Paris under the Commune eBook

John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.
“In consideration of the expenses of the war having been chiefly sustained by the industrial, commercial, and working portion of the population, it is but just that the proprietors of houses and land should also bear their part of the burthen....”

Let us talk it over together, Mr. Landlord.  You have a house and I live in it.  It is true that the chimneys smoke, and that you most energetically refuse to have them repaired.  However, the house is yours, and you possess most decidedly the right of making a profit by it.  Understand, once for all, that I never contest your right.  As for me, I depend upon my wit, I do not possess much, but I have a tool—­it may be either a pen, or a pencil, or a hammer—­which enables me, in the ordinary course of things, to live and to pay with more or less regularity my quarter’s rent.  If I had not possessed this tool, you would have taken good care not to let me inhabit your house or any part or portion thereof, because you would have considered me in no position to pay you your rent.  Now, during the war my tool has unquestionably rendered me but poor service.  It has remained ignobly idle in the inkstand, in the folio, or on the bench.  Not only have I been unable to use it, but I have also in some sort lost the knack of handling it; I must have some time to get myself into working order again.  While I was working but little, and eating less, what were you doing?  Oh!  I do not mean to say that you were as flourishing as in the triumphant days of the Empire, but still I have not heard of any considerable number of landlords being found begging at the corners of the streets, and I do not fancy you made yourselves conspicuous by your assiduous attendance at the Municipal Cantines.  I have even heard that you or many of your brother-landlords took pretty good care not to be in Paris during the Prussian siege, and that you contented yourselves with forming the most ardent wishes, for the final triumph of French arms, from beneath the wide-spreading oaks of your chateaux in Touraine and Beauce, or from the safe haven of a Normandy fishing village; while we, accompanied it is true by your most fervent prayers, took our turn at mounting guard, on the fortifications during the bitter cold nights, or knee-deep in the mud of the trenches.  However, I do not blame those who sought safety in flight; each person is free to do as he pleases; what I object to is your coming back and saying, “During seven or eight months you have done no work, you have been obliged to pawn your furniture to buy bread for your wife and children; I pity you from the bottom of my heart—­be so kind as to hand me over my three quarters’ rent.”  No, a thousand times no; such a demand is absurd, wicked, ridiculous; and I declare that if there is no possible compromise between the strict execution of the law and his decree of the Commune, I prefer, without the least hesitation, to abide by the latter; I prefer to see a little poverty

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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