« PreviousContinue »
On the 8th of May the vote of ing, noiseless, cat-like step,—both the plébiscite was recorded, - be- looking wondrous thread bare, and tween seven and eight millions of in that state called “shabby genFrenchmen in support of the impe- teel,” which belongs to the man rial programme in plain words, of who cannot work for his livelihood, the Emperor himself — against a and assumes a superiority over the minority of 1,500,000. But among man who can. Their outward apthe 1,500,000 were the old throne- pearance was in notable discord shakers--those who compose and with that of the poet-politician-he those who lead the mob of Paris. all new in the last fashions of ParOn the 14th, as Rameau was about isian elegance, and redolent of Parto quit the editorial bureau of his isian prosperity and extrait de Mousprinting-office, a note was brought seline ! in to him which strongly excited Confrère," said the Pole, seathis nervous system. It contained a ing himself on the edge of the table, request to see him forthwith, signed while the Italian leaned against the by those two distinguished foreign mantelpiece, and glanced round the members of the Secret Council of room with furtive eye, as if to deTen, Thaddeus Loubinsky and Leo- tect its innermost secrets, or decide nardo Raselli.
where safest to drop a lucifer-match The meetings of that Council had for its conflagration,-“ confrère," been so long suspended that Ram- said the Pole, “your country needs eau had almost forgotten its exist- youence. He gave orders to admit the * Rather, the cause of all counconspirators. The two men en- tries," interposed the Italian, softly, tered, – the Pole, tall, stalwart, _" Humanity.” and with martial stride-the Ital- “ Please to explain yourselves; ian, small, emaciated, with skulk- but stay, wait a moment,” said
VOL. CXIV.NO. DCXCIII.
Rameau; and rising, he went to the to all members of the Council as door, opened it, looked forth, ascer- significant of its president, Jean tained that the coast was clear, then Lebeau. reclosed the door as cautiously as a “If I err not,” said the Italian, prudent man closes his pocket when-“Citizen Rameau is our youngest ever shabby-genteel visitors appeal confrère." to him in the cause of his country, Rameau paused. The penalties still more if they appeal in that of for disobedience to an order of the Humanity.
President of the Council were too “ Confrère," said the Pole, “this formidable to be disregarded. There day a movement is to be made—a could be no doubt that, though his demonstration on behalf of your name was not mentioned, he, Ramcountry
eau, was accurately designated as “Of Humanity," again softly in the youngest member of the Counterposed the Italian.
cil. Still, however he might have 5 Attend and share it," said the owed his present position to the Pole.
recommendation of Lebeau, there “Pardon me," said Rameau, “I was nothing in the conversation of do not know what you mean. I M. de Mauléon which would warrant am now the editor of a journal in participation in a popular émeute which the proprietor does not coun- by the editor of a journal belonging tenance violence; and if you come to that mocker of the mob. Ah! to me as a member of the Council, but—and here again he glanced over you must be aware that I should the paper-he was asked “ not to obey no orders but that of its presi- act, but to observe." To observe dent, whom I have not seen for was the duty of a journalist. He nearly a year ; indeed I know not might go to the demonstration as if the Council still exists."
De Mauléon confessed he had gone “ The Council exists, and with it to the Communist Club, a philosothe obligations it imposes,” replied phical spectator. Thaddeus.
“You do not disobey this order ?” “Pampered with luxury," here said the Pole, crossing his arms. the Pole raised his voice,“ do you “I shall certainly go into the dare to reject the voice of Poverty Faubourg du Temple this evening,” and Freedom ?"
answered Rameau, drily; “I have “Hush, dear, but too vehement business that way.” confrère," murmured the bland Ita- “Bon !" said the Pole; “I did lian; “permit me to dispel the not think you would fail us, though reasonable doubts of our confrère," you do edit a journal which says and he took out of his breast-pocket not a word on the duties that bind a paper which he presented to the French people to the resuscitaRameau ; on it were written these tion of Poland." words :
“ And is not pronounced in de“ This evening, May 14th. De- cided accents upon the cause of the monstration.-Faubourg du Temple. human race," put in the Italian, -Watch events, under orders of whispering. A. M. Bid the youngest member “I do not write the political take that first opportunity to test articles in ' Le Sens Commun,'” annerves and discretion. He is not swered Rameau; "and I suppose to act, but to observe.”
that our president is satisfied with No name was appended to this them since he recommended me to instruction, but a cipher intelligible the preference of the person who does. Have you more to say? men who over-much covet distincPardon me, my time is precious, for tion, and over-much dread reproach. it does not belong to me.'
“Why should I descend at your “Eno!" said the Italian, “we summons,” said Rameau, haughtily. will detain you no longer.” Here, “Bah! Coachman, drive on!” with bow and smile, he glided to- The rough-looking man opened wards the door.
the door, and silently extended a “ Confrère," muttered the Pole, hand to Rameau, saying gently : lingering, “ you must have become “Take my advice, mon bourgeois. very rich!-do not forget the wrongs Get out-we want your carriage. of Poland—I am their Representa- It is a day of barricades-every little tive-I-speaking in that character, helps, even your coupé !” not as myself individually I have While this man spoke others gesnot breakfasted !"
ticulated; some shrieked out, " He Rameau, too thoroughly Parisian is an employer, he thinks he can not to be as lavish of his own money drive over the employed !" Some as he was envious of another's, leader of the crowd — a Parisian slipped some pieces of gold into the crowd always has a classical leader, Pole's hand. The Pole's bosom who has never read the classicsheaved with manly emotion: “These thundered forth, “Tarquin's car!” pieces bear the effigies of the tyrant “Down with Tarquin !" Therewith -I accept them as redeemed from came a yell, “A la lanterne—Tardisgrace by their uses to Free- quin !" dom.”
