(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "A Distinguished Provincial at Paris =: Un Grand Homme de Province à Paris"

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 



at |http : //books . google . com/ 




] 






; t I 



THE TEMPLE EDITION 

OF THE 

COM^DIE HUMAINE 
GEORGB SAINTSBURy 



Alfrighit 



I 



) 



CONTENTS 




PXBFUCe 


yxoE 


■ U DISTINGUISHED fROI^OfcUAL ^T PURIS- 


IX 


PART I, 

' • • , 




l*ARTn. . 


I 


• • . , 


• "5 



\ 

1 



PREFACE 

The central part of Illusions PerdmSy which in reason 
stands by itself, and may do so ostensibly with con- 
siderably less than the introduction explanatory which 
Balzac often gives to his own books, is one of the most 
carefully worked out and diversely important of his 
novels. It should, of course^ be read before Splendeurs it 
AUseres des Courtesanes^ which is avowedly its second 
part, a small piece of Evi et David serving as the link 
between them. But it is almost sufficient by and to 
itself. Lucien de Rubempre ou le Joumalisme would be 
the most straightforward and descriptive title for it, 
and one which Balzac in some of his moods would have 
been content enough to use. 

The story of it is too continuous and interesting to 
need elaborate argument, for nobody is likely to miss 
any important link in it. But Balzac has nowhere 
excelled in finesse and success of analysis, the double dis* 
illusion which introduces itself at once between Madame 
de Bargeton and Lucien, and which makes any redinti* 
gratia amoris of a valid kind impossible, because each 
cannot but be aware that the other has anticipated the 
rupture. It will not, perhaps, be matter of such general 
agreementvwhether be has or has not exceeded the fair 



X Preface 

license of the novelist in attributing to Lucien those 
charms of body and gifts of mind which make him, till 
his moral weakness and worthlessness are exposed, 
irresistible, and enable him for a time to repair his 
faults by a sort of fairy good-luck. The sonnets of Les 
Marguerites^ which were given to the author by poetical 
friends — Gautier, it is said, supplied the * Tulip* — are 
undoubtedly good and sufficient. But Lucien*s first 
article, which is (according to a practice the rashness of 
which cannot be too much deprecated) given likewise, 
is certainly not very wonderful; and the Paris press 
must have been rather at a low ebb if it made any 
sensation. As we are hot fevoured with any actual 
portrait of Lucien, detection is less possible here, but 
the novelist has perhaps a very little abused the privilege 
of making a hero, ^ Like Paris handsome, and like Hector 
brave,* or rather, ' Like Paris handsome, and like Phcebus 
clever.* There is no doubt, however, that the interest 
of the book lies partly in the vivid and severe picture of 
journalism given in it, and partly in the way in which 
the character of Lucien is adjusted to show up that of 
the abstract journalist still farther. 

How far is this picture true? It must be said, in 
fairness to Balzac, that a good many persons of some 
competence in France have pronounced for its truth 
there ; and if that be so, all one can say is, ^ So much 
the worse for French journalists.* It is also certain that 
a lesser, but still not inconsiderable number of persons 
in England — generally persons who, not perhaps with 
Balzac's genius, have like Balzac published books, and 
are not satisfied with their reception by the press — 
agree more or less as to England. For myself^ I can 



Preface M 

only say that I do not believe things have ever been 
quite so bad in England, and that I am quite sure there 
never has been any need for them to be. There are, no 
doubt, spiteful, unprincipled, incompetent practitioners 
of journalism as of everything else ; and it is of course 
obvious that while advertisements, the &vour of the chiefs 
of parties, and so forth, are temptations to newspaper 
managers not to hold up a very high standard of honour, 
anonymity affords to newspaper writers a dangerously 
easy shield to cover malice or dishonesty. But I can 
only say that during long practice in every kind of 
political and literary journalism, I never was seriously 
asked to write anything I did not think, and never had 
the slightest difficulty in confining myself to what I did 
think. 

In fact Balzac, like a good many other men of letters 
who abuse journalism, put himself very much out of 
court by continually practising it, not merely during his 
struggling period, but long after he had made his name, 
indeed almost to the very last. And it is very hard to 
resist the conclusion that when he charged journalism 
generally not merely with envy, hatred, malice, and 
all uncharitableness, but with hopeless and pervading 
dishonesty, he had little more ground for it than an 
inability to conceive how any one, except from vile 
reasons of this kind, could hil to praise Honore de 
Balzac. 

At any rate, either his art by itself, or his art assisted 
and strengthened by that personal feeling which, as we 
have seen, counted for much with him, has here produced 
a wonderftilly vivid piece of fiction— one, I think, inferior 
in success to hardly anything he has done. Whether, as 



xii Preface 

at a late period a very well informed^ wdl affected, and 
well equipped critic hinted, his picture of the Luciens and 
the Lousteaus did not a little to propagate both is another 
matter. The seriousness with which Balzac took the 
accusation perhaps shows a little sense of galling. But, 
putting this aside, Un Grand Homme de Province a Paris 
must be ranked, both for comedy and tragedy, both for 
scheme and execution, in the first rank of his work. 
(For bibliography, see Preface to The Two Poets.) 

G.S. 



A DISTINGUISHED PROVINCIAL 
AT PARIS 

PART I 

Mmb. de Bugeto^ and Lucien de. Rubemprq had left 
Angouleme bduod, and werq traar^Ubg tqgethef upon 
the road to Paris. N9t oneof the. party who made t)?8t 
journey alluded to it afteifward^ii W it 4»ayrb9 believed 
tbat an infatuated youth ^n^^ had looked forwaird to. the 
delights of an elopeiBu^t^ mUat have found the pontinital 
preBenoe of Gencil^ the nlaaservant, aod A^^tiii^ the 
maidy not a little irksome on the way. Lueio^i, ^avelUng 
poat for the first time in l^^ life, was hprnfi«id to see 
pretty nearly the whole sum .on which hc^ ^eant to live 
in Fkris far a twelvemonth dropped along the rpad. 
Like other men who combine great intellc^ctual'pqwers 
with the charming simplicity of childhood, he ^peply 
expressed his surprise at the new and wan4erfvi things 
which he saw, and thereby m%de a mistake. A t^an 
should study « womah very oarefuily before he* allows 
her to see his thoughts. land emotions as they <arise in 
hinu A woman^ whose fiacre is large as her heaiit is 
tender^ can smile upon childishness and make allowances ; 
but let her have ever so small a spice of vanity heifsel^ 
and sheoamiot forgive childishness*, or littleness, or vi^nity 
in her lover. Many a woman is so extravagant a wop- 
shipper that she must always see the god in her idol ^ but 
there are yet others who love a man for bis sake and.n^^ 

A 



% A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

for their own, and adore his filings with his greater 
qualities. 

Lucien had not guessed as yet that Mme. de Bar- 
geton's love was grafted on pride. He made another 
mistake when he failed to discern the meaning of 
certain smiles which flitted over Louise's lips from time 
to time ; and instead of keeping himself to himself, he 
indulged in the playfulness of the young rat emerging 
from his hole for the first time. 

The travellers were set down before da^rbreak at the 
sign of the Gaillard-Bois in the Rue de I'Echelle, both 
so tired out with the journey that Louise went straight 
to bed and slept, first bidding Lucien to engage the 
room immediately overhead. Lucien slept on till four 
o'clock in the afternoon, when he was awakened by 
Mme. de Bargeton*s servant, and learning the hour, 
made a hasty toilet and hurried downstairs. 

Louise was sitting in the shabby inn sitting-room. 
Hotel accommodation is a blot on the civilisation of Paris; 
for with all its pretensions to elegance, the city as yet does 
not boast a single inn where a well-to-do traveler can 
find the surroundings to which he is accustomed at home. 
To Lucien's just-awakened, sleep-dimmed eyes, Louise 
was hardly recognisable in this cheerless, sunless room, 
with the shabby window-curtains, the comfortless 
polished floor, the hideous furniture bought second-hand, 
or much the worse for wear. 

Some people no longer look the same when detached 
from the background of faces, objects, and surroundings 
which serve as a setting, without which, indeed, they seem 
to lose something of their intrinsic worth. Personality 
demands its appropriate atmosphere to bring out its 
values, just as the figures in Flemish interiors need the 
arrangement of light and shade in which they are placed 
by the painter's genius if they are to live for us. This 
is especially true of provincials. Mme. de Bargeton, 
moreover, looked more thoughtful and dignified than 



A Di^inguiahed Provincial at Paris 3 

was necessary now, when no barriers stood between her 
and happiness. 

Gentil and Albertine waited upon them, and while 
they were present Lucien could not complain. The 
dinner, sent in from a neighbouring restaurant, fell far 
below the provincial average, both in quantity and 
quality; the essential goodness of country hxe was 
wanting, and in pcHnt ot quantity the portions were 
cut with so strict an eye to business that they 
savoured of short commons. In such small matters 
Paris does not show its best side to travellers of moderate 
fortune. Lucien waited till the meal was over. Some 
change had come over Louise, he thought, but he could 
not explain it. 

And a change had, in &ct, taken place. Events had 
occurred while he slept -, for reflection is an event in our 
inner history, and Mme. de Bargeton had been reflecting. 

About two o'clock that afternoon, Sixte du Chdtelet 
made his appearance in the Rue de I'^chelle and asked 
for Albertine. The sleeping damsel was aroused, and 
to her he eicpressed his wish to speak with her mistress. 
Mme. de Bargeton had scarcely time to dress before he 
came back again. The unaccountable apparition of 
M. du Chatelet roused the lady's curiosity, for she had 
kept her journey a profound secret, as she thought. At 
three o'clock the visitor was admitted. 

^ I have risked a reprimand from headquarters to follow 
you,' he said, as he greeted her; 'I foresaw coming 
events. But if I lose my post for it, yotty at any rate, 
shall not be lost.' 

^ What do you mean ? ' exclaimed Mme. de Bargeton. 

* I can see plainly that you love Lucien,' he continued, 
with an air of tender resignation. 'You must love 
indeed if you can act thus recklessly, and disregard the 
conventions which you know so well. Dear adored 
Nais, can you really imagine that Mme.. d'Espard's 
salon, or any other salon in Paris, will not be closed tc 



4 A Distingaished Provinckl at Paris 

fou as soon as it is known that you have fled from 
Angouleme, as it were, with a young man, especially 
after the duel between M. de Bargeton and M. de Chan- 
dour ? The (act that your husband has gone to the 
Escarbas looks like a separation. Under such circum- 
stances a gentleman fights first and afterwards leaves his 
wife at liberty. By all means, give M. de Rubempre 
your love and your countenance ; do just as you please ; 
but you must not live in the same house. If anybody 
here in Paris knew that you had travelled together, the 
whole world that you have a mind to see would point 
the finger at you. 

^ And, Na'is, do not make these sacrifices for a young 
man whom you have as yet compared with no one else ; 
he, on bii side, has been put to no pro6f ; he may forsake 
you for some Parisienne, better able, as he may fiuicy, 
to further his ambitions. I mean no harm to the man 
you love, but you will permit me to put your own 
interests before his, and to beg you to study him, to be 
fiiUy aware 'of the serious nature of this step that you are 
taking. And, then^ if you find all doors dosed against 
you, and that none of the women call upon you, make 
sure at least that you will feel no regret for all that you 
have renounced for him. Be very certain first that he 
for whom you will have given up so much will always be 
worthy of your sacrifices and appreciate them. 

^Just now,' continued Chacelet, ^Mme. d'Espard is 
the more prudish and particular because she herself is 
separated from her husband, nobody knows why. The 
Navarreins, the Lenoncourts, the Blamont-Chauvrys, 
and the rest of the relations have all rallied round her ; 
the most strait-laced women are seen at her house, and 
receive her with respect, and the Marquis d^Espard has 
been put in the wrong. The first call that you pay will 
make it clear to you that I am right ; indeed, knowing 
Paris as I do, I can tell you beforehand that you will no 
sooner enter the Marquise's salon than you will be in 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 5^ 

despair lest she should find out that you are staying at 
the Gailkrd-Bois with sm apothecary's son, though he 
ToaLy wish to be called M. de Rubempre. 

^You will have rivals here, women far more astute 
and shrewd than Amelic ; they will not fail to di9CO¥er 
who you are, where you are, where you come fnom, and 
all that you are doing. You have counted upon your 
incognito, I see, but you are one of those women for 
whom an incognito is out of the question* You will 
meet Angouleme at every turn. There are the deputies 
from the Charente coming up for the opening of the 
session ; there is the Commandant in Paris on leave. 
Why, the first man or woman from Angouleme who 
happens to see you would cut your career short in a 
strange ftshion. You would simply be Lucien's mis- 
tress. 

^ If you need me at any time, I am staying with the 
Receiver-General in the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, 
two steps away from Mme^ d'Espard's. I am sufiiciently 
acquainted with the Mar^chale dc Carigliano, Mm^. de 
Senvy, and the President of the Council to introduce 
yon to those houses ; but you will meet so maay people 
at Mme. d'Espard's, that you are not likely to fequiie 
me. So far from wishing to gain admittance to this 
set or that, every one will be longing to make your 
acquaintance.' 

Chfitekt talked on; Mme. de Bargeton made no 
interruption. She was struck with his perspicacity. 
The queen of Angoulime had, in fact, counted upon 
preserving her incognito. 

^ You are right, my dear friend,' she said at length ; 
^ but what am I to do ? ' 

^ Allow me to find suitable furnished lodgings for you,' 
suggested Chitelet ; ^ that way of livine is less expensive 
than an inn. You will have a home of your own ; and, 
if you will take my advice, you will sleep in your new 
rooms this very night.' 



6 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

' But how did you know my address ? ' queried she. 

^Your travelling carriage is easily recognised; and, 
besides, I was following you. At Sevres your postilion 
told mine that he had brought you here. Will you 
permit me to act as your harbinger? I will write as 
soon as I have found lodgings.' 

^ y^J^ well, do so,' said she* And in those seemingly 
insignificant words, all was said. The Baron du Chatelet 
had spoken the language of worldly wisdom to a. woman 
of the world. He had made his appearance before her in 
faultless dress, a neat cab was waiting for him at the 
door ; and Mme. de Bargeton, standing by the window 
thinking over the position, chanced to see the elderly 
dandy drive away. 

A few moments later Lucien appeared, half awake 
and hastily dressed. He was handsome, it is true; but his 
clothes, his last year's nankeen trousers, and his shabby 
tight jacket were ridiculous. Put Antinous or the 
Apollo Belvedere himself into a water-carrier's blouse, 
and how shall you recognise the godlike creature of the 
Greek or Roman chisel ? The eyes note and compare 
before the heart has time to revise the swift involun- 
tary judgment ; and the contrast between Luci«i and 
Chatelet was so abrupt that it could not fail to strike 
Louise. 

Towards six o'clock that evening, when dinno- was 
over, Mme. de Bargeton beckoned Lucien to sit beside 
her on the shabby sofa, covered with a flowered chintz — 
a yellow pattern on a red ground. 

^ Lucien mine,' she said, ^ don't you think that if we 
have both of us done a foolish thing, suicidal for both 
our interests, that it would only be commonsense to set 
matters right ? We ought not to live together in Paris, 
dear boy, and we must not allow any one to suspect that 
we travelled together. Your career depends so much upon 
my position that I ought to do nothing to spoil it. So, 
to-night, I am going to remove into lodgings near by. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 7 

But you will stay on here, we can see each other every 
day) and nobody can say a word against us.' 

And Louise explained conventions to Lucien, who 
opened wide eyes. He had still to learn that when a 
woman thinks better of her folly, she thinks better of 
her love; but one thing he understood — he saw that 
he was no longer the Lucien of Angouleme. Louise 
talked of herself, of her interests, her reputation, and of 
the world; and, to veil her egobm, she tried to make 
him believe that this was aJl on his account. He 
had no claim upon Louise thus suddenly retransformed 
into Mme. de Bargeton, and, more serious still, he had no 
power over her. He could not keep back the tears that 
filled his eyes. 

^ If I am your glory,' cried the poet, ^you are yet 
more to me^-^you are my one hope, my whole future rests 
with you. I thought that if you meant to make my 
successes yours, you would surely make my adversi^ 
yours abo, and here we are going to part already.' 

^ You are judging my conduct,' said she ; * you do not 
love me.' 

Lucien looked at her with such a dolorous expression, 
that, in spite of herself, she said^- 

^ Darling, I will stay if you like. We shall both be 
ruined, we shall have no one to come to our aid. But 
when we are both equally wretched, and every one shuts 
their door upon us both ; when failure (for we must look 
all possibilities in the face), when failure drives us back 
to the Escarbas, then remember, love, that I foresaw the 
end, and that at the first I proposed that we should make 
your way by conforming to established rules.' 

' Louise, he cried, with his arms round her, ^ you are 
wise ; you frighten me ! Remember that I am a child, 
that I have given myself up entirely to your dear will 
I myself shoiSd have preferred to overcome obstacles and 
win my way among men by the power that is in me ; 
but if I can reach the goal sooner through your aid, I 



8 A Distinguished Provincial at Riris 

shall be very glad to owe all my success to you. Forgive 
me ! You mean so much to me that I cannot help 
fearing all kinds of things ; and, for me, parting means 
that desertion is at hand, and desertion is death.' 

^ But, my dear boy, the world's demands are soon 
satisfied,* returned she. ^ You must sleep here ; that is 
all. All day long you will be with me, and no one can 
say a word/ .? 

'A few kisses set Lucteii's mitid compl^ely at rest. 
An hoar later Gentil brought in a note from Chdtekt. 
He told Mme. de Bargeton that hd had found lodgings 
for her in the Rue ^feave-de-Lllxembourg. Mme. de 
Bargeton informed herself of the exact place, and found 
that it was not very hr from the Rue de I'j^chelle. 
^ We shall be neighbours,' she told Lucien. 

