The Committee of the Federation of the National Guard, in order to render homage to truth, declare it was a stranger to these two executions.
At the present moment the ministries are constituted, the prefect of police has assumed his duties, the public offices are again active, and we invite all citizens to maintain the utmost calmness and order.”]
Crowds in the streets and promenades. This evening all the theatres will be re-opened. In the meantime the voting is going on. The weather is delightful, so I take a stroll along the promenades. Under the colonnade of the Chatelet there is a long line of electors awaiting their turn. I fancy that in this quarter the candidates of the Central Committee will be surely elected. Women, in bright-coloured dresses and fresh spring bonnets, are walking to and fro. I hear some one say that there are a great many cannon at the Hotel de Ville. Two friends meet together in the square of the Arts et Metiers.—“Are you alone, madame?” says one lady to another.—“Yes, madame; I am waiting for my husband, who is gone to vote.”
A child, who is skipping, cries out, “Mama, mama, what is the Commune?”
The fiacre drivers make the revolution an excuse for asking extravagant fares; this does not prevent their having very decided political opinions. One who, drove one would scarcely have been approved of by the Central Committee.—“Cocher, what is the fare?” I ask.—“Five francs, monsieur.”—“All right; take me to the mairie Place Saint-Sulpice.” —“Beg pardon, monsieur, but if you are going to vote, it will be ten francs!”
On the Boulevard de Strasbourg there are streams of people dressed in holiday attire; itinerant dealers in tops, pamphlets, souvenirs of the siege—bits of black bread, made on purpose, and framed and glazed, also bits of shells—and scented soap, and coloured pictures; crowds of beggars everywhere. In this part of the town the revolution looks very much like a fair.
At the mairie of the 6th Arrondissement there are very few people. I enter into conversation with one of the officials there. He tells me he has never seen voting carried on with greater spirit.
I meet a friend who has just returned from Belleville, and ask him the news, of course.—“The voting is progressing in capital order,” he tells me; “the men go up to the poll as they would mount the breach. They have no choice but to obey blindly.”—“The Central Committee?” I inquire.—“Yes, but the Committee itself only obeys orders.” —“Whose?”—“Why those of the International, of course.”