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as they were that they were being ob- / was murdered ; nọt till all was over, and served, the men's gestures and language the Versaillais in full possession of the were so revolting that I hurried away at city, with all its prisons and palaces. In once, and the turnkey closed the guichet the interval he had gone to Montmartre, and followed me back into the room. and had witnessed the last desperate re
He seemed well disposed to converse, sistance of the Communists there, and and I asked him if he had been at La afterwards in the cemetery of Père la Roquette during the siege.
Chaise. “Through the whole of it,” he an- “ It was like hell upon earth," he said, swered, with an expressive shrug of his “as the shot and shell rained down upon shoulders.
the people whose frenzy of excitement "And during the Commune also ?” made them court death in the streets.
He turned round and said quickly, They were broyés, Madame, and men and * Madame est Française ?”.
women alike used the last energies of life, “No, I am English, but I am Française even as they expired, in hurling back dede coeur - you understand ?”
struction on their foes — their foes ! who “Perfectly," he answered, nodding his were children of France like themselves, head. “Well, then, Madame, I was in their countrymen, their brothers !” As deed here during the Commune, and I he spoke, the very vigour and earnestremained - yes, I remained till — ” ness of his description made it impos“ Until the end?” I said.
sible to note all he said, but at the “Till seven o'clock on the evening of moment he brought before my eyes such the 24th of May,” he answered, turning a picture of the horrors of the Commune, vehemently towards me; ' " and then, as I could not even have imagined before. when I saw them loading their rifles to “May Paris never know such a time shoot that good, that defenceless old man, again !" I said. I could bear it no longer - je me suis " Ah, Madame!” he answered, “ La sauvé. I fled out of La Roquette at the France est malade, ill with a chronic malrisk of my life. If they had caught me, ady ; and, like a sick person, she requires they would have shot me too; but I was to be bled from time to time, every twenty within these walls all the time Mon years or so, but they bleed her at the seigneur was here. I saw how they heart, they bleed Paris, and she will retreated him and the unfortunate men who quire it again — Dieu veuille that I do not were with him. I could not help him, of live to see it!”.. course — mais 'était infame! I never He was all quivering with excitement thought to the last they would kill him, as he spoke - but suddenly he subsided but when I did actually hear the order into his official stiffness and composure given - ah! it was too much !” The when he saw the head gardien appear turnkey said all this with the greatest along with my friend. They had come to rapidity, as if with a sense of relief in take me to that portion of the prison telling what he had felt; but just at that which had been inhabited by Monseigneur moment the Director came into the room, Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, and his whereupon in an instant my friend was companions in death, and which, it standing up erect, with his back to me, seemed, was under the exclusive care of looking as if he were not aware that I this superior officer. He was a tall, greywas present at all, whilst a quick glance haired old man, with a thoughtful, rather towards me, as he turned away, showed melancholy expression of face; and a few me that he wished me to look equally un- words which he casually dropped as he conscious of his vicinity. The Director led the way, showed me that it would deglanced round, and then went out again, pend entirely on his will how much or apparently having had no other purpose how little we saw, and also that to him but to see what I was doing. As soon as the murdered Archbishop had been an he had gone well out of sight and hear-object of the deepest veneration and reing, the turnkey came back, and, standing spect. before me, began to pour out a history of During my rather lengthened stay in all he had done and said during that fatal Paris I had become aware, that amid the week of May, with a vehemence of voice chaos of conflicting ideas which makes up and gesture which no words can repro | the sum of public opinion at the present duce. I asked him when he returned to juncture, the one subject on which popuLa Roquette after his flight, and he ap- lar feeling differs most widely is the fate swered, not till the Sunday following the of Monseigneur Darboy. There is a Wednesday on which the Archbishop| deeply-rooted impression amongst the lower classes that the Archbishop con- beds were placed close together, with arcealed immense stores of provisions dur- rangements for a complete system of suring the whole of the siege, on purpose veillance, by means of guichets in the parthat the poor might be starved. It is titions which divided them from the offihardly necessary to say how utterly false cers' rooms. is this accusation against a charitable and “I wish you to look at these beds," gentle old man ; but the assertion has said the gardien, “used by the worst been repeatedly made to myself, by per- canaille of Paris, that you may note the sons of humble station, with a vehemence difference when you see what was prowhich brooked no contradiction, and its vided for Monseigneur." almost universal acceptance amongst They were excellent beds, far more them is perfectly well known : the obvi- comfortable than those given to our prisous inference drawn by them is, that hisoners in England -. consisting of a high dreadful death is a just and right retribu-spring mattress over which was one of tion; while on the other hand, all the flock, with good sheets, blankets, and pil. more respectable classes who adhere to lows; they were perfectly clean, and the the Church believe, that living, he was a gardien said the linen was constantly true father to his people, and in death a changed. martyr and a saint.
