'clock
of the Tuileries, at two o'clock of the Place du Palais Royal, and at
four o'clock he was informed that the Ministry were to meet at the
Foreign Office.--"I would have surrounded them," he said, "but Jules
Favre's presence withheld me. I contented myself therefore with
occupying the Place Vendôme, the Hôtel de Ville, and ordering
strategical points on the right bank of the river and four on the left."

He was subsequently accused of having sold Mont Valérien to the
Versailles authorities, arrested, and thrown into the Conciergerie. He
reappeared, however, on the 14th April as commander of the flotilla of
the Commune. Furious with the Central Committee and the Commune he
opposed them and was arrested, but contrived to escape from Mazas. From
that moment the general of the Commune put himself in communication with
Versailles through the mediation of M. Camus and Baron Dathiel de la
Tuque, who agreed with him to organise a counter revolution. Lullier was
now busily employed in endeavouring to make people forget the part he
had taken in the insurrection of the 18th March. He had made it a
condition that neither he nor his accomplices, Gomez d'Absin and Bisson,
should be prosecuted. The expenses were calculated at 30,000 francs; of
which M. Camus gave 2000 francs to Lullier, but the scheme did not
succeed. Lullier undertook to have all the members of the Commune
arrested, and to send the hostages to Versailles. Lullier is a man of
courage, foolhardy even, who never hesitated to fight, and if at the end
of the Commune he tried to serve the legitimate government, it was from
a spirit of revenge against the men who had refused his dictation, and
in his own interest.

VI. (Page 220.)


Citizen Protot, appointed Delegate of Justice by a decree of the
twentieth of April, 1871, was born in 1839.

As an advocate, he defended Mégy, the famous Communist general of the
fort of Issy, when he was accused of the assassination of a police agent
on the eleventh of April, 1870. This trial, and the ability he
displayed, drew public attention for a moment upon him. Compromised as a
member of secret societies, he managed to escape the police, but was
condemned in his absence to fines and imprisonment. Having been himself
a victim of the law, his attention was first given to the drawing up of
a decree, thus worded:--

"The notaries and public officers in general shall draw up legal
documents which fall within their duty without charge."

In the discussion on the subject of the confiscation of the property of
M. Thiers, he proposed that all the plate and other objects in his
possession bearing the image of the Orleans family should be sent to the

VII. (Page 229.)

"And now he thinks: 'The Empire is tottering,
        There's little chance of victory.'
Then, creeping furtively backwards, he tries to slink away.
        Remain, renegade, in the building!

"'The ceiling falls,' you say! 'if they see me
        They will seize and stop me as I go,'
Daring neither to rest nor fly, you miserably watch the roof
        And then the door,

"And shiveringly you put your hand upon the bolt.
        Back into the dismal ranks!
Back! Justice, whom they have thrust into a pit,
        Is there in the darkness.

"Back! She is there, her sides bleeding from their knives,
        Prostrate; and on her grave
They have placed a slab. The skirt of your cloak
        Is caught beneath the stone.

"Thou shalt not go! What! Quit their house!
  And fly from their fate!
What! Would you betray even treachery itself,
  And make even it indignant?

"What! Did you not hold the ladder to these tricksters
  In open daylight?
Say, was the sack for these robbers' booty
  Not made by you beforehand?

"Falsehood, Hate, with its cold and venomous fang,
  Crouch in this den.
And thou wouldst leave it! Thou! more cunning than Falsehood,
  More viperous than Hate."

VIII. (Page 231.)


Jourde certainly occupied one of the most difficult offices of the
Commune, for he had to find the means to maintain the situation, but as
the Ministry of Finances is burnt, no documents can be found to show the
employment he made of the funds which passed through his hands. On the
30th of May, when he was arrested, disguised as an artizan, with his
friend Dubois, he had about him a sum of 8070 francs in bank notes, and
Dubois 3100 francs; making a total sum of 11,170 francs between the two.
A part of Jourde's cash was hidden in the lining of his waistcoat; he
declared that it was the only sum taken by him out of the moneys
belonging to the state, thus clearly proving that he had been guilty of

The amounts declared to have been received by Jourde form a total of
43,891,000 francs, but as the expenses amount to 47,000,000 francs, it
is clear there is a deficiency of 3,309,000. Notwithstanding this fact,
all the payments were made up to the 29th of May. It is, then, certain
that other moneys were received by Jourde, and as he says that cash has
been refused from some unknown persons who offered to lend 50,000,000
francs on the guarantee of the picture gallery of the Louvre, the
suggestion comes naturally to the mind that the 3,309,000 francs may
have been produced by the sale of valuables in the Tuileries. Jourde was
sentenced by the tribunal of Versailles to transportation beyond the

IX. (Page 316.)

These are the last proclamations from the Hôtel de Ville. They refer
immediately to the burning of the capital.

In the evening of the thirty-first of May, when Delescluze denied with
vehemence that the regular army had made its entry, he wrote to

    "CITIZEN--I learn that the orders given for the construction of
    barricades are contradictory.

    "See that this be not repeated.

    "Blow up or burn the houses which interfere with your plans for the
    defence. The barricades ought to be unattackable from the houses.

    "The defenders of the Commune must be removed above want: give to
    the necessitous that which is contained in the houses about to be

    "Moreover, make all necessary requisitions,


    "Paris, 2nd Prairial, an 79."

On the 22nd appeared the following proclamation:--

    "CITIZENS,--The gate of Saint-Cloud, attacked from four directions
    at once, was forcibly taken by the Versaillais, who have become
    masters of a considerable portion of Paris.

    "This reverse, far from discouraging us, should prove a stimulus to
    our exertions. A people who have dethroned kings, destroyed
    Bastilles, and established a Republic, can not lose in a day the
    fruits of the emancipation of the 18th of March.

    "Parisians, the struggle we have commenced cannot be abandoned, for
    it is a struggle between the past and the future, between liberty
    and despotism, equality and monopoly, fraternity and servitude, the
    unity of nations and the egotism of oppressors.


    "Yes,--to arms! Let Paris bristle with barricades, and from behind
    these improvised ramparts let her shout to her enemies the cry of
    war, its cry of fierce pride of defiance, and of victory; for Paris
    with her barricades is invincible.

    "Let the pavement of the streets be torn up; firstly, because the
    projectiles coming from the enemy are less dangerous falling on soft
    ground; secondly, because these paving-stones, serving as a new
    means of defence, can be carried to the higher floors where there
    are balconies.

    "Let revolutionary Paris, the Paris of great deeds, do her duty; the
    Commune and the Committee for Public Safety will do theirs.

    "Hôtel de Ville, 2nd Prairial, an 79,

    "The Committee for Public Safety,


These are the commentaries made by Citizen Delescluze:--

    "Citoyen Jacquet is authorised to find men and materials for the
    construction of barricades in the Rue du Château d'Eau and in the
    Rue d'Albany.

    "The citoyens and citoyennes who refuse their aid will be shot on
    the spot.

    "The citoyens, chiefs of barricades, are entrusted with the care of
    assuring tranquillity each in his own quarter.

    "They are to inspect all houses bearing a suspicious appearance &c.,

    "The houses suspected are to be set light to at the first signal


X. (Page 335.)


At half-past nine on the morning of the 18th of March Ferré was at No.
6, Rue des Rosiers, opposing the departure of the prisoners of the
Republican Guard, by obtaining from the Commander Bardelle the
revocation of the order for their dismissal, which was known to have
been issued. He went to the council of the Château Rouge, whither
General Lecomte was about to be taken, and made himself conspicuous by
the persistency with which he called for the death of that general. On
the morning of Monday, the 24th May, a witness residing at the
Prefecture of Police saw Ferré and five others going up the stairs of
the Prefecture of Police. Ferré said to him, "Be off as quick as you
can. We are going to set fire to the place. In a quarter of an hour it
will be in flames." Half an hear afterwards the witness saw the flames
burst forth from two windows of the office of the Procureur-Général.
When Raoul Rigault was installed during the insurrection, a woman saw
some persons washing the walls of the Prefecture of Police with
petroleum. Seeing them going out by the court of the St. Chapelle, she
noticed among them one smaller than the rest, wearing a grey paletot
with a black velvet collar, and black striped trousers. On the same day
a police agent went to La Roquette to order the shooting of Mgr. Darboy
and the other prisoners--the President Bonjean, the Abbé Allard, the
Père Ducoudray, and the Abbé Deguerry. On Saturday, the 27th, Ferré
installed himself in the clerk's office of the prison, and ordered the
release of certain of the criminals and gave them arms and ammunition.
Upon this they proceeded to massacre a great number of the prisoners,
among whom were 66 gendarmes. Several witnesses saw Ferré that day at
the prison.

