In the midst of all this horror and terror I saw one little incident which made me smile, though it was sad too; an idyl which might be an elegy. Three hired carriages descended the Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. It was a wedding. In the first carriage was the bride, young and pretty, in tears; in the second, the bridegroom, looking anything but pleased. As the horses were proceeding slowly on account of the hill, I approached and inquired the cause of the discontent. A disagreeable circumstance had happened, the garcon d’honneur told me. They had been to the mairie to be married, but the mairie had been turned into a guard-house, and instead of the mairie and his clerks, they found soldiers of the Commune. The sergeant had offered to replace the municipal functionary, but the grands-parents had not consented to such an arrangement, and they were forced to return with the connubial knot still to be tied. An unhappy state of things. “Pooh!” said an old woman who was passing by, “they can marry to-morrow.—There is always time enough to commit suicide.”
It is true, they can marry to-morrow; but these young people wished to be married to-day. What are revolutions to them? What would it have mattered to the Commune had these lovers been united to-day? Is one ever sure of recovering happiness that has once escaped? Ah! this insurrection, I hate it for the men it has killed, and the widows it has made; and also for the sake of those pretty eyes that glistened with tears under the bridal wreath.
The mairie of the Second Arrondissement seems destined to be the centre of resistance to the Central Committee. The Federals have not been able, or have not dared, to occupy it. In the quarter of the Place de la Bourse and the Place des Victoires, National Guards have assembled and declared themselves Friends of Order. But they are few in number. Yesterday morning, the 23rd of March, they were reinforced by battalions that joined them, one by one, from all parts of Paris. They obey the orders, they say, of Admiral Saisset, raised to the superior command of the National Guard. It is believed that there are mitrailleuses within the Bourse and in the court of the Messageries. The massacre of the Rue de la Paix decided the most timorous. There is a determination to have done, by some means or other, with tyrants who represent in fact but a small part of the population of Paris, and who wish to dominate over the whole city. The preparations for resistance are being made between the Hotel de Ville on the one hand, where the members of the Committee are sitting, formidably defended, and the Place Vendome, crammed with insurgents, on the other. Is it civil war—civil war, with all its horrors, that is about to commence? A company of Gardes Mobiles has joined the battalions of Order. Pupils of the Ecole Polytechnique come and go between the mairie of the Second Arrondissement