Pest! they do not mince matters! Why, the first good-for-nothing rascal—to whom, perhaps, I refused to lend five francs seven years ago—may go round to Citizen Rigault and tell him that I am in regular communication with Versailles, whereupon I am immediately incarcerated. For, I beg it may be observed, it is not necessary that the complicity with “the traitors” should be proved. The denunciation is quite sufficient for one to be sent to contemplate the blue sky through the bars of the Conciergerie. Besides, what do the words “complicity with the Government of Versailles” mean? All depends upon the way one looks at those things. I am not sure that I am innocent. I remember distinctly having several times bowed to a pleasant fellow—I say pleasant fellow, hoping that these lines will not fall under the observation of any one at the Prefecture of Police—who at this very moment is quite capable, the rogue, of eating a comfortable dinner at the Hotel des Reservoirs at Versailles in company with one or more of the members of the National Assembly. You can understand now why I am beginning to feel rather uncomfortable. To know a man who knows a deputy, constitutes, I am fully persuaded—otherwise I am unworthy to live under the paternal government of the Commune—a most decided complicity with the men of Versailles. I really think it would be only commonly prudent to steal out of Paris in a coal sack, as a friend of mine did the other day, or in some other agreeable fashion. See what may come of a bow!
[Footnote 37: DECREE CONCERNING THE SUSPECTED.
“Commune of Paris:
“Considering that the Government of Versailles has wantonly trampled on the rights of humanity, and set at defiance the rights of war; that it has perpetrated horrors such as even the invaders of our soil have shrunk from committing;
“Considering that the representatives of the Commune of Paris have an imperative duty devolving upon them,—that of defending the lives and honour of two millions of inhabitants, who have committed their destinies to their charge; and that it behoves them at once to take measures equal to the gravity of the situation;
“Considering that the politicians and magistrates of the city ought to reconcile the general weal with respect for public liberty,
“Art. 1. All persons charged with complicity with the Government of Versailles will be immediately brought to justice and incarcerated.
“Art. 2. A ‘jury, of accusation’ will be summoned within the twenty-four hours to examine the charges brought before it.
“Art. 3. The jury must pass sentence within the forty-eight hours.
“Art. 4. All the accused, convicted by the jury, will be retained as hostages by the People of Paris.
“Art. 6. Every execution of a prisoner of war, or of a member of the regular Government of the Commune of Paris, will be at once followed by the execution of a triple number of hostages, retained by virtue of article 4, who will be chosen by lot.