Two hours afterwards Louise stepped into the hired 
carriage sent by Ch^telet for the removal to the new 
rooms. The apartments were of the class that 
upholsterers furnish and let to^ wealthy deputies and 
persons of consideration on a short visit to Paris — showy 
and uncomfortable. It was eleven o'clock wheii Luden' 
returned to his inn, having seen nothing as yet of Paris 
except the part of the Rue Saint^Honore which lies 
between the Rue Neuve-de^Luxembourg Imd the Rue 
de r^chelle. He lay down in his miserable little room, 
and' could not help comparing it in bis own mind with 
Louise's sumptuous apartments. 

Just as he came away the Baron du Chatelet came 
in, gorgeously arrayed in evening dress, fresh from the 
Minister fyt Foreign Affairs, to inquire whether Mme. 
de Bargeton was satisfied with all that he had done on 
her behalf. Nais was uneasy. The splendour was 
alarming to her mind. Provincial life had reacted upon 
her ; she was painfully conscientious over her accounts, 
and economical to a degree that is looked upon as 
miserly in Paris. She had brought with her twenty 
thousand frai^cs in the shape of a draft on the Receiver* 



A Distinguished Provincial at Parts 9 

General, considering that the sum would more than 
cover the expenses>of four years in Paris ; she was afraid 
already kst she should not have enough, and should run 
into debt ; and now Chatelet told her that her rooms 
would only cost six hundred francs per month. 

^A mere trifle/ added he, seeing that Nails was 
startled. ^For five hundred francs a month you can 
have a carriage from a livery stable ; fifty louis in all. 
You need omy think of your dress. A woman moving 
in good society, could not well do less 1 and if you mean 
to obtain a Iteoeiver-General's appointment tor M. de 
Bargeton, or a post in the Household, you ought not to 
look poverty-stricken. Here, in Paris, they only give to 
the rich. It is most fortunate that you brought Gentii 
to go out with you, and Albertine for your own woman, 
for servants are enough to ruin you here. But with 
your introdttctions you wHl seldom be at home to a 
meal.' 

Mme. de Bargeton and dieSarobidu Chdtelet chatted 
about Paris. CMtelet gave ho* all the news of the day, 
the myriad nothings that you are bound to know, under 
penalty of being a nobody. Before very long the 
Baron also gave advice as to shopping, recommending 
Herbauit for toques and Juliette for hats and bonnets; 
he added the address of a fariiionable dressmaker to 
supersede Victorine. In short, he made the lady see the 
necessity of nibbing oflF Angoul£me. Then he took his 
leave after a final flash of happy inspiration. 

^ I expect I sfaidl have a box at one of the theatres 
to-morrow,' he remarked carelessly ; ' I will call for you 
and M. de Rubempns, for you must albw me to do the 
honours of Paris.' 

^ There is more generosity in bis character than I 
thought^' said Mme. de Bargeton to herself when Lucien 
was included in the invitation. 

In. the month of June ministers are often puzEled to 
know what to do with boxes at the theatre; minis* 



lo A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

terialist deputies and their constituents are busy in their 
vineyards or harvest fields, and their more exacting^ 
acquaintances are in the country or travelling about ; so 
it comes to pass that the best seats are filled at this 
season with heterogeneous theatre-goers, never seen at 
any other time of year, and the house is apt to look as if 
it were tapestried with very shabby material. Chdtelet 
had thought already that this was his opportunity of 
giving Nais the amusements which provincials crave most 
eagerly, and that with very little expense. 

Tlie next morning, the very first morning in Paris, 
Lucten went to the Rue Neuve-de-Luxembourg and 
found that Louise had gone out* She had gone to make 
some indispensable purchases, to take counsel of the 
mighty and illustrious authorities in the nutter of the 
feminine toilette, pointed out to her by Chdtelet, for she 
had written to tell the Marquise d'Espard of her arrival. 
Mme. de Bargeton possessed the self-confidence bom 
of a long habit of rule, but she was exceedingly afraid 
of appearing to be provincial. She had tact enough to 
know how greatly the rdadons of women amdng them- 
selves depend upon first impressions ; and though she 
felt that she was equal to taking her place at once in 
such a distinguished set as Mme. d'Espard's, she felt also 
that she stood in need of goodwill at her first entrance 
into society, and was resolved, in the first place, that she 
would leave nothing undone to secure success. So she 
felt boundlesslv thankful to Chdtelet for pointing out 
these ways of^ putting herself in harmony with the 
fashionable world. 

A singular chance so ordered it that the Marquise 
was delighted to find an opportunity of being useful to 
a connection of her husband's family. The Marquis 
d'Espard had withdrawn himself without apparent 
reason from society, and ceased to take any active 
interest in affairs, political or domestic His wife, thus 
left mistress of her actions, felt the need of the support 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris ii 

of puUic opinion, and was glad to take the Marquis's 
place and give her countenance to one of her husband's 
relations. She meant to be ostentatiously gracious, so 
as to put her husband more evidentlv in the wrong ; and 
that very day she wrote ^ Mme. de mrgeton nee Negre- 
pelisse' a charming biUet, one of the prettily worded 
compositions of which time alone can discover the 
emptiness. 

^She was delighted that circumstances had brought a 
relative, of whom she had heard, whose acquaintance she 
had desired to make, into closer connection with her 
fitmily. Friendships in Paris were not so solid but that 
she longed to find one more to love on earth ; and if this 
might not be, there would only be one more illusion to 
bury with the rest. She put herself entirely at her 
cousin's disposal. She would have called upon her if 
indisposition had not kept her to the house, and she felt 
that she lay already under obligations to the cousin who 
had thought of her.' 

Lucien, meanwhile, taking his first ramble along the 
Rue de la Paix and through the Boulevards, like all 
newcomers, was much more interested in the things that 
he saw than in the people he met. The general effect 
of Paris is wholly engrossing at first. The wealth in 
the shop windows, the high houses, the streams of 
traffic, the contrast everywhere between the last 
extremes of luxury and want struck him more than 
anything else. In his astonishment at the crowds of 
strange faces, the man of imaginative temper felt as if 
he himself had shrunk, as it were, immensely. A man 
of any consequence in his native place, where he cannot 
go out but he meets with some recognition of his im* 
portance at every step, does not readily accustom himself 
to the sudden and total extinction of his consequence. 
You are somebody in your own country, in Paris you are 



12 A Distinguished Provincial tt Paris 

nobody. The transition between the first state and the 
last should be made gradually, for the too abrupt fiill is 
something like annihilation. Paris could not hil to be 
an appalling wilderness for a young poet, who looked 
for an echo for all his sentiments, a confidant for all his 
thoughts, a soul to share his least sensations. 

Lucien had not gone in search of his luggage and his 
best blue coat ; and painfully conscious of the sbabbiness, 
to say no worse, of his clothes, he went to Mme. de 
Bargeton, feeling sure tlat she must have returned. 
He found the &iron du Chatelet, who carried them 
both off to dinner at the Rocher di Cancale. Lucien's 
head was dizzy with the whirl of Paris, the Baron was 
in the carriage, he could say nothing to Louise^ but he 
squeezed her hand, and she gave a warm response to the 
mute confidence. 

After dinner Chatelet took his guests to the Vaude^ 
vtlle. Lucien, in his heart, was not over well pleased to 
see Ch4telet again, and cursed the chance that ind 
brought the Baron to Paris. The Baron said that 
ambition had brought him to town j he had hopes of an 
appointment as secretary^^eneral to a government 
department, and meant to take a seat in the Council of 
State as Master of Requests. He had come to Paris to 
ask for fulfilment of the promises that had been given 
him, for a man of his stamp could not be expected to 
remain a comptroller all his life ; he would rather be 
nothing at all, and offer himself for election as deputy, or 
re-enter diplomacy. Chitelet grew visibly taller ; Lucien 
dimly began to recognise in this elderly beau the 
superiority of the man of the world who knows Pkris ; 
and, most of all, he felt ashamed to owe his evening's 
amusement to his rival. And while the poet looked ill at 
ease and awkward, Her Royal Highness's ex<-secretary 
was quite in his element. He smiled at his rival's hesi- 
tations, at his astonishment, at the questions he put, at 
the little mistakes which the latter ignorantly nuule. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 13 

much as an old salt laughs at an apprentice who has not 
found hid sea legs; but Luden's pleasure at seeing a pla^ 
for the first time in Paris outweighed the annoyance of 
these small humiliations. 

That evening marked an epoch in Lucien's career ; 
he put away a good many of his ideas as to proYineial 
life in the course of it. His horizon widened ; socie^ 
assumed different proportions. Ther^ were fitir Pan- 
siennes in fresh and ^gant toilettes all about him; 
Mme. de Bargeton's costume, tcderably ambitious 
thou^ it was, looked dowdy by comparison; the 
material, like the feshion and the colour, was out of date. 
That way of arranging her hair, so bewitching in 
Angouleme, looked frightfully ugly here among the 
daintily devised coiffures which he saw in every 
direction* 

^ Will she always look like that ? ' said he to himself, 
ignorant that the morning had been spent in preparing a 
transformation. 

In the provinces comparison and choice are out of the 
question ; when a face has grown 6imiliar it comel to 
possess a certain beauty that is taken for granted* But 
transport the pretty woman ^ the provinces to Paris, and 
no one takes the slightest notice of her ; her prettiness is 
of the contparative degree illustrated by the saying that 
among the blind the one-eyed are kings. Lucien's eyes 
were now busy comparing Mme. de Bargeton with other 
women, just as she herself had contrasted him with 
Chatelet on the previous day. And Mme. de Bargeton, 
on her part, permitted herself some strange reflections 
upon her lover. The poet cut a poor figure notwith* 
standing his singular beauty. The sleeves of his jacket 
were too short ; with his ill-cut country gloves and a 
waistcoat too scanty for him, he k>okt»l prodigiously 
ridiculous, compared with the young men in the mcony 
— ^^ positively pitiable,' thought Mme. de Barget<xi. 
Chdtelet, interested in her without presumption, taking 



14 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

care of her in a manner that revealed a profound passion ; 
Chatelet, elegant, and as much at home as an actor tread- 
ing the fiimiliar boards of his theatre, in two days had 
recovered all the ground lost in the past six months. 

Ordinary people will not admit that our sentiments 
towards each other can totally change in a moment, and 
yet certain it is, that two lovers not seldom fly apart even 
more quickly than they drew together. In Mme. de 
Bargeton and in Lucien a process of disenchantment was 
at work ; Paris was the cause. Life had widened out 
before the poet's eyes, as society came to wear a new 
aspect for Louise. Nothing but an accident now was 
needed to sever finally the bond that united them ; nor 
was that blow, so terrible for Lucien, very long delayed. 

Mme. de Bargeton set Lucien down at his inn, and 
drove home with Chatelet, to the intense vexation of 
the luckless lover. 

^ What will they say about me f ' he wondered, as he 
climbed the stairs to his dismal room. 

^That poor fellow is uncommonly dull,' said Chatelet, 
with a smile, when the door was closed. 

^That is the way with those who have a world of 
thoughts in their heart and brain. Men who have so 
much in them to give out in great works long dreamed 
of, profess a certain contempt for conversation, a com- 
merce in which the intellect spends itself in small change,' 
returned the haughty Negrepelisse. She still had courage 
to defend Lucien, but less for Lucien's sake than for her 
own. 

^ I grant it you willingly,' replied the Baron, ^ but we 
live with human beings and not with books. There, 
dear Nais ! I see how it is, there is nothing between you 
yet, and I am delighted that it is so. If you decide to 
bring an interest of a kind hitherto lacking into your 
life, let it not be this so-called genius, I implore you. 
How if you have made a mistake ? Suppose that in a 
few days' time, when you have compared him with men 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 15 

whom you will meet, men of real ability, men who have 
distinguished themselves in good earnest ; suppose that 
you should discover, dear and fair siren, that it is no lyre- 
bearer that you have borne into port on your dazzling 
shoulders, but a little ape, with no manners and no 
capacity; a presumptuous fool who may be a wit in 
L'Houmeau, but turns out a very ordinary specimen of 
a young man in Paris ? And, after all, volumes of verse 
come out every week here, the worst of than better 
than all M. Chardon's poetry put together. For pity's 
sake, wait and con^are ! To-morrow, Friday, is Opera 
night,' he continued, as the carriage turned into the Rue 
Neuve-de-Lux^nbourg ; * Mme. d'Espard has the box 
of the First Gentlemen of the Chamber, and will take 
you, no doubt. I shall to to Mme. de Serizy's box to 
behold you in your glory. They arc giving Lis 
Dandides! 

^ Good-bye,' said she. 

Next morning Mme. de Bargeton tried to arrange a 
suitable^ toilette in which to call on her cousin, Mme. 
d'Espard. The weather was rather chilly. Looking 
through the dowdy wardrobe from Angouleme, she found 
nothing better than a certain green velvet gown, trimmed 
fantastically enough. Lucien, for his part, felt that he 
must go at once for his celebrated blue best coat; he 
felt aghast at the thought of his tight jacket, and deter- 
mined to be well dressed, lest he should meet the Mar- 
quise d'Espard or receive a sudden summons to her 
house. He must have his luggage at once, so he took a 
cab, and in two hours' time spent three or four francs^ 
matter for much subsequent reflection on the scale of the 
cost of living in Paris. Having dressed himself in his 
best, such as it was, he went to the Rue Neuve-de- 
Luxembourg, and on the doorstep encountered Gentil 
in company with a gorgeously be-feathered chasseur. 

* I was just going round to you, sir, madame gave me 
a line for you/ said Gentil, ignorant of Parisian forms of 



i6 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

respect, and accustomed to homely provincial ways. 
The chasseur took the poet for a servant. 

Lucien tore open the note, and learned that Mme. de 
Bargetjon had gone to spend the day with the Marquise 
d'Espard. She was going to the Opera in the evening, 
but she told Lucien to be there to meet her* Her cousin 
permitted her to give him a seat in her box. The Mar-* 
qdse d'Espard was delighted to procure the young poet 
that pleasure. 

^ Then she loves me ! my fears were all nonsense I ' 
said Lucien to himself. ^ She is going to present me to 
her cousin this very evening.' 

He jumped for joy. He would spend the day that 
separated him from the happy evening as joyously as 
might be. He dashed out in the direction of the 
Taileries, dreaming of walking there until it was time 
to dine at Very's. And now, behold Lucien frisking 
and skipping, light of foot because light of heart, on his 
way to the Terrasse des FeuiUants to take a look at the 
people of quality on promenade there* Pretty women 
walk arm in arm with men of fashion, their adorers, 
couples greet each other with a glance as they pass} how 
different it is from the terrace at Beaulieu ! How far 
finer the birds on this perch than the Angouleme species! 
It is as if you beheld all the colours that glow in the 
plumage of the feathered tribes of India and America, 
instead of the sober European families. 

Those were two wretched hours that Lucien spent in 
the Garden of the Tuileries. A violent revulsion swept 
through him, and he sat in judgment upon himself. 

In the first place, not a abgle one of these gilded 
youths wore a swallow-tailed coat. The few exceptions, 
one or two poor wretches, a clerk here and there, an 
annuitant from the Marais, could be ruled out on the 
score of age; and hard upon the discovery of a distinction 
between morning and evening dress, the poet's quick 
sensibility and keen eyes saw likewise that his shabby 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 17 

old clothes were not fit to be seen j the defects in his 
coat branded that garment as ridiculous; the cut was old- 
fashioned, the colour was the wrong shade of blue, the 
collar outrageously ungainly, the coat tails, hy dint of 
long wear, overlapped eacn other, the buttons were 
reddened, and there were fatal white lines along the 
seams. Then his waistcoat was too short, and so 
grotesquely provincial, that he hastily buttoned his coat 
over it; and, finally, no man of any pretension to fashion 
wore nankeen trousers. Weil-dressed men wore charm- 
ing fancy materials or immaculate white, and every one 
had straps to his trousers, while the shrunken hems of 
Lucien's nether varments manifested a violent anti- 
pathy for the heels of boots which they wedded with 
obvious reluctance. Lucien wore a white cravat with 
embroidered ends ; his sister had seen that M. du Haiitoy 
and M. de Chandour wore such things, and hastened 
to make similar ones for her brother. Here, no one 
appeared to wear white cravats of a morning except a 
few grave seniors, elderly capitalists, and austere public 
functionaries, imtil, in the street on the other side of the 
railings, Lucien noticed a grocer's boy walking along 
the Rue de Rivoli with a basket on his head ; him the 
man of Angouleme detected in the act of sporting a 
cravat, with both ends ad(»rned by the handiwork of 
some adored shop-girL The sight was a stab to Lucien's 
breast; penetrating straight to that organ as yet un^ 
defined, the seat of our sensibility, the region whither, 
since sentiment has had any existence, the sons of men 
carry their hands in any ^cess of joy or anguish. Do 
not accuse this chronicle of puerility. The rich, to be 
sure, never having experienced sufferings of this kind, 
may think them incredibly petty and small; but the 
agonies of less fortunate mortals are as well worth our 
attention as crises and vicissitudes in the lives of the 
mighty and privileged ones of earth. Is not the pain 
eqwdly great for either? Suffering exalts all things. 



iS' A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Andy after all, suppose that we change the terms, and for 
a suit of dotheS, more or less fine, put instead a ribbon, 
or a r star, or a titles have not brilliant careers been 
tormented by reason of such apparent trifles as these i 
Add, moreover, that for those people who must seem to 
hate that whidh they have not, the question of clothes 
is of enormous importance, and not unfrequently the 
appearance of possession is the diortest road to possession 
at a later day. 

A cbld sweat broke out over Lucien as he bethought 
himself that tcnnigfat he must make his first appearance 
before the Marquise in this dress — the Marquise d'Espard, 
relaitiire of a first Gentleman of the Bedchamber^ a woman 
whose house was frequented by the most illustrious among 
illustrious men in every field. 

