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.
near them.  In the days of Napoleon the Third and the Prussians this was a stockbroker; it passed along with a mass of documents under its arm,—­as the father of Hamlet, rising from the grave, still wore his helmet and his sword.  It enters the building, goes towards the Corbeille, shouts out once or twice, is answered only by an echo in the solitude, and then returns, saluted on his passage by his fellow-ghost.  And to think that a little bombardment, followed by a successful attack, seven or eight houses set on fire by the Versailles shells, seven or eight hundred Federals shot, a few women blown to pieces, and a few children killed, would suffice to restore these desolate spectres to life and joy.  But, alas! hope for them is deferred; the last circular of Monsieur Thiers announces that the great military operations will not commence for several days.  They must wait still longer yet.  The people who cross the Place de la Bourse draw aside with a sort of religious terror from the necropolis where sleep the three per cents and the shares of the Credit Foncier; and if the churches were not closed, more than one charitable soul would perhaps burn a candle to lay the unquiet spirits of these despairing jobbers.


[Footnote 60:  A circular space in the great hall of the Bourse, enclosed with a railing, and in which the stockbrokers stand to take bids.  It is nicknamed the basket (corbeille).]


The game is played, the Commune is au complet.  In the first arrondissement 21260 electors, are inscribed, and there were 9 voters!  Monsieur Vesinier had 2 votes, and Monsieur Vesinier was elected.  Monsieur Lacord—­more clever still—­has no votes at all, and, triumphing by the unanimity of his electors, Monsieur Lacord will preside over the Commune of Paris in future.  A very logical arrangement.  It must be evident to all serious minds that the legislators of the Hotel de Ville have promulgated in petto a law which they did not think it necessary to make known, but which exists nevertheless, and most be couched somewhat in the following terms:—­“Clause 1st.  The elections will not be considered valid, if the number of voters exceed a thousandth part of the electors entered.—­Clause 2nd.  Every candidate who has less than fifteen votes will be elected; if he has sixteen his election will be a matter of discussion.”  The poll is just like the game called, “He who loses gains, and he who gains loses!” and the probable advantages of such an arrangement are seen at once.  Now let us do a bit of Communal reasoning.  By whom was France led within an inch of destruction?  By Napoleon the Third.  How many votes did Napoleon the Third obtain?  Seven millions and more.  By whom was Paris delivered into the hands of the Prussians?  By the dictators of the 4th September.  How many votes did the dictators of the 4th September get for themselves in the city of Paris?  More than three hundred thousand. Ergo, the candidates who obtain the greatest number of votes are swindlers and fools.  The Commune of Paris cannot allow such abuses to exist; the Commune maintains universal suffrage—­the grand basis of republican institutions—­but turns it topsy-turvy.  Michon has only had half a vote,—­then Michon is our master!

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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