We Anglo-Saxons, of the old “Share them with Signor Raselli country or the new, are not familin the name of the same cause,"
iarised to the dread roar of a popwhispered Rameau, with a smile he ulace delighted to have a Roman might have plagiarised from De authority for tearing us to pieces; Mauléon.
still Americans know what is Lynch The Italian, whose ear was in- law. Rameau was in danger of ured to whispers, heard and turned Lynch law, when suddenly a face round as he stood at the threshold. not unknown to him interposed be
“No, confrère of France — no, tween himself and the rough-looking confrère of Poland-I am Italian. All ways to take the life of an “ Ha!” cried this new-comer, enemy are honourable—no way is “My young confrère, Gustave Rahonourable which begs money from meau, welcome! Citizens, make a friend."
way. I answer for this patriot-I, An hour or so later, Rameau was Armand Monnier. He comes to driven in his comfortable coupé to help us. Is this the way you rethe Faubourg du Temple.
ceive him?” Then in low voice to Suddenly, at the angle of a street, Rameau, “Come out. Give your his coachman was stopped—a rough- coupé to the barricade. What matlooking man appeared at the door ters such rubbish? Trust to me
-“ Descend, mon petit bourgeois." I expected you. Hist! -Lebeau Behind the rough-looking man were bids me see that you are safe.” menacing faces.
Rameau then, seeking to drape Rameau was not physically a himself in majesty,-as the aristocoward—very few Frenchmen are, crats of journalism in a city wherein still fewer Parisians; and still fewer, no other aristocracy is recognised, no matter what their birthplace, naturally and commendably do, the men whom we call vain—the when ignorance combined with phy
sical strength asserts itself to be a fused panorama, and the dissonant power, beside which the power of tumult of yells and laughter, of knowledge is what a learned poodle menace and joke, began rapidly to is to a tiger-Rameau then descended act on his impressionable nerves. from his coupé, and said to this He felt that which is the prevalent Titan of labour, as a French marquis character of a Parisian riot—the might have said to his valet, and as, intoxication of an impulsive symwhen the French marquis has be- pathy; coming there as a reluctant come a ghost of the past, the man spectator, if action commenced, he who keeps a coupé says to the man would have been borne readily into who mends its wheels, “Honest the thick of the action-he could fellow, I trust you.”
not have helped it; already he grew Monnierled the journalist through impatient of the suspense of strife. the mob to the rear of the barricade Monnier having deposited him safehastily constructed. Here were as- ly with his back to a wall, at the sembled very motley groups. corner of a street handy for flight,
The majority were ragged boys, if flight became expedient, had left the gamins of Paris, commingled him for several minutes, having with several women of no reputable business elsewhere. Suddenly the appearance, some dingily, some gau- whisper of the Italian stole into his dily apparelled. The crowd did not ear-" These men are fools. This appear as if the business in hand is not the way to do business ; this was a very serious one. Amidst does not hurt the Robber of Nice the din of voices the sound of —Garibaldi's Nice : they should laughter rose predominant, jests and have left it to me.” bons mots flew from lip to lip. The “What would you do?”. astonishing good - humour of the “I have invented a new machine," Parisians was not yet excited into whispered the Friend of Humanity; the ferocity that grows out of it by “ it would remove all at one blowa street contest. It was less like a lion and lioness, whelp and jackals popular émeute than a gathering of —and then the Revolution if you schoolboys, bent not less on fun will ! not this paltry tumult. The than on mischief. But still, amid cause of the human race is being this
gayer crowd were sinister, frittered away. I am disgusted with lowering faces; the fiercest were Lebeau. Thrones are not overturned not those of the very poor, but rather by gamins." of artisans who, to judge by their Before Rameau could answer, Mondress, seemed well off-of men be- nier rejoined him. The artisan's face longing to yet higher grades. Ra- was overcast-hislipscompressed, yet meau distinguished amongst these quivering with indignation. “Brothe médecin des pauvres, the philo- ther," he said to Rameau, "to-day sophical atheist, sundry young long- the cause is betrayed "—the word haired artists, middle-aged writers trahi was just then coming into for the Republican press, in close vogue at Paris) — “the blouses I neighbourhood with ruffians of vil- counted on are recreant. I have just lainous aspect, who might have been learned that all is quiet in the other newly returned from the galleys. quartiers where the rising was to None were regularly armed; still re. have been simultaneous with this. volvers and muskets and long knives We are in a guet-à-pens—the soldiers were by no means unfrequently will be down on us in a few mininterspersed among the rioters. The utes; hark! don't you hear the distant whole scene was to Rameau a con- tramp? Nothing for us but to die