My friend shut himself up at home, determined not to go out. But his impatience to see and hear what was going on forced him into the streets again. The Pepiniere barracks were occupied by troops of the line; he was able to get to the New Opera without trouble, leaving the Madeleine, where dreadful fighting was going on, to the right. On the way were to be seen piled muskets, soldiers sitting and lying about, and corpses everywhere. He then managed, without incurring too much danger, to reach the Boulevards, where the insurgents, who were then very numerous, had not yet been attacked. He worked for some little time at the barricade, and then was allowed to pass on. It was thus that we had met. Just as we were about to turn up the Faubourg Montmartre a man rushed up saying that three hundred Federals had taken refuge in the church of the Madeleine, followed by gendarmes, and had gone on fighting for more than an hour. “Now,” he finished up by saying, “if the cure were to return he would find plenty of people to bury!”
I am now at home. Evening has come at last; I am jotting down these notes just as they come into my head. I am too much fatigued both in mind and body to attempt to put my thoughts into order. The cannonading is incessant, and the fusillade also. I pity those that die, and those that kill! Oh! poor Paris, when will experience make you wiser?
[Footnote 98: It was known by this time at Versailles in what a desperate condition was the Commune, by the information of persons devoted to order, but who remained amongst the insurgents to keep watch over and restrain them as much as possible.
The Versailles authorities know that, thanks to the well-directed fire of Montretout, the bastions of the Point du Jour were no longer tenable, and that their defenders had abandoned them and had organized new works of defence; nevertheless, the operations were earned on just as systematically as if the fire of the besieged had not ceased for several days, when, on Sunday, the 21st May, about midday, an officer on duty in the trenches, in course of formation in the Bois de Boulogne, perceived a man making signs with a white handkerchief near the military post of Saint Cloud; the officer immediately approached near enough to hear the bearer of the flag of truce, say:—