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after his salad,— like most Poles, he seemed there were any efforts made to spare it, the a miscellaneous feeder,— there came bustling Versaillist gunners were very bad shots. One in a fussy commandant with a grievance. His shell went through the wall bounding the avegrievance was thus expressed: “ General, I nue; another struck the corner of the house have been complained against because I have so hard that I thought it was through the wall. too large a staff
, and have been ordered to Dombrowski's nerves were strong, and he had bring the return to you.” Dombrowski took trained his staff to perfection. When this shell the return, and read it. “A commandant,” burst he was speaking to me. I started. I he exclaimed,“ and with a staff of ten officers! don't think his voice vibrated a single chord. What!” Here he rose and swept his arm The officers sitting round the table noticed the round the table with a gesture of indignation. explosion no more than if it had been a snap“Look, citizen commandant! Here am I, the ping-bonbon at a ball supper. A soldier waiter general, and behold my staff, nine hard-work- was filling my cup with coffee. The spout of ing men; and you, a commandant, have ten the coffee-pot was on the cup. There was no loafers! I allow you one secretary; go and jar; the man's nerves were like iron. There obey !” And the discomfited commandant was good, quiet, firm, undemonstrative stuff cleared out.
here, whatever there might be elsewhere. DomThe shell-fire was increasing. Dombrowski browski's adjutant took me up-stairs to the roof, told me that the Château de la Muette be- where there was an observatory. The stairlonged to a friend of Thiers, and that there- case and upper rooms had been very freely fore, although it was known to be his head- knocked about by shell-fire, notwithstanding quarters, there were orders that it should be the friendship of M. Thiers for the owner of somewhat spared. All I have to say is, that if the château. The observatory, which was of wood planking, was riddled with chassepot tenable that section of the continuous fortifibullets; and when I showed myself incautiously cation of which I speak. Its province was to on the leads, I drew fire with an alacrity so coöperate with, not to resist, Fort Issy. For surprising that I was not in the slightest de- several days past I have foreseen the necessity gree ashamed to make a precipitate retreat. of which I am now informing Paris, and I have
The park of the Château de la Muette prepared a second line of defense, of which the slopes down to the enceinte in front of Passy. railway viaduct defines the contour, and which One could not see the enceinte for the foli- I have made as strong as the enceinte and age. Beyond the enceinte was a belt of clear- more easily tenable. Yes; the Versaillists are in ing, then came the dense greenery of the Bois possession of that gate you heard the furried de Boulogne, and behind this green fringe was commandant talk of. They may have it and the bed of the great lake. From this fringe of welcome; the possession of it will not help wood great isolated puffs of smoke were darting them very much. But, all the same, I don't out. Those were from single cannon. I saw no mean to let them keep their hold of it without concentrated battery. But there clearly were giving them some trouble, and so I am going at intervals single cannon in small emplace- to make an attack on them to-night. As like ments at a distance from the enceinte of from as not they will fall back from their occupancy 400 to 500 paces. From the edge of the fringe of to-day, and then they will have the work to also, behind little trenches at the throats of the do over again to-morrow. But I am not godrives, smaller puffs spurted from the chasse- ing to fight with serious intent to retrieve this pots of Versaillist marksmen trying to pick condemned section of enceinte, as the order I off the Federals on the enceint, and on the have been dictating for publication will show; advanced horn-works in front of the gates but merely, as I may say, for fighting's sake. of Passy and Auteuil
. Just above the gate There is plenty of fight still in our fellows, esof Passy the Federals had a battery on the pecially when I am leading them.” enceinte, which was firing steadily and with I could not for the life of me make up my good effect. The gate of Passy was not much mind, nor have I done so to this day, whether injured, but might have been stormed by a Dombrowski's cheerful words were blague, or resolute forlorn hope, were it not for the whether the little man was really in dead earearthen outwork thrown up during the Prus- nest. With a promise from him that he would sian siege. The gate of Auteuil and the en- not start on his enterprise without me, I went ceinte for some distance on each side were into a side room to write a few lines for my utterly ruined. This Dombrowski did not at- newspaper. I had finished, and was instructing tempt to deny. But he pointed out that the the soldier messenger, whom Dombrowski's advanced earth work was held, and strongly adjutant was good enough to place at my disheld — not an obstacle, perhaps, it seemed to posal, where to deliver the packet containing me, to thwart men bent on gaining an object my message, when an urgent summons came or losing their lives, but quite sufficient to all to me to join the general. The little man was appearance to keep the cautious Versaillists on top of a very lofty charger, which was danfrom exposing themselves in the open on the way to it. Further south, by the gate of Billancourt and round to the Seine, the enceinte was no great thing to boast of. Certainly no man needed wings to get inside thereabouts. In proof of this, since I joined him, Dombrowski, as I have related, had received tidings that the Versaillists had carried that gate.