“ The convicts are better lodged than I soon saw that the head gardien was our soldiers,” he added, “but now, Maone of these last, and that any reluctance dame, will you pass into this corridor ? he might feel in showing us the scenes of It was here that Monseigneur was the massacre, would be from the fear that brought at once on his arrival from the these “ lieux saints," as he called them, prison of Mazas on the 22nd of May, might be profaned by indifferent or hos- | 1871." tile spectators. It was not difficult, there The near approach of the army of Verfore, to satisfy him completely on that sailles on the evening of that day had descore as regarded ourselves; and in an- cided the authorities of the Commune to swer to my petition that he would not ex- proceed to the murder of the hostages, clude me from any part of the prison and the whole number, most of whom connected with the terrible tragedy, he were priests, were conveyed for that purturned towards me and said emphatical- pose from the Mazas, where they had ly, “Madame, to you I will gladly show been confined for some weeks, to the Déeverything without the smallest reserve, pôt des Condamnés. for I see that you will respect the memory Although the entire period of their imof the holy dead; you shall go over every prisonment had been spent under the inch of ground where Monseigneur trod, same roof, the hostages had never met from the moment he entered the prison till the moment when, on this evening, till he departed from this world alto- they were thrust, in parties of twenty and gether; and I will tell you every circum-thirty, into the great open waggons bestance of the forty-eight hours he passed longing to the Lyons Railway, which had within those walls : " and he did so, with been brought to convey them to La a minuteness of detail which, joined to Roquette, and in which they were exthe sight of the actual localities, made me posed to the full view of the crowd. almost feel as if I had myself followed the Some of them belonged to the same relisteps of the victims and their murderers, gious house — that of the Jesuits, Rue de even to the end. The gardien took us Sèvres ; many had been friends, and to first into a room on the ground floor, all at least the Archbishop was known: where, he said, ordinary criminals con- but although they pressed each other's demned to the guillotine make their hand with mournful significance, it is “ toilette de mort," interpreting the ghast- said that no word was spoken amongst ly term by saying that their hair had to them during their course through the inbe cut, and their upper clothes removed, surgent quarters of the Faubourg St. and he instanced Troppman as the last Antoine and La Bastille, where the frenwho had been so “ dressed”in this room; zied populace followed them with the but when I asked if Monseigneur had coarsest insults and menaces, excepting been brought here, he shook his head, I once, when one of the priests bent forand said they gave him no time for prep-. ward to the Archbishop, and pointing to aration of any kind. Then we went up the crowd said, “ Hélas ! Monseigneur, a wide stone staircase, at the top of which voilà donc votre peuple !" was an immense dormitory for the pris- Night had fallen when they arrived at oners at present under sentence. The La Roquette, and a brigadier carrying a lantern conducted them into the part of very high walls. The Archbishop, howthe prison where we now stood. It was ever, felt too weak and ill to avail hima wide corridor, with long rows of cells self of the permission, and spent the on either side, and on the left hand a greater part of the day lying in a half space in the centre was left vacant to ad- fainting state on his miserable bed. In mit of a window giving light to the whole; addition to his other sufferings, he was at the end was a corkscrew stair leading starving of hunger, for the Commune had down to the outer court. The prisoners been driven back by the army of Verwere immediately thrust into the cells, sailles into the eleventh arrondissement, one by one, and left there for the night where alone therefore they were in powin pitch darkness, so that they did not er; and the supply of food being very know till next morning what sort of a scanty, the hostages were, of course, the place they were in.
| last for whom they cared to provide. “ This was the cell occupied by Mon- One of the Jesuit priests, Père Olivaint, seigneur on that night,” said the gardien; who, four days later, was massacred in and he opened the first door to the right the terrible carnage of the Rue Haxo, and told me to go in. There was liter- had, however, secretly brought into the ally scarcely room for more than one prison a little food, which had been conperson in the small nårrow den into veyed to him by his friends while impriswhich I entered, and it contained nothing oned at Mazas. whatever but one wretched little bed, in- ! During the brief time of recreation, he finitely less comfortable in every way was able to obtain access to the Archthan those we had seen in the large dor- | bishop, and, kneeling on the ground bemitory. “But," I was told, “none who side him, he fed him with a small piece ever entered here had need of furniture, of cake and a tablet of chocolate ; and or would be likely to find rest on even this was all the nourishment the poor old the most luxurious couch, for those only man received during the forty-eight hours passed this threshold who knew that the he passed at La Roquette. Pere Olivaint executioner was awaiting them, and that comforted him also with the promise of their grave was already dug."
