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Chapter 7


ITEMS AND INTERVIEWS

Lamoricière on the same morning found means to convey to me by Madame de
Courbonne[15] the following information.

"---- Fortress of Ham.--The Commandant's name is Baudot. His appointment,
made by Cavaignac in 1848, was countersigned by Charras. Both are to-day
his prisoners. The Commissary of Police, sent by Morny to the village of
Ham to watch the movements of the jailer and the prisoners, is Dufaure de
Pouillac."[16]

I thought when I received this communication that the Commandant Baudot,
"the jailer," had connived at its rapid transmission.

A sign of the instability of the central power.

Lamoricière, by the same means, put me in possession of some details
concerning his arrest and that of his fellow-generals.

These details complete those which I have already given.

The arrests of the Generals were affected at the same time at their
respective homes under nearly similar circumstances. Everywhere houses
surrounded, doors opened by artifice or burst open by force, porters
deceived, sometimes garotted, men in disguise, men provided with ropes,
men armed with axes, surprises in bed, nocturnal violence. A plan of
action which resembled, as I have said, an invasion of brigands.

General Lamoricière, according to his own expression, was a sound
sleeper. Notwithstanding the noise at his door, he did not awake. His
servant, a devoted old soldier, spoke in a loud voice, and called out to
arouse the General. He even offered resistance to the police. A police
agent wounded him in the knee with a sword thrust.[17] The General was
awakened, seized, and carried away.

While passing in a carriage along the Quai Malaquais, Lamoricière noticed
troops marching by with their knapsacks on their backs. He leaned quickly
forward out of the window. The Commissary of Police thought he was about
to address the soldiers. He seized the General by the arm, and said to
him, "General, if you say a word I shall put this on you." And with the
other hand he showed him in the dim light something which proved to be a
gag.

All the Generals arrested were taken to Mazas. There they were locked up
and forgotten. At eight in the evening General Changarnier had eaten
nothing.

These arrests were not pleasant tasks for the Commissaries of Police.
They were made to drink down their shame in large draughts. Cavaignac,
Leflô, Changarnier, Bedeau, and Lamoricière did not spare them any more
than Charras did. As he was leaving, General Cavaignac took some money
with him. Before putting it in his pocket, he turned towards Colin, the
Commissary of Police who had arrested him, and said, "Will this money be
safe on me?"

The Commissary exclaimed, "Oh, General, what are you thinking of?"

"What assurance have I that you are not thieves?" answered Cavaignac. At
the same time, nearly the same moment, Charras said to Courteille, the
Commissary of Police, "Who can tell me that you are not pick-pockets?"

A few days afterwards these pitiful wretches all received the Cross of
the Legion of Honor.

This cross given by the last Bonaparte to policemen after the 2d of
December is the same as that affixed by the first Napoleon to the eagles
of the Grand Army after Austerlitz.

I communicated these details to the Committee. Other reports came in. A
few concerned the Press. Since the morning of the 4th the Press was
treated with soldierlike brutality. Serrière, the courageous printer,
came to tell us what had happened at the _Presse_. Serrière published
the _Presse_ and the _Avénement du Peuple_, the latter a new name for
the _Evénement_, which had been judicially suppressed. On the 2d, at
seven o'clock in the morning, the printing-office had been occupied by
twenty-eight soldiers of the Republican Guard, commanded by a
Lieutenant named Pape (since decorated for this achievement). This man
had given Serrière an order prohibiting the printing of any article
signed "Nusse." A Commissary of Police accompanied Lieutenant Pape.
This Commissary had notified Serrière of a "decree of the President of
the Republic," suppressing the _Avénement du Peuple_, and had placed
sentinels over the presses. The workmen had resisted, and one of them
said to the soldiers, "_We shall print it in spite of you_." Then forty
additional Municipal Guards arrived, with two quarter-masters, four
corporals, and a detachment of the line, with drums at their head,
commanded by a captain. Girardin came up indignant, and protested with
so much energy that a quarter-master said to him, "_I should like a
Colonel of your stamp_." Girardin's courage communicated itself to the
workmen, and by dint of skill and daring, under the very eyes of the
gendarmes, they succeeded in printing Girardin's proclamations with the
hand-press, and ours with the brush. They carried them away wet, in
small packages, under their waistcoats.

