Paris under the Commune eBook

John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 389 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.

“France, his strapping nurse, put herself in a passion in vain, the child would not listen to reason.  He broke Trochu’s arms, ripped up Gambetta, to see what there was inside.  He blew out the lantern of Rochefort; as to Bergeret himself, he trampled him under foot.

“He has dislocated all his puppets, strewed the ground with the debris of his fancies, and he is not yet content,—­’What do you want, you wretched baby?’—­’I want the moon!’ The old woman called the Assembly was right in refusing this demand,—­’The moon, you little wretch, and what would you do with it if you had it?’—­’I would pull it to bits, as I did the rest.’”

Further on will be found “Paris eating a General a day” (Chapter LXXVIII).  Early in June, 1871 there appeared in the same journal “The International Centipede,” “John Bull and the Blanche Albion.”  The Queen of England, clad in white, holding in her hands a model of the Palace of Westminster, and sundry docks, resists the approach of an interminable centipede, on which she stamps, vainly endeavouring to impede the progress of the coil of fire and blood approaching to soil and fire her fair robe; beside her stands John Bull, in a queer mixed costume, half sailor, with the smalls and gaiters of a coalheaver.  He bears the Habeas Corpus Act under his arm, but stands aghast and paralysed, it never seeming to have occurred to the artist that this “Monsieur John Boule, Esquire,” was well adapted by his beetle-crushers to stamp out the vermin.  Perhaps, it is needless to add, that the snake-like form issues from a hole in distant Prussia, meandering through many nations, causing great consternation, and that M. Thiers is finishing off the French section in admirable style.]

LI.

What has Monsieur Courbet to do among these people?  He is a painter, not a politician.  A few beery speeches uttered at the Hautefeuille Cafe cannot turn his past into a revolutionary one, and an order refused for the simple reason that it is more piquant for a man to have his button-hole without ornament than with a slip of red ribbon in it, when it is well known that he disdains whatever every one else admires, is but a poor title to fame.  To your last, Napoleon Gaillard![57] To your paint-brushes, Gustave Courbet!  And if we say this, it is not only from fear that the meagre lights of Monsieur Courbet are insufficient, and may draw the Commune into new acts of folly,—­(though we scarcely know, alas! if there be any folly the Commune has left undone,)—­but it is, above all, because we fear the odium and ridicule that the false politician may throw upon the painter.  Yes! whatever may be our horror for the nude women and unsightly productions with which Monsieur Courbet[58] has honoured the exhibitions of paintings, we remember with delight several, admirably true to nature, with sunshine and summer breezes playing among the leaves, and streams murmuring refreshingly over the pebbles,

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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