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.
your ease this long time, while others have been getting killed.”  It was evident this Spaniard had not taken the cigars I had given him, in good part, and was now revenging himself.—­“What do you want with me?” I said; “let’s have done with this.”  Instead of answering, he signed to two Federals standing near, who immediately placed themselves one on each side of me, and cried, “March!” I was perfectly agreeable, although this walk was not exactly in the direction I had intended.  On the way I heard a woman say, “Poor young man I They have taken him in the act.”  I was conducted to the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, and marched into the vestry, where about fifty refractaires were already assembled.

Behind a deal table, on which were placed a small register, an inkstand stuck in a great bung, and two quill pens, sat three young men, almost boys, in uniform.  You might have imagined them to be Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanthus, at the age when they played at leap-frog.  “Your name?” said Rhadamanthus, addressing me.  I did not think twice about it, but gave them a name which has never been mine.  Suddenly some one behind me burst out laughing; I turned round and recognised an old friend, whom I had not noticed among the other prisoners.  “Your profession?” inquired Minos.—­“Prizefighter,” I answered, putting my arms akimbo and looking as ferocious as possible, by way of keeping up the character I had momentarily assumed.  To the rest of the questions that were addressed to me, I replied in the same satisfactory manner.  When it was over, Minos said to me, “That is enough; now go and sit down, and wait until you are called.”—­“Pardon me, my young friend, but I shall not go and sit down, nor shall I wait a moment more.”—­“Are you making fun of us?  We are transacting most serious business, our lives are at stake.  Go and sit down.”—­“I have already had the honour to remark, my dear Rhadamanthus, that I did not mean to sit down.  Be kind enough to allow me to depart instantly.”—­“You ask me to do this?”—­“Yes! you!” I shouted in a tremendous voice.  The three judges looked at me in great perplexity, and began whispering amongst themselves.  A prize fighter, by jingo!  I thought the moment had come to strike a decisive blow, so I pulled out of my pocket a little green card, which I desired them to examine.  Immediately Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanthus got up, bowed to me most respectfully, and called out to two National Guards who were at the door, “Allow the citizen to pass.”—­“By-the-bye,” said I, pointing, to my friend, “this gentleman is with me.”—­“Allow both the citizens to pass,” shouted the lads in chorus.—­“This is capital,” cried my friend as soon as we were well outside the door.—­“How did you manage?”—­“I have a pass from the Central Committee.”—­“In your own name?”—­“No, I bought it of the widow of a Federal; who was on very good terms with Citizen Felix Pyat.”—­“Why, it is just like a romance.”—­“Yes, but a romance that allows me to live pretty safely in the midst of this strange reality.  Anyhow, I think we had better look out for other lodgings.”

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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