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 Cafe de Madrid and
its Mazagran at the Cafe Riche. Sometimes, towards
midnight, when the sky is clear, Paris goes to the
Champs Elysees, 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