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.
of Mobiles making its round.  We question them as they pass.—­“Anything fresh?”—­“Nothing,” is the invariable reply.—­“How far have you been?”—­“As far as the Rue de la Paix,” they answer, and pass on.  Interrupted conversations are resumed, and the sleepers, who had been awakened by the noise, close their eyes again.  We are watching and waiting,—­may we watch and wait in vain!

XIII.

Never have I seen the dawn break with greater pleasure.  Almost everyone has some time in his life passed such sleepless nights, when it seems to him that the darkness will never disappear, and the desire for light and day becomes a fearful longing.  Never was dawn more grateful than after that wretched night.  And yet the fear of a disastrous collision did not disappear with the night.  It was even likely that the Federals might have waited for the morning to begin their attack, just when fatigue is greatest, sleep most difficult to fight against, and therefore discipline necessarily slackened.  Anyhow, the light seemed to reassure us; we could scarcely believe that the crime of civil war could be perpetrated in the day-time.  The night had been full of fears, the morning found us bright and happy.  Not all of us, however.  I smile as I remember an incident which occurred a little before daylight.  One of our comrades, who had been lying near me, got up, went out into the street, and paced up and down some time, as if to shake off cramp or cold.  My eyes followed him mechanically; he was walking in front of the houses, the backs of which look out upon the Passage des Panoramas, and as he did so he cast furtive glances through the open doorways.  He went into one, and came out with a disappointed expression on his face.  Having repeated this strange manoeuvre several times, he reached a porte-cochere that was down by the side of the Restaurant Catelain.  He remained a few minutes, then reappeared with a beaming countenance, and made straight for where I was standing, rubbing his hands gleefully.

“Monsieur,” said he, in a low voice, so as not to be overheard, “do you approve of this plan of action, which consists, in case of attack, of shooting from the windows on the assailants?”—­“A necessity of street fighting,” said I.  “Let us hope we shall not have to try it.”—­“Oh! of course; but I should have preferred it if they had taken other measures.”—­“Why?” I asked.—­“Why, you see, when we are in the houses the insurgents will try to force their way in.”—­I could not see what he was driving at, so I said, “Most probably.”—­“But if they do get in?” he insisted:—­“I will trust to our being reinforced from the Place de la Bourse before they can effect an entrance.”—­“Doubtless! doubtless!” he answered; but I saw he was anything but convinced.—­“But you know reinforcements often arrive too late, and if the Federals should get in, we shall be shot down like dogs in those rooms overhead!”—­I acknowledged that this

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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