No! no! Monsieur Felix Pyat, you must remain, if you please. You have been of it, you are of it, and you shall be of it. It is well that you should go through all the tenses of the verb, I am not astonished that a man as clever as you, finding that things were taking a bad turn, should have thought fit to give in your resignation. When the house is burning, one jumps out of window. But your cleverness has been so much pure loss, for your amiable confederates are waiting in the street to thrust you back into the midst of the flames again. It is in vain that you have written the following letter, a chef-d’oeuvre in its way, to the president of
“CITIZEN PRESIDENT,—If I had not been detained at the Ministry of War on the day when the election took place, I should have voted with the minority of the Commune. I think that the majority, for this once, is in the wrong.”
“For this once” is polite.
“I doubt if she will ever retrieve her error.”
If the Commune were to retrace
its steps at each error it made, it
would advance slowly.
“I think that the elected have not the right of replacing the electors. I think that the representatives have not the right of taking the place of the sovereign power. I think that the Commune cannot create a single one of its own members, neither make them nor unmake them; and, therefore, that it cannot of itself furnish that which is wanted to legalise their nominations’.”
Oh! Monsieur Felix Pyat, legality is strangely out of fashion, and it is well for Versailles that it is so.
“I think also, seeing that the war has changed the population....”
Yes; the war has changed the population, if not in the way you understand it, at least in this sense, that a great many reasonable people have gone mad, and that many—ah! how many?—are now dead.
“I think that it was more just to change the law than to violate it. The ballot gave birth to the Commune, and in completing itself without it, the Commune commits suicide. I will not be an accomplice in the fault.”
We understand that; it is quite enough to be an accomplice in the crime.