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.
the first ranks of the new aristocracy.  It was charming to note the military elegance with which their caps were slightly inclined over one ear; their faces, naturally hideous, were illuminated with the joy of freedom, and certainly the thick smoke which emanated from their pipes, must have been more agreeable as an offering, than the faint vapours of incense that used to arise from the gilded censers.  “Marriage, citoyennes, is the greatest error of ancient humanity.  To be married is to be a slave.  Will you be slaves?”—­“No, no!” cried all the female part of the audience, and the orator, a tall gaunt woman with a nose like the beak of a hawk, and a jaundice-coloured complexion, flattered by such universal applause, continued, “Marriage, therefore, cannot be tolerated any longer in a free city.  It ought to be considered a crime, and suppressed by the most severe measures.  Nobody has the right to sell his liberty, and thereby to set a bad example to his fellow citizens.  The matrimonial state is a perpetual crime against morality.  Don’t tell me that marriage may be tolerated, if you institute divorce.  Divorce is only an expedient, and if I may be allowed to use the word, an Orleanist expedient!” (Thunders of applause.) “Therefore, I propose to this assembly, that it should get the Commune of Paris to modify the decree, which assures pensions to the legitimate or illegitimate companions of the National Guards, killed in the defence of our municipal rights.  No half measures.  We, the illegitimate companions, will no longer suffer the legitimate wives to usurp rights they no longer possess, and which they ought never to have had at all.  Let the decree be modified.  All for the free women, none for the slaves!”

[Illustration:  INTERIOR OF THE CHURCH OF ST. EUSTACHE—­COMMUNIST CLUB.]

The orator descends from the pulpit amidst the most lively congratulations.  I am told by some one standing near me, that the orator is a monthly nurse, who used to be a somnambulist in her youth.  But the crowd opens now to give place to a male orator, who mounts the spiral staircase, passes his hand through his hair, and darts a piercing glance on the multitude beneath.  It is Citizen Lullier.

This young man has really a very agreeable physiognomy; his forehead is intelligent, his eyes pleasant.  Looking on M. Lullier’s sympathetic face, one is sorry to remember his eccentricities.  But what is all this noise about?  What has he said? what has he done?  I only heard the words “Dombrowski,” and “La Cecilia.”  Every one starts to his feet, exasperated, shouting.  Several chairs are about to be flung at the orator.  He is surrounded, hooted.  “Down with Lullier!  Long live Dombrowski!” The tumult increases.  Citizen Lullier seems perfectly calm in the midst of it all, but refuses to leave the pulpit; he tries in vain to speak and explain.  Two women, two amiable hags, throw themselves upon him; several men rush up also; he is taken up bodily and carried away, resisting to the utmost and shouting to the last.  The people jump up on the chairs, Lullier has disappeared, and I hear him no more; what have they done with him!

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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