Paris under the Commune eBook

John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.
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 Chateau-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 Garibaldians!”]


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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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