Paris under the Commune eBook

John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 389 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.
Bonaparte received Marie-Louise here; in 1821, the baptism of the Duke of Bordeaux was celebrated here; in 1825 fetes were given to the Duc d’Angouleme on his return from Spain, and to Charles X., arriving from Rheims.  Five years later, from the same balcony where Bailly presented Louis XVI. to the people, Lafayette, standing by the side of Louis Philippe, said, “This is the best of Republics!” It was here, in 1848, that De Lamartine courageously declared to an infuriated mob that, as long as he lived, the red flag should not be the flag of France.  During the fatal days of June, 1848, the Hotel de Ville was only saved from destruction by the intrepidity of a few brave men.  The Queen of England was received here in 1865, and the sovereigns who visited Paris since have been feted therein.  On the 4th of September the bloodless revolution was proclaimed; and on the 31st of October, 1870, and the 22nd of January, 1871, Flourens and Blanqui made a fruitless attempt to substitute the red flag for the tricolor; but their partisans succeeded on the 18th of March, when it was fortified, and became the head-quarters of the Commune of 1871.]

As soon as they had halted, an officer of the National Guard seized General Clement Thomas by the collar of his coat and shook him violently several times, exclaiming, whilst he held the muzzle of a revolver close to his throat,—­“Confess that you have betrayed the Republic.”  To this Monsieur Clement Thomas only replied by a shrug of his shoulders; upon this the officer retired, leaving the General standing alone in the front of the wall, with a line of soldiers opposite.

Who gave the signal to fire is unknown, but a report of twenty muskets rent the air, and General Clement Thomas fell with his face to the earth.

“It is your turn now,” said one of the assassins, addressing General Lecomte, who immediately advanced from the crowd, stepping over the body of Clement Thomas to take his place, awaiting with his back to the wall the fatal moment.

“Fire!” cried the officer, and all was over.

Half an hour after, in the Rue des Acacias, I came across an old woman who wanted three francs for a bullet—­a bullet she had extracted from the plaster of a wall at the end of the Rue des Rosiers.

III.

It is ten o’clock in the evening, and if I were not so tired I would go to the Hotel de Ville, which, I am told, has been taken possession of by the National Guards; the 18th of March is continuing the 31st of October.  But the events of this day have made me so weary that I can hardly write all I have seen and heard.  On the outer boulevards the wine shops are crowded with tipsy people, the drunken braggarts who boast they have made a revolution.  When a stroke succeeds there are plenty of rascals ready to say:  I did it.  Drinking, singing, and talking are the order of the day.  At every step you come upon “piled arms.”  At the

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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