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600006976X 



PARIS IN PERIL. 



BALLAMTTIfS, HANSOM AMD Ca, BDWBVBGB 
CHAMXXM STMEKT, LONDON 



PARIS IN PERI 



\ 



EDITED BT 



HENRY VIZETELLY, 



*t 



AUTHOR OF 
SBl flVOBT or XHI DIAMOND ITIOKLAOl," ^'BKBLIN UVDIB TBI HEW SMPIBS/' 



it 



A HIBTOBT or OHAXPAaVB," RO. 



TRIlftb Sfsteen illustrations. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 



VOL. n. 



- \ 



<v 



22 AN 



«^ 



. .; . 



i;:i 



LONDON : 

iBT BR0THEE8, 8, CATHEBINE STREET, STRAND. 

1882. 

iAUrighiirmmd,] 




f)SL..-l 



/ ; 



ok\ 



CONTENTS 



OF 



THE SECOND VOLUME. 



Yn. "FROM GRAVE TO GAY." 

I. PARIS, A PLACE OF WAR 1 

II. SPIES AND SIGNALS 11 

III. QUEUES AND RATIONS 26 

IV. HALCONTENTS AND MANIFESTATIONS 40 

v. AMAZONS TO THE RESCUE 1 48 

VL JEREMIADS, JOURNALISM, JESTS, AND SATIRE ... 58 

VIIL EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

I. bazainb's treason and the bourget blunder . . 71 

II. THE GOVERNMENT IN PERIL 78 

III. THE FRUITS OF SEDITION 90 

IX. WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

L WHAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER 100 

II. THE BILL OF FARE 126 

m. POST-OFFICE TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS 140 

X « DEATH OR VICTORY V* 

I. TROCHU'S PLAN 152 

II. BOASTFUL DUCROT MAKES AN EFFORT 160 

IIL RUSES OF WAR 168 

IV. 'twixt hope and fear 172 

XL THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

I. "no surrender!" 181 

II. PARIS BOMBARDED 192 

IIL THE LAST SORTIE 212 



vi CONTENTS. 

XII. CONQUEEED BY FAMINE. 

I. THE HYDRA OF ANARCHY WAKES UP AGAIN . . • • 223 

II. ILLUSIONS AT AN END 239 

ni. PARIS CAPITULATES 244 

EPILOGUE 255 



ILLUSTEATIONS TO VOL. 11/ 

Wild Meat for Sale at a Butcher's Shop in the Boulevard 

Haussmann . • Frontispiece 

The French attackino the Barricade at Baoneux • ... 10 
Caricatures of the Period • 54 

Field-Marshal Thiers. 

Bismarck's Seven-League Boots. 

The Amazons Victorious. 
Caricatures of the Period 69 

Butcher William. 

King William bids Death March on. 

" First Catch your Rabbit !'* 

Hunger and Prudence. 

The Govsrnicent of National Defence in Peril 83 

Doos, Cats, and Rats for Sale 132 

Transcribing the Pigeon Despatches by the Electric Light 147 
SnooTiNa AN Elephant at the Jardin d'Acclimatation for 

Food 185 

After the Sortie : an Ambulance at Work 220 

Cabicatures of the Period 248 

The Lions and the Ass. 

The Mendacious Triumvirate. 

« Going Home Again*" 

" Vinoy, the Capitulator." 
The Corpses of Generals Clement Thomas and Lecomts • . 261 



PARIS IN PERIL. 



VII. 

"FROM GRAVE TO GAY/' 



I. PARTS, A PLACE OP WAE. 

Paris, invested by an immense army, isolated from 
the rest of the world, with an outer and an inner belt 
of fortifications, and inside the latter a complete net- 
work of barricades ; with 450,000 men under arms 
burning with patriotic enthusiasm, camping in all its 
open spaces, exercising on its boulevards, lining its 
ramparts, guarding its gates, parading its streets, 
crowding its cafes and restaurants — Paris, with the 
wreck of an Empire scarcely cleared away, and a 
Provisional Government incessantly assailed by a 
crowd of vain, crotchety, or envious Democrats, 
watching their opportunity to seize the reins of power, 
was, of course, no longer the gay and frivolous city of 
a few months previous. Luxury and display had 
ceased to flaunt there. Brilliant equipages, prancing 
horses, and liveried lacqueys had disappeared with 
their masters ; gone alike were the meilleur and demi- 
mondes, the grandes dames and the decorated marshals, 
the obsequious senators and the cringing deputies, the 
vieillards blasts and the jeunesse dor6e, the male and 
female mouchards, the petits crev^s, and the cocottes. 

VOL. II. 1 



2 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY." 

Advocates and journalists, who governed us, with 
National and Mobile Guards, were well-nigh the only 
classes apparent in the city. 

Walking along the streets one met with ten kdpis 
to one chapeau, with ten muskets to one walking-stick ; 
for chauvinisme and k(3pisme had apparently seized 
hold of the entire population, which having for many 
years played the soldier and shirked the reality, 
now found the latter staring them in the face. Un- 
fitted as the Parisian might hitherto have seemed for 
military life, at this juncture he strove his utmost 
to master its many difficulties, to put up with its many 
privations ; and under terrible pressure he proceeded 
to learn both how to kill and how to be killed by 
military art and rule. 

Not merely upon the ramparts were there visible 
and outward signs that Paris was a beleaguered city, 
though of course the enceinte displayed innumerable 
works of defence. Each gate had its drawbridge, the 
approach to which was mined, either in the ordinary 
fashion, with gunpowder, or else with torpedoes. 
Petroleum pumps, projecting a murderous flame for 
a distance of fifty yards, were also in readiness should 
the foe advance too near, and the electric light had 
been called into requisition to signal his approach. 
Casemates and shell-proof look-out ports, rows of bar- 
rels filled with sand or water, lines of fascines, bags of 
earth arranged on the parapets for the protection of 
sentries, palisades bristling around the moats, barri- 
cades forming a formidable inner line of defence — 
all these and many other protective works were 
here, guaranteeing the city from any sudden sur- 
prise. Guarding the ramparts were National Guards 
and Mobiles, forest keepers and coastguardsmen, ex- 



PARIS, A PLACE OF WAR. 3 

sergeants de ville and Franc-tireurs, military and naval 
artillerymen and volunteers, all vying with each other 
in the execution of their duties. Bustling with ani- 
mation throughout the daytime, at night the enceinte 
became hushed. No more laughing groups tippling 
at canteens ; no more passing battalions singing 
patriotic refrains ; no longer any sound from trumpet 
or from drum. The silence was broken only by 
the monotonous cry, *' Sentinelle prenez garde a vous,*' 
echoing mournfully along the walls; by the sudden 
"Qui vive?" which challenged some patrol, approach- 
ing with measured tread ; by the voice of the cannon 
roaring through the darkness ; or else, of the wind 
whistling around the barricades, gliding down the 
alleys of tents, groaning under the roofs of the case- 
mates, and crying around the drawbridges — making 
the flags flutter Uke phantoms, shaking the gratings, 
rushing through the battlements and hurrying with 
pitiful lamentations into the throats of the guns. 

Away from these ramparts, fortified with everything 
that French military engineering could devise, and 
manned by many thousands of the defenders of the 
city, there were still plentiful signs that Paris was a 
Place of War. Indeed, scarcely a street or corner 
could be found where something did not indicate 
the stirring situation in which the Parisians found 
themselves. The new Opera House, then uncom- 
pleted, had become a great military and provision 
depot ; whilst from the semaphore, installed upon its 
summit, between the gilded groups of Apollo and the 
muses, miUtary signals — perplexing to passers by — 
were being all day long exchanged with the Arc de 
Triomphe, the Ministry of Marine, the Pantheon, 
Montmartre, and Mont Val^rien. The vast railway' 

1—2 



4 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAYP 

workshops were turned into cannon foundries, the 
tobacco factories had become arsenals and cartridge 
shops, and at the Gait^ Theatre uniforms in thousands 
were being manufactured. Supplementing the three 
large military hospitals, the Val de Gr&ce, the Gros 
Caillou, and the R6collets, ambulances were every- 
where — at all the principal hotels void of guests, and 
whence many of the landlords had fled, at the huge 
Magasins de Nouveaut^s, lacking customers, and at 
the theatres of the Com6die Franpaise, the Od^on, the 
Vari^tfe, the Lyrique, the Porte St. Martin, Cluny, 
and Belleville. Such, indeed, was the plethora of 
ambulances that patients were actually touted for, 
and unemployed ambulance vans were in such profusion 
that the Magasins du Louvre, and similar establish- 
ments, sent home purchases in vehicles distinguished 
by the Eed Cross, and flying the flag adopted by the 
Convention of Geneva. The same flag waved over the 
Tuileries, the Luxembourg, the Elysee, the Palais 
Royal, the Palais de Justice, and the Palais de Tln- 
dustrie, whilst in the salons of the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs, where the Due de Gramont dictated the de- 
spatches which brought about the War, another 
ambulance was installed by order of M. Jules Favre ; 
the Corps L^gislatif — the scene of the mendacious 
utterances of Messrs. Ollivier, Leboeuf, and Palikao — 
being devoted to a similar purpose. Then there were 
yet other ambulances at the Mairies, the Lyc(5es, and 
the popular schools ; ambulances, too, at the railway 
stations, and even nigh to the wild-beast cages at the 
Jardin des Plantes ; ambulances— these most extensive 
— of the French Press; together with Catholic, 
Protestant and Jewish ambulances, and various 
Foreign ones — Italian, Swiss, Austrian, and American 



PARIS, A PLACE OF WAR. 5 

— not to mention innumerable private establishments ; 
for anybody, allotting a few beds in his house to the 
wounded, might hang out the Red Cross flag. At these 
varied places of succour, frferes and sceurs of the chari- 
table communities, with priests and ladies, tendered 
gratuitous attendance upon the wounded ; but ere long 
the papers complained that a number of young men — 
emasculated petits crev^s, and such like — ^hooked them- 
selves on to the ambulances merely to avoid military 
duty ; and eventually the " women of Paris," having 
interviewed Citizen Eochefort on the subject, the police 
received orders to arrest any one wearing the Red 
Cross who was unable to produce an official certificate 
as infirmier or surgeon. 

Not merely with ambulances was Paris replete at 
this epoch, but also with rpilitary camps. The 
Tuileries garden, for instance, had become an artillery 
bivouac. All who have visited Paris are acquainted 
with its usual aspect — to-day much the same as in 
Imperial times. Familar, indeed, are its fountains and 
blooming flower beds, marble statues, and terraced 
walks ; its long avenues of lofty lime trees, amongst 
which the band plays of a summer's afternoon, whilst 
old rentiers quietly dose over the papers, and matronly 
fl^gantes exercise their fingers with embroidery, 
and their tongues with chit-cliat. Here youth ex- 
changes many a loving vow, and childhood — French 
childhood, brightly dressed and daintily demure — plays 
at hoop and ball ; the coquettish bonnes, unmindful 
of their charges, flirting meanwhile with Messieurs 
les Militaires. But war transformed the customary 
scene whilst Paris was besieged. Saddles and bridles 
hung to all the marble statues, horses were picketed 
under the tall limes, field pieces and ammunition 



6 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY.'' 

waggons were ranged in all the open spaces, and the 
men loitered round the camp fires, pending the trumpet 
sound which was to summon them into action. Crossing 
the Place de la Concorde, and entering the Champs 
Elysdes, one found the caf(^ chantants all closed, the 
garden of the Concert Musard given up to Gardes 
Mobiles, cartridges being made in the whilom Cirque 
de rimp^ratrice, cavalry camping both round the 
Panorama and in the Cours la Reine ; nigh to which, 
moreover, there were still, at this epoch, cattle sheds 
and sheep pens, destined soon — too soon — to become 
tenantless. Passing by the Arc de Triomphe, capped 
by an important semaphore, one found the Avenue de 
la Grande Arm^e covered with whitey-brown tents, 
wherein Vinoy's soldiers camped on their arrival in 
Paris after the disaster of Sedan. Tents had also 
sprung up all over the ci-devant Avenue de Tlmpferatrice 
and on the pleasure grounds on either side of this 
famous drive. Gone were the elegantly dressed pe- 
destrians and the stylish equipages — the huits ressorts 
and the daumonts, and all the demi mondain ''boudoirs 
on four wheels." The tour du lac was a thing of the 
past, and the Bois de Boulogne, bereft already of many 
of its trees, was given over to soldiers and foresters, 
who dragged the lakes of their remaining fish, and 
shot such deer and fowl — both tame and wild — as 
still found shelter within the precincts of the wood. 

On the outer boulevards there were long lines of 
wooden huts, in which Mobiles from the departments 
were quartered, and also vast enclosures, containing 
large droves of cattle and flocks of sheep. Frowning 
batteries occupied the pleasure gardens on the top of 
Montmartre, where the dwellers by the barricres 
previously went to dance. Artillery, with horses and 



PARIS, A PLACE OF WAR. 7 

waggons, bivouacked in the Jardin des Plantes, beside 
the ambulances and the caged wild beasts. On the 
esplanade of the Invalides other soldiers were encamped 
in painted baraques, which had lined the boulevards 
on the previous Jour de TAn ; whilst the Champ de 
Mars was surrounded with military huts, and its whole 
surface covered with tents, vehicles, artillery and 
military stores. The mile of arches of the Auteuil 
railway viaduct sheltered Breton Gardes Mobiles, and 
here — where the river bank was defended by formidable 
earthworks and palisades, whilst piles had been driven 
in front of the arches of the bridge to bar the passage of 
the stream — the armed flotilla of five gun boats 
and three floating batteries, charged with defending 
the Seine, might be seen lying at anchor.* 

Of course, marching and drilling were going on all 
over the city. At times the whole line of the Champs 
Elysfes was occupied by awkward squads undergoing 
primary instruction in the handling of the Chassep6t 
and the tabati^re, learning the " goose step,'' march- 
ing and countermarching, manoeuvring between the 
chairs and benches, skirmishing among the trees 
and toy-stalls, now charging, now retreating from 
advancing vehicles, then facing about and pretending 
to fire in platoons, to the alarm of early nursemaids, 
who scampered oflF with their charges from sharpshooters 
deploying at the double quick. One had, in fact, only 
to step into the nearest open space, in which there was 

* The principal vesBel of this flotilla, which sabaequently assisted 
at the attacks upon the Prussian works at Meudon and St. Cloud, 
was the Farcy^ which took its name from its inventor, by whom it 
was commanded ; it carried a cannon of ten inches bore, which 
threw a projectile weighing upwards of d cwt. a distance between 
five and six miles. 



8 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY.'' 

room for drill, to find it full of energy and life. Eound 
about the Madeleine squads of patient provincial 
Gardes Mobiles, or of less amenable Parisian National 
Guards, might constantly be found learning the 
alphabet of their new profession. Even that ordinarily 
lazy lounge, the Palais Eoyal Garden, assumed a 
warlike aspect ; and, as in the earlier days the National 
Guards came to their drill in all varieties of civilian 
undress, the effect produced upon the spectator by this 
preliminary exercise was singular in the extreme. 

There came yet another phase in the aspect of Paris 
as a Place of War. A platform and a canopy were set 
up in front of thePantheon, or Church of St. Genevifeve, 
where Mirabeau, Voltaire, and Eousseau were buried 
— a temple dedicated to the glory of great Frenchmen. 
From this pavilion there hung forth a black banner of 
mourning for the capture of Strasburg and Chateaudun, 
whilst inscriptions reminded Frenchmen of the year 
1792, the commencement of their great revolutionary 
war, as preceding the date 1870, when they were called 
upon for still greater military efforts of patriotic 
devotion. Inscribed upt>n a band of white linen ran 
the stirring words, " Citizens, the country is in danger,'* 
calling to mind the old song of the first Bepublic : 

'' La patrie est en danger ! 
Affligez-TouB, jeunes fillettes. 

La patrie est en danger ! 
Tons lea gar9on8 vont s'engager. 
Ne crojez pas que T^tranger 
Vienne pour voiu conter fleurettea. 

II yient pour yous forger, 

La patrie est en danger ! " 

Upon the platform were various officers of the 
National Guard, with Dr. Bertillon, the Mayor of the 
Arrondissement, and the clerks, whose business was to 



PARIS, A PLACE OF WAR. 9 

enrol the names • of all who were willing to join the 
marching battalions* and to make themselves disposable^ 
not merely for local service, but for any action that 
may be required. The proceeding was constantly 
witnessed and applauded by a multitude of spectators, 
many of whom were the friends, parents, sisters, wives, 
or sweethearts of the young men who thus gave proof of 
their spirit. The drum beat at intervals, as the work 
went on, to arouse the attention of all within hearing, 
and frequently there marched up an entire battalion of 
National Guard, which inscribed itself in toto on the 
register. 

Such was the internal aspect of Paris, from a mili- 
tary point of view, during the earlier times of the 
siege. Meanwhile, the forts, mostly manned by the 
regular troops and the naval contingents, were busy 
firing upon the enemy, who were entrenching them- 
selves on the heights, and in the woods and villages 
around the city. After the preliminary fight at 
Ch&tillon (Sept. 19), no fresh sortie or reconnaissance 
— as the earlier advances upon the German positions 
were more modestly termed; it being the fashion^ 
moreover, with the military authorities to call a sortie 
a reconnaissance when it failed — was made till 
September 23, when General Vinoy ventured to 
occupy the village of Villejuif, to the direct south of 
the city. On the same day, the Germans were driven 
out of Pierrefitte, a village in advance of St. Denis ; 
and various trifling reconnaissances subsequently took 

* This division of the National Guard was instituted by General 
Trochu, by decrees dated Oct. 15th and 19th. The marching bat- 
talions, as their name implies, were to participate in the various 
reconnaiseances and sorties. The National Guards, not forming 
part of these battalions, merely did duty within the city. 



lo ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY:* 

place in the direction of Neuilly-sur-Mame and the 
Plateau d'Avron, on the east of Paris. September 
30th saw the fights of L'Hay and Chevilly, on the 
south, when the French were repulsed, and one of 
their brigadier-generals, Guilhem, killed. Following 
these encounters came another combat at Chatillon, 
prefaced by a desperate fight at Bagneux, when the 
ill-fated Count de -Dampierre — a leading member of 
the French Jockey Club, and commander of the C6te 
d'Or Gardes Mobiles — lost his life in an heroic 
endeavour to seize a Prussian barricade, bristling 
with cannon, garnished with infantry, and protected, 
moreover, by the enemy's sharpshooters, installed in 
the adjoining houses. Though this was at last 
captured, the French were subsequently again re- 
pulsed, and, on returning into Paris, they found the 
western portion .of the city lit up by the glare of fire. 
A shell — from Mont Val^rien, it is said — had set the 
famous Palace of St. Cloud in flames. The battle at 
La Malmaison (west of Paris), on October 21st — when 
5,000 men, under General Ducrot, fought for four 
hours, and at one moment carried some of the enemy's 
positions — was no longer termed a reconnaissance. 
The Parisians were sick of the word ; hence this ex- 
pedition was designated a '^ sortie ;" the loss of two 
field pieces and of over 400 men giving it a some- 
what serious aspect. The real object of these 
preliminary fights was to enlarge the circle of invest- 
ment ; but this purpose was not attained, as on every 
occasion of note the Parisian army returned with 
hundreds of dead and wounded, and without having 
gained an inch of ground worth having. The official 
reports, and the newspaper accounts, consoled the 
Parisians by expatiating on the '' good conduct and 



SPIES AND SIGNALS. 1 1 

excellent bearing of the troops," and on the fact that 
" their retreat had been accomplished in good order ;" 
with the inevitable addendum that '' considerable losses 
had been inflicted on the enemy." Meanwhile, it was 
reported, in a semi-official manner, throughout the 
city, that " these fights had no object beyond trying 
and hardening the troops before leading them, in a 
short time, into more important engagements/' 

11. SPIES AND SIGNALS. 

Prior to the investment of the city — indeed, almost 
as soon as the war commenced — ^the Parisians became 
afflicted with a peculiar craze, christened spyophobia, 
and recalling, in a measure, one of the most notable 
features of the Reign of Terror. This delusion — the 
infatuated victims of which conscientiously believed 
Paris to be choke-full of German spies — was heralded, 
at the epoch of the first French reverses, by the familiar 
cry, "We are betrayed!" The Parisians, in their 
anxiety to discover and punish their betrayers, grew 
suspicious of everyone and everything around them, 
and food was found for the spy-hunter's exaggerated 
zeal among his own compatriots, as well as among the 
many harmless foreigners sojourning in Paris. Of 
course, with such a mania abroad, any kind of extra- 
neous accent or appearance fuiiiished particular 
grounds for suspicion, it being all the same to the 
spyophagist whether his victim was a Briton or a 
Belgian, a Chinaman or a Chilian, a Dane or a Dutch- 
man, a Greenlander or a Greek, a Pole or a Portuguese, 
a Swede or a Spaniard, a Turk or a Yankee ; for he had 
lost sight of all other nationalities save his own and 
that of the enemy. Woe to the unlucky wight, pro- 



12 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY.'' 

vincial or foreigner, who ventured to point at any object 
out of doors, to look at the name of a street, to take a 
note, or to ask for the slightest information ! He was 
almost inevitably arrested, and, indeed, his life was 
frequently placed in peril ; for even if he was so 
fortunate as to escape all violence at the hands of 
his captors, he was frequently confined for several 
hours in the company of rogues and drunkards, who, 
being seized with a sudden fit of patriotism, would 
revenge themselves for their own incarceration by 
maltreating the presumed Prussian spy. The purest 
patriots and the most exalted personalities were alike 
powerless to secure immunity from suspicion, and 
prior to the commencement of the siege, even General 
Trochu himself (Governor of Paris, and Commander- 
in-Chief as he was) experienced the consequences of 
this contagious craze. 

That over-zealous individual, the National Guard — 
well worthy of Talleyrand's celebrated rebuff — spotted 
spies amongst his own comrades, as well as in the 
ranks of the Garde Mobile, and the Gendarmerie. The 
comparatively unknown undress of a French admiral 
was in his eyes undoubtedly a Prussian uniform. He 
pounced upon many a provincial sapeur pompier and 
many an Alsatian working-man, accusing them of 
connivance with the foe. The cocotte and the sister 
of charity were particular objects of his distrust, and 
he, moreover, hunted for secret despatches or contra- 
band arms in the basket of the rag-picker, and even 
accused the inoffensive pecheur a la ligne — seeking to 
supplement his meagre rations with a dish of gudgeon 
— of making the exercise of the gentle art a pretext 
for spying out the weak points in the defences of the 
Seine. Even by assuming an air of the utmost in- 



SPIES AND SIGNALS. 13 

difference to everything around, one could not always 
steer clear of the spy -hunter's persecutions; whilst 
the possession of laisser-passers and papers proving 
one's identity was really no protection whatever. 
" Prussian spies were so cunning/' it was said, " they 
were precisely the persons to have papers, either forged 
or stolen, about them." 

Among the earlier victims of the mania were four 
grandes dames, Mmes. de Pourtales and de Bah^gue, 
the Duchess Tascher de la Fagerie, and the Countess 
Stephanie Tascher — who, so one was told, had all been 
in active communication with the enemy. Indeed, it 
was stated that the first two were in confinement at 
the Ch&teau de Vincennes, and that they would in- 
evitably be shot, as court-martials knew of no excep- 
tion for the fair sex. These assertions created quite a 
stir in Paris, and the Parisians looked anxiously 
forward to the military execution of these 616gantes, 
who but a short time previously had been among the 
most brilliant ornaments of the Imperial Court. 

A momentary abatemeJnt of the craze followed the 
decree expelling from France all the Grerman subjects 
hitherto resident in the country. In Paris, many 
thousands of Germans obeyed this order to quit,* 
among them being a perfect swarm of hotel, caf(5, 
and restaurant waiters — the Grand H6tel alone losing 
thirty-five gar^ons of Teutonic origin at one fell 
swoop. The German waiter had long throve in Paris; 
for the gift of languages, which he almost invariably 

* Prdyious to this decree of expulsion, it was estimated that 
there were 188,000 Germans resident in Paris. In the month of 
Janoarj, 1871, prior to the capitulation, the city still sheltered a 
German colony of about 700 persons — mainly invalids, old men, 
and children, who had been unable to obey the decree of expulsion. 



14 " FROM GRA VE TO GA K" 

possessed, made him particularly useful in establish- 
ments frequented by foreigners. Prior to the German 
exodus> it may be mentioned, the landlord of a cafd 
and hotel in the Champs Elys6es — a Prussian by birth 
— was nearly murdered by his own customers for 
having imprudently expressed a belief in the eventual 
triumph of the Fatherland. Every day throughout 
the month of August the newspapers teemed with 
accounts of how spies had been arrested — now, whilst 
walking on the boulevard in military disguise : now, 
whilst riding by the Champ de Mars and inspecting 
the manoeuvres of the troops; and now, whilst prowling 
round about the fortifications in ouvrier costume. 
One day an unfortunate Spaniard was hustled, dragged, 
and cuflFed by an excited crowd in the Palais Royal. 
On another occasion, an elderly man, hard-featured 
and unusually tall, was mobbed on the pretext that 
he must be of the opposite sex — and consequently a 
Prussian spy. The Figaro even started the idea that 
most of the blind beggars in Paris were spies, with 
the result that a number of poor creatures, infirm and 
old, were odiously maltreated by an excited populace. 
Another organ of public opinion — a fugitive periodical 
called Lea NouveUes — published an article entitled 
"English Spies," and proposed that to simplify the 
question of whether the English in Paris were spies 
or not, they should all of them at once be shot. In 
consequence of this suggestion a disagreeable adven- 
ture befell an English journalist, who was accused 
of being a spy, whilst in the midst of a crowd on the 
boulevards. He succeeded in mounting on a chair, 
and explained that he was purely and simply a 
" journaliste Anglais " — pointing out, at the same time, 
to the excited citizens around him, that tbey ought 



SPIES AND SIGNALS. 15 

to be grateful for his remaining in Paris. " If any 
one doubts me," he added, " let us go to the nearest 
commissary of police." For once in a way the crowd 
was satisfied with their victim's explanation, and afker 
shaking hands with the ""joumaliste Anglais" (none 
other than Mr. Labouchere), they allowed him to 
depart in peace. Mr. George Augustus Sala was, 
however, far less fortunate than the " Besieged Resi- 
dent." Arrested as a spy on the eve of the Revolution 
of September 4, he was cast into a filthy cell at the 
police post of the Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, which 
was abeady crowded with ruffians accused of crimes 
of violence, thieves, and vagabonds of the very lowest 
description. Depraved and vitiated as these denizens 
of the police post might be, they were stiU Frenchmen ; 
and in their patriotic abhorrence of the Prussian spy, 
they subjected the genial author of "Paris Herself 
Again " to a series of the grossest outrages, of which 
he subsequently wrote ''that he shuddered to recall 
them, and that many of them he could not record." 
It was only through Lord Lyons 's agency that, after a 
series of vicissitudes, Mr. Sala was eventually set at 
liberty by the Prefect of Police, who, at the moment 
of signing the order for his release, was actually pre- 
paring for flight — ^for the hours of the Second Empire 
were numbered, and the advent of the Republic was 
at hand. 

HI treated as Mr. Sala undoubtedly was, he still 
managed to escape with life. Some victims of the 
spy mania were less fortunate. One day, it is re- 
corded, "a wretched ^goutier working about the 
sewers was seen by a zealous National Guard, who at 
once gave an alarm. Three hundred more National 
Guards turned out and stalked the ^goutier, who was 



i6 « FROM GRA VE TO GA K" 

blown to pieces the next time he put Lis head out 
of the sewer. The mistake was regretted, but the 
consolation was volunteered that it was far better that 
a hundred innocent men should suffer than that one 
Prussian should escape."* During the war there 
were, of course, in different parts of Prance, numerous 
arrests of individuals who were really in communica- 
tion with the enemy; but in Paris the number of 
these was very limited. On the same Monday after- 
noon that the telegraphic communication of the 
French capital with the rest of the world was cut 
off by the advancing Germans, a spy, disguised as a 
gendarme, was seized at Vanves, just outside the city ; 
and in this instance, when the individual arrested 
saw there was no escape possible, he admitted that he 
was really a Prussian. Among the other authentic 
cases, two may be selected as presenting some curious 
features. In the first instance, a captain of a company 
of Prancs-tireurs, who had received his appointment 
from the municipality of Neuilly on his representation 
that he was a relative of no less a personage than 
Marshal Macmahon, eventually proved to be a German 
ofiicer ; and on the second occasion, it was discovered 
that the secretary of M. Etienne Arago, Mayor of Paris, 
a young fellow between five-and-twenty and thiriy 
years of age, whom Rochefort was protecting in 
ignorance of his Teutonic origin, was drawing up 
private reports of everjrthing which came under his 
observation, for the benefit of the Prussian Govern- 
ment. Hardt, the ex-Prussian lieutenant who, being 
sentenced to death by a council of war, was shot early 
one morning in an enclosed court of the Ecole Mili- 

♦ Morning Post, October 6, 1870. 



/, 



SPIES AND SIGNALS. 17 

taire, was not apprehended in Paris, but at Pouilly, 
between Orleans and Bourges. As in many instences 
presumed spies arrested in Paris speedily proved that 
they were nothing of the sort, the newspapers en- 
deavoured to show that if a few mistakes were made^ 
there were yet numerous instances of bond-fide spies 
being apprehended. We were even told one morning 
that on the preceding day nineteen spies had been 
shot in the moat of the Fort of Montrouge ; but the 
account of this military execution, circumstantial as it 
was, eventually proved to be entirely false. Equally 
groundless was the absurd story that all the gas- 
lighters in Paris were Prussians in disguise; and 
most of the anecdotes of Grermans, arrayed in French 
uniforms, visiting the detached forts and the ramparts, 
were simply fabricated by journalists eager to foster 
the popular mania. 

Contradicted and disproved as these ^' nouvelles k la 
main" might be, they still retained a magnetic attrac- 
tion for the Parisians, who, closing their ears to truth, 
eagerly swallowed the most improbable '* canards.'' 
Prior to the investment the papers told them that, 
as telegrams in cipher were placed under interdict, the 
spies were making use of a special vocabulary, in which 
each word had a different signification to that given 
in ordinary dictionaries; the phrase "I saw your 
uncle yesterday," implying " The Guard left to-day," 
and so on. Then, " an old French spy " wrote to the 
Mgaro and denounced every tenth inhabitant in the 
city as '' suspect." A proposition was also made that 
outside the door of each house in Paris a board should 
be hung indicating the name, profession, nationality 
and age of the various tenants ; and one excited spy- 
hunter suggested that all the abandoned villa residences 

VOL. II. 2 



x8 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY." 

in the environs of the capital were probably in the 
occupation of German spijBs, who were doubtless ex- 
<5avating from one of these points a subterranean way 
into the city. One report (and apparently a true one) 
which caused the greatest sensation in Paris, was to 
the effect that, when Prince Albreoht of Prussia arrived 
with a detachment of troops at Provins, he at once 
requisitioned eighteen suits of clothes, such as are worn 
by the French peasantry, for the purpose of transform- 
ing a like number of the men under his command into 
as many spies. 

In the neighbourhood of the ramparts — those bul- 
warks which were " to stem the irruption of the bar- 
barian hordes bent on the destruction of civilization 
itself" — the spy mania continued to flourish through- 
out the siege. Even Marshal Vaillant — albeit Member 
of the Committee of Defence — was apprehended whilst 
visiting the fortifications; but in this instance the 
victim's Imperialist antecedents had more to do with 
his arrest than the presumption that he was in commu- 
nication with the enemy. He was only set at liberty 
after being taken to the residence of Greneral Trochu, 
who was by this incident led to issue the following 
order of the day : — 

<< For some days past the National Guards on duty in the capital, 
especially at the gates of the fortifications and on the ramparts, 
carried away by their zealous care of the interests entrusted to their 
protection, have interpreted their orders with a degree of rigour 
that may be prejudicial to the defence. Engineers, and many agents 
of different orders— even officers in uniform, some being engaged in 
important missions, and all having official permits — have been 
stopped and impeded in their duties. It has even occurred thkt 
vehicles laden with useful materials have been stopped. These 
proceedings cause great difficulty to various branches of the public 
service engaged in promoting the national defence. It is important 
that the commanders of posts should free the minds of their sub- 



SPIES AND SIGNALS. 19 

-ordinates from apprehensions and mistrusts which are not justified 
by facts." 

The lamented Comte de No^, better known as 
"Cham," the caricaturist, in which capacity he de- 
lighted with his humorous pencil three generations 
of Parisians, was also apprehended as a spy whilst 
strolling near the ramparts at Clichy. No papers being 
found upon his person, he was asked his name, and on 
his giving that of De Nod, loud shouts arose of " Death 
to the spy ! Hear his frightful accent ! " The witty 
artist was of course a Frenchman, but he did not speak 
his native tongue perfectly correctly; for he was afflicted 
with a slight English accent, acquired by a prolonged 
sojourn across the Channel in the days of his youth. 
A National Gruard happened to recognize him in his 
artistic capacity, and told the mob that he was "Cham,** 
the caricaturist ; still, as he had given his real name, 
and not his pseudonym, the crowd persisted in believ- 
ing him to be a Prussian spy, and an officer had to 
intervene to rescue him from the hands of his excited 
captors. 

Mr. O'Sullivan, ex-United States Minister at Lisbon, 
was another notable victim of the spy mania. When 
the advance of the German army upon Paris became 
known, he made, in a non-official capacity, a fruitless 
effort to secure a suspension of hostilities. Provided 
with a letter from Mr. Washburn (United States 
Minister in Paris) to General Sherman, who was 
attached to the German staff, he started for the enemy's 
head-quarters, but was arrested a first time as a spy 
just outside the capital. On being set at liberty 
by M. Jules Favre, he made a second attempt, and on 
this occasion succeeded in reaching the Grand Duke 
of Mecklenburg's head-quarters^ He was not allowed 

2—2 



ao ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY:' 

to proceed to the German quartier g^n^ral, and finding 
all chances of obtaining an armistice quite hopeless he 
set out again for Paris. On reaching the Fort of 
Aubervilliers he was again arrested as a spy, conducted 
into the city, and imprisoned at Mazas until released 
by an order of the Government. His efforts in 
favour of France produced no other fruit than ill- 
treatment at the hands of the people he was so 
desirous to serve. 

At a later epoch, Suzanne Lagier, the vocalist, 
brought about the arrest of a Pole, who, so she swore, 
W4S in communication with the enemy. This individual 
was none other than Dombrowski, who became a 
general under the Commune of Paris, and who was 
supposed to have been killed when the regular troops 
entered the capital. He has, however, since turned up 
in London in connection with a case of forging 
Russian bank-notes. At the moment of his power in 
1871, he revenged himself upon Madame Lagier by 
having her arrested, in her turn, and she might have 
shared the fate of the hostages, had not Delescluze 
intervened and procured her release. The instances 
of women arresting men as Prussian spies were not 
rare during the siege; but contrary cases were far 
more frequent. A certain Madame de Beaulieu, who 
had joined a regiment of Mobiles as cantiniere — ^less 
with the view of catering to their thirst than with 
that of tending the wounded on the battle-field — was 
denounced as a spy simply because her hands were "so 
white ;" and she actually remained in confinement for 
four days at the Prefecture of Police. Another lady, 
who kept an ambulance in the Eue de Bagneux, was 
similarly treated; and a third, who wore the Red 
Cross brassard, was, during the earlier part of the 



SPIES AND SIGNALS. ai 

siege, dragged from her carriage while driving in the 
vicinity of the fortifications, merely because her coach- 
man was looking in a direction where some firing was 
going on. 

One of the most disconsolate individuals of this 
epoch was M. Alexis Godillot, the well-known array 
tailor and contractor for military equipments. In 
a letter which he wrote to the papers complaining of 
the unjust charges brought against him, he recalled 
the fact that for years and years he had been the 
object of slanderous aspersions. During the reign of 
Louis Philippe it was discovered that his features 
presented an extraordinary likeness to those of the 
Due d'Aumale ; and his enemies, refusing to regard 
this as a chance occurrence, asserted that he was an 
illegitimate scion of the House of Orleans, in which 
capacity he doubtless received a large allowance from 
the king. From this supposition, and its attendant 
ennuis, M. Grodillot thought himself delivered when 
the Republic was proclaimed in 1848; but before 
long he found his person compared to that of Greneral 
Cavaignac, and absurd rumours of a possible relation- 
ship again being circulated. Cavaignac fell, Louis- 
Napoleon governed in his stead, and the Second 
Empire was installed. M. Godillot breathed again. 
He was powerless, however, to escape the pursuit 
of Nemesis, and after being likened to the Due 
d'Aumale and to Greneral Cavaignac, it was now 
insinuated that so marked was his resemblance to 
Napoleon III. that he could not possibly be other 
than a bastard Bonaparte. Thus, M. Godillot's life 
was made a burden to him. Fortunately, after the 
4th of September there was no member of the Grovern- 
ment to whom he could be personally compared, and 



2 2 " FROM GRA VE TO GA K" 

popular slander, not to lose so favourite a victim, had 
to assume a different, but an equally, if not more 
disagreeable form. It was proclaimed throughout 
Paris that he had in stock at his cellars at St. Ouen,. 
30,000 rifles and 300,000 cartridges destined for the 
Prussian army : and he was also accused of neglecting 
his contracts for equipping the French troops with the 
view of assisting the enemy. Rumours of the exist- 
ence of concealed arms and war material in Paris were 
rife throughout the siege, and it would appear that in 
some cases rifles and German uniforms were really 
discovered — notably in the storehouses of MM. Cahen- 
Lyon ; but in this case the equipments seized by the 
authorities had been prepared for a Hanoverian legion 
which was to have been raised to co-operate with the 
French forces, but whose services were declined by 
Marshal Leboeuf, soon after the declaration of war. 

Apropos of military equipments a great sensation 
was caused in Paris, during the month of September,, 
by some Gardes Mobiles discovering that their cart- 
ridges contained sand instead of powder. " Treason V^ 
had often been shouted if the shot did not fit the gun, 
and now, once again, the familiar cry was raised. 
Twenty cases of similar cartridges were said to have 
been discovered in the Vincennes arsenal, and several 
others at the Hotel de Ville. To whom could the 
fraud be attributed ? To some dishonest contractor, 
emulative of the American purveyors of shoeS with 
paper soles, and merely anxious to benefit his own 
pocket, or to some one who had sold himself to the 
enemy ? Patriotism, of course, assumed the latter to 
be the case, and immense indignation was expressed 
at this new Bismarckian device, until there appeared an 
ofiicial communication from General Trochu, stating 



SPIES AND SIGNALS. 2 j 

that these cartridges were specially prepared for 
the use of recruits practising their fire, and that 
they had been served out to the regular army as 
service ammunition by mistake. 

Later on, it was complained that the bullets of 
many cartridges were far below the regulation weight; 
and of course the customary cry of " Treason ! " 
followed the discovery. It was pointed out, however^ 
that there had been a similar occurrence during the 
Crimean war, and that the bullets in question had 
been artfully perforated by an insect called the St/rex 
juveneus, 

Co-existent with the spy mania there flourished in 
Paris, soon after the commencement of the blockade, 
another craze, that of mistaking a light in an attic, or 
fifth-floor window, at night-time, for a signal, precon- 
certed with the enemy. The most ludicrous incidents 
distinguished this panic. In one instance, an aged 
citizen, recently married to a charming young wife, 
was suddenly dragged from his bed by National 
Guards, and passed the remainder of the night in the 
watch-house. His wife's Abigail had placed a couple 
of candles in her window as a signal to some one 
who sighed at the feet of her mistress, and hence the 
error. The affair had a still more comic turn for all 
but the husband, who was released next morning. On 
another occasion, an old woman, who was really en- 
gaged in making lint, was on the point of being 
strangled, when it was discovered that the red 
and green signals, plainly visible in her window 
from the street, were made by an unconscious parrot, 
the poor old lady's sole companion. No matter in 
what quarter of Paris the presumed signal was per- 
ceived, the house it emanated from was at once 



24 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAVy 

invaded by National Guards, and a number of 
innocent people were frequently carried off to the 
police post, and subjected to gross ill-treatment. Such 
proportions did the craze assume, that it was even pro- 
posed that the Government should issue a decree 
forbidding any kind of light whatsoever, after dark, 
in any room situated above the second floor. The 
victims of the mania mostly submitted to the invasion 
of their domiciles by an excited mob as a necssary 
evil of the times ; but a volunteer artillery man, who 
wrote to the authorities complaining that, in his 
absence, his rooms had been ransacked and his aged 
mother frightened out of her wits (on the slanderous 
pretext that some fusees had been sent off from one 
of his windows), added that should there be a repe- 
tition of the occurrence whilst he was at home, he 
should not hesitate to receive the mob at the door of 
his apartment with a fixed bayonet in his hand. 

Similar protestations soon caused General Trochu to 
issue a proclamation, in which he remarked that, 
" under the most frivolous pretexts, numerous violations 
of domiciles have taken place, and peaceable citizens 
have been maltreated. Even the flags of friendly 
nations, whose sympathies are acquired to the French 
Eepublic, have been powerless to protect the houses 
where they are displayed. I have ordered an inquiry 
to be opened on this subject, and I command that all 
persons guilty of these abusive practices shall be 
arrested. A service of vigilance has been organized, 
so as to frustrate the endeavours of the enemy to keep 
up communications with the interior of the city ; and 
I remind everybody that, excepting in cases foreseen 
by law, every citizen's residence is inviolable." 

By the side of the many blunders of the signal 



SPIES AND SIGNALS. 25 

craze, there seem to have been a few really 
authentic cases. For instance, a circumstantial 
account appeared in the Fran^ais of the appre- 
hension of a family of Prussian spies, who were 
discovered letting off white and blue fusees up their 
dining-room chimney. Two men, wearing trousers 
corresponding with those of the Uhlan uniform, were 
also said to have been arrested whilst installing a 
green light on the roof of a house in the Eue de la 
Victoire ; and, in the Eue Lafayette, another individual 
clad in ambulance costume, was seized in the act of 
flashing an electric light in the direction of St. Denis. 
The houses in the vicinity of the fortifications were 
particular objects of suspicion throughout the siege, 
and nigh to the ramparts at Courcelles there occurred, 
one afternoon in October, a very singular incident. 
The passer-by might have perceived half-a-dozen 
Gardes Mobiles peppering away, apparently at a stack 
of chimneys on the top of a very tall house facing the 
railway. A more attentive inspection, however, dis- 
covered a man in military uniform, holding a blue flag 
in one hand and a red flag in the other, and wearing 
in front of him a long apron painted dull red, with 
narrow white markings, to resemble the brickwork 
of the neighbouring chimneys, between which he 
crouched. He had, it seems, been observed waving 
the flags in question, and had thus become the target 
of the Gardes Mobiles, all of whom, however, flred 
wide of their mark. In an instant, from the time when 
first observed, he had slid down the long slated roof, 
and clinging to the stone cornice, had dropped on to the 
iron balcony of the floor beneath and disappeared 
through one of the windows. The Gardes Mobiles at 
once obtained admission to the house — a very large 



26 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAVr 

one, with, apparently, all its apartments occupied — 
which they searched from top to bottom for upwards 
of an hour, without, however, encountering the 
smallest trace of the daring Prussian oflBcer — for so he 
was pronounced to be — who had signalled to his 
comrades in a populous quarter of Paris in broad 
daylight. 

III. QUEUES AND RATIONS. 

The numerous precautions taken, both by the Im- 
perial administration and by the Government of 
National Defence, to ensure as complete a provisioning 
of Paris as possible during the impending siege, have 
already been detailed at length.* Scarcely was the 
investment completed, however, than it became evident 
that diners fins and parties carrees would have to be 
altogether dispensed with if a prolonged resistance was 
to be offered to the enemy. In the first place, although 
a large quantity of provisions of various kinds had been 
collected together, yet, taking the ordinary consump- 
tion as a guide, these would not last very long unless 
great discretion was observed; and, secondly, the 
pecuniary means at the disposal of most of the in- 
habitants were as limited as was the supply of food. 
The moment had come for Paris to throw aside all its 
prodigal habits, and to take a lesson in practical 
economy. It did so more cheerfully than might have 
been expected, and the viveurs of the boulevard found 
out that it was quite possible to exist without sitting 
down every day to a series of recherches repasts. 
It would, indeed, have been diflScult, at this juncture 

* Anie^ vol. i. pp. 143-158. 



Q UE UES AND RA TIONS. 2 7- 

to satisfy the varied tastes of the Parisian epicure, for 
the menus of the grands restaurants soon exhibited a 
painful uniformity. Many of them, in fact, closed 
their doors directly the city was invested. The cabi- 
nets particuliers of the Maison Dor^e and the Caf6 
Anglais, for instance, became dark and deserted, not a 
single dinner nor supper being served throughout the 
siege in the Grand Seize — where princes of the blood 
and of the Bourse, grandes dames and demi mondaines 
had so often banqueted in the careless days of Cesar 
Postiche's omnipotence. 

Paris, in fact, was without game and without fish — 
save salted cod, red herrings, and a few gudgeon 
caught from time to time in the Seine — had hardly 
any poultry, and very little meat ; no rare vegetables, 
and neither cheese nor butter, on which the French 
cuisine so largely depends. Europe no longer laid 
itself under contribution that Paris might dine sump- 
tuously, and did not even care whether she dined at 
all. llussia had given over sending its woodcocks, 
hazel hens and ptarmigans ; Italy its kids, larks, and 
pheasants ; England its grouse and mackerel : Nor- 
way its salmon and snipes; Germany its hares and 
hams; Spain its partridges and olives; Belgium its 
oysters and pigeons, and Holland its turbots and 
herrings. And it was the same with home consign- 
ments. One could hardly expect that Strasburg 
besieged would send its pates de foie gras ; P^rigord 
£3rwarded no more truffles, Fontainebleau no more 
frogs, and Burgundy no more snails. Indeed, very 
soon the question became, not so much what one 
would dine off, as whether one would dine at all. 

Meat was, of course, the grand difficulty. It has 
been already mentioned that the butchers originally 



^8 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAVr 

refused to sell at the prices fixed by the authorities, 
and that considerable inconvenience resulted. On the 
28th of September, the Government took a second 
measure of precaution, limiting the supply as well as 
the price of meat. It was resolved that the maximum 
number of animals to be killed daily should not exceed 
500 oxen and 4,000 sheep. Each arrondissement was 
divided into four classes, and every four days a certain 
number of butchers in each class received an ox and four 
sheep, which quantity, taking the ordinary consumption 
into consideration, was quite inadequate to satisfy the 
wants of the customers. The butchers, therefore, only 
opened their shops on every fourth day — the morning 
when the meat arrived — when they found themselves 
besieged, not merely by their regular clientele, but by 
those usually dealing with other butchers, whose shops 
were shut. The arrangements at the public slaughter- 
houses were, moreover, so defective, that when a 
butcher's turn for supply came round, he was frequently 
told that it was not certain whether he could have 
any meat at all, and his cart repeatedly went home 
empty. 

The result of this state of things was that — recalling 
the familiar adage of the early bird catching the worm 
— crowds, or to use the French term, "queues,** began to 
assemble outside the butchers* shops, long before their 
hour of opening had arrived, with the view of securing 
some portion of the meat on sale before it was all 
gone. These queues, which subsisted throughout the 
investment, soon constituted one of the most charac- 
teristic inner-life features of the siege. They were 
first formed in the more populous and poorer districts ; 
but, before a couple of days, had spread to the most 
aristocratic quarters of the capital. Originally, they 



QUEUES AND RATIONS. 29 

commenced about five a.m., in front of the iron railings 
that invariably shut in the Parisian butcher's shop ; 
and as the mornings were then bright and balmy, the 
inconvenience, although considerable, was by no means 
excessive. But when it was found that only half 
of those who had waited since five o'clock had suc- 
ceeded in getting served, the queues began to collect 
much earlier, and the hours of waiting gradually 
lengthened, until they extended far back into the 
night. In the populous quarters two o'clock was 
commonly the hour when the first dozen women 
would assemble. Some came to the rendezvous pro- 
vided with chairs or stools and with chauffe-pieds ; 
and at intervals, members of their family would bring 
them hot bowls of soup or cofi^ee, or they would 
arrange to relieve each other every hour or so. These 
proceedings gave rise to endless disputes. Such as 
found themselves constrained to wait standing, objected 
to their neighbours sitting. Frozen-footed individuals, 
unprovided with foot-warmers, grumbled at those who 
possessed them ; women whose husbands were on duty 
at the ramparts, and had no one to bring them warm 
and comforting fluids, protested against refreshments 
being allowed; while the practice of one member 
of a family relieving another gave rise to constant 
vituperation, to struggles, clawings, and blows. 

The situation had become positively intolerable, 
when tile Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, 
with the futile hope of allaying the popular discon- 
tent, resolved to distribute the supply of meat at his 
disposal proportionately among the twenty arrondisse- 
meiits of the city, at the same time authorizing the 
mayors to place the inhabitants of their respective 
districts upon rations. 



30 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAVr 

Tlie rationing was effected on an almost uniform 
plan throughout Paris. Each family had to apply 
for a ration card at the mairie of the arrondissement 
to which it belonged — the number of persons it com- 
prised being set forth in writing. This statement 
was then verified by an official, who conferred with 
ihe concierge of . the house where the applicants 
resided, and if found correct, a ration card was at once 
-delivered. On some cards the days of the month 
were printed, being obliterated in turn when the 
rations were purchased ; while other cards were pro- 
vided with detachable coupons. Subjoined is a fac- 
simile of the card delivered in the second arron- 
dissement, which extends between the Boulevard 
Sebastopol and the Madeleine, on the left-hand side 
of the central boulevards going west, being limited 
on the south by the Halles, the Palais Royal, and the 
Place Vend6me : — 



REPUBLIQUE fran^aise. 

MAIRIE DU 2me ARRONDISSEMENT. 

CARTE DE FAMILLE. 
Contre prdsentation de cette carte, Marie X. — 



d^meurant Boulevard ,a droit d*acheteroufaire 

acheter aux dates indiqu^es sur les coupons ci- 

dessous Rations de viande dans les boucheries 

municipales de TArrondissement. Cette carte est 
munie de coupons. La delivrance des rations sera 
constati^e par le detachement du coupon du jour de 
distribution. 

"Par ddl^gation du Maire." 
(Signature.) 
Le porteur de cette carte ne devra jamais de- 
tacher lui-mcme le coupon. II devra le faire 
detacher soit par le boucher, soit par son restaura- 
teur. 



QUEUES AND RATIONS. 31 

As regards the proportionate distribution of the 
meat, some arrondissements were more favoured than 
others during the earlier days of the siege, the daily 
ration per head ranging from 80 to 100 grammes 
(2f oz. to 3 J oz.). The butchers were ordered by 
Government both to display placards indicating the 
different categories and qualities of meat on sale, and 
to deliver memoranda specifying the quality and 
<juantity of the meat supplied to each particular pur- 
chaser. With beef they were empowered to deliver 
a fifth part of bone, no matter from what joint the 
ration might be cut ; but in selling mutton they were 
forbidden to make up the weight with bones not 
adhering to the meat, such as are delivered in ordi- 
nary times, when the French butcher is entitled to 
supply one "quarter of his order in bones — christened 
" rejouissance " by the Parisian housewife. 