XI. (Page 342.)

At the trial of Ferré, August 10, Dr. Puymoyen, physician to the prison
for juvenile offenders, opposite La Roquette, gave the following graphic

"Immediately after the insurgents, driven back by the troops, had
occupied La Roquette, they installed a court-martial at the children's
prison opposite, where I live. It was from thence I saw the poor
wretches whom they feigned to release, ushered in to the square, where
they encountered an ignoble mob, that ill-treated them in the most
brutal manner. I was told that Ferré presided over this court-martial.
Its proceedings were singular. I saw an unfortunate gendarme taken to
the prison; he had been arrested near the Grenier d'Abondance, on a
denunciation. He wore a blouse, blue trousers, and an apron, and was
charged with having stolen them. The mob wanted to enter the prison
along with him, but the keepers, who behaved very well, prevented the
invasion of the courtyard. The escort was commanded by a young woman
carrying a Chassepot, and wearing a chignon. I entered the registrar's
office with this unfortunate gendarme. One Briand, who was charged to
question the prisoners summarily, asked him where his clothes came from.
The man was very cool and courageous, and his perfect self-possession
disconcerted this _juge d'instruction._ He was asked if he were married,
and had a family. He replied, 'Yes, I have a wife and eight children.'
He was then shown into the back office, where the 'judges' were. These
judges were mere boys, who seemed quite proud of the part they were
playing, and gave themselves no end of airs, I asked the governor of the
gaol soon afterwards what had been done with the gendarme. He told me
that they were going to shoot him. I replied, 'Surely it can't be true.
I must see the president--we can't allow a married man with eight
children to be murdered in this way.' I tried to get into the room where
the court-martial was sitting, but was prevented. One of the National
Guards on duty at the door told me 'Don't go in there, or you're done
for (_N'y entrez pas, ou vous êtes f--_).' I made immediately further
inquiries about M. Grudnemel, and was told he was in 'a provisional
cell.' I trembled for him, for I knew that meant he would be given up to
the mob, which would tear him to pieces. When they said, 'This man is to
be taken to a cell,' that meant that he was to be shot. When they said,
'Put him in a provisional cell,' it meant that he should be delivered
over to the mob for butchery, I continued to plead the gendarme's cause
with the National Guard, dwelling on the fact of his having eight
children. Thereon, the Woman above referred to, who appeared to be in
command of the detachment, exclaimed, 'Why does this fellow go in for
the gendarme?' One of her acolytes replied, 'Smash his jaw.' This woman
seemed to understand her business. She minutely inspected the men's
pouches to ascertain that they had plenty of ammunition. She would not
hear of the gendarme being reprieved, and she had her way. I understood
that I had better follow the governor's advice and keep quiet. A mere
boy was placed as sentry at the door of the court-martial. He told
me, 'You know I sha'n't let you in.' When I saw the poor gendarme leave
the room he looked at me imploringly; he had probably detected in my
eyes a look of sympathy. And when he was told that he might go
out--hearing the yells of the mob--he turned towards me and said, 'But I
shall be stoned to death;' and, in fact, it was perfectly fearful to
hear the shouts of the crowd outside. I could not withstand the impulse,
and I took my place by his side, and tried to address the crowd. 'Think
on what you are going to do--surely you won't murder the father of
eight children.' The words were hardly out of my mouth when a kind of
signal was given. I was shoved back against the wall, and one National
Guard, clapping his hand on his musket, ejaculated, 'You know, you old
rascal, there is something for you here,' and he drove his bayonet
through my whiskers. The unfortunate gendarme was taken across the
place, close to the shop where they sell funeral wreaths, but there was
no firing party in attendance. He then took to his heels, but was
pursued, captured, and put to death. I began to feel rather bewildered,
and some one urged me to return to the prison, which I did. A young
linesman was then brought in. He was quite a young fellow, barely
twenty; his hands were tied behind his back. They decided to kill him
within the prison. They set upon him, beat him, tore his clothes, so
that he had hardly a shred of covering left; they made him kneel, then
made him stand up, blindfolded him then uncovered his eyes; finally they
put an end to his long agony by shooting him, and flung the body into a
costermonger's cart close to the gate. Several priests had got out of
the prison of La Roquette. The Abbé Surat, on passing over a barricade,
was so imprudent as to state who he was, and showed some articles of
value he had about him. He had got as far as about the middle of the
Boulevard du Prince Eugène, when he was arrested and taken back to the
prison, where they prepared to shoot him. But the young woman whom I
have before mentioned, with a revolver in one hand and a dagger in the
other, rushed at him exclaiming, 'I must have the honour of giving him
the first blow.' The abbé instinctively put his hands out to protect
himself, crying, '_Grâce! grâce!_' Whereon this fury shouted, '_Grâce!
grâce! en voilà un maigre_,' and she discharged her revolver at him. His
body was not searched, but his shoes were removed. Afterwards his
pastoral cross and 300 francs were found about him. The boys detained in
the prison were set at liberty. The smaller ones were made to carry
pails of petroleum, the others had muskets given them, and were sent to
fight. Six of them were killed; the remainder came back that night, and
on the following day. About a hundred boys were taken to Belleville by a
member of the Commune, quite a young man; they were wanted to make
sand-bags, to be filled with earth to form barricades."

XII. (Page 345.)

Regarding the death of President Bonjean, the Abbé de Marsay said--"That
gentleman carried his scruples so far that he would not avail himself of
forty-eight hours' leave on _parole_, fearing he could not get back in
time; thus did not see his family."

The Abbé Perni, a venerable man with a white beard, who had been a
missionary said:

    "On Wednesday, the 24th of May, we were ordered back to our cells at
    La Roquette at an earlier hour than usual, and at about four o'clock
    in the afternoon a battalion of federates noisily occupied the
    passage into which our cells opened. They spoke at the topmost pitch
    of their voices. One of them said, 'We must get rid of these
    Versailles banditti.' Another replied, 'Yes; let us bowl them over,
    put them to bed.' I understood what this meant, and prepared for
    death. Soon after the door next mine was opened, and I heard a man
    asking if M. Darboy was there. The prisoner replied in the negative.
    The man passed before my door without stopping, and I soon heard the
    mild voice of the archbishop answering to his name. The hostages
    were then dragged put of the lobby; ten minutes later I saw the
    mournful _cortège_ pass in front of my windows; the federates were
    walking along in a confused way, making a noise to cover the voice
    of their victims, but I could hear Father Allard exhorting his
    companions to prepare for death. A little after I heard the report
    of the muskets, and understood that all was over. On Thursday (the
    25th) the day passed off quietly, but on Friday shells began to fall
    on the prison, and at about half-past four in the afternoon a
    corporal, named Romain. came up, and with a joyful face told us we
    would soon be free. He said answer to your names; I must have 15. He
    had a list in his hand, and I must confess a feeling of terror came
    over us all. Ten hostages answered to their names. One of them, a
    father of the order of Picpus, asked if he could take his hat.
    Romain replied, 'Oh, it's no use; you are only going to the
    registrar's.' None of these unfortunate men ever returned. On
    Saturday (the 27th) we learnt that several of the prisoners had been
    armed with hammers, files, &c. They threw us some of these in at the
    windows. We were then informed that several members of the Commune
    had arrived at La Roquette. I cannot say whether Ferré was among
    them. We were taken back to our cellars, where we expected to be put
    to death every minute. At about four o'clock the cells of the common
    prisoners were opened, and they escaped, shouting 'Vive la Commune!'
    Our keeper himself had disappeared, and a turnkey presently opened
    our cells, and recommended us to run away. We were afraid this was a
    trap, but as it might afford a chance we determined to avail
    ourselves of it. Those amongst us who had plain clothes hurried them
    on, and I must say the gaolers behaved admirably in this emergency;
    they lent clothes to such of us as had none, and we were thus all
    enabled to escape. As for myself, after wandering for about an hour
    in the streets about the prison, and being unable to find shelter
    anywhere, and afraid of being murdered in the streets, I determined
    to return to La Roquette. As I reached it I met the archbishop's
    secretary, two priests, and two gendarmes, who, like myself, had
    been driven to return to the prison. One of the keepers told us that
    the safest for us was the sick ward. We dressed up in the hospital
    uniform and hid in bed. At eight in the evening the federates, who
    were not aware that we had escaped, came back and called on the
    gaolers to produce us. They were told we had gone; fortunately they
    believed it. On Sunday the troops came in, and I left La Roquette
    for good this time. In reply to a further question the witness said
    that as the hostages marched past his windows, on their way to
    execution, he saw President Bonjean raising his hands, and heard him
    say, '_Mon Dieu, mon Dieu!_'"

XIII. (Page 82.)


Urbain, formerly head master of an academy, was elected to the Commune,
and became, in virtue of his former office of teacher, a member of the
Committee of Instruction, retaining at the same time his office of
mayor. He finally installed himself in his mayoralty about the middle of
April, with his sister and young son, and gave protection there to his
mistress, Leroy, who had great influence over him, and who used to
frequent the committees and clubs. At the mayoralty of the 7th
Arrondissement this woman, in the absence of the mayor, took the
direction and management of affairs. During the administration of Urbain
searches were made in private and in religious houses, this woman,
Leroy, sometimes taking part in the proceedings; on these occasions
seizures were made of letters and articles of value, which were sent to
the mayoralty and from thence to the police-office. Urbain and the woman
Leroy are accused of having appropriated to themselves money and
jewellery. At the mayoralty of the 7th Arrondissement there were
deposits for public instruction to the amount of 8000 francs, which had
dwindled down to 2900 francs. Urbain confesses having employed this
money in helping persons compromised like himself. It is certain that
during the residence of the woman Leroy at the mayoralty the expenses
exceeded the sum allowed to Urbain. According to the evidence of a
domestic everybody tad recourse to this unfortunate deposit, and it is
stated in the instructions that the accused had left by will to his son
a sum of 4000 francs in bank notes and gold, deposited in the hands of
his aunt, Madame Danelair, while there is clear proof that before the
days of the Commune he did not possess a sou. Madame Leroy herself, who
came to the mayoralty without a penny, was found in possession of 1000
francs, which she said were the results of her savings. It appears from
the statement of M. Laudon, inspector of police, that the search made at
his house resulted in the subtraction of a sum of 6000 francs, and that
he has seen a ring which belonged to his wife on the finger of the woman
Leroy. Though not taking a conspicuous share in the military operations,
Urbain played an important part. His duty was to visit the military
stations and to take possession of the Fort d'Issy, which had been
abandoned. He admits that he thus visited the barracks and the
ramparts. He ordered the construction of barricades, and says that, on
the occasion of the repulse of the 22nd May, he resisted the entreaties
of the woman Leroy, who wished him to give up the struggle and to betake
himself to the Hôtel de Ville, with the view of remaining at his post.
As a politician, Urbain, in the discussions of the Commune, was very
zealous and spoke frequently. By his vote he gave his sanction to all
the violent decrees relating to the hostages, the demolition of the
Column, the destruction of M. Thiers' house, and the Committee of Public
Safety, of which he was one of the most ardent supporters. To him is to
be attributed in particular the demand for the carrying into execution
the decree relating to the hostages. On this point here is Urbain's
proposal, copied from the _Official Journal_ of the 18th May:--"I demand
that either the Commune or the Committee of Public Safety should decree
that the ten hostages in our custody should be shot within twenty-four
hours, in retaliation for the murders of our cantinière and of the
bearer of our flag of truce, who were shot in defiance of the law of
nations. I demand that five of the hostages should be executed solemnly
in the centre of Paris, in presence of deputations from all the
battalions, and that the rest should be shot at the advanced posts in
presence of the soldiers who witnessed the murders. I trust my proposal
will be agreed to." By this proposal Urbain has linked his name to the
horrible crime committed on the hostages. Latterly he was a member of
the military committee, and his ability served well the cause of the
insurgents. He was condemned by the court-martial of Versailles to hard
labour for life, September 2, 1871.



