Paris under the Commune eBook

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

At one o’clock this morning, the 5th of April, on my return from one of these nightly excursions through Paris, I was following the Rue du Mont Thabor so as to gain the boulevards, when on crossing the Rue Saint-Honore I perceived a small number of National Guards ranged along the pavement.  The incident was a common one, and I took no notice of it.  In the Rue du Mont Thabor not a person was to be seen; all was in silence and solitude.  Suddenly a door opened a few steps in front of me; a man came out and hurried away in the direction opposite to that of the church.  This departure looked like a flight.  I stopped and lent my attention.  Soon two National Guards rushed out by the same door, ran, shouting as they went, after the fugitive, who had had but a short start of them, and overtaking him, without difficulty brought him back between them, while the National Guards that I had seen in the Rue Saint-Honore ran up at the noise.  The exclamations and insults of all kinds that were vociferated led me to ascertain that the man they had arrested was the Abbe Deguerry, cure of the Madeleine.  He was dragged into the house, the door was shut, and all sank into silence again.

That morning I learned that Monseigneur Darboy, the Archbishop of Paris, was taken at the same hour and in almost similar circumstances.

[Illustration:  ABBE DEGUERRY, Cure of the Madeleine.]

The arrests of several other ecclesiastics are cited.  The cure of St. Severin and the cure of St. Eustache have been made prisoners, it is said; the first in his own house, the second at the moment when he was leaving his church.  The cure of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires was to have been arrested also, but warned in time, he was able to place himself in safety.

Monseigneur Darboy, being conducted to the ex-prefecture (why the ex-prefecture?  It seems to me it works just as well as when it was purely and simply a prefecture), was cross-examined there by the citizen delegate Rigault.  It must be said that Monsieur Rigault had begun to make himself talked about during these last few days.  He is evidently a man who has a natural vocation for the employment he has chosen, for he arrests, and arrests, and still arrests.  He is young, cold, and cynical.  But his cynicism does not exclude him from a certain gaiety, as we shall see.  It was the Citizen Rigault, then, who examined the Archbishop of Paris.  I am not inordinately curious, but I should very much like to know what the cynical member of the Commune could ask of Monseigneur Darboy.  Having committed apparently but one crime, that of being a priest, and having no inclination to disguise it, it is difficult to know what the interrogatory could turn upon.  Monsieur Rigault’s imagination furnished him no doubt with ample materials for the interview, and he has probably as much vocation for the part of a magistrate as for that of a police officer.  But however it may be, the journals of the Commune record this fragment with ill-disguised admiration.

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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