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Chapter 28

"Let us hasten to have done with these ghastly details.

"The next day, the fifth, something terrible was seen in the cemetery of Montmartre.

"An immense space, the exact location of which is unknown to this day, was 'utilized' for the temporary interment of some of those who had been massacred. They were buried with their heads above ground, in order that their relations might recognize them. Most of them had also their feet above ground, with a little earth upon their breasts. The crowd flocked to the spot, the sightseers pushed one here and there, they wandered about among the graves, and, at times, one felt the earth giving way beneath one's feet: one was walking on the stomach of a corpse. One turned and beheld a pair of boots, of sabots, or of women's shoes; while on the other side was the head, which the pressure on the body caused to move.

"An illustrious witness, the great sculptor David, who is now proscribed and wandering far from France, says:--

"'In the cemetery of Montmartre, I saw about forty bodies with their clothes still on them; they had been placed side by side and a few shovelfuls of earth hid all except their heads, which had been left uncovered in order that they might be recognized by their relations. There was so little earth that their feet were still visible; the crowd, horrible to say, was walking on their bodies. Among them were young men with noble features, bearing the stamp of courage; in the midst was a poor woman, a baker's servant, who had been killed while she was carrying bread to her master's customers, and near her a young girl who sold flowers on the boulevards. Those persons who were looking for friends who had disappeared, were obliged to trample the bodies under foot, in order to obtain a near view of their faces. I heard a man of the lower classes say, with an expression of horror: "It is like walking upon a spring-board."'

"The crowd continued to flock to the various spots where the victims had been carried, especially to the Cité Bergère, so that, on this day, the fifth, as the numbers increased to such an extent as to become troublesome, and as it was necessary to get rid of them, these words, written in capital letters on a large placard, were to be seen at the entrance of the Cité Bergère: 'There are no more dead bodies here.'

"The three naked corpses on Rue Grange-Batelière were not removed until the evening of the fifth.

"It is evident, and we insist upon it, that at first, and for the advantage which it wished to derive from it, the coup d'état did not make the least endeavour to conceal its crime; shame did not come until later; the first day, on the contrary, it flaunted it. It was not content with atrocity, it must needs add cynicism. Massacre was but a means; the end was intimidation.


Victor Hugo