< I lo6k like an apothecary's son, a regular shop-drudge,' 
he raged inwardly, watching the youth of the Faubourg 
de Saiat-Gerniain pass undo" his eyes ;. gracefiil, spruce, 
fashionably dressed, with a certain unifi>niiitv of air, a 
sameness due to a fineness of contour, ana a certain 
dignity nf carriage and expressioti $ though, at the same 
time^ esech one differed from the rest in the setting by 
which he had chosen to bring his personal characteristics 
intofmminence; Each erne made the most of his per- 
sonal advantages^ Young men in Paris understand the 
art. of piresenting diemseives quite as well as womoi. 
Lucien had inherited fi-om his mother the invaluable 
physical distinction of.racb, but the metal was still in die 
ore^and not set free by the craftsmdn% hand. 

His. hair was badly cut; Instead of holding himself 
upi-igfat with 9lh elastic corset^ he felt that^he was cooped 
up inside a hideous shu't'iOoUar ; he hung his ducted 
head JwfthpUt Tesi^tanae on the >part of a lini^ cmvat. 
What! woman could igubss that a handsemb 6)0t was 
hidden by* the dmniByhtets which he had brought from 
AingDul4mef Whai younp man could envy him his 
gn^ftil Bgarb,vdi^ised by the riiapeibss blue tock 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 19 

which hitherto he had mistakenly believed to be a coat ? 
What bewitching studs he saw on those dazKitng white 
shirt fronts^ his own looked 4ingj by comparison ; and 
how marvellously all these elegant persons were ^k>ved, 
his own gloves were opif fit fer a policeman I Yonder 
was a youth toying with a cane exquisitely mounted ; 
there, another with dainty gold studs in his wristbands. 
Yet another was twisting a charming riding-whip while 
he talked, with a woman $ there were specks of mud on 
the ample ftJds of Ins white trousere^ he wore clanking 
spurs and a tigfat^fitting jacket, evidently he was about 
to mount one of the two horses held by a hop-o'-my- 
thumb of a tigeri A young man who went past drew a 
waltch no thicker than a five-franc piece fi'om his pocket, 
and looked at it with the air of a penson who is either 
too early or too late for an appointment* 

Lucien, seeing these pretty trifles, hitherto unimagined, 
became aware of a whole world of indispensable super- 
fluities, and shuddered to think of the enormous capital 
needed by a professional pretty fellow ! The more he 
adihired these ny and careless beings, the more con- 
scious he grew of his own outlandishness ; he kn^fl^ that 
he looked like a man who has no idea of the directk^n of 
the streets^ who stands dose to the Palais Royal and 
cannot find it, and asks his way to the Louvre cf a 
passer-by, who tells him, ^ Here you are.' Lucien saw a 
great gulf fixed between him and this new wol*M, and 
asked himself how he might cross over, for he nMant to 
be one of these ddicate, sKm youths of Paris, these young 
patricians who bowed before women divinely dressed and 
divinely fair. For one kiss from one of these, Lucien 
was raady to be cut in pieces, like Gount Philip of 
Konigsknaiit. Louise's fiiice rose \sp somet^here in 
the shadowy baekgix)und of themory — compared with 
these queens, she looked like an old Woman. Me ^vr 
women whose nariies will appear in the history of ^he 
nineteenth centvry, women no less fiimous ttiah the 



20 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

queens of past times for their wit, their beauty, or their 
lovers; one who passed was the heroine Mile, des 
Touches, so well known as Camille Maupin, the great 
woman of letters, great by her intellect, great no less 
by her beauty. He overheard the name pronounced by 
those who went by. 

* Ah ! ' he thought to himself, ^ she is Poetry.' 
What was Mme. de Bargeton in comparison with this 

angel in all the glory of youth, and hope, and promise of 
the future, with that sweet smile of hers, and the great 
dark eyes with all heaven in them, and the glowing 
light of the sun ? She was laughing and chatting with 
Mme. Firmiani, one of the most charming women in 
Paris. A voice indeed cried, ^ Intellect is the lever by 
which to move the world,' but another voice cried no 
less loudly that money was the fulcrum. 

He would not stay any longer on the scene of his 
collapse and defeat, and went towards the Palais Royal. 
He did not know the topography of his quarter yet, and 
was obliged to ask his way. Then he went to Very's 
and ordered dinner by way of an initiation into the 
pleasures of Paris and a solace for his discouragement. 
A bottle of Bordeaux, oysters from Ostend, a dish of fish, 
a partridge, a dish of macaroni and dessert, — this was the 
fie plus tutra of his desire. He enjoyed this little de- 
bauch, studying the while how to give the Marquise 
d'Espard proof of his wit, and redeem the shabbiness of 
his grotesque accoutrements by the display of intellectual 
riches. The total of the bill drew him down from these 
dreams, and left him the poorer by fifty of the francs 
which were to have gone such a long way in Paris. He 
could have lived in Angouleme for a month on the 
price of that dinner. Wherefore he closed the door of 
the palace with awe, thinking as he did so that he should 
never set foot in it again. 

* Eve was right,' be said to himself as he went back 
under the stone arcading for some more money. ' There 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris ti 

is a difference between Paris prices and prices in 
L'Houmeau.* 

He gazed in at the tailors' windows on the way^ and 
thought of the costumes in the Garden of the Tuileries. 

* No,* he exclaimed, ^ I will not appear before Mme. 
d*£spard dressed out as I am/ 

He fled to his inn, fleet as a stag, rushed up to his 
room, took out a hundred crowns, and went down again 
to the Palais Royal, where his future eleeance lay 
scattered over half a score of shops. The nrst tailor 
whose door he entered tried as many coats upon him as 
he would consent to put on, and persuaded his customer 
that all were in the very htest &shion. Lucien came 
out the owner of a green coat, a pair of white trousers, 
and a ^ fancy waistcoat,* for which outfit he gave two 
hundred francs. Ere long he found a very elegant pair 
of ready^nade shoes that fitted his foot ; and finally, 
when he had made all necessary purchases, he ordered 
the tradespeople to send them to his address, and inquired 
for a hairdresser. At seven o*clock that evening he 
called a cab and drove away to the Opera, curled like a 
Saint John of a Procession Day, elegantly waistcoated 
and gloved, but feeling a little awkward in this kind of 
sheadi in which he found hiniself for the first time. 

In obedience to Mme. de Bargeton's instructions, he 
asked for the box reserved for the first Gentlemen of the 
Bedchamber. The man at the box oflice looked at him, 
and beholding Lucien in all the erandeur assumed for 
the occasion, in which he looked Tike a best man at a 
wedding, asked Lucien for his order. 

^ I have no order.' 

^ Then you cannot go in,* said the man at the box 
oflice drily. 

^ But I belong to Mme. d'Espard's party.* 

^ It is not our business to know that,* said the man, 
who could not help exchanging a barely perceptible smile 
with bis colleague. 



%% A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

A carriagjB sto{]y;)fd under th^ peri$tyle a$ he spoke. 
A chasseur, in a livery which Lucien did not recognise, 
let down the step, and two wpmen in evening dress 
cfune out of the brougham. Lucien had no mind to 
lay himself open to an insolent order to get out of the 
way from the official. He stepped aside to let the two 
ladies puss. 

^ Why, that lady is the Marquise d'Espard, whom you 
say you know, sir,' the man said ironically. 

Lucien was so much the more confounded because 
Mme. de Bargeton did not feem to rec€fgni$e him in his 
new plumage; but wlten he stepped up to her^ she 
smiled at him arid said-^ 

^ This has fallen out wonderf^ly — come I ' 

The functionaries at the boy: office grew sprious again 
as Lucien follawed Mme, de Barg^tpn* Qn their way up 
the great staircasie the Isdy introduced M- de Rubemi^e 
to btr cousin. The 1|q« belonging to the first Gentle- 
men of theJSedchamber is situated in one of the angles 
at the back of thi^ house, so that its occupants see and 
are seen all over the theatre. Lucien took bis seat ^n a 
chair behind Mme. de Bargeton, thankful to be in the 
sbado!«r. 

^ M. de Rubempre,^ said the Marquise with flattering 
gfaciqusness, this is your first visit to the Opera, is it 
not i You must have a view of the house ; take this 
seat, sit in front of the box ; we give you permission.' 

Lucien obeyed as the first act came to an end. 

^ You have made good use of your time,' Louise said 
in his ear, in her first surprise at the change in his 
appearance. 

Louise was still the same. The near presence of the 
Marquise d'Espard, a Parisian Mme. de Bargeton, was 
so damaging to her ; the brilliancy of the Parisienne 
brought out all the defects in her country cousin so 
clearly by contrast, that Lucien, looking out over the 
fashionable audience in the superb building, and then at 



the great hdy, ^as twice cnJighx^ecJi fMWl s«i?lj.|K)or 
Anai's de Kegrepelisse as sbe i^^Uy w^ ^. PfV^JfJ^ms 
saw her — a t;^, lean, witfefjred wp^W^j witl| ^.piQf^le^ 
lace aiid faded con^pl^iqjd j auigulai;, sp^i a^(^(;tedin 
bei: ^^umer^ pompous an4 provincial i|i.hp?4f^c^.| ^, 
and aWe all the^e tk\^h dowdijy dre^f^ Asb^ m^f^ 
of fact, the creases in an pid dre^ from Pa^cis stillfja^ 
witness to good tastc^ yo^ can (ell what th^.gqw^rWj»s 
meant for; I;^t an d4 drei^ mM in ti^ '^un^y .^ 
ineducable, it is a tiding io piovoke laughitfir^ XbfH'e 
was neither charg) nor freshness a^ut ^c df-q^s qt. r^ts 
wearer -, t^e velvet, like the comp)e:i^fpn, bad. ^e^n wf^. 
Lucien felt ashamed to hai^e fallen in lov^. ^ith this 
cuttle-fish bone, and vowed that he would profit by 
Louise's ne^t fit of virtue to }^ve her for good* . Hfiving 
an excellent view of t^Q house, he could s^q the ope^^ 
glasses pointed at the acistocratic box /i^r ti^eUen^. 
The be^-dressed women w^^ certainly be scri|ti|iisiAg 
Mme. de Bargeton, for t^ey smiled as they lall^ 
among themselves 

If Mme. d'Ei^pard knew the objfK:t of their saroism^ 
from those feminii^e sof^ilcs and gesturi^s, $he was perr 
fectly insensib|le to tbem- In the first place» anybody 
must see tbat her companion was a poor relation from 
the country, an affliction with which any Pari^an family 
mav be visited. And, in the second, when her <:ousin 
had spoken to her of ber dre^ with manifest n^isgiving^ 
she had reassured Anai's, seeing that, when Qnce properly 
dressed, her relative ^^quld very easily acqnkl^ ^^ tone 
oJF Parisian society. If Mme. de B^rg^ton needed PQ^J^b, 
on the otber h^d she posa^s^pd the native baugh^inciss 
of gopd birth^ and that indesqribabU spfnethi^g whici^ 
may be called ^pedigree.' So, on Monday her()irn 
would come. And, moreover, the Marquis^ kf^fi^ ^^^t 
a? soon as pepple learned that die stranger was hei: cousin, 
they would suspend their banter and locik twice before 
they condemned her. 



24 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Lucien did foresee the change in Louise^s appearance 
shordy to be worked hj a scarf about her throat, a pretty 
dress, an elegant coiflFure, and Mme. d'Espard's advice. 
As they came up the staircase even now, the Marquise 
told her cousin not to hold her handkerchief unfolded in 
her hand. Good or bad taste turns upon hundreds of 
such almost imperceptible shades, which a quick-witted 
woman discerns at once, while others will never grasp 
them. Mme. de Bargeton, plentifully apt, was more 
than clever enough to discover her shortcomings. 
Mme. d'Espard, sure that her pupil would do her credit, 
did not decline to form her. In short, the compact 
between the two women had been confirmed by self- 
interest on either side. 

Mme. de Bargeton, enthralled, dazzled, and fascinated 
by her cousin's manner, wit, and acquaintances, had sud- 
denly declared herself a votary of the idol of the day. 
She had discerned the signs of the occult power exerted 
by the ambitious great lady, and told herself that she 
could gain her end as the satellite of this star, so she had 
been outspoken in her admiration. The Marquise was 
not insensiUe to the artlessly admitted conquest. She 
took an interest in her c6usin, seeing that she was weak 
and poor; she was, besides, not indisposed to take a 
pupil with whom to found a school, and asked nothing 
better than to have a sort of lady-in-waiting in Mme. de 
Bargeton, a dependent who would sing her praises, a 
treasure even more scarce among Parisian women than a 
staunch and loval critic among the literary tribe. The 
flutter of curiosity in the house was too marked to 
be ignored, however, and Mme. d'Espard politely 
endeavoured to turn her cousin's mind from the 
truth. 

^ If any one comes to our box,* she said, < perhaps we 
may discover the cause to which we owe the honour of 
the interest that these ladies are taking * 

^l have a strong suspicion that it is my old velvet 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 15 

gown and Angoumoisin air which Parisian ladies find 
amusing/ Mme. de Bargeton answered, laughing. 

^ No, it is not you ; it is something that I cannot 
explain/ she added, tuitiing to the poet, and, as she 
looked at him for the first time, it seemed to strike her 
that he was singularly dressed. 

^ There is M. du Chatelet,' exclaimed Lucien at that 
very moment, and he pointed a finger towards Mme. de 
Serizy's box, which the renovated i^au had just entered. 

Mme. de Bargeton bit her lips with chagrin as she 
saw that gesture, and saw besides the Marquise's ill- 
suppressed smile of contemptuous astonishment. ^ Where 
does the young man come from?* her look said, and 
Louise felt humbled through her love, one of the sharpest 
of all pangs for a Frenchwoman, a mortification for 
which she cannot forgive her lover. 

In these circles where trifles are of such importance, a 
gesture or a word at the outset is enough to ruin a new- 
comer. It is the principal merit of fine manners and the 
highest breeding that th^y produce the effect of a 
harmonious whole, in which every element is so blended 
that nothing is startling or obtrusive. Even those who 
break the laws of this science, either through ignorance 
or carried away by some impuke, must comprehend that 
It is with social intercourse as with music, a single dis- 
cordant note is a complete negation of the art itself, for 
the harmony exists only when all its conditions are 
observed down to the least particular. 

• Who is the gentleman ? * asked Mme. d*Espard, 
looking towards Chatelet. ^ And have you made Mme. 
de Serizy's acquaintance already ? ' 

^ Oh f is that the fiimous Mme. de Serizy who has 
had so many adventures and yet goes everywhere i * 

^An unheard-of thing, my dear, explicable but un- 
explained. The most formidable men are her fiiends, 
and why i Nobody dares to fathom the mystery. Then 
is this person the lion of Angouleme i * 



%$ A Distinguished Proyincial at Paris 

* Well, M. le 9ar(Hi du CJbatelet has bcefi a good deal 
talked about/ answered Mme. de Bargeton, moved by 
vanity to give her adorer tb^ title which she herself had 
called in questioa* ^ He was M* de Montriveau's travel* 
ling compaj^ibn/ 

^ Ah ! ' said the Marquise d'Espard, ^ I never hear that 
name without thinking of the Duchesse de Langeais, 
poor thing. She vanished like a falling star. — That is 
M« de Rastignac with Mme. de Nucingen/ she con- 
tinued, indicating another bof i ^ she is the wifip of a con- 
tractor, a banker, a city man, a broker on a large scale ; 
he farced his way into society with his mqney, and they 
say that he is not very scrupulous as to his piethods of 
making it. He is at endless pains to establish his credit 
as a staupch upholder of the Bourbons, and has tried 
already to gain admittance into my set. Whe^i his wife 
took Mme. de Langeais's box, she thought that she could 
take her charm, her wit, and her success as welU It is 
the old fable of the jay in the peacock's feathery ! ' 

^ How do M. and Mme. de Rastignac manage to keep 
their son i<i Faris, when, as we know, their income is 
under a thousand crowns ? ' asked Lucien, in his 
astonishment at Rastignac's elegant and expensive dress. 

^It is easy to see that you come from Angouleme,' 
said Mme. d'Espard, ironically enough, as she contin^ed 
to gaze through her opera-glass. 

Her remark was lost upon Lucien ; the all-absorbing 
spectacle of the boxes prevented him from thinking of 
anything else. He guessed the comments niade upon 
Mme. de Bargeton, and saw that he himself was an 
object of no small curiosity. Lonise, on the other hand, 
was ex(;;eedingly mortified by the evident slight esteem 
in which the Marqui$e held Lucien's beauty. 

^He cannot be so handsome as I thought him,' she 
said to herself; and between ^ not so handsome ' and ^ not 
so clever as I thought him ' there was hut one step. 

The curtain fell. Chatelet w^s now paying a visit to 



A Distinguished Prpviucial at Pai4s tj 

the Qucbesse de Carigliano in an a<iyoining box ; Mme. 
d« R^rg^ton acknowkdged bis bow by ^ sligtiii! inclina^ 
tiqn of the head. Nothing e$i:apes a wQixuui of the 
world ; Chatelet's air of distiliction was not lost upon 
Mme4 d'Espard, Ju^t at that moment four personages, 
four Parisian celebrities, came into the bene, one after 
aaother* 

The qiost striking feature pf the first comer, M. de 
Marsajt frmous for the passions which he had indpircd, 
was his girlish beauty j but its softness and elFemioacy 
were counteracted by the expression of his eyes, 
unflinching, steady, untamed, and hard as a tiger's. 
He w$a Ipyed and he was feared* Lucien ww no less 
handsome) but Lucien's expression was so gentle, his 
blue eyes sp limpid, that he scarcely seemed to possess 
the strength and the power which attract wpmen so 
strongly. Nothing, moreover, ^ iar had h^oiiglif out 
the poet'^ merits ) while de Marsay, with bis flow of 
spirits, h[is c(w»fic|eoce in his ^wer to pksuso^ md 
appropriate style of dress, eclipsed every rival by his 
presence* Judge, therefore^ the kind pf figure that 
Lucien, sti^ starched, unbending in clothes as new and 
unfiuniliar as his surroundings, was likely to cut in de 
MarsayV vicinity * De Marsay with his wit and charm 
of manner was privileged to be insolent. From Mme. 
d'Espard's reception of this personage his importance 
was at once evident to Mme. de Bargcton. 

