with one hundred men, is charged with the 9th,
10th, and 20th Arrondissements.
“Citizen Vesinier, with
fifty men, has the Boulevards of the
Madeleine and of the Bastille especially entrusted to him.
“These Citizens are
to come to an understanding with the officers
commanding the barricades, for the execution of these orders.
RANVINE, JOHANNARD, VESINIER, BRUNEL,
“Paris, 3 Prairial, year 79.”
Certainly I nursed no vain illusions. What you had done, gentlemen of the Commune, had enlightened me as to your value, and as to the purity of your intentions. Seeing you lie, steal, and kill, I had said to you, “You are liars, robbers, and murderers;” but truly, in spite of Citizen Felix Pyat, who is a coward, and Citizen Miot, who is a fool; in spite of Milliere, who shot refractaires, and Philippe, whose trade shall be nameless; in spite of Dacosta, who amused himself with telling the Jesuits at the Conciergerie, “Mind, you are to be shot in an hour,” and then an hour afterwards returning to say, “I have thought about it, and it is for tomorrow;” in spite of Johannard, who executed a child of fifteen guilty of selling a suppressed newspaper; in spite of Rigault, who, chucking the son of Chaudey under the chin, laughingly said to him, “Tomorrow, little one, we shall shoot papa;” in spite of all the madmen and fools that constituted the Commune de Paris, who after being guilty of more extravagances than are necessary to get a man sent to the Madhouse of Charenton, and more crimes than are sufficient to shut him up in prison at Sainte-Pelagie, had managed, by means of every form, of wickedness and excess, to make our beloved Paris a frightened slave, crouching to earth under their abominable tyranny; in spite of everything, I could not have dreamed that even their demoniac fury could have gone so far as to try to burn Paris, after having ruined it! Nero of the gutter! Sardanapalus drunk with vitriol! So your vanity wanted such a volcano to engulf you, and you wished to die by the light of such an auto-da-fe. Instead of torches around your funeral car, you wished the Tuileries, the library of the Louvre, and the Palace of the Legion of Honour burnt to ashes, the Rue Royale one vast conflagration, where the walls as they fell buried alive women and children, and the Rue de Lille vomiting fire and smoke like the crater of Vesuvius.
[Illustration: PALAIS DE JUSTICE, PARTLY DESTROYED. SAINTE CHAPELLE, SAVED.]
It has pleased you that thousands of families should be ruined, their savings scattered in the ashes of the vanished papers of the burnt Ministere des Finances and the Caisse des depots. In seeing that the art-galleries of the Louvre had remained intact, only its library burnt, you must have been seized with mad rage. How! Notre Dame not yet in flames? Sainte-Chapelle not on fire? Have you no more petroleum, no more flaming torches? The cry “To Arms!” is not enough, you must shout “To Fire!” Would you consume the entire city, and make of its ruins a horrible monument to your memory?