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.

So the noble delegate imagined he could quietly issue a proclamation one morning commanding all the officers under his orders to rip off the gold and silver bands which luxuriantly ornament their sleeves and caps![76] He thought his staff would forego epaulets and other military gewgaws.  Why, the man must have been mad!  What would Cora or Armentine have said if they had seen their military heroes stalk into the Cafe de Suede or the Cafe de Madrid, shorn of all their brilliant appendages, which made them look so wonderfully like the monkey-general at the Neuilly fair, in the good old times, when there were such things as fairs, and before Neuilly was a ruin.  Ask any soldier, Federal or otherwise, if he will give up his pay, or his jingling sword, or even his rank; he may perhaps consent, but ask him to rip off his embroidery, and he will answer, never!  How can you imagine a man of sense consenting not to look like a mountebank?

Another of these absurd prescriptions has done much to lower Cluseret in public estimation.  One day he took it into his head to prevent his officers from galloping in the streets and boulevards, under the miserable pretext that the rapid evolutions of these horsemen had occasioned several accidents.  Well, and if they had, do you think a gallant captain of horse is going to deprive himself of the pleasure of curvetting within sight of his lady love, for the pitiful reason, that he may perchance upset an old woman or two or three children?  Citizen Cluseret does not know what he is talking about!  It is certain that if this valiant general has such a very great horror of accidents, he should begin by stopping the firing at Courbevoie, which is a great deal more dangerous than the galloping of a horse on the Boulevard Montmartre.  As you may imagine, the officers went on galloping and wearing their finery under the very nose of the general, while he walked about stoically in plain clothes.  However, although they did not obey him, they owed him a grudge for the orders he had given.  Opposition was being hatched, and was ready to burst forth on the first opportunity, which happened to be the evacuation of Fort Issy.[76] Cluseret has fallen a victim to his taste for simplicity, but he carries with him the regrets of all the illused cab-horses which, in the absence of thoroughbreds, have to suffice the gallant staff, and who, poor creatures, were only too delighted not to gallop.


[Footnote 75:  General Cluseret was a great personage for a time with the Communists, and his military talents were lauded to the skies, but suddenly he was committed to prison, and was succeeded in the command of the army by Rossel.  The cause of his imprisonment is not clear.  Some say that he was discovered to be in correspondence with the Thiers government, others that he was suspected of aiming at the Dictatorship.  During the confusion that occurred on the first entry of the Versailles troops into Paris, when the Archbishop of Paris and the other so-called “hostages” had been barbarously assassinated, when the Louvre, the Palais Royal, and the Hotel de Ville were in flames, Cluseret escaped from prison, and was not heard of again until it was reported that his body had been found buried beneath the rubbish of the last barricade.  Was report correct?]

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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