The second comer was a Vandenesse, the cause of the 
scandal in which Lady Dudley was concerned. Felix 
de Vandenesse, amiable, inteUectual, and modest, had 
none of the characteristics on which de Marsay prided 
himself, apd owed his success to diametrically opposed 
qualities. He had been warmly recommended to Mme. 
d'Espard by her cousin Mme. de Mortsauf. 

The third was General de Montriveau, the author of 
the Duchcsse de Langeais's ruin. 

The fourth, M. de Canalis, one of the famous poets of 



a8 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

the day, and as yet a newly risen celebrity, was prouder 
of his birth than of his genius, and dangled in Mme. 
d'Espard's train by way of concealing his love for the 
Duchesse de Chaulieu. In spite of his graces and the 
aflFectation that spoiled them, it was easy to discern the 
vast, lurking ambitions that plunged him at a later day 
into the storms of political life. A face that might be 
called insignificantly pretty and caressing manners thinly 
disguised the man's deeply-rooted egoism and habit of 
continually calculating the chances of a career which 
at that time looked problematical enough; though 
his choice of Mme. de Chaulieu (a woman past for^) 
made interest for him at Court, and brought him tne 
applause of the Faubourg Saint-Germain and the gibes 
of the Liberal party, who dubbed him ^ the poet of the 
sacristy.' 

Mme. de Bargeton, with these remarkable figures 
before her, no longer wondered at the slight esteem in 
which the Marquise held Lucien's good looks.. And 
when conversation began, when intellects so keen, so 
subtle, were revealed in two-edged words with more 
meaning and depth in them than Anais de Bargeton 
heard in a month of talk at Angoul^me ; and, most of 
all, when Canalis uttered a sonorous phrase, summing up 
a materialistic epoch, and gilding it with poetry— then 
Anais felt all the truth of Chdtelet's dictum of the 
previous evening. Lucien was nothing to her now. 
Every one cruelly ignored the unlucky stranger; he 
was so much like a foreigner listening to an unknown 
language, that the Marquise d'Espard took pity upon 
him. She turned to Canalis. 

^ Permit me to introduce M. de Rubempre,' she said. 
^You rank too high in the world of letters not to 
welcome a dibutant. M« de Rubempre is fi'om 
Angouleme, and will need your influence, no doubt, 
with the powers that bring genius to light. So far, he 
has no enemies to help him to success by their attacks 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 29 

upon him. Is there enough originality in the idea of 
obtaining for him by friendship all that hatred has done 
for you to tempt you to make the experiment ? ' 

The four newcomers all looked at Lucien while .the 
Marquise was speaking. De Marsay, only a couple of 
paces away, put up an eyeglass and looked from Lucien 
to Mme. de Bargeton, and then again at Lucien, coupling 
them with some mocking thought, cruelly mortifying 
to both. He scrutinised them as if they had been a pair 
of strange animals, and then he smiled. The smile was 
like a stab to the distinguished provincial. Felix de 
Vandenesse assumed a charitable air. Montriveau 
looked Lucien through and through. 

' Madame,* M. de Canalis answered with a bow, ^ I 
will obey you, in spite of the selfish instinct which 
prompts us to show a rival no favour j but you have 
accustomed us to miracles.' 

^ Very well, do me the pleasure of dining with me on 
Monday with M. de Rubempre, and you can talk of 
matters literary at your ease. I will try to enlist some 
of the tyrants of the world of letters and the ereat 
people who protect them, the author of Ouriiay and one 
or two young poets with sound views.' 

^Mme. la Marquise,' said de Marsa^, 'if you give 
your support to this gentleman for his intellect, I will 
support him for his good looks. I will give him advice 
which will put him in a fair way to be the luckiest dandy 
in Paris. After that, he may be a poet — if he has a mind. 

Mme. de Bargeton thanked her cousin by a gratefa, 
glance. 

' I did not know that you were jealous of intellect,' 
Montriveau said, turning to de Marsay ; ^ good fortune 
is the death of a poet.' 

' Is that why your lordship is thinking of marriage ? ' 
inquired the dandy, addressing Canalis, and watching 
Mme. d'Espard to see if the words went home* 

Canalis shrugged his shoulders, and Mme. d'Espard, 



30 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Mme. de Chaulieu's niece, began to laugh. Lucien in 
bis new clothes felt as if he were an Egyptian statue in 
its narrow sfaeatb ; he was ashamed that he had nothing 
to saf for himself all this while. At length he turned 
to the Marquise. 

^ After your kindness, madame, I am pledged to make 
no failures^' he said in those soft tones of his. 

Ch&telet came in as he spoke ; he had seen Montriveau, 
and by hook or crook smatched at the chance of a good 
introduction to the Marquise d'Espard through one of 
the kings of Paris. He bowed to Mme. de Bargeton, 
and begged Mme. d'Espard to pardon him for the 
liberty he took in invading her box; he had been 
separated so long from his travelling companion ! 
Montriveau and Chatdet met for the first time since 
they parted in the desert. 

* To part in the desert, and meet again in the opera- 
house ! ' said Lucien. 

< Quite a theatrical meeting ! ' said Canalis. 

Montriveau intrbduced the Bardn du Ch&telet to the 
Marquise, and the Marquise r&eeived Her Royal 
Highnesses ex-seciietary the more graciously because she 
had seen that he had been very wdl received in three 
boxeis already. Mme. de Serizy knew none but 
unexceptionable people, and moreover he was Mo»t- 
riveau*s travelling companion. So potent was this 
last credential, that Mme. de Bargeton saw from the 
manner of the group that they accepted Chdtdet as one 
of themsdves without demur. Chitelet's sultan's airs 
in Angouleme were suddenly explained. 

At length the Baron saw Lucien, and favoui^ed him 
with a tobl, disparaging little nod, indicative to men of 
the world of the recipient's inferior station. A sar- 
donic expression actompanied the greeting, * How does 
hi come here i ' he seemed to say. TMi was not lost 
on those who saw it; for de Marsay leaned fowaitis 
Mbntriveau, and said in lonies audible to Ch&telet — 



A Distinguidied Provincial at Paris 31 

' Do ask him who the queer-looking young fellow is 
that lookt like a dummy at a tailor's shop-door.' 

Chatelet spoke a few wordfc in his travelling companion's 
ear, and while apparently renewing his acquaintance, no 
doubt cut his rival to pieces. 

If Locien was surprised at the apt wit and the subtlety 
with which these gentlemen formulated their replies^ he 
felt bewildered with epigram and repartee, and, most 
of ail^ by their dffhand way of talking and their ease of 
manner. The material luxury of Paris had alarmed him 
that momina; ; at night he saw the same laTtsh expendi- 
ture of tntiwect. By what mysterious means, he asked 
himself^ did these people make such piquant reflections 
on the spur of the moment, those repartees which he 
could 6nly have made after mttcb pondering. And not 
only were they at ease in their speech, they were at ease 
in their dress, nothing looked new, nothing looked 
old, nothing about them was conspicuous^ everything 
attracted the eyes. The fine Mntleman of to-day was 
the same yesterday, and would be the same to-morrow. 
Luden guessed that he himself looked as if he ^ere 
dressed for the first time in his life. 

^ My dear fellow,' said de Marsay, addressing F^lix de 
Vandenesse, 'that young Rastignac is soaring away like 
a paper^kite. Look at iiim in the Marquise de Listo- 
mlre's btnK ; he i% making progress, he is putting up his 
eyeghss at us I He knows this gentleman, no doubt,' 
added die dandy, speaking to Lilcien, and looking 
else^ere. 

' He c^ sdircdy iaAl to hate heard thb name of a 
great man of whom we are proud,' said Mme. de 
Bargetdn. ' Quite lately his sister was present when M. 
de Rubemjpre read us some vtery fine poetry.' 

FeKx de Vandenesse and de Maisay took leave of the 
Marquise d'Espand^and irent o(Fto Mme. de Listomere, 
Vandenesse'i sister. The second act began, and the 
three #tfre tdft to themselves again. The curioui women 



32 A Distinguished Provincid at Paris 

learned how Mme. de Bargeton came to be there from 
some of the party, while the others announced the arrival 
of a poet, and made fun of his costume. Canalis went 
back to the Duchesse de Chaulieu, and no more was seen 
of him. 

Lucien was glad when the rising of the curtain pro- 
duced a diversion. All Mme. de Bargeton's misgivings, 
with regard to Lucien were increased hy the marked 
attention which the Marquise d'Espard had shown to 
Chatelet; her manner towards the Baron was very 
different from the patronising affability with which she 
treated Lucien. Mme. de Listomere's box was full 
during the second act, and, to all appearance, the talk 
turned upon Mme. de Bargeton and Lucien. Young 
Rastignac evidently was entertaining the party ; he had 
raised the laughter that needs fresh fuel every day in 
Paris, the laughter that seizes upon a topic and exhausts, 
it, and leaves it stale and threadbare in a moment. 
Mme. d'Espard grew uneasy. She knew that an ill- 
natured speech is not long in coming to the ears (^ 
those whom it will wound, and waited till the end of 
the act. 

After a revulsion of feeling such as had taken place in 
Mme. de Bargeton and Lucien, strange things come to 
pass in a brief space of time, and any revolution within 
us is controlled by laws that work with sreat swiftness. 
Chitelet's sage and politic words as to Lucien, spoken 
on the way home from the Vaudeville, were fresh in 
Louise's memory. Every phrase was a prophecy, it 
seemed as if Lucien had set himself to fulfil the predic- 
tions one by one. When Lucien and Mme. de Bargeton 
had parted with their JjJusifilUL^oncerning each other, the 
liickiess youth, wTffi' a destiny not unlike Rousseau's, 
went so far in his predecessor's footsteps that he was 
captivated by the great lady and smitten with Mme. 
d'Espard at first sight* Young men and men who 
remember their young emotions can see that this was 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 33 

only what might have been looked for. Mme. d'Espard 
with her dainty ways^ her delicate enunciation, and the 
refined tones of her voice ; the fragile woman so envied, 
of such high place and high degree, appeared before the 
poet as Mme. de Bargeton had appeared to him in 
Angouleme. His fickle nature prompted him to desire 
influence in that lofty sphere at once, and the surest way 
to secure such influence was to possess the woman who 
exerted it, and then everything would be his. He had 
succeeded at Angouleme, why should he not succeed in 
Paris ? 

Involuntarily, and despite the novel ocwnter 6iscination 
of the stage, his eyes turned to this Celimene in her 
splendour; he glanced furtively at her every moment; the 
longer he looked, the more he desired to look at her. 
Mme. de Bargeton caught the gleam in Luden's eyes, 
and saw that he found the Marquise more interesting 
than the opera. If Lucien had forsaken her for the fifty 
daughters of Danaus, she could have borne his desertion 
with equanimity ; but another glance — bolder, more 
ardent, and unmistakable than any before — ^revealed the 
state of Lucien's feelings. Slie grew jealous, but not so 
much for the future as for the past. 

^ He never gave me such a look,' she thought. ' Dear 
me ! Chitelet was right ! ' 

Then she saw that she had made a mistake ; and when 
a woman once begins to repent of her weaknesses, she 
sponges out the whole past. Every one of Loden's 
glances roused her indignation^ but to all outward appear- 
ance she was calm. De Marsay came back in the interval, 
bringing M. de Listomere with him ; and that serious 
person and the young coxc<Hiib soon infonned the Mar- 
quise that the wedding-guest in his holiday suit, whom she 
had the bad luck to have in her box, had as much right 
to the appellation of Rubempre as a Jew to a baptismal 
name. Lucien's father was an apothecary named 
Chardon. M. de Rastignac, who knew all about 



34 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Angouleme, had set several boxes laughing already at the 
mummy whom the Marquise styled her cousin, and at 
the Marquise's forethought in having an apothecary at 
hand to sustain an artificial life with drugs. In short, 
de Marsay brought a selection from the thousand-and-one 
jokes made by Parisians on the spur of the moment, and 
no sooner uttered than forgotten. Chatelet was at the 
back of it all, and the real author of this Pimic faith. 

Mme. d'Espard turned to Mme. de Bargeton, put up 
her fan, and said, ' My dear, tell me if your protege's 
name is really M. de Rubempre ? ' 

' He has assumed his mother's name,' said Anais, un- 
easily. 

^ But who was his father ? ' 

^ His father's name was Chardon.' 

^ And what was this Chardon ? ' 

'A druggist.' 

^ My dear friend, I felt quite sure that all Paris could not 
be laughing at any one whom I took up. I do not care to 
stay here when wags come in in high glee because there 
is an apothecary's son in my box. If you will follow my 
advice, we will leave it, and at once.' 

Mme. d'Espard's expression was insolent enough ; 
Lucien was at a loss to accoimt for her change of counten- 
ance. He thought that his waistcoat was in bad taste, 
which was true ; and that his coat looked like a carica- 
ture of the fashion, which was likewise true. He dis- 
cerned, in bitterness of soul, that he must put himself in 
the hands of an expert tailor, and vowed that he would 
go the very next morning to the most celebrated artist 
in Paris. On Monday he would hold his own with the 
men at the Marquise's house. 

Yet, lost in thought though he was, he saw the third 
act to an end, and, with his eyes fixed on the gorgeous 
scene upon the stage, dreamed out his dream of Mme. 
d'Espard. He was in despair over her sudden coldness ; 
it gave a strange check to the ardent reasoning through 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 35 

which he advanced upon this new love, undismayed by 
the immense difficulties in the way, difficulties which he 
saw and resolved to conquer. He roused himself from 
these deep musings to look once more at his new idol, 
turned his head, and saw that he was ialone; he had 
heard a faint rustling sound, the door closed — Mme. 
d'Espard had taken her cousin with her. Lucien wa<s 
surprised to the last degree by the sudden desertion ; he 
did not think long about it however, simply because it 
was inexplicable. 

When the carriage was rolling along the Rue de 
Richelieu on the way to the Faubourg Saint-Honore, 
the Marquise spoke to her cousin in a tone of suppressed 
irritation. 

' My dear child, what are you thinking about ? Pray 
wait till an apothecary's son has made a name for him- 
self before you trouble yourself about him. The 
Duchesse de Chaulieu does not acknowledge Canalis 
even now, and he is famous and a man of good femily. 
This young fellow is neither your son nor your lover, I 
suppose ? ' added the haughty dame, with a keen, in- 
quisitive glance at her cousin* 

^ How fortunate for me that I kept the little scape- 
grace at a distance ! ' thought Mme. de Bargeton. 

' Very well,' continued the Marquise, taking the ex- 
pression in her cousin's eyes for an answer, ^ drop him, I 
beg of you. Taking an illustrious name in that way ! 
— Why, it is a piece of impudence that will meet with its 
deserts in society. It is his mother's name, I dare say ; 
but just remember, dear, that the King alone can confer, 
by a special ordinance, die title of de Rubempre on the 
son of a daughter of the house. If she made a mesalliance^ 
the favour would be enormous, only to be granted to vast 
wealth, or conspicuous services, or very powerful influ- 
ence. The young man looks like a shopman in his 
Sunday suit ; evidently he is neither wealthy nor noble ; 
he has a fine head, but he seems to me to be very silly ; 



36 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

he has no idea what to do, and has nothing to say for 
himself; in fact^ he has no breeding. How came you 
to take him up ? ' 

Mme. de Bargeton renounced Lucien as Lucien himself 
had renounced her ; a ghastly fear lest her cousin should 
learn the manner of her journey shot through her mind. 

^ Dear cousin, I am in despair that I have compromised 
you.* 

^ People do not compromise me/ Mme. d'Espard said, 
smiling ; ^ I am only thinking of you.' 

^But you have asked him to dine with you on 
Monday.' 

^ I shall be ill,' the Marquise said quickly ; ^ you can 
tell him so, and I shall leave orders that he is not to be 
admitted under either name.' 

During the interval Lucien noticed that every one 
was walking up and down in the lobby. He would do 
the same. In the first place, not one of Mme. d'Espard's 
visitors recognised him nor paid any attention to him, 
their conduct seemed nothing less than extraordinary to 
the provincial poet ; and, secondly, Chitelet, on whom 
he tried to hang, watched him out of the corner of his 
eye and fought shy of him. Lucien walked to and fro 
watching the eddying crowd of men, till he felt con- 
vinced that his costume was absurd, and he went back 
to his box, ensconced himself in a corner, and stayed 
there rill the end. At times he thought of nothing but 
the magnificent spectacle of the ballet in the great 
Inferno scene in the fifth act; sometimes the sight of 
the house absorbed him, sometimes his own thoughts ; 
he had seen society in Paris, and the sight had stirred 
him to the depths. 

^So this is my kingdom,' he said to himself; ^this is 
the world that I must conquer.' 

As he walked home through the streets he thought 
over all that had been said by Mme. d'Espard's courriers ; 
memory reproducing with strange faithfulness their 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 37 

demeanour, their gestures, their manner of coining and 
going. 

Next day, towards noon, Lucien betook himself to 
Staub, the great tailor of that day. Partly by dint of 
entreaties, and partly by virtue of cash, Lucien succeeded 
in obtaining a promise that his clothes should be ready 
in time for the great day. Staub went so far as to give 
his word that a perfectly degant coat, a waistcoat, and a 
pair of trousers should be forthcoming. Lucien then 
ordered linen and pocket-handkcrchids, a little outfit, in 
short, of a linen-draper, and a celebrated bootmaker 
measured him for shoes and boots. He bought a neat 
walking cane at Verdier's ; he went to Mme. Irlande for 
gloves and shirt studs ; in short, he did his best to reach 
the climax of dandyism. When he had satisfied all his 
fancies^ he went to the Rue Neuve-de-Luxembourg, and 
found that Louise had gone out. 

^She was dining with Mme. la Bifarquise d'Espard,' 
her maid said, ^and would not be back tiU late.' 

Lucien dined for two francs at a restaurant in the 
Palais Royal, and went to bed early. The next day was 
Sunday. He went to Louise's lodging at eleven o'clock. 
Louise had not yet risen. At two o'clock he returned 
once more« 

^ Madame cannot see anybody yet,' reported Albertine, 
' but she gave me a line for you.' 

