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.

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 too.

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]

[Illustration:  LITTLE PARIS AND HIS PLAYTHINGS.  NURSE.  Mais! sacre 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.


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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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