It is seven in the evening, the circulation has become almost impossible. The streets are lined with patrols, and the regiments of the Line camp upon the outer boulevards. They dine, smoke, and bivouac, and drink with the citizens on the doorsteps of their houses. In the distance is heard the storm of sounds which tells of the despairing resistance of Belleville, and along the foot of the houses are seen square white patches, showing the walled-up cellars, every hole and crevice being plastered up to prevent insertion of the diabolical liquid—walled up against petroleurs and petroleuses, strings of prisoners, among whom are furious women and poor children, their hands tied behind their backs, pass along the boulevards towards Neuilly. Night comes on, not a lamp is lighted, and the streets become deserted as by degrees the sky becomes darker. At nine o’clock the solitude is almost absolute. The sound of a musket striking the pavement is heard from time to time; a sentinel passes here and there, and the lights in the houses grow more and more rare.
The hours and the days pass and resemble each other horribly. To write the history of the calamities is not yet possible. Each one sees but a corner of the picture, and the narratives that are collected are vague and contradictory; it appears certain now that the insurrection is approaching the end. It is said that the fort of Montrouge is taken; but it still hurls its shells upon Paris. Several have just fallen in the quarter of the Banque. There is fighting still at the Halles, at the Luxembourg, and at the Porte Saint-Martin. Neither the cannonading nor the fusillade has ceased, and our ears have become accustomed to the continued roar. But, in spite of the barbarous heroism of the Federals, the force of their resistance is being exhausted. What has become of the chiefs?
We continue to note down the incidents as they reach us.
It is said that Assy has been taken, close to the New Opera House. He was going the nightly rounds, almost alone—“Who’s there!” cried a sentinel. Assy, thinking the man was a Federal, replied, “You should have challenged me sooner.” In an instant he was surrounded, disarmed, and carried off. However, it is a very unlikely tale; it is most improbable that Assy should not know that the New Opera was in the hands of the Versaillais.
They say that Delescluze has fled, that Dombrowski has died in an ambulance, and that Milliere is a prisoner at Saint-Denis. But these are merely rumours, and I am utterly ignorant as to their worth. The only thing certain is that the search is being carried on with vigour. Close by the smoking ruins of what was once the Hotel de Ville they caught Citizen Ferraigu, inspector of the barricades; he confessed to having received from the Committee of Public Safety particular orders to burn down the shop of the Bon-Diable.