Luckily the soldiers were drunk. The gendarmes made them drink, and
the workmen, profiting by their revels, printed. The Municipal Guards
laughed, swore and jested, drank champagne and coffee, and said, "_We
fill the places of the Representatives, we have twenty-five francs a
day_." All the printing-houses in Paris were occupied in the same manner
by the soldiery. The _coup d'état_ reigned everywhere. The Crime even
ill-treated the Press which supported it. At the office of the _Moniteur
Parisien_, the police agents threatened to fire on any one who should
open a door. M. Delamare, director of the _Patrie_, had forty Municipal
Guards on his hands, and trembled lest they should break his presses. He
said to one of them, "_Why, I am on your side_." The gendarme replied,
"_What is that to me?_"

At three o'clock on the morning of the 4th all the printing-offices were
evacuated by the soldiers. The Captain said to Serrière, "We have orders
to concentrate in our own quarters." And Serrière, in announcing this
fact, added, "Something is in preparation."

I had had since the previous night several conversations with Georges
Biscarrat, an honest and brave man, of whom I shall have occasion to
speak hereafter. I had given him rendezvous at No. 19, Rue Richelieu.
Many persons came and went during this morning of the 4th from No. 15,
where we deliberated, to No. 19, where I slept.

As I left this honest and courageous man in the street I saw M. Mérimée,
his exact opposite, coming towards me.

"Oh!" said M. Mérimée, "I was looking for you."

I answered him,--

"I hope you will not find me."

He held out his hand to me, and I turned my back on him.

I have not seen him since. I believe he is dead.

In speaking one day in 1847 with Mérimée about Morny, we had the
following conversation:--Mérimée said, "M. de Morny has a great future
before him." And he asked me, "Do you know him?"

I answered,--

"Ah! he has a fine future before him! Yes, I know M. de Morny. He is a
clever man. He goes a great deal into society, and conducts commercial
operations. He started the Vieille Montagne affair, the zinc-mines, and
the coal-mines of Liège. I have the honor of his acquaintance. He is a
sharper."

There was this difference between Mérimée and myself: I despised Morny,
and he esteemed him.

Morny reciprocated his feeling. It was natural.

I waited until Mérimée had passed the corner of the street. As soon as
he disappeared I went into No. 15.

There, they had received news of Canrobert. On the 2d he went to see
Madame Leflô, that noble woman, who was most indignant at what had
happened. There was to be a ball next day given by Saint-Arnaud at the
Ministry of War. General and Madame Leflô were invited, and had made an
appointment there with General Canrobert. But the ball did not form a
part of Madame Leflô's conversation with him. "General," said she, "all
your comrades are arrested; is it possible that you give your support
to such an act?" "What I intend giving," replied Canrobert, "is my
resignation and," he added, "you may tell General Leflô so." He was pale,
and walked up and down, apparently much agitated. "Your resignation,
General?" "Yes, Madame." "Is it positive?" "Yes, Madame, if there is no
riot." "General Canrobert," exclaimed Madame Leflô, "that _if_ tells me
your intentions."

Canrobert, however, had not yet taken his decision. Indeed, indecision
was one of his chief characteristics. Pelissier, who was cross-grained
and gruff, used to say, "Judge men by their names, indeed! I am
christened _Amable_, Randon _César_, and Canrobert _Certain_."


[15] No. 16, Rue d'Anjou, Saint Honoré.

[16] The author still has in his possession the note written by
Lamoricière.

[17] Later on, the wound having got worse, he was obliged to have his
leg taken off.


Victor Hugo