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Parisians, the — Volume 12 by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton
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THE PARISIANS

By Edward Bulwer-Lytton


BOOK XII.

CHAPTER I.

The last book closed with the success of the Parisian sortie on the 30th
of November, to be followed by the terrible engagements no less
honourable to French valour, on the 2nd of December. There was the
sanguine belief that deliverance was at hand; that Trochu would break
through the circle of iron, and effect that junction with the army of
Aurelles de Paladine which would compel the Germans to raise the
investment;--belief rudely shaken by Ducrot's proclamation of the 4th, to
explain the recrossing of the Marne, and the abandonment of the positions
conquered, but not altogether dispelled till von Moltke's letter to
Trochu on the 5th announcing the defeat of the army of the Loire and the
recapture of Orleans. Even then the Parisians did not lose hope of
succour; and even after the desperate and fruitless sortie against Le
Bourget on the 21st, it was not without witticisms on defeat and
predictions of triumph, that Winter and Famine settled sullenly on the
city.

Our narrative reopens with the last period of the siege.

It was during these dreadful days, that if the vilest and the most
hideous aspects of the Parisian population showed themselves at the
worst, so all its loveliest, its noblest, its holiest characteristics--