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.
to do?”—­Carrying him to the cemetery was of course out of the question; no one could have been found to render this mournful duty.  Besides, the bearers would probably have met a shell or a bullet on the way, and then others must have been found to carry them.  One day, the old woman ventured as far as the Porte Maillot, and cried out as loud as she could, “My husband is dead in a cellar; come and fetch him, and let us both through the gates!”—­The sentinel facetiously (let us hope it was nothing worse) took aim at her with his rifle, and she fled back to her cellar.  At night, she slept by the side of the corpse, and when the light of morning filtered into her dreary place of refuge, and lighted up the body lying there, she sobbed with grief and terror.  Her husband had been dead four days, when putrefaction set in, and she, able to bear it no longer, rushed out screaming to her neighbours:  “You must bury him, or I will go into the middle of the avenue and await death there!”—­They took pity on her, and came down into her cellar, dug a hole there and put the corpse in it.  During three weeks she continued there, resting herself on the newly-turned earth.  To-day, when they went to fetch her she fainted with horror; the grave had been dug too shallow, and one of the legs of the corpse was exposed to gaze.

[Illustration:  FEMALE CURIOSITY AT PORTE MAILLOT.  “Prenez garde, Mam’zelle.”]

This morning, the 25th of April, at nine o’clock, a dense crowd moved up the Champs Elysees:  pedestrians of all ages and classes, and vehicles of every description.  The truce obtained by the members of the Republican Union of the rights of Paris was about to begin, and relief was to be carried to the sufferers at Neuilly.  However, some precautions were necessary, for neither the shooting nor the cannonade had ceased yet, and every moment one expected to see some projectile or other fall among the advancing multitude.  In the Avenue de la Grande Armee a shell had struck a house, and set fire to it.  Gradually the sound of the artillery diminished, and then died away entirely; the crowd hastened to the ramparts.

[Illustration:  PORTE MAILLOT AND CHAPEL OF ST. FERDINAND.

The chapel was erected by Louis Philippe in memory of the Duke of
Orleans, killed on the spot, July 18th, 1842.]

The Porte Maillot has been entirely destroyed for some time, in spite of what the Commune has told us to the contrary; the drawbridge is torn from its place, the ruined walls and bastions have fallen into the moat.  The railway-station is a shapeless mass of blackened bricks, broken stones, glass, and iron-work; the cutting where the trains used to pass is half filled up with the ruins.  It is impossible to get along that way.  Fancy the hopeless confusion here, arising among this myriad of anxious beings, these hundreds of carts and waggons, all crowding to the same spot.  Each one presses onwards, pushing his neighbour, screaming and vociferating; the National

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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