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ventionalities of history which efface the true human interest of things. Legends are facts from which the life and colour have faded; and I sincerely trust that the siege I have witnessed may never become legendary, that something of its original Parisian naiveté may outlive its
LONDON, Feb., 1871.
DURING THE SIEGE.
PREPARATION FOR THE SIEGE.
On Monday, the 19th September, the network of iron which for the last five days had been gradually closing around us, was drawn tight across our throats at Chatillon, and we were left in Bismarckian language, “to stew in our own gravy." A gentle intimation of the real state of things was conveyed to us through the Official Journal, which prepared us“not to feel surprised at the absence of telegraphic intelligence from the country.” Unconscious disbelievers in the siege who attempted that morning to take a final peep at their country-houses in the West, found to their great dismay the bridges of Sèvres and St. Cloud blown up, and met disbanded troops of Zouaves and infantry pouring into the streets of the capital with sad tales of panic and "treason” from the rout at
Chatillon. Gradually, as the consciousness of captivity dawned more fully upon us, we hastened to the various heights within the town, from whence we could survey the boundaries of our prison. The imposing semi-circle formed southwards and westwards by the continuous ridge of Chatillon, Clamart, Meudon, Sèvres and St. Cloud, the surrounding heights of St. Denis on the north, the windings of the Marne and the woody Vincennes on the east, became thenceforth the horizon of our world. A world indeed : for it contained a nation, a Government—though frail and insecure and swaying to and fro with each breath of faction, yet the sole wreck of Government in France—and the destinies of forty millions of Frenchmen. The bitter truth must be accepted in all its bitterness. Paris, which we had fondly accustomed ourselves to consider as the “capital of civilization,” Paris the wonder and delight of Europe, revolutionary Paris with its clubs and orators and myriads of armed men, was compelled to submit to the fate of an ordinary hundrum provincial fortress. Truly, there was something tragic and queenly in her forlorn condition-forsaken of her lovers and friends and acquaintances, who knew her not in the hour of danger and distress. Was it really true that Europe could quietly make up its mind to do without us? What! no Deus ex machina, no miracle of the eleventh hour to save us ? There was pain, humilia