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.
look everywhere for yourselves.”  So the National Guards spread through the house, opened the rooms, searched the cupboards and chests, and came at last, without having found anything, to the dormitories, where the Little Sisters’ old nurselings were lying.  Every head was upraised in astonishment and fear, and all, stammering and trembling, began jabbering out at once, “What are you doing here?  You are not going to hurt the good Sisters?  It’s a shame!  It’s infamous!  Go away!  It’s cowardly!  My good monsieur, what will become of us if you take them away?” The old women were furious, and the old men in lamentations.  Officer and men scarcely expected such a scene, and began to hesitate in their search.  “Well, well, my good people,” said the officer, who had been the most violent, and had now softened down, “we won’t take the Little Sisters away, and we won’t hurt them either.  There, there—­are you satisfied?”—­and the men began to go downstairs again.—­“My sister, you have not shut your drawer,” said the captain, as he passed the cupboard.—­“That is true, monsieur; I am not in the habit of doing it.  In our house, you see, it is quite useless.”—­“Never mind, shut it to-day at any rate.  How can I know all the men I have about me?” And as he spoke, the captain turned back, shut the drawer himself, without touching the contents, and gave the key to the superior.  He seemed quite ill at ease, and got out at last, “We didn’t know ... if we had known it was like this ... you see we had been told ... yes, yes, it is very good of you to take care of those poor old folks upstairs.”  Now that the man seemed embarrassed and showed some kindliness in his manner, a Little Sister who had quite got over her fear, went up to him and told him how frightened they had been for a whole month past; that they had been told that the Reds wanted to take their house.  Ah! it was horrible!  But monsieur would protect them, would he not?

“That I will,” bravely answered the captain; “give me your hand.  And now, if any one wants to harm you, he will have me to deal with first.”

A few minutes later, the National Guards were gone, the Little Sisters and the old nurslings were at rest again, and the house was just as silent and peaceful as if it were no abominable resort of plotters and conspirators.

But if I had been the Commune of Paris, would I not have shot that captain!

LVIII.

The people of the Hotel de Ville said to themselves, “All our fine doings and talking come to nothing, the delegate Cluseret and the commandant Dombrowski send us the most encouraging despatches in vain, we shall never succeed in persuading the Parisian population, that our struggle against the army of Versailles is a long string of decisive victories; whatever we may do, they will finish by finding out that the federate battalions gave way strangely in face of the iron-plated mitrailleuses the day before yesterday at Asnieres,

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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