^ Cannot see anybodv yet ? ' repeated Lucien. ^ But 
I am not anybody—-— 

^I do not know,' Albertine answered very im^ 
pertinently; and Lucien, less surprised by Albertine's 
answer than by a note from Mme. de Bargeton, took the 
billet, and read the following discouraging lines : — 

^ Mme. d'Espard is not well -, she will not be able to 
see you on Monday. I am not feeling very well myself, 
but I am about to dress and go to keep her company. I 
am in despair over this little disappointment ; but your 



38 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

talents reassure me, you will make your way without 
charlatanism.' 

^ And no signature ! ' Lucien said to himself. He 
found himself in the Tuileries before he knew whither 
he was walking. 

With the gift of second sight which accompanies 
genius, he began to suspect that the chilly note was but 
a warning of the catastrophe to come. Lost in thought, 
he walked on and on, gazing at the monuments in the 
Place Louis Quinze. 

It was a sunny day ; a stream of fine carriages went 
past him on the way to the Champs Elysees. Following 
the direction of the crowd of strollers, he saw the three 
or four thousand carriages that turn the Champs Elysees 
into an improvised Longchamp on Sunday afternoons in 
summer. The splendid horses, the toilettes, and liveries 
bewildered him ; he went further and further, until he 
reached the Arc de Triomphe, then unfinished. What 
were his feelings when, as he returned, he saw Mme. de 
Bargeton and Mme. d'Espard coming towards him in a 
wonderfully appointed caleche, with a chasseur behind it in 
waving plumes and that gold-embroidered green uniform 
which he knew only too well. There was a block some- 
where in the row, and the carriages waited. Lucien 
beheld Louise transformed beyond recognition. All the 
colours of her toilette had been carefully subordinated to 
her complexion ; her dress was delicious, her hair grace- 
fully and becomingly arranged, her hat, in exquisite taste, 
was remarkable even beside Mme. d'Espard, that leader 
of fashion. 

There is something in the art of wearing a hat that 
escapes definition. Tilted too far to the back of the 
head, it imparts a bold expression to the face ; bring it 
too far forward, it gives you a sinister look ; tipped to 
one side, it has a jaunty air; a well-dressed woman wears 
her hat exactly as she means to wear it, and exactly at 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 3^ 

the right angle. Mme. de Bargeton had solved this 
curious problem at sight. A dainty girdle outlined her 
slender waist. She had adopted her cousin's gestures and 
tricks of manner i and now, as she sat bv Mme. d'Espard's 
side, she played with a tiny scent-bottle that dangled by 
a slender gold chain from one of her fingers, displaying 
a little weO-gloved hand without seeming to do so. She 
had modelled herself on Mme. d'Espard without mimick- 
ing her; the Marquise had found a cousin worthy of her, 
and seemed to be proud of her pupil. 

The men and women on the footways all gazed at the 
splendid carriage, with the bearings of the d'Espards and 
Blamont-Chauvrys upon the panels. Lucien was amazed 
at the number of greetings received by the cousins ; he 
did not know that the ^ all Paris,' which consists in some 
score of salons, was well aware already of the relationship 
between the ladies. A little group of young men on 
horseback accompanied the carriage in the Bois ; Lucien 
could recognise de Marsay and Rastignac among them, 
and could see from their gestures that the pair of cox- 
combs wete complimenting Mme. de Bargeton upon her 
transformation. Mme. d'Espard was radiant with health 
and grace. So her indisposition was simply a pretext for 
ridding herself of him, for there had been no mention of 
another day ! 

The wrathful poet went towards the caleche; he walked 
slowly, waited till he came in full sight of the two ladies, 
and made them a bow. Mme. de Bargeton would not 
see him ; but the Marquise put up her eyeglass, and 
deliberately cut him. He had been disowned by the 
sovereign lords of Angouleme, but to be disowned by 
society in Paris was another thing ; the booby-squires 
by doing their utmost to mortify Lucien admitted his 
power and acknowledged him as a man ; for Mme. 
d'Espard he had positively no existence. This was no 
sentence, it was a refusal of justice. Poor poet ! a deadly 
cold seized on him when he saw de Marsay eyeing him 



40 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

through his gisss ; and when the Parisian lion let that 
optical instrument fall, it dropped in so singular a fashion 
that Lucien thought of the knife-blade of the guillotine. 
The caleche went by. Rage and a craving for 
vengeance took possession of his slighted soul. If Mme. 
de Bargeton had been in his power, he could have cut 
her throat at that moment ; he was a Fouquier-Tinville 
gloating over the pleasure of sending Mme. d'Espard to 
the scafFcJd. If only he could have put de Marsay to 
the torture with refinements of savage cruelty ! Canalis 
went by on horseback, bowing to the prettiest women, 
his dress elegant, as became the most dainty of poets. 

* Great heavens ! ' exclaimed Lucien. * Money, money 
at all costs ! money is the one power before which the 
world bends the knee.' (* No ! ' cried conscience, * not 
money, but glory ; and glory means work ! Work ! 
that was what David said.') ' Great heavens ! what am 
I doing here ? But I will triumph. I will drive along 
this avenue in a caleche with a chasseur behind me ! I 
will possess a Marquise d'Espard.' And flinging out the 
wrathful words, he went to Hurbain's to dine for two 
francs. 

Next morning, at nine o'clock, he went to the Rue 
Neuve-de-Luxembourg to upbraid Louise for her bar- 
barity. But Mme. de Bargeton was not at home to 
him, and not only so, but the porter would not allow 
him to go up to her rooms ; so he stayed outside in the 
street, watching the house till noon. At twelve o'clock 
Chatelet came out, looked at Lucien out of the corner 
of his eye, and avoided him. 

Stung to the quick, Lucien hurried after his rival ; 
and Chatelet, finding himself closely pursued, turned 
and bowed, evidently intending to shake him off by this 
courtesy. 

* Spare me one moment for pity's sake, sir,* said 
Lucien j * I want just a word or two with you. You 
have shown me fi-iendship, I now ask the most trifling 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 41 

service of that friendship. You have just come from 
Mme. de Bargeton; how have I fallen into disgrace 
with her and Mme. d'Espard i — please explain.' 

^ M. Chardon, do 70U know why the ladies left you at 
the Opera that evening i ' asked Chatelet, with treacher- 
ous good*nature. 

' No/ said the poor poet. 

' Well, it was M. de Rastignac who spoke against you 
from the beginning. They asked him about you, and 
the young dandy simply said that your name was 
Chardon, and not de Rubempre ; that your mother was a 
monthly nurse ; that your father, when he was alive, was 
an apothecary in L'Houmeau, a suburb of Angouleme ; 
and that your sister, a charming girl, gets up shirts to 
admiration, and is just about to be married to a local 
printer named Sechard. Such is the world ! You no 
sooner show yourself than it pulls you to pieces. 

' M. de Marsay came to Mme. d'Espard to laugh at 
you with her; so the two ladies, thinking that your 
presence put them in a false position, went out at once. 
Do not attempt to go to either house. If Mme. de 
Bargeton continued to receive your visits, her cousin 
would have nothing to do with her. You have genius ; 
try to avenge yourself. The world looks down upon 
you ; look down in your turn upon the world. Take 
refuge in some garret, write your masterpieces, seize 
on power of any kind, and you will see the world at 
your feet. Then you can give back the bruises which 
you have received, and in the very place where they 
were given. Mme. de Bargeton will be the more distant 
now because she has been friendly. That is the way 
with women. But the question now for you is not 
how to win back Ana'is's fHendskip, but how to avoid 
making an enemy of her. I will tell you of a way. She 
has written letters to you ; send all her letters back to 
her, she will be sensible that you are acting like a 
gentleman } and at a later time, if you should need her. 



4^ A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

she will not be hostile. For my own part, I have so 
high an opinion of your future, that I have taken your 
part everywhere ; and if I can do anything here for you, 
you will always find me ready to be of use.' 

The elderly beau seemed to have grown young again 
in the atmosphere of Paris. He bowed with frigid 
politeness; but Lucien, woe-begone, haggard, and un- 
done, forgot to return the salutation. He went back to 
his inn, and there found the great Staub himself, come 
in person, not so much to try his customer's clothes as 
to make inquiries of the landlady with regard to that 
customer's financial status. The report had been satis- 
factory. Lucien had travelled post ; Mme. de Bargeton 
brought him back from the Vaudeville last Thursday in 
her carriage. Staub addressed Lucien as ^ Monsieur le 
Comte,' and called his customer's attention to the artistic 
skill with which he had brought a charming figure into 
relief. 

^ A young man in such a costume has only to walk in 
the Tuileries,' he said, ^ and he will marry an English 
heiress within a fortnight.' 

Lucien brightened a little under the influences of the 
German tailor's joke, the perfect fit of his new clothes, 
the fine cloth, and the sight of a graceful firare which 
met his eyes in the looking-glass. Vaguely he told 
himself that Paris was the capital of chance, and for the 
moment he believed in chance. Had he not a volume 
of poems and a magnificent romance entitled The 
Jrcher of Charles IX. in manuscript ? He had hope for 
the future. Staub promised the overcoat and the rest of 
the clothes the next day. 

The next day the bootmaker, linen-draper, and tailor 
all returned armed each with his bill, which Lucien, 
still under the charm of provincial habits, paid forthwith, 
not knowing how otherwise to rid himself of them. 
After he had paid, there remained but three hundred and 
sixty francs out of the two thousand which he had 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 43 

brought with him from Angouleme, and he had been 
but one week in Paris ! Nevertheless, he dressed and 
went out to take a stroll on the Terrasse des Feuillants. 
He had his day of triumph. He looked so handsome and 
so graceful, he was so well dressed, that women looked 
at him; two or three were so much struck with his 
beauty, that they turned their heads to look again. 
Lucien studied the gait and carriage of the young 
men on the Terrasse, and took a lesson in fine manners 
while he meditated on his three hundred and sixty 
francs. 

That evening, alone in his chamber, an idea occurred 
to him which threw a light on the problem of his 
existence at the Gaillard-Bois, where he lived on the 
plainest fere, thinking to economise in this way. He 
asked for his account, as if he meant to leave, and 
discovered that he was indebted to his landlord to the 
extent of a hundred francs. The next morning was 
spent in running about the Latin Quarter, recommended 
for its cheapness by David. For a long while he looked 
about till, finally, in the Rue de Cluny, close to the 
Sorbonne, he discovered a place where he could have a 
furnished room for such a price as he could aiFord to 
pay. He settled with his hostess of the Gaillard-Bois, 
and took up his quarters in the Rue de Cluny that same 
day. His removal only cost him the cab fare. 

When he had taken possession of his poor room, he 
made a packet of Mme. de Bargeton's letters, laid them 
on the table, and sat down to write to her ; but before he 
wrote he fell to thinking over that &tal week. He did 
not tell himself that he had been the first to be faithless ; 
that for a sudden fancy he had been ready to leave his 
Louise without knowing what would become of her in 
Paris. He saw none of his own shortcomings, but he 
saw his present position, and blamed Mme. de Bargeton 
for it. She was to have lighted his way ; instead she 
had ruined him. He grew indignant, he grew proud, he 



44 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

worked himself into a paroxysm of rage, and set himself 
to compose the following epistle :— 

^ What would you think, madame, of a woman who 
should take a hncy to some poor and timid child full 
of the noble superstitions which the grown man calls 
^* illusions ** ; and using all the charm of woman*s 
coquetry, all her most delicate ingenuity, should feign 
a mother's love to lead that child astray r Her fondest 
promises, the card-castles which raised his wonder, cost 
her nothing ; she leads him on, tightens her hold upon 
him, sometimes coaxing, sometimes scolding him for his 
want of confidence, till the child leaves hts home and 
follows her blindly to the shores of a vast sea. SmiKng, 
she lures him into a frail skifF, and sends him forth alone 
and helpless to face the storm. Standing safe on the 
rock, she laughs and wishes him luck. You are that 
woman ; I am that child. 

^The child has a keepsake in his hands, something 
which might betray the wrongs done by your benefi- 
cence, your kindness in deserting him. You might 
have to blush if you saw him struggling for life, and 
chanced to recollect that once you clasped him to your 
breast. When you read these words the keepsake will 
be in your own safe keeping ; you are free to forget 
everything. 

^Once you pointed out fair hopes to me in the skies, 
I awake to find reality in the squalid poverty of Paris. 
While you pass, and others bow before you, on your 
brilliant path in the great world, I, whom you deserted 
on the threshold, shall be shivering in the wretched 
garret to which you consigned me. Yet some pang 
may perhaps trouble your mind amid festivals and 
pleasures ; you may think sometimes of the child whom 
you thrust into the depths. If so, madame, think of 
him without remorse. Out of the depths of his misery 
the child offers you the one thing lefit to him — his 



A Distinguished Provindal at Paris 45 

forgiveness in a Itst look. Yes, madM»e, thanks to you, 
I have nothing left. Nothing! was not the world 
created from nothing P Genius should follow the 
Divine example ; I begin with God-like forgiveness, but 
as jet I know not whether I possess the God-like power. 
You need only tremble lest I should go astray ; for you 
would be answerable for my sins. Alas ! I pity you, for 
you will have no part in the future towards which I go, 
with work as my guide.' 

After penning this rhetoriod effusion, foil of the 
sombre dignity which an artist of one-and-^wenty is 
rather apt to overdo, Lucien*s thoughts went back to 
them at home. He saw the pretty rooms which David 
had fomished for bim, at the cost of part of his little 
store, and a vision rose before him of quiet, simple 
pleasures in the past. Shadowy ^ures came about him ; 
he saw his mother and Eve and David, and heard their 
sobs over his leave-taking, and at that he began to cry 
himself, for he folt very lonely in Paris, and friendless and 
forlorn. 

Two or three days later he wrote to his sister :*— 

^ My dear Eve, — When a sister shares the life of a 
brother who devotes himself to art, it is her sad 
privilege to take more sorrow than joy into her life ; 
and I am beginning to fear that I sh^l be a great 
trouble to you. Have I not abused your goodness 
already ? have not all of you sacrificed yourselves to me ? 
It is the memory of the past, so foil of family happi- 
ness, that helps me to bear 1^ in my present loneliness. 
Now that I have tasted the first beginnings of poverty 
and the treachery of the worid of Paris, how my thoughts 
have flown to you, swift as an eagle back to his eyrie, 
so that I might be with true affection again. Did you 
see sparks in the candle i Did a coal pop out of the 
fire I Did you hear singing in your ears ? And did 



46 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

mother say, ^'Lucien is thinking of us,'' and David 
answer, *' He is fighting his way in the world " ? 

* My Eve, I am writing this letter for your eyes only. 
I cannot tell any one else all that has happened to me, 
good and bad, blushing for both, as I write, for good 
here is as rare as evil ought to be. You shall have a 
great piece of news in a very few words. Mme. de 
Bargeton was ashamed of me, disowned me, would not 
see me, and gave me up nine days after we came to 
Paris. She saw me in the street and looked another 
way; when, simply to follow her into the society to 
which she meant to introduce me, I had spent seventeen 
hundred and sixty francs out of the two thousand I 
brought from Angouleme, the money so hardly scraped 
together. ^^How did you spend it?" you will ask. 
Paris is a strange bottomless gulf, my poor sister; 
you can dine here for less than a franc, yet the 
simplest dinner at a feshionable restaurant costs fifty 
francs; there are waistcoats and trousers to be had 
for four francs and two francs each ; but a fashionable 
tailor never charges less than a hundred francs. You 
pay for everything ; you pay a halfpenny to cross the 
kennel in the street when it rains ; you cannot go the 
least little way in a cab for less than thirty-two sous. 

^ I have been staying in one of the best parts of Paris, 
but now I am living at the Hotel de Cluny, in the Rue 
de Cluny, one of the poorest and darkest slums, shut in 
between three churches and the old buildings of the 
Sorbonne. I have a furnished room on the fourth floor ; 
it is very bare and very dirty, but, all the same, I pay 
fifteen francs a month for it. For breakfast I spend a 
penny on a roll and a halfpenny for milk, but I dine 
very decently for twenty-two sous at a restaurant kept 
by a man named Flicoteaux in the Place de la Sorbonne 
itself. My expenses every month will not exceed sixty 
francs, everything included, until the winter begins — at 
least I hope not. So my two hundred and forty francs 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 47 

ought to last me for the first four months. Between 
now and then I shall have sold The Archer of Charles ix 
and the Marguerites no doubt. Do not be in the least 
uneasy on my account. If the present is cold and bare 
and poverty-stricken, the blue distant future is rich and 
splendid ; most great men have known the vicissitudes 
which depress but cannot overwhelm me. 

^Plautus, the great comic Latin poet, was once a 
miller's lad. Machiavelli wrote The Prince at night, 
and by day was a common working man like any one 
else \ and more than all, the great Cervantes, who lost 
an arm at the battle of Lepanto, and helped to win that 
femous day, was called a ^ base-born, hand-less dotard ' 
by the scribblers of his day ; there was an interval of ten 
years between the appearance of the first part and the 
second of his sublime Dm fixate for lack of a publisher. 
Things are not so bad as that nowadays. Mortifica- 
tions and want only £dl to the lot of unknown writers ; 
as soon as a man's name is known, he grows rich, and I 
will be rich. And besides, I live within myself, I spend 
half the day at the Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve, 
learning all that I want to learn ; I should not go far 
unless I knew more than I do. So at this moment I am 
almost happy. In a few days I have fallen in with my 
life very gladly. I begin the work that I love with 
daylight, my subsistence is secure, I think a great deal, 
and Istudy. I do not see that I am open to attack at 
any point, now that I have renounced a world where 
my vanity might suffer at any moment. The great 
men of every age are obliged to lead lives apart. What 
are they but birds in the forest? They sing, nature 
falls under the spell of their song, and no one should see 
them. That shall be my lot, always supposing that I 
can carry out my ambitious plans. 