Prior to the rationing, the sale of meat was usually 
ijuperintended by members of the National Guard; 
but with the new order of things, there came the 
organization of various special corps, entitled Corps 
Civiques, Gardes Civiques, or Gardes Urbaines, ac- 
cording to the arrondissements. They were popularly 
known, however, as the "Bataillon des Infirmes," 
being composed of individuals of all classes exempt 
from service in the National Guard, on the score 
of age or infirmities. Limited as their physical capa- 
bilities might be, they displayed peculiar acuteness 
in looking after ''No. 1;" for on turning up at eight 
o'clock in the morning at some butcher's shop, outside 
which a miserable and hungry crowd had been waiting 
for hours in the cold, their first care was invariably to 
see a good piece of meat set aside for themselves. 
Then they proceeded to distribute among the weary 



32 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY:' 

bystanders a series of numbers, corresponding with 
the place the recipient occupied in the crowd, and 
representing the order of distribution when the sale 
began. The crowd would comprise, at times, some 
three or four hundred persons, for whom there would 
only be two hundred numbers, whilst the supply of 
meat suflBced perhaps for 120 or 130 rations. When 
the hungry wretijhes who had been waiting so long 
for a morsel of meat learnt that the supply was 
exhausted, their disappointment led them to shriek 
forth insults and imprecations against the unfortunate 
"infirme" who had the temerity to make the an- 
nouncement; and in some instances he and his 
comrades were victims of the violence of the mob. 
Sometimes, also, when an unpopular Garde Civique 
presented himself with the view of distributing the 
numbers, the crowd snatched the bag containing them 
out of his hand, and a frantic scramble for the coveted 
bits of pasteboard ensued. So defectively was the 
rationing organized in some parts of Paris, that the 
con'espondent of a London newspaper was unable to 
obtain a morsel of meat for himself or family during 
ten successive days, although the different members 
of his household repeatedly relayed each other in 
waiting outside the butcher's shop. By a strange 
fatality the meat was always gone when his turn to 
be served came round. He had had to live, there- 
fore, on ham, rice, and sardines, for ten days ; when 
one morning he espied the grating of a butcher's shop 
in the Rue Lafayette still open, and a few pieces 
of mutton hanging from the hpoks. Unfortunately 
he was without his ration card, and whilst a friend 
ran home to fetch it, the Gardes Civiques, whom he 
had acquainted with his position, coolly divided the 



QUEUES AND RATIONS. 33 

remaining joints among themselves ; and on the arrival 
of the ration ticket, informed him that all the meat 
was gone. He complained of this conduct at the 
head office of the Garde Civique, and on being told 
that he must have made a mistake, as such a thing 
was quite impossible, he retaliated by exclaiming that, 
according to the official reports there were as many 
rations furnished to the butchers as there were mouths 
to feed in the arrondissement ; that as he had had no 
meat during ten successive days some one must have 
eaten his share ; and that, from what he had seen, he 
was positive it had fallen into the hands of the very 
people who were placed there to represent " equality 
and fraternity/' This outburst only procured for our 
unfortunate journalist the epithet of "insolent," and 
a request to instantly withdraw. 

The difficulty experienced in obtaining either beef 
or mutton, even when there were still a large number 
of sheep and oxen left in the city, gave a considerable 
impetus to the consumption of horse-flesh. At the com- 
mencement of the siege some -twenty or thirty horses 
were slaughtered per day, but on the last three days of 
September — ^in fact directly the supply of but<5her'8 
meat was limited by authority — no less than 141, 195, 
and 275 horses were respectively slaughtered. There 
were, at the beginning of October, twenty-six shops in 
Paris where horse-flesh was exclusively sold, and the 
opening of new ones was announced almost daily. 
Originally established in the poorer quarters, they were, 
like civilization, destined to travel westwards, and 
" viande de cheval '' became as much in demand in the 
aristocratic neighbourhood of the Champs Elys^es as 
in the impoverished districts of Belleville and Mont- 
martre. A market and slaughterhouse for horses, which 

VOL. II. 3 



34 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAV." 

were established on the Boulevard d'Enfer, soon 
acquired paramount importance ; and the Grovernment, 
on finding that the Parisians took so kindly to this 
species of nutriment, issued a decree establishing a 
maximum price at which horse-meat should be sold. 
This was originally fixed (October 7) at 1/r. 40c. the 
kilogramme for the best parts, and 80c. for the inferior 
portions — or 6d. and S^d. per lb., English ; but a 
subsequent ministerial arrets (October 15} authorized 
the sale of filet ^nd faux filet de cheval at 8^r/. per lb. 
On the 20th of October the Government decreed that all 
horses destined for food should be sold at the horse 
market, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 
8 A.M. to 11 A.M. only; that the condition of the ani- 
mals should be ascertained by veterinary examination, 
and that they should only be killed in special abattoirs 
set apart for the purpose. Nine days later the number 
of horses to be killed per diem was restricted to 600, 
for the Government was already growing anxious as 
to the probable duration of the provisions. At the 
same time the minimum price of horse-beef was 
lowered to 2\d. per lb., the butchers being, on the other 
hand, authorized to sell " filet de cheval " at whatever 
price they pleased, the tax on the other parts 
remaining the same. 

Meanwhile, the " Socidte Hippophagique" took care 
to inform the Parisians, by means of constant para- 
graphs in the newspapers, that "viande de cheval" 
was superior to the flesh of the finest bullock ; that the 
soup produced from it was finer, fuller of flavour, and 
more suital)le to delicate stomachs than any other ; and 
that its fat, of an oily nature, was a good substitute 
for butter, now very difficult to procure. On applica- 
tion being made to the Archbishop of Paris, that 



Q UE UES AND RATIONS. 35 

prelate readily authorized the faithful to employ horse 
fat and oil for culinary purposes on fast days — a fact 
which the promoters of hippophagie took especial care 
to announce. One of the successes of the hour was 
ass's flesh — a kind of veal with a poultry flavour, 
looking peculiarly white and tempting, and sold at the 
rate of 2^. 5fl?. a pound. '* The proprietor of the donkeys 
which had been the delight of the damsels of Paris 
who visited Bobinson, and dined on fSte days in the 
trees with their friends, the students, was not able to 
maintain his four-footed friends in these days of 
scarcity ; so he opened a butcher's shop in the Bue de 
PAncienne Com61ie, and regaled the Quartier Latin 
with the, flesh that had been bestridden so gleefully 
only a few weeks previously." 

It was on horse and mule and donkey flesh that the 
restaurants had to rely in composing their menus. 
At some establishments strangers were politely 
informed that dinners were only served to the regular 
clientMe, who had handed over their ration-cards to the 
proprietor; and at the ^tablissements de bouillon, 
where most of the Ghirde Mobile dined when not on duty 
at the ramparts or the advanced forts, and which on 
this account appeared to be favoured as regards their 
meat supply, a notice appeared, at a very early date, 
over the doors, warning customers that by order of 
the authorities only one plate of meat would be 
supplied to each person — said plate, too, consisting 
of certainly not more than half-a-dozen mouthfuls. 
On patronizing one of the "prix fixe" establish- 
ments, such as the ^' Diner de Paris," and the like, 
the following was the style of menu submitted to 
your choice : — 

''Hors d'cBUvres.*— Sardines & rhuile, Saucisaon de Lyon (ass or 

3-2 



36 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAYP 

horse, bnt commonly understood to be the former), boudin de tabic 
arill^, and boudin noir et blanc (horse). 

Potages. — Vermicelle, Consomm^, Pate dltalie (the bouillon or 
stock being, of course, made of horse-flesh). 

Poisson. — ^l^Iorue sal^, Harengs saurs. 

Entr^. — Pieds do mouton poulette, Foie sautd Lyonnaise, 
Rognons sautes (bullock^s or horse's liver, repeated in another 
form), Boeuf ^ la Bourgogne (horse-flesh), Boeuf fum6 fa^on Ham- 
bourg (ditto), Cosurs de mouton au riz, Cotelettes de pore sale, 
Filet de mulet \ la reine d'Espagne, Tripe a la mode de Caen. 

R6tis. — ^Anon r6ti (juvenile donkey). 

Volaille. — None. 

Gibier. — None. 

Legumes. — Salsifis frits, Choux, Pommes de terre sautds (soon 
became very scarce). 

Entremets. — Beignets soufflds, G^l^es auz fruits. 

Dessert. — Noix, Noisettes. 

Fromage. — None," 

It may here be mentioned that a number of cantines 
nationales came to the rescue of the very poor. They 
were organized much on the same principle as English 
" soup kitchens,'' orders for food being distributed gra- 
tuitously to those who could not afford to pay for them, 
whilst the prices charged to less insolvent customers 
were extremely low. Thus, a plate of bouillon or 
first-rate broth, another of thick potato soup, and a 
lump of bread, might be obtained for twopence-half- 
penny. 

The supply of bread was plentiful enough during 
the earlier times of the siege, and the Government 
having imposed a maximum price at which this all* 
important article of food should be sold/ the bakers 
were unable to abuse their position. They com- 
plained, however, somewhat bitterly, that they were 
forced to pay cash for flour which had hitherto been 

* Antt^ vol. L p. 152, 



Q UE UES AND RA TIONS. 37 

purchased at thirty days' date, owing to the impossi- 
bility of discounting their bills. At the end of 
September the Government bought up all the wheat 
and flour in the city that it could lay its hands 
on ; and steam mills were installed for the grinding 
of corn. 

The precautions taken in reference to milk have 
already been enumerated. The general public was, 
however, soon compelled to fall back on the Swiss or 
American concentrated product ; such fresh milk as 
was yielded by the cows in the hands of the authorities 
being sold or distributed at the mairies, or at special 
bureaux, exclusively to persons producing a medical 
certificate shewing that they were possessed of infant 
children. 

On strolling through the Halles Centrales during the 
first fortnight in October, one found these magnificent 
markets, which had formerly overflown with provisions 
of all kinds, for the most part empty — save the pavilions 
devoted to the storage of corn and flour. The only 
fish brought to market came from the Seine, and was 
naturally much sought after. A small dish of gudgeon 
mixed with bleak, suitable for two persons of very 
small appetites, could not be had under 1*. 8rf. ; whilst 
a fine Seine eel realized 125. In reference to poultry 
— ^none of which was in good condition — live geese 
sold wholesale at 13«. per head; fowls and ducks 
ranged from 5*. 8e/. to 9*. 8fl?. each, turkeys fetched 
£1 4^., rabbits 5^. and 6*., and pigeons 25. apiece. 
Cheese had quite vanished from the Halles ; but now 
and then in the course of one's rambles through the 
city, one came upon a cheesemonger's shop still open, 
where 1^. Srf. a lb. was asked for Gruyire, and 2*. for 
common English or American cheese. Salt buttf^r. 



38 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAVr 

of indifferent quality, might also occasionally be met 
with in the shops at 4«. per lb., all the fresh butter— 
which, by the way, eventually commanded 8«. the lb. 
— having been by this time consumed ; though now 
and then a small pat, churned by some mysterious 
means, made its appearance at Chevet's, in the Palais 
Eoyal, and attracted crowds to view it from miles 
around. Eggs at this period were ^d, and Zd. each. 
Fruit — of which there appeared to be a considerable 
stock — had not risen in price, but green vegetables were 
sold at exorbitant rates — common cabbages and cauli- 
flowers costing respectively 7t/. and 1*. 2rf. each, 
while carrots and turnips ranged from lOrf. to 1«. 8r/. 
the bundle; and the bushel of potatoes was never 
priced at less than 2*. lOrf. 

Owing to the species of panic which ensued con- 
sequent upon the restricted supply of fresh meat, 
salted and preserved provisions had by this time 
attained to fabulous prices. Australian mutton, beef 
and veal, for instance, were quadruple their ordinary 
rates ; hams, until they were all bought up, realized 
2«. 6£?. the lb. ; salted cod fetched over a shilling a lb., 
and dried herrings were 5rf. each.* And yet the 
Figaro of October 8 — following the example, oft 
referred to, of the French Princess, who, on being told 
that the people had no bread, asked why they did not 
eat buns — counselled its readers to resort to preserved 
provisions, citing the annexed list of prices for their 
guidance : — Half a pheasant, garnished with *' foie 
gras'' and truffles, 12*.; the same, minus the "foie 

* All the prices given above were current in Paris between the 
Ist and 10th of October. A fortnight later, many articles of con- 
sumption were utterly unobtainable, and such as remained had 
doubled and trebled in value. 



Q UEUES AND RATIONS. 39 

gras" and truffles, 7^. ; a partridge, with the bones re- 
moved, 6«. %d.\ the same, with the bones, 4«. \^d. ; two 
snipes, staffed with '^ foie gras" and truffles, 14^. 6t/. ; 
larks, garnished with ditto, 1^. id. each ; leg {not a 
haunch) of venison, £1 4^. ; truffled hare (which the 
Figaro recommended as extremely nourishing), 5*. 8e/. 
the lb. A fowl garnished with " foie gras" and truffles 
at 9«. 8^. was recommended on the score of economy — 
a fowl of any size, minus the " foie gras," fetching at 
tliat moment within 2 shillings of the amount. Truffled 
"foie gras" was 12& the box, and preserved asparagus, 
quoted as " very fine," 9*. 8fl?. the bottle. 

The Parisians were assisted in their endeavours to 
eke out their meagre ration of fresh meat by all the 
medical and scientific men in the city; and on turning 
to the reports of the Academy of Sciences, one found 
that the discussions almost invariably had reference to 
new kinds of provisions. The virtues of green tea 
were argued pro and con ; candles were suggested as a 
substitute for butter; processes for preserving meat 
were made public ; we were even recommended to eat 
oats ; the blood of sheep and oxen, and the nutriment 
to be derived from their bones and hoofs, were passed in 
review ; a plan for producing instantaneous vegetables, 
the stems, leaves, and roots of which would be all 
equally tender, and equally available for food^ was 
exposed with much theoretical logic ; and we were 
invited to try a delicious plat, composed of a certain 
quantity of tallow — even in the state of a candle — 
mixed with corn reduced into a pulp, the whole being 
seasoned with salt and flavoured with a fried onion. 
Scientific men, moreover, informed us, that, because we 
felt hungry, it by no means followed we required to 
eat. '* Mere hunger," said they, " is a very bad guide. 



40 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAVr 

A common method of allaying its pangs> is to press 
the stomach tightly. It is quite certain that one 
physical sensation will get rid of another, such as 
hunger, which, moreover, may be dissipated by having 
recourse to inert substances, like sand, which certainly 
contains no sort of nourishment.'' 



IV. MALCONTENTS AND MANIFESTATIONS. 

The Parisians have always been a pleasure-loving 
people, and in these hard times the lack of amusements 
was greatly felt. Long as were the hours of waiting 
for rations, considerable as was the time given to 
drill or to searching for spies and signals, the day 
was of course not entirely taken up with these occu- 
pations, imd the " besoin de distractions,'' which is a 
leading feature in the Parisian character, inevitably 
asserted its rights. There were no theatrical per- 
formances however, and no balls, whilst the concerts 
given for the benefit of the wounded were few and far 
between. The citizen anxious to while away an hour 
or so of an evening was thus irresistibly drawn to one or 
another of the numerous public clubs which had been 
opened on the morrow of the Revolution. Scarcely 
had the Government of National Defence secured the 
reins of power than a shoal of excited " patriots" of 
all colours and descriptions hastened from England, 
Belgium, and Switzerland, anxious for a share in the 
spoil. The authorities refused, however, to listen to 
the violent demagogues who assailed them with ap- 
plications for appointments; and the disappointed 
partisans of the Red Republic — foremost among whom 
were Felix Pyat and the venerable Blanqui, relics 
of '48 ; Charles Delescluze, of the Beveil newspaper ; 



MALCONTENTS AND MANIFESTATIONS, 41 

Gustave Flourens, the well-known "Rochefort'' agitator, 
and Milli^re, Mottu, and M^gy — threw their whole 
energies into the creation of clubs, hoping to stir up 
the lower orders by their violent utterances, and by a 
sudden revulsion of popular feeling to precipitate the 
existing Government from power andinstal themselves 
in its place. Clubs soon abounded throughout Paris, 
not invariably of a violent character, for those of the 
Folies-Berg^re, Valentino, the CoUdge de France, and 
the Porte St. Martin were principally frequented by 
Republicans of moderate views. But it was very 
difl'erent at the Club of the Pr6 aux Clercs in the Eue 
du Bac, at the Club de la Eeine Blanche at Mont- 
martre, at the Salle Favie at Belleville, at the Club de 
la Patrie en Danger, where Blanqui presided, at that 
of the Cour des Miracles, at the Club de la Vengeance 
on the Boulevard Rochechouart, at the Montagnards 
on the Boulevard de Strasbourg, at the Club des Etats 
Unis d'Europe in the Rue Cadet, at the Club de 1870 
installed in the ballroom of the Elys^e Montmartre, 
and at various other gatherings of the Faubourg St. 
Antoine and the Faubourg du Temple. Here violence 
and folly reigned supreme, the murderous propositions 
of one orator forcibly contrasting with the ridiculous 
suggestions of another. Every one who had a plan, 
panacea, or invention calculated to save Paris and 
annihilate the Germans, whether it was by poisoning 
the waters of the Seine or letting loose the wild beasts 
of the Jardin des Plantes, by employing hand-bombs, 
" Satan fusees," or petroleum pumps, hastened to one 
of the clubs and communicated his project to the 
audience. Thither, moreover, flocked all those who 
had a grievance, real or imaginary, to ventilate, who 
were anxious to parade their antipathies in public, to 



42 ''FROM GRA VE TO GAYr 

denounce the Government, the generals in command, 
the provision speculators, the police, the priesthood, 
the Prussians, or the fallen dynasty. As the days of 
the siege wore on, from amidst a chaos of impracticable 
suggestions and an accumulation of frantic appeals for 
sorties en masse, for more cannon, for Greek fire 
to destroy the foe and for the prompt punishment 
of traitors, one proposal disengaged itself and acquired 
pre-eminence, being promoted alike by the violent' and 
the credulous : this was the establishment of the 
Commune of Paris. 

It must be admitted that apparent grounds for 
considerable discontent were not wanting. Patriotism 
bitterly resented the fact that the Germans had been 
allowed to invest the city, and were now quietly 
entrenching themselves in the environs, unmolested. 
Hungry mortals were particularly irate both at the 
meagreness of the rations and the deplorable manner 
in which they were distributed. Suflferings of mind 
and body conspired to sow the seeds of revolt. So 
wounded pride and empty stomachs betook themselves 
to the clubs, which thus became the hot-beds of dis- 
content. It is not surprising that with such elements 
at their disposal the ambitious leaders of the advanced 
party should have sought to coerce and even to over- 
throw the Government. A first opportunity for 
decided action was offered them by the arrival, on 
October 2, of the news that Strasburg and Toul had 
been compelled to capitulate. Three days later some 
five or six thousand National Guards of Belleville, led 
by citizen Flourens, who aspired to become Governor- 
General of Paris and Commander-in-Chief, made their 
appearance on the Place de THotel de Ville, to press 
upon the Government such demands as the immediate 



MALCONTENTS AND MANIFESTATIONS. 43 

abandonuient of what was termed the military tactics 
of the Empire — viz., the constant opposition of one 
Frenchman to three Prussians — for the levee en masse 
of the entire nation, coupled with an immediate 
appeal to Bepublicau Europe ; the instantaneous elec- 
tion of a Municipal Commune ; the discharge of all 
suspected Government functionaries in a position 
to betray the Republic ; and the distribution, by the 
medium of the proposed Municipal Commune, of all 
articles of subsistence existing in the city. Citizen 
Flourens and a deputation of officers were received 
by the Government, and endeavoured to impress upon 
them the importance of these demands. The Govern- 
ment replied in substance that sorties would eventually 
be made, with the co-operation of the National Guard 
when it was possible for them to fight and not to be 
butchered, that all of them would soon be provided 
with snuff-box rifles, that cannon and mitrailleuses 
were in course of fabrication, and that as for the 
municipal elections they should take place when the 
voting lists were ready. Flourens expressed himself 
dissatisfied with these explanations, declared that the 
Government had evaded and not answered his ques- 
tions, and abruptly resigned his command of tlie 
Bataillon de Belleville. His officers and men protested, 
however, against his resignation ; and so he subse- 
quently sent word to General Tamisier, Commander- 
in-Chief of the National Guard, that he withdrew it. 
When the deputation had retired, the Government 
discussed the advisability of proceeding with the 
municipal elections. On the 18th of September, a 
decree had been issued appointing them to take place 
on the 28tli, at the rate of four councillors for each of 
the twenty arrondissements of Paris ; but, on the 24th, 



44 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAYP ^ 

this decree was annulled, though five days later notice 
was given in the Official Journal that the Government 
intended to proceed with these same elections directly 
the opportunity offered. The manifestation made by 
Major Flourens and his battalions imposed upon the 
Government the necessity of taking an immediate 
resolution. M. Jules Favre suggested a plebiscitum, to 
learn whether the population really desired the elec- 
tions or not, and this proposal was supported by 
M. Emmanuel Arago. Bochefort opined that some con- 
cessions were due to Major Flourens and his adherents, 
though he blamed them for organizing an armed mani- 
festation. General Trochu and M. Jules Ferry formally 
expressed themselves opposed to the elections. The 
nomination of a violent demagogue like Blanqui would, 
in the latter's opinion, frighten the provinces and 
paralyze the action of the Delegation at Tours.* 

Meanwhile, the Government issued a proclamation, 
condemning the practice of armed manifestations; and 
on October 7, a memorandum, drawn up by M. Jules 
Simon, and adjourning the elections until after the 
siege, was unanimously adopted. The leaders of the 
Bed Bepublican party at once replied to this commu- 
nication by another manifestation — this time an un- 
armed one — at the H6tel de Ville (October 8). Many 
thousand people assembled, including a considerable 
number of National Guards ; and shouts of " Vive la 
Commune !" were raised in front of the open windows 
of the H6tel de Ville, where several members of the 
Government were seated. The only response this 



* " Summary of the Deliberations of the Govermnent of National 
Defence/' by M. Dr^o, Secretary, in M. Chaper*s Report to the 
National Assembly. Imprimerie Nationale, 1873. 



MALCONTENTS AND MANIFESTATIONS. 45 

appeal met with was the display of an armed battalion 
of National Q-uards, drawn up in line, in front of the 
railings of the building, behind which numerous com- 
panies of Gardes Mobiles, with fixed bayonets, were 
posted. Some delegates, who were eventually admitted, 
were told by M. Jules Ferry that the Government 
could not entertain their demand ; and, by the time 
the crowd had swollen to enormous dimensions. 
General Trochu made his appearance on the scene, and 
rode unattended round three sides of the Place, assailed 
with cries of " La Commune ! La Commune ! " uttered 
in a menacing tone. He, however, made no response, 
and, on being joined by his stafi*, trotted off along 
the quays. The gates of the H6tel de Ville were 
closed, and the "rappel'' beaten, which brought 
other armed National Guards on the scene, prepared 
to support the Government in their decision. General 
Tamisier rode from group to group, and harangued 
the more violent among the crowd ; but all to no pur- 
pose. They demanded, and would have, the Commune 
of Paris ; and it was only on the Place being com- 
pletely occupied by National Guards friendly to the 
Provisional Government, and hostile to the election 
of the Commune, that the agitators became quiet. 

At this moment, the members of the Government 
of National Defence appeared on the Place, and passed 
a review of their partisans. The warm reception they 
met with from these citizen soldiers, as well as from 
nearly all the people massed around the three sides 
of the Place, furnished a convincing proof that the 
demagogic manifestation was disapproved of by the vast 
majority of the Parisians. Loud acclamations arose 
on all sides, and were prolonged until the Government 
retired in front of the entrance of the Hotel de Yille, 



46 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY." 

• 

where M. Jules Favre made an eloquent speech to the 
officers of the National Guard, congratulating them 
on the attitude of their corps, and the union that was 
shown to prevail, and urging them, moreover, not to 
harbour any feelings of animosity in reference to what 
had transpired that day. A heavy fall of rain even- 
tually dispersed the assemblage, and, as the Rappel 
related, ** the Place of the H6tel de Ville became a 
cake of mud. Umbrellas were put up, the National 
Guards put on their great-coats, and the crowd dis- 
persed. The battalions then re-formed in column, and 
withdrew at the double. Both manifestation and 
counter-manifestation beat a retreat, and there was a 
universal sauve-qui-peut ; so that by half-past five the 
Government remained undisputed masters of the field 
of battle/' 

With the exception of Chef-de-bataillon Sapia, 
who was accused of urging the men under his com- 
mand to storm the Hdtel de Ville, but who was 
subsequently acquitted by a Council of War, none of 
the promoters of this attempt at intimidation were 
prosecuted by the Government ; but, two days later, 
M. de K^ratry (Prefect of Police) — who, but a fort- 
night previously, had proposed the abolition of the 
institution he directed on account of its '' uselessness" 
^-came in hot haste to the Government Council, and 
acquainted it with the awful fact that a meeting of 
discontented commanders of the National Guard, pre- 
sided over by citizens Blanqui and Flourens, had 
signed a resolution proclaiming the Commune and 
martial law. He demanded permission to arrest Blan- 
qui, Flourens, and likewise Milli^re. General Trochu 
seconded this proposition, to which Bochefort and M. 
Etienne Arago were opposed. All the other members 



MALCONTENTS AND MANIFESTATIONS, 47 

of the Government voted, however, in favour of having 
Flourens and Blanqui arrested; bat these agitators 
were guarded by their partisans, and the decision of 
the authorities could not be carried out.* 

For a while there were no more manifestations in 
front of the H6tel de Yille ; but agitation remained 
rife in the clubs, and was fostered by the advanced 
organs of the Press. The commanders of the National 
Guards of La Chapelle and La Villette declared that 
they would not let their men be butchered, but 
would argue with the Government the utility of 
all military measures in which their battalions might 
be concerned. On the 23rd of October the first sortie 
of National Guards took place, the men engaged coming 
from Montmartre. They surprised a Prussian post 
at Launay. and skirmished with the enemy at 
Villemomble, the result being that five of them were 
wounded. Patriotism had, however, momentarily 
abandoned its appeal for sorties, and clamoured for 
''cannons, more cannons, and still more cannons." 
The Government had already announced that it had 
ordered of private factories no fewer than 227 
miti*ai1 lenses with 312,000 cartridges, 50 mortars, 
400 carriages for siege guns, half a million shells of 
various sizes, 5,000 bombs, several large naval guns, 
and 300 breechloading cannon, with a bore of seven 
centimetres, and carrying 8,600 yards. Still, merely 
a fraction of these were as yet delivered ; and public 
subscriptions were organized for the casting of 1,500 
cannon of large calibre. Various public bodies and 
private establishments contributed large sums towards 
this object, and in different parts of Paris open-air 

* M. Drio's *' Summary of the Government Deliberations." 



48 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY:' 

stalls, decorated with flags, presided over by municipal 
delegates and protected by National Guards, were set 
up for the receipt of subscriptions, which were made 
not merely in money, but in articles of jewellery and 
such like objects, all of which were exposed to the 
gaze of passers-by. General Trochu complained some- 
what bitterly of this cannon fever, exclaiming he 
did not want guns but gunners ; whereupon M. 
Gamier-Pag^ rejoined that he considered the casting 
of cannon to be an excellent measure, as it, at least, 
inspired the population with hope and confidence.* 

• 

y. AMAZONS TO THE RESCUE ! 

The various manifestations which characterized the 
siege of Paris were far irom being confined to the 
sterner sex; for, as at previous periods when a 
Bepublican form of Government exercised sway, women 
hastened to vindicate their rights, advance their 
claims, and demanded to be heard. The war, moreover, 
had furnished them with extra opportunities for 
asserting themselves, which they were by no means 
disposed to let slip. At the beginning of October a 
deputation of 200 women, preceded by drummers of 
the National Guard, and carrying in their midst the 
white flag with the red cross of the Geneva Conven- 
tion, presented themselves at the Hdtel de Ville to 
demand of the Government the immediate supplanting 
of all male assistants attached to the various ambulances 
by women. Unluckily for them. Major Flourens was 
expected at the head of his armed battalions from 
Belleville, to press some new demand of his own 

* M. Dr^*B <* Summary of the Guvernment Deliberations.*' 



AMAZONS TO THE RESCUE I 49 

upon the Govemment, and the iron gates of the 
Hdtel de Ville being closed in anticipation of his visit* 
the citoyennes^ in spite of all their powers of persuasion* 
were unable to obtain an entrance. After waiting for 
some considerable time they retired, announcing their 
return for the next day, " accompanied," said they, to 
inspire terror in the Govemment, " by some armed 
National Guards/' Accordingly, on the day following 
they again presented themselves, but without the 
armed escort, and were very politely received by 
citizen Eochefort, who promised to submit their 
demand to the Council of Ministers that evening. 

A few days later one learnt that the authorities had 
declared themselves ready to grant the application, but 
it would not seem to have been carried at all generally 
into effect, owing to the indifference of the applicants, 
who had merely made the demand with the view 
of inserting the thin edge of the wedge. Their 
pretensions were of a far more serious character, for 
they not merely aspired to the enjoyment of full 
political privileges, but also claimed the right of 
forming a corps of Amazons and of sharing with their 
husbands and brothers the dangers of the battle-fi(4d. 
Pending the realization of these projects, they had 
already organized two or three clubs, notably in the 
Rue Pierre-Levee, where Louise Michel, the school- 
teacher, who was subsequently transported for 
participation in the Commune, officiated as high 
priestess ; and at the Gymnase Triat, Avenue 
Montaigne, in the vicinity of the Champs Elys(5es. 
Here it was that, during the earlier days of the siege, 
all questions of interest to the fair sex, and these 
embraced nearly every known subject, were discussed 
with a violence and ardour not to be excelled by any 

VOL. [[. 4 



50 « FROM GRA VE TO GA K" 

masculine reunion in Paris.' At the Gymnase Triat, 
as a rule, all males, with the exception of one, were 
ignominiously relegated to the galleries, as mere 
spectators and listeners ; while the women occupied the 
body of the hall. The single member of the sterner sex 
admitted to take part in the proceedings, was a certain 
democratic maniac, the citizen Jules Allix by name, 
who officiated for a while as secretary to the club, in 
which capacity he contrived to monopolize the platform 
for hours together. His tenure of office was, however, 
scarcely an agreeable one, for, at a meeting specially 
convened on the afternoon of Sunday, October 9, with 
the view of discussing the formation of an armed 
legion of women, citizen Allix came utterly to grief. 

On this occasion the fair sex did not predominate, 
the male portion of the audience, who paid 2^. each 
for admission, being largely in the majority. At the 
expiration of about half an hour, either the galleries 
which had been set apart for the sterner sex, were found 
to be too small, or else the charms of the committee 
proved too much for the occupants of them; but, 
however this may be, the men descended into the 
hall. In spite of the indignant gestures of some 
of the women, the cries of af&ight of others, the 
entreaties of citizen Jules Allix, the secretary, the 
protestations of the committee, and the bell of the 
presidente^ the assembly was invaded, much after the 
same fashion as the Corps L^gislatif on the 4th of 
September. 

Citizen Jules Allix having opened the proceed- 
ings by reading a kind of proces verbal which was, 
at the same time, a speech, and from which one 
in vain endeavoured to obtain an idea of the object 
for which the Women's Club had been formed. 



AMAZONS TO THE FESCUE / 5 1 

the order of the day next involved the reporst of 
the various sub-committees. Several deUgueea were 
absent ; and, even of those who responded to the call, 
the majority declared there was nothing new to com- 
municate. When the turn came of the 8th arron- 
disseraent — the one in which the Gymnase Triat, 
where the meeting was held, is situated — ^it appeared 
that there was no official deleguee for this district, 
citizen Jules Allix declaring that the society had not 
been very successful in the Elysee quarter on account 
of the convents. "It is impossible to obtain work 
here," observed he, "unless one passes through the 
XJrsulines of St. Roch." " It isn't true," shouted an 
energetic voice at the end of the hall, and an in- 
describable tumult ensued. All the women rose; 
the presidente violently rang her bell. The interrupter 
advanced in the uniform of a National Guard, and 
proved to be no other than the Due de Fitz-James. 

He endeavoured to speak, but screams prevented him 
from so doing ; some women rushed towards him and 
threatened him, others grasped his hands and thanked 
him. He sprang on to the platform ; with one hand 
he overturned the long table covered with green 
baize, and behind it disappeared the members of the 
committee. Then citizen Jules Allix sprang at his 
throat. They fell from the top of the platform, and 
M. le Due and M. le Secretaire rolled together in the 
dust. Every one rushed forward; some taking one 
side, and some the other. 

At length citizen Allix reappeared, with a pale 
face, soiled and ruffled clothes, and remarkably dirty 
hands. In a majestic manner he regained his place, 
and, the table being set on its feet again, he pro- 
nounced, with emotion, a few words, amouning to 

4—2 



52 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAYT 

this : — " We say the truth, Snd if that shocks any one, 
we will submit to these shocks by saying what is 
true." But the assembly was too agitated to listen ; 
immoderate laughter and noisy reflections were heard 
in the galleries. Eventually a young lady, a member 
of the bureau, rose and addressed one of the principal 
mockers in much the same tone as Mirabeau must 
have addressed the Marquis de Brez^ on a memorable 
occasion. " Citizen," she exclaimed, " if you venture 
to say another word, we will throw your four sous in 
your face and show you the door.^ This terrible 
threat sufficed to re-establish order. 

The reading of the documents which were to be sent 
to the Government now commenced. Two ideas seemed 
dominant in them. The first, that women ought to 
be armed and take their place on the ramparts ; the 
second, that they should protect their honour from 
the assaults of the enemy by means of prussic acid, 
" which we have found a way of using without 
danger." In one of the documents there occurred 
this phrase — " You have seen in me, Citizen Mayor, 
a peaceful and simple woman ; to-day what do I wish 
for ? A pair of loose Zouave's trousers." 

Prussic acid! Citizen AUix, with a cunning smile, 
remarked how curious it was that prussic acid 
should serve to kill the Prussians with. Then he 
commenced to describe an apparatus, by means of 
which it would be easy to destroy all the Prussians 
who might enter Paris. The inventor had styled 
this apparatus '* the finger of God," but citizen Allix 
thought it would be better to call it the prussic 
finger. " It consists of a little indiarubber thimble, 
such as women place on their fingers, and at the end 
of it is a small sharp tube containing prussic acid. 



AMAZONS TO THP RESCUE I si 

The Prussian approaches ; you hold out your hand ; 
you prick him, he falls dead. If several Prussians 
approach — in which case women, generally, only 
escape their power mad or dead — she who has the 
prussic finger pricks them one by one, and remains 
tranquil and pure, having round her a circle of 
corpses." At this recital the women, alas ! were moved 
to tears, and applauded most energetically ; while the 
male portion of the audience no longer laughed, but 
roared. 

The question of the uniform of the armed legion 
of women now came on for discussion. On the table 
were exhibited some drawings and a hygienic belt, 
which objects were about to be discussed, when a voice 
called out, "The secretary ought to be a woman." 
The fact is, every one was tired of hearing, at the 
women's club, nothing but the voice of citizen Jules 
Allix. On this cry the hubbub recommenced. The 
members of the committee grew more agitated than 
ever, the presidentes bell rang incessantly ; but all in 
vain. For the space of half an hour one had to 
submit to a noise which would have deafened an 
artilleryman. 

Citizen Jules Allix was the object of endless ridi- 
cule. "He doesn't belong to the National Guard!" 
" He never leaves the petticoats ! " " He's a Turk !" 
" He's a Mormon !" were the cries. He then defied his 
accusers to meet him face to face. On this challenge 
a National Guard mounted the platform, and in a 
short and neat speech declared that citizen Allix had 
never once been on guard at the ramparts ; that two 
days before, in a public meeting, he had almost killed an 
orator who was hostile to him, and only escaped the 
effects of public indignation by flight ; and that it was 



54 " FROM GRA VE TO GA K" 

he who, in 1848, pretended to replace the telegraph 
by "sympathetic snails." But the speaker was not 
allowed to finish; the Amazons rose up tumultuously 
to defend their knight ; they wildly harangued the 
orator, tore at his clothes, and ended by dragging 
him from the platform. One of them positively 
pinched his calves. The men hastened to his assist- 
ance, and he was then carried in triumph round the 
gymnasium, amid cries of "a has AUix!** Dinner 
time was coming on ; no one thought any longer of 
the uniform of the armed legion, nor of the hygienic 
belt, and darkness invading the hall put an end to 
this burlesque scene. 

A few days later the landlord of the gymnasium 
turned his noisy tenants out of doors; and, indeed, 
after such an exhibition one might have thought that 
even the project of forming a feminine legion would 
have been abandoned. Amongst its warmest partisans, 
however, was a certain M. F^lix Belly, who, strange 
to say, had been an object of much ridicule a few 
years previously, through his efforts to start a Panama 
Canal Company. Tempora mutantur. On the very 
morrow of the tumultuous meeting at the Gymnase 
Triat, he placarded the walls of Paris with green broad- 
sides, each of which, owing to its heading in bold 
type, "Amazons of the Seine," attracted a curious 
crowd around it. The chief passages of this docu- 
ment ran as follows : — 

'^ In accordance with the wishes expressed in nnmerous letters, 
and out of regard to the generous dispositions of a considerable 
portion of the female population of Paris, there will be formed, as 
resources are furnished for their equipment and organization, ten 
battalions of women, without distinction of social rank, and who 
will take the title of * Amazons of the Seine.' These battalions 
are principally destined to defend the ramparts and barricades, 



AMAZONS TO THE RESCUE I 55 

jointly with the stationary National Guard, and to render to the 
combatants, in whose ranks it is proposed they should be distributed 
by companies, all such domestic and fraternal services as are com- 
patible with moral order and military discipline. They will also 
charge themselves with rendering, on the ramparts, the first neces- 
sary cares to the wounded, who will thus be spared having to wait 
for several hours. They will be armed with light guns, carrying 
upwards of 200 yards, and the Government will be petitioned to 
accord them the same daily indemnity of a franc and a half which 
is given to the National Guard. The costume of the ' Amazons of 
the Seine ' will consist of a pair of black trousers, with an orange 
colour stripe, a blouse of woollen stuff, with a cape, and a black kepi 
with an orange band, together with a cartridge-box, fastening to a 
shoulder belt. 

" An enlistment bureau is opened at 36, Rue Turbigo, from 9 in 
the morning till 5 p.m., for the formation of the 1st battalion, under 
the direction of a retired superior officer. AH candidates presenting 
themselves for enrolment must be accompanied by a National 
Guard, by way of guarantee. The battalion will consist of eight 
companies, each composed of 150 Amazons, and forming a total 
of 1,200 Strong. Each company will be immediately drilled 
and instructed in the management of firearms, and in military 
marching. 

'^ An experienced doctor— of the female sex when practicable^- 
will be attached to each battalion. That of the first battalion 
will recruit her needful staif, and a special ambulance will be 
Provided for wounded Amazons, under the direction of the Chief of 
the Medical Service — M. le Dr. Coudret A committee of ladies, 
which will act as the conseil de famille of the corps, will see to its 
healthful condition, to the proper organization of the ambulance, and 
to providing against the inclemencies of the weather. 

'^ MM. the gunsmiths are invited to present, at the office, speci- 
mens of arms they could undertake to furnish, the examination of 
which will be confided to officers of artillery." 

The placard embodied, moreover, an appeal to the 
ladies of the richer classes, asking them to contribute 
to their sisters' equipment by subscribing money, or, 
in default thereof, by sacrificing some of their super- 
fluous bracelets, necklaces, and other jewels; and 
beneath the glowing peroration were appended the 



S6 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAYP 

words " The Provisional Commander of the 1st Bat- 
talion, Fdlix BeUy/' 

On proceeding to the offices in the Rue Turbigo, 
one found in front of them a considerable crowd 
of women and National Guards engaged in reading 
various notices posted up on either side of the door- 
way, or in discussing some question relative to the 
new corps. Several women were evidently urging 
each other to enrol themselves, and one aspiring 
Amazon was engaged in a lively discussion with a 
National Guard on the relative measure of valour per- 
taining to what we conventionally term the sterner 
and the weaker sexes. The staircase was completely 
thronged with applicants and their escorts, and one 
observed that by far the great majority of Amazons 
presenting themselves for enrolment, were women of 
a certain age, and evidently accustomed to hard work, 
often muscular, and not unfrequently over-stout. They 
appeared principally to consist of femmes du peuple^ 
cooks, washerwomen, and such like, with a fair sprink- 
ling of shopwomen and seamstresses, the youngest 
among them being not less tlian five-and-twenty. Gal- 
lantry ought, perhaps, to impose silence upon one on 
the scoreof their pretensions to beauty; stiU, truth claims 
the admission that none of these patriotic citoyennes 
were in the smallest degree handsome or even interest- 
ing, and evidently none were patriotes of the Charlotte 
Corday type. The chef provisoire of the First Battalion, 
who inspected and cross-questioned all applicants pre- 
senting themselves, was what the French style a petit 
bonhomme sec, a wiry little middle-aged- man, of 
military bearing, and decorated with a parti-coloured 
ribbon. He stated that the committee of ladies was 
not yet complete, as they were waiting for some in- 



AMAZONS TO THE RESCUE! 57 

lluential names ; that only women of unexceptional 
moral character would be permitted to join the corps 
of Amazons of the Seine, all who offered themselves 
for enrolment having not only to be accompanied by 
husband, father, or brother, but to bring with them a 
certificate from a Commissary of Police, attesting 
their character, position, &c. The officers, he said, 
would all be ladies, mostly wives and daughters of 
officers in the army, or at any rate possessing some 
knowledge of military affairs. In conclusion, he ob- 
served that a special patriotic and most spirit-stirring 
song had been composed for the corps, and entitled, 
" The Marseillaise of the Amazons of the Seine." 

All these fine projects and preparations were, 
however, doomed to speedy death, for only three days 
afterwards, the police intervened, firstly, on the grounds, 
that General Trochu had interdicted the formation of 
further free corps, and secondly, because it had been 
rumoured that M. Belly made all applicants for 
admission into the ranks of the Amazons contribute 
an entrance fee. Despite the indignant protestations 
and denials of the Provisional Commander of the First 
Battalion a perquisition was made at the offices in the 
Rue Turbigo, and all his papers were carried off. He 
was not troubled, however, any further in the matter, 
so it is probable that tlie charges brought against him 
were incorrect. At all events, the project of the 
Amazons had been nipped in the bud, or, as M. Belly 
preferred to remark in the elaborate Mhioire Jiistijicatif 
which he subsequently issued, '' it had sunk in the mud 
of rascality.'* 



58 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAYP 

VI. JEREMIADS, JOURNALISM, JESTS, AND SATIRE. 

" Men are governed by words," remarked a great 
French philosopher ; and this axiom was a favourite 
one with the members of the new regime^ whose 
adversaries continually demanded '* Des Actes et non 
des Paroles !" In the provinces, Grambetta certainly 
supplemented his stirring but mendacious proclama- 
tions with strenuous endeavours to arrest the progress 
of the invasion ; but in Paris matters were very 
different ; for although the words flowed fast enough, 
the acts so loudly clamoured for were almost entirely 
wanting. Even the President of the Government, 
General Trochu, — a skilful organizer but no strategist, 
and still less an able commander on the actual field of 
battle— evinced at all times a marked partiality for 
rhetoric ; and he was as proud of his speeches and 
proclamations as if they had been so many victories. 
His coadjutors being mostly barristers, their loquacity 
can scarcely be wondered at ; still, having chosen to 
assume the terrible responsibility of ruling and 
defending France, it is to be deplored that they did 
not gratify their confiding feUow-countrymen with 
more action and less verbosity. Scarcely a day, hardly 
an hour, but proclamations, full of " sound and fury, 
signifying nothing," were issued ; and as if the multi- 
tudinous utterances of the Government did not suffice 
to stimulate public confidence and patriotic fervour, 
oracles arose on all sides eager to be heard, to castigate 
the victorious Germans with eloquent diatribes; to 
oppose, as they said, right against might — forgetting 
that France had clamoured " a Berlin !'' — and to assure 
their fellow-countrymen and attentive Europe that 
victory would yet salute the flag which had travelled 



JEREMIADS, JESTS, AND SATIRE. 59 

round the world. There were also those who dwelt on 
the possible destruction of Paris as an irreparable 
disaster for mankind^ oblivious that humanity had pro- 
gressed and prospered despite the fall of Athens, 
Home, and Byzantium ; whilst others, again, loaded 
the Empire with invective, and a few called on France 
to say her med culpa. There were, moreover, censors 
among these oracles, who bitterly denounced the 
inaction of the Government — in which they were 
generally right — and who could perceive no chance of 
salvation save in the Commune — in which they were 
invariably wrong. There was, indeed, a multitude of 
councillors of every category, but the >visdom which 
fell from their lips was truly infinitesimaL 

M. Victor Hugo, who had remained in exile during 
eighteen years — simply because he could not 
" breathe the air of Paris whilst it was tainted by the 
breath of the Bonapartes" — was a prominent contri- 
butor to these oracular utterances. In his appeal to 
Germany, issued shortly after his return to France* — 
an appeal indited with a fiery eloquence, Bui yeneris^ 
and a power of language he alone possesses — he asked 
his brethren of the Fatherland if they were anxious to 
emulate Attila, Alaric and Omar; to conduct themselves 
like Vandals, Huns, and Turks ; and warned them 
that if Paris were pushed to extremities, she could and 
would conquer. Even if ruined materially, the dis- 
persion of her stones would foster the dispersion of 
ideas, and from every grain of her ashes would spring 
the seed of the future. " Germans !" exclaimed the 
excited poet, " If you persist, let it be so ; you are 
warned ; come and attack the walls of Paris. Under 

* AntCy vol. L p. 34. 



6o ''FROM GRAVE TO GAYP 

your bombs and your mitrailleuses she will defend 
herself. As for me — an old man now — I shall be 
there unarmed. It behoves me to be with the people 
who die. I pity you for being with the kings who 
kill !" This appeal having failed to turn the Germans 
from their purpose, M. Hugo next considered it his 
duty to exhort his countrymen to resistance ; and 
accordingly, shortly after the investment of Paris was 
completed, he dedicated to the French nation a second 
and most sensational address : — " Rouen," cried the 
poet, " draw thy sword ! Lille, take up thy musket ! 
Bordeaux, point thy cannon ! Marseilles, sing thy song 
and be terrible 1" and then, turning to the Francs- 
tireurs, especial objects of German aversion, he called 
upon them to wind through thickets, pass over torrents, 
avail themselves of darkness and gloom, glide through 
ravines, creep, crawl, take aim, and exterminate the 
invader. For the Parisians, M. Hugo reserved a 
special proclamation, redolent of antithesis, and from 
which we learnt that Berlin, the Spree, Spandau, 
Potsdam, and M. de Bismarck, constituted the German 
world. The war between France and Germany was 
likened to the old contest between the archangel and 
the dragon ; and then, after regaling us at one moment 
with the comforting intelligence that Prussia would 
be cast down, and the next minute predicting that the 
world would be amazed when it saw how grandly 
Paris could die, M. Hugo concluded with the 
remark: ''The Pantheon is already asking itself 
where it is to put the crowds of heroes who are about 
to acquire a title to the shelter of its dome. Paris, 
thou hast crowned the statue of Strasburg with 
flowers ; history will crown thee with stars !" 

Following Victor Hugo's initiative, other notable 



JEREMIADS, JESTS, AND SATIRE. 6i 

men, such as Louis Blanc and Edgar Quinet, Renan 
and Bishop Dupanloup, came forward and contributed 
to the oracular literature of the times. At the 
beginning of October, the first-named addressed an 
appeal to the English people, in which he cast all the 
responsibility of the war upon the fallen Empire. He 
asked the English to imagine a bombardment of 
London, and the destruction of its finest buildings and 
museums, and urged that Europe was endangered by 
Prussian militarism; observing, moreover, that a nation 
which sanctioned the saturnalia of force stood a chance 
of undergoing it ; and, indeed, deserved to do so. At 
this epoch the only response of perfidious Albion was, 
apparently, the publication in London of a placard in 
favour of France, by a certain " Citizen Bichard 
Congreve, Chef des Positivistes Anglais," which was 
described by the Parisian press as having had an 
immense effect, notwithstanding the Jews of the city, 
the aristocrats of the West End, and the princes of 
Windsor. Edgar Quinet's most important address was 
an appeal to the Government to decree the levfic en 
masse, and to organize an energetic resistance to the 
enemy. Renan distinguished hirnpelf by an eloquent 
letter to Dr. Strauss, contesting the right of Germany 
to wrest Alsace from France, and reminding him that 
if conquerors sat in the Walhalla, yet nowhere in the 
New Testament are military virtues mentioned among 
those which gain the Kingdom of Heaven. Bishop 
Dupanloup's letter on the situation was full of dignity 
and sorrow. " We are passing," he said, " through a 
period of justice and expiation. Better the hour of 
chastisement than the hour of scandal." 

Some of the many manifestoes which appeared, 
notably those of Victor Hugo and Louis Blanc, were 



62 "^ FROM GRA VE TO GA K" 

placarded on the walls of Paris, and they were all 
of them reproduced in the newspapers. There had 
been some considerable modifications in Parisian 
journalism since the Ee volution. Several of the daily 
papers, such as the Volontaire^ LHistoire^ the Public 
and the Parlement^ had ceased altogether to appear. 
Others were merely issued in the provinces, though 
editions of some of the more important organs were 
published both in Paris and at Tours. A multitude 
of new journals had also sprung up,* foremost among 
them being the Combat^ edited by Felix Pyat, the Patrie 
en Danger^ managed by Blanqui, and the Veritc, 
directed by Edouard Portalis.f The publication of 
these new organs was greatly facilitated by the aboli- 
tion both of the stamp duty and of the pecuniary 
deposit which the Empire had exacted by way of 
security for Press offences ; but even before the invest- 
ment was completed, a new, unforeseen difiiculty arose 
seriously threatening the existence of every periodical 
in Paris. All the French paper manufactories being 

* The total number of new journals issued in Paris from the 
4th of September till the end of the year was forty-eight One of them 
—the Eipublique — was issued for the first time a few hours after the 
Revolution was effected. Another one — Les Nauvelles — ^was pub- 
lished four times a day. Twenty-two others were issued as daily, 
six as bi-weekly, and three as weekly periodicals ; one of the latter 
being an illustrated joumaL Four of the bi-weekly organs were 
published purely for despatch by balloon into the provinces and 
abroad, combining a blank half-sheet of note-paper, for corre- 
spondence, with a half-sheet of lithographed matter detailing 
recent events in Paris. By the end of the year, twenty-four of 
the new organs had ceased to appear, many of them having only 
issued one or two numbers. Of the remaining four-and-twenty, 
several only made an occasional appearance. 

t The Reveil — edited by Delescluze. and a prominent Radical 
organ during the siege— already existed prior to the Eevolution. 



i 

J 



JEREMIADS, JESTS, AND SATIRE. 6^ 

in the northern provinces occupied by the Germans, 
the only supplies the Parisian Press could count upon 
consisted of such stocks as might exist in the capital. 
The scarcity of paper led to a reduction in the size of 
the different journals, many of which henceforward 
consists of a single leaf. The venerable Galignan%% 
Messenger was published in this diminished form 
for a few days, and then ceased to appear altogether, 
all its compositors having left Paris in fear of the 
expected siege. 

