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.
position, the difficulties of which he had already recognised?  He says himself that his predecessor was wrong to have stayed in so absurd a position, and why did he voluntarily put himself there, where he blamed another for remaining?  If the new delegate hoped by his own cleverness to modify the position, he ought not, the position remaining the same, accuse anything but his own incapacity.  In a word, the conclusion at which we arrive is, that he only accepted power to be able to throw it off with effect, like Cato, who only went to the public theatres for the purpose of fussily leaving the place, at the moment when the audience called the actors before the curtain.  Not being able or perhaps willing to save the Commune, M. Rossel desired to save himself at its expense.  There is something ungentlemanly in this.  Do not, however, imagine for a moment that I believe in M. Rossel having been bought by M. Thiers.  All those ridiculous stories of sums of money having been offered to the members of the Commune, are merely absurd inventions.[84] What do you think they say of Cluseret?  That he was in the habit of taking his breakfast at the Cafe d’Orsay, and afterwards playing a game of dominoes.  One day his adversary is reported to have said to him, “If you will deliver the fort of Montrouge to the Versaillais, I will give you two millions.”  What fools people must be to believe such absurdities!  Rossel has not sold himself, for the very good reason that nobody ever thought of buying him.  It was his own idea to do what he did.  For the pleasure of being insolent and showing his boldness, he has pulled down from its pedestal what he adored, consequently the most criminal among the members of the Commune, once a swindler, now a pilferer, is free to say to M. Rossel, who is, I am told, a man of intelligence and honesty, “You are worse than I am, for you have betrayed us!”


[Footnote 81:  PARIS AT DINNER.—­An ogress, gentleman!  A famished creature, faring sumptuously; her face flushed with wine, her eyes bright, her hands trembling.  Madame Lutetia is a strapping woman still, with a queenly air about her, in spite of the red patches on her tunic; somewhat shorn of her ornaments, it is true, as she has had to pawn the greater part of her jewelry, but the orgie once over she will be again what she was before.

For the time being she is wholly absorbed in her gastronomic exertions.  She has already devoured a Bergeret with peas, a Lullier with anchovy sauce, an Assy and potatoes, a Cluseret with tomatos, a Rossel with capers, besides a large quantity of small fry, and she is not yet appeased.  The maitre-d’hotel Delescluze waits upon her somewhat in trepidation, with a sickly smile on his face.  What if, after such a meal of generals and colonels, the ogress were to devour the waiter!—­Fac simile of design from the “Grelot,” 17th May, 1871.]

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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