^ Mme. de Bargeton, I do not regret. A woman who 
could behave as she behaved does not deserve a thought. 
Nor am I sorry that I left Angouleme. She did wisely 



48 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

when she flung me into the sea of P^is to «nk or swim. 
ThiB is the place for men of letters and thinkers and 
poets ; here you cultivate glory, and I know how fair the 
harvest is that we reap in diese days. Nowhere dse can 
a writer find the living works of the great dead, the 
works of art which quicken the imagination in the 
galleries and museums here ; nowhere else will you find 
great rderence libraries always open in which the 
intellect may find pasture. And lastly, here in Paris 
there is a spirit which you breathe in the air ; it infuses 
the least details, every literary creation bears traces of 
its influence. You learn more by talk in a cafe, or at a 
theatre, in one half hour, than you would learn in ten 
years in (he provinces. Here, in truth, wherever you 
go, there is always something to see, something to learn, 
some comparison to make. Extreme cheapness and 
excessive dearness — there is Paris for you; there is 
honeycomb here for every bee, every nature finds its own 
nourishment. So, though life is hard for me just now, 
I repent of nothing. On the contrary, a fiiir fiiture 
spreads out before me, and my heart rejoices though it is 
saddened for the moment. Good-bye, ttiy dear sister. 
Do not expect letters fi-om me regularly $ it is one of the 
peculiarities of Paris that one really does not know how 
the time goes. Life is so alarmingly rapid. I kiss 
the mother and you and David more tenderly than 



The name of Flicoteaux is engraved on many memo- 
ries. Few indeed were the students who lived in the 
Latin Quarter during the last twelve years of the 
Restoration and did not frequent that temple sacred to 
hunger and impecuniosity. There a dinner of thre« 
courses, with a quarter botde of wine or a bottle of beer, 
could faie had for eighteen sous i or for twenty-two sous 
the quarter bottle became a bottle. Flicoteaux, that 
fnend of youth, would beyond a doubt have amassed a 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 49 

colossal fortune but for a line on his bill of fare, a line 
which rival establishments are wont to print in capital 
letters, thus — bread at discretion, which, being 
interpreted, should read ^indiscretion/ 

Flicoteaux has been nursing-father to many an illus- 
trious name. Verily, the heart of more than one great 
man ought to wax warm with innumerable recollections 
of inexpressible enjoyment at the sight of the small, 
square window panes that look upon the Place de la 
Sorbonne and the Rue Neuve-de-Richelieu. Flico- 
teaux II. and Flicoteaux iii. respected the old exterior, 
maintaining the dingy hue and general air of a respect- 
able, old-«stablished house, showing thereby the depth of 
their contempt for the charlatanism of the shop-front, 
the kind of advertisement which feasts the eyes at the 
expense of the stomach, to which your modern restaurant 
almost always has recourse. Here you beheld no piles 
of straw-stufied game never destined to make the 
acquaintance of the spit, no fantastical fish to justify the 
mountebank's remark, * I saw a fine carp to-day ; I expect 
to buy it this dav week.' Instead of the prime vegetables 
more fittingly described by the word primeval, artfully 
displayed in the window for the delectation of the military 
man and his fellow country-woman the nursemaid, 
honest Flicoteaux exhibited full salad-bowls adorned with 
many a rivet, or pyramids of stewed prunes to rejoice the 
sight of the customer, and assure him that the word 
^ dessert,' with which other handbills made too free, was 
in this case no charter to hoodwink the public. Loaves 
of six pounds' weight, cut in four quarters, made good 
the promise of 'bread at discretion.' Such was the 
plenty of the establishment, that Moliere would have 
celebrated it if it had been in existence in his day, so 
comically appropriate is the name. 

Flicoteaux still subsists ; so long as students are 
minded to live, Flicoteaux will make a living. You 
feed there, neither more nor less j and you feed as you 

D 



50 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

work, with morose or cheerful industry, according to the 
circumstances and the temperament. 

At that time his well-known establishment consisted 
of two dining-halls, at right angles to each other ; long, 
narrow, low-ceiled rooms, looking respectively on the 
Rue Neuve-de-Richelieu and the Place de la Sorbonne. 
The furniture must have come originally from the 
refectory of some abbey, for there was a monastic look 
about the lengthy tables, where the serviettes of regular 
customers, each thrust through a numbered ring of crys- 
tallised tin plate, were laid by their places. Flicoteaux i. 
only changed the serviettes of a Sunday; but Flico- 
teaux II. changed them twice a week, it is said, under 
pressure of competition which threatened his dynasty. 

Flicoteaux's restaurant is no banqueting-hall, with its 
refinements and luxuries ; it is a workshop where suit- 
able tools are provided, and everybody gets up and goes 
as soon as he has finished. The coming and going 
within is swift. There is no dawdling among the 
waiters ; they are all busy ; every one of them is wanted. 

The iare is not very varied. The potato is a per- 
manent institution ; there might be not a single tuber 
left in Ireland, and prevailing^dearth elsewhere, but you 
would still find potatoes at Flicoteaux's. Not once in 
thirty years shall you miss its pale gold (the colour 
beloved of Titian), sprinkled with chopped verdure ; the 
potato enjoys a privilege that women might envy ; such 
as you see it in 1814, so shall you find it in 1840. 
Mutton cutlets and fillet of beef at Flicoteaux's represent 
black game and fillet of sturgeon at Very's $ they are not 
on the regular bill of &re, that is, and must be ordered 
beforehand. Beef of the feminine gender there prevails ; 
the young of the bovine species appears in all kinds of 
ingenious disguises. When the whiting and mackerel 
abound on our shores, they are likewise seen in large 
numbers at Flicoteaux's; his whole establishment, in- 
deed, is directly affected by the caprices of the season 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 51 

and the vicissitudes of French agriculture. By eating 
your dinners at Flicoteaux's you learn a host of things 
of which the wealthy, the idle, and folk indifferent 
to the phases of Nature have no suspicion, and the 
student penned up in the Latin Quarter is kept accu- 
rately informed of the state of the weather and good or 
bad seasons. He knows when it is a good year for peas 
or French beans, and the kind of salad stuff* that is 
plentiful; when the Great Market is glutted with 
cabbages, he is at once aware of the fact, and the failure 
of the beetroot crop is brought home to his mind. A 
slander, old in circulation in Lucien's time, connected 
the appearance of beefsteaks with a mortality among 
horseflesh. 

Few Parisian restaurants are so well worth seeing. 
Every one at Flicoteaux's is young; you see nothing 
but youth; and although earnest faces and grave, 
gloomy, anxious faces are not lacking, you see hope and 
confidence and povertv gaily endured. Dress, as a rule, 
is careless, and regular comers in decent clothes are 
marked exceptions. Everybody knows at once that 
something extraordinary is afoot ; a mistress to visit, a 
theatre party, or some excursion into higher spheres. 
Here, it is said, friendships have been made among 
students who became famous men in after days, as will be 
seen in the course of this narrative ; but with the excep- 
tion of a few knots of young fellows from the same part 
of France who make a group about the end of a table, 
the gravity of the diners is hardly relaxed. Perhaps this 
gravity is due to the catholicity of the wine, which checks 
good fellowship of any kind. 

Flicoteaux's frequenters may recollect certain sombre 
and mysterious figures enveloped in the gloom of the 
chilliest penury ; these beings would dine there daily for 
a couple of years and then vanish, and the most in- 
<]uisitive regular comer could throw no light on the 
disappearance of such goblins of Paris. Friendships 



51 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

struck up over Flicoteaux's dinners were sealed in neigh- 
bouring cafes in the flames of headv punch, or by the 
generous warmth of a small cup of black coflTee glorified 
by a dash of something hotter and stronger. 

Lucien, like all neophytes, was modest and regular in 
his habits in those early days at the Hotel de Cluny. 
After the first unlucky venture in fashionable life which 
absorbed his capital, he threw himself into his work with 
the first earnest enthusiasm, which is frittered away so 
soon over the difficulties or in the by-paths of every life 
in Paris. The most luxurious and the very poorest 
lives are equally beset with temptations which nothing 
but the fierce energy of genius or the morose persistence 
of ambition can overcome. 

Lucien used to drop in at Fltcoteaux's about half-past 
four, having remarked the advantages of an early arrival; 
the bill-of-&re was more varied, and there was still some 
chance of obtaining the dish of your choice. Like all 
imaginative persons, he had taken a fancy to a particular 
seat, and showed discrimination in his selection. On 
the very first day he had noticed a table near the counter, 
and from the fitces of those who sat about it, and chance 
snatches of their talk, he recognised brothers of the craft. 
A sort of instinct, moreover, pointed out the table near 
the counter as a spot whence he could parley with the 
owners of the restaurant. In time an acquaintance would 
grow up, he thought, and then in the day of distress he 
could no doubt obtain the necessary credit. So he took 
his place at a small square table close to the desk, 
intended probably for casual comers, for the two clean 
serviettes were unadorned with rings. Lucien's opposite 
neighbour was a thin, pallid youth, to all appearance as 
poor as he himself; his handsome face was somewhat 
worn, already it told of hopes that had vanished, leaving 
lines upon his forehead and barren furrows in his soul, 
where seeds had been sown that had come to nothing. 
Lucien felt drawn to the stranger by these tokens; 



A Distinguiahed Provincial at Paris 53 

bis sympathies went out to him with irresistible 
fervour. 

After a week's exchange of small courtesies and 
remarks, the poet from Angouleme found the first person 
with whom he could chat. The stranger's name was 
Etienne Lousteau. Two years ago he had left his native 
place, a town in Berri, just as Lucien had come from 
Angouleme. His lively gestures, bright eyes, and 
occasionally curt speech revealed a bitter apprenticeship 
to literature. Etienne had come from Sancerre with 
his tragedy in his pocket, drawn to Paris by the same 
motives that impelled Lucien — hope of fame and power 
and money. 

Sometimes Etienne Lousteau came for several days 
together ; but in a little while his visits became few and 
far between, and he would stay away for five or six days 
in succession. Then he would come back, and Lucien 
would hope to see his poet next day, only to find a 
stranger in his place. When two young men meet daily, 
their talk harks back to their last conversation ; but these 
continual interruptions obliged Lucien to break the ice 
afresh each time, and further checked an intimacy which 
made little progress during the first few weeks. On 
inquiry of the damsel at the counter, Lucien was told 
that his future friend was on thesta£Fof a small newspaper, 
and wrote reviews of books and dramatic criticism of 
pieces played at the Ambigu-Comique, the Gaite, and 
the Panorama-Dramatique. The young man became a 
personage all at once in Lucien's eyes. Now, he 
thought, he would lead the conversation on rather more 
personal topics, and make some effort to gain a friend so 
likely to be useful to a beginner. The journalist stayed 
away for a fortnight. Lucien did not know that Etienne 
only dined at Flicoteaux's when he was hard up, and 
hence his gloomy air of disenchantment and the chilly 
manner, which Lucien met with gracious smiles and 
amiable remarks. But, after all, the project of a friend- 



54 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

ship called for mature deliberation. This obscure 
journalist appeared to lead an expensive life in which 
petits verresj cups of coffee, punch-bowls, sight-seeing, 
and suppers played a part. In the early days of Lucien's 
life in the Latin Quarter, he behaved like a poor child 
bewildered by his first experience of Paris life; so that 
when he hsul made a study of prices and weighed 
his purse, he lacked courage to make advances to 
Etienne ; he was afraid of beginning a fresh series of the 
blunders of which he was still repenting. And he was 
still under the yoke of provincial creeds; his two guardian 
angels. Eve and David, rose up before him at the least 
approach of an evil thought, putting him in mind of all 
the hopes that were centred on him, of the happiness 
that he owed to the old mother, of all the promises of 
his genius. 

He spent his mornings in studying history at the 
Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve. His very first researches 
made him aware of frightful errors in the memoirs of 
The Archer of Charles IX. When the library closed, he 
went back to his damp, chilly room to correct his work, 
cutting out whole chapters and piecing it together anew. 
And after dining at Flicoteaux's, he went down to the 
Passage du Commerce to see the newspapers at Blosse's 
reading-room, as well as new books and magazines and 
poetry, so as to keep himself informed of the movements 
of the day. And when, towards midnight, he returned 
to his wretched lodgings, he had used neither fuel nor 
candle-light. His reading in those days made such an 
enormous change in his ideas, that he revised his volume 
of flower-sonnets, his beloved Marguerites^ working them 
over to such purpose, that scarce a hundred lines of the 
original verses were allowed to stand. 

So in the beginning Lucien led the honest, innocent 
life of the country lad who never leaves the Latin 
Quarter; devoting himself wholly to his work, with 
thoughts of the future always before him ; who finds 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 55 

Flicoteaux's ordinary luxurious after the simple home- 
fare; and strolls for recreation along the alleys of the 
Luxembourg, the blood surging back to his heart as he 
gives timid side glances to the pretty women. But this 
could not last. Lucien, with his poetic temperament and 
boundless longings, could not withstand the temptations 
held out by the play-bills. 

The Theatre-Fran^ais, the Vaudeville, the Varietes, 
the Opera-Comique relieved him of some sixty francs, 
although he always went to the pit. What student 
could deny himself the pleasure of seeing Talma in one 
of his famous roles? Lucien was fascinated by the 
theatre, that first love of all poetic temperaments ; the 
actors and actresses were awe-inspiring creatures; he did 
not so much as dream of the possibility of crossing the 
footlights and meeting them on familiar terms. The 
men and women who gave him so much pleasure were 
surely marvellous beings, whom the newspapers treated 
with as much gravity as matters of national interest. 
To be a dramatic author, to have a play produced on 
the stage ! What a dream was this to cherish ! A dream 
which a few bold spirits like Casimir Delavigne had 
actually realised ! Thick swarming thoughts like these, 
and moments of belief in himself, followed by despair, 
gave Lucien no rest, and kept him in the narrow way of 
toil and frugality, in spite of the smothered grumblings 
of more than one frenzied desire. 

Carrying prudence to an extreme, he made it a rule 
never to enter the precincts of the Palais Royal, that 
place of perdition where he had spent fifty francs at 
Very*s in a single day, and nearly five hundred francs on 
his clothes ; and when he yielded to temptation, and saw 
Fleury, Talma, the two Baptistes, or Michot, he went 
no further than the murky passage where theatre-goers 
used to stand in a string from hal^past five in the after- 
noon till the hour when the doors opened, and belated 
comers were compelled to pay ten sous for a place near 



^6 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

the ticket-office. And after waiting for two hours, the 
cry of ^ All tickets are sold ! ' rang not unfrequently in 
the ears of disappointed students. When the play was 
over, Lucien went home with downcast eyes, through 
streets lined with living attractions, and perhaps fell in 
with one of those commonplace adventures which loom 
so large in a young and timorous imagination. 

One day Lucien counted over his remaining stock of 
money, and took alarm at the melting of his funds ; a 
cold perspiration broke out upon him when he thought 
that the time had come when he must find a publisher, 
and try also to find work for which a publisher would 
pay him. The young journalist, with whom he had 
made a one-sided friendship, never came now to Flico* 
teaux's. Lucien was waiting for a chance-«-which failed 
to present itself. In Paris there are no chances except 
for men with a very wide circle of acquaintance ; chances 
of success of every kind increase with the number of 
your connections ; and, therefore, in this sense also the 
chances are in favour of the big battalions. Lucien had 
sufficient provincial foresight still left, and had no mind 
to wait until only a last few coins remained to him. He 
resolved to fece the publishers. 

So one tolerably chilly September morning Lucien 
went down the Rue de la Harpe, with his two manu- 
scripts under his arm. As he made his way to the Quai 
des Augustins, and went along, looking into the book- 
sellers' windows on one side and into the Seine on the 
other, his good genius might have counselled him to pitch 
himself into the water sooner than plunge into literature. 
After heart-searching hesitations, after a profound scru- 
tiny of the various countenances, more or less encouraging, 
soft-hearted, churlish, cheerful, or melancholy, to be seen 
through the window panes, or in the doorways of the 
booksellers' establishments, he espied a house where the 
shopmen were busy packing books at a great rate. Goods 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 57 

were being despatched. The walls were plastered with 

bills;— 

JUST OUT 

Lb Solitaire, by M. le Vicomte d'Arlincourt. 
Third edition. 

Leonids, by Victor Ducange ; five volumes 
I2m0y printed on fine paper. 12 francs. 

Inductions Morales^ by K^ratry. 

^ They are lucky, that they are ! ' exclaimed Lucien. 

The placard, a new and original idea of the celebrated 
Ladvocat, was just beginning to blossom out upon the 
walls. In no long space Paris was to wear motley, 
thanks to the exertions of his imitators, and the Trea- 
sury was to discover a new source of revenue. 

Anxiety sent the blood surging to Lucien's heart, 
as he who had been so great at Angouleme, so 
insignificant of late in Paris, slipped past the other 
•bouses, summoned up all his courage, and at last entered 
the shop thronged with assistants, customers, and book- 
sellers — ^ And authors too, perhaps ! ' thought Lucien. 

' I want to speak with M. Vidal or M. Porchon,' he 
said, addressing a shopman. He had read the names on 
the signboard — Vidal & Porchon (it ran), French and 
foreign booksellers^ agents, 

^ Both gentlemen are engaged,' said the man. 

* I will wait.* 

Left to himself, the poet scrutinised the packages, and 
amused himself for a couple of hours by scanning the titles 
of books, looking into them, and residing a page or two 
here and there. At last, as he stood leaning against a 
window, he heard voices, and suspecting that the green 
curtains hid either Vidal or Porchon, he listened to the 
conversation. 

^ Will you take five hundred copies of me ? If you 



58 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

will, I will let you have them at five francs, and give 
fourteen to the dozen.' 

^ What does that bring them in at ? ' 

^ Sixteen sous less.' 

^Four francs four sous?' said Vidal or Porchon, 
whichever it was. 

* Yes,' said the vendor. 

* Credit your account ? ' inquired the purchaser. 

