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John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 389 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.
negative.  The man passed before my door without stopping, and I soon heard the mild voice of the archbishop answering to his name.  The hostages were then dragged put of the lobby; ten minutes later I saw the mournful cortege pass in front of my windows; the federates were walking along in a confused way, making a noise to cover the voice of their victims, but I could hear Father Allard exhorting his companions to prepare for death.  A little after I heard the report of the muskets, and understood that all was over.  On Thursday (the 25th) the day passed off quietly, but on Friday shells began to fall on the prison, and at about half-past four in the afternoon a corporal, named Romain. came up, and with a joyful face told us we would soon be free.  He said answer to your names; I must have 15.  He had a list in his hand, and I must confess a feeling of terror came over us all.  Ten hostages answered to their names.  One of them, a father of the order of Picpus, asked if he could take his hat.  Romain replied, ’Oh, it’s no use; you are only going to the registrar’s.’  None of these unfortunate men ever returned.  On Saturday (the 27th) we learnt that several of the prisoners had been armed with hammers, files, &c.  They threw us some of these in at the windows.  We were then informed that several members of the Commune had arrived at La Roquette.  I cannot say whether Ferre was among them.  We were taken back to our cellars, where we expected to be put to death every minute.  At about four o’clock the cells of the common prisoners were opened, and they escaped, shouting ‘Vive la Commune!’ Our keeper himself had disappeared, and a turnkey presently opened our cells, and recommended us to run away.  We were afraid this was a trap, but as it might afford a chance we determined to avail ourselves of it.  Those amongst us who had plain clothes hurried them on, and I must say the gaolers behaved admirably in this emergency; they lent clothes to such of us as had none, and we were thus all enabled to escape.  As for myself, after wandering for about an hour in the streets about the prison, and being unable to find shelter anywhere, and afraid of being murdered in the streets, I determined to return to La Roquette.  As I reached it I met the archbishop’s secretary, two priests, and two gendarmes, who, like myself, had been driven to return to the prison.  One of the keepers told us that the safest for us was the sick ward.  We dressed up in the hospital uniform and hid in bed.  At eight in the evening the federates, who were not aware that we had escaped, came back and called on the gaolers to produce us.  They were told we had gone; fortunately they believed it.  On Sunday the troops came in, and I left La Roquette for good this time.  In reply to a further question the witness said that as the hostages marched past his windows, on their way to execution, he saw President Bonjean raising his hands, and heard him say, ‘Mon Dieu, mon Dieu!’”

XIII. (Page 82.)

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