The following is the way in which the fires were prepared:--In some
instances a number of men, acting as _avant-courriers_, went first,
telling the inhabitants that the Quarter was about to be delivered to
the flames, and urging them to fly for their lives; in other oases, the
unfortunate people were told that the whole city would be burnt, and
that they might as well meet death where they were as run to seek it
elsewhere. In some places--in the Rue de Vaugirard, for instance--it is
asserted that sentinels were placed in the streets and ordered to fire
upon everyone who attempted to escape. One incendiary, who was arrested
in the Rue de Poitiers, declared that he received ten francs for each
house which he set on fire. Another system consisted in throwing through
the cellar doors or traps tin cans or bottles filled with petroleum,
phosphorus, nitro-glycerine, or other combustibles, with a long sulphur
match attached to the neck of the vessel, the match being lighted at the
moment of throwing the explosives into the cellar. Finally, the
batteries at Belleville and the cemetery of Père la Chaise sent
destruction into many quarters by means of petroleum shells.

Eudes, a general of the Commune, sent the following order to one of his

"Fire on the Bourse, the Bank, the Post Office, the Place des Victoires,
the Place Vendôme, the Garden of the Tuileries, the Babylone Barracks;
leave the Hôtel de Ville to Commandant Pindy and the Delegate of War,
and the Committee of Public Safety and of the Commune will assemble at
the _mairie_ of the eleventh Arrondissement, where you are established;
there we will organize the defence of the popular quarters of the city.
We will send you cannon and ammunitions from the Parc Basfroi. We will
hold out to the last, happen what may.

"(Signed) E. EUDES."

The insurgents had collected a considerable quantity of powder in the
Pantheon, and when the Versailles troops obtained possession of the
building the officer in command at once searched for the slow match, and
cut it off when it had not more than a yard to burn!

Instructions were given to the firemen not to extinguish the fires, but
to retire to the Champ de Mars with the pumps and other apparatus.
Whenever a man attempted to do anything to arrest the conflagration he
was fired at. The firemen, who had arrived from all parts, even from
Belgium, and honest citizens who joined them, worked to extinguish the
fires amid showers of bullets. At the Treasury the labours of these men
were four times interrupted by the violent cannonading of the

The fire broke out at the TUILERIES on Tuesday evening. When the
battalions at the Arc de Triomphe and at the Corps Législatif had
silenced the guns ranged before the Palace, the insurgents set fire to
it, and threw out men _en tirailleur_ to prevent anyone from approaching
to subdue the flames.

At the same moment an attempt was made to set fire to the MINISTRY OF
MARINE, in obedience to an order given to Commandant Brunel, which was
thus worded:--"In a quarter of an hour the Tuileries will be in flames;
as soon as our wounded are removed, you will cause the explosion of the
Ministry." It was Admiral Pothuau, the minister himself, who, at the
head of a handful of sailors, set the incendiaries to flight, Brunel
along with them. They also arrived in time to prevent any damage being

The struggle was terrific during the night; the insurgents, who had
sought refuge in the Ministry of Finance, after the taking of the
barricade in the Rue Saint-Florentin, increased the fury of the flames
by firing from the windows, and discharging jets of petroleum at the

On Wednesday morning the battle had become fearful. Towards ten o'clock
columns of smoke rose above Paris, forming a thick cloud, which the
sun's rays could not penetrate. Then, simultaneously, all the fires
burst forth: at the CONSEIL D'ETAT, at the LEGION OF HONOUR, at the
PALAIS DE JUSTICE, at the THÉÂTRE LYRIQUE, in the Rue du Bac, the Rue de
Lille, the Rue de la Croix-Rouge, Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, in a great
number of houses in the Faubourgs Saint-Germain and Saint-Honoré, in the
Rue Royale, and in the Rue Boissy d'Anglas. Not many hours later, flames
were seen to arise from the Avenue Victoria, Boulevard Sébastopol, Rue
Saint-Martin, at the Château d'Eau, in the Rue Saint-Antoine, and the
Rue de Rivoli.

During the night of Friday, the docks of LA VILLETTE, and the warehouses
of the DOUANE, the GRENIER D'ABONDANCE and the GOBELINS were all
burning! So great was the glare that small print could be read as far
off as Versailles, even on that side of the town towards Meudon and
Ville d'Avray.

THE DOME OF THE INVALIDES.--This was placed in imminent danger. Mines
were laid on all sides, but their positions were discovered, and the
electric wires out which were to have communicated the spark.

THE PLACE DE LA CONCORDE.--When the noise of the fusillade and
cannonading ceased, the Place de la Concorde was a scene of absolute
desolation. On all sides lay broken pieces of candelabra, balustrades,
paving-stones, asphalte, and heaps of earth. The water-nymphs and
Tritons of the fountains were much mutilated, and the statue of the town
of Lille--one of the eight gigantic, seated figures of the principal
towns of France, which form a prominent ornament to the Place, the work
of Pradier, and a likeness of one of the Orleans princesses-lay shivered
on the ground.

THE ARC DE L'ETOILE.--The triumphal arch bears many scars, but none of
them of much importance. On the façade looking towards Courbevoie, the
great bas-relief by Etex, representing "War," was struck by three
shells; the group of "Peace" received only the fragment of one. Here and
there, in the bas-relief representing the "Passage of the Bridge of
Areole," and the "Taking of Alexandra," some traces of balls are
visible. On the whole, no irremediable hum is done here. Rude's
masterpiece, "The Marseillaise," is untouched.

THE PALACE OF INDUSTRY.--Rumour says Courbet had, among other projects,
formed an idea of demolishing the Palace of Industry. The painted
windows of the great nave have received no serious injury. The
bas-relief of the main façade, picturing Industry and the Arts offering
their products to the universal exhibitions, has several of its figures
mutilated. The same has happened to the colossal group by
Diebolt--France offering laurel crowns to Art and Industry.

THE TUILERIES.--Felix Pyat, in the _Vengeur_, proposed converting the
Palace of the Tuileries into a school for the children of soldiers. He
says:--"They have taken possession by the work and activity that reign
there; a whole floor is filled with tools and activity, and converted
into workshops for the construction of messenger balloons. King Labour
is enthroned there. I recognised there among the workmen an exile of the
revolutionary Commune of London. The workmen and the proscribed at the
Tuileries! From the prison of London to the palace of the Tuileries. It
is well!" But in the heart of the Commune the soul of the _Vengeur_
underwent a change, and insisted on the complete destruction of the
"infamous pile."

The portion of the building overlooking the river was alone preserved.
The roofing is destroyed, but the façade is but little injured, the only
work of art damaged here being a pediment by M. Carrier-Belleuse,
representing "Agriculture." Fortunately the Government of the Fourth of
September had sent all the most precious things to the Garde-Meuble
(Stores); but how can the magnificent Gobelins tapestry, the fine
ceilings, the works of Charles Lebrun, of Pierre Mignard, of Coypel, of
Francisque Meillet, of Coysevox, of Girardon, and of many others, and
the exquisite Salon des Roses be replaced?

The Tuileries burnt for three days, and ten days afterwards the ruins
blazed forth anew near the Pavillon de Flore. Not only did the devouring
fire threaten to destroy inestimable treasures, but on Monday a number
of men carrying slow matches, and led by a man named Napias-Piquet, made
all their preparations to set fire to several points of the museum of
the Louvre, and two of the guardians were shot. This Napias-Piquet
threatened to make of the whole quarter of the Louvre one great
conflagration. He was taken and shot, and in his pocket was found a note
of his breakfast of the preceding day, amounting to 57 francs 80

THE LOUVRE.--The preservation of the museum was due to the strong
masonry, and the thick walls of the new portion of the building, on
which the raging flames could make no impression. But it ran other
risks: when the troops entered the building, they planted the tricolour
on the clock pavilion, which served as an object for the insurgents'
aim. It was immediately removed, however, when this was perceived. It
was generally believed that the galleries of the Louvre contained all
their art treasures. This was not the case; prior to the first siege the
most precious of the contents had been carefully packed and conveyed to
the arsenal of Brest, where they safely reposed, but many very admirable
works remained.

MINISTRY OF FINANCE (Treasury).--On the 22nd of May, the official
journal of the Commune published a note declaring that the certificates
of stock and the stock books (_grand livre_) would be burnt within
forty-eight hours. The Commune was annoyed at the publicity given to
this note, and a violent debate took place in its council in
consequence. On this occasion Paschal Grousset uttered the following:--

"I blame those who inserted the note in question, but I demand that
measures may be taken for the destruction of all such documents
belonging to those at Versailles, the day that they shall enter Paris."