^ Old humbug ! you would settle with me in eighteen 
months' time, with bills at a twelvemonth.' 

* No. Settled at once,' returned Vidal or Porchon. 

^ Bills at nine months ? ' asked the publisher or author, 
who evidently was selling his book. 

* No, my dear fellow, twelve months,' returned one of 
the firm of booksellers' agents. 

There was a pause. 

^ You are simply cutting my throat ! ' said the 
visitor. 

^ But in a year's time shall we have placed a hundred 
copies of Leonide ? ' said the other voice. * If books went 
off as fast as the publishers would like, we should be 
millionaires, my good sir ; but they don't, they go as 
the public pleases. There is some one now bringing out 
an edition of Scott's novels at eighteen sous per volume, 
three livres twelve sous per copy, and you want me to 
give you more for your stale remainders ? No. If you 
mean me to push this novel of yours, you must make it 
worth my while. — Vidal ! ' 

A stout man, with a pen behind his ear, came down 
from his desk. 

^ How many copies of Ducange did you place last 
journey ? ' asked Porchon of his partner. 

* Two hundred of Le Petit Vieillard de Calais 5 but to 
sell them I was obliged to cry down two books which 
pay in less commission, and uncommonly fine '* night- 
ingales" they are now.' 

( A ^nightingale,' as Lucien afterwards learned, is a 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 59 

bookseller's name for books that linger on hand, perched 
out of sight in the loneliest nooks in the shop.) 

^ And besides,' added Vidal, ^ Picard is bringing out 
some novels, as you know. We have been promised 
twenty per cent, on the published price to make the 
thing a success.' 

' Very well, at twelve months,' the publisher answered 
in a piteous voice, thunderstruck by Vidal's confidential 
remark. 

^ Is it an offer ? ' Porchon inquired curtly* 

^ Yes.' The stranger went out* After he had gone, 
Lucien heard Porchon say to Vidal — 

' We have three hundred copies on order now. We 
will keep him waiting for his settlement, sell the Leonides 
for five francs net, settlement in six months, and ' 

^And that will be fifteen himdred francs into our 
pockets,' said Vidal. 

^ Oh, I saw quite well that he was in a fix. He is 
giving Ducange four thousand francs for two thousand 
copies.' 

Lucien cut Vidal short by appearing in the entrance 
of the den. 

^I have the honour of wishing you a good day, gentle- 
men,' he said, addressing both artners The booksellers 
nodded slightly. 

^ I have a French historical romance after the style of 
Scott. It is called The Archer of Charles IX, } I propose 
to oflFer it to you ' 

Porchon glanced at Lucien with lustreless eyes, and 
laid his pen down on the desk. Vidal stared rudely at 
the author* 

* We are not publishing booksellers, sir ; we are book- 
sellers' agents,' he said. ^ When we bring out a book 
ourselves, we only deal in well-known names; and 
we only take serious literature besides — history and 
epitomes.' 

^ But my book is very serious. It is an attempt to set 



6o A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

the struggle between Catholics and Calvinists in its true 
light ; the Catholics were supporters of absolute mon- 
archy, and the Protestants for a republic' 

' M. Vidal ! * shouted an assistant. Vidal fled. 

^ I don't say, sir, that your book is not a masterpiece,' 
replied Porchon, with scanty civility, ' but we only deal 
in books that are ready printed. Go and see somebody 
that buys manuscripts. There is old Doguereau in the 
Rue du Coq, near the Louvre, he is in the romance line. 
If you had only spoken sooner, you might have seen 
Pollet, a competitor of Doguereau and of the publishers 
in the Wooden Galleries.' 

* I have a volume of poetry ' 

* M. Porchon ! ' somebody shouted. 

* Poetry ! ' Porchon exclaimed angrily. * For what do 
you take me?' he added, laughing in Lucien's face. 
And he dived into the regions of the back shop. 

Lucien went back across the Pont Neuf absorbed in 
reflection. From all that he understood of this mercan- 
tile dialect, it appeared that books, like cotton nightcaps, 
were to be regarded as articles of merchandise to be sold 
dear and bought cheap. 

^ I have made a mistake,' said Lucien to himself; but, 
all the same, this rough-and-ready practical aspect of 
literature made an impression upon him. 

In the Rue du Coq he stopped in front of a modest- 
looking shop, which he had passed before. He saw the 
inscription Doguereau, Bookseller, painted above it in 
yellow letters on a green ground, and remembered that 
he had seen the name at the foot of the title-page of 
several novels at Blosse's reading-room. In he went, 
not without the inward trepidation which a man of any 
imagination feels at the prospect of a battle. Inside the 
shop he discovered an odd-looking old man, one of the 
queer characters of the trade in the days of the Empire. 

Doguereau wore a black coat with vast square skirts, 
when fashion required swallow-tail coats. His waistcoat 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 61 

was of some cheap material, a checked pattern of many 
colours ; a steel chain, with a copper key attached to it, 
hung from his fob and dangled down over a roomy pair 
of black nether garments. The bookseller's watch must 
have been the size of an onion. Iron-grey ribbed 
stockings, and shoes with silver buckles completed his 
costume. The old man's head was bare, and ornamented 
with a fringe of grizzled locks, quite poetically scanty. 
^Old Doguereau,' as Porchon styled him, was dressed 
half like a professor of belles-lettres as to his trousers and 
shoes, half like a tradesman with respect to the varie- 
gated waistcoat, the stockings, and the watch ; and the 
same odd mixture appeared in the man himself. He 
united the magisterial, dogmatic air, and the hollow 
countenance of the professor of rhetoric with the sharp 
eyes, suspicious mouth, and vague uneasiness of the 
bookseller. 

^M. Doguereau ? ' asked Lucien. 

* That is my name, sir.' 

^ I am the author of a romance,' began Lucien. 

* You are very young,* remarked the bookseller. 

' My age, sir, has nothing to do with the matter.' 
^True, and the old bookseller took up the manu- 
script. * Ah, begad ! The Archer of Charles JX, a good 
title. Let us see now, young man, just tell me your 
subject in a word or two. 

^ It is a historical work, sir, in the style of Scott. 
The character of the struggle between the Protestants 
and Catholics is depicted as a struggle between two 
opposed svstems of government, in which the throne 
is seriously endangered. I have taken the Cathqlic 
side.' 

* Eh ! but you have ideas, young man. Very well, I 
will read your book, I promise you. I would rather have 
had something more in Mrs. RadclifFe's style; but if you 
are industrious, if you have some notion of style, concep- 
tions, ideas, and the art of telUng a story, i don't ask 



6a A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

better than to be of use to you. What do we want but 
good manuscripts ? ' 

' When can I come back ? * 

' I am going into the country this evening ; I shall be 
back again the day after to-morrow. I shall have read 
your manuscript by that time ; and if it suits me, we 
might come to terms that very day.' 

Seeing his acquaintance so easy, Lucien was inspired 
with the unlucky idea of bringing the Marguerites upon 
the scene. 

' I have a volume of poetry as well, sir * he began. 

* Oh ! you are a poet ! Then I don't want your 
romance,' and the old man handed back the manuscript. 
* The rhyming fellows come to grief when they try their 
hands at prose. In prose you can't use words that mean 
nothing ; you absolutely must say something.' 

'But Sir Walter Scott, sir, wrote poetry as well 
as ' 

' That is true,' said Doguereau, relenting. He guessed 
that the young fellow before him was poor, and kept the 
manuscript. 'Where do you live? I will come and 
see you.' 

Lucien, all unsuspicious of the idea at the back of the 
old man's head, gave his address ; he did not see that he 
had to do with a bookseller of the old school, a survival 
of the eighteenth century, when booksellers tried to keep 
Voltaires and Montesquieus starving in garrets under 
lock and key. 

' The Latin Quarter. I am coming back that very 
way,' said Doguereau, when he had read the address. 

' Good man ! ' thought Lucien, as he took his leave. 
' So I have met with a friend to young authors, a man of 
taste who knows something. That is the kind of man 
for me ! It is just as I said to David — talent soon makes 
its way in Paris.' 

Lucien went home again happy and light of heart ; he 
dreamed of glory. He gave not another thought to the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 63 

ominous words which fell on his ear as he stood by the 
counter in Vidal and Porchon's shop ; he beheld himself 
the richer by twelve hundred francs at least. Twelve 
hundred francs ! It meant a year in Paris, a whole year 
of preparation for the work that he meant to do. What 
plans he built on that hope ! What sweet dreams, what 
visions of a life established on a basis of work ! Mentally 
he found new quarters, and settled himself in them ; it 
would not have taken much to set him making a pur- 
chase or two. He could only stave off impatience by 
constant reading at Blosse's. 

Two days later old Doguereau came to the lodgings 
of his budding Sir Walter Scott. He was struck wiUi 
the pains which Lucien had taken with the style of this 
his first work, delighted with the strong contrasts of 
character sanctioned by the epoch, and surprised at the 
spirited imagination which a young writer always displays 
in the scheming of a first plot — ^he had not been spoiled, 
had not old Daddy Doguereau. He had made up his mind 
to give a thousand francs for Thg Jrcher of Charles JX; he 
would buy the copyright out and out, and bind Lucien 
by an engagement for several books. But when he came 
to look at the house, the old fox thought better of it. 

' A young fellow that lives here has none but simple 
tastes,' said he to himself; ^he is fond of study, fond of 
work ; I need not give more than eight hundred francs.' 

^ Fourth floor,' answered the landlady, when he asked 
for M, Lucien de Rubempre. The old bookseller, 
peering up, saw nothing but the sky above the fourth 
floor. 

' This young fellow,' thought he, ' is a good-looking 
lad ; one might go so far as to say that he is very hand- 
. some. If he were to make too much money, he would 
only fall into dissipated ways, and then he would not 
work. In the interests of us both, I shall only offer six 
hundred francs, in coin though, not paper.' 

He climbed the stairs and gave three taps at the door» 



64 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Lucien came to open it. The room was forlorn in its 
bareness. A bowl of milk and a penny roll stood on the 
table. The destitution of genius made an impression on 
Daddy Doguereau. 

* Let him prcscnre these simple habits of life, this 
frugality, these modest requirements,' thought he. — 
Aloud he said : ^ It is a pleasure to me to see you. Thus, 
sir, lived Jean-Jacques, whom you resemble in more 
ways than one. Amid such surroundings the fire of 
genius shines brightly ; good work is done in such rooms 
as these. This is how men of letters should work, 
instead of living riotously in cafes and restaurants, 
wasting their time and talent and our money.' 

He sat down. 

*Your romance is not bad, young man. I was a 
professor of rhetoric once ; I know French history, there 
are some capital things in it. You have a future before 
you, in fact.' 

^ Oh! sir.' 

* No ; I tell you so. We may do business together. 
I will buy your romance.' 

Lucien's heart swelled and throbbed with gladness. 
He was about to enter the world of literature ; he should 
see himself in print at last. 

*I will give you four hundred francs,' continued 
Doguereau in honeyed accents, and he looked at Lucien 
with an air which seemed to betoken an eiFort of 
generosity. 

* The volume ? ' queried Lucien. 

^For the romance,' said Doguereau, heedless of 
Lucien's surprise. * In ready money,' he added ; * and you 
shall undertake to write two books for me every year 
for six years. If the first book is out of print in six 
months, I will give you six hundred francs for the 
others. So, if you write two books each year, you will 
be making a hundred francs a month ; you will have a 
sure income; you will be well ofF. There are some 



A Distinguished Provincial at Pans 6$ 

authors whom I only pay three hundred francs fbr a 
romaAce $ I give two hundred for translations of English 
books. Such prices would have been exorbitant in the 
old days.* 

* Sir, we cannot possibly come to an understanding. 
Give me back my manuscript, I beg,' said Lucien, in a 
cold chill« 

^Here it is/ said the old bookseller. ^You know 
nothing of business, sir* BefcH*e an author^s first book 
can appear, a publisher is bound to sink sixteen hundred 
francs on the paper and the printing of it. It is easier 
to write a romance than to find all that money. I have 
a hundred romances in manuscript, and I have not a 
hundred and sixty thousand francs in my cash box, 
alas! I have not made so much in all these twenty 
years that I have been a bookseller. So you don't make 
a fortune by printing romances, you see. Vidal and 
Porchon only take them of us on conditions that grow 
harder and harder day by day. You have only your 
time to lose, while I am obliged to disburse two thousand 
francs. If we fail, habint sua fata libelUy I lose two 
thousand francs ; while, as for vou, you simply hurl an 
ode at the thick-headed public. When you have 
thought over this that I have the honour of telling you, 
you will come back to mt^^^Tm will comt hack Unul^ 
he asserted authoritatively, by way of reply to a scornful 
eesture made involuntarily by Lucien. ^ So far from 
finding a publisher obliging enough to risk two thousand 
francs for an unknown writer, you will not find a 
publisher's clerk that will trouble himself to look 
through your screed. Now that I have read it, I can 
point out a good many slips in granmiar. You have put 
oburmr for faire observtr and malgre que. Malgri is a 
preposition, and requires an object.' 

Lucien appeared to be humiliated. 

' When I see yoa again, you will have lost a hundred 
francs,' he added. < I shall only give a hundred crowns.' 

B 



66 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

With that he rose and took his leave. On the 
threshold he said, 'If you had not something in you, and 
a future before you; if I did not take an interest in 
studious youth, I should not have made you such a 
handsome offer. A hundred francs per month ! Think 
of it ! After all, a romance in a drawer is not eating its 
head off like a horse in a stable, nor will it find you in 
victuals either, and that's a fact/ 

Lucien snatched up his manuscript and dashed it on 
the floor. 

' I would rather burn it, sir ! ' he exclaimed. 

' You have a poet's head,' returned his senior. 

Lucien devoured his bread and supped his bowl of 
milk, then he went downstairs. His room was not 
large enough for him ; he was turning round and round 
in it like a lion in a cage at the Jardin des Plantes. 

At the Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve, whither Lucien 
was going, he had come to know a stranger by sight ; a 
young man of five-and-twenty or thereabouts, working 
with the sustained industry which nothing can disturb 
nor distract, the sign by which your genuine literary 
worker is known. Evidently the young man had been 
reading there for some time, for the librarian and 
attendants all knew him and paid him special attention ; 
the librarian would even allow him to take away books, 
with which Lucien saw him return in the morning. In 
the stranger student he recognised a brother in penury 
and hope. 

Pale-faced and slight and thin, with a fine forehead 
hidden by masses of black, tolerably unkempt hair, there 
was something about him that attracted indifferent eyes: 
it was a vague resemblnce which he bore to portraits of 
the young Bonaparte, engraved from Robert Lefebvre's 
picture. That engraving is a poem of melancholy 
intensity, of suppressed ambition, of power working 
below the surface. Study the face carefully, and you 
will discover genius in it and discretion, and all the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 67 

subtlety and greatness of the man. The portrait has 
speaking eyes like a woman's ; they look out, greedy of 
space, craving difficulties to vanquish. Even if the 
name of Bonaparte were not written beneath it, you 
would gaze long at that fiice. 

Lucien's young student, the incarnation of this 
picture, usually wore footed trousers, shoes with thick 
soles to them, an overcoat of coarse cloth, a black 
cravat, a waistcoat of some grey-and-white material 
buttoned to the chin, and a cheap hat. Contempt for 
superfluity in dress was visible in his whole person. 
Lucien also discovered that the mysterious stranger with 
that unmistakable stamp which genius sets upon the 
fordietd of its slaves was one of Flicoteaux's most 
regular customers ; he ate to live, tareless of the fiure 
which appeared to be familiar to him, and drank water. 
Wherever Lucien saw him, at the library or at 
Flicoteaux's, there was a dignity in his manner, springing 
doubtless from the consciousness of a purpose ^that nlled 
his life^ a dignity which made him unapproachable. He 
had the expression of a thinker, meditation dwelt on the 
fine nobly carved brow. You could tell from the dark 
bright eyes, so clear-sighted and quick to observe, that 
their owner was wont to probe to the bottom of things. 
He gesticulated very little, his demeanour was grave. 
Lucien felt an involuntary respect for him. 

Many times already the pair had looked at each 
other at the Bibliotheque or at Flicoteaux's; many 
times they had been on the point of speaking, but 
neither of them had ventured so far as yet. The silent 
young man went off to the further end of the library, on 
the side at right angles to the Place de la Sorbonne, and 
Lucien had no opportunity of making his acquaintance, 
although he felt drawn to a worker whom he knew by 
indescribable tokens for a character of no common 
order. Both, as they came to know afterwards, were 
unsophisticated and shy, given to fears which cause a 



68 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

pleasurable emotion to solitary creatures. Perhaps they 
never would have been brought into communication if 
they had not come across each other that day of Lucien's 
disaster ; for as Luden turned into the Rue des Gres, he 
saw the student coming away from the BiUiotheque 
Sainte-Geneyteve. 

^ The library is closed ; I don't know why, monsieur/ 
said he. 

Tears were standing in Lucien's ejres ; be expressed 
Us thanks by one of those gestures that speak more 
doquently than words, and unlock hearts at once when 
two men meet in youth. They went together along 
the Rue des Ores towards the Rue de la Harpe. 

^ As that is so, I shall go to the Luxembourg for a 
walk,' said Lucien: ^ When you have come out, it is 
not easy to settle down to work again.' 

^ No ; one's ideas will not flow in the proper current,' 
remarked the stranger. ^Something seems to have 
annoyed you, mon^eur ? ' 

' I have just had a queer adventure,' said Lucien, and 
he told the history of his visit to the Quai, and gave an 
account of his subsequent dealings with the old book- 
seller. He gave his name and said a word or two of his 
position. In one month or thereabouts he had spent 
»xty francs on his board, thirty fbr lodging, twenty 
more francs in going to the theatre, and ten at BhMse^ 
reading-room — one hundred and twenty francs in all, 
and now he had just a hundred and twenty francs in 
hand. 

