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.

Paris! for once I defy you to remain indifferent.  You have had much to bear, during these latter days; it has been said to you, that you should kneel in your churches no more, and you have not knelt there; that the newspapers that pleased you, should be read no more, and you have not read them.  You have continued to smile—­with but the tips of your lips, it is true—­and to promenade on the boulevards.  But now comes stalking on that which will make you shudder indeed!  Do you know what I have just read in the Independance Belge?  Ah! poor Paris, the days of your glory are past, your ancient fame is destroyed, the old nursery rhyme will mock you, “Vous n’irez plus au Bois, vos lauriers sont coupes."[62] This is what has happened; you are supplanted on the throne of fashion.  The world, uneasy about the form of bonnet to be worn this sorrowful year, and seeing you occupied with your internal discords, anxiously turned to London for help, and London henceforth dictates to all the modistes of the universe.  City of desolation, I pity you!  No more will you impose your sovereign laws, concerning Suivez-moi-jeune-homme[63] and dog-skin gloves.  No more will your boots and shirt-collars reach, by the force of their reputation, the sparely-dressed inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands.  And, deepest of humiliations, it is your old rival, it is your tall and angular sister, it is the black city of London, who takes your glittering sword and transforms it into a policeman’s baton of wood!  You are destined to see within your walls—­if any walls remain to you—­your own wives and daughters clog their dainty tread with encumbrances of English leather, flatten their heads beneath mushroom-shaped hats, surround themselves with crinoline and flounces, and wear magenta, that abominable mixture of red and blue which always filled your soul with horror.  Then, to increase the resemblance of your Parisian women with the Londoners or Cockneys (for it is time you learnt the fashionable language of England), your dentists will sell them new sets of teeth, called insular sets, which can be fitted over their natural front teeth, and will protrude about a third of an inch beyond the upper lip.  And they will have corsets offered them whose aim is to prolong the waist to the farthest possible limits and compress the fairest forms—­a fact, for report says they lace in London, whilst here we have nearly abandoned the corset.  Well, my Paris, do you tremble and shiver?  Oh! when those days of horror come to pass! when you see that not only have you forfeited your pride, but your vanity too; when you are convinced that the Commune has not only rendered you odious, but ridiculous as well; ah! then, when you wear bonnets that you have not invented, how deeply will you regret that you did not rebel on that day, when some of the best of your citizens were put au secret in the cells of Mazas prison![64]

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Project Gutenberg
Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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