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 next day, the 24th, marked the fate of the hostages, who, in expectation of an attack of the Versaillais, had been transferred from Mazas to La Roquette.  “Monseigneur Darboy,” writes an eye-witness (Monsieur Dubutte, miraculously saved by an error of name), “occupied cell No. 21 of the 4th division, and I was at a short distance from him, in No. 26.  The cell in which the venerable prelate was confined had been the office of one of the gaolers; it was somewhat larger than the rest, and Monseigneur’s companions in captivity had succeeded in obtaining for him a chair and a table.  On Wednesday, the 24th, at half-past seven in the evening, the director of the prison—­a certain Lefrancais, who had been a prisoner in the hulks for the space of six years—­went up, at the head of fifty Federals, into the gallery, near which the most important prisoners were incarcerated.  Here they ranged themselves along the walls, and a few moments later one of the head-gaolers opened the door of the archbishop’s cell, and called him out.  The prelate answered, “I am here!” Then the gaoler passed on to M. le President Bonjean’s cell (Appendix 12), then to that of Abbe Allard, member of the International Society in Aid of the Wounded; of Pere du Coudray, Superior of the School of Ste-Genevieve; and Pere Clere, of the Brotherhood of Jesus; the last called being the Abbe Deguerry, cure of the Madeleine.  As the names were called, each prisoner was led out into the gallery and down the staircase to the courtyard; each side, as far as I could judge, was lined with Federal guards, who insulted the prisoners in language that I cannot repeat.  Amid the hues and cries of these wretches my unfortunate companions were conducted across the courtyard to the infirmary, before which a file of soldiers were drawn up for the execution.  Monseigneur Darboy advanced and addressed his murderers—­addressed them words of pardon:  then two of the men approached the prelate, and falling on their knees implored his pardon.  The rest of the Federals threw themselves upon them, and thrust them aside with oaths, then, turning to the prisoners, they heaped fresh insults upon them.  The chief officer of the detachment, however, imposed silence on the men, and uttering an oath, said, ‘You are here to shoot these men, not to insult them.’  The Federals were silenced, and upon the command of their lieutenant, they loaded their muskets.

“Pere Allard was placed against the wall, and was the first who was struck; then Monseigneur Darboy fell, and the six prisoners were thus shot in turn, showing, at this supreme moment, a saintly dignity and a noble courage.”]


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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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