There was a good deal more risk than amusement in remaining in the observatory, and I descended to the ground floor. Dombrowski was standing, sword in hand, dictating three orders at once. He stopped to ask me what I thought of the prospect I had looked down on from the roof. I could not conscientiously express the opinion that it was reassuring from cing about the lawn on its hind legs. For me, the Federal point of view. “I am just dictat- alas! there was no mount, big or little; my ing an order,” said Dombrowski, “which will horse was in the stable behind the Rue Fauinform Paris that I abandon the enceinte from bourg St. Honoré, with that relentless sentry the Porte d'Auteuil to the river. If you are a standing over it. Messenger after messenger military man, you must recognize the fact that had come hurrying in from the Point du Jour our loss of Fort Issy has made virtually un- quarter entreating for immediate succor, as the
VOL. XLIV.- 106.
DRAWN BY H. D. NICHOLS.
A SECRET SESSION
holders of the positions thereabouts were be guns, I believe-opened fire on the Ceinture ing hard pushed. The cannonade and fusillade railway to the left of the Rue de la Municifrom the Seine all the way to the Neuilly gate, palité, and under their cover the infantrymen and probably beyond, continued to increase in debouched with a short-lived rush. Almost warmth as we hastened down the Rue Mozart. immediately, however, utter disorganization The Versaillist batteries were in full roar; and ensued, the result of a hot and close rifle-fire it was not possible, had some guns still remained which seemingly came chiefly from over a wall undismounted on the enceinte, to respond effec- which I was told inclosed the Cimetière des tively to their steady and continuous fire of Pauvres. The Federals broke right and left. weighty metal. Some reinforcements were wait- One forlorn hope I saw spring forward and go ing for Dombrowski on the Quai d'Auteuil, at the corner of the cemetery wall in the angle partly sheltered by the houses of the land- formed by a little cross-street, under the pasward side of the quay from the fire which was sionate leadership of a young staff-officer whom lacerating the whole vicinity. The tidings I had noticed in the Château de la Muette at which greeted the little general were unpleas- dinner-time. There was a few moments' brisk ant when he rode into the Institution de Ste. cross-fire, then the Federal spurt died away, and Périne, which was occupied as a kind of local the fugitives came running back, but without headquarters. It was the commandant of the their gallant leader. Some affirmed that Dom93d National Guard battalion who had come browski himself took part in this rash, futile efto the Château de la Muette to tell Dom- fort, but the locality was too warm for me to be browski how his men had been driven from able to speak definitely on this point. Meanthe gate of Billancourt in the afternoon. From while there seemed to be almost hand-to-hand what I could hurriedly gather, there had sub- fighting going on all along the exterior of the sequently been a kind of rally. National guards viaduct. I could hear the incessant whistle and had lined the battered parapet of the enceinte patter of the bullets, and the yells and curses between the gates of Billancourt and Point du of the Federals, not a few of whom owed the Jour and further northward to and beyond the courage they displayed to alcoholic influences. gate of St. Cloud. For some time they had Every now and then there was a shout and a clung to the positions with considerable tena- short rush, then a volley which arrested the city under a terrible fire, but had been forced rush, and then a stampede back under cover. back with serious loss, mainly by the close and Soon after ten it was obvious that the fight was steady shooting of the Versaillist artillery of nearly out of the Communists. Dombrowski I the breaching-batteries about Boulogne and had long since lost sight of. One officer told me those in the more distant Brimborion. The that he had been killed close to the churchyard gate of St. Cloud, as well as that of Point du wall; another, that his horse had been shot unJour, had followed the Billancourt gate into the der him, and that he had last seen the daring hands of Versaillists, who, having occupied the little fellow fighting with his sword against a enceinte in force and the adjacent houses in- Versaillist marine, who was lunging at him with side, had pushed strong detachments forward his bayonet. After the Commune was stamped to make reconnaissances up the rues Les out, accusations of treachery to the cause he Marois and Billancourt, one of which bodies was professing to serve were made against at least had penetrated as far as the railway Dombrowski. All I can say is, that so far as I viaduct, but had been driven back.
