“I had to wait nearly two years. On June 5, 1832, at noon, in front of the Madeleine, I was the first to unharness one of the horses of the hearse of General Lamarque. I passed the day in shouting, ’Long live Lafayette!’ and I passed the night in making barricades. The next morning we were attacked by the regulars. In the evening, towards four o’clock, we were blocked, cannonaded, swept with grape-shot, and crushed back into the Church of Saint-Mery. I had a bullet and three bayonet-stabs in my body when I was picked up by the soldiers from the stone floor of a little chapel to the left—the Chapel of St. John. I have often gone back to that little chapel—not to pray, I wasn’t brought up with such ideas—but to see the stains of my blood which still remain on the stones.
“On account of my youth I received a ten-year sentence. I was sent to Mont Saint-Michel. That was why I didn’t take part in the riots of 1834. If I had been free I should have fought in Rue Transnonian as I had fought in Rue Saint-Mery—’against the Government—always, always, always!’ It was my father’s last word; it was my gospel, my religion. I call that my catechism in six words. I came out of prison in 1842, and I again began to wait.
“The revolution of ’48 was made without effort. The shopkeepers were stupid and cowardly. They were neither for nor against us. The municipal guards alone defended themselves. We had a little trouble in taking the guard-house of the Chateau d’Eau. On the evening of February 24th I remained three or four hours on the square before the Hotel de Ville. The members of the Provisional Government, one after another, made speeches to us—said that we were heroes, great citizens, the foremost nation in the world, that we had broken the bonds of tyranny. After having fed us on these fine speeches, they gave us a republic which wasn’t any better than the monarchy we had overthrown.
“In June I took up my musket again, but on that occasion we were not successful. I was arrested, sentenced, and sent to Cayenne. It seems that I behaved well there. One day I saved a captain of marines from drowning. Observe that I should most certainly have shot at that captain if he had been on one side of a barricade and I on the other; but a man who is drowning, dying—in short, I received my pardon, I came back to France in 1852, after the Coup d’Etat; I had missed the insurrection of 1851.
“At Cayenne I had made friends with a tailor named Barnard. Six months after my departure for France, Barnard died. I went to see his widow. She was in want. I married her. We had a son in 1854—you will understand presently why I speak to you of my wife and my son. But you must already suspect that an insurgent who marries the widow of an insurgent does not have royalist children.
“Under the Empire there was nothing to do. The police were very strict. We were dispersed, disarmed. I worked, I brought up my son with the ideas that my father had given me. The wait was long. Rochefort, Gambetta, public reunions—all that put us in motion again.