Paris under the Commune eBook

John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.

The avenue seemed more and more deserted as I advanced.  The shutters of all the houses were closed.  Here and there a passenger slipped along close to the walls of the houses, ready to take refuge within the street-doors, which had been left open by order, directly they heard the whizzing of a shell.  In front of the shop of a carriage-builder, securely closed, were piled heaps of rifles; most of the National Guards were stretched on the pavement fast asleep, while some few were walking up and down smoking their pipes, and others playing at the plebeian game of “bouchon."[46] I was told that a shell had burst a quarter of an hour before at the corner of the Rue de Morny.  A captain was seated there on the ground beside his wife, who had just brought him his breakfast; the poor fellow was literally cut in two, and the woman had been carried away to a neighbouring chemist’s shop dangerously wounded.  I was told she was still there, so I turned my steps in that direction.  A small group of people were assembled before the door.  I managed to get near, but saw nothing, as the poor thing had been carried into the surgery.  They told me that she had been wounded in the neck by a bit of the shell, and that she was now under the care of one of the surgeons of the Press Ambulance.  I then continued my walk up the avenue.  The cannonading, which had seemed to cease for some little time, now began again with greater intensity than ever.  Clouds of white smoke arose in the direction of the Porte Maillot, while bombs from Mont Valerien burst over the Arc de Triomphe.  On the right and left of me were companies of Federals.  A little further on a battalion, fully equipped, with blankets and saucepans strapped to their knapsacks, and loaves of bread stuck aloft on their bayonets, moved in the direction of Porte Maillot.  By the side of the captain in command of the first company marched a woman in a strange costume, the skirt of a vivandiere and the jacket of a National Guard, a Phrygian cap on her head, a chassepot in her hand, and a revolver stuck in her belt.  From the distance at which I was standing she looked both young and pretty.  I asked some Federals who she was; one told me she was the wife of Citizen Eudes,[47] a member of the Commune, and another that she was a newspaper seller in the Avenue des Ternes, whose child had been killed in the Rue des Acacias the night before by a fragment of a shell, and that she had sworn to revenge him.  It appeared the battalion was on its way to support the combatants at Neuilly, who were in want of help.  From what I hear the gendarmes and sergents de ville had fought their way as far as the Rue des Huissiers.  Now I had no doubt the Versailles generals had made use of the gendarmes and sergents de ville, who were most of them old and tried soldiers, but if in very truth they were wherever the imagination of the Federals persisted in placing them, they must either have been as numerous as the grains of sand on the sea-shore, or else their leaders must have found

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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