It was curious to note how several prominent organs 
of public opinion modified their politics directly the 
Second Empire was overthrown. For instance, the 
versatile Figaro affected for a time to become a staunch 
Bepublican journal, though it did not abate one iota 
of its unblushing mendacity. Prior to the siege, it 
had revelled in abusing and ridiculing the Germans — 
in which respect it was not alone, for even the sager 
Liberte publicly thanked Providence for the fact that 
the King of Prussia had gone mad. The Figaro^a 
earlier efiusions — notably Albert Millaud's famous 
diatribe, "The Wolves" — were perfect disgraces to 
journalism, and its later rhodomontades proved scarcely 
less deserving of censure. Abuse not suflBcing, how- 
ever, it took to fabricating news from outside, furnish- 
ing, for instance, a detailed account of what passed at a 
council of war held at Versailles when it was proposed 
to abandon the investment of Paris. The writer even 
assured us that King William thumped the table with 
clenched fist when a retreat was proposed, and that 
Bismarck strode impatiently up and down the room. 
Then, also, the Figaro gave us news of the 'French 
provincial forces, equally sensational and inaccurate, 
and it was publicly pilloried one morning in the 



64 " FROM GRA VE TO GA YP 

Ojjiciel for its mendacious assertions. In these, again, 
it was not alone, for one found the Soir stating that 
the Prussians used the Versailles picture galleries as 
kitchens; whilst the Gaulois aflSrmed that a number 
of Prussian officers and soldiers had dishonoured 
their uniforwjs and outraged 300 women. Turning to 
home aflairs, one found journals of acknowledged 
respectability supporting the most senseless proposals : 
for instance, the ultra-legitimist Gazette de France 
openly approved of Gustave Courbet's subsequently 
realized proposal to overthrow the Vend6me column. 

Neither sense nor moderation were to be expected 
from the Red Republican organs. In the Combaty 
King William, General Trochu, and the Prefecture of 
Police were the especial objects of M. Pyat's virulence. 
He even started a subscription for a rifle of honour 
to be given to the man who shot the King of Prussia. 
This weapon, he assured us, would become more 
famous than David's spear, Tell's bow, Joan of Arc's 
sword, or the bullet with which poor Maximilian was 
sent to an untimely grave. It was to be called the 
" Pacificator," and upon the barrel was to be engraved 
the inscription, '^ Liberty, Equality, Fraternity !'* 
Strange to relate, six thousand citizens were found 
eager to subscribe for the fabrication of this fiml 
ffhonneur, which quite cast into the shade the com- 
pany projected to seize the person of Count Bismarck 
either dead or alive, with the privilege, if the latter 
were accomplished, of exhibiting the German Chan- 
cellor in an iron cage ! Delescluze's journal, the 
Beveil, was not a whit less violent than the Combat, 
though it was perhaps a trifle more boastful. We 
were told one morning in October that in a few days 
the French Republic would dictate terms of peace. 



JEREMIADS, JESTS, AND SATIRE. 65 

the first clause in which would affirm that royalty was 
abolished in Europe. Citizen Delescluze was in this 
instance unusually modest, for there was no reason in 
the world for him to leave the Shah of Persia, the 
Emperor of China, the Bey of Tunis, and the Sultan 
of Morocco on their thrones. Why not rid the entire 
world of monarchical institutions at one fell swoop ? 
The bete noire of Blanqui's organ, La Patrie en Banger^ 
was the clergy. He demanded that all the churches 
should be transformed into granaries or clubs, and 
suggested that the priests should be driven out of the 
ambulances, arrested, armed, and placed under fire in 
the most perilous positions. At the same time, like 
Pyat, Delescluze, and others, this old revolutionary 
maniac clamoured with all his remaining lungs for the 
immediate election of the Commune, which, in his eyes, 
would alone save France ; as though there were any 
more chance of the enemy being beaten by a demagogic 
municipality than there was of his being conquered by 
the strains of the Marseillaise. 

Although the " liberal-minded" Ernest Picard pro- 
posed the suppression of all newspapers during the 
siege,* the Government did not, in the earlier times, 
adopt any special measures to curb the licence of the 
Press. On the contrary, the official decrees were 
imbued with the most liberal spirit ; though, on one 
unfortunate occasion, the Government certainly acted 
in defiance of all law. This was when M. E. Portalis, 
editor of the Virite, was arrested on the charge of pro 
pagating false news ; whereas he only asked the 
Government if certain rumoured intelligence was 
correct. t He was kept in prison for over a week 

♦ M. Dreo's " Summary," Oct 17. f ^^^^% ^^1. L p. 266. 
VOL. II. 5 



66 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY." 

being released when the judicial authorities were 
satisfied that he could not be convicted. Apropos of 
the legal officials, one must record that the Parisian 
Press was unanimous in crying " Bon d^arras'* over 
the grave of M. Delesvaux, Judge of the Sixth Civil 
Court, who, under the Empire, had been specially 
selected to try Press and political offences. The secret 
papers found at the Tuileries after the Eevolution, 
and the publication of which enabled the newspapers 
to fill many a gaping column during the siege, disclosed 
the fact that for every political prisoner or journalist 
brought before this ornament to the Bench — and he 
never had the weakness to acquit one — he received a 
sum of money proportioned to the number of months' 
imprisonment, and the amount of fines inflicted, and 
the political and social standing of the prisoner. When 
this became known, Delesvaux put a pistol to his head 
and committed suicide. He was not the only judicial 
functionary who came to grief during the siege. In 
consequence of the scandalous conduct of M. Devienne^ 
President of the Cour de Cassation,* the Govern- 
ment issued a decree ordering him to be judged by 
his own court — a measure which eventually led to 
his dismissal from the Bench. The houses of 
other Imperialist Judges were searched by the police, 
and numerous compromising documents were disco- 
vered. 

In the gloomiest moments of the siege of Paris, the 
mot pour fire was never lost sight of; for there was 
at all times, and respecting all things, a superabundance 
of jests ; jests on any given subject — ^the Prussians, the 
National Guard, the sorties, the rations, the gas, and 

"* See antej vol, L p 165. 



JEREMIADS, JESTS, AND SATIRE. 67 

thus ad infinitum. A German general was said to 
have remarked — "I don't know how to satisfy the 
army ; the soldiers complain of hunger, and yet I lead 
them every morning to the slaughter-house ;" while, 
as regards the French troops, one learnt that a colonel, 
who had been ordered to have the words " Liberty, 
Equality, Frat-emity," painted on the walls of his 
barracks, preferred to replace the Republican motto 
with the inscription " Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery," in 
which device he declared he placed infinitely more 
trust. The treason mania was happily hit off in the 
anecdote of the soldier who remarked to a comrade : 
*' The captain is a traitor/' " Poph !" ejaculated his 
companion. "Yes, I am certain of it," was the 
retort; "have you not noticed that every time he 
orders us to march forward, we meet the enemy?" 
When General Trochu issued his decree, incorporating 
in the marching battalions all National Guards under 
forty-five years of age,* a Guard, who was asked how 
old he was, replied, " Forty-six." " How is that ?" he 
was asked ; " only a few weeks ago you told everyone 
that you were but thirty-six." " That's true ! " rejoined 
the unabashed citizen-soldier ; '' but what with ram- 
part duty, manifesting at the Hotel de Yille, &c., I 
am quite ten years older than I was ! " On viande de 

* November 9th. — These marching battalions were to be formed 
of war companies, drafted from the sedentary battalions; each 
company to comprise 100 men, if the sedentary battalion was 1200 
strong or under, and 125 men if its strength was above 1200. In 
constituting these companies, volunteers were first of all to be 
chosen. Then bachelors, or widowers without children, between 
20 and 35 years of age ; drdly, the same between 35 and 45 
years of age ; 4thly, married men, or fathers of femilies, from 
20 to 35 years old; and 5thly, the same, from 35 to 45 years 
old. 

5—2 



68 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAY." 

cheval coining into vogue, we were informed that 
citizen X. looked ill one evening after dinner, and 
that when his wife tenderly inquired what was the 
matter with him, he replied, '' Oh ! I shall soon be 
all right, but I always thought myself a better iorse- 
man.'* Again, when the supply of gas began to fail, 
we learnt that Bochefort was positively delighted 
with the prospect ; for, with no gas, the Parisians 
would inevitably be obliged to purchase some thousands 
of Lantemes. As for the citizen who desired to create 
a sensation in these strange times, all he had to do> 
remarked the Fiyaro, was to enter a caf<6, and call for 
a railway time-table. 

All the personages and topics of the hour were de- 
picted in the caricatures appearing in such of the 
comic papers as still subsisted ; and some very droU 
designs were published in the Charivari, in which 
Cham revenged himself on* perfidious Albion for her 
indifference, by portraying King William as Davy 
Crockett with the British Lion licking his boots. In 
another number of the same periodical Daumier repre- 
sented Count von Bismarck asleep. In his dream 
he perceived a phantom, supposed to be Death, who, 
as he stood scythe in hand looking towards a corpse- 
strewn battle-field, murmured in the Chancellor's ear, 
" Thanks, many thanks.*' In the Journal Amusant one 
found depicted a huge mousetrap with "France" 
inscribed above the raised doorway. A regiment 
of mice dressed as Prussian soldiers were marching 
towards it, the leader — a pompous, pot-bellied 
fellow — pointing with his sword to the cheese 
labelled " Paris,'* which was inside the trap. Beneath 
ran the suggestive inscription, "If we could only 
catch them all in it." But the caricatures published 




CARICATURES OF THE PEEIOD. 



JEREMIADS, JESTS, AND SATIRE. 69 

in the comic journals were only a fraction of those 
which appeared. Scores and scores were issued 
separately at a penny each, being displayed at the 
kiosques on the boulevards, or being strung, like 
clothes, on a line running from tree to tree. Many 
of them were decidedly offensive to public decency, 
but the authorities never thought 01 interfering. King 
William, Bismarck, and the ex-Emperor, whom the 
populace familiarly termed "Badinguet," furnished 
subjects for most of these designs. One effort de- 
picted Badinguet and William as Bobert Macquaire 
and Bertrand ; whilst another represented Badinguet 
eating an eagle. '' Eascal," said the King of 
Prussia, **what are you doing with your eagle?" 
" Eating it," replied the fallen Caesar, " what else 
can I do with it ? " Elsewhere one found M. Thiers 
with one foot in the grave, pointing a cannon on the 
fortifications — the fortifications with which he had 
provided Paris ; and in another design Bismarck, in 
seven-league boots, made ineffectual efforts to step 
from Versailles to Paris. The King of Prussia also 
found himself portrayed as '* Butcher William f or 
else he was shown us in the act of bidding Death 
— faint from previous exploits — to still march on 
The scarcity of provisions prompted several designs. 
In one we found a cook prowling on a house roof and 
seeking to catch a luckless cat, wherewith to prepare 
a succulent lapin saute. Another caricature repre- 
sented the armies of succour seeking to pass a leg of 
mutton, some ribs of beef, and several strings of 
sausages over a double row of spiked helmets sur- 
rounding a bastion labelled "Paris." From this 
latter a hungry National Guard was about to spring 
iorward, eager to partake of the joints he had in 



70 ''FROM GRAVE TO GAYl* 

view, but an arm — that of General Trochu — held him 
back, condemning him to inaction and famine. 

The booksellers had rather a hard time of it during 
the siege. The only new works issued consisted of a 
few pamphlets on the situation^ and the Government 
edition of the secret papers found at the Tuileries — 
documents which placed the corrupt and pampered 
Court of the Second Empire in its true light. The 
trade was also able to fall back upon the various pub- 
lications suppressed, or placed under interdict, in 
France during Imperial times, such as Victor Hugo's 
ChdtimentSy which had a very large sale, a first edition 
of 5000 copies being bought up on the day of publi- 
cation. Military manuals were also in great demand. 
For instance, there were sold in France during the 
war — and a very large proportion of these sales must 
have been in Paris and during the siege — no fewer 
than 840,000 copies of the Ecde du Soldat, 170,000 
of the Ecole du Bataillon, and 450,000 of the Service 
des Places, besides hundreds of thousands of cheap 
abridgments of various kinds. 



vin. 



EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 



I. bazaine's treason and the bouboet blunder. 

In the preceding pages we have endeavoured to 
picture the aspect and condition of Paris during the 
earlier weeks of the investment — with citizen soldiers 
completing their military education inside the city, 
and regular troops reconnoitring and skirmishing in 
the environs; with oracles predicting the fall of the 
Teuton, or inciting the population to deeds of valour, and 
would-be Amazons clamouring to share the common 
peril ; with the spy and signal manias in full force, 
and queues of famished creatures already at this early 
period besieging the butchers' shops for their daily 
i*ations ; with caricatures flaunting from the kiosques 
on the Boulevards, and the national esprit asserting 
itself in a thousand humorous sallies ; with dissension 
brewing at the clubs, and malcontents manifesting at 
the H6tel de Ville ; whilst the Government went on 
proclaiming and perorating, and the Press continued 
to foster all the popular illusions. We now come to 
those events of ill omen which marked the last days 
of October, and seemed to foreshadow the possible 
correctness of Count Bismarck's sardonic prediction, 
that Paris would stew in its own gravy. 

On the 25th of October, the Parisians learnt with 
deep emotion, that the enemy had captured Ch&teau- 



72 EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

dun, an open town of Eure-et-Loire, after a terrible 
bombardment* which set half the houses on fire, and 
after a hand-to-hand struggle in the streets, and the 
massacre of the local National Guards and the Francs- 
tireurs de Paris. This valiant resistance offered to the 
foe, constituted, during forty-eight hours, the leading 
topic of conversation, and the hopes of patriotism re- 
vived at the thought that if France were full of citizens 
such as these, she might yet annihilate the hitherto vic- 
torious invader. But on the morning of the 27th, a 
great disaster was made known to the Parisians, by the 
Bed Bepublican journal, the Combat^ which appeared 
with the following announcement, surrounded with a 
mourning border, on its first page : — " It is a fact, 
sure and certain, that the Government of National 
Defence retains in its possession a State secret, which 
we denounce to an indignant country as a high treason. 
Marshal Bazaine has sent a colonel to the camp of the 
King of Prussia to treat for the surrender of Metz, 
and for Peace, in the name of His Majesty the Emperor 
Napoleon III." 

Intense excitement was caused in Paris by this 
statement, which was, however, generally disbelieved. 
Metz was the key of the situation. Marshal Bazaine's 
surrender would not merely deliver the finest of French 
fortresses to the enemy, but would release the army of 
Prince Frederick Charles, and permit it to march upon 
Paris, just when General d'Aurelle de Paladines was 
expected to overwhelm Von der Tann, and hurry with 
the army of the Loire to the relief of the capital. 
Such a terrible misfortune, argued the Parisians, could 
not be true. The last official news firom Metz was 
to the effect that General Bourbaki had escaped, and 
that he had placed his sword at the service of the 



BAZAINE AND LE BOURGET. 73 

Bepublic. Surely Marshal Bazaine was as good a 
patriot as the ex-Commander of the ex-Imperial Guard, 
and it was a calumny to suppose that he could have 
betrayed his country with the view of restoring the 
Empire ! Several individuals who hurried off to the 
offices of the Combat, with the view of ascertaining 
the truth, found the editor, citizen F61ix Pyat, absent. 
Warned of their approach, he had just been able to 
escape by a back w^. As the remaining members 
of the staff merely furnished some very vague infor- 
mation concerning the paternity of the obnoxious 
announcement, they were forthwith arrested and con- 
ducted to the H6tel de Ville. Here their captors 
were received by MM. Ferry and Rochefort, both of 
whom emphatically denied that Metz had fallen, the 
latter, moreover, declaring in unmistakable terms the 
contempt he felt for citizen Pyat, " a mean coward 
of the most sneaking class, who took part in Victor 
Noir's funeral by hiding behind a Venetian blind, and 
who afterwards hid himself for eight days from the 
police on board a coal barge/' Meanwhile the clerks 
at the War Office struck work, and came and inter- 
viewed General Trochu, who, in reply to tlieir pressing 
questions as to the truth of the news, bluntly stated 
that it was false. Excited groups gathered on the 
boulevards throughout the afternoon, and it was 
seriously proposed to attack the Combat office, and 
destroy the printing presses. This project was, how- 
ever, not carried into effect, and the National Guards 
contented themselves with buying up and seizing all 
the copies of the paper they could find, and burnt 
them in the streets, amidst the cheers of the assembled 
crowd. 

Citizen Felix Pyat remained in hiding, and tlie Combat 



74 EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

yolunteered no explanation whatever of its sensational 
statement, in its number of the following morning, 
when the Journal Officiel formally denied that Marshal 
Bazaine had capitulated. Accordingly confidence once 
more became paramount, and the public satisfaction 
increased, when one learnt, the same evening, that the 
village of Le Bourget, lying east of St. Denis, on the 
high road to Soissons, had been wrested from the 
Prussian Guards, with small loss, by the Francs-tireurs 
of the Press, supported by detachments of the line and 
the Garde Mobile. The attack was executed under the 
orders of General Carr6 de Bellemare, who had been 
a member of the Council of War at Sedan, when he 
refused to sign the capitulation. Having managed 
to escape, he set out for Paris, which he reached prior 
to the investment, General Trochu at once appointing 
him Commander-in-Chief of St. Denis and the adjacent 
forts. 

Paris went to bed wonderfully elated with this 
success over the Prussian arms, and fully reassured 
concerning F^lix Pyat's so-called "Plan Bazaine." 
Next morning, however, the editor of the Combat 
made public the fact that the news had been com- 
municated to him by citizen Flourens, who had it 
from citizen Henri Bochefort. Citizen Flourens 
partially confirmed this statement in a letter which 
the Combat published at the same time. He admitted 
that he had apprised citizen Pyat of Bazaine's 
treachery, and added that the news was imparted 
to him by a member of the Government. Still he 
denied that this member was Bochefort. Subse- 
quently, however, M. Flourens thought fit to recall 
this latter declaration, and asserted that it was on 
October 26« whilst in the company of Captain de 



BAZAINE AND LE BOURGET. 75 

Croez, that Bochefort acquainted him with the fact 
that Bazaine had sent a general to Versailles to treat 
concerning the surrender of Metz, in the name of the 
Emperor Napoleon. Bochefort begged, at the same 
time, that the fact might be kept secret ; but Flourens 
thought fit to confide the news to citizen Pyat, and 
the pair drew up together the announcement, the 
publication of which in the Combat caused such 
consternation in Paris. According to Flourens, the 
Government deliberately lied in denying the truth 
of this announcement, for it was already in full 
possession of all the facts; and in support of this 
assertion, he mentioned that the secret was not merely 
divulged by Bochefort to him, but that it was also 
communicated by M. Eugene Pelletan to Commandant 
Longuet, of the National Guard.* Flourens also 
added, that in writing to Pyat that Bochefort was 
not his informant, his only object was to secure a 
friend from the vengeance of jealous colleagues. 

There is a certain plausibility in M. Flourens' 
statement; and, although the precise circumstances 
of Marshal Bazaine's treason were not known to the 
Government until the 30th of October, when M. Thiers, 
provided with a laisser passer from Count Bismarck, 
arrived in Paris to discuss the question of an armis- 
tice, yet such intelligence as the authorities possessed 
by no means warranted the absolute denial with 
which they met citizen Pyat's thunderbolt. Thus, 
in a despatch which was received from Tours on the 
24th, and which mainly referred to M. Thiers' 
diplomatic mission, certain apprehensions were ex- 
pressed concerning the attitude of Marshal Bazaine ; 

♦ " Paris Livrd," by Gustave Flourens. Part 8, pp. 120-124, 



7S EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

nominally supported by Great Britain, Eussia, Austria, 
and Italy; and that he had already conferred with 
the Grovernment at the Foreign Office. It had been 
vaguely mentioned that he had returned from his 
diplomatic mission and was at Tours, and also that 
there was a possibility of his coming to Paris; but 
that he was actually within the walls nobody even 
dreamt. No mention of the fact was made, more- 
over, in the boastful harangue which M. Jules Favre 
had addressed that same afternoon to a deputation of 
refugee mayors at the H6tel de Ville ; but when the 
citizens awoke on the mon'ow, they found the walls 
of Paris placarded with the announcement of M. 
Thiers' arrival, and of the projected suspension of 
hostilities ; whilst^ by the side of this communication, 
there at length appeared an official acknowledgment 
of the disaster of Metz ; and, although the Government 
studiously ignored therein all rumours of Marshal 
Bazaine's treachery, yet the fact remained that he 
had surrendered to Germany the finest fortress in 
France, and the flower of the French army. Metz, 
as the Parisians subsequently learnt, had capitulated 
on the 27th of October — the very day when F^lix 
Pyat's pretended libel appeared in the columns of the 
Combat 



JI. THE GOVERNMENT IN PERIL. 

A hurricane of indignation swept over Paris that 
Monday morning as the citizens recapitulated the 
tidings of the last few hours — ^Le Bourget lost ; Metz 
surrendered ; proposals for an armistice with the hated 
invader being entertained ! The same query — " Could 
it be that Trochu's plan and Bazaine's plan were 



THE GOVERNMENT IN PERIL 79 

sjmoiiymous" — circulated throughout the city. The 
same exclamation — " Treachery !" — was on every 
patriot's lip. So, impelled by their excited feelings — 
which seemed to make all ripe for revolution — 
National Guards of advanced opinions hurried off 
to the Place de rH6tel de Ville, where by mid-day an 
immense crowd was assembled. Deputations, com- 
posed mostly of officers of the National Guard, were 
constituted, and sent to interview the members of the 
Government; all of whom, with the exception of 
Henri Rochefort, were assembled in Council. The 
delegates were courteously informed by M. Jules 
Ferry that good citizens need not be afraid ; that if 
the disasters of France were great, they were not 
irreparable ; and that, as regards the armistice, nothing 
should be accomplished without the sanction of the 
country ; whilst M. Etienne Arago, Mayor of Paris, 
added, in a tone of mock-heroism, that as long as he 
lived the Prussians should not enter the H6tel de 
Ville. Meanwhile, the crowd outside was steadilv 
increasing in numbers, and the members of the 
Government who attempted to harangue tlie swelling 
assemblage could not prevail upon it to retire. 
Numerous individuals having passed through the 
railing which faced the H6tel de Ville, Colonel 
Chevriau, under whose command the building was 
placed, caused the gates to be shut ; whereupon several 
members of the &ee corps known as Tibaldi's tirail- 
leurs, perceiving a side window open, climbed up, 
slided in, and opened the door leading to the offices. 
The mob at once effected an entrance, despite the 
resistance of some Gardes Mobiles; and Colonel 
Chevriau, hurrying to the council-room, apprised the 
Government that the building was invaded. M. Jules 



8o EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

Ferry at once went out to meet the malcontents, who 
had already penetrated as far as the throne-room. He 
endeavoured to speak, but his voice was drowned by 
clamours for the Commune. At this moment, two 
shots were fired upon the place outside, and a bullet 
from a revolver, aimed at M. Jules Favre, who was on 
the balcony haranguing the crowd, broke a window of 
the throne room — to the infinite terror of the invaders, 
who shouted '* To arms, our brothers are being assas- 
sinated !" General Trochu now presented himself, and 
endeavoured to make a speech explanatory of the 
capitulation of Metz, and the re-capture of Le Bourget, 
but he was greeted with shouts of "La Commune!" 
and forced to retire ; whilst Henri Eochefort, who 
was in the building for a few minutes, scarcely met 
with a better reception. 

. Meanwhile, the Mayors appointed by Grovernment 
over the diflTerent arrondissements of Paris had been 
holding a meeting in an adjoining room. They ex- 
pressed themselves in favour of immediate municipal 
elections, and M. Etienne Arago repaired to the Govern- 
ment council-room, and asked that this suggestion 
might be carried out. Hereupon, M. Ernest Picard 
proposed to inform the malcontents that the GK)vern- 
ment would submit itself to election by the citizens ; 
that municipal councillors should be elected ; and that 
no decision respecting the armistice or peace should 
be taken without consulting the population. The 
Council voted at once for announcing the municipal 
elections, but without any indication of date; MM. 
Arago, Favre, Ferry, Pelletan, and Picard being in 
favour of this proposition, which was opposed by 
MM. Trochu, Gamier-Pagfes, and Jules Simon. M. 
Etienne Arago immediately hurried out to acquaint 



THE GO VERNMENT IN PERIL. 8 1 

the invaders with this decision, and found that they had 
penetrated into the municipal council-room, where the 
windows, tables, and desks were being smashed. He 
was girt round with his sash of office, which failed, 
however, to inspire the least respect ; and after tender- 
ing his resignation to the Government, which was 
refused, he proceeded towards his private bureau, and 
was arrested on his way, and, for a time, kept a prisoner 
by some of the invaders. 

The members of the Government were still assembled 
in council, discussing whether they should submit 
themselves to election or not. If they did so, several 
among them might not be reappointed ; whilst if they 
did not, they might find themselves overthrown by 
the projected Commune. The debate had proceeded 
so far, when the tumult suddenly grew nearer and 
nearer ; the doors of the council-room were forced open, 
and citizens Chassin, Cyrille, Joly, and Lefran9ais, 
Chefs-de-Bataillon of the National Guard — who had 
placed themselves at the head of the movement — ap- 
pe^ed upon the threshold. They demanded the election 
of the Commune, and the formation of a new Cabinet, 
presided by M. Dorian, the popular Minister of Public 
Works. M. Jules Favre protested against this violence. 
" Do what you like with us," he exclaimed, ** but do 
not hope to obtain from us anything whatsoever 
through fear." Citizens Chassin and Joly protested 
that their motives were good, declaring that they 
desired to avoid the collision which threatened to take 
place. At this moment, General Tamisier, Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the National Guard, made his 
appearance, announcing that the overthrow of the 
Government was being proclaimed on all sides, and a 
second later the mob poured in, shouting '* Vive la 

VOL. II. 6 



82 EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

Commune !" and insulting the members of the 
Government. All of the latter — excepting M. Ernest 
Picard, who managed to glide out of the room, and 
make good his escape — remained at their seats round 
the board ; the mob pressing th^m so closely that they 
could not even rise from their chairs. MM. Gamier- 
Pages and Jules Favre attempted in vain to speak. 
Their voices were drowned by cries of " Down with 
them ! To Mazas, to Vincennes with them !" Ex- 
cited citizens jumped on the table, and began to 
perorate ; eventually calling upon the members of the 
Government to resign their functions, an injunction 
which they one and all refused to obey. 

That same morning citizen Gustave Flourens had 
called together the commanders of the five battalions 
of the Belleville National Guard, to whom he proposed 
an immediate attack on the H6tel de Ville. One of 
these officers suggested, however, that Belleville 
should assure itself of the co-operation of the other 
faubourgs, and this was agreed to ; appointments being 
given to thirty chefs-de-bataillon to meet and discuss 
the matter at the CafS de la Garde Nationale, in front 
of the H6tel de Ville. Flourens, however, was per- 
sonally in favour of immediate action; so, mounting 
on horseback, he set out with his own free corps, the 
so-called " Tirailleurs de Belleville," — which composed 
some 400 men, to each of whom he distributed a 
packet of six cartridges. He reached the Place de 
THotel de Ville at about 4 p.m., when the disorder 
was at its height ; and, penetrating into the building 
with his men, he began by commanding silence among 
the seven or eight thousand citizens collected on the 
grand staircase and in the surrounding rooms, and 
suggested that the Commune should be nominated by 



THE GO VERNMENT IN PERIL. ^i 

acclamation. As lie wrote his own name at the head 
of the list, which he proceeded to draw up, shouts 
arose that Dorian should be put down for the 
presidency, and, after some hesitation, Flourens 
obeyed. Eventually the following names were agreed 
upon : — Citizens Dorian, Flourens, Mottu, Victor 
Hugo, Louis Blanc, Delescluze, Blanqui, Avrial, 
Easpail, Ledru RoUin, F^lix Pyat, Ranvier, and 
Eochefort — the last alone not meeting with unanimous 
favour. Scraps of paper, on which these names were 
inscribed, or which contained the simple mention, 
" The Commune is accepted," were thrown out of the 
windows to the crowd collected on the Place, where 
the prudent . shopkeepers had already put up their 
shutters. Meanwhile, citizen Flourens entered the 
council -room, and, mounting the table, where so many 
had preceded him, he summoned the Government to 
resign, but met with a categorical refusal. The 
uproar was deafening. Every now and then a drum 
was beat in hopes of obtaining a little silence, but all 
in vain. Threats against the Government were 
indulged in, and cries were even heard of "Kill 
Trochu !" At length it was declared that the members 
of the Government must be arrested, and accordingly 
MM. Trochu, Favre, Ferry, Simon, Garnier-Pag6s, 
and Emmanuel Arago, together with Generals Le Flo 
and Tamisier, Staff-Captains Montagut and De 
Montaul, and MM. Lavertujon and Magnin, were 
placed under the combined guard of some of Flourens' 
and Tibaldi's tirailleurs and several armed National 
Guards. 

It has been mentioned that M. Ernest Picard, Minister 
of Finances, had managed to escape when the council 
chamber was first invaded. He hastened to the 

6 — 2 



84 E VENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

Louvre, and interviewed Greneral Schmitz, the chief of 
Trochu's staff, who, however, declined to summon the 
troops to the assistance of the sequestrated Government 
without a written order from his superior. M. Picard 
found less routine at the staflf offices of the National 
Guard, whence orders for the rappel to be beaten 
throughout Paris were at once issued. M. Picard 
also succeeded in garrisoning the National Printing 
Office, prohibited the insertion in the Journal OJlciel 
of any Communist decree, and sent word to the different 
Ministries to hold everything ready for defence. 
Admirals de la Eonciere le Noury and de la Chaille, 
moreover, waited on him at the Ministry of Finance, 
and proffered all the assistance they could give. The 
beating of the rappel was at first slow in eliciting a 
favourable response from those National Guards who 
had not taken part in the attempt to overthrow the 
Government; but one battalion — the 106th — belonging 
to the Faubourg St. Germain, having learnt the position 
of affairs, on its way back from duty at the ramparts, 
at once marched on the Hotel de Ville. By employing 
the stratagem of shouting " Vive la Commune 1" it 
succeeded in entering the building. At that moment 
several of the invaders were busily devouring some 
provisions they had managed to find ; whilst others, 
having forced open the cellars, were quietly drinking 
themselves drunk. The commander of the 106th 
battalion, M. Ibos, left a portion of his men on the 
ground-floor, and, with two companies, ascended the 
staircase and penetrated into the room where the 
Government were detained prisoners. He overpowered 
the guards ; and General Trochu, who had already 
prudently lemoved his epaulettes and taken off the 
star he wore upon his breast, was at once enveloped 



THE GO VERNMENT IN PERIL. 85 

in a great-coat; an ordinary National Guard kepi was 
thrust upon his head, and in a few minutes he was in 
safety outside. MM. Jules Ferry and Emmanuel Arago 
also succeeded in making off; but Flourens prevented 
the flight of the other prisoners, who were placed in a 
bay window under the surveillance of National Guards, 
armed with loaded rifles, and having instructions to 
shoot the captives if they attempted to escape. At 
the same time the insurgents rallied, secured the 
person of Commandant Ibos, and drove his men from 
the building. 

The old conspirator, Blanqui, had prudently kept 
away till he thought all danger was over, but hearing 
that the Commune had been proclaimed, he arrived at 
the H6tel de Ville at about six o'clock. The density 
of the crowd prevented him at first from rejoining 
Flourens ; so, installing himself in one of the rooms, 
he at once drew up orders for the gates of the city to 
be closed, for all the Eed Eepublican battalions to 
hasten to the Hotel de Ville, and for a battalion, 
already outside, to take immediate possession of the 
Prefecture of Police; whilst, at the same time, he 
issued instructions for the commanders of the forts to 
be on their guard against the Prussians who might 
seek to profit by the " revolution." Being attracted 
by the noise which the release of General Trochu 
occasioned, he hurried to see what was the matter, 
and was recognized ty some men of the 17th Battalion, 
belonging, like the 106th,to the Faubourg St. Germain, 
and who had also penetrated into the building. 
They endeavoured to carry him off, but he was rescued 
by Flourens and his tirailleurs before this could be 
accomplished. Blanqui and Flourens, with Milliere, 
who was already present, were soon joined by Kanvier, 



86 EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

Delescluze, and Mottu ; and, during several hours> 
the four first were engaged in drawing up decrees 
and in despatching fresh orders, summoning the Ked 
Eepublican battalions to the H6tel de ViUe. Certain 
messengers, who were sent out to secure the Ministry 
of Finance and the park of artillery, situated behind 
Notre Dame, failed, however, in their object. A lieu- 
tenant, who presented himself at the Treasury with 
an order to hand over 600,000/., was not paid, and the 
instructions despatched to the National Printing 
Office to insert in the Journal Offidel^ of the next day, 
a decree, naming 153 members of a Provisional 
Municipality, and convoking them to attend on the 
morrow at the H6tel de Ville, were not complied with, 
owing to the precautions taken by M. Ernest Picard. 
Still the insurgents secured several of the district 
Mairies, where they remained, believing themselves 
completely masters of the situation. 

In the meantime General Trochu had proceeded to 
his head-quarters at the Louvre, where he informed 
M. Jules Ferry that he should not allow the regular 
army to interfere in the matter, as it was the busi- 
ness of the National Guard to restore order in the 
city. M. Ferry being anxious to release his comrades, 
accordingly went to the head-quarters of the National 
Guard in the Place Venddme, and learnt that the rappel 
had been beaten some time previously, but that the 
citizen soldiery were slow in turning out, a great deal 
of doubt and hesitation prevailing as to whether they 
should come to the assistance of the Government 
which Paris had installed so triumphantly less than 
two months before. Eventually, however, a certain 
number of battalions assembled, and M. Jules Ferry 
and M. Edmond Adam, Prefect } of Police, placed 



THE GOVERNMENT IN PERIL. 87 

themselves at their head, and marched on the H6tel 
de Ville. General Ducrot had meanwhile arrived in 
Paris, and after a conference held between him. General 
Trochu, and M. Ernest Picard, at the Louvre, some 
battalions of the Garde Mobile were despatched to 
the assistance of the still captive members of the 
Government. It was now half-past eleven o'clock 
at night. The National Guards, led by MM. Ferry 
and Adam, appeared on the Place and battered at 
the gateways of the H6tel de Ville with the butt ends 
of their muskets, but without being able to force them 
open. The passages inside were barricaded with the 
gala carriages of Baron Haussmann turned topsy- 
turvy, and active preparations were being made for 
defence. The main force at the disposal of the occu- 
pants of the municipal palace consisted of Flourens' 
and Tibaldi's tirailleurs. One Belleville battalion, 
which had repaired to the scene of action during the 
afternoon, had left without even entering the Hotel 
de Ville, and three or four other detachments of Red 
Republican proclivities, which had formed on the Place 
in the evening, had also gone off, believing the victory 
of their cause to be complete. When the arrival of 
M. Jules Ferry and his forces became known to the 
insurgents, a first attempt at conciliation was made 
by Delescluze, who had taken no active part in the 
movement. He sent word that he should like to 
speak with M. Ferry, and this being agreed to, he 
came outside and declared that he appeared as a 
mediator, that the affair was a deplorable one, and that 
the great thing was to arrange it without bloodshed. 
He asked M. Ferry for a delay of half an hour, with 
the view of effecting a compromise, and this was readily 
granted. Repairing at once to the room where Blanqui, 



SS £ VENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

Flourens, Milli^re, and Eanvier were deliberating, he 
then obtained their consent to a declaration setting 
forth that the H6tel de Ville should be evacuated, pro- 
viding the Commune was elected on the morrow. At 
this moment Flourens was apprized that a sergeant 
and four men, belonging to a company of Breton 
Mobiles, had just been found in the cellars ; he ordered 
them to be disarmed and placed under arrest ; and was 
thunderstruck when he discovered that an entire 
battalion of Mobiles had penetrated into the H6tel de 
Ville by a subterranean passage leading from an 
adjacent barracks. The situation was now most 
critical for the insurgents. It was rumoured that 
General Ducrot was approaching with 1 0,000 men and 
two batteries of artillery. The cry was heard, " We 
are surrounded, we are no longer the strongest !" In 
haste the leaders of the movement sought for M.Dorian, 
the popular Minister of Public Works, who had 
remained in the building throughout the afternoon 
and evening, endeavouring to conciliate the adverse 
parties. He readily promised that no proceedings 
should be taken against the insurgents for anything 
which had transpired that day, and also agreed that 
the municipal elections should take place on the 
morrow, and that the Government should submit 
itself to election two days later. Accompanied by 
Flourens he parleyed with the commander of the 
Mobiles — ^who had just discovered vah'ant M. Etienne 
Arago hiding from the insurgents behind a stack 
of wood in the cellars — and prevailed on him not 
to resort to any measures of violence. 

Delescluze had hastened to inform M. Jules Ferry 
of the convention concluded with M. Dorian, but 
M. Ferry now declined to accept any conditions, and 



THE GOVERNMENT IN PERIL. 89 

insisted on an unconditional surrender. One of the 
gates having been opened by the Gardes Mobiles, he 
and the National Guards with him were at length 
able to ent^r the building. On reaching the Govern- 
ment council-room, they found the ringleaders of 
the movement endeavouring to obtain from their 
prisoners a formal ratification of the convention 
arrived at with M. Dorian. General Tamisier, 
Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard, was 
willing to accept the conditions ; and citizens Blanqui 
and Flourens subsequently declared that M. Favre 
and his colleagues also gave their assent. On the 
other hand, it is stated that they did not utter a 
single word either one way or the other.* The 
sudden advent of M. Ferry and his followers brought 
the scene to an abrupt close. The members of 
the Government were delivered, and the insurgents 
at once dispersed ; those who made any attempt at 
resistance being summarily ejected by their victors. 
Citizens Millifere and Ranvier got away as best they 
could. The flight of citizen Blanqui was conside- 
rately protected by General Tamisier, and citizen 
Flourens — who had all along shown more sang-froid 
than any of his fellows — quietly mounted on horseback, 
rallied his battalion of tirailleurs on the Place, in the 
midst of hostile detachments of the Garde Mobile ; and 
it having been agreed with M, Dorian, with the view 
of preventing a conflict, that no shouts of " Vive la 
Commune !" should be raised, the revolutionary forces 
filed off, acclaiming the Republic. General Trochu 
had, meanwhile, left the Louvre ; and, accompanied by 
General Ducrot, he passed the National Guards, 

* Evidence taken at Blanqui's trial in February, 1872. 



90 EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

gathered together by M. Ferry, in review on the 
Place de THdtel de Ville, where he met with a most 
enthusiastic reception. It was now between three 
and four o'clock in the morning. The Government — 
which had been in peril since one o'clock on the 
preceding afternoon — had been rescued, and was again 
paramount ; so, worn out with excitement, and eager 
for repose, everybody went off to bed.* 



III. THE FRUITS OF SEDITION. 

When the Government met in Council on the 1st of 
November, a debate was at once opened, concerning 
the convention concluded by M. Dorian with the lied 
Bepublican leaders ; and also on the subject of certain 
notices signed Dorian, Schoelcher, and Etienne Arago, 
which summoned the citizens to elect four municipal 
representatives for each arrondissement, and which had 
been placarded throughout Paris on the preceding 
evening. These latter were at once disavowed, and it 
was determined to issue a proclamation informing the 
inhabitants that on the following Thursday they would 
be called upon to vote — ^yes or no — whether they were 
desirous of immediate governmental and municipal 
elections. This proclamation was drawn up by M. 
Jules Favre, and posted on the walls of Paris the same 
afternoon. As regards M. Dorian's promise that none 
of the sequestrators of the Government should be 

♦ This description of the manifestation of October 3 1 is based 
on personal observation ; on the accounts in the newspapers of the 
epoch ; the evidence subsequently taken by Parliamentary Com- 
missions, or given at Blanqui*s trial ; as well as on Flourens' account 
in his work "Paris Livre;" Blanqui's printed statements; and 
M. Dreo*s '* Summary of the Government Deliberations." 



THE FRUITS OF SEDITION. 91 

punished, opinions were very divided. M. Garnier- 
Pag&s stated that as he left the H6tel de Ville, he had 
told Delescluze that he might consider himself a free 
man, and he could not recall those words M. Henri 
Eochefort — who it will be recollected had prudently 
kept out of harm's way — considered the manifestation 
to have been of " so grave a character, that no punish- 
ment would be sufficiently severe; for the men who took 
part in it had, in presence of the enemy, abandoned their 
post, to try and overthrow the Government." He was 
of opinion that the ringleaders " should be punished 
with the greatest severity, or else that nothing should 
be done at all." M. Jules Ferry was strenuously 
opposed to the Dorian convention. He had been, he 
said, complete master of the situation, and had taken 
no engagement whatsoever. Had he chosen, " he 
could have thrown the promoters of the manifestation 
out of the windows of the H6tel de Ville." These 
words aroused the indignation of M. Edmond Adam, 
Prefect of Police, who believed a convention had been 
concluded, and who, with the fear of "a preponderant 
reaction" before his eyes, thought fit, there and then, 
to hand in his resignation. The Procuror-General 
and the Procuror of the Eepublic, who were summoned 
to the Council, were in favour of great severity being 
shown in the future, but they were opposed to any 
proceedings being taken for what had already trans- 
pired. General Trochu and M. Picard argued against 
this doctrine ; the former observing that what Paris 
required was present, not future, energy ; but M. Jules 
Simon intervened, and remarked that several members 
of the Government would inevitably resign, if the 
project to arrest the ringleaders of the preceding day 
were carried out. He asked his colleagues to reflect 



92 EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

before creating a schism in the Government, and 
his persuasive eloquence prevailed. The question 
whether the invaders of the H6tel de Ville should be 
prosecuted or not, was put to the vote, and momentarily 
negatived by six votes against four. General Tamisier 
having resigned his command of the National Guard, 
ostensibly on the ground of ill-health, but possibly 
from a consciousness of his own insufficiency, was 
replaced by M. Clement Thomas, who announced his 
acceptance of the post before the Council separated. 

It was All Saints' Day, which the Parisians invari- 
ably keep as a fete, and considerable crowds of quiet 
citizens, accompanied by their wives and daughters, 
flocked to view the scene of the late demonstration. 
The Place de rH6tel de Ville was, however, occupied 
by battalions of National Guards, who had piled their 
firearms round its three open sides, so as to form a 
complete barrier, which no one unless duly authorized 
was permitted to pass. In other parts of the city 
considerable effervescence prevailed, both during the 
daytime, when some of the Radical agitators en- 
deavoured to proceed with the Communist elections 
at certain Mairies still in their power, and in the 
evening, when the clubs were crowded, and violent 
speeches, both in favour of and against the Govern- 
ment, were made. At the Council held on the morrow 
— the solemn " Day of the Dead," this year a more 
mournful anniversary than ever — the Prefect of Police 
persisted in resigning his functions, despite the vote 
of the preceding day; and after deciding to replace 
him by an advocate, M. Cresson, the Government by 
a sudden revulsion of opinion recalled its previous 
decision, anent the prosecution of the Eed Bepublican 
leaders, and resolved, by six votes against four, that 



THE FRUITS OF SEDITION. 93 

the promoters of Monday's demonstration sliould be 
arrested that very night. This result must be 
attributed to the influence which MM. Trochu, Favre, 
Picard, and Ferry brought to bear on their colleagues. 
Accordingly, between the 2nd and 5th of November, 
the police arrested and conducted to the Conciergerie 
citizens Eanvier, Milli^re, Mottu, Felix Pyat, Joly, 
Vesinier,Cyrille, Tridon, Goupil, M^gy, Eudes, Ignard, 
Levraud, PiUot, Vermorel, Tibaldi, Jaclard, Eazoua, 
Ducoudray, Peyrouton, and Lefranjais — all of whom 
subsequently acquired notoriety as participators in the 
insurrection of 1871. The celebrated Eaoul Eigault,. 
at that moment one of the Government Commissaries 
of Police, was also arrested, but almost immediately 
afterwards released; whilst the warrants issued for the 
apprehension of citizens Flourens and Blanqui could 
not be executed, as these two conspirators were in hiding. 
M. Emmanuel Arago interceded for the release of Felix 
Pyat, " that veteran of democracy," who was, however, 
detained prisoner until the authorities found no charge 
could be proved against him. The magistrate investi- 
gating the afiair also informed the Government that 
he could not establish the culpability of several other 
prisoners, who had indeed been arrested mainly because 
their opinions were distasteful to those in power. 

Meanwhile, General Trochu had issued a stirring 
proclamation to the loyal National Guards; had 
threatened to disarm and dissolve those factious 
battalions which ventured henceforth to manifest in 
arms, and had revoked nine Communist chefs-de- 
bataillon from their commands. On the other hand, 
the Garde Mobile sent an address to the Government 
protesting of its devotion, and declaring that it would 
neither recognize nor obey the Commune of Paris. 



94 EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

But little attention was paid to the announcement 
that, owing to the adjournment of the Municipal 
Elections, citizen Henri Rochefort had resigned his 
seat as a member of the Government. His hour of 
popularity had gone by. General Trochu and his 
colleagues had considerably modified the terms of 
their ** appeal to the people." The latter were no 
longer to be asked if a Government and a Municipality 
should be elected within a brief delay. Elections for 
district mayors and adjoints, and not for a Central 
Communal Council, were fixed to take place on the 
5th of November; whilst, as regards themselves, the 
rulers of the H6tel de Ville resumed the plebiscitum 
in the following query: — "Does the population of 
Paris — ^yes or no — maintain the powers of the 
Government of National Defence ?" The vote on this 
important point was fixed for Thursday, November 3; 
and on the preceding evening the Parisians, who had 
been discussing the probabilities of an armistice — which 
M. Jules Favre declared would not be accepted unless 
based on the re-provisioning of Paris, and the election 
of a National Assembly by the entire country — were 
agreeably surprised on learning from a despatch signed 
Cremieux, Glais Bizoin, and Gambetta, and purporting 
to come from Tours, that General Cambriels had 
gained a victory in the Vosges, and had destroyed a 
Landwehr Corps of 6000 men. This despatch was 
printed in the evening papers, which received it as 
from the H6tel de Ville ; but on the morning of the 
8rd the Government announced that it was a forgery 
perpetrated by some of the agitators of the 31st of 
October, who had stolen a quantity of official note- 
paper. The Eed Republican organs, and a Communist 
Central Committee, had meanwhile been very busy 



THE FR UITS OF SEDITION. 95 

advising the electors to vote " no " to the Government 
plebiscitum; but a decided current of reaction had 
set in, and 321,373 citizens voted in support of the 
rulers of the time, against 53,585, who desired their 
overthrow.* Shortly before midnight, when the 
result of the vote became known, the National Guards 
flocked in crowds to the Place de THdtel de Ville and 
to General Trochu's residence at the Louvre, and 
consecrated the plebiscitum by a most enthusiastic 
demonstration. By the glare of torches, and amid 
the cheers of thousands, the members of the Govern- 
ment appeared, and as usual proceeded to perorate; 
crowning their oratorical eflforts by an eloquent pro- 
clamation which covered the walls of Paris on the 
following morning. 

The Government was naturally jubilant at the 
result of its appeal to public confidence; but it was 
less pleased with the district Municipal Elections 
of the following Saturday, when several candidates 
of * well-known Communist proclivities — including 
citizens Ranvier, Mottu, and Delescluze — were re- 
turned. That same afternoon M. Jules Favre, accom- 
panied by General Ducrot, had an interview with 
M. Thiers at the foot of the bridge of Sevres. The 
veteran stateman's pilgrimage through Europe, in 
search of allies for defeated France, had been a trying 
one. First he had gone to England, where he found 
some sympathy for France, but also much circum- 
spection. Being impressed with the idea that if 

* The voting of the army, inclading the Garde Mobile, is not com- 
prised in these figures. It resulted as follows : — 23G,623 " yes," 
against 9053 ^'no;" giving a general total of 557,996 ayes, against 
62,638 noes ; or a proportion of 9 to 1 in favour of the Govern- 
ment, for the entire male population of the invested circle. 



96 EVENTS OF ILL OMEN. 

Russia could be gained, England would likewise 
extend a helping hand, he proceeded to St. Peters- 
burg, where he found that powerful ties linked Eussia 
to Germany. The Czar promised his influence, but 
not his armies; and Prince G-ortschakoff urged him 
to go at once to Versailles and make peace. His 
powers did not enable him to do so ; and accordingly 
he journeyed to Vienna, where sympathy was again 
extended to him, and material aid denied. At 
Florence the King was desirous of doing something, 
and the Italian generals were also willing, but the 
ministers would not hear of armed intervention. 
Nothing, therefore, remained for M. Thiers but to 
'retrace his steps to Tours. On his arrival there he 
found that Eussia and England had taken some steps 
in common to facilitate negotiations for an armistice ; 
and the four neutral powers eventually agreed to 
second a proposal to that effect. The King of Prussia 
and Count von Bismarck having consented to receive 
M. Thiers, and to allow him to enter Paris to confer 
with the Government, he set out for Versailles ; and on 
October 30 he had an interview with General Trochu 
and his colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
He informed them of the fall of Metz, which he found 
they ignored,* and pressed them to treat for peace. 

M. Thiers remained in Paris that night, and re- 
turned to Versailles on the following afternoon, 
knowing that great agitation prevailed in the city, 
but unaware of the sequestration of the Government. 
He was empowered to treat for a suspension of 
hostilities on the basis of the re-victualling of Paris, and 
the election of a National Assembly. He asked Count 

* M. Thiers' evidence before the Committee appointed to inquire 
into the causes of the insurrection of the Commune. 



THE FRUITS OF SEDITION. 97 

von Bismarck for a month's provisions, as from twenty- 
five to thirty days would be required to elect and 
gather together a representative assembly to pro- 
nounce on the momentous question of peace or war. 
The Q-erman statesman was opposed to any electoral 
agitation in Alsace; but he suggested that the 
French Government might themselves convoke a 
number of Alsatian notables, who would be quite 
free to express their opinions ;* and on the whole the 
negotiations were progressing favourably, when, on the 
3rd of November, Count von Bismarck asked M. Thiers 
if he knew that a revolution had broken out in Paris. 
M. Thiers was thunderstruck. He had no notion of 
what was going on in the city. , With the sanction of 
the German authorities, he at once despatched into the 
capital one of his secretaries, who returned the same 
night with a full account of the proceedings of the 
31st of October. True, the Government had regained 
the upperhand, but the situation was no longer the 
same. The explosion of sedition which had occurred 
seriously alarmed the German authorities. The re- 
victualling of Paris would, in Count von Bismarck's 
opinion, prolong the resistance of the city, and would 
not conduce to peace ; and he, therefore, refused to 
grant it without obtaining certain " military compen- 
sations ;" which he eventually specified as " the sur- 
render of a fort, and possibly of more than one." 