The Library is completely destroyed. More than 90,000 volumes are burnt.
Rare editions, Elzevirs, precious MSS., coins, and unique collections,
priceless treasures, are irrevocably lost.]

The building forms one of the most striking ruins in Paris. Citizen
Lucas, appointed by Ferré to set the Ministry on fire, did his task
well. The conflagration, which lasted several days, began in the night
of the 23rd of May. Not only was every part soaked with petroleum, but
shells had also been placed about the building, and burst successively
as the fire extended. Scarcely anything remains of the huge pile but the
offices of the Administration of Forest Lands, which are almost intact.
A considerable number of valuable documents were saved, but the quantity
was very small in comparison with the immense collection accumulated
since the beginning of the century. Four times was the work of salvage
interrupted by the insurgents. Not a single book in the library has
escaped; and this library contained almost the whole of the enormous
correspondence of Colbert, the minister, forming no less than two
thousand volumes.

[Illustration: PALAIS ROYAL.]

The PALAIS ROYAL.--The palace itself alone is destroyed; the galleries
of the THÉÂTRE FRANÇAIS are preserved. The _Constitutionnel_ published
the following account of the conflagration;--

"It was at three o'clock that this fearful fire burst forth. A
shopkeeper of the PALAIS ROYAL, M. Emile Le Saché, came forward in all
haste to offer his services. A Communist captain, or lieutenant,
threatened to fire on him if he did not retire on the instant; he added
that the whole quarter was going to be blown up and burned. In the teeth
of this threat, however, two fire-engines were brought to the Place, and
were worked by the people of the neighbourhood. It was four o'clock. No
water in the Cour des Fontaines. But some was procured by a line of
people being placed along the passage leading from the Cour d'Honneur,
who passed full buckets of water from hand to hand.

"A ladder was placed against the wall for the purpose of reaching the
terrace of the Rue de Valois. The insurgents proved so true to their
word that the people were forced to renounce the attempt at saving the
entire pavilion. Fire and smoke burst forth from three windows just
above the terrace. In the midst of the balls showered from the barricade
at the corner of the Rue de Rivoli, they succeeded in extinguishing the
fire on that side. At five o'clock M. O. Sauve, captain in the
commercial service, with a handful of brave workmen, got a fire engine
into the Cour d'Honneur, and thus saved a great quantity of pictures,
precious marbles, furniture, hangings, etc. Here another line of people
was formed for the carrying of buckets, but unfortunately water ran
short: the pipes had been cut, the wretches had planned that the
destruction should be complete. At seven o'clock M. Bessignet, jun.,
hastened there with four Paris firemen, but already the Pavilion, where
the flames were first apparent, was entirely consumed.

"On the arrival of the firemen they used every effort to prevent the fire
communicating itself to the apartments of the Princess Clothilde; it had
already reached the façade on the side of the Place. Here, too, all the
fittings and ornaments of the chapel were saved.

"At last, at seven o'clock, the soldiers of the line arrive. 'Long live
the line!' is shouted on all sides. 'Long live France!' Signals are made
with the ambulance flags. Help is come at last!

"Those present now regard their position with more coolness, and use
every effort to combat the fire, pumping from the roofs and upper
storeys of the neighbouring houses. The fire continues, however,
increasing and spreading on the theatre side. Here is the greatest
danger. If the theatre catch light, all the quarter will most probably
be destroyed. They then determine to avail themselves of the water
appliances of the theatre to stay the progress of the flames. This is.
rendered more difficult and dangerous by the continuous firing from the
Communists installed in the upper story of the Hôtel du Louvre. M. Le
Sache mounts on the roofs, with the principal engineer, to conduct this
movement. They are compelled to hide out of the way of the shower of
balls coming from the Communists.

"At ten o'clock the companies from the quarter of the Banque, the 12th
battalion of National Guards, arrive. The Federals are put to flight.
Thereupon thirty _sapeurs-pompiers_ of Paris came at full speed and
succeed in mastering the remaining fire. An hour sooner and all could
have been saved."

[Illustration: Hôtel de Ville.]

THE HOTEL DE VILLE.--The Hôtel de Ville was set on fire by order of the
Committee of Public Safety at the moment when the entry of the troops
caused them to fly to the Ecole des Chartes, which was thus saved, and
whence they fled to the Mairie of Belleville. Five battalions of
National Guards--the 57th, 156th, 178th, 184th, and the 187th--remained
to prevent any attempt being made to extinguish the fire. Petroleum had
been poured about the _Salle du Trône_, and the _Salle du Zodiaque_,
which were decorated by Jean Goujon and Cogniet; in the _Galerie de
Pierre_, in which were paintings by Lecomte, Baudin, Desgoffes, Hédouin,
and Bellel; in the _Salon des Arcades_, in the _Salon Napoléon_, in the
_Galerie des Fêtes_, and in the _Salon de la Paix_, which contained
works of Schopin, Picot, Vanchelet, Jadin, Girard, Ingres, Delacroix,
Landelle, Riesener, Lehmann, Gosse, Benouville and Cabanel. It is not
only as a fine specimen of architecture that the Hôtel de Ville is to
be regretted, but as the cradle of the municipal and revolutionary
history of Paris, as well as for the vast collection of archives of the
city, duplicates of which were at the same moment a prey to the flames
at the Palais de Justice.

[Illustration: FOREIGN OFFICE.]

THE PREFECTURE OF POLICE was set fire to by the Communal delegate Ferré
and a band of drunken National Guards.

THE PALAIS DE JUSTICE, thanks to the prompt arrival of the soldiers, has
been partially spared. The damage done, however, is very great. In the
SALLE DES PAS-PERDUS several of the grand arches that support the roof
have fallen in, and many of the columns are lying in ruins on the
pavement. The Cour de Cassation and the Cour d'Assises are entirely
destroyed. The conflagration was stopped, when it reached the Cour
d'Appel and the Tribunal de Première Instance.

PALACE OF THE QUAI D'ORSAY.--This vast building, in which the Conseil
d'État and the Cour des Comptes held their sittings, has suffered
seriously, though the walls are not destroyed; but what is irreparable
is the loss of the many precious documents belonging to the financial
and legislative history of France. The most famous artists of our time
have contributed to the decoration of the interior. Jeanron painted the
twelve allegorical subjects for the vaulted ceiling of the _Salle des
Pas-Perdus_; Isabey, the Port of Marseilles in the Committee-room. The
Death of President de Renty, in the _Salle du Contentieux_, was by Paul
Delaroche; the fine portrait of Napoleon I., as legislator, in the great
Council Chamber, by Flandrin; and in another apartment the portrait of
Justinien by Delacroix. These, and many other treasures, are lost; for
the work of destruction was complete.

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.--The façade has been seriously injured. It
was fired upon from the terrace of the Tuileries, and from a gunboat
lying under cover of the Pont-Royal. The Doric and Ionic columns are
partly broken, as well as the fifteen medallions in white marble, which
bore the arms of the principal powers. The apartments in front have been
greatly damaged, and especially the _salon_ of the ambassadors, where
the Congress of Paris was held in 1856.

THE PALACE OF THE LEGION OF HONOUR.--This is a specimen of French
architecture, unique of its kind. Happily, drawings and plans have been
preserved, and the members of the Legion of Honour have offered a
subscription for its re-instatement.

THE GOBELINS.--The public gallery, the school of tapestry, and the
painters' studios have been destroyed. The incendiaries would have
burned all, works, frames and materials, if the people of the quarter,
with the Gobelins weavers, had not defended them at the peril of their
lives. An irreparable loss is that of a valuable collection of tapestry
dating from the time of Louis XIV.

The military hospital of the VAL DE GRÂCE, the ASYLUM FOR THE DEAF AND
DUMB, the MINT, the façade of the annex of the ÉCOLE-DES-BEAUX-ARTS,
have been riddled with balls. At the LUXEMBOURG the magnificent
camellia-house and conservatories exist no longer, and the graceful
Medici fountain has been injured.

THE BANK had most fortunately been placed in charge of the delegate
Beslay, who, during the whole time he was there, made every effort to
prevent the pillage of the valuables. He was ably seconded by all the
officials and _employés_, who had before been armed and incorporated
into a battalion.


POST OFFICE.--The Communal delegate, Theiz, prevented the incendiaries
from setting fire to this important establishment. THE TRIUMPHAL ARCH OF
THE PORTE-ST-DENIS.--The bas-relief containing an emblematical figure of
the Rhine resting on a rudder has been mutilated, a shell having carried
the arm and its support entirely away. The other bas-relief of Holland
vanquished and in tears, has been struck by balls, as have also the
figures of Fame in the tympans of the arcades.

represent the taking of Limbourg and the defeat of the Germans, have
suffered considerably. They are the works of Le Hongre and the elder

A tragic incident marked the burning of the THEATRE OF THE PORTE ST.
MARTIN (see sketch). After laving massacred the proprietor and people of
the _restaurant_ Ronceray, the Federals set fire to the house and the
theatre which is adjoining. At eight o'clock in the evening, on
beholding the first flames arise, the inhabitants of the quarter united
in endeavouring to extinguish the fire, notwithstanding that the
projectiles fell thickly in the Boulevard Saint-Martin and in the Rue de
Bondy. The Federals from behind their barricades at the corner of the
Rue Bouchardon, fired upon everyone who attempted to enter the theatre.

The ARCHIVES (Record Office), the IMPRIMERIE NATIONALE, and the
BIBLIOTHÈQUE MAZARINE were all preserved through the strenuous
endeavours of MM. Alfred Maury, Haureau, and Charles Asselineau, who had
all managed to keep their places in spite of the Commune.