saw him, he bere himself as a true man and a Dombrowski smiled as this news was com- gallant soldier; and seeing that he lost his life municated to him, and I thought of his “sec- in the struggle, it seems the reverse of likely ond line of defense,” and of his assurance that that he had sold himself to the Versaillists. “the situation was not compromised.” By this Then came a sudden panic, and I was glad time it was nearly nine o'clock, and it seemed to make good my retreat behind the “ second to me that the Versaillists must have got can- line of defense,” which was not easily recognon upon or inside the enceinte, the fire came nizable as a line of defense at all, and concernso straight, so hot, and so heavy into and about ing which I suspected that Dombrowski must the Institution de Ste. Périne. Dombrowski have been gasconading. Once behind the railand his staff were very active and daring, and way, the Federal troops held their ground for the heart of the men seemed good. There was some time with a show of stiffness. Occasional some cheering at the order to advance, and the outbursts of fire indicated the attacks made troops, consisting chiefly of franc-tireurs and by detached parties of Versaillists; but those men wearing a zouave dress, so far as I could flashes of strife gradually died away, and about see in the gloom, moved out from behind the eleven o'clock the quietness had become so viaduct into the Rue de la Municipalité (that marked that I thought the work was over for was its name then, but I think it is now called the night, and that Dombrowski's anticipations the Rue Michel). A couple of guns - only field- had been at least partly realized. The pause
was deceptive. The Versaillists must have been them. Whether this was the case as regards simply holding their hands for a time to make the higher commands, I could not tell. I do the blow heavier when it should fall. No doubt not believe Dombrowski was the man to run, they had their combinations to mature else- nor any of his staff. But certainly none of them where. No doubt they were pouring in force were to be seen. There was a cry, too, that into the area between the enceinte and the there was an inroad from the south; and so Ceinture railway. They were quiet for a pur- men surged, and struggled, and blasphemed pose while they were doing this — lining the confusedly up the quay in wild confusion, shot enceinte and packing the thoroughfares with and shell chasing them as they went. In the artillery. We could hear in our rear in the dis- extremity of panic mingled with rage, men tance the générale being beaten in the streets blazed off their pieces indiscriminately, and of Paris. A staff-officer, who spoke English like struck at one another with the clubbed butts. a native, came to me and told me how he mis- Then battalions or detachments were met trusted the pause, and feared that the supreme coming up, upon which surged the tide of hour had come at last. It was near midnight fugitives, imparting to them their panic, and when a strong fire of cannon and musketry carrying them away in the rush. opened on the viaduct. At the same moment There was an interval of distracted turmoil there came on the wind the noise of heavy during which, in the darkness and in my comfiring from the north. I heard some one shout: parative ignorance of that part of Paris, I had “We are surrounded! The Versaillists are no idea for a time whither I was being carried pouring in by the gates of Auteuil, Passy, in the throng of fugitives. The road was wide, and La Muette!” This was enough. A mad and I was able to discern that it was bounded panic set in. The cry rose of “ Sauve qui on the right by the Seine; by after reference peut!" mingled with the other shouts of“Nous to the map, I found that the thoroughfare we sommes trahis !” Arms were thrown down, ac- had been traversing was the Quai de Passy. coutrements were stripped off, and every one After a while I struck out of the turmoil up a bolted at the top of his speed, many officers silent street on the left, and for a time wanleading the débâcle. I came on one party -a dered about in utter ignorance of my wherelittle detachment of franc-tireurs — standing abouts. I can hardly tell how it came about fast behind the projection of a house, and, call- that in the first flicker of the dawn I found mying out that all the chiefs had run away, left self on the Place du Roi de Rome (now, I be