AS 1 LEAVE Paris the news leaks out that de Gaulle is there. The city receives it quietly as it has received all the rest of the news with complete apathy.
The spirited French, always a voluble, so active in their expression of their feelings, faced with a threat of civil war, say nothing, and, more astonishingly, write nothing on the walls.
It is uncanny, this silence. Whitsun has been the ordinary family holiday here. Children, who still play with the troops in the Tuileries gardens, are doing the same thing now: lovers are holding hands in the lois: cars endlessly chase each other out of Paris packed with picnic baskets.
It is true that the street around the Champs Elysees are thick with Civil Guards who swarm among the strollers from the Alexandra Bridge to the Etoile like bluebottles, or sit in their darkened lorries peering out at the crowds and playing tric-trac to pass the time until . . .
Until what? The parachute troops arrive in the Bois? The Communist stage a demonstration? No one knows.
No one has any very definite opinion to offer. The French people who speak to one are as puzzled as any foreigner, mostly they say that nothing could be worse than governments that do nothing but let things slip and slip away.