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.

Ah! you do not only make us tremble and weep, you make us laugh too.  What is this miserable parody of universal suffrage?  What is this farce of the will of the people being represented by a half a dozen electors?  The unknown individual, who owes his triumph to the kindness of his concierge and his water-carrier, becomes a member of the Commune.  I shall be governed by Vesinier, with Briosne and Viard as supporters.  Do you not see that the few men, with any sense left, who still support you, have refused to present themselves as candidates, and that even amongst those who were mad enough to declare themselves eligible, there are some who dispute the validity of the elections?  No; you see nothing of all this, or rather it suits you to be blind.  What are right and justice to you?  Let us reign, let us govern, let us decree, let us triumph.  All is contained in that.  Rogeard pleases us, so we’ll have Rogeard.  If the people won’t have Rogeard, so much the worse for the people.  Beautiful! admirable!  But why don’t you speak out your opinion frankly?  There were some honest brigands (par pari refertur) in the Roman States who were perhaps no better than you are, but at least they made no pretension of being otherwise than lawless, and followed their calling of brigands without hypocrisy.  When, by the course of various adventures, the band got diminished in numbers, they stuck no handbills on the walls to invite people to elect new brigands to fill up the vacant places; they simply chose among the vagabonds and such like individuals those, who seemed to them, the most capable of dealing a blow with a stiletto or stripping a traveller of his valuables, and the band, thus properly reinforced, went about its usual occupations.  The devil! Messieurs, one must say what is what, and call things by their names.  Let us call a cat a cat, and Pilotel a thief.  The time of illusions is past; you need not be so careful to keep your masks on; we have seen your faces.  We have had the carnival of the Commune, and now Ash-Wednesday is come.  You disguised yourselves cunningly, Messieurs; you routed out from the old cupboards and corners of history the cast-off revolutionary rags of the men of ’98; and, sticking some ornaments of the present fashion upon them,—­waistcoats a la Commune and hats a la Federation,—­you dressed yourselves up in them and then struck attitudes.  People perceived, it is true, that the clothes that were made for giants, were too wide for you pigmies; they hung round your figures like collapsed balloons; but you, cunning that you were, you said, “We have been wasted by persecution.”  And when, at the very beginning, some stains of blood were seen upon your old disguises; “Pay no attention,” said you, “it is only the red flag we have in our pockets that is sticking out.”  And it happened that some few believed you.  We ourselves, in the very face of all our suspicions, let ourselves be caught by the waving of your big Scaramouche sleeves,

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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