[Footnote 25: The result of the voting was made known at four o’clock on the 28th March. The papers devoted to the Commune asserted, on the following day, that two hundred and fifteen battalions were assembled on that day, and that the average strength of each corps was one thousand men. Who could have believed that the Place de l’Hotel de Ville was capable of accommodating so many! This farcical assertion of the two hundred and fifteen battalions has passed into a proverb.]
[Footnote 26: When they turned the butt-ends (crosses) of their guns in the air, as a sign they would not fight.]
“Citizens,” says the Official Journal this morning, “your Commune is constituted.” Then follows decree upon decree. White posters are being stuck up everywhere. Why are they at the Hotel de Ville, if not to publish decrees? The conscription is abolished. We shall see no more poor young fellows marching through the town with their numbers in their caps, and fired with that noble patriotism which is imbibed in the cabarets at so much a glass. We shall have no more soldiers, but to make up for that we shall all be National Guards. There’s a glorious decree, as Edgar Poe says. As to the landlords, their vexation is extreme; even the tenants do not seem so satisfied as they ought to be. Not to have to pay any rent is very delightful, certainly, but they scarcely dare believe in such good fortune. Thus when Orpheus, trying to rescue Eurydice from “the infernal regions,” interrupts with “his harmonious strains” the tortures of eternal punishment, Prometheus did not doubtless show as much delight as he ought to have done, on discovering that the beak of the vulture was no longer gnawing at his vitals, “scarcely daring to believe in such good fortune.” Orpheus is the Commune; Eurydice, Liberty; “the infernal regions,” the Government of the 4th September; “the harmonious strains,” the decrees of the Commune; Prometheus, the tenant; and the vulture, the landlord!
In plain terms, however—forgive me for joking on such a subject—the decree which annuls the payment of the rents for the quarters ending October 1870, January 1871, and April 1871, does not appear to me at all extravagant, and really I do not see what there is to object to in the following lines which accompany it:—