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.

“In the night of the 17th of May another attempt of the same kind met with failure.  The Communists Bourget, Billioray, Mortier, Cerisier, and Pilotel, the artist, traitors to their own treacherous cause, were to open the gates to the soldiers of Versailles, an hour after midnight, at the Point du Jour; the soldiers to be disguised as National Guards.  But, at the appointed hour, Cerisier took fright, and contented himself with the money he had received on account (twenty-five thousand francs) in payment for his treachery, and did no more.  When the Versailles troops presented themselves at the gates, they had to beat a retreat under a heavy fire of mitrailleuses.” Guerre des Communeux.]

LXXIX.

I was told the following by an eye-witness of the scene.  In a small room at the Hotel de Ville five personages were seated round a table at dinner.  The repast was of the most modest kind, and consisted of soup, one dish of meat, one kind of vegetable, cheese, and a bottle of vin ordinaire each.  One would have thought, oneself in a restaurant at two francs a head, if it had not been that the condiments had got musty during the siege; besides, there was something solemn and official in the very smell of the viands which took away one’s appetite.  However, our five personages swallowed their food as fast as they could.  At the head of the table sat Citizen Jourde.  Jourde looks about eight and twenty; he has a delicate looking, mathematical head, with brown curly hair and sallow complexion, a kind of Henri Heine of the Finance.  Tall and thin, with his red scarf tied round his waist, he reminds us of one of the old Convention of ’89.  They sat for some time in silence, as if they were observing each other.  At the end of the first course, Jourde took up a spoon and examined it, saying, “Silver! true there is silver at the Hotel de Ville, I will send for it to-morrow!” One of the other guests said, “Pardon me, I have to answer for it, and shall not give it up.”—­“Oh, yes you will,” answered Jourde, “I will have an order sent to you from the Domaine,"[85] and then, as if he were thinking aloud, goes on to express his satisfaction at having found an unexpected sum of three hundred thousand francs, as it were on the dinner-table.  A whole day’s pay!  He will be able to put by four millions at the end of the week; he tries to be economical, but the war runs away with everything.  “You must at least give me three days’ notice for the payment of sums amounting to more than a hundred thousand francs,” says he, with a shrug of the shoulders, particularly addressed to Beslay.  Then he speaks of his hopes of reducing the Prussian debt before the year is out, if the Commune lives so long; touches on subjects connected with the taxes, patents and duties, “or else bank-notes worth fire hundred francs in the morning, will only be worth twenty sous in the evening; money is scarce, it is leaving the city.  I do not see

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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