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“They halted two hundred paces from the little bridge. At that moment the crowd and the dragoons touched. The women fled in terror. What took place at that fatal moment no one can tell. The fact is, three shots were fired, the first killed the chief of the squadron, the second killed an old deaf woman, and the third singed the shoulder of an officer. All at once a squadron of dragoons was seen to debouch at a gallop with bared swords, through the Rue Bouviers, and the Boulevard Bourdon, sweeping all before them.
A FRIGHTFUL ADVENTURE
“Then all is said, the tempest is loosed, stones rain down, a fusillade breaks forth, many precipitate themselves to the bottom of the bank and pass the small arm of the Seine, now filled in, the timber yard of the Isle Louviers, that vast citadel ready in hand bustles with combatants, stakes are torn up, pistol shots are fired, a barricade begun; the municipal guard, the carbineers, rush up, the dragoons ply their swords, the crowd disperses in all directions, a rumor of war flies to all parts of Paris, men shout, “To Arms,” they tumble down, flee, resist. Wrath spreads abroad the riot as wind spreads the fire.
“And then, on the right bank, and the left bank, on the quays, on the boulevards, in the Latin country, in the quarter of the Halles, panting men, artisans, students, members of sections, read proclamations and shouted: “To Arms,’ broke street lanterns, unharnessed carriages, unpaved the streets, broke in the doors of houses, uprooted trees, rummaged cellars, rolled out hogsheads, heaped up paving stones, rough slabs, furniture and planks, and made barricades.
“In less than an hour, twenty-seven barricades sprang out of the earth in the quarter of Halles alone, without reckoning the innumerable barricades in twenty other quarters of Paris. “At five o'clock in the evening, a third of Paris was in the hands of the rioters. The conflict had been begun on a gigantic scale at all points, and, as the result of the disarming, domiciliary visits, and armorers' shops hastily invaded, was, that the combat which had begun with the throwing of stones was continued with gunshots. “About six o'clock in the evening the Passage du Samuau became the field of battle. The uprising was at one end, the troops were at the other. They fired from one gate to the other. “Meanwhile the call to arms was beaten, the National Guard armed in haste, the legions emerged from the mayoralities, the regiments from their barracks. Opposite the passage a drummer boy received a blow from a dagger, another was assailed in the Rue by thirty young men who broke his instrument and took away his sword, another was killed. In the Rue three officers fell dead one after another, many of the municipal guards being wounded, retreated. “In front of the Cour-Batave a detachment of the National Guard found a red flag bearing this inscription: ‘Republican Revolution No. 127.’ Was this a revolution in fact? “The insurrection had made of the center of Paris a sort of inextricable tortuous citadel. The proof that all would be decided there lay in the fact that no fighting was going on there as yet. “In some regiments the soldiers were uncertain, which added to the fearful uncertainty of the crisis. Two intrepid men, tried in great wars, the Marshal Labou and General Bugeaued, were in command Bugeaued under Labau. Enormous patrols composed of battalions of the line, enclosed in entire companies of the National Guard, and preceded by a commissary of police wearing his scarf of office, went to reconnoitre the streets in rebellion. The insurrection, on their side, placed videttes at the corners of all open spaces, and audaciously sent their patrols outside the barricades. Each side was watching the other side. The government with an army in its hand, hesitated. The night was almost upon them, and the Saint Merry tocsin began to make itself heard. The minister of war regarded this with a gloomy air. “These old sailors were utterly disconcerted in the presence of that immense foam called public wrath. “The National Guards of the suburbs rushed up in haste and disorder, a battalion of the twelfth light came at a run from Saint Denis, the fourteenth of the Line arrived from Courbevoie, the batteries of the Military School had taken up their position on the Corrousel; cannons were descending from Vincennes. “Solitude was around the Tuileries. Louis Philippe was perfectly serene. “Evening came, the theatres did not open; the patrols circulated with an air of irritation; passers-by were searched; suspicious persons were arrested. By nine o'clock more than eight hundred persons had been arrested; the prefecture of police was encumbered with them, so was La Force. Else
“Anxiety reigned everywhere.
“People barricaded themselves in their houses; wives and mothers were uneasy; nothing was heard but this, “Ah, my God, he has not come home.’ There was hardly even the rumble of a distant vehicle to be heard. People listened on their thresholds, to the rumors, the shouts, the tumults, to the trumpet, the drum, the firing and above all to the lamentable alarm peal of Saint Merry.
“The band led by Charles had flung themselves into the Rue de la Hanverie. Terror seized on the street at the interruption of the mob. Like the flash of lightning all shops, stables, doors, windows and shutters were closed from ground floor to roof. One building, a cafe, alone remained open, and that for the reason that the mob had rushed it and took possession of it. In front of this building a barricade was built in less than an hour without hindrance. In the rear was an island of houses with many narrow angled lanes and crannies between. An attack was not possible from that side; all other sides were closed by the barricade, it was nearly impregnable.
In the kitchen they moulded into bullets, pewter mugs, spoons, forks and all the brass table ware of the establishment. On the tables were mixed pell mell caps and buckshot, and glasses of wine. Women tore dish towels and made lint.
“When the barricade was finished, a table was brought
out. Charles mounted on the table and distributed cartridges. They loaded the guns and carbines with solemn gravity. “Then, the posts having been assigned, the sentinels stationed, they waited alone, enveloped in the deepening shades of twilight, in the midst of silence through which something could be felt advancing and which had about it something