At the DOCKS OF LA VILLETTE, and at the warehouses of the DOUANE, the
destruction of property has been enormous. Many millions' worth of goods
were consumed there.

In the great buildings belonging to the MAGASINS RÉUNIS (Cooperative
Stores) an ambulance had been established, and this was in the utmost
danger during two days. It was only owing to the wonderful energy of M.
Jahyer that the fire was mastered while the poor wounded men were
transported to a place of safety.


NOTRE-DAME.--In the interior of Notre-Dame the insurgents set fire to
three huge piles of chairs and wood-work. Fortunately the fact was
discovered before much mischief had happened.

THE SAINTE-CHAPELLE.--This incomparable gem of Gothic art, by some
marvellous good fortune was neither touched by fire nor shells. It will
still be an object for the pilgrimages of the erudite and the curious.

THE MADELEINE.--The balls have somewhat damaged the double colonnade of
the peristyle, but the sculptured pediment by Lemaire is all but

THE TRINITÉ.--The façade has been seriously injured. The Federals, from
their barricades at the entrance of the Chaussée-d'Antin, bombarded it
for several hours. The painted windows by Ondinot had been removed
before the siege--like those of the ancient Cathedral of St. Denis, and
the Chapel of St. Ferdinand, by Ingres, they repose in safety.

Of all the churches of Paris ST. EUSTACHE has suffered the most. At one
time the fire had reached the roof, but it was fortunately discovered in

and at SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRÉS have been spared.

It is curious that the churches suffered so little, whilst several
theatres were burned, including the Porte St. Martin, Théâtre du
Châtelet, Lyrique, Délassements Comiques, etc.

The windows of the church of SAINT-JACQUES-DU-HAUT-PAS are destroyed.

It has been estimated that the value of the houses and other property
destroyed in Paris amounts to twenty millions sterling. In addition to
this, it is said that twelve millions' worth of works of art, furniture,
&c., have disappeared, and that more than two and a half millions' worth
of merchandise was burnt, making a total of nearly thirty-five millions.
It has been said that the value of the window-glass alone destroyed
during the reign of the Commune approaches a million sterling. The
demand for glass was at one time so great that the supply was quite
insufficient, and at the present moment the price is 20 per cent. higher
than usual.


The following order of the day of General de Ladmirault, commanding the
first army corps of Versailles, sums up the principal episodes of this
eight days battle:--

"Officers and soldiers of the First Corps d'Armée,--

The defences of the lines of Neuilly, Courbevoie, Bécon and Asnières
served you by way of apprenticeship. Your energy and courage were formed
amid the greatest works and perils. Every one in his grade has given an
example of the most complete abnegation and devotion. Artillery,
engineers, troops of the line, cavalry, volunteers of the Seine-et-Oise,
you rivalled each other in zeal and ardour. Thus prepared, on the 22nd
of the month you attacked the insurgents, whose guilty designs and
criminal undertakings you knew and despised. You devoted yourselves
nobly to save from destruction the monuments of our old national glory,
as well as the property of the citizens menaced by savage rage.

On the 23rd of the month, the formidable position of the Buttes
Montmartre could no longer resist your efforts, in spite of all the
forces with which they were covered.

This task was confided to the first and second division and the
volunteers of the Seine and Seine-et-Oise, and the heads of the various
columns arrived simultaneously at the summit of the position.

On the 24th, the third division, which alone had been charged with the
task of driving the insurgents out of Neuilly, Levallois-Perret, and
Saint-Ouen, joined the other divisions, and took possession of the
terminus of the Eastern Railway, while the first division seized that
of the Northern line by force of arms.

On the 26th, the third division occupied the _rotonde_--circular place
--of La Villette.

On the 27th, the first and second division, with the volunteers of the
Seine-et-Oise, by means of a combined movement, took the Buttes Chaumont
and the heights of Belleville by assault, the artillery having by its
able firing prepared the way for the occupation.

Finally, on the 28th, the defences of Belleville yielded, and the first
corps achieved brilliantly the task which had been confided to them.

During the days of the struggle and fighting you rendered the greatest
service to civilization, and have acquired a claim to the gratitude of
the country. Accept then all the praise which is due to you.

Paris, 29th May, 1871.

The General commanding the First Corps d'Armee,

(Signed) "LADMIRAULT."

During the day of the 28th of Kay Marshal MacMahon caused the following
proclamation to be posted in the streets of Paris:--

"Inhabitants of Paris,--

The army of France is come to save you. Paris is relieved. The last
positions of the insurgents were taken by our soldiers at four o'clock.
Today the struggle is at an end; order, labour, and security are
springing up again.

Paris, Quartier General, the 28th May, 1871.

(Signed) "MACMAHON, Due de Magenta, Marshal of France,

On the 28th of May the war of the Communists was at an end, but the fort
of Vincennes was still occupied by three hundred National Guards, with
eighteen of their superior officers and fifteen of the high
functionaries of the Commune; They made an appeal to the commander of
the Prussian forces in front of the fort, in the hope of obtaining
passports for Switzerland. General Vinoy, hearing of this, took at once
the most energetic measures, and at six o'clock on the 29th of May the
last defenders of Vincennes surrendered at discretion.


The amount of the extraordinary expenses of the Versailles
was, at the rate of three millions of francs a day, 216 millions from
the 18th March to the 28th May. The list of artillery implements
removed from the arsenals of Douai, Lyon, Besançon, Toulon, and
Cherbourg, and forwarded to Versailles from the 18th March to the
21st May, comprise--

     80 cannons of 0.16m (6 in. 299/1000 diameter) from the War Arsenal
     60    "        "                "             from the Marine Arsenal
     10    "    of 0.22m (8 in. 661/1000 diameter) Marine.
    110 Rifled long  24-pounders.
     30 Rifled short 24-pounders.
     80 Rifled siege 12-pounders.
      3 Mortars of 0.32m (12 in. 598/1000 diameter).
     15 Mortars of 0.27m (10 in. 629/1000 diameter).
     15 Mortars of 0.22m (8  in. 661/1000 diameter).
     40 Mortars of 0.15m (5  in. 905/1000 diameter).
Total 393 artillery siege pieces.

Ammunition received at Versailles--

Shells of    0.16m (marine). . . .  73,000
  "          0.22m    "  . . . . .  10,000
  "          0.24m (rifled). . . . 140,000
  "        for 12-pounder (rifled)  80,000
Bombs of     0.32m . . . . . . . .   1,000
  "          0.27m . . . . . . . .   7,000
  "          0.22m . . . . . . . .   7,000
  "          0.15m . . . . . . . .  30,000
                          Total    348,000

The stock of gunpowder amounted to 400 tons.

Up to the 21st of May, the artillery received 20 tons a day, and on that
day 50 tons were forwarded to the besieging army.

Up to the 21st of May, the field ordnance consisted of--

      36 batteries of 4-pounders.
      18   "         12-pounders.
       4   "          7-pounders (breech-loaders).
      12   "       of mitrailleuses.

Total 70 batteries, 63 of which were provided with horses (7 being in

The ammunition service consisted of--

  80 tumbrels (calibre 12), each containing  54 charges.
  30   "      (calibre 7),       "           90   "
 120   "      (calibre 4)        "          120   "
  55   "      of mitrailleuses   "          243   "
5000 cases of ammunition  (for calibre 12), containing 49,000 charges.
 600         "            (for calibre 4),    "        12,000   "
2000         "            (for calibre 7),    "        20,000   "
1000         "            for mitrailleuses   "        30,000   "
  16 millions of Chassepot cartridges, and
   2 millions of Remington cartridges.

On the evening of the 23rd of May the army of Versailles expended--

        26,000 discharges (calibre 0.16m), marine guns.
          2000     "          "    0.22m),     "
        60,000     "          "    0.24m), rifled guns.
        30,000     "          "    0.12m), rifled siege guns.
        12,000     "      (calibre of 7), used as a siege gun.
           150 bombs of 0.32m
           360   "      0.27m
          2500   "      0.22m
          5500   "      0.16m
Total  138,800 discharges of siege guns and mortars.--"_Guerre
des Communeux_," p. 321.

The great feature of the second siege of Paris was the prudence
exercised in manoeuvring the men so as to protect them from needless
exposure, practical experience in German encounters having taught the
line a severe lesson. From the report of Marshal MacMahon we learn that
the lost amounted to 83 officers killed, and 430 wounded; 794 soldiers
killed, and 6,024 wounded, and 183 missing in all.




MAY 24-29, 1871.

Fire commenced in the houses marked thus (*).

