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Diary of the Besieged Resident in Paris   By: (1831-1912)

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First Page:

DIARY

OF

THE BESIEGED RESIDENT

IN PARIS.

DIARY

OF

THE BESIEGED RESIDENT

IN PARIS.

REPRINTED FROM "THE DAILY NEWS,"

WITH

SEVERAL NEW LETTERS AND PREFACE.

IN ONE VOLUME.

Second Edition, Revised.

LONDON: HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS, 13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 1871.

The Right of Translation is Reserved .

LONDON: BRADBURY, EVANS, AND CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.

Transcriber's note: In this book there are inconsistencies in accentation and capitalisation; these have been left as in the original. This book contains two chapters labeled XVII.

PREFACE.

The publishers of these letters have requested me to write a preface. In vain I have told them, that if prefaces have not gone out of date, the sooner they do, the better it will be for the public; in vain I have despairingly suggested that there must be something which would serve their purpose, kept in type at their printers, commencing, "At the request of perhaps too partial friends, I have been induced, against my own judgment, to publish, &c., &c., &c.;" they say that they have advertised the book with a preface, and a preface from me they must and will have. Unfortunately I have, from my earliest childhood, religiously skipped all introductions, prefaces, and other such obstructions, so that I really do not precisely know how one ought to be written; I can only, therefore, say that

These letters are published for the very excellent reason that a confiding publisher has offered me a sum of money for them, which I was not such a fool as to refuse. They were written in Paris to the Daily News during the siege. I was residing there when the war broke out; after a short absence, I returned just before the capitulation of Sedan intending only to remain one night. The situation, however, was so interesting that I stayed on from day to day, until I found the German armies drawing their lines of investment round the city. Had I supposed that I should have been their prisoner for nearly five months, I confess I should have made an effort to escape, but I shared the general illusion that one way or the other the siege would not last a month.

Although I forwarded my letters by balloon, or sent them by messengers who promised to "run the blockade," I had no notion, until the armistice restored us to communications with the outer world, that one in twenty had reached its destination. This mode of writing, as Dr. William Russell wittily observed to me the other day at Versailles, was much like smoking in the dark and it must be my excuse for any inaccuracies or repetitions.

Many of my letters have been lost en route some of them, which reached the Daily News Office too late for insertion, are now published for the first time. The reader will perceive that I pretend to no technical knowledge of military matters; I have only sought to convey a general notion of how the warlike operations round Paris appeared to a civilian spectator, and to give a fair and impartial account of the inner life of Paris, during its isolation from the rest of Europe. My bias if I had any was in favour of the Parisians, and I should have been heartily glad had they been successful in their resistance. There is, however, no getting over facts, and I could not long close my eyes to the most palpable fact however I might wish it otherwise that their leaders were men of little energy and small resource, and that they themselves seemed rather to depend for deliverance upon extraneous succour, than upon their own exertions. The women and the children undoubtedly suffered great hardships, which they bore with praiseworthy resignation. The sailors, the soldiers of the line, and levies of peasants which formed the Mobiles, fought with decent courage... Continue reading book >>




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