M. Thiers protested against such a stipulation, and 
the negotiations abruptly closed. Count von Bismarck 
merely agreeing to an armistice without the re- 
provisioning of Paris. M. Thiers accordingly had an 
interview with M. Jules Favre, at Sevres, on the 

* M. Thiers* report to the Grovernment at Tours. 
VOL. II. 7 



98 EVENTS OP ILL OMEN. 

5th of November, and acquainted him \vdth the position 
of affairs. M. Favre in turn communicated the result 
of this interview to his colleagues, mentioning that 
Count von Bismarck had, in the course of conversation, 
incidentallj told M. Thiers that peace, at that moment, 
meant " the cession of Alsace, and the payment of three 
fniUiards of francs as war indemnity ; after the fall qf 
Paris, the conditions would be the cession of Alsace and 
Lorraine, and the payment of five milliards.*'* An 
animated debate followed M. Favre's communica- 
tions. General Trochu declared that he had never 
believed in an armistice ; and added that if the country 
could not triumph, it would only fall after a valiant 
resistance. Some dissatisfaction was expressed apropos 
of M. Thiers' reticence concerning the Departments, 
the condition of which was believed to be very bad ; 
and it was resolved, on the one hand, that he should 
return to Tours without any further instructions from 
the Government, and, on the other, that the Parisians 
should be apprized that Prussia, declining to allow 
the re-victualling of the city, the armistice had 
been unanimously refused by the Government. This 
was done in a short proclamation issued the same 
afternoon, and by the publication, in the Journal 
Oficiel of a few days later, of a circular, addressed 
by M. Jules Favre to the French diplomatic agents 
abroad. 

Paris was not particularly affected by the falling 
through of the negotiations. Hatred of the detested 
foe who " trod the sacred soil of the country," was 
still paramount. The hope of vengeance still stimu- 
lated every patriot breast; and, undaunted by the 

* M. Dr(;o'B ** Summary." 



THE FRUITS OF SEDITION. 99 

early approach of winter, the privations and hardships 
which had been already endured, and the still great-er 
ones looming ahead, the Parisians mustered up all 
their courage — resolving to oppose " une r&istance a 
outrance*' to the efforts of the enemy. 



7—2 



IX. 



WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 



I. WHAT PARTS WAS LIKE IN TfOVEMBER- 

Those who know Paris as Paris is commonly known 
to foreigners, as a city of ease and luxury, would 
hardly have recognized it under its siege aspect. It 
had none of its former fascinations, and but few of its 
ordinary avocations, left to it ; and in fact, with nine- 
tenths of its able-bodied population under arms, one 
could hardly expect it to be a hive of industry or an 
abode of pleasure. Paris is ordinarily a capital of late 
hours ; but in these tiroes, police regulations, and the 
failure in the supply of gas, constrained one to go to 
bed early ; lulled to sleep, so to speak, by the booming 
of the cannon. Before daybreak one was aroused, if 
not by the same kind of music, by the sounding of 
the r^veil, supplemented by the beating of the rappel, 
and the bawling out of false news by the hawkers of 
the cheap morning newspapers. Foreigners, at least, 
were not obliged to sally forth ere it was light on 
some round of military duty, though twice a week, 
such of them as were so inclined, might stand in 
queue outside the butchers' shops for several hours, 
and so make certain of securing, as long as they lasted, 
their three days' rations of meat — now reduced to a 
fraction over one ounce avoirdupois per diem. 

Among the very earliest risers, on November 8, 



WHAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER. loi 

were a number of British, Swiss, and Austrian sub- 
jects, who, having been granted permission to pass 
through the German lines, quitted the once fascina- 
ting city of pleasure, by the Porte de Charenton, at 
7 A.M. The party comprised about fifty Austrians and 
Swiss, and some sixty or seventy Englishmen. Very 
many more of the latter would have been only too glad 
to get away; but the British Embassy thought it no 
part of its duty to apprize English residents, besieged 
in Paris, of the opportunity aflforded them of escaping 
impending bombardment or inevitable famine, beyond 
affixing a notice in the Consular Office, where but a 
small percentage were likely to see it; a notice sup- 
plemented, moreover, with the unique proviso that 
" the Embassy could not charge itself" — the italics are 
its own — " with the expense of assisting British sub- 
jects to leave Paris." Many who wished to get away 
read the notice in question and returned home discon- 
solate to their meagre rations, pondering on the number 
of millions England had spent to get a few English- 
men out of Abyssinia ; while others — who went a step 
further, admitted their poverty, and demanded to be 
sent home — were handed over to the British Charitable 
Fund, which gave them 4/. apiece, with two or three 
pounds of biscuits and two or three ounces of chocolate 
to munch along the road. 

The English party was to have left on the 2nd of 
November, with the citizens of the United States and 
the subjects of the Czar; but a misunderstanding 
arose, owing to the fact that the British Government 
had not recognized the Republic; and Mr. Wash- 
burne, the popular and influential American Minister, 
had to intervene to obtain the necessary authoriza- 
tion for British subjects to depart. The latter were 



102 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

accompanied by the Hon. Mr. Wodehouse, Second 
• Secretary of Her Majesty *s Embassy, and by the 
British Vice-Consul ; and the friends of many of the 
fugitives were allowed to proceed as far as the German 
lines, and see them safely on their way. Quite a 
couple of hours were occupied in examining passports 
and filling in ^' safe conducts /' and when these forma- 
lities were accomplished, leave-takings ensued, and one 
section of the assemblage which had gathered toge- 
ther, went hopefully forward into promised lands over- 
flowing with milk and honey, while the other 
retraced their steps to the beleaguered city, to partake 
of what was still by sheer force of habit entitled 
" breakfast/' 

If we take an early stroll on one of these chill 
November mornings, we shall still find the Champs 
Elys6es crowded with detachments of the National 
Guard going through their daily drill ; preparing, in 
fact, for the sortie in force so loudly clamoured for, 
but as yet withheld. Already, on November 6, one 
learnt that the military forces in and about the city 
had been divided into three armies, of which General 
Trochu reserved the supreme command. The first, 
comprising 266 battalions of National Guard, was 
placed under the orders of General Clement Thomas ; 
the second, composed of three corps d'arm^e and a 
division of cavalry, under those of General Ducrot ; 
while the third, consisting of seven divisions of in- 
fantry and two brigades of cavalry, was to be com- 
manded by the Grovemor of Paris in person.* 
Following the formation of these armies, the National 



* On Norember 9, General Trochu relinquished this oommand 
in favour of General Vinoj. 



WHAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER. 103 

Guard was mobilized — a measure which fostered 
hopes of speedy action. But as yet General Schmitz's 
stereotyped military reports have merely recorded 
some petty reconnaissance undertaken in one direc- 
tion, or mentioned that one of the forts has been 
throwing shells in another. What are we waiting 
for? the Parisians ask themselves in mid-November. 
For the long-promised armies of succour — those 
armies which were to spring into existence directly 
citizen Qambetta reached Tours, and concerning 
which our knowledge is of the vaguest kind ? Disease 
and famine are already stalking in our midst, and the 
miles of batteries with which the enemy has encircled 
us will assuredly before long open fire. Multitu- 
dinous precautions have been taken in anticipation of 
the destruction which a bombardment might cause. 
The famous horses of Marly — the chefs-d'oeuvre of 
Ooustou — which rise at the entrance of the Champs 
Elys^s, have, like the groups of the Arc de Triomphe, 
been boxed in timber, and buried under sandbags. 
At the Louvre, Jean Goujon's admirable bas-reliefs 
are coated with plaster. All the entrances of the 
Museum are walled up, and the many art treasures 
here, as at the Luxembourg and the Hotel de Cluny, 
have been placed in safety. It is the same with the 
valuable books and manuscripts of the National 
and the Mazarin Libraries, with the State and the 
Municipal Archives ; and even the precious instru- 
ments of the Observatory have been consigned to the 
cellars of the building — for it is feared, and with 
reason, that in the event of a bombardment the 
Observatory would be one of the first points menaced 
by the enemy's shells. 

If we betake ourselves to the quays lining the Seine, 



104 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

we shall find at the Halle aux Yins all the superfluous 
casks of wine for which room could not be found in 
the overcrowded cellars — so well has Paris taken care 
of its " stomach's sake*' — ^buried under earth and sand ; 
while at the adjacent Jardin des Plantes the cages of 
the more ferocious and less edible animals have been 
walled in ; to save Faris^ in case of a bombardment, 
from being exposed to an onslaught of ravenous wild 
beasts in addition to all the inconveniences, not to 
say horrors, of a &mine and a hailstorm of Prussian 
projectiles. Close by stands the Orleans Railway 
Station, where the brothers Godard have installed 
their balloon factory, and whence, wind and weather 
permitting, ascents are continually made. Following 
the banks of the Seine, we find the river almost 
choked with barges, which sought refuge within 
the walls of the capital when the advance of the 
Prussians was signalled, and which, cleared of their 
cargoes and deserted by their crews, present quite a 
melancholy spectacle in the midst of the martial life 
around. Crossing over to the island of La Cit^ and 
winding round by the side of Notre Dame, we come 
to the artillery park of the Qurde Nationale where 
citizen Henri Eochefort, no longer Member of the 
Government, nor even President of Barricades, now 
does duty. The Morgue is at hand — people commit 
suicide quite as frequently as ever, and scarcely a day 
passes without some corpse being laid out on the 
marble slabs for purposes of recognition. Not a single 
mason is to be seen at work on the buildings of the 
new Hotel Dieu, nor, for the matter of that, on any 
one of the thousand or two unfinished houses in the 
Haussmannized quarters of the city, where, by the 
way^ scores and scores of apartments are to be let for 



WHAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER. 105 

about one-tenth part of what was asked for them a 
few months ago. We are but a few paces from the 
Sainte Chapelle, where the lofty and unrivalled painted 
glass windows, by Pinaigrier, are completely hidden 
behind piles of sandbags, turf, and huge timber sup- 
ports. Nothing appears to have been done for the 
protection of the roof, but the antique encaustic tiles 
with which the interior of the edifice is paved, as well 
as the flagstones outside, have all been taken up, so 
that the Prussian shells may have the chance of bury- 
ing themselves in the soft earth. 

If we enter the Chamber of Correctional Police, at 
the adjoining Palais de Justice, we are almost certain 
to find a gang of marauders arraigned before the 
tribunal, on the charge of having plundered some 
handsome chateau, some charming villa, or modest 
maisonnette in the environs of the capital. No 
wonder, with next to no police to protect our pro- 
perty, that house robberies have been uncommonly 
rare inside Paris since the arrival of the Prussians ; 
the housebreaking fraternity have enjoyed a couple of 
months' liberty of action over that immense circuit, 
extending from the walls of the fortifications to the 
enemy's advanced posts. Most of the abandoned 
houses which have escaped being broken into by the 
Prussians or the Mobiles, have been sacked by the 
Parisian marauders, who have brought many thousands 
of pounds' worth of plunder within the walls, pretend- 
ing that it was property of their own which they were 
removing into Paris to save it from falling into the 
hands of the enemy. 

Proceeding to the Place de THotel de Ville — in 
front of which the Avenue Victoria is blocked 
up with long files of ambulance omnibuses and vans 



io6 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

awaiting the signal to start off in some given direction 
outside the walls — one is almost surprised to find no 
armed demonstration of National Guards going for- 
ward, as was continually the case in the earlier days of 
the siege. Within the building, the Government of 
National Defence is doubtless assembled in Council. 
It is as verbose as ever, this " Gouvernement de 
Plaideurs," and throughout these long weeks in 
November reports and proclamations abound. If, 
Asmodeus-like, we penetrate into the council-room 
where we last left the men of the H6tel de Ville 
debating concerning the armistice negotiations, we 
shall find that the discussions now principally refer 
to the advisability of electing a National Assembly 
without any suspension of hostilities — a proposal 
which M. Jules Favre seems to patronize, but which is 
strenuously opposed by his colleagues, and eventually 
abandoned. Then the Bazaine treason is discussed at 
length, and the acts of the Tours Delegation, and 
especially its silence, are more or less severely 
criticized. The Morgan loan forms a very frequent 
subject of debate, and several members of the Govern- 
ment are in favour of utterly repudiating it. The state 
of the provisioning, with which we shall have to deal by- 
and-by, is constantly alluded to ; and military matters 
crop up every now and then. M. Picard insinuates 
(Nov. 12) that the army is demoralized, and remarks 
that there are two issues to the present situation, 
either immediate negotiations or a forced capitulation, 
towards which latter we are steadily marching. 
General Trochu denies that the army is demoralized, 
and declares that he never said that success was 
impossible, although the very same day he alludes to 
the resistance of Paris as '' an heroic folly.'' On the 



WHAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER. 107 

morrow he again alludes to the military situation. 
" He is pained," he says, " at the continual demands 
for a battle." The cannons which private firms are 
casting will not be ready for twenty days ; whilst the 
National Guards, whom he proposes to utilize in the 
sorties, are quite without cartridge pouches. 

Of one proclamation issued by the Governor of 
Paris in these days of waiting for sorties and succour, 
special mention must be made. This is addressed to 
the garrison of St. Denis, and condemns the laxity of 
discipline prevalent among the Mobiles quartered in 
that neighbourhood. Four officers of the Garde 
Mobile, it would appear, had accepted an invitation to 
breakfast sent them by some young Prussian officers, 
and went in full uniform to the chateau of Stains, 
where a sumptuous repast had been provided. Before 
sitting down the guests required their hosts to pledge 
their words that no sort of surprise, nor any move- 
ment of troops, should be made while the entertain- 
ment lasted. In fact, a kind of armistice was entered 
into, which the Prussians religiously observed ; but the 
ai&ir coming to the ears of General Trochu, he visits 
the whole garrison of St. Denis with a severe repri- 
mand. ' Among other matters of interest to us 
Parisians, which are debated in the Government 
councils at this epoch, is the question of the 
caricatures; and eventually the Prefect of Police 
is empowered to seize all disgusting or obscene 
designs (Nov. 15). On the same day, valiant 
M. Etienne Arago, who hid in the cellars behind 
a pile of faggots when the rioters of October 31 
sequestrated the authorities, resigns his functions 
as Mayor of Paris ; and M. Jules Ferry, who con- 
tributed so powerfully to the rescue of his colleagues, 



io8 WAIIII^G FOR SUCCOUR. 

is appointed to succeed him. M. Arago does not, 
however, retire empty-handed, for he is gratified with 
an important post at the Mint — the pattern pieces at 
which establishment are, it is said, the only examples 
of gold coin remaining in Paris. 

Silver is tolerably plentiful, and there are a certain 
number of banknotes of five-and-twenty francs in cir- 
culation; but you are charged a premium if you seek 
to obtain any of them in exchange for others of greater 
value; the Bank of France, moreover, absolutely de- 
clining to give small notes for large ones. The money 
changers of the Rue Vivienne and the Palais Royal 
are mostly closed, or else they decline to do business ; 
and those foreigners who have hoarded up little stores 
of their own currency find a difficulty in getting rid 
of them. Money is decidedly scarce in Paris, and the 
Government has done all it could to alleviate this dis- 
tressing state of affairs. It began by deferring com- 
mercial payments; it then deferred the payment of 
rent, even for lodgings; and lastly, it gave a payment 
of one shilling and twopence per diem to each 
National Guard ; while, later on, it added Id, for the 
wives of those citizen soldiers who were married. At 
present it is distributing great quantities of *clothes, 
firing, and, above all — food. Private charity has, 
moreover, come to the rescue ; but the misery is still 
increasing. For those who possess anything they can 
dispose of, there exists, of course, that last resource, the 
Mont de Pi^t^, which will not, however, lend more 
than 2/. on any article, no matter what its value 
may be. 

In ordinary times money may be made by success- 
ful speculations on 'Change ; but there is scarcely any 
speculation at all going on at the Bourse just now. 



JVITAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER, 109 

The temple of Mammon has become little more than 
a club. Should you pay it a visit during the hours of 
business, you will find a few agents de change in half- 
uniform of the National Guard, surrounded by a score 
of clients, some of whom are doing their utmost to 
emulate the familiar din of former days, by shouting 
out at the highest pitch of their voices the prices of 
stocks, for which there are no buyers, whilst others 
quietly discuss the news of the day ; the Rente mean- 
while rising a few sous above, or falling a trifie 
tinder, 54/r. 

The boulevards have less than ever their aspect 
of Imperial times. Where they are most thronged 
the kerb is lined with hawkers of canteens and 
kepis, sacs and ceintures, brandy flasks and breast- 
plates, sword-sticks and knapsacks, telescopes and 
gaiters, caricatures and photographs — ^both of the 
latter frequently being of a most indecent description. 
The vendors of these miscellaneous wares invariably 
sport the k^pi, and occasionally the full uniform of the 
Garde Nationale, so as to give a kind of character to 
their calling. A caricature, in which the Pope figures 
ofiensively, has been several times burned in public in 
broad daylight, out of consideration for the Bretons, 
who are our best soldiers, although very bigoted, 
and for whom their compatriot, General Trochu, has 
reserved all the pigs in Paris, because of their uncon- 
querable repugnance to horseflesh. 

The boulevards are a dreary enough promenade 
both in the daytime and at night ; the flaneur has dis- 
appeared in the soldier, the Parisienne in the hospital 
nurse. Sombre toilettes have become the rule, sack- 
cloth and ashes are the mode ; an elegantly dressed 
woman would incur the risk of being mobbed ; even 



no WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

pianos are no longer permitted to be played by our 
censors of the hour, the National Guards. The 
correct thing to do now is to have yourself weighed 
once a week to see how many pounds you have lost on 
a low and limited diet; and the individual who set up 
the first weighing machine on the Boulevard Mont- 
martre to register the Paris light-weights has had a 
profitable time of it. As for the shops, the most 
attractive are those of the marchands de comestibles, 
with the unknown contents of their tall pyramids of 
tin canisters ; and the gunsmiths^ with their varieties 
of new firearms. A sympathetic crowd gathers, more- 
over, in front of Goupirs window, where Gustave 
Dord's new drawing, " Let us save Paris,*' is dis- 
played; but the print-sellers generally have given 
themselves up to selling nothing but maps of Paris 
and its fortifications. 

The dearth of new volumes at the booksellers' 
has already been alluded to. One branch of siege 
literature may be studied most completely under 
the arcades of the Rue de Eivoli, where one can 
read, as it were, the history of Paris day by day in 
' the innumerable broadsides placarded over the walls. 
First, there are all the Government decrees : relative 
to the Red Republican demonstration; inviting a 
patriotic subscription for the casting of 1500 cannon ; 
requiring declarations to be made of all live stock, 
grain, and fodder, in the hands of private persons, with 
a view to their acquisition by the State ; notifying the 
mobilization of the sedentary National Guard ; pro- 
claiming that the town of Chateaudun by its heroic 
resistance has deserved well of the country ; reserving 
the decoration of the Legion of Honour as the reward 
for acts of bravery in presence of the enemy ; devoting 



WIfAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER, in 

a sum of 40,000 francs for the construction of a 
navigable balloon; announcing the rejection of the 
armistice, and the arrival of despatches from Tours ; 
calling out all the able-bodied men between twenty- 
five and thirty-five years of age ; fixing the price of 
butchers' meat, horseflesh, and bread for the ensuing 
week ; notifying that the Government will buy mules 
and asses to feed the population upon ; ordering all 
caf<^s and wine-shops to turn oflT their gas at nine, and 
to close at half-past ten o'clock at night, and postpon- 
ing the payment of all bills of exchange and rent. 

Then come the orders of the day of the Governor of 
Paris, complimenting the behaviour of particular corps 
on the occasion of some recent petty sortie, signifying 
the hours at which the gates of the capital will be 
open and shut, forbidding the exit or entry of in- 
dividuals unprovided with proper papers, interdicting 
civilians from proceeding along the military roads 
skirting the ramparts, and finally, promising the 
Parisians to lead them to the long-expected " sortie 
en masse ;" next, the orders of the day of the Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the National Guard, municipal 
decrees with reference to the rationing of the inhabi- 
tants of Paris, and others concerning religious and 
secular education. There are also announcements 
respecting the transmission of post-office orders and 
of newspapers not exceeding one-eighth of an ounce 
in weight by balloon-post ; notices of the days and 
hours of meeting of the democratic and socialist clubs, 
and the prospectuses of mutual fire and life assurance 
societies, specially established consequent upon the 
siege. Then we have proposals for the construction 
of movable fortresses; for the formation of those 
ten battalions of Amazons of the Seine, which have 



112 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

already been spoken of; and for taking possession 
of all the coin in the cellars of the Bank of France, 
and applying it to the casting of more cannon : with 
notices on sanitary matters and the water supply, 
and others indicating the precautions to be taken 
against the effects of a bombardment. Finally, side 
by side with the oracular addresses of Edgar Quinet 
and Victor Hugo, are advertisements of "plastrons" 
of metal, leather, parchment, pasteboard, felt, india- 
rubber, and gutta-percha, as protection against 
Prussian bullets, and of " pansements," for the 
staunching of wounds, should the breast-plate prove 
inefficacious. 

The only shops in Paris which one finds closed are 
the various cr^meries and rotisseries, with certain 
restaurants unable to procure a sufficient supply of 
meat, and cafSs that have been forsaken by their 
customers. The jewellers' and modistes' establish- 
ments, and the magasins de nouveaut^, all keep open 
as usual, although they have, of course, nothing but 
their old stock remaining. No doubt there are more 
false stones than real in the necklaces and bracelets 
exposed for sale, and more "bijouterie d'imitation" than 
of " or" or " argent." Are there any fashions now in 
European capitals, and how will it be when Paris sur- 
renders, or the siege is raised? Shall we be all 
behind the mode, or will Europe, or the world rather, 
be awaiting our decrees? Is Prussia equally bent 
on wresting from us the empire of Fashion and the 
fair provinces of Alsace and Lorraine ? Who has in- 
vented the new winter chapeau and the new winter 
mantle ? They can hardly have emanated from Paris 
by balloon-post, for all our journaux de modes have 
long since ceased to appear. 



IVffA T PARIS WAS LIKE IN NO VEMBER. 1 1 3 

Tor weeks past one has observed, in addition to 
ammunition and baggage waggons parading the streets 
in files, frequent strings of carts laden with sand 
destined for the courtyards of such houses as were un- 
provided with this specific against Prussian projectiles, 
in the hope that all the shells thrown into Paris may 
bury themselves in the soft bed prepared for them, 
and so do but little damage. Ascending the faubourg 
in the direction of Montmartre, one finds the exterior 
boulevards, here as elsewhere — all round Paris, in fact 
— ^lined with a double row of long low huts, in which 
the Gardes Mobiles are quartered. On the eminence 
in the rear of the Place St. Pierre, and nearly a mile 
within the walls of Paris, is the huge battery of Mont- 
martre, destined to sweep the plain of St. Ouen in the 
event of the Prussians becoming masters of St. Denis. 
Here also is an electric lighthouse, projecting its rays 
over a distance of 4000 yards, and enabling the 
gunners of the battery to point their cannon at any 
approaching detachment of the enemy's troops whilst 
they themselves remain in comparative darkness. In 
the Avenue de Saint Ouen, only a few minutes' walk 
distant, one encounters a cavalcade of wounded 
soldiers coming into Paris, including covered vans 
marked with the red cross of the Geneva Convention, 
cacolets (a sort of hammock slung on either side of a 
mule, and on which the wounded man reclines),and ordi- 
nary stretchers, borne by a couple of men. Women 
advance out of the crowd and ofier the sufierers 
water and various cooling drinks, while the men occa- 
sionally give them cigarettes. Now and then a feeble 
shout of " Vive la Eepublique!" will proceed from the 
parched lips, and be taken up and re-echoed by the 
assembled crowd, as the procession moves on its way. 

VOL. II. 8 



114 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

In the earlier days of the siege mirth was ahnost an 
offence ; but it soon became evident to everybody that 
amusements of some kind were necessary. The only 
places of resort were the clubs — ^those hotbeds of dissen- 
sion — and the Government acted wisely in authorizing 
various matin^s, musicales, and classiques, and nume- 
rous conferences (readings or lectures) for the benefit of 
the wounded, which were given at such of the theatres 
as had not yet been converted into ambulances, or 
turned to other purposes connected with the siege. 
Possibly the most successful of the conferences was 
one delivered by M. de Lapommeraye, who established 
a comparison between Moliere's "Tartuffe" and his 
Excellency Count von Bismarck — the one the Tartuffe 
of religion, the other the Tartuffe of politics. These 
entertainments having met with great success, several 
theatres are now opened two or three afternoons a 
week. Gas having become far too precious to be 
wasted for purposes of amusement, both stage and 
auditorium are illuminated either with petroleum lamps, 
impregnating the atmosphere with smell and smoke, or 
with candles, giving a soft and pleasant light enough, 
but leaving a bitter graveyard chill in every corner of 
the house. At the lively little Bouffes, where Chau- 
mont prattled and Schneider sang, an audience, buried 
in furs and swathed with wraps, applauds the bom- 
bastic tirades of the " Cid," or laughs and weeps in turn 
over the glowing verses of the *'Chfiltiments." That 
sanctuary of French dramatic art, the Comddie Fran- 
9aise, ministers as best it can to the ''besoin de 
distractions" which has asserted itself in spite, or 
perhaps on account of, the threatening dangers of the 
hour ; and twice a week the whilom " Comedians of 
the Emperor," clad in ordinary attire, perform one or 



WHAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER. 115 

another of Racine's and MoH^re's chefs-d'oeuvre. At 
the Ambigu, however, you will find all the usual stage 
costumes and accessories brought to illustrate a '' pi^ce 
de circonstance," entitled "LesPaysans Lorrains." 
Afbemoon performances are alone indulged in at the 
foregoing theatres ; but the Opera House in the Rue 
Lepelletier has already given a few evening entertain- 
ments, and, strange to relate, the Parisians have 
flocked in crowds to listen to the music of " those 
Prussians/' Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer. One siege 
audience is the portrait of another, and from pit to 
gallery the eye invariably lights on uniforms and sable 
dresses. The usual order of things is, in fact, utterly 
reversed. It is the masculine element, formerly con- 
demned to solemn evening black, which supplies the 
few perceivable bits of brightness, in the facings and 
galloons of military uniforms — those of the National 
Guard being naturally predominant ; whilst the fair 
sex, whose gay toilettes and whose flashing jewels 
imparted such a brilliant effect in former times, now 
invariably appear in sombre garb. The belles of Paris 
are in mourning for the misfortunes of France. 

On those days when the theatres do not open, 
afternoon recreation may be found in the promenade ; 
though, should you betake yourself, as of old, to the 
Avenue de ITmp^ratrice — now styled the Avenue 
Uhrich — ^you will look in vain for the elegant calva- 
cade, the handsome equipages, the prancing steeds, 
the liveried lacqueys, the caracoling cavaliers, the 
aristocratic whips tooling their four-in-hands, the 
ravishing toilettes of the dames of the grand and 
demi-mondes, the English tigers, and the dwarfed 
English " bouledogges," whirling past to the Bois. 
Instead of this, you find the Avenue blocked with 

8—2 



ii6 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

barricades, and military and ambulance encampments ; 
and see the artillery defile, followed by the ambulance 
train — the instrument of destruction, succeeded by 
the scalpel and the bandage — the hearse alone being 
wanted to complete the procession. In the garden of 
one of the charming villas at the further end of the 
Avenue, smoke is seen rising from a charcoal-burning 
furnace, recently installed there for the production of 
this article from timber felled in the Bois de Boulogne. 
Grouped in front of the Arc de Triomphe— the pave- 
ment surrounding which is more than ankle-deep in 
sand, while the lower part of the edifice is cased with 
stout timber to protect the groups of sculpture from 
the eflfects of German shells — is a crowd of well- 
dressed people, including many ladies, gazing through 
pocket telescopes, and straining their eyes in the hope 
of seeing the glistening helmet of at least one Prussian, 
or at any rate the smoke from the guns of Mont 
Val^rien or the Mortemart redoubt. In the Avenue 
de la Grande Arm6e, within a stone's-throw of the 
Arc de Triomphe, on the summit of which, by the way, 
a telegraph and signalling apparatus provided with 
the electric light is fixed, a stone fort has been con- 
structed, protected by a deep ditch, and mounting 
, several field-pieces, pointed to sweep the broad Avenue 
from one end to the other. All the outlets to the 
thoroughfare are walled up, all the dead walls loop- 
holed for musketry, while at the Porte Maillot end of 
the Avenue there is another stone redoubt, in advance 
of which the iron railings of the octroi post are cased 
with loopholed sheet-iron and sustained with massive 
timber supports. In front of this again are the bas- 
tions of the ramparts, mounting rifled 32-pounders, 
and the heavy drawbridge thrown across the moat 



IVIfAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NO VEMBER. 1 1 7 

and protected by a Ute de pont, having formidable 
chevaux defrise and a complicated arrangement of iron 
wires and spikes — the one to trip up the too adven- 
turous Prussian, the other to receive him on his fall. 
For some considerable distance in advance the trees 
have been felled and the houses pulled down ; and for 
more than a mile— to the opposite side of the bridge 
of Neuilly, in fact — the road is mined at constantly 
recurring intervals from one end to the other. The 
side streets are all barricaded, the comer houses forti- 
fied and loopholed ; while the handsome villas lining 
the banks of the Seine, up to the Bois de Boulogne, 
are turned into barracks for Linesmen and Mobiles, 
who have thrown up barricades of turf behind the 
garden railings, with apertures for musketry about 
two feet apart. 

If we cannot escape from our cage, still, like other 
imprisoned animals, we can peep through its bars and 
perhaps even take a glimpse of our keepers. Beyond 
an excursion to one of the advanced forts, which 
requires a special pass from General Trochu, the only 
journey of any length open to us since the investment 
is the tour of the fortifications along the Chemin de Fer 
de Ceinture, and whenever the afternoon is invitingly 
fine the Parisians flock to the various stations in 
shoals. On Sundays entire families — the father in the 
uniform of the National Guard, while the son is per- 
haps a Mobile — occupy seats on the roofs of the 
carriages, and, duly provided with pocket telescopes, 
make the round, intent on obtaining a view of the 
bastions, the breech-loaders, the advanced redoubts, 
the exterior forts, and, above all, of the Prussians, of 
whom they are always hearing, and through whom 
they are now beginning to suffer so severely. The 



ii8 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

railway ride round the ramparts affords many a curious 
coup d'ceil. From the Seine at Grenelle to the Seine 
at Bercy there is a continual succession of redoubts^ 
bastions, barricades, trenches, stockades, pi^es-a-loups> 
and pitfalls, with miles of mined roadways adjacent to 
the line of the fortifications, and beyond invariably 
the same scene of devastation — demolished houses and 
outbuildings, razed walls and fences, destroyed 
gardens, stumps of felled trees, shrubs broken off 
at the roots, flowers trampled under foot, with debris 
of stone and plaster everywhere coating the black 
earth. On the lofty, double-storied bridge spanning 
the Seine at the Point du Jour one espies Cail's armour- 
plated locomotive mitrailleur ready to open fire at any 
moment against the heights of Meudon; and here, 
as at Bercy, one finds a flotilla of iron-clad gunboats, 
whose projectiles sweep the stream for some consider- 
able distance. All along one's route, moreover, the steep 
railway embankment is converted into an extra line of 
defence ; and on all the available high grounds earth- 
works have been thrown up, and are now waiting for 
some of the 1 500 cannon which private firms are 
said to be casting, and which, when ready, 
will be mounted so as to fire over the guns of the 
ramparts. One catches occasional glimpses of the 
forts, notably of Forts Issy and Vanves — ^believed to 
be the most vulnerable of all — and eventually of 
BicStre, in close proximity to the gloomy-looking 
historical chateau of the same name. Whenever the 
train stops the chances are that the drum is heard to 
beat and the trumpet to sound while some battalion 
of National Guards defiles along the military road 
skirting the ramparts. Old and young, rich and poor, 
veterans and conscripts, are seen mingled together in 



IVIfAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER. 119 

the various companies. Some wear spectacles, others 
comforters, some are rheumatic, others bandy-legged, 
and a considerable proportion exhibit an undue 
development of stomach ; but all look determined and 
prepared for the worst. Presently an aide-de-camp 
gallops past, and waggons laden with shot and shell 
rattle by, as the deep voice of the colonel shouting out 
his orders mingles with the whistle of the locomotive, 
which is again darting on its way. 

A ride round the ramparts on the impdriale of a 
railway carriage, with a fresh breeze blowing in your 
face, is a capital thing to get up an appetite ; but then 
just now an appetite is scarcely a desideratum. Still, 
you must dine ; and in default of anything better, the 
"noblest conquest ever made by man over nature" 
will provide you with a certain amount of sustenance. 
Well, so you dine ; but so haunted are you by the 
idea of prospective starvation, that, in opposition to the 
Scriptural precept, you find your mind, soon after the 
last morsel of to-day's repast is swallowed, reverting 
to the dinner of to-morrow, on the pretence that the 
morrow will not take thought for the dinner of itself. 

Tou have, however, the evening on your hands, and 
how to spend it is beset with difficulties. It is of no 
use consulting the '^ colonnes de spectacles," for these 
are placarded all over with the latest official decrees ; 
nor the difierent theatrical agencies, for they have 
been turned into so many lottery offices, said to be for 
the benefit of the sick and wounded. To what straits 
must English playwrights be reduced for their plots 
now that Paris dramatists have exchanged their pens 
for chassepots 1 You may be so fortunate as to find 
that there is a concert at the Opera this evening ; but 
as for all the other dancing and singing places, not a 



I20 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

fiddle is scraping, not a cornet-a-piston sounding 
among them alL In the Jardin Mabiile a corps of 
Eclaireurs Parisiens is installed ; at the Jardin Bullier 
the Chasseurs de Neuilly are quartered, whilst the 
Jardin de I'Etoile is occupied by a inarching battalion 
of the Qarde Nationale. At the Salle Valentino the 
Committee for the Conservation of the National 
Territory hold their sittings; and it was a prudent 
member of that body who supplemented M. Jules 
Favre's famous declaration — "Not an inch of our 
territory, not a stone of our fortresses" — with '* Not 
a sou of our treasure, not a drop of our blood." At 
the Alcazar the voice of Th^r^sa is stilled, but the 
lungs of the citizens of the Club de la Resistance 
allow themselves full play. At the Grand Concert 
Parisien, where Madame Bordas celebrated in doggerel 
verse the heroism of the Cuirassiers of Reichsofien and 
nightly hurled the Prussians into the Carri^res de 
Jaumont, you find another club installed. The Eldo- 
rado, the Folies Bergere, the Porcherons, the Pr6 aux 
Clercs, the Elysfe Montmartre, the Folies Belleville, 
^ihe Reine Blanche, and the Alhambra, have one and 
ail been transformed into similar meeting places. 
Oracular orations have taken the place of the music 
and vocalism of yesterday. Hatred and contempt of 
the invader are expressed in spoken prose, and no 
longer find utterance in rhythmic song ; for, although 
there is an incessant drumming and trumpeting all day 
long throughout the city, the strains of the Marseillaise 
are at present but rarely heard ; as for the " Ehin 
Allemand," it might never have been written. 

Evening lectures apropos of the situation are in 
course of delivery at the Conservatoire des Arts et 
Metiers, wiiere General Morin discourses upon the 



IVffA T PARIS WAS LIKE IN NO VEMBER. 1 2 1 

action of powder in firearms, and the warming and 
ventilating of ambulances. Professor Baron Dupin 
treats of the principles of fortifications, strong places, 
entrenched camps, advanced works, and various acces- 
sory defences. Professor Tresca discusses the appli- 
cation of the general principles of mechanics to the 
construction of engines and machines of war; and 
Professor Payen descants on alimentary substances 
in reference to the siege, on meat, blood, gristle, bones^ 
and fat, the theory of nutrition, and similar topics. 
The most attractive evening amusement appears, how- 
ever, to be provided at the Paris shooting galleries, 
notably those on the Boulevard St. Michel, where 
something like half-a-dozen of these establishments 
are situated, at which ambitious marksmen are nightly 
obliged to form a queue while awaiting their turns to 
take aim. 

If, however, you are neither for the clubs, nor the 
Arts et M6tiers lectures, nor even for pistol practice, 
you are forced to resort to the dimly lighted boule- 
vards, where you find more than two-thirds of the 
shops closed, and fully two-thirds of the public lamps 
unlighted. Gas has become exceedingly scarce in Paris 
during this month of November, and there is no coal 
left to furnish us with a fresh supply. The gas com- 
pany has been endeavouring to overcome the difficulty 
by using petroleum, which is injected into the retorts 
in which the coal is ordinarily distilled ; whilst, with 
the view of economizing the coke employed for heating 
the ovens, this combustible is partially replaced by the 
tar the process yields. Ever since the commencement 
of the siege the duration of the daily gas supply has 
been gradually diminishing, and eventually, on Novem- 
ber 17, a police order is issued setting forth that. 



122 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

from 7 P.M. until the following evening, no gas will be 
furnished to caf<6s, restaurants, and wine-shops ; though 
those establishments where other forms of illumination 
are adopted may still remain open until midnight. 
A few days later the Government is informed that the 
supply of gas will probably come to an end by the 
10th of December, and accordingly notification of this 
fact is given by the authorities, who announce that in 
a short time the limited number of public lamps used 
for the lighting of the streets will be illuminated with 
petroleum, all available stocks of which are subse- 
quently requisitioned with this object in view. 

Those who only knew the Paris boulevards under 
their ordinary evening aspect will, therefore, scarcely 
recognize them now. You take your seat in some 
more or less deserted caf6 — for it is only on special 
evenings when rumours abound that these establish- 
ments are at all thonged — and as you sip your maza- 
gran and puff your londr^s, the hawkers of the evening 
papers pass by outside noisily proclaiming the titles 
or the contents of the prints they have for sale. You 
know, however^ that they are unlikely to contain any 
news unless by chance an old number of some London 
daily journal has found its way into Paris through 
the German lines, when the struggle in front of the 
kiosques to secure copies, and learn what has been 
lately passing in the world outside — for Paris has at 
length come to feel that she is no longer the world in 
herself — will be most exciting. On the evening of 
November 14, the boulevards are crowded. There 
is, in fact, a complete jubilee in Paris, for one has learnt 
that the Army of the Loire is not a myth after all, 
but that General d'Aurelle de Paladines has gained a 
victory at Coulmiers and wrested Orleans from the 



IVJIAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER. 123 

enemy's possession. Was it not at Orleans that, four 
centuries and a half ago, Jeanne d'Arc gained a 
victory which gave the first blow to the English 
dominion in France? And may there not to-day 
emanate from the same city the first movement which 
shall rid France of the hated presence of the Germans ? 
Thus discourse the Parisians; whose satisfaction is 
increased when, on November 19, this welcome in- 
telligence is confirmed by citizen Gambetta, who adds, 
that 2500 prisoners were captured at Coulmiers, that 
order reigns throughout all that portion of France 
still ruled by the Government of National Defence, 
and that Garibaldi has forced the enemy to evacuate 
Dijon. News like this stimulates the patriotism of 
invested Paris; and for the thousandth time we are 
told that no terms of peace must be listened to until 
every German has been chased from the national soil. 

The petty reconnoissances and sorties of the hour 
also furnish topics of conversation, and the most ex- 
ti'avagant rumours circulate regarding the number 
of German prisoners taken and the number of 
German soldiers slain. The exploits of Sergeant Hoff, 
of the 107th regiment of the line, are on every tongue. 
He has already slain no fewer than thirty Prussians, 
and doubtless he will pick off many more. His habit 
it would appear is to go out alone from his company 
and to return with some trophy — such as a helmet or 
a Snider rifle — in proof that he has killed one or more 
of the enemy's sentinels. He has been named in an 
order of the day, and has been decorated with the 
cross of the Legion of Honour amid the enthusiastic 
plaudits of his comrades. Certain citizens even sug- 
gest that General Trochu should resign his functions 
as Commander-in-Chief, and that the valiant Hoff 



124 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

should be appointed to replace him.* Still it must 
not be imagined that the daring sergeant possesses a 
monopoly so far as deeds of valour are concerned. For 
several weeks past each boulevardian perorator has 
had some especial hero under his patronage, some 
particular exploit to extol, of which one may truly 
remark that he 

'* Who told it added something new, 
While they who heard it made enlargement too ; 
In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew." 

Your evening stroll along the boulevards no longer 
confronts you with those seemingly light-hearted 
pedestrians commonly associated with the spot. The 
individuals whom you encounter in lieu thereof are 
invariably more or less grave-looking, and not un- 
frequently positively depressed ; whilst one and all, 
without exception, wear the eternal and perpetual red 
stripes down the sides of their trousers. Now and 
then one stumbles upon some gloomy group of frivolous 
viveurs out of their element, while a very diminished 
contingent of painted women continues to stalk the 
pavement. There are, moreover, swarms of beggars, 
but their piteous whines are disregarded, for every one 
who wants food can obtain it gratis at the public 
canteens. The hawkers you met during the afternoon 
are still here importuning passers-by to purchase their 

* Sergeant Hoff disappeared after the battle of Champigny, and 
by a sudden revulsion of public feeling it was then asserted that 
he was a spy, and that his visits to the outposts had been for the 
purpose of communicating intelligence to the besiegers. This state- 
ment was entirely false. Hoff was taken prisoner by the enemy, and 
was not released until peace had been concluded. In a letter made 
public in 1873, General Le Flo, Minister of War during the siege, 
testified to Hoff *b valour and services whilst at the French outposts 
before Paris. 



WHAT PARIS WAS LIKE IN NOVEMBER. 125 

worthless wares, such as purses and photographs, 
grotesque statuettes of William and his little Bismarck, 
songs and sword-sticks, and above all, scurrilous 
pamphlets and caricatures. *' Demandez la Plainte 
de Ratapoil Badinguet ! " " Demandez le Sire de 
Framboisy, dont la femme danse le cancan avec tous 
ses amis ! " '^ Demandez la Femme Bonaparte, ses 
Crimes et ses Orgies !" assail your ears in succession. 
Every now and then you find your progress interrupted 
by a host of open-air politicians vehemently dis- 
cussing " the situation,'' declaiming against an armis- 
tice, and demanding that the " sortie en force" be no 
longer delayed; or a crowd encircling a group of 
juvenile street singers who have endeavoured to illumi- 
nate the surrounding obscurity by ends of lighted 
candles placed on the ground in front of them ; or 
gathered round an old man who professes to imitate 
the notes of all the song-birds ; or congregated before 
a one-legged player on the accordion, who, seated on 
a camp-stool, rests his wooden leg on a little mat, 
while a couple of comical-looking dogs, one holding a 
pipe, the other a tray in his mouth, squat gravely on 
other mats in front of him. A row of four wax 
candles, protected from the wind by glass shades, 
light up this singular exhibition, which, now that so 
little suffices to amuse the Parisians, nightly attracts 
a considerable crowd. 

As may be supposed, the Petit Bourse of the 
Boulevard des Italiens has entirely suspended its 
operations, and the cabinets particuliers of the night 
restaurants are dark and deserted. Before the doors 
of the theatres there are neither carriages, nor noisy 
touters, nor jostling crowds. A few people will, 
perhaps, stop for a moment when some voiture drives 



126 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

up at a slow pace and deposits a wounded soldier into 
one or the other ambulance. 

And so the weary evening at last whiles itself away. 
At half-past ten the last lights in the caf(£s are put 
out, and the caf(^ themselves are closed. You walk 
home through the silent and deserted streets utterly 
regardless of the midnight robber who used to be in 
wait in gloomy portes-coch^res ; for you know that 
armed men are certain to be within call even in the 
least frequented thoroughfares. No footpad would 
venture to assail you in presence of the patrols of 
National Guard, which constantly pass to and fro 
whilst darkness hangs over the city ; and your sense 
of security would indeed be complete were it not for 
the hostile intentions of the foe, whose proximity 
comes back to recollection as the ominous thunder of 
the cannon breaks the stiUness of the night. 



II. THS BILL OF FARE. 

Like the Romans of the Decline, who summed up 
their wants in the phrase " Fanem et Circenses !" 
the besieged Parisians in the month of November 
might have resumed their requirements in the 
words, •' Camem, Anna, et Nuntios !" — meat, arms, 
and news. The dearth of beef and mutton was self- 
evident. The Government, with whom procrastina- 
tion seemed a virtue, willingly encouraged the belief 
in a want of sufficient cannons to enable General 
Trochu to make the great sortie which was to deliver 
the invested city ; while as regards intelligence from 
the Provinces, it was not until the latter fortnight of 
the month that news both public and private began 
to arrive. One could, a la rigueur, put up without 



THE BILL OF FARE. 127 

either field artillery or news from home ; but the ques- 
tion of chops and steaks demanded a speedy solution 
for one's stomach's sake. Erudite journalists com- 
placently reminded one of the terrible straits to which 
Paris was reduced in 1590, when the good King Henri 
— the same who on another occasion expressed the 
wish that every peasant should have his fowl in the 
pot — was besieging the capital with an army of 
Huguenots. In those days, we were told, the 
Parisians actually forgot what meat was like, and the 
only obtainable kind of nourishment, oatmeal gruel, 
was prepared in huge saucepans, wliich stood in the 
public squares and at the corners of the streets. The 
Spanish Ambassador had the bright idea that the 
corpses in the graveyards might be dug up, and their 
bones and skulls ground into a kind of flour ; but 
although this project was actually carried into execu- 
tion, it soon had to be abandoned, as all those who 
partook of the species of bread made out of the 
powdei^d bones, perished most miserably. 

The Parisians of 1870, to whom these stories were 
related, never dreamt of being reduced to such terrible 
straits; still they were not without their apprehen- 
sions, and when, during the month of November, the 
daily ration of beef or mutton decreased to at first fifty, 
and afterwards to thirty-five grammes (1 ^ oz.) per diem 
for an adult, and to half that quantity for a child, it 
was perceived that the supply, although thus reduced 
to a minimum, must speedily cease altogether. Four 
thousand milch cows and a few hundred oxen were 
kept in reserve by the Government until the last days 
of the siege ; but already, on November 8, all cattle and 
sheep belonging to private people were requisitioned, 
and excepting in the case of cows whose owners pos- 



128 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

sessed sufficient forage for their sustenance, the entire 
yield of the requisition found its way to the slaughter- 
house. In these times the rations, small as as they 
had become, were distributed with shocking irregu- 
larity ; and. although there was a certain amount of 
beef and mutton lefl, consumed by some person or 
persons unknown, yet the majority of the Parisians 
already had to fall back upon horseflesh as a daily 
article of diet. Already in October the Government 
had established a fixed price for the sale of viande de 
cheval, with the view of preventing any extortions on 
the part of the horse-butchers ; but ass and mule had 
been left on one side, and as they yielded a delicate 
veal-like meat, the latter became in great request, 
and was soon sold at 3^. and 3^. 6e/. a pound. On 
November 13, the Government at length thought 
fit to intervene, and announced that henceforth it 
would purchase all mules and asses destined for public 
food, and that the flesh of these animals would be sold 
in each arrondissement of Paris under regulation, and 
in quantities proportionate to the population. Both 
mule and donkey were, in fact, assimilated to horse- 
flesh, and on November 15 a uniform tarifi* for the 
sale of all three came into force, by which the filet 
was priced at 1^. 2^d. per lb., ordinary meat, best 
joints, at ^\d. per lb., second class at Id. per lb., and 
third class at ^\d. 

It was estimated by the Horseflesh Committee that 
on November 13 there were still 70,000 horses in 
Paris, of which 80,000 would be required for military 
purposes, leaving 40,000 to be slaughtered for food. 
By rationing the supply at the rate of 50 grammes 
(If oz.) per diem, there would thus be sufficient viande 
de cheval to feed the city during 100 days. At the end 



THE BILL OF FARE. 129 

of the month the Government took a census of all the 
horses, mules, and donkeys, in Paris and its suburbs, 
the owners of the various animals having to register 
them at the district Mairies, specifying at the same 
time to what uses they were put. Moreover, no 
animal was to be sold without notice being given to 
the authorities; and it was announced that any 
individual seeking to evade this decree would have his 
horse, mule, or donkey confiscated to the State. Many 
valuable animals were eventually slaughtered and 
eaten ; but the butcher who announced *' Thorough- 
bred horses from the Stables of Count de Lagrange*' 
was evidently nothing more than a hippophagous 
Barnum. The gourmets of the day declared, how- 
ever, that a slice of cab-horse was preferable to the 
most succulent morsel that could be cut off a pampered 
thoroughbred. The latter's flesh was invariably hard, 
whilst cab-horse was invitingly tender — as it naturally 
should be, having been well beaten for so many years. 
The acquisition of a joint off some ex-champion of 
the turf proved at times somewhat inconvenient. 
Thus we are told that the mistress of a household who 
was speaking with her cook, suddenly heard, in the 
adjoining kitchen, a noise as of bouillon boiling over. ^ 
•' Josephine,^' she exclaimed, " quick, see what's the 
matter, your pot-au-feu is all running away !" " Oh, 
I am not at all surprised, madame," quietly rejoined 
the cordon bleu, '' the butcher told me that the meat 
was race-horse !" 

During November it was curious to observe the 
aspect of the Halles Centrales — those magnificent 
markets which are unrivalled in the world. The 
immense pavilion which used to present such an 
animated scene on the arrival of the railway fish- 

VOL. II. 9 



130 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

trucks, was now devoted to the sale of viande 
de cheval, with, perhaps, an auction going on in one 
comer, at which a few Seine eels or gudgeons would 
fetch their weight in silver. In the meat pavilion, 
where one used formerly to pass in front of miles of 
sides of beef and legs of mutton, only some sheep and 
bullocks* lights, and a few bullocks' heels, were 
exposed for sale ; all the rest being viande de cheval. 
In the butter and cheese pavilions dripping and other 
kinds of melted fat, as substitutes for butter for culi- 
nary purposes, were displayed, together with honey and 
saucissons de cheval — encore du cheval ! and toujours 
du cheval ! One could promenade, in fact, for half a 
mile or more, in front of joints of horseflesh, growing 
small by degrees and beautifully less, from the 
entire side to the diminutive fillet. Of course no one 
could mistake a side of horse for a side of beef, 
but the horsesteaks — as regards the look at any rate — 
were hardly, if at all, distinguishable from the 
traditional " biftecks." 

Still it was not merely horse that Paris was pre- 
pared to devour. All the animals of the Jardin 
d'Acclimatation, and even such of those from the 
Jardin des Plantes as men of science pronounced fit 
for human food, were sent to the slaughterhouses, 
and a butcher on the Boulevard Haussmann created 
quite a sensation by displaying for sale several bears, 
buffaloes, and bisons, yaks, and kangaroos, to say 
nothing of ostriches, cassowaries, and other members 
of the feathered tribe. Only the millionaires of the 
epoch could afibrd to purchase these more or less 
succulent specimens of game, owing to the fancy 
prices at which they were sold. Still people of 
moderate means were not without a certain class of 



THE BILL OF FARE. 131 

game at their disposal^ for a salmi of a couple of 
rats could be had at several restaurants for a franc 
and a half or two francs. A rat-market which had 
been established on the Place de THdtel de Ville, 
under the very nose of the Government, was plentifully 
provided with the raw material by a number of rat- 
catchers, who obtained admission into the sewers, and 
baited their traps with glucose, to which the rats, who 
live in thousands in the Paris drains, proved particu- 
larly partial. The rat, it should be remembered, was 
not a novelty as an article of food in France. Just 
as snails are reared in the vineyards of Burgundy for 
edible purposes, so are the rats which infest the cellars 
of the wine-growers of the Bordelais converted to 
alimentary uses. They are most highly prized, it is 
said, when killed in a state of intoxication; and to 
get them into the required condition of inebriety a 
paunch half filled with wine is left in the cellar, where 
it is certain instantly to attract the attention of half 
a score or so of rats, which, after having gorged them- 
selves, fall an easy prey, and are sai^ to be delicious 
eating. With reference to the practice of eating rats 
during the siege the newspapers reminded their readers 
that some few years previously a commission appointed 
to investigate the spread of trichines, presided by 
Dr. Delpech, and including the chief veterinary 
surgeon of the College of Alfort as a member, went 
to Germany to study the disease in the districts where 
it was efiecting the greatest ravages. It resulted from 
their inquiries that trichines were not originally 
developed in the pig, as was commonly supposed, 
but in the rat, on which the pigs of Germany, running 
as they do at liberty about the fields, were in the 
habit of feeding. 