  Palais des Tuileries (Emperor's Paris residence). _Burnt_.
  Musée du Louvre. _Library totally destroyed_.
  Palais Royal (Prince Napoleon's Paris residence). _Burnt_.
  Palais de la Légion d'Honneur (records all gone). _Burnt_.
  Conseil d'Etat. _Burnt_.
  Corps Législatif. _Damaged_.
  Cour des Comptes (Exchequer). _Burnt_.
  Ministère d'Etat (Minister of State). _Fired, but saved_.
  Ministère des Finances (Treasury). _Burnt_.
  Hôtel de Ville. (Town Hall of Paris). _Burnt_.
  Palais de Justice (Law courts). _Burnt_.
  Préfecture de Police. _Burnt_.
  The Conciergerie (House of Detention). _Partly burnt_.
  Mairie of the 1st Arrondissement. _Dam_.
  Mairie of the 4th Arrondissement. _Partially burnt_.
  Mairie of the 11th Arrondissement. _Partially_.
  Mairie of the 12th Arrondissement. _Burnt_.
  Mairie of the 13th Arrondissement. _Damaged_.
  Imprimerie Nationale. (National Printing office). _Damaged_.
  Polytechnic School. _Damaged_.
  Manufacture des Gobelins (National tapestry manufactory).
     _Partially burnt_.
  Grenier d'Abondance (Enormous corn and other stores). _Burnt_.
  Colonne Vendôme. _Overthrown on the 16th of May_.
  Colonne de Juillet, on the Place de la Bastille. _Greatly damaged_.
  Porte Saint-Denis. _Damaged_.
  Porte Saint-Martin. _Damaged_.
  Cathedral of Notre Dame. _Very slightly damaged_.
  Panthéon. _Very slightly damaged_.
  Church of Belleville. _Damaged_.
  Church of Bercy. _Burnt_.
  Church of La Madeleine. _Slightly dam_.
  Church of St. Augustin. _Damaged_.
  Church of Saint Eustache (used as a club). _Fired and much damaged_.
  Church of Saint Gervais (used as a club). _Damaged_.
  Church of St. Laurent. _Damaged_.
  Church of Saint Leu. _Damaged_.
  Church of Reuilly. _Fired but not burnt_.
  Church of the Trinité. _Damaged_.
  Church of La Villette. _Damaged_.
  Sainte-Chapelle. _Slightly, if at all, dam_.
  Théâtre du Châtelet. _Fired, but saved_.
  Théâtre Lyrique. _Burnt_.
  Ba-ta-clan Music Hall. _Fired, but not burnt_.
  Théâtre des Délassements-Comiques. _Burnt_.
  Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin. _Totally destroyed_.
  Théâtre Cluny. _Only damaged_.
  Théâtre Odéon. _Damaged_.
  Abattoir de Grenelle. _Damaged_.
  Assistance Publique (offices of public charity). _Burnt_.
  Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (Bank of Deposit). _Burnt_.
  Caisse de Poissy (Bank of Deposit). _Burnt_.
  Service des Ponts et Chaussées of the 13th Arrondissement (Civil
     engineer's office). _Partially_.
  Arsenal. _Partly burnt_.
  Caserne du Château-d'Eau (barracks). _Damaged_.
  Caserne Mouffetard. _Damaged_.
  Caserne Napoléon. _Damaged_.
  Caserne Quai d'Orsay. _Burnt_.
  Caserne de Reuilly. _Burnt_.
  Docks, Bonded Warehouses and Storehouses at La Villette. _Burnt_.
  Les Halles Centrales (Great general market). _Damaged_.
  Marché du Temple (General market). _Damaged_.
  Marché Voltaire (General market). _Dam_.
  Bridge over the Canal de l'Ourcq. _Dam_.
  Passerelle de la Villette (Foot-bridge). _Burnt_.
  Pont d'Austerlitz, with restaurant Trousseau and sluice-keeper's
     house. _All burnt_.
  Rotonde de la Villette. _Damaged_.
  Hospice de l'Enfant Jesus. _Damaged_.
  Hospital Lariboisière. _Damaged_.
  Hospital Salpétrière: (House of refuge and lunatic-asylum for
     women). _Burnt_.
  Prison of la Roquette. _Damaged_.
  Gare de Lyon (Lyons railway terminus). _Fired and damaged_.
  Gare d'Orléans (Orleans railway terminus.) _Damaged_.
  Gare Montparnasse (Western railway terminus). _Damaged_.
  Gare de Strasbourg (Eastern railway terminus). _Damaged_.
  Gare de Vincennes (Vincennes railway terminus). _Damaged_.
  House of M. Thiers (Place St. Georges). _Pulled down (previously)_.
  Cimetière du Père-Lachaise (cemetery). _Damaged_.
  Barrière Charenton. _Damaged_.
  Luxembourg: Powder Magazine in rear
    of Palace _blown up_, some subsidiary
    buildings _burnt_, and whole quarter

