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.

[Footnote 62:  The refrain of a nursery song,—­

        “Go no more to the wood, for all the laurels are cut.”


[Footnote 63:  The long floating ends of the neck ribbons.]

[Footnote 64:  The Parisian play-writer’s English exhibits all the typical peculiarities noted above.  We have our ideal, if not typical, Frenchman, little less truthful perhaps—­taken from refugees and excursionists, from the close-cropped, dingy denizen of Leicester Square; our tourist suits, heavy pedestrian toots, “wide-awakes,” and faded fashions, used up in travel—­all these things are put down to insular peculiarities.]


I have just heard or read, a touching story; and here it is as I remember it.  In the Faubourg Saint Antoine lives a community of women with whom the aged of the poor find shelter; those who have become infirm, or have dropped into helpless childishness, whether men or women, are received there without question or payment.  There they are lodged, fed and clothed, and humbly prayed for.

Last evening, sleep was just beginning to reign in the little community.  The old people had been put to rest, each Little Sister had done her duty and was asleep, when the report of a gun resounded at the house-door.  You can imagine the startings and the terror.  The Little Sisters of the poor are not accustomed to have such noises in their ears, and there was a tumult and hubbub such as the house had never known, while they hurriedly rose, and the old people stared at each other from their white beds in the long dormitories.  When the house-door was got open, a party of men, with a menacing look about them, strode in with their guns and swords, making a horrible racket.  One of them was the chief, and he had a great beard and a terrible voice.  All the Little Sisters gathered in a trembling crowd about the superior.

“Shut the doors,” cried the captain, “and if one of these women attempt to escape—­one, two, three, fire!” Then the Good Mother—­that is the Little Sisters’ name for their superior—­made a step forward and said, “What do you wish, messieurs?”

“Citizens, sacrebleu!

The Good Mother crossed herself and, repeated, “What do you wish, my brothers?”

[Illustration:  Federal Visit to The Little Sisters of The Poor.]

Now, if Citizen Rigault, who put Monseigneur Darboy down so wittily, had been there, how briskly he would have told the stupid woman that these were National Guards, and not brothers, before her.  But even Rigault cannot be everywhere at once.  “We want to inspect your funds,” replied the officer.  The Good Mother signed to him to follow, opened a cupboard, pulled out a drawer, and said, “This is what we have.”  The box had twenty-two francs in it.  “Is that all?” asked the captain in a suspicious tone.—­“Nothing more, monsieur,” she said; “besides, you can

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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