9—2 



132 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

Besides feeding on man's noblest conquest, the 
horse, the Parisians were also constrained to devour 
his best friend, the dog, as well as that favourite 
feline pet, the cat. The last named at least was 
no new addition to the Parisian cuisine, for even in 
the palmiest days of plenty poor pussy had frequently 
served at barri^re gargotes as a substitute for the 
orthodox lapin en gibelotte. On the other hand, 
M. Francisque Sarcey indignantly protested against 
the practice of eating our canine companions, a climax 
which would, he said, have revolted even TJgolini. 
He declared that he could sooner understand Orestes 
eating Pylades, Paul devouring Virginia, or the 
Siamese twins feeding off one another. Hunger, how- 
ever, knows no law, and in November canine and feline 
butchers' shops were opened in different parts of 
Paris. Skilfully killed, properly skinned and cooked, 
with a good sauce, the dogs proved excellent eating ; 
their meat was pink and delicate, and by no 
means tough. Canine cutlets were sold at Is. Sd. 
each, and leg of dog might be purchased during 
November at double that price per pound. It should 
be mentioned that far more cats than dogs were eaten ; 
and indeed, after the conclusion of the siege, scarcely 
a cat remained in Paris. Invitingly set off with paper 
frills and coloured ribbons, the Parisian tabbies were 
displayed for sale, under the title of " gutter rabbits," 
and as such they met with many eager purchasers. 
Broiled and seasoned with pistachio nuts, olives, 
gherkins, and pimento, pussy proved a very dainty 
dish ; and there was a great semblance of probability 
about the story of the woman detected stealing out of 
a house with a fine cat hidden under her shawl. " Oh, 
pray do not expose me/' she cried in a plaintive voice, 



THE BILL OF FARE. 133 

" it is for a poor sick friend ^ and indeed people in 
ill-health might partake of far less tender and succulent 
meats than plump tabby prepared by a skilful cordon 
bleu. Other anecdotes of the epoch were equally charac- 
teristic. Two good bourgeois, husband and wife, had 
a little dog of whom they were very fond. But a day 
came when there was nothing to eat in the house, 
and poor Bijou had to be killed and cooked. His 
master and mistress sat down to dinner with tears in 
their eyes, and during the meal the latter mechanically 
placed the tiny rib-bones on the side of her plate. 
*' Poor Bijou !"' she ejaculated with a sigh, " what 
a treat he would have hadT Less melancholy was 
the story of the English journalist who went with a 
friend to breakfast at Brebant's. The bill of fare 
included "sucking pig," for which he had always 
had an especial weakness ; so he gave his orders in 
consequence. Having a doubt, however, as to the 
genuine character of this particular cochon-de-lait, he 
called back the waiter and asked him if it was a real 
sucking pig. ** Truly," replied the waiter. " A little 
pig?" inquired the Englishman. "Surely," quoth 
the gar9on. " A young pig ?" persisted the customer. 
This last question floored the attendant, and he hesi- 
tated. At last he confessed that the animal was, in 
point of fact, a coclion d'Inde, a guinea-pig. As the 
writer asked his readers, are you equal to guinea-pig ? 
Mr. Labouchere was not, but it would appear that 
stewed guinea-pig is really delicious. 

There were many of the besieged who were quite 
unable to eat even horse. Of two of the author's 
acquaintances who did not take kindly to viande de 
cheval, one was reduced to bread and rice soaked in 
horse brotb^ flavoured with Liebig's Extract, which, 



134 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

• 

with similar preparations, was tolerably plentiful in 
Paris ; whilst the other played incessant tricks with 
his digestion, and tried all the economical methods of 
satisfying hanger recommended by the newspapers. 
One day he breakfasted off boiled oats, and when 
asked a week afterwards how he felt, he protested 
that his intestines had been sore ever since from the 
husks grating against them. He remarked that by 
the time peace and liberty came round again, his 
digestion would most likely be utterly gone, and that 
he would be reduced to live on the revalenta arabica, 
that last resource of noble appetites. 

Towards the close of November, such salt provisions 
as the Government had in stock made their appear- 
ance — ^their distribution alternating with that of the 
rations of fresh meat. It was believed at the time 
that vast quantities of salted provisions were in the 
hands of the authorities, but in reality there was not 
sufficient to have fed the entire population for ten 
successive days. Possibly the most seductive exhibi- 
tion in all Paris, at this epoch, was that of a provision 
shop near the Place de la Bourse, which actually dis- 
played three whole York hams in its window. Such 
a thing had not been seen in Paris for six weeks, and 
people congregated in front of the shop just as they 
are in the habit of doing outside Siraudin's bonbon 
establishment on New Tear's Eve. At that epoch the 
provision shops possessed an indescribable fascination. 
It was impossible to pass them without looking in at 
their windows, in the same way that one looks in a print- 
seller's, and with far more interest, to see if there was 
anything new — ^ham, bacon, cheese, preserved meats, 
sardines, potted lobster — anything, in fact, to enable 
one to bolt one's dry bread when we reached the new 



THE BILL OF FARE. 13S 

year. But alas I the spectacle generally offered to 
one's gaze comprised merely piles of tin cases labelled 
"Asparagus," "French Beans," and "Green Peas," 
with numerous jars of honey and pots of jam. 

At periods of scarcity under the First French Ee- 
public, the Paris populace hanged forestallers on the 
lamp-irons ; but during the siege, some forestallers 
saved the populace that trouble and hanged them- 
selves. One marchand de comestibles, in an exten- 
sive way of business, committed suicide on being 
detected in possession of considerable stores of pro- 
visions, among which were nearly a couple of thousand 
hams which he had hidden in his cellars. On 
November 29, while the first great sortie from Paris 
— of which we shall have to speak further on— 
was being effected, and when rumours were current 
throughout the city that success had favoured the 
French arms, quantities of provisions, the stock of 
which had long since been supposed to be exhausted, 
were exposed in the shop windows of the dealers, 
and ticketed, moreover, at comparatively moderate 
prices. Towards the afternoon, however, when less 
confidence was felt in the result of General Trochu's 
enterprise, the tin cases gradually began to dis- 
appear, and by the evening had altogether vanished, 
the shopkeepers protesting that they were sold out 
completely. This explanation did not satisfy some of 
the National Guards, and a general search was insti- 
tuted in the cellars of suspected tradesmen, resulting 
in the discovery of considerable quantities of secreted 
provisions, over which a guard was forthwith set, while 
the delinquent tradesmen were placed under arrest. 

An intermittent raid, directed against the mar- 
chands des comestibles, had been going on in Paris for 



136 WAITING FOX SUCCOUR. 

t 

several weeks previously owing to the statements made 
by a journeyman pork butcber who had been trying 
to dispose of a quantity of lard suspected to have 
been stolen, and for which he had asked 4«. a pound. 
On being arrested he gave up the name of his em- 
ployer, who had closed his establishment several 
weeks previously, on the plea that he had disposed of 
his entire stock. A picket of National Guards, pro- 
ceeding to search the latter's cellars, found them filled 
with preserved and salted provisions of all descriptions, 
which, in order that no disturbance might arise, were 
removed to the Halles after dusk — ^the dealer himself 
being carried before the Commissary of Police of the 
quarter, who detained him in custody. But now that 
Paris was beginning to feel the pinch of hunger, not 
only were dealers who were detected secreting pro- 
visions arrested, but shopkeepers, demanding exorbi- 
tant prices for edible substances, experienced the 
same fate ; and a poulterer who had asked 2/. for a 
remarkably skinny goose was surprised to find himself 
taken into custody by the National Guard who in- 
quired its price. 

At the end of November, at V^four's restaurant 
in the Palais Royal, a slice of game pie (nature of 
game not specified, but easily imagined) was charged 
1^. 8(f., and truffled sausages were ^d. each. At 
the Trois Pr^res Proven^aux, beef (?) sausages were 
to be had at 2^. 10(f. the pound. At Catelain's, in 
the Rue Vivienne, a moderate-sized plate of so-called 
boeuf a la mode and fowl's liver could be obtained 
for 1^. 8(/. ; and at the well-known cheap restaurant in 
the Rue Grange Bateliere, scraggy roast fowls were to 
be procured at 14^. each. Roast filet, professed to 
be of beef, was 1«. 8rf. the plate. The celebrated 



THE BILL OF FARE. 137 

firm of Potel and Chabot were selling tins, said to 
contain beef, at from 12*. to 1/., according to their 
size; jerked beef was 1*. lOt/., and salt junk 1*. 6fl?. 
the pound ; whole hams being sold at the rate of 
12*. and Cheshire cheese at 8*. the pound. Chevet, 
of the Palais Eoyal, who was selling roast ass's foal 
at 10*. the small packet, black puddings at 1*. ^d. 
each, and a small calf's head for 1/., asked \^d, the 
pint for milk, and 1/., the pound for fresh butter — 
of which rare and much coveted product he never 
displayed at a time more than a single pat, which 
occupied the centre of a revolving stand, and attracted 
the envious gaze of a continual crowd of admirers. 
At an establishment on the Boulevard Poissoniere, 
" boeuf mode," as it was termed, was priced at 
2/. 2*. the ten-pound tin; a small preserved leg of 
mutton was 1/. 8*. ; a preserved fowl, 1/. 4*., and a 
quarter of a preserved goose, 17*. 6fl?. Poultry dealers 
were demanding 2/. 16*. for turkeys, and from 1/. 12*. 
to 2/. for geese, while fowls ranged from 13*. to 25*. 
Babbits might, at times, be procured for 10*. to 12*. 
each ; and now and then a small carp would appear at 
the Halles, and fetch well-nigh its weight in gold. 

The scarcity of coal and coke has already been 
recorded. Firewood was very dear, and many people 
employed petroleum as a combustible for heating 
apartments. Paris had already run out of its stock 
of charcoal, so much used in the French cuisine, and 
accordingly a large quantity of wood cut down in the 
Bois de Yincennes and the Bois de Boulogne was 
transformed into charcoal under the auspices of the 
authorities. There being scarcely any butter or lard 
in the city, oil had been largely resorted to for culinary 
purposes, and this in turn becoming nearly exhausted^ 



138 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

people were compelled to fall back upon a variety of 
greasy compounds of a more or less repulsive character. 
No butter implied neither cakes nor tarts — albeit that 
there was a profusion of jam and honey; and the 
pastrycooks mainly displayed for sale mysterious 
patties, the contents of which none but those possessed 
of strong stomachs dared inquire. Some of these 
establishments, with the view of reassuring customers, 
exhibited a morsel of rumpsteak on a small dish in 
the midst of their dainties as a kind of guarantee of 
their internal composition ; just as certain dealers in 
bears' grease used to display a stuffed bear in their 
windows to signify that they sold only the genuine 
article. At the grocers' there was still at this epoch 
an abundance of rice, sugar, coffee, and chocolate, as 
well as of preserved fruits and vegetables. Consider- 
able quantities of fresh vegetables had been brought 
to the Halles during the earlier part of the month, 
by the " chapardeurs," whom the Government had 
authorized to gather in all the market gai*deners' aban- 
doned crops lying between the French and German 
outposts; but after the massacre of November 19, near 
Bondy, when the sentinels of both armies shot down 
between sixty and seventy of these adventurous 
gleaners — men, women, and children — the chasse aux 
legumes, as it was termed, not unnaturally lost many 
of its adepts. On November 24, the Government took 
possession of all the stocks of potatoes it could lay its 
hands on, and at this moment the Irishman's favourite 
tuber was fetching 5^. 8(/. the bushel, while cabbages 
and cauliflowers (very scarce) were 1^. each, small 
onions 4^. 3^. and haricots \b. bd. the quart. Bundles 
of green leaves of almost any description sold at the 
rate of lOd. the pound, for the purpose of making 



THE BILL OF FARE. 139 

*' spinach!" Carrots and leeks were 2*. the bunch, 
turnips were utterly exhausted. Whilst as regards 
eggs, the last stocks left at the Halles were sold by 
auction at the rate of 21/. 2*. 6(f. the thousand ; new 
laid eggs — rarely to be procured — ^fetching from 1 0^?. 
to a shilling apiece. 

Of one commodity, and that the most important of 
all, there seemed to be no scarcity. In certain 
pavilions in the Halles, incessantly guarded by sen- 
tinels, one might see piled up almost level with the 
roof tens of thousands of sacks, tens of thousands of 
barrels of flour, which were, so one was told, but a 
fraction of an almost unlimited supply. In point of 
fact, however, the bread question was already seriously 
preoccupying the Government. At the meeting of the 
Council on November 20, the Minister of Commerce 
promised to have fifty mills at work within a fortnight, 
grinding the reserve supplies of wheat into flour. In 
addition to the stock of the latter product held by the 
Government he hoped to find a certain quantity stored 
away by the bakers. As a precautionary measure — 
for he did not think that the bread would hold out 
later than the 10th of January — he suggested that the 
sale of new bread should be forbidden. If stale bread 
alone was delivered to the public an economy of from 
ten to fifteen per cent, in the daily consumption would 
be realized. The authorities agreed to diminish the 
military allowance of bread by one-tenth ; this pro- 
posal coming from General Trochu, whose previous 
suggestion that bread should, even at this early stage, 
be rationed like meat, was not adopted, through fear 
of promoting a panic. The Council, however, approved 
of his observations concerning the excessive quantity 
of bread distributed to the soldiers, who sold a part of 



MO WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

their allowance, and when belonging to artillery or 
cavalry regiments gave a considerable portion of it to 
their horses. This latter practice was common 
throughout Paris. Forage was indeed so scarce that 
it became necessary to give bread to the more valuable 
animals, if one wished to keep them alive. Several 
zealous citizens denounced the practice a^ a scandalous 
one. If, however, the horses were slain, all chances of 
fresh meat for the future were at once destroyed. On 
the other hand, a horse eats as much bread in a day as 
would support ten citizens, and it was asked whether 
it was worth while to keep them a month in order to 
enjoy a few hundredweights of fresh meat at the end of 
that period. The question was a perplexing one, and 
the Government was quite unable to take any decided 
action in the matter. 



III. POST OFFICE TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS. 

Whilst Paris was completing its armament, drilling 
its citizen soldiers, manifesting at the H6tel de Ville, 
clamouring at the clubs, and impatiently awaiting the 
arrival of the promised armies of succour, the Post 
Office officials were actively engaged in despatching 
balloons and carrier pigeons into the Provinces, besides 
examining multitudinous projects for a regular ex- 
change of correspondence with the outside world, 
which inventive citizens were continually submitting 
to their approbation. Durihg the last fortnight in 
October eight balloons left the beleaguered city, and 
of these seven alighted in safety;* the one exception 

'^^ These were the JuUb Favre and Jean Bart, which started on the 
16th of October ; the Victor Hugo, 18th of October ; the LafayeUe, 
which carried Police-Delegate Dabo8t| 19th of October; .the 



POSTAL TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS. 141 

being the Vauban, which started late in the day on 
the 27th of the month. At half-past four o'clock 
•"'that same afternoon, when only at an altitude of some 
250 feet, it was fired at by some Uhlans in the 
vicinity of Verdun, and the inexperienced aeronauts, 
being unable to rise out of range, voluntarily allowed 
the balloon to approach the ground, when three of the 
passengers threw themselves out, and were at once 
made prisoners by the German soldiers ; a fourth 
traveller alone remaining in the car of the balloon, 
which being greatly lightened, at once rose again and 
went on its way. Among the prisoners was a young 
Englishman named Worth — a relative of the famous 
man-milliner of the Rue de la Paix — who had paid 
100/. for his passage. He and his companions were 
conducted to Versailles to await the pleasure of the 
German authorities, and, despite the non-oflScial inter- 
vention of Colonel Walker, Mr. Worth was sent as 
a prisoner to a German fortress, and there detained 
until after the war. 

The first balloon to leave Paris during the month 
of November was the Fulton, which started on the 
2nd of the month, carrying M. Cezanne, a delegate of 
Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce ; and on the 
4th two balloons set off — the Ferdinand Flocon and 
the Galilee^ the latter of which fell within the Prus- 
sian lines between Orleans and Chartres. These par- 
ticulars only came to the knowledge of the Parisians 
at a later date, for between the 25tli of October and the 



Garibaldi, which carried Government-Commissary de Jouvencel, 
22nd of October ; the Montgolfier, with General Le Bouedec on 
board, 25th of October ; and the Colonel CharraSj which started on 
the 29th of the month. 



142 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

] 3th of November not a single pigeon despatch arrived 
in Paris. Not merely was one without any direct intel- 
ligence from citizen Gambetta, but one did not even # 
know whether the balloons sent out from the city had 
alighted in safety. Had it not been for certain stray 
English newspapers, which found their way through 
the German lines in a most mysterious manner, and 
for the information brought by M. Thiers at the epoch 
of the armistice negotiations, the capital would have 
been quite without intelligence concerning the outside 
world. 

The pigeon which brought the first despatch re- 
ceived in Paris for three weeks was one taken out in 
the Ville de Chdteaudun balloon, which started on 
November 6, and alighted in safety at Eeclain ville, 
in the Eure-et-Loir. This despatch, which, although 
sent off on the morrow, did not reach its des- 
tination until November 13, apprised one of the 
aeronaut's safe arrival at Vendome, and of the fact 
that the enemy occupied Orleans and Chartres, with 
head-quarters at Patay. Its arrival proved, moreover, 
that carrier pigeons could perform their duty in 
November. There had been considerable controversy 
on this subject, and such a long interval had elapsed 
without news, that it was feared our feathered mes- 
sengers could not accomplish their journey in the cold 
weather. Public imagination had been busy, and the 
most wonderful and terrible stories were gaining 
credence, when, on the 14th, another pigeon arrived, 
if not on the wings of victory, at least with victory 
under its wing, for the despatch it carried announced 
the capture of Orleans by the army of the Loire. 

Meanwhile three fresh balloons had left the capital. 
The Crironde, which started on November 8, and 



POSTAL TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS. 14.3 

reached Gondreville in the Eure in perfect safety; 
and the Niepce and the Bagucrre, both of which fell 
within the German lines, though in either instance 
tlie aeronauts were able to escape ; the travellers by 
the former balloon being, moreover, able to save most 
of their plans and apparatus for perfecting a new 
system of correspondence, by means of which the im- 
prisoned Parisians were at length to receive news from 
their families and friends. 

With an aerial navy at one's disposal there had 
never been any difficulty in getting letters out of 
Paris, but the means of obtaining news from the 
Provinces were limited in the extreme. The question 
of navigable balloons had attracted considerable 
attention, and M. Dupuy de Lome, former Chief Con- 
structor of the French Navy, devised an aerial appa- 
ratus which many high authorities considered likely 
to fulfil the required purpose. His plan received the 
approval of the Academy of Sciences, and the Govern- 
ment granted a sum of 1600/. for the making of the 
balloon ; but when it was completed, and ready to 
start, the inventor expressed a desire to see his place 
taken by another aeronaut. As no other aeronaut 
was forthcoming, M. Dupuy de Lome's ovoidal 
machine, with its sail and its screw, remained riding 
at anchor. Various other kinds of navigable balloons 
were proposed ; some with a screw, worked by gas or 
steam-engines, to which the danger from fire was very 
justly objected, and others with wings or several 
screws ; while one zealous citizen, with a lively imagi- 
nation, even suggested that the eagles at the Jardin 
des Plantes might be utilized to guide the vessels of 
the French aerial navy. A Doctor Gu^rin also proposed 
to maintain telegraphic communication between Paris 



144 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

and the Provinces by means of a wire, paid out from 
a captive balloon to a free one until the latter reached 
the ground, the wire in question being maintained in 
the air by small balloons attached to it from distance 
to distance. 

None of these schemes were ever realized ; and to 
moderate the dearth of news, one had to fall back 
on the employment of pigeon messengers. Originally 
the latter were only employed to convey Government 
despatches, and to announce the safe arrival of some 
balloon in the Provinces ; but in the month of October 
it was suggested that they might also, in a limited 
measure, be utilized to convey the correspondence of 
the general public. Eventually, on November 10, 
the Government issued a decree, by which the inhabi- 
tants of the Provinces were informed that they might 
forward tothe Postal Delegateat Clermont-Ferrand, two 
kinds of despatches for conveyance by pigeon post into 
Paris. The messages of the first category were merely 
to comprise the sender's and recipient's name and 
address, and the answers "Yes" or *'No," to four 
questions, such as " Are you well ?" " Do you want 
money?" and so on, which had been previously asked, 
in letters sent out of Paris by balloon. These 
messages, the charge for conveying which was one 

franc, were to be written on 
cards, which, when filled 
up, presented the aspect of 
the accompanying diagram; 
beginning with the sender's 
address and ending with the 
initials of his name. Being collected at the head- 
quarters of the Delegate Postal Administration, the 
messages were copied on to a single sheet of paper, and 



Trouville. 




M. X 




Yea. No. No. 


Yet. 




Y.Z. 



POSTAL TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS. 



H5 



then reduced by photography to the most minute pro- 
portions, and sent by pigeon into the capital. On the 
arrival of these despatches the characters were enlarged 
under a powerful magnifying glass, and each message 
was copied upon a card, and forwarded to the person to 
whom it was addressed. This plan was, however, found 
to be very inconvenient, not easy to understand, and re- 
stricted in its use ; and, accordingly, the second form of 
despatch which the Post Office announced itself prepared 
to receive was more readily resorted to. This was an 
ordinary message, comprising not more than twenty 
words, including names and addresses, and containing no 
public or military information. A charge of half a franc 
was made for each word contained in the despatch. 

M. Steenackers, the head Postal Delegate in the 
Provinces, improved upon the system of copying the 
messages by hand, by having them set up in type and 
printed, previous to their being photographed, thus 
rendering them a great deal more legible. When 
reduced they occupied a piece of paper one and a 
half inches by one and a quarter inches, having the 
appearance of a diminutive journal of four columns. 
Longways, in the extreme left- 
hand column, were the words : 
** Service of despatches by travel- 
ling pigeons — Steenackers toMer- 
cadier, 103, rue de Grenelle." The 
other three columns contained the 
messages, one following the other 
without interval of any kind. On 
the reverse side of the paper, the 
column corresponding to the one 
with the address was left blank, the others being 
filled in with messages as before. The accompanying 

VOL. II. 10 



n 

til 

* s s 

1 

CO 






"*""" 





146 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

diagram gives the exact size of the paper and its 
general appearance. 

This novel systicm of communication was so great a 
success, that the very first day an office was opened at 
Tours to receive these messages, a considerably larger 
crowd besieged it than could be served ; and three 
of the first birds sent off carried nearly one thousand 
despatches, estimated to interest no less than ten 
thousand different persons. Each message consisted 
of a very few words, nine-tenths containing lesef than 
ten, and the remainder not exceeding twenty. An 
arrangement, too, was made by which post-office 
orders,' to the value of three hundred francs each, 
could be forwarded in a similar manner, on payment 
of three francs in addition to the ordinary charges ; 
and photographic reductions of the Tours Moniteur 
and of the London Times were also sent into the 
capital. 

The Niepce balloon, which left Paris on the 12th of 
November, in company with the Baguerre^ falling like 
the latter within the German lines, conveyed M. 
Dagron, famous for the excellence of his microscopic 
photography, and three assistants. The authorities, 
being anxious to perfect the new system of correspon- 
dence, had contracted with M. Dagron to collect daily 
all the despatches for Paris, to photograph them upon 
films of collodion, to make a considerable number of 
copies of each sheet, to roll and enclose them in a 
small quill, and to sew them on to the tail feathers of 
as many pigeons as could be procured. The employ- 
ment of thin films of collodion instead of paper, 
which had hitherto invariably been used, was a great 
improvement; for these fihns were ten times thinner 
and lighter than the paper, so that a pigeon was enabled 



POSTAL TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS. 147 

to carry an immensely increased budget of news with 
a diminution of both weight and volume. After 
various misadventures, M. Dagron eventually reached 
Tours on the 21st of November ; but it was not until 
December 5 that he was able to begin carrying out 
his contract with the Government.* 

On the arrival of a pigeon in Paris, the quiU con- 
taining the photo-microscopic despatches was split 
open with a penknife by M. Mercadier, Directeur- 
G^neral des T^ldgraphes, and so that the films of col* 
lodion should unroll rapidly, they were placed in 
water containing a few drops of ammonia. Then, 
having dried and being enclosed within two plates of 
glass, the despatches were ready to be deciphered by 
the microscope. This mode of reading being very 
slow, recourse was had, eventually, to M. Duboscq's 
megascope, the electric light of which projected the 
films of collodion on to a large screen, so that four 
transcribers could work at once on difierent parts of 
the despatch-sheet ; each square of which, when per- 
fected by M. Dagron, contained some 1600 messages. 
Subsequently the happy idea was conceived of re- 
photographing the despatches on collodion on the scale 
of the original printed matter, so that each section was 
enlarged from the most minute dimensions to the size 

* It may liere bo mentioned that, between the month of Decem- 
ber and the armistice, M. Dagron produced 470 typographical 
pages, each containing 15,000 characters, or about 200 despatches; 
on an average 16 of these pages were contained on a pellicle of 
If in. by 2^in., and weighing -g^^th part of an oimce. Thirty, forty, 
and even fifly copies were made of each sheet, and sent by as many 
birds, some of which carried no fewer than 23 distinct sheets of 
despatches. In all nearly 100,000 of these despatches were sent on 
their way, but, unfortunately, the proportion that reached the 
capital, though very welcome, was small in the extreme. 

10—2 



148 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR. 

of an 18mo page ; the characters being in good bold 
type could thus be read off with perfect ease. The 
collodion film was, moreover, raised from the glass, 
which was in the way of transmission, and transferred 
to a sheet of black, oiled, or waxed cloth, dressed with 
gum arable. Finally, the telegrams were separated 
from each other by means of scissors, and each person 
received his despatch in fac-aimile of the original 
printed matter. 

The first of the photographic despatches we have 
described — on M. Steenackers' original plan, as shown 
by the diagram on page 145 — arrived in Paris 
on November 14. It contained two hundred and 
twenty-six private messages from all parts of France 
and abroad ; and as, in many cases, persons residing 
in the same town had sent collective messages, it must 
have interested over one thousand families. The 
pigeon which brought it arrived about four o'clock in 
the afternoon; and by eleven o'clock at night the 
whole of the messages had been enlarged, copied, and 
transmitted by telegraph to the persons to whom they 
were addressed. A great sensation was caused in the 
capital by this event, and henceforward, day by day, 
thousands of imprisoned citizens looked anxiously 
forward to the arrival of some feathered messenger 
which might bring them happy tidings of those they 
cherished or perhaps — ^who knew ? — 

Some dolorous message knit below 
The wild pulsation of her wings. 

On November 17, a second batch of the im 
patiently awaited despatches arrived ; and on the 25th, 
no fewer than five hundred came to hand. Entre 
temps one had received two official communications 
£x)m citizen Gambetta, referring to the victory of 



POSTAL TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS. 149 

Coulmiers, and the occupation of Orleans; but the 
laconic yet cheery billets from one's own kindred did 
far more to lift up people's hearts than anything that 
the dictatorial and unveracious Dflegud a la Guerre 
could possibly write. The pigeon was looked upon as 
a sacred bird, and Paris shuddered with hoiTor when it 
learnt that the cultured barbarians, by whom it was 
invested, had let loose a number of hawks imported 
from Saxony, with the view of intercepting the much 
prized letter-carriers. 

It was only natural, however, that the Germans 
should seek to prevent the pigeons getting into Paris, 
just as they tried to stop the balloons leaving it. With 
this latter object in view, Herr Krupp cast some 
twenty so-called balloon-cannons, which comprised a 
platform resting on four wheels, movable in all 
directions, and from the centre of which an iron 
cylinder rose obliquel3^ In the upper part of this 
fixed cylinder there was inserted a tolerably short gun, 
having a range said to exceed five hundred yards, and 
movable like the platform. The arrangement was, 
indeed, not unsimilar to that of some large stationary 
telescopes. If, however, from time to time balloons 
fell into the hands of the enemy, it was certainly not 
owing to the destructive powers of Herr Krupp's 
artillery, but rather in consequence of some sudden 
escape of gas, or of the inexperience of the improvised 
aeronauts. 

The capture of the Vaubariy the Galilee, and the 
Daguerre, induced the authorities to despatch all sub- 
sequent balloons at night-time. From the 12th to 
the 21st of November there were no departures, owing 
to the contrary winds ; but at 11.15 p.m. on the last- 
mentioned date the General TJhrich ascended in the 



I50 WAITING FOR SUCCOUR, 

midst of a thick fog from the courtyard of the Gare 
du Nord, and alighted safely at Luzarches (Seine-et- 
Oise) early on the following morning. The Archi- 
mede, which started at 1 a.m. a day or two later, 
eventually descended at Castelze, in Holland, while 
the Vtlle d'Orleans, which left at 11.30 p.m. on the 
24th, was carried across the North Sea to Norway ; 
the aeronauts alighting near the Lidfjild mountain, 
south-west of Konigsberg, having accomplished a 
journey of 840 miles in fifteen and three-quarter hours. 
This perilous trip at least resulted in safety, but the 
Jacquard, which started from Paris on the night of 
November 28, was lost at sea ; being last seen some 
five or six miles south of the Eddystone Lighthouse. 
The following balloon, the Jules Favre — second 
of that name — ^which left at 11 p.m. on the 30th of 
November, narrowly escaped a similar fate. It was 
carried over the coast of Finist^re, and was sailing 
across Belle-Ue-en-Mer towards the Atlantic, when 
one of the two voyagers on board climbed up the ropes 
and managed to open the escape valve, the pulley of 
which was broken. So rapid was the descent that 
both travellers lost consciousness. The balloon 
bounded like a wounded monster, tearing off the roof 
of a house — which, curiously enough, belonged to a 
brother of General Trochu — ^bre^ing down a wall, 
and dasliing madly against an ancient church. For- 
tunately some coastguards had seen the descent and 
came to the assistance of the travellers, whom they 
found insensible and covered with blood. General 
Trochu's mother, an aged lady of eighty-four, was in 
the house, the roof of which was torn off by the 
balloon. She affirmed that she had been praying 
during the night for some sign firom heaven that her 



POSTAL TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS. 151 

son would yet save France^ and she had interpreted 
the noise of the crashing rafters in a favourable sense. 
She should rather have looked upon it as an evil 
omen; for although at that hour the defenders of 
Paris were camping on the conquered portions of 
Bry and Champigny, the fortune of war ultimately 
led to the failure of the first decided attempt made 
by General Trochu to pierce the German lines. It 
is of this first great sortie and its attendant circum- 
stances that we have now -to speak. 



X. 



*' DEATH OR VICTORY!" 



I. TEOCHU'S PLAN. 



Ten weeks had elapsed since Paris was first invested, 
and General Trochu's popularity was waning fast. 
Originally everybody had confidence in his military 
capacity, and his presence at the head of the Pro- 
visional Government seemed a guarantee that the 
defence would be vigorously conducted. During the 
earlier weeks of the siege, although many hot-headed 
citizens clamoured for sorties, the majority of the 
population was, for the moment, content to see that 
steps were being taken to perfect the equipment of 
the troops, to drill and discipline the Mobile and 
National Guards, and to augment both the rampart 
and the field artillery. Then it became known that 
the General had devised a plan — a wonderful, infallible 
plan — and everybody was on the tiptoe of expectation. 
People laughed over the possible contents of the 
General's wiU, which he had deposited, in prevision 
of the siege, at the office of a Paris notary ; but his 
plan, although um-evealed, was fervently believed in. 
On the occasion of each petty sortie the excited 
Parisians wonderingly asked themselves, "Is it for 
to-day ?" " Hope rising in the patriot's breast" was 
doomed, however, to constant diappointment The 
stereotyped sorties invariably resulted in " a retreat in 



TROCHV'S PLAN. 153 

good order/* after some unknown object had been 
attained. Paris grew weary of skirmishes at the 
outpostSy of wasteful cannonading from the forts, of 
General Schmitz's insignificant bulletins, and of 
General Trochu's vague, unrealized promises; and 
when, in November, there came a long period of 
absolute inaction, perplexity and exasperation seized 
hold of the entire city. 

At the outset of affairs General Trochu declared to 
his colleagues in the Government — at least he has 
said so — ^that the defence of Paris, although necessary, 
would be " an heroic folly ;" but in the published 
resume of the Government deliberations, the expression 
is nowhere to be found prior to the 12th of November. 
Indeed, at the beginning of the siege, the General 
counselled resistance; and throughout those eventful 
times he was always in favour of prolonging the 
struggle; his multitudinous utterances, both public 
and private, evincing an apparent faith in the success 
of the French arms. Already, on September 9, when 
it was proposed at the Government Council that 
M. Jules Favre should sally forth and negotiate with 
the advancing Prussians, the General opined "that 
the best diplomacy was a good resistance, which he 
thouffht possibleJ^* On September 13 he declared to his 
colleagues that *' Paris was almost invincible,'' and a 
month later he again deprecated any negotiations 
with the enemy, remarking that the military situation 
had much improved. Two days afterwards, in a 
public letter to M. Etienne Arago, Mayor of Paris, he 
revealed, as follows, the existence of a positive plan to 
save the city : — " I declare that, imbued with a firm 

♦ M. Dr^o'fl « Summary." 



154 ''DEATH OR VICTORY r 

belief in a return of fortune, which will he due to the 
remtance of Paris, I will not give way to the pressure 
of pubUc impatience. Guided by the duties which 
are common to us aU, and by the responsibilities that 
no one shares with me, I will follow out to the end 
the plan I have formed, without revealing it; and 
all I ask of the population of Paris, in exchange 
for my efforts, is a continuation of the confidence with 
which it has honoured me until now." What wa& 
this plan, on the success of which General Trochu so 
firmly counted ? We have since learnt* that he had 
a vague hope that perhaps America would remember 
Lafayette, that England would recollect Inkermann^ 
and that Italy could not remain oblivious of Solferino. 
Paris left to herself could not, however, in his private 
opinion, hold out longer than a couple of months; 
for the fortifications lost much of their value in 
presence of modem artillery, with which the He 
St. Louis could be shelled from Ch&tillon. He 
admits that this position, together with those of 
Meudon, St. Cloud, Yillejuif, Ormesson, and la Butte 
Pinsou, should have been occupied by the besieged ; 
but to accomplish that object 100,000 men, and a 
delay of six months, were needed; whereas, in lieu 
thereof, the defence possessed no regular troops worth 
speaking of, and the time at its disposal was limited 
to thirteen days. Everything else that could be done 
to strengthen the besieged city was done, affirms 
General Trochu ; and despite the disorganization of the 
forces which he had at his disposal when the Germans 
arrived on the 17th of September, he decided, after 



* See General Trochu's speech before the National Assembly, 
June, 1871. 



TROCHirS PLAN. 155 

a consultation with General Ducrot, to make a stand 
in hopes of retarding, if not of preventing, the invest- 
ment of the capital. Unfortunately, the raw French 
levies could not hold their positions against the 
enemy's powerful artillery, the position of Chatillon 
was lost, and the siege of Paris began. 

The Governor s energies, according to his own 
account, were then devoted to forming a serviceable 
army out of the heterogeneous elements at his disposal 
— a task which was certainly fraught with diflBculties. 
The troops which had escaped from the disaster of 
Sedan were utterly demoralized; the Garde Mobile 
was quite unprepared; the Francs-tireurs were so 
many free-lances, whom it was impossible to control 
The sailors, the gendarmes, and the Garde Bepub« 
licaine, whose numbers were extremely limited, were 
the only efl&cient branches of the service. As for the 
National Guards, their military duties had as yet been 
purely nominal. They had to be drilled and disci- 
plined ; and despite all the efforts made in the latter 
direction, it may be safely said that no satisfactory 
result was ever obtained. Moreover, an extensive 
system of miniature Committees of Defence burst into 
being in every quarter of the city ; and these com- 
mittees, with their pretensions to pry into military- 
matters, to discuss, approve^ or condemn at pleasure 
the various stipulations of General Trochu's organic 
decrees, soon proved so many nuisances, calcu- 
lated to hamper the endeavours of the defence. 
It must not be forgotten that during the siege each 
National Guard thought himself a transcendent 
military genius; and in this capacity he considered 
he possessed a perfect right to criticize in detail every 
arrangement that was made. This spirit of criticism 



156 « DEA TH OR VICTOR YT 

was General Trochu's b6te noire, still he could scarcely 
condemn it in public ; for had he not made his own 
reputation by criticism ? Besides, if the rank and file 
had lost all respect for, all faith in, their officers, he 
was, in a measure, personally responsible for this state 
of things ; for his work, "L'Arm^e Fran§aise en 1867," 
of which frequent extracts were published by the 
press, had demonstrated, rightly or wrongly, that 
with a few exceptions every officer in the service was 
either a blockhead or a scoundrel. 

Despite the difficulties attending the task, General 
pProchu persevered in his endeavours to form a well 
equipped and disciplined army. When the troops 
were quite ready, having received the " baptism of 
fire'' in the various petty sorties which so perplexed 
the Parisians, they were to be utilized in carrying out 
** a very simple, bold, and practical plan, suggested by 
General Ducrot, on whom it reflected," we are told, 
"the greatest credit." When an army has to make 
an effort, the principle is to do so where it is not 
expected. That point in the present instance was on 
" the line from Paris to Havre by way of Rouen. The 
enemy's forces did not extend beyond Pontoise, and in 
one day's march his lines might have been passed, and 
the French might have reached first Eouen, and then 
the sea-coasi That was the motive for raising the 
numerous redoubts on the peninsula of Gennevilliers, 
and for the construction of eight bridges of boats. 
For the execution of the plan 60,000 troops were to 
march through Paris with a great show and make an 
attack from the eastern forts, menacing Bondy, while, 
at the same time, 50,000 picked men were to con- 
centrate secretly in the peninsula of Gennevilliers, 
cross the Seine, proceed by way of Cormeil-en-Parisis, 



TROCHU'S PLAN. 157 

cross the Oise, and thus arrive at Eouen. With the 
plan was connected a project for re- victualling Paris by 
the Lower Seine, and for that purpose the Government 
had ordered the formation of a flotilla of small vessels, 
and the storing up of a quantity of provisions to be in 
readiness in the ports/'* 

Such then was the plan, in the success of which 
General Trochu so firmly believed. It was known, he 
has told us, merely to five persons, only one of whom — 
M. Jules Favre — was in the Government. This may 
have been the case at the outset, but it may here be 
mentioned that in the published r^sum(3 of the delibera- 
tions at the H6tel de Ville it is stated that on October 
22, General Trochu communicated his plan to the 
assembled Council.! On the following day he drew up 
a despatch acquainting M. Gambetta with his inten- 
tions ; but the provincial dictator apparently took no 
heed of them. Meanwhile, General Trochu continued 
his preparations, and at the Council of October 27 we 
find him observing that " Paris may now have con- 
fidence in its strength. It is not France which will 
save Paris, but Paris that will save France !" On the 
10th of November — long after Marshal Bazaine's sur- 
render was known — ^the Governor sent a * despatch to 
M. Gambetta apprising him that he should make his 
appearance in the direction previously concerted 
between the 15th and 18th of the month. Every- 
thing was indeed ready for the projected attempt 
when the news of the victory of Coulmiers and the 
capture of Orleans arrived in Paris. " This victory,'' 
remarks General Trochu, { " overthrew all my combina- 

* General Trochu at the National Assembly. 

f M. Dreo's " Summary." 

X ^ Une Page d'Uistoire Contemporaine." Paris, 1871. 



iS8 ''DEATH OR VICTORY V 

tions ; for Paris, elated with the hope of receiving 
succour from outside, beheld in this success, not a 
fortunate accident but a certain presage of coming 
victories/' The press and the population immediately 
demanded a sortie to meet the army coming from the 
Loire, ignoring that all the preparations had been 
made for an attempt by way of Eouen. " A movement 
of impetuosity seized on the public mind and could not 
be resisted." The members of the Government in 
Paris, as well as those at Tours, called on General 
Trochu to abandon his plan ; and he had to comply. 
Later on,, when he wished to return to it, the line was 
decidedly lost, for the Germans occupied Eouen, and 
even menaced Le Havre. 

Such then was the fate of the original plan for 
raising the blockade. Would it have proved successful 
if attempted ? Military opinion • is divided on the 
subject ; but General Vinoy remarks with apparent 
reason that ''an operation in this direction would 
have been a very dangerous one; it was, no doubt, 
one of the quarters which the enemy had most weakly 
invested ; but nothing could have been done unless the 
heights extending from Sannois to the cross-roads 
of Herblay had been carried, and held during all the 
time required for a large army to defile along a single 
road/'* Moreover, at the epoch when the Governor 
of Paris proposed making the attempt, these heights 
were already strongly garrisoned and fortified with 
formidable earthworks. If in mid-November General 
Trochu believed that the Geiman forces still extended 
no further than Pontoise, he made a very great 

* " Gampagne de 1870-71 : Si^e de Paris." Par le G^n^ral 
Vinoy. Paris, 1872. 



TROCHirS PLAN. 159 

mistake. Had he forgotten the thousands of troops 
«et free by the eapitalation of Metz ? In point of fact, 
the enemy was already stationed in force along a 
considerable portion of the valley of the Lower Seine, 
which the Paris army would have had to follow on iis 
way to Eotien. The Prussian outposts were several 
miles in advance of Mantes, those of the French being 
at Jeufosse, a small village below Bonni&res. A 
march of more than two days', not of one day's 
duration, was necessary to get clear of the German 
lines. General Trochu was doubtless ignorant of 
these circumstances ; but they must be mentioned to 
show what resistance his sortie would have encountered 
had it taken place at the time and in the direction 
chosen by himself and Ducrot. At a subsequent epoch, 
when he could easily have learnt the precise condition 
of North-western France during the first fortnight in 
November, 1870, he formally adhered to his original 
belief in the success of the enterprise ; but it is evident 
that it could only have been attempted with advantage 
at a much earlier date than the General proposed. 

As public opinion had pronounced itself in favour 
of a sortie in the direction of the promised army of 
succour, " which," according to M. Gambetta's illusions, 
*' would bivouac on December 6 in the forest of 
Fontainebleau,''* a task of considerable difficulty, occu- 
pying some ten or twelve days towards the close of 
November, had to be accomplished — that of removing 
all the preparations for a sortie from the west to the 
east of Paris ; for it was decided that General Ducrot 
should make a grand efibrt to pierce the enemy's lines 
and join the army of the Loire by way of the river 

* General Trochu at the National Assembly. June, 1871. 



i6o ''DEATH OR VICTORY r 

Maxne. This effort — the most important military 
event of the entire siege — must now he spoken of. 



II. BOASTFUL DUCROT MAKES AN EFFORT. 

On the morning of Monday, 28th of November, 
the Parisians awoke to find columns of troops march- 
ing along the principal thoroughfares, and batteries 
upon batteries of the newly cast heavy artillery moving 
towards the southern and south-eastern sides of the 
city — a sure indication that the great sortie, so often 
and so loudly clamoured for, was at length about 
to take place. Since Saturday night all the city gates 
just within the drawbridges had been closed pursuant 
to notice, and directions issued to permit no one 
unprovided with a special order from head-quarters to 
pass without the walls; the object being to prevent 
the exit of spies who might convey information to the 
Germans concerning the movement of troops inside 
the city. On the Sunday night the forts opened a 
brisk cannonade, and some unimportant skirmishing 
took place with the enemy in advance of the French 
lines; people fancying they saw therein the begin- 
ning of the end. On the Monday morning, however, 
all was silent outside Paris. The roar of the advanced 
artillery was stilled, while regiments tramped and 
fourgons rolled along the broad boulevards and avenues 
pierced under Baron Haussmann's auspices; excited 
crowds, meanwhile, gathering on the footways, and 
speculating as to what was coming. No one knew 
what the troops were about, for the newspapers had 
been forbidden, under pain of suppression, to make 
any mention of military movements or to publish any 
but the ofi&cial bulletins of whatever engagements 



D UCROT MAKES AN EFFORT. 1 6 1 

might take place. In the evening, however, the walls 
of the city were suddenly placarded over with procla- 
mations ; one from General Trochu, calling upon Paris 
to make a supreme effort; another signed by the 
remaining members of the Government, recommending 
the population to remain calm during the approaching 
contest ; and a third emanating from General Ducrot, 
who addressed -the troops under his command in the 
foUowing terms :— 

''Courage and confidence! Remember that in this supreme 
struggle we shall fight for our honour, our liberty, the salvation of 
our dear and unhappy country ; and if this motive does not suffice 
to inflame your hearts, think of your devastated fields, your ruined 
families, your sisters, wives, and mothers, who are desolate ! May 
this thought imbue you with the thirst for vengeance, the uncon- 
trollable rage which animates me ; and inspire you with contempt 
for danger ! For myself, I am resolved. I swear it before you — 
before the entire nation. I will only re-enter Paris Dead or 
Victorious ! You may see me fall, but you shall not see me 
retreat. Then do not falter, but avenge me. Forward then ' 
Forward I And may God protect us !" 

It was midnight, or thereabouts, when the forts 
generally, supported by the advanced redoubts and the 
gunboats on the Seine, again opened fire, and with tlie 
exception of an interval of about a couple of hours to 
allow the guns to cool, the cannonading went on unin- 
terruptedly till daybreak, when the field-pieces com- 
menced to join in, and Paris, kept awake by excitement 
or by the roar of the artillery, was astir eager to learn 
whether success had already attended the French 
arms. 

It had been decided that an army of 150,000 men,* 
provided with 400 pieces of cannon, and placed under 

* According to General Yinoy, this aimy only comprised, in 
point of fact, 100,000 men« 

VOL. II. 11 



1 62 " DEA TH OR VICTOR Y r 

General Ducrot^s command, should cross the Mame 
near Joinville-le-Pont, and oust the enemy from his 
positions on the peninsula of Champigny, whilst a 
division starting from Cr^teil fell upon his flanks; 
feint attacks being in the meantime made on several 
other points of the investing lines. At the Govern- 
ment Council of November 27, decrees were drawn 
up appointing General Le F16 Governor of Paris in the 
event of General Trochu being killed, General Ducrot 
Commander-in-Chief of the armies of Paris and the 
Loire, should a junction be effected, and General 
d'Exda to this same post, if General Ducrot fell. On 
the 28th, while Paris was still in a state of perplexity 
as to the precise direction of the approaching contest. 
Admiral Saisset with his sailors seized the plateau of 
Avron, an important position commanding not merely 
the roads between Chelles, Gagny, and Goumay, where 
the enemy was stationed, but also the Marne in the 
direction where General Ducrot's army was to cross. 
At the same time the feint attacks in the direction of 
Aubervilliers, Gennevilliers, and Buzenval began. 

Ducrot's movements were to commence at daybreak 
on the morrow, but at five o'clock on the evening 
of the 28 th it was discovered that the passage of the 
Marne would have to be deferred owing to a sudden 
rise of the water. No precautions had been taken, 
and the Saxons having broken down the dams, the 
bridges of boats by which the French were to cross the 
stream were destroyed. Forthwith General Trochu 
drew up counter-orders to postpone the feint attacks 
which were in preparation; but that addressed to 
General Vinoy only reached him at 8.35 on the morn- 
ing of the 29th, and since daybreak he had been 
engaged in a useless and costly diversion on Choisy- 



D UCROT MAKES AN EFFORT. 1 63 

le-Eoi and L'Hay, to the south of Paris. His army, 
composed of 75,000 raen, had, after a bloody struggle, 
actually reached the second German line, and stormed 
the important position of L'Hay, leading to the valley 
of the Bifevre, when the news arrived that General 
Ducrot's operations were postponed. The result of 
this delay was most disastrous. Not merely was the 
enemy able to assemble an overwhelming force, which 
decimated General Vinoy's troops as they retreated ; 
but he was necessarily made aware of the French 
projects on the Marne, and time was given him to 
defend himself, and to concentrate reinforcements on 
those points which seemed most threatened. 

Nevertheless, Generals Trochu and Ducrot persevered 
in their enterprise. The bridges across the Marne 
being re-established. Generals Benault and Blanchard 
crossed the river with their divisions early on the 
morning of the 30th. Their objectives were the Bois du 
Plant, and the village of Champigny on the right, and 
the village of Villiers-sur-Marne on the left ; this latter, 
the key of a plateau which extends to that of Chen- 
nevidres. It was through a gap between the two 
plateaux, following the line of the highway and the 
railroad, that the army of Paris advanced against the 
German positions. " A wood on each side of the road 
was quickly occupied and cleared of its obstacles ; the 
lines deployed so as to press round Villiers while facing 
towards Bry and Champigny. Then the battle began. 
Soon the French had their artillery planted on the 
summit of the ridge, with Villiers at their feet; but, 
on the other hand, they were opposed by the formidable 
German works of Coeuilly and Chennevieres, which 
opened upon them. At the same time the German 
infantry began to pour in a terrible fire from the 

li— 2 



i64 ^' DEATH OR VICTORY P' 

shelter of their entrenchments, and this hot recep- 
tion so startled the French that they hesitated and 
stopped their dash forwards. It was necessary for 
them to fling themselves on the ground ; and those 
in the most exposed situations seemed as if ahout to 
retreat." At this moment the Grerman infantry 
charged the troops of General Eenault, and that brave 
officer was mortally wounded by a shell. 

The gallantry and enthusiasm of the French leaders 
succeeded, however, in steadying their men, and the 
arrival of reinforcements also confirmed their resolution. 
Moreover, the artillery directed by Generals Frebault 
and Boissonet swept the ground in front, and soon 
constrained the enemy to remain on the defensive. 
General Ducrot, who had already had one horse killed 
under him, then led his men forward at a bayonet 
charge, and in this gallant sally he lost a second steed ; 
but that portion of the plateau, in advance of Villiers, 
was carried, and the Germans were compelled to draw 
in their lines, and to concentrate above Villiers in a 
kind of entrenched camp. Meanwhile General d'Exea, 
with a third corps d'armfe, had advanced to Neuilly- 
sur-Mame, and General de Bellemare's division, cross- 
ing the Mame at Petit-Bry, and driving the enemy 
back, joined the main body of the army in time to 
co-operate in the final advance upon the plateau of 
Villiers. " It was then three o'clock ; a tremendous fire 
was kept up between the two forces for nearly two 
hours more, and then, light failing, the battle was, as 
if by mutual consent, stopped on each side ; the French, 
having the advantage of spending the night in positions 
which the Germans had held in the morning.'' Still the 
result was not complete. For the success to be decisive 
it was necessary to occupy the village of Villiers 



DUCROT MAKES AN EFFORT. 165 

and the park of CcBuilly. The enemy had remained 
master of both, and the movement of the French, 
troops was consequently arrested. During the same 
day Greneral Susbielle advanced from Crdteil> and 
captured for a time the positions of Mesly and Mont 
Mesly ; a fresh diversion being also made by General 
Vinoy in the direction of Choisy-le-Eoi, while there 
was a series of feint attacks on the North of Paris. 