  Avenue des Amandiers: Nos. 1, 2, 4, _Burnt_.
    No. 69. _Damaged_.
  Avenue de Choisy: Nos. 202, 221. _Dam._
  Avenue de Clichy: Nos. 2, 4, 22. _Dam._
  Avenue d'Italie: Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 78, 88. _Damaged._
  Avenue d'Orléans: Nos. 79, 81, 83. _Dam._
  Avenue Victoria: Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5. _Burnt._
    No. 6. _Damaged._
  Avenue de Vincennes: Nos. 2, 4, 10. _Damaged._
  Boulevard Beaumarchais: No. 1. _Burnt._
    Nos. 2, 13, 15, 26, 28, 30, 109. _Dam._
  Boulevard de Bercy: No. 4, 8. _Dam._
  Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle: Nos. 11, 15. _Damaged._
  Boulevard Bourdon: Nos. 7, 17. _Dam._
  Boulevard des Capucines: No. 11;
      Maison Giroux, Nos. 43, 58, 60. _Damaged._
  Boulevard de la Chapelle: Nos. 10, 12,
      14, 18, 20, coach houses and stables,
      22, 30, 34, 40, 62, 86, 90, 94,
      100, 122, 141, 143, 145, 147, "Aux
      Buttes Chaumont," 157, 163, 165,
      169, 208, "Au Cadran Bleu," 216,
      218. _Damaged._
  Boulevard de Charonne: Nos. 50, 52, 74. _Damaged._
  Boulevard de Clichy: No. 77; Convent and
      Church; Nos. 79, 81, 84, 86. _Dam._
  Boulevard Contrescarpe: Nos. 2, 4. _Burnt._
    Nos. 42, 46. _Damaged._
  Boulevard de la Gare: No. 131. _Dam._
  Boulevard Hausmann: Nos. 23, 72. _Damaged._
  Boulevard d'Italie: Nos. 7, 69. _Dam._
  Boulevard de la Madeleine: No. 1. _Dam._
  Boulevard Magenta: Nos. 1, 3, 5, 6, 15,
      48, 70, 78, 98, 114, "Au Méridien,"
      118, 143, 151, 153, 156. _Damaged._
  Boulevard Malesherbes: Nos. 9, 33. _Damaged._
  Boulevard Mazas: Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. _Burnt._
    Nos. 22, 26, 28 bis, 30, 60. _Dam._
  Boulevard Montmartre: No, 1. _Dam._
  Boulevard du Montparnasse: Nos. 9 bis,
      41, 70, 100, 120, 150. _Damaged._
    Nos. 25, three shops, 110, 112. _Burnt._
  Boulevard Ornano: No. 56. _Burnt._
    Nos. 1, 4, 7, 9, 22, 27, 32. _Dam._
  Boulevard Poissonnière: No. 15. _Dam._
  Boulevard du Port-Royal: Nos. 16, 18, 20. _Damaged._
  Boulevard du Prince Eugène: Magazins-Réunis
      (co-operative store). _Dam._
  Boulevard Richard-Lenoir: Nos. 20, 82. _Burnt._
    Nos. 1, 5, 7, 9, 31, 36, 50, 69, 76,
      87, 93, 107, 109, 116, 118, 136, 140. _Damaged._
  Boulevard Saint-Denis: Nos. 6, 13, Café Magny. _Damaged._
  Boulevard St. Jacques: Nos*. 69. _Dam._
  Boulevard Saint-Marcel: No. 21. _Dam._
  Boulevard Saint Martin: Nos. 14, 16, 18, 20. _Damaged._
  Boulevard Saint Michel: No. 20; Café du Musée, 25;
      Café Miller, 65;
      Restaurant Molière, 73; Dreher Beer House, 99;
      School of Mines. _Dam._
  Boulevard Sébastopol: Nos. 9, 11, 13, 15. _Burnt._
    Nos. 42, *65, 83. _Damaged._
  Boulevard du Temple: Nos. 52, 54. _Burnt._
    Nos. 2, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 30, 32, 34,
      35, 38, 40, 44, 50. _Damaged._
  Boulevard de la Villette: Nos. 85, 87, 117, Usine Falk. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 97, 128, 134, 136, 138, 140, 162. _Damaged_.
  Boulevard Voltaire: Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 20, 22, 28, 60. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 38, 63, 55, 60, 78, 94, 97, 98, 141, 166. _Damaged_.
  Carrefour de l'Observatoire; No. 11. _Damaged_.
  Chaussée Clignancourt: "Château-Rouge" (a public dancing-room). _Damaged_.
  Chaussée du Maine: No. 164. _Dam_.
  Chaussée de Ménilmontant: Nos. 56, 58, 81, 98. _Damaged_.
  Croix-Rouge (cross way): Nos. 2, 4. _Burnt_.
  Faubourg Montmartre: No. 50,64. _Dam_.
  Faubourg Poissonnière: Nos. 39, 168. _Damaged_.
  Faubourg Saint-Antoine: No. 2. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 1, 8, 4, 6, 6, 7, 22, 141, 164, 156, 158, 162. _Damaged_.
  Faubourg Saint-Denis: Nos. 68, 77,114, 208 bis, 214. _Damaged_.
  Faubourg Saint-Honoré: Nos. 1, 2, 3. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 4, 29, 30, 33, 85. _Damaged_.
  Faubourg Saint-Martin: Nos. *55, 66, 67, 69, 71, "Tapis Rouge." _Burnt_.
    Nos. 147, 184, 221, 234, 267. _Dam_.
  Faubourg du Temple: No. 30. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 9, 16, 17, 19, 20, 26, 29, 32, 33, 36, 41, 47, 48, 49, 53, 64,
    66, 73, 81, 82, 98, 94, 106, 117. _Dam_.
  Impasse Constantine: No. 2. _Damaged_.
  Impasse Saint-Sauveur: No. 2. _Dam_.
  Passage du Sauinon. _Damaged_.
  Place de la Bastille: Nos. 8, 10, 12, Poste de l'Ecluse. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 4, 5, 6, 14. _Damaged_.
  Place Blanche: Nos. 2, 3. _Damaged_.
  Place Cambronne: No. 8. _Damaged_.
  Place du Château-d'Eau: Nos. 7, 15. _Burnt_.
    *9,13, "Pauvres Jacques;" Nos. 17, 19, 21, 23, Café du
  Château-d'Eau. _Damaged_.
  Place de la Concorde (Fountain). _Dam_.
  Place de la Concorde (Statue of Lille). _Destroyed_.
  Place de l'Hôtel de Ville: Nos. 1, 3, 7, 9, 11. _Burnt_.
  Place de Jessaint: No. 4. _Damaged_.
  Place du Louvre: No. 1. _Burnt_.
  Place de la Madeleine: No. 31. _Dam_.
  Place de l'Odéon: No. 8; Café de Bruxelles. _Damaged_.
  Place de l'Opera: No. 3. _Damaged_.
  Place Pigalle: No. 1. _Damaged_.
  Place de la Sorbonne: No. 8. _Dam_.
  Place Valhubert: "Châlet du Jardin." _Damaged_.
  Place des Victoires: No. 2. _Damaged_.
  Place de Vintimille: Nos. 1, 27. _Dam_.
  Place Voltaire: No. 7. _Burnt_.
    No. 9. _Damaged_.
  Quai d'Anjou: Nos. 5, 11, 19, 23, 27, 43; "Au Petit Matelot." _Damaged_.
  Quai de Bercy: No. 12, 13. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 3, 5, 10. _Damaged_.
  Quai de Béthune: Nos. 12, 20. _Dam_.
  Quai Bourbon: No. 3. _Damaged_.
  Quai des Célestins: No. 6. _Damaged_.
  Quai de Gèvres: No. 2. _Burnt_.
  Quai de l'Hôtel-de-Ville: Nos. 28, 68, 72, 78, 82. _Damaged_.
  Quai de Jemappes: Nos. 18, 80, 34, 42. _Damaged_.
    No. 32. _Burnt_.
  Quai de la Loire: Nos. 10, 84, 86, 88. _Burnt_.
    No. 60. _Damaged_.
  Quai du Louvre: Nos. 2, 4, 6. _Dam_.
  Quai de la Mégisserie: No. 22; "Belle Jardinière." _Damaged_.
  Quai d'Orsay (a Club). _Damaged._
  Quai de la Rapée: No. 92, 94, 96, 98, 100, _Burnt_.
  Quai de Valmy: Nos. 27, 29. _Burnt._
    Nos. 31, 39, 48, 71, 73, 79. _Dam._
  Quai Voltaire: No. 9, 13, 17. _Dam._
  Rue d'Alibert: Nos. 1, 2; _Damaged._
  Rue d'Allemagne: Nos. 2, 10. _Dam._
  Rue d'Alsace: Nos. 31, 33, 39. _Dam._
  Rue des Amandiers: Nos. 3, 4, 20, 65,86, 87. _Damaged._
  Rue Amelot: Nos. 2, 21, 25, 104, 106,139. _Damaged._
  Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie: No. 2: "À Mazarin" (drapers). _Damaged._
  Rue d'Angoulême: Nos. 2, 28, 31, 43, 72bis. _Damaged._
  Rue d'Anjou: No. 23. _Damaged._
  Rue de l'Arcade: No. 2. _Damaged._
  Rue de l'Arsenal: No. 3. _Burnt._
  Rue d'Assas: Nos. 80, *78, 86, 90, 96, 98, 106, 112, 118, 124. _Dam._
  Rue d'Aubervilliers: No. 138. _Burnt._
    Nos. 2, 24, 88, 92, 96. _Damaged._
  Rue Audran: No. 1. _Damaged._
  Rue d'Aval: No. 11. _Damaged._
    No. 17. _Burnt._
  Rue du Bac: Nos. 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13. _Burnt._
    Nos. 54, 55, 56, Leborgne House, 58, 62, 64. _Damaged._
  Rue Barrault: Nos. 3, 31. _Damaged._
  Rue de Belleville: Nos. 1, 2, 66, 70, 89, 91, 133. _Damaged._
  Rue de Bercy: No. 257. _Damaged._
  Rue Bichat: No. 67. _Damaged_.
  Rue Bisson: No. 49. _Damaged_.
  Rue Blanche: Nos. 97, 99. _Damaged_.
  Rue Boissy-d'Anglas: No. 31. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 33, 35, 37. _Damaged_.
  Rue de Bondy: Nos. 16, 17, 19, 21. _Burnt_.
    Nos. *22, *32; 24, 26, Grand Café Parisien, 28, 30, 40, 44. _Damaged_.
  Rue Bréa: Nos; 1. _Burnt_.
    No. 3. _Damaged_.
  Rue de Bruxelles: No. 29. _Damaged_
  Rue de Buffon: Nos. 1, 3. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Butte-aux-Cailles: Nos. 1, 16. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Butte-Chaumont: No. 1. _Burnt_.
  Rue Cail: No. 25. _Damaged_.
  Rue Castex: No. 20. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Cerisaie: Nos. 20, 41, 45, 47. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Chapelle: Nos. 6, 16, 19, 35, 37, 75, 77. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Charbonnière: Nos. 32, 42. _Damaged_.
  Rue de Charenton: No. 1. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 100, 102, 187, 214, 230. _Dam._.
  Rue de Charonne: Nos. 61,79,155. _Dam._.
  Rue du Château: Nos. 169,180. _Dam._
  Rue du Château-d'Eau: Nos. 1, 3, 73. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 32, 55, 71, 75, 79, 81, _Dam._
  Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin: Nos. 58, 64, 68. _Damaged_.
  Rue du Chemin-Vert: Nos. 46,54. _Dam._
  Rue Clavel: No. 3. _Damaged_.
  Rue de Clignancourt: Nos. 9, 39, 43, 45, 49, 59. _Damaged_.
  Rue Conti: No. 2. _Damaged_.
  Rue de Cotte: No. 8. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Coutellerie: No. 2. _Burnt_.
  Rue de Crimée: Nos. 156, 158. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 81, 83, 155, 163. _Damaged_.
  Rue du Croissant: (Saint Joseph's Market). _Damaged_.
  Rue Curial: No. 134. _Damaged_.
  Rue Damesne: No. 1. _Damaged_.
  Rue Delambre: Nos. 2, 4, _Burnt_.
  Rue Descartes: No. 6. _Damaged_.
  Rue Domat: No. 24. _Damaged_.
  Rue Dombasle: No. 61. _Damaged_.
  Rue Durantin: No. 7. _Damaged_.
  Rue des Ecoles: No. 25. _Damaged_.
  Rue d'Elzévir: Nos. 4,7, ll, 12; "Auberge de la Bouteille" (inn). _Dam._
  Rue de l'Espérance: Nos. 7, 11. _Dam._
  Rue Fléchier: No. 2. _Damaged._
  Rue Folies-Méricourt: Nos. 51, 64, 75. _Damaged._
    No. 115. _Burnt._
  Rue des Francs-Bourgeois: No. 33, Hotel Carnavalet. _Damaged._
  Rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire: No. 18. _Dam._
  Rue de la Glacière: Nos. 36, 75. _Dam._
  Rue Grange-aux-Belles: No. 20. _Dam._
  Rue de Grenelle: Nos. 1, 3. _Burnt._
    No. 34. _Damaged._
  Rue Guy-Patin: No. 3. _Damaged._
  Rue des Halles: No. 28. _Damaged._
  Rue Jacques-Coeur: No. 31. _Dam._
  Rue Joquelet: No. 12. _Damaged._
  Rue Julien-Lacroix: No. 2. _Damaged._
  Rue de Jussieu: No. 41. _Damaged._
  Rue de Lafayette: No. 107, 127. _Dam._
    Nos. 196, Aubin (fireworks), 208, 213, 215. _Damaged._
  Rue Lacuée: Nos. 2, 4, 6. _Burnt._
  Rue de Lappe: No. 2. _Damaged._
  Rue Lepelletier: No. 26. _Damaged._
  Rue Lesdiguières: No. 2. _Damaged._
  Rue Levert: No. 12. _Damaged._
  Rue de Lille: Nos. 27, 37, 39, 43, 45,
      *47, 48, 49, 50, 51, Museum of M. Gatteaux, bequeathed to nation,
      53, 55, 57, 61, 63, 65, 67, 69, 81, 83. _Burnt._
  Rue Louis-le-Qrand: Nos. 32, 34. _Dam._
  Rue du Louvre: Nos. 6, 8. _Burnt._
  Rue de la Lune: No. 1. _Damaged._
  Rue de Lyon: No. 16. _Damaged._
  Rue des Marais: No. 68. _Damaged._
  Rue du Maroc: No. 38. _Damaged._
  Rue de Meaux: Nos. 2, 14. _Damaged._
  Rue Ménars: No. 8. _Damaged._
  Rue Meslay: No. 2. _Burnt._
  Rue Montmartre: Nos. 49, 53, 55. _Dam._
  Rue Montorgueil: Nos. 1, 29, 31, 33, 65. _Damaged._
  Rue Mouffetard: Nos. 132, 134, 136,
      138, 139, 150; Church of St. Médard. _Damaged._
  Rue du Moulin-des-Près: Nos. 83, 85. _Damaged._
  Rue Neuve-des-Petits-Champs: No. 105, Piver's. _Damaged._
  Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs: Nos. 52, 54.
    Studio of M. John Leighton. _Burnt._
    Nos. 55, 57. _Damaged._
  Rue Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth: Nos. 16, 31. _Damaged._
  Rue Oberkampf: No. 4; À la Ville
      d'Alençon, No. 11, 12, 13, 15, 25,
      36, 37, 41, 49, 50, 53, 57, 60, 67. _Damaged._
  Rue aux Ours: Nos. 47, 48, 49, 55. _Dam._
  Rue des Petites-Ecuries: Nos. 2, 4. _Damaged._
  Rue du Petit-Muse: No. 21. _Damaged._
  Rue Pierre Lescot: No. 16. _Damaged._
  Rue Popincourt: No. 2. _Damaged._
  Rue du Pressoir: No. 54. _Damaged._
  Rue de Provence: No. *20. No. 23. _Damaged._
  Rue de Puebla: Nos. 2, 3, 4, 17, 30, 292. _Damaged._
  Rue Racine: No. 2. _Damaged._
  Rue Rambuteau: Nos. 32, 58, 60, 102.
      "Aux Fabriques de France:" No. 124. _Damaged._
    No. 16, "Colosse de Rhodes;" No. 19,
      Café du Marais; Nos. 26, 28, 30,
      34, 62, 65, 72; Mr. Leforestier's
      house, "À l'Alliance," Nos. 49, 61,
      63, 66, 69, 71. _Damaged._
  Rue Ramey: Nos. 41, 43. _Damaged._
  Rue Rampon: No. 18. _Damaged._
  Rue Réaumur: Nos. 14, 25, 43. _Dam._
  Rue de Rennes: No. 2; Café de Rennes, 161. _Damaged._
  Rue de Reuilly: No. 68. _Damaged._
  Rue du Rhin: No. 6. _Damaged._
  Rue Riquet: Nos. 63, 64. _Damaged._
  Rue de Rivoli: Nos. 33, 35, 37, 39, 79,
      80, 82, 84, 86, 91, 98, 100; "À Pygmalion." _Burnt._
    Nos. 41, 88, 128, 210, 226, 236, 238. _Damaged._
  Rue Rollin; No. 18. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Roquette: Nos. 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11 13, 18, 19, 20, 22,
    24, 26. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 4, 8, 15, 17, 34, 87, 38, 78. _Dam_.
  Rue Royale: Nos. 15, 18, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 24, 27. _Damaged_.
  Rue Saint André-des-Arts: Nos. 26, 42. _Damaged_.
  Rue Saint-Antoine: Nos. 3, 7, 9, 114, 142, 150, 152, 160, 176,
    178, 182,192, 194, 198, 199, 201, 202, 203, 204, 206, 207, 212;
    "À la Fiancée," No. 213; "Phares de la Bastille," 214, 216, 218,
    220, 222, 224, 226, 228, 232, 234, 236; Protestant Church. _Dam_.
  Petite rue Saint Antoine: Nos, 3, 7, 9. _Damaged_.
    Nos. 11, 18. _Burnt_.
  Rue Saint-Denis: No. 223; Église Saint Leu. _Damaged_.
  Rue Saint-Fiacre: No. 15. _Damaged_.
  Rue Saint-Honoré: No. 422. _Burnt_.
    No. 132. _Dam_.
  Rue Saint-Jacques: Nos. 26, 146, 164, Café de l'Ecole de Droit,1
    36, 195, 198, 216. _Damaged_.
  Rue Saint-Lazare: No. 46. _Damaged_.
  Rue Sainte-Marguerite: No. 22. _Dam_.
  Rue Saint-Martin: Nos. 8, 10; "The Bon-Diable." Nos. 12, 14. _Burnt_
    Nos. *16, 248. _Damaged_.
  Rue Saint-Maur: Nos. 151, 184, 225, 227. _Damaged_.
  Rue des Saints-Pères: Nos. 46, 48. _Dam_.
  Rue Saint-Sabin: Nos. 2, 4, 6. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 3, 10, 12, 14. _Damaged_.
  Rue Saint Sébastien: Nos. 42, 43, 44. _Damaged_.
  Rue Sauval: No. 13. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Santé: No. 63. _Damaged_.
  Rue Sedaine: No. 1. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20. _Damaged_.
  Rue du Sentier: No. 22. _Damaged_.
  Rue du 4 Septembre: No. 13. _Dam_.
  Rue de Sèvres: No. 2. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 14, 16 (reservoir); Nos. 91, 92, 141. _Damaged_.
  Rue de Sully: No. 11. _Damaged_.
  Rue de Suresnes: Nos. 1, 9, 15, 17, 19. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Tacherie: Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4. _Burnt_.
  Rue Taitbout: Nos. 22, 26. _Damaged_.
  Rue Taranne*: No. 10. _Damaged_.
  Rue du Temple: Nos. 7, 10, 39, 201. _Damaged_.
    No. 207. _Burnt_.
  Rue Toquelet: No. 12. _Damaged_.
  Rue Traversière: No. 53. _Damaged_.
  Rue de Turbigo; Nos. 1, 3; "Au Grand Parisien," Nos. 5, 8, 11, 19,
    21, 47; Church of Saint-Nicholas-des-Champs, Nos. 51, 53, 56, 63,
    74. _Damaged_.
  Rue De Vaugirard: Nos. 60, 68, 69, 70, Convent des Carmes, 82, School
    for Girls, 92, School for Boys. _Dam_.
  Rue Vavin: Nos. 2, *18, 20, 22. _Burnt_.
    Nos. 16, 34, 36, 39. _Damaged_.
    54 (Collection of M. Reiber, Architect). _Destroyed_.
  Rue de la Victoire: No. 61. _Damaged_.
  Rue du Vieux-Colombier: No. 31. _Dam_.
  Rue Vilin: No. 2. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Villette: Nos. 20, 25, 26, 70. _Damaged_.
  Rue de la Ville l'Evêque: Nos. 7, 18. _Damaged_.
  Rue Volta: No. 38. _Damaged_.
  Rue de Wiarmes: No. 1. _Damaged_.

