“I tell you, you shall not go!”—“But I will.”—“Well, you may, but not your furniture.”—“And who shall prevent my carrying off my furniture if I choose?”—“I will.”—“I defy you!”—“Thief!”—“Robber!”
This animated discussion was being carried on at the door of a house, in front of which a cart filled with furniture was standing; a crowd of street boys was fast assembling, and the heads of curious neighbours appeared grinning in all the windows.
A partizan of the Commune had determined to profit by the decree. Matters at first had seemed to go on quietly. The concierge, taken aback by the sudden apparition of the van, had not summoned up courage to prevent the furniture from being stowed away in it. The landlord, however, had got scent of the affair, and had hastened to this spot. Now, the tenant was a determined character, and as the van-men refused to mix themselves up in the fray, he himself shouldered his last article of furniture and carried it to the van. He was about to place it within cover of the awning, when the landlord, like a miser deprived of his treasure, seized it and deposited it on the pavement. The tenant re-grasped his spoil and thrust it again into the cart, from whence it was instantly drawn forth again by the enraged landlord. This game was carried on for some time, each as determined as the other, grasping; snatching, and pulling this unfortunate piece of furniture until one wrench, stronger than the former, entirely dislocated its component parts, and laid it in a ruined heap upon the ground. This was the moment for the tenant to show himself a man of spirit. Taking advantage of the surprise of the landlord, he swept the broken remains of his property deftly into the van, bounded on to the driver’s seat, shook the reins, cracked his whip, and started off at a thundering gallop, pursued by the huzzas of the crowd, the cries of the van-men, and the oaths of the disappointed landlord. The van and its team of lean cattle were soon lost to view, and the landlord was left alone on his doorstep, shaking his fist and muttering “Brigand!”
What a quantity of luggage! Even those who had the good fortune of witnessing the emigration before the siege would never have supposed that there could be so much luggage in Paris. Well-to-do looking trunks with brass ornaments, black wooden boxes, hairy trunks, leathern hat-boxes, and cardboard bonnet-boxes, portmanteaux and carpet bags are piled up on vehicles of every description, of which more than ten thousand block up the roads leading to the railway stations. Everybody is wild to get away; it is whispered about that the Commune, the horrid Commune, is about to issue a decree forbidding the Parisians to quit Paris. So all prudent individuals are making off, with their bank-notes and shares in their pocket-books. I see a man I know, walking very fast, wearing a troubled