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.
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 Hotel 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 orgies.

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.” 

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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