It is true they sounded the “rappel" and beat the “generale"; but who commanded it? Was it the regular Government or the revolutionary Committee?
More than one good citizen was ready to do his duty; but, after having put on his uniform and buckled his belt, he felt very puzzled, afraid of aiding the entente instead of strengthening the defenders of the law. Therefore the peaceful citizen soldiers regarded not the call of the trumpet and the drum.
It is wise to stay at home when one knows not where to go. Besides, the line has not replied, and bad examples are contagious; moreover, is it fair to demand of fathers of families, of merchants and tradesmen, in fact of soldiers of necessity, an effort before which professional soldiers withdraw? The fact is the Government had fled. Perhaps a few ministers still remained in Paris, but the main body had gone to join the Assembly at Versailles.
I do not blame their somewhat precipitate departure, perhaps it was necessary; nevertheless it seems to me that their presence would have put an end to irresolution on the part of timid people.
Meanwhile, from the Madeleine to the Gymnase, the cafes overflowed with swells and idlers of both sexes. On the outer boulevards they got drunk, and on the inner tipsy, the only difference being in the quality of the liquors imbibed.
What an extraordinary people are the French!
[Footnote 11: The roll call.]
[Footnote 12: Muster call in time of danger, which is beaten only by a superior order emanating from the Commander-in-chief in a stronghold or garrison town.]
[Footnote 13: The army of Paris was drawn off to Versailles in the night of the 18th of March, and on the 19th, the employes of all the ministries and public offices left Paris for the same destination.
On the 19th of March, as early as eight in the morning, Monsieur Thiers addressed the following circular to the authorities of all the departments:—
“The whole of the Government
is assembled at Versailles: the
National Assembly will meet there also.
“The army, to the number of forty thousand men, has been assembled there in good order, under the command of General Vinoy. All the chiefs of the army, and all the civil authorities have arrived there.
“The civil and military
authorities will execute no other orders but
those issued by the legitimate government residing at Versailles,
under penalty of dismissal.
“The members of the
National Assembly are all requested to hasten
their return, so as to be present at the sitting of the 20th of
“The present despatch will be made known to the public.