On the morrow, when General Ducrot should have 
resumed the offensive, he preferred an attitude of 
masterly inactivity. The day was passed in burying 
the dead, succouring the wounded, eating the pro- 
visions which had been brought out of Paris, and 
in giving the enemy time to concentrate fresh forces. 
On the 2nd of December, before daybreak, the French 
allowed themselves to be surprised, their outposts, from 
Champigny to Bry, being simultaneously attacked with, 
great violence. The Mobiles of lUe-et-Vilaine and 
the C6te d'Or gave way, despite the gallantry of their 
officers and the heroism of their commander, who 
was killed under their eyes. General Trochu and 
Ducrot succeeded, however, in rallying the troops, and 
the artillery came to their assistance ; but it was only 
after great bloodshed and prodigies of valour that 
the army succeeded in retaining the positions it had 
conquered on the preceding day. 

On the 3rd, the French commanders thought it pru- 
dent to abandon the plateau, and to recross the Marne, 
the enemy not molesting them in their retreat, which 
was favoured by a heavy fog. That night the soldiers 
camped in the wood of Vincennes, General Ducrot 
informing them, in a proclamation issued the next 
day, December 4, that if, after two glorious battles, 
he had caused them to recross the Marne, it was because 



i66 '^ DEATH OR VICTORY r 

he was convinced that further efforts would be fruitless 
in a direction in which the Oermans had had time to 
concentrate their forces, and to prepare means of action. 
Had he persisted, he would have uselessly sacrificed 
thousands of brave men. " Far from aiding the work 
of deliverance," added the General, " I should have 
seriously compromised it, and at the same time have 
led you to an irreparable disaster/' 

That evening Paris learnt with stupefaction that 
the great sortie was a failure ; and, curiously enough, 
the tidings were rumoured among a crowded audience 
at the Opera House, just as the orchestra was about to 
strike up the triumphal march of Wagner's Tann- 
Iiduser ! 

Some 5000 men of General Ducrot's army were 
hors de combat, including several hundreds of oflBcers ; 
and the losses in the various feint attacks in other 
directions exceeded a thousand men. Generals Benault 
and La Charri^re, and Commandant Franchetti, died 
from the effects of their wounds; the first named 
being interred, in solemn ceremony, in the vault at 
the Invalides ordinarily appropriated to Marshals of 
France. On the other hand, some 800 German 
soldiers had been made prisoners. Their capture was 
the only tangible result of the enterprise. One of the 
reasons given for the retreat was the sudden access of 
cold and the want of warm clothing ; for all the rugs 
and sheepskins of the troops had been left in Paris, 
and when night came on with a bitter frost, their want 
was severely felt. But the French generals were, 
moreover, persuaded — as is indicated by General 
Ducrot s proclamation — that, in this direction, the 
Prussian lines could not be pierced. Each of the 
formidable works erected by the enemy must have 



DUCROT MAKES AN EFFORT. 167 

been besieged before it could be carried ; and even if the 
French had gained their object, they would suddenly 
have found themselves — with all their provisions 
eaten, and a great deal of powder burnt — in a district 
destitute of all resources, surrounded by enemies, 
with the possibility of the circle behind them being 
closed, and without any real hope of joining the Army 
of the Loire. Moreover, the want of precautions 
which caused the passage of the Marne to be deferred, 
and the inactivity of the 1st of December, completely 
destroyed whatever chances of success the French may 
have originally had in their favour. 

General Vinoy is of opinion that, directly the diffi- 
culties of the enterprise became apparent (that is, after 
the battle of Villiers), the troops, with the exception 
of a division or two left under the guns of the forts 
to check or deceive the enemy, should have been 
withdrawn, marched rapidly through Paris, and 
thrown upon the German positions in advance of 
Versailles. The great concentration of the enemy's 
forces to the east of the city must have left these for a 
time very feebly guarded. The French, possessing 
the advantage of short interior lines, would have been 
on the field of action long before any German re- 
inforcements, withdrawn from Villiers, could have 
arrived ; for, to cross the Seine, they must have made 
a great detour by way of Villeneuve-St.-Georges. 
This, in General Vinoy's opinion, would have given 
the army of Paris a decisive start. " A few hours 
would have sufficed to enable the French army to 
leave its positions, to march through Paris, and to 
arrive at Versailles ; and it would have followed the 
most direct and the shortest route. All the chances, 
therefore, seemed to bo in our favour ; and, though 



i68 ''DEATH OR VICTORY r 

the enterprise might have been a bold one, it would 
have been perfectly justified by our actual situation." 
At the same time, it must be mentioned that General 
Vinoy himself was far from sanguine of any decisive 
success attending this venturesome plan. 



III. RUSES OF WAR. 

While the sortie was progressing, the excited Pari- 
sians had assembled in crowds at the gates of the 
fortifications, and on the heights of Pere Lachaise; 
in the first case, anxious to obtain information con- 
cerning the issue of the struggle ; and, in the latter 
instance, eager to catch a glimpse of the distant 
smoke and exploding shells ; but, after perching on 
the pinnacle of hope, one was now hurled into the 
depths of despondency. On December 2, while the 
Army of Paris was struggling to retain its dearly 
purchased advantages, the members of the Govern- 
ment addressed a fulsome letter of congratulation to 
General Trochu, little imagining that the failure of 
the enterprise was so near at hand. That same day, 
moreover, pigeon despatches from M. Gambetta and 
General Bourbaki arrived in Paris. From the first, 
one learnt that the provincial dictator had only 
received on November 30 General Trochu's instruc- 
tions of the 24th, apprising him of the coming sortie, 
for they had journeyed to Norway in the Ville cT OrUam 
balloon ; whilst Bourbaki's message, sent from Amiens, 
announced that he was ready to follow the Governor's 
orders. But all instructions were worthless now ; the 
sortie had failed, and no Army of Paris would be ready 
to join • hands with the troopers of the Loire or the 



RUSES OF WAR. 169 

North, should they advance by forced marches to the 
relief of the invested capital. 

And yet, despondent as the Parisians were, they 
treated with contempt — indeed, as a mere ruse of war 
— a letter received by General Trochu, on the evening 
of December 5, from Count von Moltke, wherein the 
great German strategist, with sardonic politeness, 
acquainted his Excellency the Governor of Paris with 
the fact that the Army of the Loire had been defeated 
near Orleans on the preceding day, and that that town 
was now reoccupied by the German troops. " Should, 
however, your Excellency deem it expedient to be 
convinced of the circumstances through one of your 
own officers, I will not fail," the Count courteously 
added, " to provide him with a safe conduct to come 
and return/' To this epistle General Trochu laconi- 
cally replied that he did not think it expedient to 
verify the circumstance through the means which 
Coimt von Moltke suggested ; while the Government, 
in communicating the correspondence to the Parisians, 
added that, even supposing the news to be accurate, it 
did not deprive Paris of her right to rely on the great 
movement of France rushing to her relief.* The 
population, however, generally considered the news to 
be false. Some excited patriots were, meanwhile, 
revenging themselves for the failure of the great 
demonstration on the Mame by insulting four Prussian 
officers who, having been made prisoners, were allowed 

* This correspondence gave rise to a debate in the Government 
Council, in which MM. Jules Favre and Picard were in favour of 
accepting Count Moltke's suggestion, so as to prepare the way for a 
capitulation ; but this suggestion was opposed by the other mem- 
bers, and notably by Greneral Trochu, who was eager to resist aa 
long as possible (M. Dreo^s '' Summary"). 



I70 ''DEATH OR VICTORY T 

to go about Paris on parole, in plain clothes, and 
with 1000 francs given by the Government in each 
one's pocket. A hostile manifestation was made 
against these unfortunate Teutons while they were 
lunching one morning in a boulevard restaurant, and 
the result was that General Trochu exchanged them 
for four French prisoners of corresponding rank. Just 
as this incident was being forgotten, it was announced 
that there had arrived in Paris two pigeons with 
despatches from the Provinces. Considerable excite- 
ment and anxiety as to the news they brought was 
naturally manifested ; but the authorities speedily 
informed the Parisians that these pigeons had been 
among those conveyed out of Paris in the Baguerre 
balloon, which had fallen into the enemy's hands, and 
that the despatches were undoubtedly apocryphal, as 
their text, which is subjoined, suflBced to show : — 

" Kouen, Dec. 7. 
** Government, Paris. — ^Roucn occupied by Prussians, who are 
inarching on Cherbourg. Kural population receives them with 
cheering. Deliberate. Orleans retaken by these devils. Bourges 
and Tours menaced. Army of the Loire completely defeated. 
Resistance no longer offers any hope of deliverance. 

" A. Lavertujon. ' 

« Tours, Dec. 8. 
" Editor, Figaro^ Paris. — ^What disasters ! Orleans retaken. 
Prussians two leagues from Tours and Bourges. Gambetta gone 
to Bordeaux. Rouen has given itself up. Cherbourg threatened. 
Army of Loire is now nothing but a mass of fugitives and marauders. 
Rural population making conmion cause with Prussians. Every- 
one has had enough. Country devastated. Brigandage flourishing. 
Uorses and cattle failing. Everywhere hunger. No hope. Let 
Paris understand thoroughly that Paris is no longer France. People 
wish denouement." (Signature, illegible, resembling that of 
Count de Pujol, or de Puget.) 

It was well known to everybody that M. Lavertujon, 



RUSES OF WAR. 171 

whose signature was appended to the first despatch, 
was in Paris, holding the position of one of the Secre- 
taries of the Government, so that no doubt existed 
as to the spurious character of the message purporting 
to come from him. Besides, both pigeons being 
recognized by their owners as having left by the 
Baguerre, the Parisians unanimously rejected the 
news thev brouo^ht as constitutinsr a fresh ruse of war 
on the part of the enemy — indeed, as a stratagem to 
fix their minds on the certainty of eventual surrender, 
and so lighten the task which the German Generals 
had assumed. 

Meanwhile, the besieged plainly demonstrated to 
the besiegers that it was possible for both sides to 
send false news. The Saxons were very proud of 
their early supplies of French newspapers, copies of 
which they were in the habit of forwarding to head- 
quarters. One day, however, a Figaro was found on 
the dead body of a Mobile, and when taken to the 
staff, its information was discovered by no means to 
tally with that of other Paris papers obtained in a 
clandestine manner. To the horror of the Saxons, it 
was next ascertained that this copy contained an 
announcement that the Parisians had been kindly 
sending them for weeks past an edition carefully pre- 
pared for their especial benefit. After the failure of the 
attempt to deceive the population of the capital by 
means of forged despatches, confided to intercepted 
pigeons, this case of biters bit must undoubtedly have 
annoyed the astute authorities of the Fatherland. 
Henceforth they abandoned all petty schemes for de- 
ceiving the invested city. The Parisians were too 
sceptical for their purposes ; so they resolved to cir- 
cumvent their prey by more redoubtable means : the 
hour of the bombardment was drawing nigh. 



172 ''DEATH OR VICTORY r 



IV. *TWIXT HOPE AND FEAB. 

During this month of December, Paris was swayed 
by the most conflicting sentiments — sometimes elated 
with hope, and sometimes drooping with despondency; 
now extending its confidence to the Government, and 
a few hours later bitterly denouncing the administra- 
tion ; at one moment looking forward to the speedy 
arrival of some army of succour, and at another 
swearing that it would save itself. One day the 
public mind would be concentrated on the great 
question of the Defence to the exclusion of all 
other topics; whilst on the morrow excessive atten- 
tion would be paid to some minor incident of life, 
having no connection with the great problem of the 
hour. 

It may be asked, what were the little children 
doing all this while? They were at school: for 
^coles communales and lyc^s alike had been opened 
at a very early date by M. Jules Simon, who, more- 
over, increased the number of hours during which the 
reading-rooms of the public libraries should remain 
open; and invited the artistic world to consult the 
valuable library of the Louvre — rich in works on Art 
— which had been closed against the public ever since 
the Coup d'Etat. Still in these eventful hours it is 
scarcely probable that many people profited by these 
reforms, though of course it was necessary to provide 
food for the mind as well as for the stomach. The 
latter was, however, in far greater request, and when, 
on December 11, some of the bakers' shops closed, for 
want of bread, at an early hour in the afternoon, a panic 
at once ensued. Was it the beginning of the end? 



' TWIXT HOPE AND FEAR. 1 7 3 

From the H6tel de Ville there soon came reassuring 
proclamations : " Bread was plentiful and would not 
be rationed." Still in the Government Councils there 
was, in point of fact, considerable anxiety on the 
subject, for M. Magnin, Minister of Commerce, could 
only guarantee a supply until January 10 ; and he also 
thought that horseflesh would fail about the same 
date.* If, as yet, the Government dared not interfere 
with the consumption of bread, it had no scruples 
regarding the distribution of meat, and on December 1 5 
all the horses, asses, and mules in Paris were requi- 
sitioned. 

No one contested the authority of the adminis- 
tration, for the party of the Commune was apparently 
dead or dying. Partisans of the Red Flag still perorated 
at the clubs, but no one paid any attention to their 
utterances. Blanqui's organ, La Patrie en Banger^ 
had suspended publication for want of readers. Major 
Flourens" pretorian guard had been disarmed for arrant 
cowardice in presence of the foe, and the major himself 
was in prison. Battalions of the National Guard had 
been treated in a like manner for a similar reason, or 
else on account of their intemperate habits; for if 
there was little to eat in these hard times, Paris had 

* On December 8, M. Magnin calculated that Paris still con- 
tained some 40,000 horses, of which 26,000 were required for 
military and other indispensable services. Of the remainder, 
7000 were to be placed as food at the disposal of the army, and 
18,000 were to be served as rations to the inhabitants. On 
December 13, the Minister stated he possessed 81,500 quintaux 
m^triques of flour, 200,000 quintaux of wheat, and 16,000 quintaux 
of rye, which would yield together some 166,000 quintaux of flour. 
In addition, he had a stock of 12,000 quintaux of f(^ules, which 
would be utilized. The daily consumption of flour was estimated 
at 6500 quinteux (M. Dreo's " Summary"). 



174 ''DEATH OR VICTORY T 

no lack of wines and spirits at its disposal ; and there 
were many who endeavoured to conquer hunger and 
banish care by tippling at the cabarets. They preferred 
a ''canon" of "petit bleu" or a dram of " tord-boyaux*' 
to scanty rations of repulsive salt meat or mouldy cod 
and haddock. Fresh horse was very irregularly dis- 
tributed ; cat and rat — which the Charivari caricatured 
being tossed together in a frying-pan with the 
humorous inscription, "Enforced rapprochement of 
two belligerents" — were at a premium ; and chocolate, 
rice, and Liebig's Extract were only within the reach 
of the opulent. Ah ! if food had been more plentiful, 
one would have waited even more patiently than one 
did for the arrival of that succour citizen Gambetta so 
constantly promised, but which never came. 

Farther oflF than ever did that succour seem when, 
on December 14, two pigeons arrived in Paris corro- 
borating Count von Moltke's news of the loss of 
Orli^s, announcing that Bouen was about to be 
occupied, that General Bourbaki was in retreat, that 
the Delegation of the Government had fled to Bor- 
deaux, and that all General Chanzy could do was to 
keep the army of Prince Frederick Charles at bay 
between Josnes and Beaugency. Paris, however, still 
animated with patriotic fervour, was again subscribing 
for cannon, and presenting pieces of artillery to the 
authorities at the H6tel de Ville in solemn ceremony, 
the stirring strains of the Marseillaise resounding on 
the Place, while from afar there came the thunder of 
the cannon of the forts. On December 16, the Govern- 
ment debated as to whether France should be repre- 
sented at the Black Sea Conference in London. Citizen 
Gambetta had expressed himself in a favourable sense ; 
but the Powers had declined to listen to any pre- 



'TWIXT HOPE AND FEAR. 1 75 

liminary conditions imposed by France — demanding 
that the integrity of her territory should be respected, 
and that an armistice with the re-provisioning of Paris 
should ensue. News from outside came to hand that 
same day, a courier, named Eichard, with hundreds 
of private despatches, having arrived on foot by way 
of Rouen and the Seine, along which he had to swim 
for an hour before reaching the French outposts at 
Eeuil. On the morrow a fresh despatch from citizen 
Gambetta was at hand, with the unwelcome tidings 
that General Chanzy, pursued by Prince Frederick 
Charles, was retreating towards Marchenoir. 

Well might the Parisians murmur as they munched 
their bread, now made with bran, and getting browner 
and browner ; but they strove to think as little as 
possible of all their contretemps, vainly hoping that 
the city might hold out for another three months. 
December 17 witnessed the departure of two balloons, 
the Parmentier and the Gutenberg; and here one 
may mention that there had been five previous 
ascensions : those of the Volta on the 3rd, the 
Franklin on the 5th, the Denis Fapin on the 7th, and 
the General Renault and the VUle de Paris on the 11th. 
The last named, of all the balloons sent out of Paris 
in December, alone came to grief. It fell at Herborn 
in Nassau ; and, as a matter of course, the inhabitants 
captured both the aerial vessel and the aeronauts. 
This news reached the Parisians after the siege; for 
the moment they ignored the fate of many of the 
balloons. The army, which had lost so many officers in 
the battles on the Mame, was now being reorganized ; 
and the population was looking forward to renewed 
action on the part of General Trochu. 

But people did not merely die on the battle-field. 



176 ''DEATH OR VICTORY V 

During the week that finished on December 17, 2728 
deaths had been registered in the city — equivalent to 
an annual ratio of 72 per thousand; whereas in 
London, at the same moment, there were only 28 
deaths for every thousand inhabitants. Paris, it may 
be mentioned, had a census taken of its population on 
this same 17th of December; the object being, so one 
was told, to ascertain the exact number of souls the 
city contained, with a view of the rations being more 
eflficiently distributed, and of ascertaining how many 
pseudo-patriots had shirked their military duties. 

At this moment citizen Henri Eochefort, of whom 
one had recently heard very little, appeared once again 
on the political scene. The Lanterne was republished 
with all its biting attacks on the fallen regime ; these 
being preceded by a preface, in which the celebrated 
pamphleteer informed the world that if he had 
descended from power it was because the unworthy 
magistrates of the Second Empire had been left in 
tranquil possession of their seats on the bench, and in 
the enjoyment of their lucrative salaries. No other 
incident of interest arrested public attention till 
December 20, when along-winded communication from 
the Government, after denying that it had ever with- 
held from the Parisians any news that reached it from 
outside, reiterated its determination to fight and 
conquer — a sentiment which did not seem altogether 
simulated; for on this very morning troops and 
National Guards were marching, cannon was rolling, 
and ambulance and transport waggons were lumbering 
through the streets of the capital. Another sortie 
was about to take place. 

Early on the 21st, the Parisians, anxious as usual to 
catch a glimpse of the operations in progress, scaled 



'TIVIXT HOPE AND FEAR. 177 

the heights of Montmartre, Bagnolet, and the Buttes 
Chaumont, where they remained for hours exposed to 
the wind, the cold, and the fog, straining their eyes 
towards the north-east front, from Le Bourget to 
Avron, where the battle was going on. The object 
of this sortie was to extend the line of investment 
towards the north-east, to seize certain positions com- 
manding the roads which the enemy utilized for his 
convoys, and thus intercept his communications ; and 
also to permit of strong intrenchments being made 
in advance of the plateau d'Avron, so that the posi- 
tions of Villiers and Coeuilly — too formidable to be 
approached from the front — might, if possible, be 
turned. 

General Ducrot accordingly marched against Le 
Bourget and Stains with three corps d'arm^e, but 
after some obstinate fighting he was forced to with- 
draw his troops to Drancy and the farm of Groslay ; 
the naval division, which behaved with great bravery, 
having suflTered most severely. General Vinoy, who 
operated on the extreme right, was more fortunate 
than his brother commander; he took possession of 
the important triangle formed by Neuilly-sur-Marne, 
Ville Evrard, and the Maison Blanche, thus com- 
manding the course of the river and the high-road 
along which the Germans passed their artillery and 
* transports. A diversion made on the west of Paris in 
the direction of Bougival, below the woods of La Celle- 
St. Cloud and Mont Val^rien, completed the French 
system of attack. That night the troops camped in 
the open air as best they could, and the cold was so 
intense that no fewer than 900 men were frost-bitten. 
On the morrow, and xmtil the 24th, efforts were made 
to fortify the captured positions, by means of barri- 

VOL. II. 12 



1 78 ''DEATH OR VICTORY r 

cades, trenches, and earthworks, but the ground was as 
hard as rock, and the project being reluctantly aban. 
doned, the troops were marched back into Paris. 

They were utterly demoralized by the difficulties 
which had crossed their path. Twenty thousand men, 
says General Trochu, were suffering from anaemia, and 
several battalions of the Garde Mobile were — accord- 
ing to General Clement Thomas — with difficulty 
prevented from shouting, " Long live peace," as they 
re-entered the capital. Not merely, moreover, had 
the elements prevented most of the conquered advan- 
tages being retained, but the Generals in command 
had discovered that an attempt to pierce the enemy's 
lines in a north-eastern direction would be opposed, 
as on the Marne, by numberless batteries and formi- 
dable works. 

Despite the utter failure of this second great sortie, 
the Parisians were not altogether cast down, although 
their sufferings were growing acuter every day. The 
weather had become bitterly cold, and firing was scarcely 
to be procured. Hundreds of trees had been cut down 
in the woods of Vincennes and Boulogne, and others 
had been rooted up from the public promenades, so as 
to provide fuel for shivering families. If anything, 
the poorer classes suffered more from the cold than 
from the scarcity of food. Queues were now formed 
in front of the charbonnier's shops and the wood 
depots, and at the gas factories ^ where coke was 
rationed out. All the gas for ordinary purposes had 
been exhausted, and there scarcely remained sufficient 
for the balloons ; so that people groped about at night- 
time with lanterns in their hands, or with little lamps 
suspended from their button-holes. In a few of the 
principal throughfares an occasional street lamp would 



' TWIXT HOPE AND FEAR. 1 7 9 

be found, illuminated with petroleum ; and petroleum 
also propelled the locomotives of the Chemin de Fer 
de Ceinture ; for the Government had requisitioned all 
the coals that remained in the city with the view of 
supplying th^ cannon foundries. No wonder that 
the shivering poor pulled do^vn the hoardings, fences, 
and palings in the vicinity of the Champs Elysees, 
that half-frozen mortals carried off the benches from 
the public promenades, that in other parts of the city 
trees were cut down, scaffoldings carried away, tele- 
graph posts removed, and wood merchants' stores 
pillaged by an excited mob, and that the furniture 
dealers, finding their ordinary trade so bad, hacked 
their chairs and tables to pieces, and sold them as 
firewood. Mr. (now Sir Richard) Wallace generously 
gave 8000/. for the purchase of fuel for the poor ; but 
large as was the gift, it was still but a drop in the ocean 
compared with the wants of the hour. The fuel panic 
was almost followed by a second bread panic ; for the 
staff of life was not merely growing harder and 
browner than ever, but also scarcer and scarcer. M. 
Magnin was however able, after careful calculations, 
to inform the Grovernment confidentially, that Paris 
would be provided with bread of some kind or another 
until the 27th of January. With such great distress 
prevailing — when Madame Hamelin, the widow of a 
former French Ambassador to Constantinople, was 
found dead in her bed at Belleville, the victim of cold 
and starvation, when a thousand of our own compatriots 
were dependent on the British Charitable Fund for 
relief — ^how could Christmastide be merry? What 
apparent chance was there of the New Year, now near 
at hand, proving a happy one ? 

Boxing Day was the hundredth day of the siege, 

12—2 



1 8o " DEA TH OR VICTOR Yl'" 

and on the following afternoon Paris (which had 
nieanwhUe learnt that the Prince of Romanciers, 
poor Dumas the Elder, was dead, his heart broken, 
by the misfortunes of his country) was informed 
that the enemy had unmasked powerful siege bat- 
teries at Eaincy, Gagny, Noisy-le-Qrand, Chelles, 
and Goumay, and was pounding away against the 
forts of Eosny, Noisy, and Nogent, and covering 
the plateau d'Avron with shells. General Trochu 
hurried off to this last position which, although a 
month had elapsed since it was seized by Admiral 
Saisset, with the view of supporting General Ducrot's 
passage across the Marne, was still quite unfortified. 
Not a trench had been opened to shelter the men ; 
not an earthwork had been thrown up to protect the 
seventy-four cannon, stationed on the ridge ; although 
this all might easily have been accomplished before 
the frosis set in. It is true that a few huts had been 
erected as sleeping accommodation for the soldiers, but 
these were worthless for purposes of defence. In 
presence of the enemy's formidable fire from eight con- 
verging batteries, the plateau was abandoned after 102 
men were hors de combat, and a couple of cannon 
shattered. Paris was stupefied when it learnt the loss 
of this important position, and excited citizens forth- 
with demanded that General Trochu — whose many 
failures had, it was said, already provoked dissension 
in the Government Councils — should be replaced by 
a more competent commander. The psychological 
moment had now arrived. 



XI. 



THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 



I. "no surrender!" 

In ordering the plateau d'Avron to be evacuated. 
General Trochu crowned the edifice of his own un- 
popularity. Not merely had he to face the murmurs 
of the disconsolate Parisians, but he had even tired 
out the patience of his colleagues at the Hotel de 
Ville. Indeed, directly it became known that the 
sortie of December 21 had failed, MM. Picard, 
Garnier-Pag^s, and Jules Simon demanded that the 
Governor should be placed under control ; the first 
named insisting that General Le Flo, Minister of 
War, was in reality General Trochu's superior, and 
ought to act as such. At the Council held on De- 
cember 25, MM. Favre and Picard dwelt on the 
necessity for replacing General Trochu as Commander- 
in-Chief, though it was proposed that he should retain 
the Presidency of the Government. On the morroxr 
the Governor of Paris explained that if all the efforts 
of the last three months had failed, it was because the 
army was not equal to the task imposed upon it. 
Excepting the Garde de Paris and the Gendarmes 
all the troops were more or less demoralized. The 
Garde Mobile needed reorganizing. All its good 
officers had been killed ; and, indeed, the army gene- 



1 82 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT 

rally required rest and warm clothing. He (Greneral 
Trocliu) was, however, ready to resign if his resigna- 
tion would prolong the resistance, and he accordingly 
asked his colleagues to confer on the subject with the 
different generals of the Army of Paris. "When the 
Minister of War urged that with an army of three 
hundred thousand men and three hundred pieces of 
field artillery one could not capitulate with honour, 
unless a grand effort were made, General Trochu ex- 
pressed a fear that fresh efforts were useless. He 
again repeated that the army was discouraged, adding 
that it accused him of beguiling the population with 
" military performances." He reiterated his request 
that the other generals should be convened to select 
his successor; but the Council, although several of 
its members had previously expressed their dissatis- 
faction at General Trochu's line of action, declined to 
" seize the bull by the horns" when brought face to 
face with a project of resignation. It was, indeed, 
unanimously decided that the chief command should 
not be withdrawn from General Trochu, and that he 
could not resign unless authorized to do so by his 
colleagues ; but at the same time it was agreed to ask 
the other general oflBcers in Paris to express an opinion 
on the situation. A few days later, M. Jules Favre 
presided at a gathering of the district Mayors of Paris, 
at which General Trochu was severely attacked ; and 
at the Council of the 30th, the Governor, in referring 
to the municipal criticisms, mentioned that he could not 
make a sortie with the National Guard alone ; that the 
army was now reduced to seventy thousand men ; that 
there were twelve hundred frost-bitten soldiers in the 
hospitals, and that many others were suffering so 
severely in the feet that they could scarcely march. 



" NO SURRENDER r 1 83 

On the morrow a grand Council of War assembled, 
comprising the members of the Government, Admirals 
Pothuau and La Ronci^re, and Generals Ducrot, 
Vinoy, Schmitz, Tripier, Frebault, De Chabaud- 
Latour, Guiot, Noel, De Bellemare, and Clement 
Thomas. After some preliminary remarks from 
M. Jules Favre, who expatiated on the desire for a 
prolonged resistance, which was paramount among 
the Parisians, General Ducrot declared that he had 
never believed in any succour from outside ; that he 
did not think any army of Paris or of the Loire could 
pierce the enemy's lines, that a grand sortie of two 
hundred thousand men, as had been suggested, would 
be an act of folly, but that one might try and save a 
portion of the army by forming three columns of 
picked troops and making a simultaneous attack in 
three directions. One column out of the three might 
perhaps succeed in forcing its way into the Provinces. 
General Vinoy thought that an attempt with two 
columns advancing in contrary directions ought to 
have been made, but in presence of the demoralized 
condition of the troops, he feared it was now too late. 
A discussion arising between him and General Ducrot 
concerning the battles on the Marne, General Trochu 
intervened, and recapitulated the history of the first 
great sortie, mentioning that the troops had been 
obliged to retreat after the sanguinary engagement of 
December 2, "/or want of sufficient ammunition y 

Generals Noel and Tripier did not think it possible 
to pierce the enemy's lines, and Admirals La Ronciere 
and Pothuau, and General de Bellemare were of the 
same opinion, the latter insisting on the demoralized 
condition of the troops. He stated that the Gardes 
Mobiles, from their commanding officers downwards, 



i84 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

shouted unanimously for " Peace !" General Schmitz, 
chief of the Staff, followed on the same side, and re- 
marked that, even supposing the army did cut its 
way through the investing circle, it would find itself 
without provisions in a pillaged district; still he 
thought that honour demanded a final effort. General 
Fr^bault of the artillery declared that he was ready 
to march whenever called upon ; but he entertained 
no hope of success. His colleague. General Guiot, 
was in favour of a formidable demonstration, to avoid 
the dishonour of capitulating without making a 
supreme attempt. General Clement Thomas, Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the National Guard, reproached 
General Trochu for not having more extensively 
utilized the citizen soldiery, to whom the execution of 
a *' forlorn hope" attack should be confided. The 
Governor of Paris rejoined that he would follow this 
latter suggestion when the final crisis was at hand. 
" I said,'* added General Trochu, " that I would not 
capitulate, no more will I. At the last hour I will 
propose to you a final enterprise, which may become a 
disaster, but which may also have unexpected res^i 
However, we have not yet reached the proper moment 
for the discussion of this last attempt." After these 
remarks, M. Jules Favre closed the debate, observing 
that no one had proposed a capitulation, but that every 
one was in favour of an active defence. As for a 
defence a outrance,a nation could alone undertake it.* 

While these events were proceeding the enemy's 
batteries continued to throw thousands of shells 
against the forts of Rosny, Noisy, and Nogent, but 
they did comparatively little damage, though the fire 

• " Enquete sur le 4 Septembre." (M. Dr^o'a " Summary.") 



''NO SURRENDER r 185 

of Fort Nogent was eventually silenced for a day 
or two. The Governor of Paris had issued a pro- 
clamation alluding to this bombardment of the 
advanced positions, announcing that another sortie 
was in preparation, and denying that dissensions had 
arisen in the counsels of the GoverAment! It was 
rumoured at this moment that he intended to convert 
Mont Val^rien into a vast citadel, to which he might 
repair with the bulk of his effective forces whenever 
the extremities of the situation rendered his position 
within the walls untenable ; but, in point of fact, the 
General had no such absurd project in his mind. The 
demands for immediate action had led him to plan 
another grand sortie by the heights of Chatillon and 
Meudon, and, these carried, to proceed by way of 
Satory, and turn the position of Versailles.* 

The year of bloodshed and disaster was passing 
away, and many among the Parisians speculated as to 
whether the coming twelvemonth would bring peace 
and rest, or fresh woes and greater misery in its train. 
Although the thunder of the Prussian artillery re- 
sounded through the city the inhabitants scarcely 
imagined that the shelling of the forts would be so 
swiftly followed by the bombardment of their homes 
and monuments. Regarding famine, however, every- 
body knew that it must be approaching with rapid 
strides. All things susceptible of being eaten were 
turned to account, and on the morning of December 20, 
Castor and Pollux, the two young elephants of the 
Jardin d'Acclimatation, on whose backs in happier 
times Parisian children so delighted to ride, were shot 
by order of M. Geoffroy St. Hilaire. As it was feared 

* General Trochii at the National Assembly, June, 1871. 



i86 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

they might show fight if missed at the first shot^ 
they were carefully secured with ropes before the 
marksmen ventured to take aim. Castor was the first 
to fall, struck by an explosive bullet which broke a 
rib and, bursting internally, produced an intestinal 
haemorrhage. Pollux received two shots, the first of 
which struck his right temple, the second sinking into 
his forehead and causing instantaneous death. Both 
animals were purchased by M. Deboos, of the Bou- 
cherie Anglaise in the Avenue de Friedland, for 
1080/. ; and on the Jour de I'An some of the gour- 
mets of Paris were able to appreciate a dish of " filet 
d'el^phant au vin de Mad^re." The last day and 
the last balloon of the year went oflP together. There 
had been eight balloon ascensions since the 17th 
of the month, and in the case of the General Chanzf/y 
which started on the 20th, the aerial journey ter- 
minated most unfortunately, for the aeronauts^ 
having effected a descent in the immediate vicinity 
of Munich, were of course an'ested, and had all their 
despatches seized. 

One hundred and five days of siege privations and 
anxieties had had a serious effect on the health of the 
Parisians. Certain sanitary arrangements in vogue in 
times of peace had necessarily undergone considerable 
modifications. A Commission had been appointed to 
watch over the public health, and to see to the disin- 
fection of all refuse matter which could no longer be 
removed to a safe distance from the capital. Inspectors 
yisited every house, calling on landlords' and tenants 
to adopt such measures as were thought necessary 
to prevent the spread of disease ; and yet, despite all 
the precautions taken, month by month and week by 
week the King of Terrors extended his ravages. At 



« NO SURRENDER /" 187 

many of the ambulances, and particularly at that of 
the Grand Hotel, which was very badly ventilated, the 
wounded " died off like rotten sheep;" but of the loss 
of life which thus occurred Paris could only form 
conjectures, for in the published returns merely the 
civilian population was dealt with. Thus one learnt 
that during November there had been 'no fewer than 
7444 deaths among the non-combatant inhabitants, 
whereas in the corresponding month of 1869 the total 
return was only 3863. Again, in December of the siege 
10,665 deaths — equally irrespective of the military 
element — were^registered against 4214 in the previous 
year. The last week in 1870 alone furnished an 
officially declared mortality of 3280 souls which, with 
the deaths in the ambulances, would have probably 
given a total of 4000. Now while in London at the 
same period there were but 1760 deaths, equivalent to 
an annual average of 29 per thousand, the Paris death- 
rate represented no less a proportion than 85 per 
thousand. The destructiveness of small-pox and the 
great prevalence of fever, diarrhoea, and dysentery were 
the special characteristics of the Paris return. Coupled 
with the fact that in twenty- two days of December the 
temperature was below freezing-point, one also noted 
the excessive mortality from bronchitis and pneumonia; 
and no doubt a considerable proportion of some 1897 
undistinguished causes of death was due mediately or 
immediately to the action of cold and privation. 

During the night of New Tear's Eve the German 
bombardment of the Eastern forts and batteries in- 
creased in violence, and the Old Year had but another 
hour to run when the enemy made an attack on 
Bondy, but was driven back after some severe fighting. 
As the morning broke the thunder of the German 



i88 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

batteries became louder and louder, the shots succeed- 
ing each other without intermission, and it was amid 
the roar of artillery and with a leaden sky overhead 
that the grim, dark, chilly Jour de TAn dawned upon 
Paris. The stir, the animation, the boisterous gaiety, 
inseparable in ordinary times from this great Parisian 
f&te day, were nowhere to be met with. You walked 
along the boulevard looking in vain for the usual 
crowd of well-dressed idlers and laughing children. 
Poor children ! This was, perhaps, the very first day 
that they really understood that a barbarous foe had 
shut one out from the rest of the world. The few wooden 
shanties erected on the boulevard were but scantily 
garnished, and when the little ones oast covetous eyes 
towards the meagre joujous displayed therein, they 
had in more than one instance to be told that, as 
papa's oflSce had been shut up for three months and 
the Prussians had turned his factory in the environs 
into a fort, there was no money to buy the toys they 
had been so fondly expecting. In the " grown-up " 
world very few ^trennes were given ; but in those 
instances where a gift was indispensable, bonbons, 
books, and jewellery were replaced by boxes of sardines, 
potted rabbits, and tiny bags of potatoes. All pro- 
visions, excepting bread and the restricted rations of 
horseflesh, had now reached famine prices. Brussels 
sprouts were 5*. a pound, potatoes 5fl?. each, and 
dried beans 2^. %d. the quart. A horse sausage cost 
4^., and a pound of preserved filet de cheval was worth 
half as much again; while a friture composed of 
fifteen goujons, the size of sprats, was sold for 6^., and 
the ordinary shilling box of sardines had sextupled 
in price. 
During the earlier days of the New Tear, while the 



" NO S URRENDER /" 189 

enemy's cannon thundered against the forts, several 
petty reconnoissances were made on either side ; and 
at this moment General Trochu's plan for a new sortie 
by way of Ch&tillon and Meudon was submitted to 
twenty-seven general oflBcers, and disapproved of by 
no fewer than twenty-six, who, in the event of failure, 
feared there might be a massacre of 100,000 men in the 
hollow about the Point du Jour. On the other hand, 
they were unanimous in recommending a sortie in the 
direction of Buzenval and of Montretout.* While 
preparations were being actively pushed forward for an 
attempt in the approved direction, the Germans conde- 
scended to announce that they would resume inter- 
course with the besieged by means of flags of truce; this 
practice having been suspended since December 27, 
owing to some French sharpshooters having fired on 
the German parlementaires who brought Mr. Wash- 
burne's correspondence to the outposts at Sevres ; for 
the American minister had recently been privileged 
to receive letters and papers from outside, and, thanks 
to this arrangement, hundreds of people obtained news 
from their families and friends — ^the system being to 
advertise in the Times newspaper, which Mr. Wash- 
burne regularly received. The non-arrival of his 
courier was therefore an unpleasant circumstance for 
many of the besieged. Despite Count von Bismarck's 
apparent willingness to resume the ordinary inter- 
course of warfare this result was not immediately 
achieved ; for the Germans in their turn now took to 
firing at French flags of truce, and all parleys were 
again suspended. 

— *- . . — — - - 

* General Trochu's speech before the Cour d* Assises de la Seine, 
March, 1872 (action for libel, Trochu v. de Villemessanc and VitU| 
of the Figaro newspaper). 



jpo THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

In the Grovernment Councils the question of a Con- 
stituent Assembly was being agitated anew, and 
measures were also being concerted to eke oat the 
remaining provisions during as long as possible. On 
January 5 a decree was issued forbidding the 
removal from Paris — from that date and during a 
delay of three months after the raising of the siege — 
of all cereals now in the possession of private people. 
The object of this decree — the penalty for infringing 
which was a fine of from 20/. to 40/., and the confis- 
cation of the grain in question — was to defeat the 
purposes of those who, despite the requisition of all 
cereals decreed on September 29, still kept back 
hidden stocks for purposes of semination — concerning 
which the Government declared it had taken the 
necessary precautions — and to induce them to give up 
their secreted stores of wheat, rye, or barley, at a fair 
price, to be converted into flour. On the day that 
this decree appeared, the mayors of Paris, alarmed at 
the bombardment of the forts, the increasing scarcity 
of provisions, and the continued inaction of General 
Trochu, sought an interview with M. Jules Favre, 
to whom they communicated their fears and their 
grievances. Conducted into the presence of the 
Governor of Paris, they heard him detail at length 
the various measures and operations concerted for the 
defence and release of the city, and they were appa- 
rently satisfied with his explanations, although, at the 
same time, he destroyed whatever hopes they may have 
retained of future deliverance.* 

That same afternoon several shells had fallen — 

* Evidence given in the action for libel, General Trochu v. 
De Villemessant and Vitu of the Figaro newspaper, Cour d' Assises 
de la Seine, March, 1872. 



''NO S URRENDER /" 191 

inadvertently or intentionally no one knew — ^inside 
the fortifications at Montrouge and in the Quartier 
Latin. While some of the Parisians aflBrmed that 
these projectiles came from the German batteries, 
others naively opined that they were thrown from one of 
the detached forts tchose gunners had 2^^obahly made a 
mistake in taking aim! Any doubt on the subject 
oeased, however, in the evening, when a proclamation, 
signed by all the members of the Government and 
placarded throughout the city, announced that the 
bombardment had commenced. But, instead of in- 
timidating the capital, the enemy's shells would rather 
strengthen it, so one was told, in its resolution to 
fight and conquer. "Paris," said this glowing effu- 
sion, "will show itself worthy of the Army of the 
Loire, which has forced the enemy to retreat, and of 
the Army of the North, which is marching to our 
succour !" At a later hour, while the Parisians were 
discussing this fresh specimen of Hotel de Ville litera- 
ture, a second proclamation was issued, signed by 
General Trochu alone. However, we have since learnt 
that, despite its brevity, it was composed, conjointly, 
by the Governor, Commandant Bibesco, his aide-de- 
camp, and M. Cresson, Prefect of Police. Subjoined is 
the text of this document, which, of all the siege mani- 
festoes, was one which caused the greatest sensation, 
its concluding phrase momentarily securing forGeneral 
Trochu a semblance of his former popularity : — 

** Td the Citizens of Paris. 
'' At a time when the enemy is redoubling his efforts at intimida- 
tion, an endeavour is made to lead the citizens of Paris astray by 
deceit and calumny. Our sufferings and our sacrifices are being 
turned to advantage against the Defence. Nothing will make us 
lay down our arms. Courage, Confidence, Patriotism. The Go- 
VEBKOB OF Paris will not Capitulate !" 



1 92 THE PSYCHOL OGICAL MOMENT. 



II. PARIS BOMBARDED. 

General Trochu had apparently nailed his colours 
to the mast, and meant to sink with the sinking ship. 
The promise that he would not capitulate revived for 
a while the fast fading hopes of the middle classes ; 
and even the all but extinguished confidence of the 
proletariat flickered an instant, as if unwilling to for- 
sake for ever the man who but a few months previously 
had enjoyed unbounded popularity. Various circum- 
stances testified to the existence of this momentary 
return of favour, and although a self-constituted 
Communist committee, profiting by the thunder of the 
bombardment, launched a formal indictment of the 
Government of National Defence — significantly printed 
on red paper, and placarded all over the capital — 
the lower classes could not be persuaded to repeat the 
adventure of October 31, by again marching on the 
H6tel de Ville. A few hundred citizens assembled on 
the Place du Chateau d'Eau and tried to provoke 
a manifestation; but, meeting with no encourage- 
ment from the general public, they had to abandon 
their designs. The authorities announced their 
intention of bringing the authors of the *''Affiche 
Eouge" to book, but the majority of the population 
paid little heed to these incidents, being preoccupied 
with the unusual spectacle of the " holy city" under 
shells. Citizen Edgar Quinet rushed to the rescue 
with an oracular manifesto, in which he declared that 
the bombardment of Paris was a " grand moral victory 
for France;" and Edmond About and other notable 
journalists indulged in a certain amount of high- 
flown writing, with the view of imbuing their com- 
patriots with fortitude. The fresh trial embodied. 



. PARIS BOMBARDED. 1 93 

however, its own stimulant, and the Parisians, well- 
nigh worn out with tadium vita, brightened up and 
put on a bolder front than ever, when the German 
shells first made their appearance inside the city. 

It was on the afternoon of January 5 that the first 
of the enemy's projectiles fell in the Eue Lalande in 
the Quartier du Maine, a turner who was at work in 
his shop being wounded by one of the exploding 
fragments. The clock tower of the Mairie of the 14th 
arrondissement was the enemy's original objective, and 
soon the shells began to fall in considerable numbers 
round about the municipal edifice. As the night drew 
in the cannonade became more intense, and the range 
of the hostile artillery seemed gradually to expand — 
one shell bursting in the Bue Gay-Lussac on a line 
with the Pantheon, and others exploding in the Normal 
School in the Eue d'Ulm. Tombs were shattered in 
the Montpamasse cemetery, and trees were torn up by 
fresh bolts that came flying through the garden 
of the Luxembourg. Westward, the neighbourhood 
of the Point du Jour was assailed, but here 
the defenders of the ramparts defiantly hoisted the 
tricolour, and resolutely remained at their post as the 
iron missiles^ darting past them through the air, 
feU, all hissing and sputtering, into the cold Seine — 
now raising clouds of spray, and now smashing the ice- 
blocks obstructiAg the stream. During this first night 
of the bombardment twenty-six houses were seriously 
damaged ; five persons were killed and five wounded. 

On the morrow the shells came plunging in 
anew; falling mostly in the Quartier Latin round 
about the Observatory, the result being that four 
persons were killed and six wounded. While the 
Parisians hailed the exploding projectiles with shouts 

VOL. II. 13 



194 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT, 

of "Vive la France!/' "Vive Paris!'' while the 
gamins laughed and clapped their hands with glee, 
delighted with what they considered a new form of 
amusement, wild rumours were in circulation — General 
Faidherbe was at Creil with 90,000 men; Von der 
Tann was dead, and Prince Frederick Charles mortally 
wounded; his army, moreover, being destroyed. 
Advantages such as these might well compensate for 
the trials of a passing bombardment which did not 
seem likely to inflict much damage. Having cor- 
rectly ascertained the range of their artillery, the 
Germans began by opening fire at ten o'clock 
at night, and as a rule continued shelling the be- 
leaguered city until daybreak. They fancied, one was 
told, that a thundering cannonade by moonlight, with 
a constant succession of exploding shells bearing de- 
struction right and left at an hour when honest folks 
are abed, would suffice to fill the Parisians with 
terror, and lead to a speedy capitulation. If they did 
cultivate this pleasing idea they were soon undeceived. 
The crashing and smashing of the German projectiles 
at dead of night failed to intimidate the Parisians to the 
required degree ; and so there followed an almost inces- 
sant bombardment both by daylight and after dark. 

As the sun rose beyond Bondy, slowly dispersing 
the cold grey morning mist ; when it beamed forth 
at mid-day, illuminating the gilded dome of the 
Invalides and the equally gilded PhoGbus of the new 
Opera House ; as it sank to rest, tinging the sky with 
faint crimson streaks behind the heights of Meudon ; 
when night had fallen, and the stars twinkled and 
the moon shone above the ice-bound Seine, still and 
ever Herr Krupp's messengers of death sped on their 
course from the German batteries commanding the 



PARIS BOMBARDED. 195 

southern side of the capital. On they came, with a 
whizz and whirr, frequently at the rate of a hundred 
an hour, at times failing to explode, but more fre- 
quently bursting with a loud report. Now falling in 
the streets, they scattered the promenaders and — 
miracle of miracles ! — caused even the fagged ill-fed 
horses to bolt. Down on their stomachs went men 
and women, no matter how stylishly attired, or how 
dirty the ground might be; while venturesome 
gamins crouched close to the exploding projectiles, 
with handkerchiefs or cloths, ready to enwrap such 
fragments as could be secured, for sale as " Souvenirs 
du Si6ge." Then there were others of these iron 
missiles which plunged with a crash through the 
house-roofs, now bursting in bedrooms, whose tired 
inmates would have preferred a softer lullaby than 
Moltke's music, and now exploding in salles-a-manger 
while families were partaking of some meagre meal. 
The doughty drinkers in the cabarets complacently 
breathing words of defiance, received moreover, at times, 
a very practical answer to their menaces in the shape 
of some Prussian projectile darting into their midst. 

Throughout the arrondissements on the left bank 
of the Seine — likened not inappropriately to some 
huge rabbit warren, which, after the sportsman's 
first shot, shows no signs of life, and where, from the 
deserted state of the streets, one could almost fancy 
oneself in a plague-stricken city — broken cornices, 
shattered balconies, demolished chimney-stacks, and 
shivered window-panes were plentiful enough. As a 
special correspondent wrote — " The few foot pas- 
sengers who ventured on this dangerous ground 
walked with a quicker step, sidling along the walls 
with their heads bent forward, as if anxious to avoid 

13—2 



196 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

being stopped on any pretext, and to reach a neigh 
bourhood where they could breathe freely." Now 
and again the roofs and walls of the houses were 
pierced with gaping holes — mementoes of the forcible 
ingress of some flying bolt, which, entu-e or in frag- 
ments, enfiladed half a dozen successive partitions^ 
and thus journeyed at will through all the apartments 
of the flat it favoured with its visit. At times, also^ 
some splinter would dart aloft and bring down the 
ceiling in its flight ; at others, it would dive below 
and precipitate the flooring into space. In many 
instances, however, the erratic projectiles astonished 
one far more by their freaks of clemency than by the 
ravages they caused. An infant sleeping in its cradle 
would be left unharmed in a chamber otherwise de- 
vastated by an exploding shell — where, in fact, not 
an article of furniture, save baby's berceaunette, 
remained entire. In another room the rebounding 
fragments would smash into a thousand microscopic 
pieces a number of nicknacks stored in cupboards, or 
hidden away in dim corners, and leave untouched, 
unscarred, in fact immaculate, a vase, a lamp, or a 
casket standing in full view of a window, shattered 
by the unsolicited visitor. 

As thebombardment now promised to be serious, scores 
of families — not merely those domiciled in the cannon- 
aded quarters, but even the more timorous of those living 
in districts utterly beyond the range of the enemy's 
artillery — sought shelter in their cellars, whither they 
conveyed their mattresses, pillows, cooking utensils^ 
and such scanty provisions as they could collect. Hud- 
dled together in these subterranean abodes, destitute 
of air, and dimly lighted with petroleum lamps, life 
became well-nigh insupportable. To avoid such an 



PARIS BOMBARDED. 197 

unpleasant existence with the possible contingency of 
being buried alive beneath the ruins of some shattered 
house, many people residing in those parts of the 
town where the shells fell thickest abandoned their 
homes altogether, and found a refuge across the 
Seine^ in a less threatened neighbourhood. 

The German missiles in their promiscuous course 
disregarded all international treaties, all social under- 
standings. The flag of the Geneva Convention might 
wave above hospitab and ambulances, but the iron 
bolts never heeded its presence. The hospitals Neckar, 
La Piti^, and the Val-de-Gr4ce were shelled. The 
bombs burst in the hospital for sick children and in the 
asylum for the youthful blind — ^five of whose innocent 
occupants were killed. No respect was shown either 
for the Gobelins or for the Jardin des Flantes. The 
Serres du Museum, those matchless conservatories and 
hot-houses replete with precious ^^ra, were destroyed. 
While one projectile carried havoc and dismay into the 
Salp^tri^re, among the insane and infirm old women, 
its inmates, another struck the Convent du Sacr^ 
Cceur, where the youthful daughters of the noble 
faubourg complete their education; and a third 
exploded in the prison of Ste. P^lagie, where free- 
spoken journalists and opposition politicians have so 
often been confined. The towers of St. Sulpice offered 
a convenient target for the marksmen of the Father- 
land, and even those of Notre Dame de Paris — ^though 
farther removed — were all but struck by several of the 
missiles which exploded in its immediate vicinity. 

