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.

“Art. 6.  All prisoners of war will be summoned before the ’jury of accusation,’ who will decide whether they be immediately set at liberty or retained as hostages.”]

XXXI.

Flourens is dead:  we heard that last night for certain.  A National Guard had previously brought back the colonel’s horse from Bougival, but it was only a few hours ago that we heard any details.  An attempt was made to take him prisoner at Rueil.  A gendarme called out to him to surrender, he replied by a pistol shot; another gendarme advanced, and wounded him in the side, a third cleft his skull with a sabre out.  Some people do not believe in the pistol shot, and talk of assassination.  How many such events are there, the truth of which will never be clearly proved!  One thing certain is, that Flourens is dead.  His body was recognised at Versailles by some one in the service of Garnier freres.  His mother started this morning to fetch the corpse of her son.  It is strange that one is so painfully affected by the violent death of this man.  He has been mixed up in all the revolutionary attempts of the last few years, and ought to be particularly obnoxious to all peaceful and order-loving citizens; but the truth is, his was a sincerely ardent and enthusiastic spirit.  He was a thorough believer in the principles he maintained.  Whatever may be the religion he professes, the apostle inspires esteem, and the martyr compassion.  This apostle, this martyr, was born to affluence; son of an illustrious savant, he may be almost said to have been born to hereditary distinction.  He was still quite young when he threw himself heart and soul into politics.  There was fighting in Crete, and so off he went.  There he revolted against the revolt itself, got imprisoned, escaped, outwitted the gendarmes, got retaken:  his adventures sound like a legend or romance.  It is because he was so romantic, that he is so interesting.  He returned to France full of generous impulses.  He was as prodigal of his money as he had been of his blood.  In the bitter cold winters he fed and clothed the poor of Belleville, going from attic to attic with money and consolation.  You remember what Victor Hugo says of the sublime Pauline Roland.  The spirit of Flourens much resembled hers.  The patriot could act the part of a sister of charity.  At other times, an enthusiast in search of a social Eldorado, he would put himself at the service of the most forlorn cause; never was anyone so imprudent.  He was of a most active and critical disposition:  it was impossible for him to remain quiet.  When he was not seemingly employed, he was agitating something in the shade.  His friendship for Rochefort was great.  These two turbulent spirits, one with his pen, the other with his physical activity, remind us each of the other.  Both ran to extremes, Rochefort in his literary invectives, Flourens in his hairbreadth adventures.  Although they were often allied,

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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