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.
related this to me:  Two enemies, a soldier of the line and a Federal, had an encounter in the bathing establishment of the Avenue de Neuilly, a little above the Rue des Huissiers.  Now pursuing, now flying from each other in their bayonet-fight, they reached the roof of the house, and there, flinging down their arms, they closed in a mad struggle.  On the sloping roof, the tiles of which crush beneath them, at a hundred feet from the ground, they struggled without mercy, without respite, until at last the soldier felt his strength give way, and endeavoured to escape from the gripe of his adversary.  Then, the Federal—­the person from whom I learnt this was at an opposite window and lost not a single one of their movements—­the Federal drew a knife from his pocket and prepared himself to strike his half-prostrate antagonist, who, feeling that all hope was lost, threw himself flat on the roof, seized his enemy by the leg, and dragging him with him by a sudden movement, they rolled over and fell on to the pavement below.  Neither was killed, but the soldier had his face crimsoned with blood and dust, and the Federal, who had fallen across his adversary, despatched him by plunging his knife in his chest.

Such is this infamous struggle!  Such is this savage strife!  Will it not cease until there is no more blood to shed?  In the meantime, Paris of the boulevards, the elegant and fast-living Paris, lounges, strolls, and smiles.  In spite of the numerous departures there are still enough blase dandies and beauties of light locks and lighter reputation to bring the blush to an honest man’s cheek.  The theatres are open; “La Piece du Pape” is being played.  Do you know “The Pope’s Money?” It is a suitable piece for diverting the thoughts from the horrors of civil war.  A year ago the Pope was supported by French bayonets, but his light coinage would not pass in Paris.  Now Papal zouaves are killing the citizens of Paris, and we take light silver and lighter paper.  The piece is flimsy enough.  It is not its political significance that makes it diverting, but the double-entendre therein.  One must laugh a little, you understand.  Men are dying out yonder, we might as well laugh a little here.  Low whispers in the baignoires, munching of sugared violets in the stage boxes—­everything’s for the best.  Mademoiselle Nenuphar (named so by antithesis) is said to have the most beautiful eyes in the world.  I will wager that that handsome man behind her has already compared them to mitraille shot, seeing the ravages they commit.  It would be impossible to be more complimentary,—­more witty and to the point.  Ah! look you, those who are fighting at this moment, who to-day by their cannon and chassepots are exposing Paris to a terrible revenge, guilty as these men are, I hold them higher than those who roar with laughter when the whole city is in despair, who have not even the modesty to hide their joys from our distresses, and who amuse themselves openly with shameless women, while mothers are weeping for their children!

Project Gutenberg
Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook