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John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 389 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.

At a corner near the boulevards, a compact little knot of people is stationed in front of a poster.  I fancy they are studying the proclamation of one of the candidates, but it turns out only to be a play-bill.  The crowd continues to thicken; the cafes are crammed; gold chignons are plentiful enough at every table; here and there a red Garibaldi shirt is visible, like poppies amongst the corn.  Every now and then a horseman gallops wildly past with dispatches from one section to another.  The results of some of the elections are creeping out.  At Montrouge, Bercy, Batignolles, and the Marais, they tell us the members of the Central Committee are elected by a very large majority.  Here the hoarse voice of a boy strikes in,—­“Buy the account of the grand conspiracy of Citoyen Thiers against the Republic!” Then another chimes in with wares of a less political and more vulgar nature.  The movement to and fro and the excitement is extraordinary.  While the populace basks in the sun the destiny of the city is being decided.—­“M.  Desmarest is elected for the 9th Arrondissement,” says some one close to me.—­“Lesueur is capital in the ‘Partie de Piquet,’” says another.  Oh! people of Paris!

XIX.

It is over.  We have a “Municipal Council,” according to some; a “Commune,” according to others.  Not quite legally elected, but sufficiently so.  Eighty councillors, sixty of whom are quite unknown men.  Who can have recommended them, or, rather, imposed them on the electors?  Can there really be some occult power at work under cover of the ex-Central Committee?  Is the Commune only a pretext, and are we at the debut of a social and political revolution?  I overheard a partizan of the new doctrines say,—­“The Proletariat is vindicating its rights, which have been unjustly trampled on by the aristocratic bourgeoisie.  This is the workman’s 1789!”

Another person expresses the same thing in rather a different form.  “This is the revolt of the canaille against all kind of supremacy, the supremacy of fortune, and the supremacy of intellect.  The equality of man before the law has been acknowledged, now they want to proclaim the equality of intellect.  Soon universal suffrage will give place to the drawing of lots.  There was a time in Athens when the names of the archontes were taken haphazard out of a bag, like the numbers at loto.”

However, the revolution has not yet clearly defined its tendencies, and in the meantime what are we to think of the unknown beings who represent it?  A man in whom I have the greatest confidence, and who has passed his life in studying questions of social science, and who therefore has mixed in nearly all the revolutionary circles, and is personally acquainted with the chiefs, said to me just now, in speaking of the new Municipal Council,[23]—­“It will be an assemblage of a very motley character.  There will be much good and much bad in it.  We

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