The barricades of Paris numbered about 600--from a slight breast-work to
a veritable fortress.


    B. Burnt. P.B. Partly Burnt. D. Damaged. S. Damaged by Shot and


                                     Div. of Map.
   1 Palace of the Tuileries, B.          8
   2 Museum of the Louvre, P.B.           8
   3 Palais Royal, B.                     8
   4 The Bourse (Exchange)                8
   5 The New Opera-House                  8
   6 The Church of the Madeleine, D.      8
   7 The Column Vendôme (overthrown)      8
   8 The Palace of the Elysée             7
   9 The Triumphal Arch, D.               7
  10 Palais de l'Industrie, B.            7
  11 Church of St. Augustin, D.           8
  12    "   of the Trinity, B.            8
  13    "   Notre Dame de Lorette         8
  14 Ministère of Marine                  8
  15 Bibliothèque Nationale               8
  16 Halles Centrales, S.                 8
  17 Church of Saint Eustache, D.         8
  18 Opéra Comique                        8
  19 Church of St. Vincent de Paul        8
  20 Hospital of Lariboisière, D.         3
  21 Barracks of Prince Eugène, D.        9
  22 Hospital of St. Louis                9
  23 Prison of La Roquette, D.           14
  24 Statue of Prince Eugène (removed)   14
  25 Hôtel de Ville, B.                  13
  26 Tower of St. Jacques, D.            13
  27 Prison of Mazas                     14
  28 Barracks Napoléon, B.               14
  29 Conservatoire of Arts and Métiers    9
  30 Hospital of St. Eugénie             15
  31 Cattle Market and Slaughter H.       5
  32 Magasins of Bercy (sacked)          20
  33 Ministère des Finances, B.           8
  34 Place de la Concorde, D.             8
  86 Porte St. Denis, D.                  8
  36 Porte St. Martin, D.                 9
  37 Theatre of Porte St. Martin, B.      9
  38 Church of St. Laurent, D.            9
  39 Mairie 1st Arrondissement, D.        8
  40 Théâtre du Chatelet, P.B.           13
  41 Théâtre Lyrique, B.                 13
  42 Caisse Municipale, B.               13
  43 Assistance Publique, B.             13
  44 Mairie IVth Arrondissement, P.B.    14
  45 Magasins-Réunis, D.                  9
  46 Théâtre des Del. Comiques, B.        9
  47 Mairie XIth Arrondissement, P.B.    14
  48 Column of July, D.                  14
  49 The Arsenal, B.                     14
  50 Hospital of Salpétrière, B.         19
  51 Granary of Abundance, B.            14
  52 Lyons Railway Station, P.B.         14
  53 Mairie of XIIth Arrondissement
     and Church of Bercy, B.             14


   1 Foreign Office, D.                   7
   2 Military School                     12
   3 Les Invalides and Tomb of
     Napoléon I.                         12
   4 Corps Législatif                     7
   5 Barracks d'Orsay, P.B.               8
   6 Palace of the Institute             13
   7 The Mint                            13
   8 Church of St. Sulpice               13
   9 Palace of the Luxembourg, D.        13
  10 Odéon Theatre, D.                   13
  11 Museum of Cluny                     13
  12 Palais de Justice, B.               13
  13 Cathedral of Notre Dame             13
  14 Church of the Pantheon, D.          13
  15 Church of Val de Grâce              13
  16 The Observatory                     18
  17 Wine Market (sacked)                14
  18 Palace of Légion d'Honneur, B.       8
  19 Conseil d'État and Exchequer, B.     8
  20 Bank of Deposit, B.                  8
  21 Western Railway Station, B.         13
  22 Gobelins Tapestry Manufactory, P.B. 18
  23 Orleans Railway Station, P.B.       14

See western side of Plan for the fire and devastation caused by shot and
shell during the engagements between the Federal troops and the army of
Versailles:--Point du Jour, Auteuil, Passy, Porte Maillot, Avenue de la
Grande Armée (Arc de Triomphe, much injured), Neuilly, Villiers,
Lavallois, &c.



COMMUNE 18. MARCH TO 29. MAY 1871.]

[Illustration: Map of Paris]

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