Over and over again too did the enemy's fire converge 
on the dome of the Pantheon, for it would appear that 
the Germans had an idea that the '^ Temple of 
Immortality" had been converted into a powder 



iy8 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

magazine. But this impression was, in point of fact> 
erroneous. As the shells fell round about the building, 
which they seldom struck, the priests continued 
celebrating Mass, and hundreds of women and scores 
of men knelt before the high altar — praying that Ste. 
Genevieve would, as in days of yore, again deliver 
Paris from the northern foe. At night-time it would 
necessarily have been difficult to avoid shelling the 
hospitals and the religious edifices, but in the daylight 
the Germans might at least have abstained from 
selecting those buildings as their favourite targets. 
And it is impossible to deny but that such was the 
case ; for, although the projectiles fell alike on hospitals 
and schools, ambulances and slaughterhouses, churches 
and barracks, prisons and convents, together with 
private houses iimumerable, those buildings where the 
sick and wounded were tended, and where the faithful 
prayed, were the most persistently shelled and the 
most grievously damaged. Protestations from the 
Government, the Corps Diplomatique, men of science 
and men of letters, were issued all in vain. 

When General Trochu complained of these proceed- 
ings to Von Moltke, the strategical Sphinx replied, 
with grim sarcasm, that the fog and the distance had 
prevented the German gunners from taking aim with 
proper precision, but that as the batteries of the 
Fatherland approached, as was projected, closer and 
closer to the beleaguered city, it would doubtless 
be possible to point the cannon with more discrimi- 
nation. It was after the receipt of this answer that 
one of the members of the Government, whose name 
has not been preserved for the edification of posterity, 
suggested, in open council at the Hotel de Ville, that 
all the German prisoners in Paris should be confined 



PARIS BOMBARDED. 199 

in those buildings most frequently damaged by the 
bombardment. * An adverse vote greeted this proposal ; 
the promoter of which seemingly forgot the colloquial 
adage, that "two wrongs never make one right." 

Of course there was considerable exaggeration re- 
specting the damage done by the enemy's projectiles ; 
and the newspapers were full of incidents, more or 
less veracious. On one occasion a journal announced 
that a shell had fallen into a monastery in the £ue 
Oudinot, and had killed ten children, ** whose palpi- 
tating flesh was pasted against the wall of the dormi- 
tory." The fact was, that a shell, having fallen in the 
garden where sixteen brothers were cutting down 
some trees, burst and wounded no one, showing itself 
more merciful than a projectile which exploded about 
the same time in the Kue Soufflot, killing five men on 
the spot. Another day it was reported that a shell 
had fallen through the roof of St. Sulpice while the 
priest was officiating ; no one was hurt, but the curd 
begged the faithful to depart, and he remained at his 
post, walking up and down the aisle like a sea captain 
pacing his deck in tlie midst of a tempest. 

The victims of the bombardment between the 
5th and 17th of January were 288 in number, 
of whom 81 were killed and 207 wounded. The 
greatest loss of life occurred on the night of 
the 8th of January, when the 900 shells thrown 
by the Germans into the city from 9 p.m. till 
5 A.M. (a fresh projectile falling every two minutes 
in the district round about the Oddon) killed 22 
people, besides wounding no fewer than 37. On the 
following night, when several ambulances were visited 



M. Dr^o's « Summary." 



200 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

by the enemy's projectiles, 12 people were killed and 
36 wounded ; and from the 14th to the 15th of January 
34 deaths and 17 cases of injury were recorded. The 
victims of the bombardment were by Government 
decree assimilated to soldiers killed or wounded on the 
battle-field, with the usual pecuniary advantages to 
widows and orphans in instances of death. Out of some 
sixty children struck by exploding shells, nearly half 
were killed on the spot, and several of the remainder 
subsequently died. Over and over again the remains of 
some innocent infant, slain by the missiles of the 
modem Herod, as King William was now entitled, 
were escorted to their last resting-place by a cortege 
of indignant citizens. A public funeral was given 
at Notre Dame des Champs to four little boys, pupils 
at the college of the Eue de Vaugirard who, after the 
fashion of the wounded killed in their beds at the 
Val-de-GrAce, were immolated in their sleep by a 
shell which burst in their dormitory. M. Jules Favre 
accompanied the procession to the Montpamasse 
cemetery, where, standing beside the open graves, he 
spoke a few words of grief and consolation. 

Some hundreds of buildings, public and private, 
struck and more or less damaged, but only irre- 
parably destroyed in one instance — that of the Serres 
du Museum ; several fires ignited and promptly ex- 
tinguished ; 288 human victims killed or wounded, 
such was the result of twelve days' bombardment. 
Scarcely an excessive one compared with the violence 
of the enemy's fire, the weight of his projectiles, at 
times, no less than 190 lbs. avoirdupois, and the 
abundance of wealth, treasure, and human life within 
range of his batteries. As was remarked at the epoch, 
80 far as the mortality of Paris was concerned, there 



PARIS BOMBARDED. 201 

were ten chances in favour of one's dying by the small- 
pox against one in favour of being killed by a shell. 
The return from the 7th to the 13th of January, 
inclusive, showed an augmentation upon that of the 
previous week of more than 800 deaths. Between 
60 and 70 people died from small-pox every day, 
and the ravages of bronchitis and pneumonia were 
ever on the increase. The return for the week 
was close upon 4000 deaths, and in this return were 
not included the wounded who died in public hospitals 
and ambulances. The number of the latter could 
not be accurately ascertained, but experienced 
physicians estimated them at one hundred per diem ; 
so that there was a weekly mortality of 4700 souls 
in a population of little more than two millions. 

While the bombardment was progressing there was 
no dearth of the ordinary incidents of siege life, such 
as the Parisians had experienced during the preced- 
ing months. On January 8 there came to the 
Hotel de Yille despatches from citizen Gambetta and 
General Faidherbe, the former declaring, with all the 
assurance of a man who can perceive the mote in his 
brother's eye if he cannot see the beam in his own, that 
although the Germans had not been defeated they 
were at all events demoralized ; while the latter an- 
nounced to imprisoned Paris that he had gained a 
victory at Bapaume. Two days later there came to 
hand a fresh despatch from citizen Gambetta, in 
which the Dictator of Bordeaux bitterly complained 
of General Bourbaki's line of action. The Governor 
of Paris declared, however, to his colleagues that, 
personally, the only provincial general in whom he 
had the slightest confidence was precisely the said 
General Bourbaki. He declined to place his trust in 



202 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT, 

either Chanzy or Faidlierbe ;* and yet Paris was still 
rejoicing over the hitter's victory at Bapaume, con- 
cerning which fresh particulars came to hand a few 
days later, when some German newspapers found their 
way into the city. 

Communications with outside were still being 
kept up by means of carrier pigeons and balloons; 
and during the first fortnight of January seven 
vessels of the aerial navy were despatched into 
the provinces. Gas was, however, becoming 
extremely scarce, and a fresh supply was quite 
out of the question; for on January 16 it was 
declared at the Government Council that there were 
no coals left — not even for the State workshops. On 
the other hand, the pigeon despatches were growing 
rarer and rarer, and it was in vain that the Post 
Office authorities sought to organize some more 
successful system of communication. Already in 
December a trio of inventive individuals proposed to 
send into Paris by way of the Seine a number of 
letters enclosed in zinc spheres, furnished with fins, 
and floating between two waters.f Week after week 
the river was fruitlessly dragged ^in hope that some 
of these subaqueous messengers would come to hand ; 
and at the beginning of January the authorities 
listened to the proposals of five adventurers, who 
suggested that an attempt should be made to pass 



• M. Dr6o'8 " Summary." 

f Afler the conclusion of the Armistice, some 800 letters enclosed 
in three zinc balls reached Paris. It is supposed that the river 
locks, constantly kept closed during the siege, prevented their earlier 
arrival. In June, 1871, one of these spheres, filled with correspon- 
dence in a perfect state of preservation, was found on the sea-shore 
at Ste. Marie-du-Mont, not &r from Cherbourg. 



PARIS BOMBARDED, 203 

through the enemy's lines by the subterranean 
quarries on the left bank of the Seine, which might 
be utilized to establish regular communication with 
outside. This scheme having failed, it was again pro- 
posed to send despatches into the capital by way of 
the river — this time in little globular balls of glass 
imitating water bubbles, and a number of these 
crystal vessels having been taken out of Paris in a 
balloon, an attempt was about to be made, when the 
river froze, and this ingenious mode of transport, 
which presented several chances of success, had to be 
abandoned. For the same reason M. Deleute's sub- 
marine boat was never utilized. Next came an at- 
tempt to send letters into the capital by means of 
dogs, much after the manner in which tobacco is 
smuggled across the Belgian frontier, and M. Hurel 
took five chiens de bouvier out of Paris in the oar of 
the General Faidherbe balloon (January 13). Notice 
was given to the French advanced posts not to hurt 
these animals should any of them present themselves, 
but they apparently never passed through the German 
lines, and any despatches or letters they may have 
carried fell into the enemy's possession. 

It was through the medium of Mr. Washburne, 
whose facilities of communication with the outside 
world have already been spoken of,* that the Govern- 
ment was able to correspond with Earl Granville on 
the subject of the Black Sea Conference. M. Jules 
Favre apparently considered the invitation which 
the English Foreign Minister sent him to attend 
this diplomatic gathering as a virtual recognition of 
the Republic by Great Britain; and he felt that 

♦ See anie^ p. 189. 



204 ^HE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

" the Government of National Defence would commit 
a grave fault in rejecting the overture which was 
made to it." But then came the homhardment, 
and at the Government Council of January 9 it 
was decided, after a long debate, to postpone all 
decision on the subject until the Germans had ceased 
shelling Paris. On the 11th this resolution was con- 
firmed ; but subsequently — ^the why and wherefore of 
the change are not apparent, for M. Dr^o's " Summary** 
is silent on the subject — M. Favre applied to Count 
Bismarck for a safe conduct, which was refused, owing 
to the form of the demand, for this implied that the 
National Defence was the legal Government of France 
— a presupposition which the German Chancellor 
emphatically declined to entertain. Having suggested 
that possibly a compromise on the point might be 
arrived at, by which the scruples of Germany might 
be allayed and every prejudice arising from M. Favre's 
presence in London be avoided. Count Bismarck con- 
cluded his reply in the following sarcastic vein : — 

'^ But, even if sucli a plan can be discovered, allow me to aak if 
it be advisable that your Excellency should leave Paris, and your 
post as a member of the Government there, in order personally to 
take part in a Conference about the Black Sea, at a moment when 
interests are at stake in Paris which are more important for France 
and Germany than Article XI. of the Treaty of 1856 ? Your Ex- 
cellency would also leave behind in Paris the diplomatic agents and 
subjects of neutral States who have remained, or rather have been 
detained there, long after they had received permission to paaa 
through the German lines, and who are, therefore, so much the more 
under the protection and care of your Excellency as the Minister 
for Foreign Affairs of the Government de facto. 
\ *^ I can, therefore, scarcely suppose that your Excellency, in the 
critical position of affairs in the establishment of which you so 
materially assisted, will deprive yourself of the possibility of 
lielping to effect a solution, the responsibility of which rests upon 
you." 



PARIS BOMBARDED. 205 

The military operations of the first fortnight in 
January were not confined to the bombardment of the 
city on the part of the Germans. A first engagement 
took place on the 8th in the direction of La Malmaison 
and Rueil. On the same day occurred the dis- 
appearance of three oflBcers and five men of tho 
Mobile Guard stationed near the bridge of Argenteuil, 
who had entered into communication with the enemy 
by means of a boat purposely procured. It was 
reported that they were the victims of an adroitly 
prepared surprise, but General Trochu, in a solemn 
proclamation which he ordered to be read three times 
to the troops assembled under arms, pronounced them 
traitors to their duty and the country. He stated 
that they were deserters to the enemy, and, in ordering 
them to be prosecuted as such, devoted their memory 
to eternal shame. On the night of the 9th of January 
a reconnoissance directed against the Prussian ad- 
vanced posts on the Eastern railway line, resulted in 
the blowing up of some houses in which the enemy's 
guards were entrenched. A similar expedition, having 
for its objective the German works at the Moulin-de- 
Pierre, menacing the Fort of Issy, resulted, so one 
was told by an official bulletin, in complete success ; 
but it was subsequently stated that the officer in 
command fell on the wrong spot, made some prisoners, 
destroyed a post, and returned under the impres- 
sion that he had executed the orders he had been 
directed to carry out. 

On the 13th, in the night, three fresh sorties 
were made — two on the south-west and one on 
the north-east. A Prussian corps near Meudon 
and the Bavarians near Clamart were assailed, 
while the enemy's positions at Le Bourget were 



2o6 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

attacked for the third time. This latter affair was 
altogether shrouded in mystery, and no official report 
of it was ever issued. Its motive was to destroy if 
possible the Grerman batteries which threatened St. 
Denis with a formidable bombardment ; and the forts 
de TEst, du Nord, of Aubervilliers, and Eomainville, 
together with two field batteries stationed at Drancy, 
fired heavily into Le Bourget during three hours, a 
strong infantry attack being also made. An expedition 
of this kind was, however, as the French might have 
known, mere waste of life. The repulse of the 
assailants followed as a matter of course, and could 
only have the effect of discouraging the survivors. 
Forty-eight hours later the Grermans in their turn 
assumed the offensive, directing an attempt against 
Fort Issy, but the mitrailleuses here stationed speedily 
compelled them to retreat ; whereupon they opened a 
terrible cannonade from their batteries at Chatillon 
and on the terrace of the chateau of Meudon. In the 
village of Vanves the projectiles fell like hailstones ; 
Issy and Montrouge suffered considerably ; and it was 
not till towards evening that the fire began to slacken. 
On the following day the bombardment of La Cour- 
neuve and St. Denis began. 

At the Government Council of January 8, General 
Trochu had already explained to his colleagues the 
plan of the fresh " sortie en masse" which he was 
preparing. On the 10th a discussion arose between 
the Governor and General Clement Thomas Jlpropos 
of the National Guard ; and the latter, who in earlier 
times had pointedly called for the employment of the 
citizen soldiery,* now declared that there was no little 



See anU^ p. 184. 



PARIS BOMBARDED. 307 

charlatanism about the National Guards' display of 
courage. "Since they know that they are really 
to be utilized/' he added, "their enthusiasm has 
greatly diminished." An additional damper was 
cast on future prospects by M. Jules Favre, who 
mentioned at the close of the discussion that 
food would fail completely by the end of the 
month. A couple of days later General Trochu, re- 
marking that it was most essential to prolong the 
resistance until General Bourbaki's movement was 
completed, proposed a number of extreme measures. 
He declared that tranquility must be assured by putting 
an end to the calumnious accusations of treason brought 
against certain generals. Perquisitions ought to be 
made to seize all concealed provisions, and the right 
of public meeting and the liberty of the press ought 
to be abolished. Liberal M. Ernest Picard urged that 
these measures should be adopted, but only in the 
event of a great battle, for the " voice of the cannon 
would then drown the murmurs of the population." 
Despite this suggestion, the Governor's proposals were 
not approved of. 

On January 14, General Trochu announced 
that the coming sortie en masse would take place 
during the next six days, and he submitted to his 
colleagues the draft of a proclamation, which was 
found too resigned, and not sufficiently warlike. On 
the morrow there was a secret sitting of the Council, 
at which the sortie question was again debated, and of 
which no proces-verbal has been preserved. Thanks to 
M. Dr^o's " Summary," however, we are made acquainted 
with what transpired at the stance of the 17th, when 
the announcement that the provisions of the array 
would be exhausted on February 5 led to a long 



2o8 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

discussion on the approaching capitolation, for^ as 
General Trochu remarked, if the coming sortie failed^ 
surrender would become inevitable. Many among the 
infatuated Parisians might still delude themselves 
with false hopes as to the issue of the siege ; but the 
men of the H6tel de Ville knew well enough that the 
fall of the capital was at hand. Bitterly did M. Jules 
Favre reproach General Trochu with his famous 
declaration, " The Governor of Paris will not capitu- 
late ;" but when General Clement Thomas urged that 
the terrible truth should be revealed to the popula- 
tion — ^remarking that, if it rose and massacred the 
Government, the latter would perish quite as gloriously 
as if it fell beneath the onslaught of the enemy* — not 
a voice was raised in support of his suggestion. The 
debate mainly turned on the points, whether Germany- 
would treat with the Government merely as regards 
the capitulation of Paris or for entire France ; whether 
the Government would have the right to sign a 
treaty of peace ; and whether it had not better resign 
and hand the capital over to the district mayors to 
cope as best they could with the hosts of the Father- 
land and the rabble of the Commune. Eventually, it 
was resolved to consult the mayors and to be guided by 
whatever opinion they expressed. 

At the next Council of the Government, held at the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in which General 
Trochu did not take part, being in the midst of the 
troops, who, on the morrow, were to fight the last 
battle of dying Paris, M. Jules Favre submitted the 
draft of a proclamation which he proposed to address 
to the Parisians, and in which the approaching sortie 

* Curioualj enough, M. Clement Thomas XDa% subsequently killed 
by the Beds. 



PARIS BOMBARDED. 209 

was alluded to as a " supreme struggle" and a " final 
eflfort." General Le F16, Minister of War, declared 
effectively that, if the attempt failed, it would be 
useless to count on the National G-uard to make 
another ; while M. Favre, in support of the expressions 
he employed, protested that he really could not lead 
the population to the last extremities without a word 
of warning. Nevertheless, his draft was rejected, and 
it was decided to issue a more hopeful proclamation, 
of which M. Jules Simon prepared the text Thus, 
until the last hour, did the majority of the Govern- 
ment of National Defence persevere in the policy of 
deceit and reticence which it had followed throughout 
the siege. 

It was at this same Council that the rationing of 
bread was finally decided on. Already on January 9 
M. Ficard had proposed this measure ; but the question 
was then adjourned. On the 13th, however, a perfect 
panic occurred in the outlying arrondissements, the 
bread being removed per force from the bakers' shops. 
Not merely was the bread (now made of bran, rice, 
barley, oats, vermicelli and starch, with a scanty 
admixture of wheaten flour) getting blacker and 
blacker, less nourishing and more heavy and indi- 
gestible every day, but the scanty supply made people 
fear that it might suddenly cease altogether. Necessity 
had compelled M. Jules Ferry, Mayor of Paris, to 
issue various unpopular decrees. For instance, he 
prohibited the bakers from selling bread to any one 
but their usual customers, and this at a moment when 
half the population of the bombarded districts was 
flying for dear life to the right bank of the Seine. It 
therefore seemed that the runaways must either perish 
from hunger or steal back to the quarter, from which 

VOL. u. 14 



2IO THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

they had made their escape, in search of bread. Here 
may be added that Mr. Richard Wallace — who had 
given quite 80,000/. in charities since the beginning 
of the siege and upon whose generosity the English 
poor were almost entirely thrown — had, moreover, 
come forward with 100,000 francs in aid of the unfor- 
tunate people driven from home by the German gunners. 
It was at the Government Council of the 1 3th of 
January that M. Magnin, Minister of Commerce, 
received permission to requisition all the remaining 
flour he could lay his hands on ; and on the 18th M. 
Ferry announced his intention of henceforth limiting 
the supply of bread to three hundred grammes (10 oz.) 
per head, per diem, children under five years of age 
only to receive half that quantity. Several of his 
colleagues considered this quantity insufficient, but 
the Mayor of Paris called attention to the fact that 
the mills now at work only yielded five thousand 
quintaux metriques of flour a day ; and if the ration 
was raised to four hundred grammes as suggested a 
daily supply of six thousand quintaux, which was 
unobtainable, would be required. As for the 
provisioning of meat, it appeared from the Mayor's 
statements that there were still four thousand cows 
reserved for sick persons and children, together with 
one hundred and four oxen, kept back for the hospitals. 
These oxen, with some of the cows which might be 
killed, would furnish a day's meat. There was also a 
day's supply of preserved provisions. These last 
resources would have to be utilized whilst waiting 
until the remaining horses, including those of the 
army, could be eaten. " Wretched horses I" — as a 
writer of the epoch remarked. " Their number is 
visibly diminishing, and the survivors are painful 



PARIS BOMBARDED. 2 1 1 

objects. They are indeed like the skeleton horse in 
the Campo Santo at Pisa." No more oats, no more 
barley, no more straw, no more hay ! Of recent 
times they had been fed on bread, but not even this 
supreme resource was now lefl. Each citizen's daily 
portion of the staff of life was reduced to three hundred 
grammes, and that of meat to twenty (eflTective) 
grammes — an aggregate of lOJoz. of food, or but a 
quarter of the habitual and necessary consumption. 

Such on the eve of the last great battle, while the 
roar of the enemy's siege guns resounded through the 
city, and while the shells fell like hailstones in the 
bombarded districts, was the state of Paris, the whilom 
capital of pleasure and of plenty — now reduced to a 
fraction of what was once its daily pittance ; shivering 
with cold, for firing was all but unobtainable, and well- 
nigh plunged in darkness after sunset, as gas and oil 
alike were failing. On that same 18th of January, in 
the proud palace raised at Versailles by the all-powerful 
Louis, surnamed the Grand Monarque, the Roi Soleil, 
in the gorgeous Hall of Mirrors, which the Valour, 
the Fame, the Rank, and the Beauty of France had 
thronged, the helmeted Princes and Generals of the 
Fatherland were gathered together. Under the alle- 
gorical portrait of Louis XIV., having for inscrip- 
tion that formula of despotism, " Le Roy gouverne 
par Luy-meme," and facing an altar bearing a golden 
crucifix and burning tapers, stood Wilhelm, King of 
Prussia. A solemn litany had been read, and, as the 
last notes of an impressive chorale died away, the 
TJohenzollern mounted a crimson-covered platform, 
above which gleamed the spear-pointed shafts of many 
standards. Then came a great rush, and, amid a 
mighty cheering and waving of helmets, the Victor of 

14—2 



212 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

Sadowa and Sedan was proclaimed German Emperor 
in the name of God 1 

III. THE LAST SORTIE. 

Paris awoke on the 19th of January to find the 
walls covered with oflBcial placards. First came M. 
Jules Ferry's arr^te prescribing the rationing of bread. 
Next a decree, requisitioning the residences of all 
absentees for the accommodation of the wounded and 
of those citizens driven out of their usual domiciles by 
the bombardment. A third ordinance called into 
request all the combustibles and comestibles of non- 
residents for the service of the general public. A 
fourth enjoined all husbandmen, who possessed secreted 
stocks of grain for seed, to give them up within three 
days, under penalty of confiscation, fine, and imprison- 
ment. A fifth ofiered a reward of twenty-five francs per 
quintal to any one informing the authorities of the 
existence of hidden cereals. Then an order of the day, 
emanating from General Le F16, announced that, 
during General Trochis absence^ he had been invested 
with the supreme command of the troops for the 
defence of the city and of St. Denis ; and finally a 
proclamation signed by all the members of the 
Government, excepting its President,* informed the 

* This proclamation, the draft of which was prepared by M. 
Jules Simon (see antt^ p. 209), ran as follows : — '* Citizens ! The 
enemy slays our wives and children ; he bombards us night and 
day ; he corers our hospitals with shells. The cry ' To arms 1' 
resounds from every breast. Those amongst us who can o£Fer 
their lives on the battle-field will march against the foe. Those 
who remain, jealous of proving themselves worthy of the heroism of 
their brothers, will submit, if needs be, to the bitterest sacrifices, as 
a means of promoting the cause of the country. Let us suffer ; 
let us die, if necessary ; but let us conquer. Vive la £6publique ! " 



THE LAST SORTIE. aij 

Parisians that a fresh attempt to pierce the German 
lines was about to take place. 

There had been so much marching and counter- 
marching through the streets of the city on the 
previous day that it was self-evident important mili- 
tary operations were at hand. In the evening the Gov- 
ernor of Paris had quitted his residence at the Louvre 
for the citadel of Mont Val^rien, whence he proposed to 
direct this fresh sortie^ which had for its immediate 
objectives the enemy's lines from St. Cloud to La 
Jonchere by way of Garches. Three corps d'armee, 
commanded by Generals Vinoy, Carr^ de Bellemare, 
and Ducrot, and forming a gross total of more than 
100,000 men (troops of the line, Mobiles, and National 
Guards), supported by three hundred guns, were 
appointed to take part in the attack. General Vinoy's 
forces were to advance against the redoubt of 
Montretout and the villas belonging to MM. de 
Beam, Pozzo di Borgo, Armengaud, and Zimmermann, 
all in the immediate vicinity of St. Cloud. The 
redoubt of Montretout, situated between the park and 
village of St. Cloud, was one of those defensive works 
commenced by the French prior to the investment and 
abandoned in an unfinished state on the arrival of the 
German troops. Its recapture by the French implied 
the possibility of commanding the highway to 
Versailles and of turning the Prussian batteries at 
Bas-Meudon, now actively shelling Grenelle and the 
Point du Jour. While General Vinoy *8 efforts were 
concentrated in this direction, the central corps 
d'arm^e, under General de Bellemare, was to assail the 
German positions east of the Chateau of La Bergerie ; 
the column on the right, commanded by General 
Ducrot, attacking^ the Chateau of Buzenval and 



214 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

LoDgboyau, with the view of advancing on the Lupin 
breeding stables and uniting with General Vinoy in 
the neighbourhood of Garches. The entire line of 
front did not extend four English miles. 

All existing means of communication with the 
so-called peninsula of Gennevilliers — formed by a 
north-pasterly bend in the course of the Seine — were 
employed for the concentration of the troops, some 
of whom were despatched out of Paris by rail ; while 
others, including many National Guards, went on foot 
along the Avenue de la Grande Armee ; and, crossing 
the bridge of Neuilly over the Seine, reached the 
ground where they were to bivouac until the following 
morning. The night was obscure, and a curtain of 
thick fog — Thames-like in its consistency — hung over 
the scene of action when 6 a.m., the hour appointed 
for the advance, arrived. The men of the National 
Guard — most of whom were incorporated in General de 
Bellemare's corps d'armfe — had been kept under arms 
with four days' provisions on their backs since 2 a.m. ; 
and several hours were yet to elapse before they were 
ordered into action. At seven o'clock, by a road 
running parallel with the Seine along the height above 
Suresnes, General Vinoy's troops emerged from the 
rear of Mont Valerien, whence the Governor of Paris, 
installed in an observatory, commanded the entire 
movement. Hidden for a while by the hillock on 
which stands the farm of La Fouilleuse, and keeping 
to the right of the brickyard of La Croix du Roi, they 
advanced against Montretout, which was held by a 
detachment of Prussian Poles. A savage hand-to-hand 
fight ensued, and so stout a resistance was made that 
the redoubt, although undefended by artillery, was 
only captured at 9.30. An hour and a half later the 



THE LAST SOR TIE. 2 1 5 

French had made themselves masters of the four villas 
mentioned above, and had taken some sixty prisoners. 
From Montretout a part of the corps d'armde descended 
into St. Cloud, the houses of which were scoured from 
cellar to garret ; while skirmishers went forward firing 
wildly after the retreating Grermans as the latter 
promptly sought shelter in the park. 

Meanwhile, General de Bellemare's men marched to 
the attack of La Bergerie, but on reaching the farm of 
La Fouilleuse they found their progress arrested. 
Three successive charges were made before this 
position was carried, and then the grounds of the 
Cl^teau of Buzenval were entered. It was here that 
the marching battalions of the National Guard received 
the true baptism of fire. Ascending the eminence of 
La Bergerie,they advanced amid vineyards, plantations, 
and gardens towards La Celle St. Cloud by way of the 
lakelet of St. Cucufa. The line of battle being no 
longer preserved, the fight subsided into a series of 
isolated combats ; and as the untrained Parisians, 
wasting their ammunition, blazed away at the trees, 
hundreds of them were shot down by their comrades in 
the rear as well as by the wall and trench protected 
Germans. The latter had scarcely defended their first 
line, but fell back on their fixed positions, where, until 
reinforcements could arrive, they kept up so heavy a 
fire that the French were utterly unable to advance. 

But what had become of the dilatory Ducrot? 
Already at 8 a.m. his troops were on foot. From 
their point of concentration some seven and a half 
miles had to be traversed to reach the scene of action ; 
a feat of no apparent magnitude, but which took many 
hours to perform : having to be accomplished " on a 
railroad covered with obstructions and a highway 



2 16 THE PSYCHOL OGICAL MOMENT. 

occupied by a column of artillery/' whicli, although 
in a well-known neighbourhood nigh to Paris, " had 
lost itself in the dark!'* Farther on, the road between 
Nanterre and Beuil was swept by a Prussian battery 
installed on the right bank of the Seine in advance of 
Les Carrieres St. Denis. The French field artillery- 
was well-nigh powerless against the German guns ; 
the troops faltered for a while, and it was only after an 
armour-clad train, consisting of two carriages, each 
armed with a long swivel gun, had been sent forward 
along the St. Germain railway line that their passage 
was finally secured. They arrived two hours late on 
the field of battle, and the advantage of making three 
simultaneous attacks was therefore lost. Had General 
Ducrot's men been concentrated in the vicinity of 
Mont Val^rien, close to the scene of the morning's 
work, this contretemps could never have occurred. 

When the three corps were in action together, an 
attempt was made to unite them south of La Bergerie^ 
while, with the view of making a diversion, the cannon 
of the ramparts thundered against S&vres and the 
park of St. Cloud. But the Germans had had time 
enough to bring up reinforcements of infantry — the 
Bavarian contingent and the Landwehr of the Guards 
— as well as a formidable mass of artillery. The latter 
opening fire, a violent artillery duel now ensued ; 
but the French field guns were eventually over- 
mastered, particularly by the powerful battery of 
Garches. Bound about the Porte de Longboyau, 
where the Germans had loopholed the walls and 
houses skirting the park of Buzenval, a brisk engage- 
ment was kept up. General Ducrot repeatedly led 

* French official report of the aortie. 



THE LAST SORTIE. 1 1 7 

the line and the National Guards to the attack ; but 
the enemy successfully resisted all his efforts. At 
four o*clock, moreover, the Germans executed an 
offensive movement against the French centre and 
left, and both these corps were forced to retreat. It is 
true that towards the close of the day they again 
advanced, and scaled the summit of the heights. But 
their position was not tenable. Night was coming 
on, and at Montretout it had been found impossible 
to get a single gun into position. Commandant de 
Lareinty, who occupied the redoubt with three 
hundred Mobiles, had to be abandoned, and was 
forced to surrender at discretion. Worn out with 
twelve hours' fruitless fighting, disheartened by the 
strenuous resistance they had encountered, the Parisian 
troops began slowly to fall back between Maisons 
Crochard and Mont Yalerien. It was half-past six 
o'clock. The last sortie had failed !* 

In Paris, where the day had been given up to wait- 
ing and watching for the issue, every eminence likely 
to afford a view was crowded soon after dawn ; and in 
the avenues radiating from the Arc de Triomphe 
returning orderlies and ambulance vans were con- 
tinually beset for news. As the rapid discharges of 
artillery re-echoed through the streets — ^in the one 
direction proclaiming the intensity of the conflict, and 
in another testifying to the unabated violence of the 
bombardment — the anxiety of the Parisians became 
very great. The first news was propitious, and during 
the afternoon at the Bourse the Eente rose 40c. In 
the evening the boulevards were crowded with people 



* This description of the battle of Buzenval is based on the 
official reports and the most reliable newspaper accounts of the epoch. 



2t8 the psychological moment. 

discussing the probabilities of success. The joyous 
excitement of December 2 was wanting, but the 
rumours of victory circulated so persistently that it 
became diflBcult not to believe in them. At half-past 
ten o'clock the news that the French left was in 
retreat, with the advice from General Trochu that the 
fact should be communicated to the population, reached 
the H6tel de Ville, where the Government was sitting 
en permanence. The Council demurred to the Presi- 
dent's suggestion, and MM. Favre, Ferry, and Le Flo 
started off for Mont VaMrien to learn from his very- 
lips the precise position of affairs. It was 4 a.m. 
when they returned, corroborating the fatal news of 
the defeat. A few hours later those Parisians who 
had gone to bed believing in victory, were cruelly 
undeceived. Every heart was at once cast down and 
full of sorrow. People were exasperated and bewildered 
that "for some reason or other their army should 
invariably be beaten, although it had always had the 
choice of its battle-field and the advantage of being 
able to surprise the enemy." In the present instance, 
great dissatisfaction was felt that General Trochu 
should have made no use of the greater part of the 
artillery and the reserves. The Governor was, how- 
ever, persuaded that, even if this sortie had been 
made with the co-operation of every gun and every 
armed man in Paris, it would have proved equally 
futile. The Germans had, according to the French 
authorities, encircled the city in a triple line of 
investment,* which, in GenerjJ Trochu's opinion, was 

♦ " To fortify this triple line of investment, the Prussians had 
made use of creneUated walls, and of abattis, for which they seem 
to have had a special predilection ; at some places, too, they had 
made entrenchments and thrown up redoubts. The parapets of 



THE LAST SORTIE. 2 1 9 

impassable; for he subsequently remarked, at the 
National Assembly : — " I thank heaven that I resisted 
those who urged me to march forward ; if I had led 
the troops beyond the first line, those who reached 
the second would never have seen the third : and 
if my conscience is at rest, it is because I averted the 
useless sacrifice of the lives of many thousands of 
soldiers/' 

The losses occasioned by the battle of Buzenval 
were, nevertheless, considerable ; and the downcast 
Parisians — whom a pigeon -messenger at this very 
moment apprised of General Chanzy's crushing defeat 
at Le Mans — were stupefied on reading in a note 
from General Trochu to the chief of his staff*: — 
" You must now urgently demand at Sevres an armi- 
stice of two days, in order to pick up the wounded and 
bury the dead. This will require time, efforts, vehicles 
well horsed, and a large number of men for the litters. 
Lose no time." This despatch was not intended to 
be published, and a blunder alone caused its insertion 
in the Journal Officiel. Those malcontents who 
declared that General Trochu had engaged in the 
sortie certain of defeat, and with no other object than 
the horrible one of getting the troops slaughtered, 
maintained that this document was the corroboration 
of their assertions. It was currently estimated that 

their redoubts had nearly the same profiles as ours, and differed in 
a few respects only. The epaulements of their batteries were not 
so thick as those in the case of French artillery ; and, speaking 
generally, their works were more rude and less finished than ours ; 
but they were well designed, and, perhaps, more practically useful. 
They had availed themselves with great skill of any advantages 
afforded by the nature and the varieties of the ground in many 
places ; and their batteries were almost always raised on good sites." 
— " Campagne de Paris," 1870-71, par le G^n^ral Vinoy. 



aao THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

from 7000 to 9000 men were hors de combat; 
but, in point of fact, the French losses did not exceed 
2700 killed, wounded, and missing;* and General 
Trochu subsequently expressed his belief that one-half 
of these owed their fate to the disorderly fire of the 
National Gruards, whom he had so long hesitated to 
employ, precisely for fear of such a deplorable result, 
Tlie attempts of the citizen soldiers to render them- 
selves bullet-proof had signally failed, their felt breast- 
plates being easily penetrated by the balls of the 
foreign Ziindnadelgewehr and the national Chassepot 
and " snuff-box." 

The armistice solicited by General Trochu for 
the recovery of the wounded and the burial of the 
dead was granted, and the black-robed Christian 
Brothers were soon upon the scene carefully tending 
those in whom life still lingered, and consigning the 
remains of the departed to their Mother Earth. Rich 
was the harvest garnered by the King of Terrors ; for 
if the number of the dead was at first exaggerated, 
more than one of those who had fallen was favourably 
known to fame. Early that same summer, art-loving 
Piiris had rushed with one accord to view, at the Salon 
of the Palais de Tlndustrie, a picture entitled "Salome 
la Danseuse,'' rightly described as a splendid technical 
triumph. It was painted by Alexandre-Georges- 
Henri Regnault, a young man of four-and-twenty, 
who had, as it has been remarked, already secured 
a reputation as one of the few really original artists 
of the age who were painters proper and by gift of 



* Fire hundred of the latter were taken prisoners by the Ger- 
mans, whose losses were estimated by the Imperial head-quarten at 
about 400 men. 



THE LAST SORTIE. a 2 1 

Nature. Having enlisted in a marching battalion of 
the National Guards, he took part in the last sortie 
(as in previous engagements) and fell, shot in the face, 
whilst advancing on Montretout. He was so disfigured 
that those who first found him were uncertain of his 
identity ; and, being unable to carry away the body, 
they cut off the number of his coat and took it to his 
family, who recognized it as his. When the search 
was renewed the body was nowhere to be found, and in 
the public funeral which subsequently took place another 
corpse was substituted for that of the gifted artist. 
At Montretout, moreover, another well known, though 
less talented, painter, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, 
was desperately wounded ; and Colonel Bochebrone, 
the former Chief of the Polish Zouaves de la Mort, 
also found his death whilst marching against the 
redoubt. Singularly enough, the comrade of Langie- 
wicz was slain by a Polish bullet, for Montretout 
happened to be defended by Posen soldiers. In the 
park of Buzenval, where the National Guard lost so 
many men, fell the venerable Marquis of Coriolis, a 
volunteer at sixty-seven years of age; Qustave Lambert, 
the man of science and the emulator of Sir John 
Franklin ; one of the sons of M. de Lesseps, the great 
engineer, and Maurice Bixio, his nephew ; the Count 
de Montbrison, one of the noblest names in France ; 
with hundreds of obscure citizens, who sacrificed their 
lives for the cause of their native land. 

That same afternoon, at the Theatre Fran^ais, 
there was a performance of the " M^decin malgr^ Lui." 
"Got outshone himself," wrote a spectator of Molidre's 
chef-d'oeuvre; '* never was he more brilliant; the 
public was entranced, and recalled him again and 
again. The dreary cannon roared far away — too far 



222 7 HE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

away to be exciting, and yet close by — ^but two miles 
off, under the walls of the great city : presently there 
was a stir and whispering, a commotion in the corridor, 
as a stretcher was carried by, bearing a shapeless mass 
covered with a bloody cloak : it was all that remained 
of poor Seveste, a promising young actor attached to 
the theatre. He had played his part in a great 
tragedy, and had gone forth that day to offer himself 
up for his country's weal : the sacrifice had been 
accepted. He was carried into the Foyer des Artistes 
with a mortal wound, and disappeared in the shadow 
of Talma's statue, behind the towering marble of the 
great Eachel. Poor Seveste ! so young, so full of 
promise ! Ah, well, it's very sad 1" Soon the buzzing 
ceased, and every man settled himself in his seat and 
rubbed his glasses with his handkerchief as the 
prompter gave three raps, and the curtain rose for the 
last Act /* 

* "The Drama in Paris during the Siege," published in the 
ilM^TiOBum, February, 1871. 



XII. 
CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 



I. THE HYDRA OF ANARCHY WAKES UP AGAIN. 

The last act ! — And yet, despite intense suflFerings, 
despite the scarcity of food and the failure of all 
efforts to pierce the German lines, the Parisians scarcely 
imagined at this moment that the conclusion of the 
eventful drama in which they played the leading part, 
was so swiftly approaching. The luckless citizens 
were alternately swayed by feelings of exasperation 
and depression, but their apprehensions, though less 
vague than formerly, had as yet scarcely assumed 
a definite form. Indeed, even those whose misgivings 
were the gravest, still shrank from realizing the hope- 
less nature of their position. The enemy's batteries 
had now found a fresh objective in St. Denis, and his 
shells were falling fast around the sacred edifice, which 
yet contains the tombs, if not the ashes, of the Kings 
of France. Thus the bombardment came from the 
north as well as from the south of the capital. 
With this cannonade to contend against, provisions 
fast Mling, and the death-rate from disease assuming 
alarming proportions, Paris apparently persevered in 
its resistance, but in point of fact the hoars of the 
defence were numbered. Before the curtain fell on 
the last scene — to rise again, a few weeks later, on the 
most terrible sequel that History, the greatest of all 



224 CONQ UERED B Y FAMINE. 

dramatic authors, could devise — an ominous episode was 
to occur. The wild utterances in the clubs and the 
foolish bombast of the Communist press had all along 
reminded one of the threatening presence of a most 
disagreeable monster — at times jocularly termed the 
Hydra of Anarchy. When the Hydra's eflTort to gain 
the upper hand on October 31 resulted in utter 
failure, it retired into its den, situated on the confines 
of Belleville and La Villette, and there, complacently 
dozing, it awaited the pretext and the occasion for a 
fresh raid on the H6tel de Ville, Both of these 
seemed furnished by the military fiasco of January 19. 
Prior to the so-called Battle of Buzenval, the Govern- 
ment already debated on the possibility of defeat 
engendering insurrection, and that the apprehen- 
sions entertained were not unfounded appeared but 
a few hours after the French had abandoned Mont- 
tretout ; for at 11 p.m. that same night, when almost 
every one in Paris was still plunged in uncertainty as 
to the result of the engagement, the rappel was beaten 
by order of the demagogic leaders throughout Belle- 
ville and Menilmontant, with the view of persuading 
the citizen soldiery to march upon the Government 
head-quarters. As only some five hundred men re- 
sponded to the call, the design was reluctantly aban- 
doned. Still the situation remained very threatening, 
and on the morrow several battalions of National 
Guards, believed to be favourable to the authori- 
ties, were stationed around the H6tel de Ville, a 
number of mitrailleuses being, moreover, planted in 
the adjacent streets. At the same time orders were 
despatched for a portion of the regular troops that 
had taken part in the recent sortie to re-enter Paris ; 
their return through the Porte Maillot, and along the 



THE HYDRA OF ANARCHY WAKES UP. 225 

proudly entitled " Avenue de la Grande Arm&/' being 
witnessed by a vast assemblage, comprising a large 
proportion of women, many of whom were moved to 
tears at view of the defeated regiments, whilst a blank 
look of despair stole over each masculine countenance. 

At the Council held on the 20th, at the Hotel de 
Ville, particulars of General Chanzy's crushing defeat 
at Le Mans were communicated to the Government. 
The Army of the Loire was virtually destroyed — 
10,000 men had been made prisoners; 50,000 weife 
in flight. The situation was indeed desperate. What 
was to be said to the arrondissement mayors who 
were to meet that afternoon to discuss future plans in 
compliance with the Government's own suggestions ? 
M. Jules Ferry proposed that the municipal authorities 
should only be told the truth, so far as the provisioning 
was concerned ; besides, he advocated another sortie ; 
as did MM. Ficard, Arago, Jules Simon, and Magnin. 
The possibility of a fresh efibrt was being debated, when 
there arrived a despatch rumouring that the Club 
Favi^, at Belleville, was about to march in arms upon 
the H6tel de Ville, whereupon M. Jules Favre remarked 
that he hoped to quiet all agitation by announcing 
that General Trochu had been superseded. He pro- 
posed, moreover, the despatch on the morrow of an 
emissary to Versailles, with the view of negotiating 
an armistice. Later on, the question of a fresh sortie 
being reverted to, the Governor of Paris suggested 
that the chief command should be entrusted to General 
Vinoy, and eventually it was decided to interrogate 
MM. Vinoy, Le F16, Foumfeze, and Bellemare, sepa- 
rately on the morrow, as to the possibility of raising 
the siege. 

At the meeting of the mayors, held that afternoon, 

VOL. II. 15 



226 CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 

General Trochu expressed his willingness to retire, 
if a General with more faith than himself in a favour- 
able termination of the struggle could only be found. 
Accordingly in the evening, after he had left the Council 
at the H6tel de Ville, M. Jules Favre hastened to 
the Louvre, and reminded him of this promise. In 
accordance with his own suggestion, it had been de- 
cided to replace him by General Vinoy, and M. Favre 
observed that it would be as well to announce his 
resignation of the chief command in the morrow's 
Journal Offidel. But M. Trochu declared that his 
several functions of Governor, President, and General- 
issimo were linked one to another, and that he could 
not divest himself of any one office without abandoning 
the others. At the Council held the next evening, 
the General bitterly complained of the want of confi- 
dence shown him by his colleagues, but eventually he 
agreed to resign his command, though stiU retaining 
the Presidency of the Council. The appointment of 
•^-^eneral Vinoy was yet under debate when the news 
arrived that a drunken mob had broken open the prison 
of Mazas, and delivered the political prisoners confined 
there, including the notorious Major Flourens. The 
dangers of the hoiu: at once restored unanimity in 
the Government Council; and, like so many terrified 
sheep pressing round their shepherd for protection, 
the members of the National Defence nestled close to 
the maligned Trochu, imploring him to save them.* 

The event which caused all their alarm had been 
brought about as follows. The insiurrection of 
October 81 having been inquired into, the authorities 
had decided that citizens Blanqui, Gustave Flourens, 

♦ M. Dr^o's " Summary." 



THE HYDRA OF ANARCHY WAKES UP. 227 

Milli^re, Tibaldi, and a dozen others should — in virtue 
of the state of siege — be tried by the military tribunals 
on the charges of exciting to civil war, illegal arrests, 
and menaces of death. In the case of citizen F^lix 
Pyat and of two other accused, the proceedings were, 
for want of evidence, abandoned. Citizen Blanqui, 
having securely concealed himself, was still at large ; 
and even Major Flourens, despite the judicial proceed- 
ings hanging over his head, had escaped confinement 
until the cowardice of his battalion of sharpshooters 
at Cr^teil led to its disarmament and his own incar- 
ceration at Mazas. Having deprived the Communist 
clan of its most venturesome leader, the apprehensions 
of the Government had for some little while been less 
acute than formerly ; but now, the last sortie having 
failed, it was feared that the turbulent proletariat 
might, in a fit of desperation, improvise a chieftain to 
lead them to the assault of the Hdtel de Yille. 

It was not, however, exclusively the military disaster 
of the 19th which embittered the feelings of the lower 
orders. The rationing of bread — albeit a necessity — 
was with them an especial grievance. Man, we are 
told, cannot live by bread alone, and certainly not on 
the three hundred grammes to which the ration 
was now reduced. The prevailing state of semi- 
starvation led to animated debates at the clubs, 
where one found orators launching forth bitter 
denunciations of the rich, " who had hams in their 
cellar., and indulged in orgies at the restaurants in 
the company of demoiselles.'' It was suggested 
that the Government had deliberately planned the 
extermination of the Bellevillites, who bothered them 
more than the Germans ; and to effect this result not 
merely was clay— derived from the excavations on the 

15—2 



2 28 CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 

Butte Montmartre — amalgamated with the flour, but 
each loaf (so we were told) contained a mysterious 
slow poison; the proof being that, after having 
partaken of it, one invariably had a dry throat, to get 
rid of which copious libations of " petit bleu'* were 
absolutely necessary. The egotism of the prudent 
bourgeoisie would, however, according to another 
orator, fail to save this hated class from its well- 
merited fate. When the Germans entered Paris, 
instead of feeding the bourgeois, they would plunder 
them, for, said the same speaker, " the Germans will 
begin by imposing a war contribution of two or three 
milliards, and it is not in Belleville that they will 
look for it. (Hilarity among the audience.) No ! as 
they will not find money enough, they will take the 
masterpieces of the museums, and levy a contribution 
on the rich furniture of the bourgeois, on the pictures 
which decorate their saloons, and on their finely 
chiselled bijoux." 

Such being the state of popular feeling in the 
so-called excentric arrondissements, no wonder if a 
serious outburst occurred. Still it must be remarked 
that the first attempts made, after the final sortie, to 
provoke an ^meute encountered signal failure. On 
the afternoon of January 21 a Communist manifes- 
tation was improvised at the funeral of Colonel 
Eochebrune;* and several companies of Belleville 
National Guards marched down into Paris shouting, 
"La d^ch^ance! La Commune !'' This appeal to 
revolt being treated with utter indifference by the 
inhabitants of the districts which the agitators tra- 
versed, the latter, who were not in sufl5cient force 

♦ See anie^ p. 221. 



THE HYDRA OF ANARCHY WAKES UP. 229 

to attempt anything by themselves, returned some- 
what crestfallen to Belleville. But, although the 
attempt, like that on the night of the 19th, resulted 
in complete failure, it showed that a section, at least, 
of the extreme party still harboured the most hostile 
designs. 

Meanwhile, the rumour of impending changes in the 
command of the Army of Paris had spread through 
the city, and the meetings of the clubs that evening 
were unusually stormy and seditious. Several orators 
declared, amid the applause of a crowded audience, 
that General Vinoy was quite as much a traitor as 
General Trochu; and the announcement that the 
latter was to retain the Presidency of the Government 
was received with a torrent of execrations. At the 
Club de la Beine Blanche, at Montmartre, at the 
Club Central E^publicaine, and at the Club de TEcole 
de M^decine, a general rendezvous on the Place de 
THdtel de Ville, at noon on the morrow, was unani- 
mously decided on ; and an attempt — which failed — 
was made to induce the municipal functionaries of the 
Radical districts — ^notably. Mayor Cl^menceau, of 
Montmartre — to participate in the demonstration, 
arrayed in their scarfs of office. 

The Bellevillites, undeterred by the failure of their 
previous manifestations, were now seized with the 
bright idea of marching on Mazas, and of delivering 
the renowned and beloved Flourens from durance vile. 
Accordingly, at a little past midnight, some eight 
hundred excited citizens — ^National Guards and dis- 
banded Tirailleurs — ^proceeded along the dark streets 
towards the prison. Finding on their arrival that 
the guard was composed of only thirty men, they 
threatened these with instant death if they were not 



230 CONQ UERED BY FAMINE. 

allowed to enter. Resistance being hopeless^ the 
officer in command consented to the admission of a 
deputation of three, who had no sooner made their 
way into the prison than they fired on the guard. 
In the eflTort made to eject them the gate had to be 
reopened, whereupon the entire band of rioters pre- 
cipitated itself into the courtyard. The director of 
the prison was next summoned and forced to give up 
the keys, and the eight political prisoners confined in 
the building were at once set at liberty. The most 
notorious of these were Gustavo riourens and Millifere, 
the latter of whom played a subordinate r61e in the 
demonstration of October 81, having first acquired cele- 
brity in connection with the murder of Victor Noir 
by Prince Pierre Bonaparte. Flourens being released, 
he and his rescuers marched in triumph upon the 
Mairie of the 20th arrondissement — ^that of Menilmon- 
tant — comprising the turbulent districts of Belleville^ 
St. Fargeau, Pere Lachaise, and Charonne. 

The rioters installed themselves, without opposition^ 
in the municipal edifice, which they proposed to make 
the head-quarters of a little drama to be played a few 
hours later on. The night air had sharpened everybody's 
appetite, so without more ado the rioters appropriated 
two thousand rations of bread — destined to be distri- 
buted among the starving poor of their own district — 
fitove in a cask of wine, also set aside for the indigent, 
and pillaged a neighbouring grocer's shop. The 
episode would not have been complete without the 
production of a proclamation, which citizen Flourens 
indited, to the efiect that the Government, having^ 
taken refuge in the Fort of Mont Val&ien, the time 
had now come for Paris to assume the management 
of her own afikirs. In point of fact the Govemmeni 



THE HYDRA OF ANARCHY WAKES UP. 231 

had not left the Hotel de Ville, where it was at that very 
moment assembled in Council. The release of citizen 
Flourens and the occupation of the Menilmontant 
Mairie becoming known to the authorities, several 
battalions of loyal National Guards were despatched 
to the spot. They surrounded the municipal building 
and drove the rioters into the street; so that by 
6.30 A.M. order was completely re-established through- 
out the district. 

