[Illustration: RAOUL RIGAULT]
[Illustration: MONSEIGNEUR DARBOY, Archbishop of Paris.]
“My children”—the white-haired Archbishop of Paris is reported to have said at one moment.
“Citizen,” interrupted the Citizen Rigault, who is not yet thirty, “you are not before children, but before magistrates.”
That was smart! And I can conceive the enthusiasm with which Monsieur Rigault inspires the members of the Commune. But this excellent citizen did not confine himself to this haughty repartee. I am informed (and I have reason to believe with truth) that he added: “Moreover, that’s too old a tale. You have been trying it on these eighteen hundred years.”
Now everyone must admit that this is as remarkable for its wit as for its elegance, and it is just what might be expected of the amiable delegate, who, the other day, in a moment of exaggerated clemency, permitted an abbe to visit a prisoner in the Conciergerie, and furnished him with a laisser-passer that ran thus: “Admit the bearer, who styles himself the servant of one of the name of God.” Oh! what graceful, charming wit!
[Footnote 36: Rigault became connected with Rochefort in the year 1869, and with him was engaged on the journal called the Marseillaise, and produced articles which subjected him more than once to fine and imprisonment. In the month of September, 1870, he was appointed by the Government of the National Defence, Commissaire of Police, but having taken part in the insurrection of the 31st of October, he was, on the following day, dismissed from office. Shortly after this he made his appearance as a writer in Blanqui’s paper the Patrie en Danger; but, presently, he took a military turn, and got himself elected to the command of a battalion of the National Guard. He seems to have been born an informer or police spy, for we are told when at school, he used to amuse himself by filling up lists of proscriptions, with the names of his fellow-pupils. With such charming natural instincts, it is not at all surprising that he was on the 18th of March, appointed by the Commune Government, Prefect of Police.]
I am beginning to feel decidedly uncomfortable. This new decree of the Commune seriously endangers the liberty of all those who are so unfortunate as to have incurred the ill-will of their concierge, or whose dealings with his next-door neighbour have not been of a strictly amicable nature. Let us copy the 1st article of this ferocious decree.
“All persons accused
of complicity with the Government of Versailles
shall be immediately taken and incarcerated."