CHAPTER X. THE SHRINE OF ROYAL MEMORIES, THE SCENE OF WORLD ADJUSTMENTS
The insurrection of the Commune of Paris compelled the ministers to seek a place of security at Versailles. Once more the palace was chosen as the seat of Government. The ground floor, the upper floor and the attic, the picture galleries, even the vestibule of the Queen's Stairway and the servants' quarters served as offices for ministers and secretaries. The Department of Justice was installed in the Guards' Hall, the Oeil-de-Boeuf and the rooms of Marie Antoinette. The Secretary of Public Works directed his affairs within walls that had sheltered the nefarious Dubarry. The official Journal was printed in the palace kitchens. For several years the Opera House, the north wing, and the intimate apartments of Louis XV were given over to the National Assembly.
A Republican fete offered in 1878 by the president, Marshal MacMahon, was attended by twelve thousand guests. Once more the fountains of the north parterre were illuminated, but this time with electric bulbs instead of oil lanterns. There were ingenious fireworks on the Tapis-Vert that would have astounded even the courtiers of the Grand Monarch. In the Galerie des Glaces, Dussieux tells us, there was a ball "not exclusively aristocratic, but nevertheless very gay and animated."
Within the past forty years the treasury of the French Republic has not infrequently been taxed for repairs at Versailles and Trianon. More than a million francs were spent on the chapel alone. Improvements in the park, including the restoration of the Basin of Neptune, the Orangery and the Colonnade, cost another million.
"This Versailles," exclaims a French author, "does it not attract to our country strangers without number, does it not lend lasting prestige to the land of France? . . . Outside of the Invalides and the Louvre, what edifices equal it in evoking the memorable periods with which they are associated? What lasting respect do these annals of stone and bronze merit from men of taste! These salons, gardens, statues, works of art, attached irrevocably to the Past, bid us pause and ponder long upon the matchless Story of Versailles."
[*]The final treaty of peace between France and Germany was signed in the Swan Hotel at Frankfort, Germany, on May 10, 1871.