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.
moment of surprise and disorder, which the victorious revolt had occasioned among the small number of hesitating soldiery which then constituted the whole of the French army; to surprise Versailles, inadequately defended, and seize, if it were possible, on the Assembly and the Government.  Your sudden revolution wanted to be followed up by a brusque attack, there would then have been some hope—­a faint one, I confess, but still a hope, and this plan of Bergeret, by the very reason of its audacity, should not have been condemned by you, who have only succeeded through violence and audacity, and can only go on prospering by the same means.  Now what do you mean to do?  To resist the whole of France?  To resist your enemies inside the walls, besides those enemies outside, who increase in numbers and confidence every day?  Your defeat is certain, and from this day forth is only a question of time.  You were decidedly wrong to put Bergeret “in the shade” as they say at the Hotel de Ville,—­firstly, because he amused us; and secondly, because he tried the only thing that could possibly have succeeded—­an enterprise worthy of a brilliant madman.


[Footnote 48:  General Bergeret, Member of the Central Committee, Delegate of War, &c., was a bookseller’s assistant.  He emerged in 1869 from a printing-office to support the irreconcileable candidates in the election meetings.

Events progressed, and on the 18th of March Victor Bergeret reappeared, resplendent in gold lace and embroidery, happy to have found at last a government, to which Jules Favre did not belong.

When Bergeret, who never had any higher grade than that of sergeant in the National Guard, was made general, he believed himself to be a soldier.  A friend of this pasteboard officer said one day, “If Bergeret were to live a hundred years, he would always swear he had been a general.”

On the 8th April, Victor Bergeret was arrested by order of the Executive Commission for having refused obedience to Cluseret, a general too, and his superior, and he was incarcerated in the prison of Mazas, where he remained for a short time, until the day when Cluseret was shut up there himself.  In fact, Cluseret went into the very cell which Bergeret had just quitted, and found an autograph note written on the wall by his predecessor, and addressed to himself.  The words ran thus:—­


“You have had me shut up here, and you will be here yourself before eight days are over.


On leaving the prison of Mazas, Bergeret was still kept a prisoner for a time in a magnificent apartment of the Hotel de Ville, decorated with gilded panneling and cerise-coloured satin.  His wife was allowed to join him here, and he also obtained permission to keep with him a little terrier, of which he was extremely fond.  Shortly afterwards he was reinstated, took his place again in the Communal Assembly, and was attached to the commission of war.  The beautiful palace of the president of the Corps Legislatif was now his residence, and there he delighted in receiving the friends who had known him when he was poor.  His invariable home-dress in palace as in prison, was red from head to foot:  red jacket, red trousers, and red Phrygian cap.

Project Gutenberg
Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook