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.

[Footnote 40:  Flourens was born in 1838, and was the son of the well-known savant and physiologist of this name.  He completed his studies with brilliancy, and succeeded his father as professor of the College de France.  His opening lecture on the History of Man made a profound impression on the scientific world.  However, he retired from this post in 1864, and turned his undivided attention to the political questions of the day.  Deeply compromised by certain pamphlets written by him, he left France for Candia, where he espoused the popular cause against the Turks.  On his return to France he was imprisoned for three months for political offences.  Rochefort’s candidature was hotly supported by him.  In 1870 he rose against the Government, with a large force of the Belleville faubouriens.  He was prosecuted, and took refuge in London.  After the fourth of September he was placed at the head of five battalions of National Guards.  He was again imprisoned for having instigated the rising of October, and it was not till the twenty-second of March that he was set at liberty.  On the second of April he set out for Versailles at the head of an insurgent troop.  He was met midway by a mounted patrol, and in the melee that ensued he was killed.]

XXXII.

In the midst of so many horrible events, which interest the whole mass of the people, ought I to mention an incident which broke but one heart?  Yes, I think the sad episode is not without importance, even in so vast a picture.  It was a child’s funeral.  The little wooden coffin, scantily covered with a black pall, was not larger, as Theophile Gautier says, “than a violin case.”  There were few mourners.  A woman, the mother doubtless, in a black stuff dress and white crimped cap, holding by the hand a boy, who had not yet reached the age of sorrowing tears, and behind them a little knot of neighbours and friends.  The small procession crept along the wide street in the bright sunlight.

When it reached the church they found the door closed, and yet the money for the mass had been paid the night before, and the hour for the ceremony fixed.  One of the women went forward towards the door of the vestry, where she was met by a National Guard, who told her with a superfluity of oaths that she must not go in, that the ——­ cure, the sacristan, and all the d——­ fellows of the church were locked up, and that they would no longer have anything to do with patriots.  Then the mother approached and said, “But who will bury my poor child if the cure is in prison?” and then she began to weep bitterly at the thought that there would be no prayers put up for the good of the little spirit, and that no holy water would be sprinkled on its coffin.  Yes, members of the Commune, she wept, and she wept longer and more bitterly later at the cemetery, when she saw them lower the body of her child into the grave, without a prayer

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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