Then—why not dare say it?—Paris, which is so impressionable, so excitable, so romantic, in admiration before all that is bold, has but a moderate sympathy for that which is prudent. We may smile, as I did just now, at the emphatic proclamation of the Central Committee, but that does not prevent us from recognizing that its power is real, and the ferocious elements that it has so suddenly revealed are not without a certain grandeur. It might have been spitefully remarked that more than one patriot in his yesterday evening walk on the outer boulevards and in the environs of the Hotel de Ville, had taken more petit vin than was reasonable in honour of the Republic and of the Commune, but that has not prevented our feeling a surprise akin to admiration at the view of those battalions hastening from all quarters at some invisible signal, and ready at any moment to give up their lives to defend ... what? Their guns, and these guns were in their eyes the palpable symbols of their rights and liberties. During this time the heroic Assembly was pettifogging at Versailles, and the Government was going to join them. Paris does not follow those who fly.
The Butte-Montmartre is en fete. The weather is charming, and every one goes to see the cannon and inspect the barricades, Men, women, and children mount the hilly streets, and they all appear joyous ... for what, they cannot say themselves, but who can resist the charm of sunshine? If it rained, the city would be in mourning. Now the citizens have closed their shops and put on their best clothes, and are going to dine at the restaurant. These are the very enemies of disorder, the small shopkeepers and the humble citizens. Strange contradiction! But what would you have? the sun is so bright, the weather is so lovely. Yesterday no work was done because of the insurrection; it was like a Sunday. To-day therefore is the holiday-Monday of the insurrection.
[Illustration: BEHIND A BARRICADE: THIS MORNING MEAL—THIRTY SOUS A DAY AND NOTHING TO DO.]
In the midst of all these troubles, in which every one is borne along, without any knowledge of where he is drifting—with the Central Committee making proclamations on one side, and the Versailles Government training troops on the other, a few men have arisen who have spoken some words of reason. These men may be certain from this moment that they are approved of by Paris, and will be obeyed By Paris—by the honest and intelligent Paris—by the Paris which is ready to favour that side which can prove that it has the most justice in it.
The deputies and maires of Paris have placarded the following proclamation:—
“LIBERTE, EGALITE, FRATERNITE.