Paris under the Commune eBook

John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.
the great warehouses, so thickly do the burning flakes fall and scatter destruction.  The barricades of the quays are still intact, it will be another hour yet before they are taken.  The firemen are there furiously at work, but their efforts are insufficient!  It would take tons of ammonia to slake the fury of the petroleum which flows like hot lava upon the place from the Hotel de Ville, and the horrible reflection reddens the waters of the Seine, so that the current of the river seems to flow with blood, which stains the stones as it dashes against the arches of the bridge!”

These scenes are being pictured to me as I gaze upon the terrible conflagration, and all that is told me I seem to see.  An irresistible longing to be near seizes me.  I am under the power of an invincible attraction.  I lean forward, my arms outstretched; I run a great risk of falling, but what matters?  The sight of these almost sublime horrors has burnt itself into my very brain!


[Footnote 107:  Ferre, the friend of Raoul Bigault, and his colleague in the Commission of General Safety, like the latter, had inhabited the prisons for a considerable time for his political writings, seditious proposals, plots against the state, etc.  He is a small man about five feet high, and very active.  He signed with avidity the suppression of nearly all the journals of Paris, and the sentence of death of a great number of unfortunate prisoners, with the approbation of Raoul Bigault.  He willingly undertook to announce to the Archbishop of Paris that his last hour had arrived.  The following order, drawn up by him, was found on the body of an insurgent:—­“Set fire to the Ministry of Finance immediately, and return here.

4 Prairial, An 79.

(Signed) TH.  FERRE.”

See Appendix, No. 10.]


She walks with a rapid step, near the shadow of the wall; she is poorly dressed; her age is between forty and fifty; her forehead is bound with a red checkered handkerchief, from which hang meshes of uncombed hair.  The face is red and the eyes blurred, and she moves with her look bent down on the ground.  Her right hand is in her pocket, or in the bosom of her half-unbuttoned dress; in the other hand she holds one of the high, narrow tin cans in which milk is carried in Paris, but which now, in the hands of this woman, contains the dreadful petroleum liquid.  As she passes a poste of regulars, she smiles and nods; when they speak to her she answers, “My good Monsieur!” If the street is deserted she stops, consults a bit of dirty paper that she holds in her hand, pauses a moment before the grated opening to a cellar, then continues her way, steadily, without haste.  An hour afterwards, a house is on fire in the street she has passed.  Who is this woman?  Paris calls her a Petroleuse.[109] One of these petroleuses,

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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