Collected Letters of Elisée Reclus
To Madame F. Elisée Relcus
15 October 1870, Paris
The weather is cold and humid, the kind which, at this time, makes me think particularly of you, worrying that you are not Vascoeuil and that you are letting a few bad colds enter with the weather. I worry for the poor soldiers who left this morning, since their aerostat stuck in torment, who knows where the furious wind will chase them? To think of the services which they did for us already, those terrible aeronauts! It is them who bring our letters to our families and reassure them of our safety. It is also them who by the sending of voyager pigeons, let us know in a general sort of way that they are in open positions for the enemy. Grande was, for me, the convalescence when I learned that the Prussians were no longer occupying Amiens, like we had announced. It seems very probable to me that they no longer need to siege Gournay. We are continuing to maintain ourselves well. I have just returned from being the guard at the neighboring Garden of Plants, and for the first time since first I spent the night on the ground, I was able to get some sleep. It is that now I am hopefully under a good blanket, a wool stitching and shoes from Strasbourg. I am not talking to you of my daughters, your mother, certainly not of my sister and her friends! But it is not indifference: I feel frozen in my (épanchements I have never heard of) by this idea that my letter will be stranded in a corner, or thrown from a balloon with a sack of ballast, or even pierced by an enemy’s bullet. Noémi works a lot for the repartitions of her subsistence, but her health keeps her going despite her fatigues and the sadness of not hearing from her children. Ed Grimard(1) is well; I will pay him a visit tonight. He is amongst the national guardsmen, and otherwise is doing his service like all of us. Prat(2) is a genius captain, and I was able to, thanks to his permissions, visit the exterior fortifications frequently. The canon makes itself heard and the anticipated bombardment is becoming less and less probable. Evidently, the military situation is getting better. If the government wasn’t composed of people without moral vigor, desiring before conciliating the favor of the reacionnairies, the Republic will be invisible and Bismark will only have to win in retreat. Unfortunately, the molasses is very thick amongst the orators and the writers who lead us, and us, republicans, we are far from having our dignity daily, the good intent and the good sense who we would permit to vigorously push the power in the voice of the energy of the revolutionary. However I have confidence. Tell Jeanne that, in my national guard company, I have two Romanies as buddies; tell Louise that Mr. Bertillion is mayor of our neighborhood since two days ago.
To the daughters, your mother, my sister, and friends.
(1) We met him in the first letters, Ed. Grimard was Reclus' friend.
(2) Prat, another freind of the Reclus family.