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.]
[Illustration: GENERAL DOMBROWSKI.]
Who takes Bergeret’s place? Dombrowski. 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,