the highest consolation he could have in This cell was separated from the one the hour of death, as he knew that he next to it by a partition which divided in would have it in his power to give him two the small window that gave light to the holy Viaticum at the last supreme moboth. The gardien told me to go up close ment. Four portions of the reserved to that part of the window which was in Sacrament had been conveyed to the the Archbishop's cell, and, going into the priest, when in Mazas, in a little common next himself, he showed me that it was card-box, which I saw at the Jesuits' house possible for the prisoners respectively in the Rue de Sèvres, where it is preoccupying them to converse together, and served as a precious relic, and this he even to touch each other's hands -as had succeeded in bringing concealed on there was a space of a few inches left his breast to La Roquette : between the end of the partition and the It had been intended that this day, the panes of glass. The gardien then told 23rd, should witness the murder of the me that Monsieur Bonjean, Président de hostages, and the order was, in fact, given la Cour de Cassation, had been im- for the immediate execution of the whole prisoned in the second, and when it was of the prisoners who had been brought in discovered that Monseigneur and he were the evening before ; but the Director, holding communication together, the shrinking in horror from the task, sucArchbishop was at once removed to a ceeded in evading it, at least for a time, place of stricter confinement, which by pretending that there was an inforshould be shown to me at the other end mality in the order. This day passed over, of the corridor. He remained four-and-therefore, leaving them all, still alive, twenty hours in the cell where I stood - but without the smallest hope of ultifrom the evening of the 22nd to that of mate rescue. the 23rd. On the morning of this latter in the course of the afternoon the day the prisoners had been allowed to Archbishop's intercourse with Monsieur go down for half an hour into what is Bonjean having been discovered, he was called the “ premier chemin de ronde" - moved into cell No. 23, which we now that is, the first of two narrow stone-paved went on to see. On our way towards it, courtyards which surround La Roquette the gardien took us down a side passage, on three sides, and are separated from and, opening a door, introduced us into each other and from the outer world by 'a gallery, which we found formed part of the chapel, and was the place from which the heavy bolts at last give way. He had the prisoners of this corridor heard mass. by this time quite discovered the interest Just opposite to us, on the same side with I took in the object of his own almost the High Altar, was a sort of balcony, passionate veneration and love, and, turnenclosed by boards painted black and ing to me, he said, “Madame, I would white, and surmounted by a cross, in have opened this door for you if I had which the gardien told us criminals con- been obliged to send for a locksmith to · demned to death were placed to hear the do it, for I see how you feel for our marmass offered for them just before their tyred father, but you may well be conexecution.
tent to gain admission to this cell, for “ Was the Archbishop allowed to come thousands have asked to see it and have here for any service ?" I asked.
been refused. I am sole guardian of it, “Monseigneur! no, indeed! to per- and I keep the key by my side all day, form any religious duty was the last thing and under my pillow at night, and those they would have allowed him to do. He only enter here who have some strong was never out of his cell but once, and claim for admission.” that was on the morning of the day he He threw open the door as he spoke, died. I will show you afterwards where standing back to let me pass, and I went he went then. Voilà notre brave aumô-in. I stood for a few minutes within that nier," continued the gardien, pointing to miserable cell, unable to speak, so great an old priest who was sitting at a table in was the shock I received from the conthe body of the church, with two of the viction of the absolute malignity which convicts seated beside him ; “he is such must have dictated the arrangements of a kind friend to all those wretches, but, the poor Archbishop's last resting-place unfortunately, he was at Mazas when on earth. Having seen the other cells, Monseigneur was here."
and the comparatively comfortable beds He now took us back to the Archbish- provided for even the worst criminals op's last abode The door of cell No. 23, amongst the convicts, I saw that it must unlike those of all the others which stood have been a studied purpose which had open, was not only closed, but heavily prepared so squalid and revolting a couch barred and bolted.
for the aged and dying “father of his “ This cell,” said the gardien, “ has people.” A low, rude framework of wood, never been used or touched in any way totally different from the iron bedsteads since Monseigneur occupied it - it has in the other rooms, was spread with a been kept in precisely the same state as palliasse of the coarsest description, torn that in which he left it—the bed has not open down the centre, so that the straw even been made ; you will see it exactly - far from clean — with which it was as it was when he rose from it at the scantily filled was all exposed to view; call of those who summoned him out to over this was thrown one ragged woollen die."