Still, before separating,, the malcontents had bound 
themselves together by an oath to meet that same day 
at noon upon the Place de THdtel de Ville — a per- 
spective which called for decided action on the part 
of the Government of National Defence. The members 
of the latter, warned by their experience of October 31, 
and fearing that this time they might not get off so 
cheaply, hastened to place themselves in a position of 
defence. At half-past three ia the morning the com- 
manders of the various sections of the ramparts were 
warned by telegram of the position of affairs ; beingj 
moreover, requested to hold their men ready at the 
disposal of the authorities. Later on General Vinoy 
telegraphed to his subordinate. General Blanchard, to 
send three battalions of Finistere Mobiles into Paris ; 
whilst Trochu ordered General d'Ex^a to occupy the 
Quartier des Lilas with such infantry as he could 
dispose of, and one or two battalions of artillery, 
with the view of making a flank attack upon Belle- 
ville if necessary. To General Courty, at Puteaux, 
order was given to re-enter the capital with his 
artillery and infantry, and wait for further instruc- 
tions in the Champs Elys^es. All the infantry 
posts throughout the city were also reinforced, 
and the Garde E^publicaine, horse and foot, was 



2J2 CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 

kept under arms during the small hours of the 
morning* 

The Parisians woke up to find in the Journal 
Offidel the formal announcement of M. Vinoy's ap- 
pointment as Generalissimo; and on their walls an 
order of the day from the new commander, in which 
he remarked that the critical moment had now arrived. 
The Grovernment had appealed to his patriotism, and 
he could not refuse the dangerous honour of command ; 
for he was a soldier, and did not shrink from the perils 
attached to this great responsibility. Inside the cily 
the party of disorder was agitating, despite the thunder 
of the cannon outside the walls. This danger the 
General was prepared to face, convinced that the army, 
the National Guard, and all good citizens would give 
him their support. Side by side with this proclama- 
tion appeared an appeal from General Clement Thomas, 
in which, after announcing the release of citizen 
Flourens, he called on all the loyal National Guards 
to rise and crush the perturbators. 

The early part of the day — ^it was Sunday — ^passed off 
quietly ; but towards noon many scores of people, who 
had heard of the resolutions taken by the clubs the 
previous evening, strolled towards the Place de rH6tel 
de Ville to see if the Communists meant to carry 
their threats into effect. Meanwhile, a singular meeting 
was being held at the Ministry of Public Instruction 
across the Seine ; the personages present being MM. 
Jules Simon and Dorian, members of the Government ; 



* See telegrams and reports in '^Le Gouvernement da 4 Septembre: 
DocumentSy Fapiers, Pieces et D6p6ches public par la Commission 
d^EnquSte nommde par la Commune." Edition officielle. Paris : 
1871. 



THE HYDRA OF ANARCHY WAKES UP. 233 

F. Favre, H. Martin, Amaud de TAri^ge, Cl^menceau, 
Bonvalet, Tirard, and Herisson, arrondissement 
mayors ; and finally, several officers, including General 
Ducrot, eight colonels (two of whom belonged to the 
National Guard), and three chefs d'escadron. These 
officers were asked to make known any plan to raise 
the blockade which they might have conceived, and 
M. Simon declared that if one presented itself having 
a serious chance of success, the Government would 
invest its author with the supreme command, no 
matter what might be his present rank, provided, 
of course, that he felt sufficient confidence in his 
design to put it into execution. It was, however, 
unanimously admitted that nothing remained to be 
done; that the game was lost, and that diplomacy 
must now take the place of generalship. 

Strolling through Paris that afternoon one observed 
the usual compact crowds, composed mainly of women, 
waiting wearily for their pittance of meat or bread 
outside the butchers' or bakers' shops. The boulevards 
were thronged with loungers; and the caf^s were 
crammed with beer and absinthe drinkers, with whom 
General Vinoy's appointment was the leading topic of 
conversation. At the Th^&tre Fran9ais a crowded 
audience was listening to "Tartuffe;" but it was impos- 
sible to forget that one was besieged, for at rapid 
intervals came the noise of the exploding shells thrown 
by the German batteries and the answering roar 
of the cannon of the forts. The masses of infantry 
which lined the Champs Elysfes inspired many pro- 
menaders with the belief that the new Commander-in- 
Chief intended making a fresh sortie, despite the 
crushing failure of the last ; for in that neighbour, 
hood, at least, no one had the suspicion that the 



234 CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 

troops had been gathered together for service against 
their own compatriots on the Place de THotel de Ville. 
Here the prudent shopkeepers had put up their 
shutters in anticipation of coming events, and retiring' 
to their entresols^ complacently surveyed from the 
windows the growing assemblage which thronged the 
Place. From time to time a few mob orators mounted 
on stools which they had procured, or adopted the 
nearest lamp-post as platform, their utterances being 
as a rule but feebly applauded, though every now and 
then a shout of " Vive la Commune !" was raised. 

A deputation which had been constituted, with Tony 
Revillon, the rival of Timoth^e Trimm for journalistic 
popularity, at its head, demanded an interview with 
the Government; but on learning that the member* 
of the National Defence were in Council " elsewhere,'* 
the delegates consented to interview the adjoint of 
the Mayor of Paris, M. Gustave Chaudey, who, like 
citizen Revillon, was a journalist of some repute. 
From M. Chaudey the delegates found it difficult to 
extort either the promise of another sortie, or any 
precise information concerning the situation. He 
could only undertake to acquaint the authorities with 
the representations made to him, and, having received 
this answer, the deputation was courteously shown the 
door. The demeanour of the crowd, although agitated, 
was not as yet decidedly hostile ; still, having heard 
that the " gen^rale " was being beaten at Batignolles, 
with the view of inciting the National Guards to 
march against the H6tel de Ville, General Vinoy judged 
prudent to order General Courty to advance with his 
artillery and infantry as far as the Place de la Concorde, 
whither General Bertin was also instructed to repair 
with the mounted Gendarmerie and Garde E^publicaine^ 



THE HYDRA OF ANARCHY WAKES UP. 235 

At about three o'clock, as Colonel Vabre, who now 
commanded the H6tel de Ville, reconducted to the 
door a second deputation received by M. Chaudey, a 
band of between one hundred and one hundred and 
fifty National Guards, mostly belonging to the 101st 
marching battalion, debouched from the Rue du Temple, 
a drummer at their head beating the charge. The 
sentinels usually guarding the entrance of the municipal 
palace had been withdrawn, and a few officers of Mobiles 
alone remained walking up and down inside the railings. 
Suddenly these officers were fired upon by the new- 
comers, who had divided themselves into small groups 
scattered over the Place, at the suggestion, it is said, 
of ex-Commandant Sapia, who was on the spot in 
plain clothes. Some hundred shots were fired, but it 
was not until Adjutant-Major Barnard had been 
severely wounded that the Mobiles inside the H6tel 
de Ville poured a volley on the dense concourse of 
people. A perfect panic ensued — men, women, and 
children terror-stricken by the discharge, rushed pell- 
mell into the adjoining streets, seeking safety in the 
nearest cafds and in the vestibules of adjoining 
houses. In the general confusion, scores were knocked 
over and trampled under foot by their frightened 
fellow-citizens; sticks, umbrellas, baskets, gloves, 
handkerchiefs, and even purses were dropped by the 
runaways in their hasty flight; the shrieks of the 
wounded rent the air, and over a score of bodies lay 
stretched upon the pavement, when a minute after- 
wards the mass of sightseers and rioters had dis- 
appeared 

But the fray was not yet over, for, from the windows 
of neighbouring houses, and the corners of streets and 
quays, the rioters returned the Mobiles' fire. The 



236 CONQ UERED B Y FAMINE. 

first-floor windows of the Hotel de Ville were entirely 
smashed, the old casemates above the equestrian 
statue of the good King Henri were riddled with 
bullets, and even the door of the Salle du Trone was 
injured by projectiles which penetrated into the build- 
ing. In the meantime, however, General de Malroy 
had been hurriedly ordered by telegram to take the com-» 
mand of the loyal National Guards, and of the Gen- 
darmerie and Garde E^publicaine, massed on the Place 
du Carrousel, with which forces he was to advance on 
the Hotel de Ville, conjointly by way of the Rue de 
Eivoli, the quays, and the Avenue Victoria. Column 
after column soon poured on to the place, and after 
twenty minutes' turbulent anarchy the rioters were 
put to flight, a score of them falling into the hands 
of General de Malroy's men. Five people, including 
two children, had been killed, and some twenty were 
seriously wounded. 

So^ on the one hundred and twenty-sixth day 
of the siege of Paris, blood had for the first time been 
shed in an intestine brawL The manifestation never 
presented the slightest chance of success, for the 
rioters were not in suflScient force. It was certainly 
not organized by the real leaders of the Communist 
party, for^ although these latter had just issued a 
threatening manifesto, they knew well enough that 
the end of the siege was approaching, so that it was 
useless for them to try and overthrow the Gx)vemment ; 
for even if they proved successful, they would then find 
themselves face to face with the victorious Germansy 
and all the odium of a capitulation would necessarily 
fall upon their own shoulders. As for citizen Flourens, 
despite his liberation, he was not even present on the 
Place de THotel de Ville that Sunday afternoon ; but it 



THE HYDRA OF ANARCHY WAKES UP. 237 

• 

subsequently transpired that the aged maniac Blanqui 
had installed himself at an early hour in a neighbour- 
ing caf(6, whence he transmitted orders to the rioters 
on the Place. It was now necessary to prevent a 
renewal of this sanguinary incident, and, directly 
order was restored, the Government issued an indig- 
nant proclamation, threatening the participators in the 
movement with severe punishment. At the same 
time it decided unanimously to decree the suppression 
of all the clubs until the end of the siege ; the Prefect 
of Police undertaking to carry this measure into effect. 
The suppression of the Combat and the Reveil^ the 
most violent of the revolutionary organs, was also 
voted, together with a proposal that their editors, 
citizens P^lix Pyat and Delescluze, should be arrested. 
General Vinoy demanded, moreover, the authorization 
to instal a court-martial to try those rioters who had 
been taken, otherwise he would have to resort to 
summary executions. In this instance, however, the 
Government preferred adopting a middle course, that 
of establishing fresh councils of war.* 

That evening Paris was greatly agitated, and at 
every comer along the boulevard, by the light of some 
flickering oil lamp, the people gathered and discussed 
the drama of the day. The measures taken by the 
'Government to suppress the riot found many excited 
adversaries; and even less passionate citizens could 
ill brook the idea of being fired on by their own 
soldiers. With interdiction (as yet ignored) suspended 
above its head, the Club Favi^, at Belleville, now met 
for the last time, and an orator, arrayed in a broad 
red sash, bitterly denounced the indifference of his 

♦ M. Dreo's " Summary." 



238 CONQ UERED BY FAMINE. 

fellow Bellevillites. "Two days in succession," he 
exclaimed, " we called you to arms to overthrow the 
infamous Government of the Hotel de Ville. Each 
time you responded, ' We will all be there,' and you 
were then a thousand or twelve hundred ! But to-daj 
at the Hotel de Ville there were not more than forty 
Bellevillites, for those who kept the appointment 
mostly belonged to ttie 18th arrondissement (the 
Quartier Mouflfetard); indeed, Belleville, which prided 
itself on being the crater of the revolution, has abdi- 
cated/' The audience generally admitted that the 
orator's statement was correct, and a fresh speaker 
declared that all the harm came from the clubs ; for it 
was impossible to take a manly resolution in the midst 
of women, children, and good-for-nothings, who came 
to the clubs to digest their dinners. He demanded 
the formation of secret societies, the members of 
which would be able to concert together, and then, 
when the moment for action arrived, the revolutionists 
would no longer find the Hotel de Ville garrisoned 
with Mobiles and defended with mitrailleuses. 
Another citizen suggested that the proper course was 
to begin by reoccupying the local Maine, at present 
held by a troop of douaniers, and to instal citizen 
Flourens as Mayor, in the name of the people. 
Although only twenty-three citizens could be found • 
ready to march in arms upon the municipal edifice, 
the mere rumour of their approach sufficed to alarm 
the douaniers, who hastily evacuated the Mairie, 
and left it once more, for a brief interval, at the 
mercy of the clubbists. On the morrow the latter 
were able to read the Government decree suppressing . 
their customary places of resort as well as their . 
favourite newspapers. 



ILL USIONS A T AN END. 239 



II. ILLUSIONS AT AN END. 

If, after the crushing failure of the last great sortie, 
many of the Parisians still clung to the hope of 
ultimate victory, no one retained any helief in success 
after the Communist brawl of January 22. Paradoxical 
as it may seem, the Parisians were more affected by an 
event but indirectly connected with the defence than 
by the negative result of all General Trochu's military 
efforts. The rising of the Reds reminded one of a 
well-nigh neglected danger, and fear of the hateful 
Hydra of Anarchy lifted, as by enchantment, the scales 
from the eyes of the besieged. Illusions were at an 
end, and the fall of the city at last appeared inevitable. 

The bombardment was daily increasing in fury, not 
so much on the southern side of Paris — ^although 
Grenelle was being subjected to a constant cannonade 
— as on the north, where St. Denis was vigorously 
assailed. From the brow of Montmorency and the 
heights of Richebourg the German shells plunged in 
upon the familiar suburban town, doing considerable 
damage to the historic Cathedral, reducing several 
houses to ruins and igniting multitudinous fires. 
Indeed, many of the inhabitants fled in terror into 
Paris, and the Mayor of the locality, seized with a fit 
of patriotism, thought proper to paint the inscription, 
*' Lache D&erteur," upon the shutters of several 
abandoned shops. Inside the capital, the sufferings 
of the besieged had become so intense that the force 
of hope and patience could no further go. People had 
now to form queues and wait during long hours, at 
times in muddy snow or under a shower of heavy rain, 
for meat, bread, wood, chocolate — indeed, for weU-nigh 



240 CONQ UERED B Y FAMINE. 

every necessary of life. Nearly one's whole day 
and one's whole strength were exhausted by all 
this tedious waiting, which, besides killing numerous 
inhabitants (some few suddenly dropping down and 
dying on the spot), had sown the seeds of disease in 
many thousands more. The constant increase in Ihe 
death-rate was indeed appalling. During the week 
ending January 7, 8680 people died from disease; 
during the following week 3982 deaths were regis- 
tered; while from January 14 to January 20 the 
mortality from natural causes was no less than 
4465. The privations of the hour were of course 
especially trying to the very young, to the aged, to 
mothers nursing, to the sick and the wounded ; and 
among these categories the mortality was particularly 
great. Indigestion and irregularity had^ moreover, 
been induced by low diet among the otherwise healthy. 
"While some few persons began to complain of loss 
of appetite, the great majority expressed a decided 
craving for a full meal of animal food. All had fallen 
off in flesh, some to a great extent : and even those 
who, in other respects, did not apparently suffer in 
health expressed an inability to perform their ordinary 
work without experiencing intense fatigue.* 

The food question was indeed all-paramount ; 
bread constituted in this instance the true sinews 
of war. There were frequent disturbances outside the 
bakers' shops, for, despite the scanty allowance of 300 
grammes per head per diem, it continually happened 
that the bakers could not supply even this beggarly- 
pittance to their customers. To compensate in a 
measure for the limitation of the bread allowance, it 

* The Lancet, January, 1871. 



ILL USIONS AT AN END. 241 

was determined that one-fifth of a litre of wine should 
be distributed gratuitously at each baker's shop to 
every needy person presenting an order for bread. At 
the Government Council, held on the 23rd of January, 
the Food Committee announced that there were only 
20,000 horses left; while M. Magnin only had in 
stock 16,000 metric quintals of wheat, 9000 quintals 
of rice, 23,000 of oats, and 63,000 of various grains 
and feculas. The oats, although in considerable 
quantities, could only be partially utilized, for they 
required to be mixed with wheaten flour, and of this 
there was merely sufficient for five daj'^s' requirements. 
The Minister of War, coming to the rescue, offered a 
certain quantity of wheat out of the army supplies, and 
it was then determined that there would be enough 
bread to last until the 4th of February.* But rumours 
of surrender were already in the air ; and though the 
Parisians as yet knew nothing of actual negotiations 
for an armistice, still every one was so persuaded of 
an approaching capitulation that even the cunning 
merchants wlio had hitherto hidden away their stores 
of provisions, in hopes of realizing even greater 
profits than the continual advances in prices had 
offered until now, suddenly produced their goods from 
cellars and warehouses, and the great central markets 
once more presented an animated sight. Cheese, 
butter, eggs, fowls, potatoes could all be purchased, 
though of course at extravagant prices. Butter was 
32^. a pound, and round Dutch cheese sold at 
almost the same rate. A potato cost no less than 
8fl?., and an egg fetched firom 2^. to 2^. %d. The 
tardy appearance of these articles of consumption 



• M. Dreo's " Summary." 
VOL, II. 16 



242 CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 

could therefore in nowise benefit the poorer classes, 
who had naturally been all along the greatest sufferers. 
The butter they could afford to use was compounded 
from the pomades in the perfumers' shops, while the 
lard with which they cooked their food was made from 
tallow. Cooking was in itself alone a difficult business, 
for fuel was almost unobtainable. The wood distri- 
buted by the authorities, after many hours' tedious 
waiting, was green and damp, and frequently would 
not even ignite. Eather than close their works, a rice 
mill and a chocolate factory, situated in out-of-the-way 
quarters, adopted a bold expedient, the managers 
causing all the asphalte of the neighbouring footways 
to be torn up and using it as fuel. Asphalte might, 
however, burn well enough in ovens and furnaces, but 
in grates its smell and smoke would well-nigh suffocate 
one. Private people had therefore to resort to other 
shifts and devices. Here is one instance oiit of many. 
M. Jules Pelcoq, the talented caricaturist of the 
Journal Amusant, and whose life-like sketches of 
Parisian scenes — forming a pictorial panorama of the 
siege — filled at this epoch the pages of the Illustrated 
London News, found himself quite unable to obtain fuel 
to warm his apartment. Accordingly, having made 
his rough sketches after Nature out of doors, he retired 
to bed, and there, with a cloak around his shoulderd 
and blankets piled upon his nether limbs, he proceeded 
to draw out his compositions prior to despatching them 
by balloon post. Each of his drawings was photo- 
graphed several times by Nadar, and the original and 
the various photographic copies were despatched in suc- 
cessive balloons, to guard against the chance of any of 
these falling into the enemy's hands. Thanks to this 
ingenious arrangement, scarcely a drawing made by 



ILL USIONS A T AN END. 243 

this talented draughtsman failed to reach its destina- 
tion, so that the Illustrated London News was enabled 
to present its readers with a more complete panorama 
of siege life in Paris than was offered by any other 
pictorial journal. 

Although the siege was rapidly drawing to a close, 

the balloons continued to take their flight from the 

Orldans, Eastern, and Northern railway stations. All 

the gas remaining in the city was utilized to inflate 

them ; oil being employed for the few street lamps 

now lighted, and a premature effort to employ the 

electric spark for purposes of illumination also being 

made on the Place du Carrousel. Five balloons started 

from Paris during the first fortnight in January ; and 

between the 15th and the 20th three more were sent 

off. The General Daumesnil^ which left on the 22nd, 

fell near Marchiennes, in Belgium, narrowly escaping 

collision with a passing railway train. On the 24th 

the Trouville was despatched, alighting safely in the 

Oise, and then before dawn, on the morning of the 

27th, there mounted from the Gare du Nord the 

Richard Wallace, which, with its unfortunate aeronaut, 

was lost at sea off La Rochelle. A few hours later the 

General Cambronne ascended from the Gare de TEst, and 

reached terra firma in the department of the Sarthe. 

The despatches which it carried acquainted disconsolate 

France and attentive Europe with the momentous 

news that Paris had at last surrendered !* 



* The number of balloons which leflb Paris during the siege was 
64. They conveyed 9000 kilogrammes of despatches, or 3,000,000 
letters of 3 grammes each ; 91 passengers, besides their aeronauts ^ 
and 363 carrier pigeons. Of these latter only 57 returned into 
the capital ; 4 in September, 18 in October, 17 in November, 12 
in December, 3 in January, and 3 in February. The last one 

16—2 



244 CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 



III. PARIS CAPITULATES. 

The end had come ! " As long as I have a barrel 
of powder and a loaf of bread, I will not surrender," 
once cried the commander of a beleaguered citadel. 
Paris had powder left, but there was no more bread. 
When the German armies drew round the vast city 
which Caesar Postiche and his admirers had converted 
into a toy-shop, a playground, an hotel for the whole 
world, when the hosts of the Fatherland belted with 
a circle of steel and fire the monster "Temple of 
FoUy," the great centre of luxury and pleasure, voices 
were raised on all sides that Paris would not resist for 
fifteen days. Such a pampered population could never 
support the hardships of a siege. And yet the metro- 
polis of France — which many judged by the apparently 
degraded condition of certain branches of its literature 
and art, by the indecency and venality of a con- 
temptible press — had resisted for twenty weeks; and 
during those twenty weeks its patience and its fortitude 
had been exemplary; and, despite just grievances, the 
vast majority of the population had remained firmly 
united in presence of all seditious efibrts. 

Leaving aside the blame which must remain attached 
to the blunders of General Trochu, the defence of the 
city, so far as bravery and firmness were concerned, had 
been most honourable. The line had fought valiantly 
at Champigny and La Malmaison, the artillery had 
stolidly resisted in the bombarded forts; the Garde 
Mobile had displayed its courage at Bagneux, Beuil, 

arrived on February 6, and had been despatched as far back as 
November 18. Respecting the balloons, 5 were captured by the 
enemy, and 2 were lost at sea. 



PARIS CAPITULATES. 245 

and Bry-sur-Mame ; the marching battalions of the 
National Guard had behaved bravely, if unskilfully, at 
Buzenval; the sailors had acted throughout with 
admirable heroism ; while the non-combatant popula- 
tion, the '^ useless mouths," had rivalled each other in 
self-denial and stoicism in presence of cold, hunger, 
and bombardment. But so much courage and so many 
sacrifices were destined to prove useless. Paris must 
bow the head in presence of a victorious foe. The 
whole world had followed with respectful wonder the 
progress of the siege, and now that the fall approached 
the general interest and attention increased. It was 
such a fall ! There was nothing like it in the history 
of sieges ; for, as a writer of the epoch remarked, "the 
capture of Constantinople by the Mahometans fades 
into insignificance when compared with the beleaguer- 
ment and the doom of the Queen of Cities, the most 
beautiful of capitals, the centre of European culture, 
the Mecca of luxury for aU the world of civilization, 
the scene of all that is most brilliant and tragic in the 
history of France, the dwelling-place of two millions 
of people, the greatest fortified camp ever constructed 
by engineering skill, garrisoned by the largest army 
that ever defended a stronghold." 

Whatever idea may have existed in the Government 
councils as to the possibility of a fresh sortie after the 
failure of that on January 19, vanished after the 
brawl of a few days later. On January 23 there was 
a long debate at the H6tel de Yille, whereat it was 
decided that M. Jules Favre should at once start 
for Versailles with the view of negotiating an armistice. 
It was resolved to acquaint the population with the 
fact, setting forth the quantity of provisions remaining 
in the city. M. Favre was instructed to present him- 



246 CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 

self, not as a vanquished foe, but as one still capable 
of resistance and resolved to defend firmly the interests 
of his native land. He was to speak and act with 
great prudence in presence of a dangerously crafty 
statesman. He was to say that the Government was 
anxious to put an end to a sanguinary struggle in 
which, however, the population was so desirous of 
persevering that any knowledge of the Government's 
intentions would suffice to bring about a riot. He 
was to add that he wished to know the intentions of 
the. German head- quarters in reference to Paris, with- 
out treating for peace, and he was then to apply for 
the re-provisioning of the capital and, if needs be, 
a general armistice.* That same evening the Minister 
of Foreign Affairs started on his melancholy mission, 
and, passing the positions held by the Bavarian con- 
tingent, reached Versailles about midnight, proceeding 
at once to Count von Bismarck's residence. 

At first the German Chancellor would not hear of 
negotiating. *' You come too late," he said. " We 
have negotiated with your Empire; you will not, 
indeed you cannot, take any engagement that would 
be binding on France ; we must adopt the most effec- 
tual means of finishing the war." The idea of Count 
von Bismarck's treating with the fallen dynasty roused 
M. Favre's ire, and he declared that the return of the 
Empire to power would lead to internal disorders ; 
whereupon the German statesman cynically rejoined^ 
*' That is a matter which concerns yourself; a Govern- 
ment which provoked civil war in France would be 
rather advantageous than prejudicial to us."t Even- 



* M. Dr^'s " Summary." 
t *' A Simple Narradve," by M. Jules Fayre. 



PARIS CAPITULATES. 247 

tually, however, the Count consented to treat for the 
desired armistice, the negotiations being long and 
painful. The scope of this work merely permits of 
their result being indicated. On the morning of 
January 26 the Journal Officiel apprised the Parisians 
that the situation, not merely of the capital but of 
the entire country, being hopeless, the Government 
had applied for a cessation of hostilities. On the 
morrow a second proclamation confirmed these tidings, 
and at midnight the bombardment and the fire of the 
forts, which had hitherto continued with unabated 
vigour, suddenly ceased. Hostilities were at an end. 

There was something oppressive in the silence of 
Paris after so many months of the booming of 
cannon and the blowing of bugles. For days the 
news of a capitulation had been dreaded, if not 
expected ; and yet, prepared as one was in a measure 
for the sad intelligence, it proved, when at length 
it came, a great blow, scarcely to be realized. Some 
few, whose sufferings had been intense, greeted the 
tidings as a deliverance from bitter misery, but the 
aspect of Paris was generally one of mournful agita- 
tion. Knots of citizens met at the comers of the 
boulevards and discussed the rumoured terms on 
which the armistice was to be granted ; some sadly 
accepting the conqueror's conditions as unrefusable, 
owing to the pressure of circumstances; while others, 
despite the desperate position of affairs, indulged in 
violent protests and vehement abuse of the Government. 

The latter was not spared in the new caricatures 
which flaunted from the neighbouring kiosques. Here 
was General Trochu, portrayed as a donkey, striving 
to restrain the advance of a trio of lions — the 
National Guard — whom he held in leash. Here, 



1248 CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 

again, was the " Mendacious Triumvirate," burlesque 
figures of Trochu, Ducrot, and Jules Favre, with 
placards attached round their necks. That carried 
by General Trochu bore the words, "The Governor 
of Paris will not capitulate ;" while the one adorn- 
ing the person of General Ducrot had the inscrip- 
tion, " Dead or victorious." On M. Favre's pancarte 
figured his famous saying, "Not an inch of our 
territory, not a stone of our fortresses" — a phrase 
often ridiculed, and yet fully expressing French 
sentiments at the time it was uttered. ' A third 
caricature of the time already depicted General Vinoy 
as the " capitulator j" and in a fourth composition we 
were shown — somewhat in anticipation of the result 
of the war — a helmeted guardsman of the Fatherland 
going home laden with plunder, not forgetting the 
favourite clock; while a French linesman, with one 
arm in a sling, returned to Paris unarmed and empty- 
handed. 

Meanwhile, several battalions of the National Guard 
protested collectively against the^rmistice, and General 
Clement Thomas had to issue a proclamation in which 
he deplored the necessity of having to restrain the 
ardour of the citizen soldiers. Then there came 
rumours that the admirals and the sailors refused to 
give up the forts ; and, finally, the Communist clan, 
having caused the tocsin to be sounded by several 
churches, made an inefiectual efibrt to seize the guns 
parked round Notre Dame. At last, at ten o'clock 
on the morning of the 29th, the forts were evacuated, 
and the advanced posts abandoned. Scarcely had the 
movement of retreat begun than the German columns, 
winding forward like long black serpents, issued from 
their trenches and their fortified camps. The French 




" VUIOV, THB CAFITIILITOB. 

CABTCATCBES OF THE FEBIOD. 



I. I 



■' I 
I I 






♦" 



\- 



, I 









PARIS CAPITULATES. 149 

were not late, but the enemy was in advance — eager 
to profit of his triumph. By the Barriere d'ltalie 
there poured into the capital thousands of linesmen, 
Mobiles, and sailors. The former were to give up 
their arms on reaching their barracks'; the last-named 
had left theirs behind them ii; the forts. On they 
came, marching silently and in good order, at times 
crossing some battalion of the National Guard pro- 
ceeding to duty at the ramparts. As one party of 
Communist-minded citizen soldiers passed by, with 
colours flying and bayonets scintillating in the wintry 
sunlight, they hooted the sailors for having given up 
their weapons. The sons of the ocean, who had 
behaved so bravely throughout the siege, found no 
words to reply to the insults heaped upon them : but 
as they marched on, obedient to discipline and with a 
steady tread, more than one Jack Tar, distressed by 
this uncalled-for treatment, brushed away from his eye 
a tear of despair and indignation. 

That same morning the following document, pla- 
carded over the walls of the vanquished capital, where 
all was hushed as in a house of mourning, made the 
Parisians fully acquainted with their destiny : — 

To THE Parisians. 

Heartbroken with grief, we lay aside our arms. Neither 
Bufferings nor death in the field would have induced Paris to 
accomplish this cruel sacrifice. It only surrenders to famine. It 
pauses when it has no more bread. In this cruel situation, the 
Government has devoted all its efforts to soften the bitterness of a 
sacrifice which necessity imposes. Since Monday night it has been 
negotiating. This evening a Treaty has been signed, guaranteeing 
to the entire National Guard its organization and its arms. The 
army, declared prisoners of war, will not leave Paris. The ofiicera 
will retain their swords. A National Assembly is convoked. 
Though France may be unfortunate, she is not crashed* She has 



250 CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 

done her duty, and she remains at least mistress of herself. This 
is the Convention signed this evening at eight o'clock, and brought 
back into Paris by the Minister of Foreign Affairs : — 

CONVENTION. 

Between M. le Comte de Bismarck, Chancellor of the Germanic 
Confederation, stipulating in the name of his Majesty the German 
Emperor, King of Prussia^ and M. Jules Favre, Minister of Foreign 
Affairs of the Government of the National Defence, both furnished 
with regular powers, have been determined the following arrange- 
ments : — 

Article L — A general armistice over all the line of military 
operations in course of execution between the German and the 
French armies shall begin for Paris on this very day, and for the 
Departments within the term of three days. The duration of 
the armistice shall be twenty-one days, dating from to-day; so 
that, unless it be renewed, the armistice will terminate on the 19th 
of February, at noon. The belligerent armies will retain their 
respective positions, which will be separated by a line of demar- 
cation. This line wiU commence from Pont TEv^que, on the coast 
of the Department of Calvados, and continue to Lignieres, in 
the north-east of the Department of the Mayenne, passing between 
Briouze and Fromentel. Touching the Department of the Mayenne 
at Ligni^res, it will follow the limit which separates that Depart- 
ment from the Departments of the Ome and of the Sarthe, to 
the north of Morannes, and will be continued so as to leave 
in German occupation the Departments of the Sarthe, Indre-et- 
Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret, and Yonne, as far as the point| east 
of Quarr6-les-Tombe8, where the Departments of the C6te d'Or, 
the Ni^vre, and the Yonne touch each other. From this 
point, the tracing of the line will be reserved for an under- 
standing which shall take place as soon as the contracting 
parties are made acquainted with the actual situation of the military 
operations now being executed in the Departments of the Cdte 
d'Or, of the Doubs, and of the Jura. In any case the line will poas 
through the territory composed of these three Departments, leaving 
in German occupation the Departments situated to the north, and 
to the French army those situated to the south, of this territory. 
The Departments of the North and of the Pas de Calais, the 
fortresses of Givet and Langres, with the territory which surrounds 
them to a distance of ten kilometres, and the peninsula of Havre 



PARIS CAPITULATES. 251 

far as a line drawn from Etretat in the direction of St. Romain, will 
remain outside the limits of the German occupation. The two 
belligerent armies and their advanced posts on either side will 
remain at a distance of at least ten kilometres £rom the lines drawn 
to separate their positions. Each of the two armies reserves for 
itself the right of maintaining its authority in the territory that it 
occupies, and of employing the means which its Commanders may 
judge necessary to attain that end. The armistice applies equally 
to the naval forces of the two countries, adopting the meridian of 
Dunkerque as the line of demarcation, to the west of which the 
French fleet will remain, and to the east of which, as soon as they 
can be warned, the German ships of war, which find themselves 
in Western waters, will withdraw. The captures made after 
the conclusion, and before the notification, of the armistice, will be 
restored, as well as the prisoners who may be token in the interval 
indicated. The military operations in the Departments of the 
Doubs, the Jura, and the Cote d*Or, as well as the siege of Belfort, 
shall continue independently of the armistice, until an agreement 
be arrived at regarding the line of demarcation — the tracing of 
which through the three Departments mentioned has been reserved 
for an ulterior understanding. 

Abticle n. — The armistice thus agreed upon has for its object to 
permit the Government of National Defence to convoke an Assembly, 
freely elected, which will pronounce upon the question whether the 
war shall be continued, or on what conditions peace shall be made* 
The Assembly will meet in the city of Bordeaux. Every facility 
will be given by the Commanders of the German armies for the 
election and the meeting of the Deputies who will compose that 
Assembly. 

Abticle III. — ^The French military authorities shall immediately 
surrender to the German army all the forts forming the perimeter 
of the exterior defence of Paris, as well as their material of war. 
The localities and the houses situated outside that perimeter, or 
between the Ibrts, may be occupied by the German troops as far as 
a line to be drawn by military commissioners. The ground between 
this line and the fortified enceinte of the city of Paris will be inter- 
dicted to the armed forces of both sides. The manner of sur- 
rendering the forts and the drawing of the line already mentioned 
will form the object of a protocol to be annexed to the present 
Convention. 



2 5 2 CONQ UERED B Y FAMINE. 

Article IV. — During the armistice the Grerman Army shall not 
enter the city of Paris. 

Article Y. — The tnctivJte shall be disarmed of its guns, the 
carriages of which are to be removed into the forts designated for 
that purpose by a Commissioner of the German Army. 

Article VL — The garrison (Army of the Line, Mobile Guard, 
and Marines) of the forts and of Paris, shall be prisoners of war, 
excepting a division of 12,000 men, which the military authorities 
in Paris wiU retain for service inside the city. The troops 
who are prisoners of war shall lay down their arms, which will 
be collected in appointed places, and given up according to 
arrangements made by a Commissioner, in the usual manner. 
These troops shall remain in the interior of the city, the enceinte of 
which they will not be allowed to pass during the armistice. The 
French authorities bind themselves to take every care that all 
individuals belonging to the Army and the Mobile Guard shall 
remain inside the city. The officers of the captured troops 
shall be designated in a list to be delivered to the German 
authorities; and at the expiration of the armistice, all the com- 
batants belonging to the Army confined in Paris will have to consti- 
tute themselves prisoners of war to the Grerman Army, if before 
that time peace is not concluded. The officers made prisoners will 
retain their weapons. 

Article Vil. — ^The National Guard will retain its arms. It will 
be charged with the protection of Paris and the maintenance of 
order. The same will be the case with the gendarmerie and the 
assimilated troops employed in the municipal services, such as the 
Bepublican Guard, the Douaniers, and the Firemen— the whole of 
this category not exceeding 3500 men. All corps of Francs-tireurs 
shall be dissolved by an ordinance of the French Government. . 

Article Yin. — Immediately after the signature of the present 
Act, and before taking possession of the forts, the Commander-in- 
Chief of the German Armies will give every facility to the 
Commissioners whom the French Government may send, whether 
into the Departments or abroad, to take steps for revictualling, and 
bringing in to the city the commodities intended for it. 

Article IX. — ^After the surrender of the forts, and after the 
disarmament of the enceinte and the garrison, stipulated in Articles 



PARIS CAPITULATES. 253 

V. and VI., the revictualling of Paris will be effected freely by 
transit, on railroad and river. The provisions intended for this 
revictualling shall not be drawn from the districts occupied by 
the German troops ; and the French Government engages itself to 
obtain provisions beyond the line of demarcation marking the 
position of the German armies, except in the case of an authoriza- 
tion to the contrary effect given by the Commander of the latter. 

Article X. — Every person wishing to leave the city of Paris 
must be furnished with regular permits^ delivered by the French 
military authorities, and submitted to the xfisa of the German 
authorities. Free passes will be granted, in right of their position, 
to Candidates to the provincial constituencies^ and to the Deputies 
of the Assembly. The free circulation of the persons who receive 
the authorization indicated will be allowed only between six in the 
morning and six in the evening. 

Article XI. — The city of Paris shall pay a municipal contribu- 
tion of war amounting to two hundred millions of francs. This 
payment must be effected before the 15th day of the armistice — the 
mode of payment to be determined by a mixed German and French 
Commission. 

Article XII. — During the armistice there shaU be no removal 
of the public objects of value which may serve as pledges for the 
recovery of the war contributions. 

Article XIII. — ^The transport into Paris of arms, ammunition, 
or of articles entering into their manuiacture, is forbidden during 
the term of the armistice. 

Article XIV. — Immediate steps shall be taken to exchange all 
prisoners of war made by the French Army since the commence- 
ment of the war. With this object the French authorities will 
hand, as promptly as possible^ nominal lists of the German prisoners 
of war to the German military authorities at Amiens, at Le Mans, at 
Orleans, and at Vesoul. The liberation of the German prisoners of 
war will be effected upon the points nearest to the frontier. The 
German authorities will deliver in exchange, on the same points 
and in the briefest possible time, to the French military authorities, 
a like number of French prisoners of war of corresponding ranks. 
The exchange will extend to civil prisoners, such as ship captains of 
the German merchant navy and tlie French civilians who have been 
interned in Germany. 



254 CONQUERED BY FAMINE. 

Article XV. — A postal service for unsealed letters will be 
organized between Paris and the Departments, through the medium 
of the headquarters at Versailles. 

In faith of which, the undersigned have appended to the present 
Convention their signatures and their seals. 

Done at Versailles, the 28th of January, 1871. 

Bismarck. 
Favre. 



EPILOGUE. 

With the fall of Paris came the end of the war in 
which the Empire had embarked with " a light heart." 
By the capitulation of the capital the Germans made 
180,000 troops prisoners of war. They, moreover, 
took possession of 1500 fortress guns, 400 field pieces 
and mitrailleuses, besides the gunboats on the Seine 
and a vast supply of ammunition. General Trochu 
must undoubtedly be held responsible for this result 
of the siege. His blunders were numerous and im- 
portant ; and although lie showed himself gifted with 
a certain power of organization, it was conclusively 
proved that he was quite inculpable of commanding an 
army in the field. Another general might, perhaps, 
have been equally unable to discover the gap through 
which the enemy's iron circle could be broken ; still 
far more skill might have been displayed than was the 
case. Of General Trochu's many coadjutors, M. Vinoy 
was, perhaps, the most competent; for the dilatory 
Ducrot, though subsequently considered a leading mili- 
tary man in France, proved, on the occasion of the two 
most important sorties, that he was a brave officer, but 
nothing more. He could not in justice pretend to 
the position of General-in-Chief; and even as a lieu- 
tenant he was not to be relied upon.* Trochu, Vinoy, 

* General Ducrot, dismissed from his military commands in 1878, 
on account of his anti-Kepublican opinions, died at Versailles on 
the IGth of August, 1882. 



2S6 EPILOGUE. 

and Ducrot constituted, on the French side, the 
military triumvirate of the siege ; but all three com- 
bined were powerless to contend against the strategy 
of Count von Moltke. The latter successfully consti- 
tuted a main double concentric line around Paris — 
the inner one facing the city and its huge garrison, 
and the outer one confronting whatever forces France 
tried to bring to the rescue. Originally the inner line 
was dependent on the outer one for protection ; but, 
circumstances changing, the outer line was enabled 
to draw on the inner one at any moment of distress. 
So clever were Count von Moltke's combinations that 
he was eventually in a position to thin his line of 
investment to a considerable extent — and this with 
perfect impunity. So thus the time passed on ; and, 
as a writer has remarked, on the one side there was 
" General Trochu groping in the dark in pursuit of a 
plan dependent on remote and hypothetical combina- 
tions ; and on the other, Von Moltke holding all the 
threads of his complicated but well-laid scheme in 
his own hand, watching every movement, providing 
against all contingencies, measuring speed and distance 
with mathematical precision; reckoning on positive 
data for never-failing results ; the means always ade- 
quate to the end; never short of his reckonings by 
one man; never before nor behind his time by one 
hour." To match an adversary of this genius the 
French needed a greater general than the 'Breton 
Bayard.' 

As a body the Government of National Defence 
was undoubtedly animated with good intentions ; but 
the latter do not suffice for the salvation of a people. 
Much of the hesitation which the Government dis- 
played in dealing with important political questions 



EPILOGUE. 257 

was due to the fear of being ousted from power by the 
Communist agitators. Indeed, many of its members, 
including General Trochu, dreaded Major Flourens, 
and his turbulent friends far more than they did the 
Germans; to this circumstance may be attributed 
most of their inconsistencies. These latter were at 
times painful to behold ; and an attentive study of 
the minutes of the Councils held at the Hdtel de 
YiUe shows that those who enjoyed the most liberal 
reputations frequently advocated the most reactionary 
measures. From a pecuniary point of view the Govern- 
ment was undoubtedly honest; but moral honesty, 
which consists in speaking the truth and acting in a 
straightforward manner, was a quality denied it. The 
pernicious habit of Ijring, fostered by the Empire, 
seized hold of the National Defence directly it was in 
power, and it, moreover, systematically withheld from 
the knowledge of the Parisians any unfavourable 
intelligence which came to hand. Over and over again 
did the Government compromise its popularity and 
aggravate the position of affairs by pursuiug a deplor- 
able policy of reticence and equivocation. 

It has been constantly argued that France should 
have made peace after Sedan, and, from a material 
point of view, this would perhaps have been the proper 
course. But, of all nations in the world, none are 
so particular concerning the point d'honneur as the 
French. Besides, the foreign critics who condemn our 
Gallic neighbours for having continued the struggle 
after Louis Napoleon and his army were led away 
into captivity, can afford to do so. It is easy enough 
to prescribe, for a foreign land, a line of action which 
one would not have dared to suggest had one's own 
country been in question. If patriotism were always 

VOL. II. 17 



2s8 EPILOGUE. 

governed by logic, it would lose half its strengtli. 
Undoubtedly, soon after Sedan the progress of the 
war might have been arrested ; Paris, France, might 
have been spared much suffering, thousands of lives 
might have been saved, but to effect this result, 
foreign intervention was necessary; for such w^ 
the peculiar situation of affairs, that France, mindful 
of her dignity, could not spontaneously sheathe the 
sword. 

When the Empire embarked upon the campaign, its 
conduct was looked upon as unjustifiably aggressive. 
The war was declared on a frivolous pretext, no doubt. 
The intrigues of the coterie surrounding the Empress 
Eugenie, who exclaimed, "C'est ma guerre a moi,'* 
the presumption and incapacity of the French diplo- 
mates and statesmen of the hour, led to a deplorable 
act of folly. But, while the hirelings of the Imperial 
Government shouted " A Berlin ! " along the boule- 
vard, and many genuine Parisians with them, across 
the Ehine there was scarcely a German who did not 
murmur in his heart and soul, " Nach Paris !'* And 
events showed that on the part of the Teutonic 
Kingdoms this was no mere war of defence. The 
contemplated invasion of Germany was forestalled by 
the invasion of France, and it soon became evident 
that the designs of the Fatherland were quite as 
aggressive and as spoliatory as those of its foe. 

After the Eevolution of September 4 it mattered 
little whether France or Germany was in the right. 
The interests of Europe — the balance of power, so 
often sneered at, and yet so conducive to harmony and 
peace — imperatively demanded that the struggle should 
be stopped. The nations made a timid attempt at 
moral intervention, but nothing more ; and the result 



EPILOGUE. 259 

was tlie birth of a stupendous mUitary power, which 
to-day oppresses the world as with a nightmare, 
forcing its neighbours to maintain gigantic armies, 
fettering commerce and industry, and poisoning the 
blessings of peace. The day that the Colossus of 
steel and iron, reared on the sands of Brandenburg, 
falls to the ground will be a day of triumph and 
relief for many millions of peaceful people. Had 
Lord Beaconsfield been in power in the autumn of 
1870, Great Britain might perhaps have thrown down 
its wand, and stayed the conflict ; but William Ewart 
Gladstone was at the head of the State, and the policy 
of non-intervention was all-paramount. What could 
have been expected from the Foreign Secretary of the 
day. Earl Granville, a courtier, not a statesman? 
Unmindful of the future, he and his colleagues did 
not consider intervention expedient. And yet, had 
fifty thousand bayonets been forthcoming at the right 
moment, Paris need not have capitulated, the balance 
of power would not have been destroyed, and Europe 
to-day would not have presented the aspect of a vast 
camp. The British Government and the British 
people had, however, but few sympathies for Repub- 
lican France. During twenty years, almost the entire 
English press, including the mightiest organs of the 
metropolis, had commended the policy of the Empire, 
which "kept Paris quiet," but which, had its rule 
persisted, would have converted France into a gigantic 
house of ill-fame ; and Louis Napoleon, the successful 
and unscrupulous adventurer who had trodden legality, 
honour, honesty, under foot, was hailed, on more than 
one occasion, with the cringing plaudits of a free 
people. So, when France overthrew the most corrupt 
Government of the century, instead of the act meeting 



26o EPILOGUE. 

with general approval, it weaned from her the support 
of every former friend. 

The events which followed the fall of Paris are still 
familiar in everybody's mind. A general election took 
place throughout the country, a National Assembly of 
royalist tendencies met at Bordeaux and ratified a treaty 
of peace, which abandoned to Germany the province 
of Alsace, and the arrondissements of Sarreburg, 
Chateau Salins, and the citadel of Metz in Lorraine. 
An indemnity of five milliards of francs was, moveover^ 
to be paid. V(b Fictis ! France, as all the world knew> 
had often made war for ideas ; Germany, it appeared^ 
only did so for profii The Government of National 
Defence had meanwhile resigned its powers, and M^ 
Thiers had been appointed Chief of the Executive- 
On the 1st of March, 30,000 Teutonic troops, havings 
been massed in the Bois de Boulogne and there passed 
in review by the Emperor William, entered Paris with 
colours flying and music pkying. in accordance with a 
clause in the treaty. Their occupation of the capital 
was limited to the Quartier des Temes and the Champs 
Elysdes, though certain detachments were allowed to 
penetrate into the Tuileries garden and to inspect the 
galleries of the Louvre. No conflict, fortunately, took 
place, though the Government greatly dreaded one^ 
for the National Guard had retained their arms, and 
there was no knowing whether theirexcitable patriotism 
would not impel them to some foolhardy effort. The 
convention by which Paris capitulated had granted 
to the National Guards this privilege of retaining 
their weapons, at the earnest solicitations of M. Jules 
Pavre, for the National Defence did not feel itself equal 
to the task of disarming the citizens. 

The German Chancellor's acquiescence in this 



EPILOGUE. 261 

matter was fraught with serious consequences. The 
Bed battalions, whose commanders had abeady 
during the siege formed themselves into a Central 
Committee, became a powerful impediment to the 
re-establishment of order in the capital. They had 
made themselves masters of several pieces of cannon, 
which should have been delivered up to the Germans, 
and these they obstinately declined to part with. 
Accordingly the Government entrusted General Vinoy* 
with the duty of surrounding the height of Mont- 
martre where these cannon had been installed, and of 
removing them from the custody of the refractory 
battalions. On the morning of March 18 a body 
of troops, under the immediate command of General 
Lecomte, proceeded to accomplish this task. The first 
movements were successfully made, but the horses 
necessary to convey the cannon away failing to arrive, 
time was allowed the Communists to beat the rappel 
aud summon all their supporters to the scene. The 
troops at once gave way, hoisting the butt-ends of 
their muskets and fraternizing with the citizens. 
General Yinoy and his staff galloped off as fast as they 
could, but General Lecomte fell into the hands of the 
Beds, together with General Clement Thomas, who 
was on the spot in plain clothes. The latter had 
taken no part in the enterprise, but whilst commanding 
the National Guard during the siege he had become 
somewhat unpopular. Accordingly, in company with 
General Lecomte, he was dragged to the garden of a 
house in the Bue des Bosiers, and here both officers 
were cowardly murdered. Their bodies, being con- 

'*' General Vinoy, who lubscquent to the Commune waa ap- 
pointed Grand Chancellor of the Order of the Legion of Honour, 
died in Faria in 1880. 



262 EPILOGUE. 

veyed on shutters into an abandoned room, remained 
as an example of "popular justice" to crowds of 
passers-by. 

This event was followed by the precipitate flight 
of the Grovemment to Versailles. The Central Com- 
mittee of the National Guard remained in power until 
the election of a Communist Municipality, which ruled 
Paris until the close of May. A regime of folly and 
excesses — during which one noted the destruction 
of M. Thiers* house in the Place St. Georges ajid 
the overthrow of ^the &.mous Vend&me Column — 
culminated, on the entry of the Versailles troops, who 
had forced the city to stand a second siege, in the 
burning of many of the principal monuments of Paris 
and the murder of Archbishop Darboy, together with 
other priests and personages of note, seized as hostages 
by the insurgents. The reprisals were certainly 
terrible ; but the provocation had been very great. 
The Commune was crushed. Some of its leaders and 
many of its instruments were shot down by the 
wayside. Others were condemned to death or sen- 
tenced to transportation by the military tribunals; 
though several of the most culpable managed to 
escape to England, Belgium, and Switzerland. To- 
day the ruins of the Tuileries still greet the tourist's 
eye, and the vast Court of Accounts remains a charred 
skeleton. But all the other edifices destroyed by the 
fury of the Terrorists have been restored. The 
Parisian Municipality is housed in a new and re- 
splendent H6tel de Ville. The Palais Eoyal has 
been rebuilt. The damage done to the Palais de 
Justice has been effaced. The Palace of the Legion 
of Honour has risen from its ashes. The building 
in which the Ministry of Finances was formerly 



EPILOGUE. 263 

lodged has been re-erected. The Vend6me Column 
rears itself once more at the end of the Bue de la 
Paix. New houses occupy the site of those fired 
by the Communists in the Bue Boyale. At the 
Croix Bousse one would seek in vain for a trace of the 
terrible conflagration which was there ignited. With 
new streets, avenues, and boulevards, illuminated at 
night-time by the electric light, with innumerable 
improvements eflfected in every direction, no one 
would recognize in the Paris of 1882 the devastated 
city of 1870-71. 

But four years ago a marvellous World Fair, the 
most wonderful of its kind, attracted to the French 
metropolis thousands of visitors from every country 
of the earth ; and a popular and talented journalist, 
describing the aspect of the city at that epoch, rightly 
gave to his attractive work the title of " Paris Herself 
Again." Those who, in the days of disaster and 
tribulation, prophesied that the fair city on the banks 
of the Seine — to-day the gay and beautiful capital of 
a consolidated BepubUc — would never regain her past 
splendour and prestige, forgot that beneath the bark, 
with full-spread sail, forming the city's escutcheon, 
there figures the appropriate motto— 

"Flucttjat NEC Mergituk." 



THE END. 



FmZVTBD BT BALLANTTHX, RAK80H AlTD OQU 
LOITDOV AlTD BDIVBUBOH 



i 



I. 

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