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.
that were a great deal too long for your arms.  Then you talked of such beautiful things:  liberty, emancipation of workmen, association of the working-classes, that we listened and thought we would see you at your task before we condemned you utterly.  And now we have seen you at your task, and knowing how you work, we won’t give you any more work to do.  Down with your mask, I tell you!  Come, false Danton, be Rigault again, and let Serailler’s[61] face come out from behind that Saint Just mask he has on.  You, Napoleon Gaillard, though you are a shoemaker, you are not even a Simon.  Drop the Robespierre, Rogeard!  Off with the trappings borrowed from the dark, grand days!  Be mean, small, and ridiculous,—­be yourselves; we shall all be a great deal more at our ease when you are despicable and we are despising you again.

Paris said to you yesterday just what I am telling you now.  This almost general abstention of electors, compared with the eagerness of former times, is but the avowal of the error to which your masquerade has given rise.  And what does it prove but the resolution to mix in your carnival no more?  We see clearly through it now, I tell you, that the saturnalia is wearing to its end.  In vain does the orchestra of cannon and mitrailleuses, under the direction of the conductor, Cluseret, play madly on and invite us to the fete.  We will dance no more, and there is an end of it!

But it will be fatal to Paris if, after saying this, she sit satisfied.  Contempt is not enough, there must be abhorrence too, and actual measures taken against those we abhor.  It is not sufficient to neglect the poll, one abstains when one is in doubt, but now that we doubt no longer it is time to act.  While wrongful work is being done, those that stand aside with folded arms become accomplices.  Think that for more than a fortnight the firing has not ceased; that Neuilly and Asnieres have been turned into cemeteries; that husbands are falling, wives weeping, children suffering.  Think that yesterday, the 18th of April, the chapel of Longchamps became a dependance—­an extra dead-house—­of the ambulances of the Press, so numerous were that day’s dead.  Think of the savage decrees passed upon the hostages and the refractory, those who shunned the Federates; of the requisitions and robberies; of the crowded prisons and the empty workshops, of the possible massacres and the certain pillage.  Think of our own compromised honour, and let us be up and doing, so that those who have remained in Paris during these mournful hours, shall not have stood by her only to see her fall and die.


[Footnote 61:  Serailler, a member of the International, intrusted with a commission to London on behalf of the Central Committee to borrow cash for the daily pay of thirty sous to the National Guard.]


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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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