| covering, stained and black, as if it had It seemed at first rather doubtful been left unwashed after long use in whether we should see it, for the gardien some low locality, and one very small, had taken a key from his pocket while he hard bolster, which, apparently from simwas speaking, and was now trying to un-ilar usage, had lost all appearance of havlock the door and open the many bolts, ing ever been white : in so many words, which were stiff and rusty from long dis- the whole furniture of the bed. looked as use. With the exertion of his utmost if it had been extracted from the lowest strength he could not for a long time and darkest den in the worst quarters of move them all, and. I thought, as the i Paris, for the express purpose of making harsh grating noise of the slowly turning such a couch as one would shrink from · key echoed through the corridor, how touching with the tip of one's fingers. I terrible that sound must have been to the need not enter into the details which unfortunate Archbishop, when he last made me with justice call it revolting, heard it, accompanied by coarse and but I am sure that no English gentleman cruel menaces shouted through the would have bid his dog lie down upon it. door, which told him it was opening to Such as it was, however, the Archbishop, bring him out to a bitter death. The gar-i faint and failing in the long death-agony dien made so many ineffectual efforts / which began for him when he entered Lá before he succeeded, that I felt quite Roquette, had been fain to stretch upon afraid it would not be possible for him to it his worn-out frame and aching limbsadmit us, and I said so to him, with an but not to sleep, for the gardien believed exclamation of satisfaction, when I saw he never closed his eyes in that his last
LA ROQUETTE, 24T11 MAY, 1871,
''297 night on earth. It was strictly true that I had lain on it could still be traced, he everything had been religiously preserved said, in a very aggrieved tone in the precise state in which he left it “ Look what an Englishman did, who we could see that the bed had not been was allowed to enter here: when I had touched; the pillow was still displaced, turned my head away just for one moas it had been by the uneasy movements ment, he robbed me of this ;” and he of the poor grey head that assuredly had showed me that a little morsel of the found no rest thereon, and the woollen woollen cover had been torn off, no doubt cover was still thrown back, just as the to be kept as a sacred relic. Archbishop's own hand had Aung it off “I was just going to ask you if I might when he rose at the call of his murderers, take a little piece of the straw on which to look for the last time on the face of Monseigneur lay," I said. God's fair sun.
1 “By all means," answered the gardien, "Et il faisait un si beau temps," as an " you are most welcome.” eye-witness said of that day.“ Mon I took a very small quantity, and was Dieu ! quelle belle journée de printemps turning to go away, when he said nous avions ce maudit vingt-quatre Mai!” “Would you not like some more ? One happy recollection alone relieves the Why have you taken so little ?” atmosphere of cruelty and hate which “Because, as you spoke of an Englishseems to hang round the stone walls of man's depredations, I did not want to this death-chamber — for it was here on make you complain of an English woman that last morning that the Archbishop re- too.” ceived from the hands of Père Olivaint “I did not know you were English," the Sacred Food, in the strength of which he said, looking sharply round at me ; he was to go that same day even to the and I felt afraid I should have cause to Hount of God.
regret the admission, for I had discovFrom here, too, in the early morning ered, during my residence in Paris, that of the 24th, he went to gain the only the children of “perfide Albion ” are not breath of fresh air which he was allowed by any means in the good graces of to breathe at La Roquette. During the Frenchmen, at the present juncture. In usual half-hour's recreation permitted to the commencement of the war it was the the convicts, he descended with the rest popular belief amongst them that their into the first courtyard, and there one ally of the old Crimean days would cerother moment of consolation came to tainly come forward to succour France in him, which brightened the Via Dolorosa her terrible strait, and they have not yet he was treading, with a last gleam of joy.forgiven us, if they ever do, for our strict Monsieur Bonjean, who shared with him maintenance of neutrality. his prison and his death, had been in the The gardien, however, after the first days of his life and liberty a determined moment of evident annoyance, seemed to unbeliever ; but since he came into the make up his mind to overlook my nationDépôt des Condamnés he had been seen ality, and gave me a generous handful of on every possible occasion in close con- straw, before he once more locked up the versation with the Père Clerc, one of the cell, telling me that no one would ever be doomed priests; and on this morning, as allowed to occupy it again. An open the Archbishop, unable from weakness to door, a few steps farther on, led into that walk about, leant for support against the which had been appropriated to Monsieur railing of a stair, Monsieur Bonjean came Deguerry, Curé of the Madeleine, and as up, and, stretching out his hands to him I glanced into it I saw a fairly comfortawith a smile, prayed Monseigneur to ble bed, with good sheets and blankets. bless him, for, he said, he had seen the “How much better Monsieur Deguerry Truth standing, as it were, at the right was lodged than the Archbishop,” I said hand of Death, and he, too, was about to to the gardien. depart in the faith of Christ.
| “Every one was better lodged than It was a relief to remember that these Monseigneur,” he answered : “cette calast rays of sunshine had gleamed for the naille de Commune did all they could to old man through the very shadow of death, make him suffer from first to last.” amid the terribly painful associations of On this fatal day, the 24th of May, the the place in which I stood, and the gar- rapid successes of the Versaillais showed dien waited patiently while I lingered, the authorities of the Commune that the thinking of it all ; at last, however, as he term of their power might almost be was stooping over the bed, showing me numbered by hours, and these hours they where the outline of the weary form that determined should be devoted to revenge