^ Your story is mine, monsieur, and the story of ten or 
twelve hundred young fellows besides who come from 
the country to Paris every year. There are others even 
worse off than we are. Do you see that theatre f ' he 
continued, indicating the turrets of the Odeon. ^ There 
came one day to lodge in one of the houses in the square 
a OMtn of talent who had fellen into the lowest depths of 
poverty. He was married^ in addition to the misfortunes 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 69 

which we share with him, to a wife whom he lored ; 
and the poorer or the richer, as you will, by two 
childten. He was burdened with debt, but he put his 
faith in his pen. He took a comedy in five acts to the 
Odeon; the comedy was accepted, the management 
arranged to bring it out, the actors learned their parts, 
the stage manager urged on the rehearsals. Five several 
hks of luck ; &Ye dramas to be performed in real life, 
and far harder tadcs than the writing of a five-act play. 
The poor author kxlged in a garret ; you can see the 
place from here. He drained bis last resources to live 
until die first rq)resentation ; his wife pawned ber 
clothes, they all lived on dry bread. On the day of the 
final rehearsal, the household owed fifty fi-ancs in the 
Quarter to the baioer, the milkwoman, and the porter. 
The author had only the strictly necessary clothes — a 
coat, a shirt, trousers, a waistcoat, and a pair of boots. 
He felt sure of suocaess^ he kissed his wife. The end of 
their troubles was at hand. *^ At last J There is nothing 
against us now," cried be. — ^^ Yes, there is fire,''' said his 
wife ; " look, the Odeoi\ is on fire ! " — The Odeon was 
on fire, monsieur. So do not you complain. You have 
clothes, you have neither wife nor child, you have a 
hundred and twenty francs for emergencies in your 
pocket, and you owe no one a penny. — Well, the piece 
went through a hundred and fifty representations at the 
Theatre Louvois. The King allowed the author a 
pension. ^* Genius is patience," as Buffon said. And 
patience after all is man's nearest approach to Nature's 
processes of creation. What is Art, monsieir, but Nature 
concentrated ? ' 

By this time the young men were striding along the 
walks of the Luxembourg, and in no long time Luden 
learned the name of the stranger who was doing his 
best to administer comfort. That name has since 
grown fiunous. Daniel d'Arthez is one of the most 
ulnstriotts of living men of letters ; one of the rare few 



70 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

who show U8 an example of ^ a noble gift with a noble 
nature combined,' to quote a poet's fine thought. 

^ There is no cheap route to greatness,' Daniel 
went on in his kind voice. 'The works of Genius 
are watered with tears. The gift that is in you, like 
an existence in the physical world, passes through 
childhood and its maladies. Nature sweeps away 
sickly or deformed creatures, and Society rejects an 
imperfectly developed talent. Any man who means to 
rise above the rest must make ready for a struggle and 
be undaunted by difficulties. A great writer is a martyr 
who does not die ; that is all. — There is the stamp of 
genius on your forehead,' d'Arthez continued, envelop- 
ing Lucien by a glance; 'but unless you have within 
you the will of genius, unless you are gifted with 
angelic patience, unless, no matter how far the freaks of 
Fate have set you from your destined goal, you can find 
the way to your Infinite as the turtles in the Indies find 
their way to the ocean, you had better give up at once.' 

' Then do you yourself expect these ordeals ? ' asked 
Lucien. 

' Trials of every kind, slander and treachery, and effron- 
tery and cunning, the rivals who act unfairly, and the 
keen competition of the literary market,' his companion 
said resignedly. ' What is a first loss, if only your work 
was good ? ' 

' Will you look at mine and give me your opinion ? ' 
asked Lucien. 

'So be it,' said d'Arthez. ' I am living in the Rue des 
Quatre- Vents. Desplein, one of the most illustrious 
men of genius in our time, the greatest surgeon that the 
world has known, once endured the martyrdom of early 
struggles with the first difficulties of a glorious career 
in the same house. I think of that every night, and the 
thought gives me the stock of courage that I need every 
morning. I am living in the very room where, like 
Rousseau, he often ate bread and cherries, but, unlike 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 71 

Rousseau, he had no Theresa. Come in an hour's time. 
I shall be in.' 

The poets grasped each other's hands with a rush of 
melancholy and tender feeling inexpressible in words, 
and went their separate ways; Lucien to fetch his 
manuscript, Daniel d'Arthez to pawn his wztch and buy 
a couple of faggots. The weather was cold, and his new- 
found friend should find a fire in his room. 

Lucien was punctual. He noticed at once that the 
house was of an even poorer class than the Hotel de 
Cluny. A staircase gradually became visible at the 
further end of a dark passage ; he mounted to the fifth 
floor, and found d'Arthez's room. 

A bookcase of dark-stained wood, with rows of labelled 
cardboard cases on the shelves, stood between the two 
crazy windows. A gaunt, painted wooden bedstead, 
of the kind seen in school dormitories, a night-table, 
picked up cheaply somewhere, and a couple of horsehair 
armchairs, filled the further end of the room. The wall- 
paper, a Highland plaid pattern, was glazed over with 
the grime of years. Between the window and the grate 
stood a long table littered with papers, and opposite the 
fireplace there was a cheap mahogany chest of drawers. 
A 8econd-4iand carpet covered the floor — a necessary 
luxury, for it saved firing. A common oflice armchair, 
cushioned with leather, crimson once, but now hoary 
with wear, was drawn up to the table. Add half-a-dozen 
rickety chairs, and you have a complete list of the iurni* 
ture. Lucien noticed an old-fashioned candle-sconce for 
a card-table, with an adjustable screen attached, and 
wondered to see four wax candles in the sockets. 
D'Arthez explained that he could not endure the smell 
of tallow, a little trait denoting great delicacy of sense- 
perception, and the exquisite sensibility which accom- 
panies it. 

The reading lasted for seven hours. Daniel listened 
conscientiously, forbearing to interrupt by word or 



72 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

comment — one of the rarest proofs of good taste in a 
listener. 

'Well?' queried Lucien, laying the manuscript on 
the chimney*piece. 

'You have made a good start on the right way,' 
d'Arthez answered judicially, 'but you must go over 
your work again. You must strike out a different style 
for yourself if you do not mean to ape Sir Walter Scott, 
for you have taken him for your model. You begin, 
for instance, as he begins, with long conversations to 
introduce your characters, and only when they have said 
their say does description and action fellow. 

'This opposition, necessary in all work of a dramatic 
kind, comes last. Just put the terms of the problem the 
other way round. Give descriptions, to which our 
language lends itself so admirably, instead of diffuse 
dialogue, magnificent in Scott's woric, but colourless in 
your own. Lead naturally up to your dialogue. Plunge 
straight into the action. Treat your subject from dU^- 
ferent points of view, sometimes in a side-light, some- 
times retrospectively; vary your methods, in fiict, to 
diversify your work. You may be original whale 
adapting the Scotch novelist's form of dramatic dialogue 
to French history. There is no passion in Scott's 
•novels ; he ignores passion, or perhaps it was interdicted 
by the hypocritical manners of his country. Woman 
for him is duty incarnate. His heroines, with possibly 
one or two exceptions, are all exactly alike; he has 
drawn them all from the same model, as painters say. 
They are, every one of them, descended from Clarissa 
Hariowe. And returning continually, as he did, to the 
same idea of woman, how could he do otherwise than 
produce a single type, varied only by degrees of vivid- 
ness in the cdouring ? Woman brings confusion into 
Y' Society through passion. Passion gives infinite possi- 
bilities. Therefore depict passion ; you have one great 
resoiu-ce open to you, forgone by the great gmius for 



A I^stinguished Provincial at Paris 73 

tke sake of proTiding family reading for pnididi England. 
In France you have the charming sinner, the brightly- 
coloured life of Catholicism, contrasted with sombre 
Calvinistic figures on a background of the times when 
passions ran higher Chan at any other period of our 
history. 

^ Every epoch which has left authentic records since 
the time of Charies the Great calk for at least one 
romance* Soaie require four or five; the periods of 
Louis xnr., of Henry iv^ of Francis i., for instance. 
You would give us in this way a picturesque history of 
France, with the costumes and (iirnttare, the houses and 
their interiors, and domestic life, giving us the spirit of 
the time instead of a laborious narration of ascertained 
facts. Then there is further scope for originality. 
You can remove some of the popular delunons which 
disfigure the memories of most of our kings. Be bold 
enough in this first work, of yours to rehabilitate the 
great magnificent figure of Qitherine, whom you have 
sacrificed to the prejudices which still cloud her name. 
And finally, paint Cmtrles ix. for us as he really was, and 
not as Protestant writers have made him. Ten years 
of persistent work, and fame and fortune will be 
yours.' 

By this time it was nine o'clock; Lucien followed 
the examine set in secret by his future friend by asking 
him to d^ at Edon's^ and spent twelve francs at that 
restaurant. During the dinner Daniel admitted Lucien 
into the secret of his hopes and studies. Daniel d*Arthez 
would not allow that any writer could attain to a pre- 
eminent rank without a profoimd knowledge of metft- 
physics* He was engaged in ransacking the spoils «f 
ancient and modern philosophv, and in the assimilation 
of it all; he would be like Mdiere, a profound 
philosopher first, and a writer of comedies afterwards. 
He was studying the worid of books and the living 
worid about hiii^--4hoHght and fact. His firiends were 



74 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

learned naturalists, young doctors of medicine, political 
writers and artists, a number of earnest students full 
of promise. 

D*Arthe« earned a living by conscientious and ill-paid 
work ; he wrote articles for encyclopaedias, dictionaries 
of biography and natural science, doing just enough to 
enable him to live while he followed his own bent, and 
neither more nor less. He had a piece of imaginative 
work on hand, undertaken solely for the sake of studyine 
the resources of language, an important psychological 
study in the form of a novel, unfinished as yet, for 
d'Arthez took it up or laid it down as the humour took 
him, and kept it for days of great distress. D'Arthez*s 
revelations of himself were made very simply, but to 
Lucien he seemed like an intellectual giant; and by 
eleven o'clock, when they left the restaurant, he began 
to ieel a sudden, warm friendship for this nature, 
unconscious of its loftiness, this unostentatious worth. 

Lucien took d'Arthez's advice unquestioningly, and 
followed it out to the letter. The most magnificent 
palaces of fancy had been suddenly flung open to him by 
a nobly-gifted mind, matured already by thought and 
critical examinations undertaken for their own sike, not 
for publication, but for the solitary thinker's own satisfac- 
tion. The burning coal had been laid on the lips of the 
poet of Angouleme, a word uttered by a hard student in 
Paris had &llen upon ground prepared to receive it in 
the provincial. Lucien set about recasting his work. 

In his gladness at finding in this wilderness of Paris 
a nature atounding in generous and sympathetic feeling, 
the distinguished provincial did, as all young creatures 
hungering for affection are wont to do; he fastened, 
like a chronic disease, upon this one friend that he 
had found. He caUed for d'Arthez on his way to the 
Bibliotheque, walked with him on fine days in the 
Luxembourg Gardens, and went with his friend every 
evening as far as the door of his lodging-house after 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 75 

sitting next him at Flicoteaux's. He pressed close to 
his friend's side as a soldier might keep by a comrade on 
the frozen Russian plains. 

During those early days of his acquaintance, he 
noticed, not without chagrin, that his presence imposed 
a certain restraint on the circle of Daniel's intimates. 
The talk of those superior beings of whom d'Arthez 
spoke to him with such concentrated enthusiasm kept 
within the bounds of a reserve but little in keeping 
with the evident warmth of their friendships. At these 
times Lucien discreetly took his leave, a feeling of 
curiosity mingling with the sense of something like pain 
at the ostracism to which he was subjected by these 
strangers, who all addressed each other by their Cnristian 
names. Each one of them, like d'Arthez, bore the 
stamp of genius upon his forehead. 

After some private opposition, overcome by d'Arthez 
without Lucien's knowledge, the newcomer was at 
length judged worthy to. make one of the cenacU of 
lofty thinkers. Henceforward he was to be one of a 
little group of young men who met almost every evening 
in d'Arthez's room, united by the keenest sympathies 
and by the earnestness of their intellectual life. They 
all foresaw a great writer in d'Arthez ; they looked upon 
him as their chief since the loss of one of thtir number, 
a mystical genius, one of the most extraordinary intellects 
of the age. This former leader had gone back to his 
province for reasons on which it serves no purpose to 
enter, but Lucien often heard them speak of this absent 
friend as ^ Louis,' Several of the group were destined to 
fidl by the way ; but others, like d'Arthez, have since won 
all the fame that was their due. A few details as to the 
circle will readily explain Lucien's strong feeling, of 
interest and curiosity. 

One among those who still survive was Horace 
Bianchon, then a house-student at the Hotel-Dieu; 
later^ a shining light at the Ecole de Paris, and now so 



y6 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

well known that it is needless to give any description of 
hie appearanoe, genius, or character. 

Next came Leon Giraud, that profound philosopher 
and boM theorist, turning all ^tems inside out, criticis- 
ing, expressing, and formulating, dragging them all to 
the feet of his idol — Humanity $ great even in his errors, 
for his honesty ennobled his mistakes. An intrepid 
toiler, a conscientious scholar, he became the acknow- 
ledged head of a schoc^ of moralists and politicians. 
Time alone can pronounce upon the merits of bis 
theories; but if his convictions have drawn him into 
paths in which none of his old comrades tread, none 
the less he is still their faithful friend. 

Art was represented by Joseph Bridau, one of the best 
painters among the younger men. But for a too impres- 
sionable nature, which made havoc of Joseph's heart, he 
might have continued the tradition of the great Italian 
masters, though, for that matter, the last word has not 
yet been said concerning him. He combines Roman 
outline with Venetian colour ; but love is fatal to his 
work, love not merely transfixes his heart, but sends 
lus arrow through the brain, deranges the course of his 
life, and sets the victim describing the strangest zigzags. 
If the mistress of the moment is too kind or too cruel, 
Joseph will send in to the Exhibition sketches where the 
drawing is clogged with colour, or pictures finished 
under the stress of some imaginary woe, in which he ^ve 
his whole attention to the drawing, and left the colour 
to take care of itself. He is a constant disappointment 
to his friends and the public ; yet Hoffmann would have 
worshipped him for his daring experiments in the realms 
of art, for his caprices, for a certain &ntastic streak 
in his work. When Bridau is wholly himself he is 
admirable, and as praise is sweet to him, his disgust 
is great when no one praises the failures in which he 
alone discovers all that is lacking in the eyes of the 
public. He is whimsical to the last degree. His friends 



A Distinguished Provincial tt Paris 77 

have seen him destcoijr a finished picture because, in his 
eyes, it looked tt>o smooth. ^ It is overdone/ he would 
saj ; ^ it is niggling work/ 

With his eccentric, yet lofty nature, with a nervous 
organisation and all that it entails of torment and deUght, 
the craving for perfectioot becomes oiorbid. loteUec* 
tually he is akin to Sterne, though he is not a liiaerarv 
wcH'ker* There is an indescribaUe piquancv about his 
epigtans and sallies of thought. He is eloquent, he 
knows how to love, but the uncertainty that appears in 
his ezectttton is a part of the very nature of the man. 
The brotherhood loved him for the ytry qualitiies which 
the philistine would style defiBCt& 

Last among the living comes Fulgence Ridal* No 
writer of our times possesses more of the exuberant 
spirit of pure comedy than this poet, careless of fiioie, 
who will fling his more commonplace productions to 
theatrical managers, and keep the most tbarming scenes 
in the seraglio of his brain for himself and his friends* 
Of the public he asks tusc sufficient to secure his inde- 
pendence^ and then declines to do anything more« 
Indolent and prolific as Rossini, compelled, like great 
poet-comedians, like Moliere and Rabelais, to see bodi 
sides of everything, and all that is to be said both for and 
against, he is a sceptic, ready to laugh at all things, 
Fulfi;ence Ridal is a great practical philosopher. His 
worldly wisdom, his genius for observation, his contempt 
for fame (^ fiiss,' as he calls it) have not seared a Jund 
heart* He is as energetic on behalf of another as he is 
careless wbore his own interests are concerned; and if 
he bestirs himself, it is for a friend* Living up to his 
Rabelaistan mask, he is no enemy to good cheer, though 
he never goes out of his w^ to find it} he is melanch^y 
and gay. His fi'iends dubbed him the 'Dog of the 
Regiment/ You could have no better portrait of the 
man than his nickname. 

Three more of the band, at least as remarkable as the 



78 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

friends who have just been sketched in outline, were 
destined to iidl by the way. Of these, Meyraux was the 
first. Meyraux died after stirring up the famous con- 
troversy between Cuvier and Geoffrov Saint-Hilaire, a 
great question which divided the whole scientific world 
into two opposite camps, with these two men of equal 
genius as leaders. This befell some months before the 
death of the champion of rigorous analytical science as 
opposed to the pantheism of one who is still living to 
bear an honoured name in Germany. Meyraux was the 
fiiend of that * Louis' of whom death was so soon to rob 
the intellectual world. 

With these two, both marked bv death, and unknown 
to-day in spite of their wide knowledge and their genius, 
sunds a third, Michel Chrestien, the great Republican 
thinker, who dreamed of European Federation, and had 
no small share in bringing about the Saint-Simonian 
movement of 1830. A politician of the calibre of Saint- 
Just and Danton, but simple, meek as a maid, and brim- 
ful of illusions and loving-kindness; the owner bf a 
singing voice which would have sent Mozart, or Weber, 
or Rossini into ecstasies, for his singing of certain songs of 
Beranger's could intoxicate the heart in you with poetry, 
or hope, or love — Michel Chrestien, poor as Lucien, 
poor as Daniel d'Arthez, as all the rest of his friends, 

Eined a living with the hap-hazard indifference of a 
iogenes. He indexed lengthy works, he drew up pro- 
spectuses for booksellers, and kept his doctrines to him- 
self, as the grave keeps the secrets of the dead. Yet the 
gay bohemian of intellectual life, the great statesman 
who might have changed the fiice of the world, fell as a 
private soldier in the cloister of Saint-Merri ; some 
shopkeeper's bullet struck down one of the noblest 
creatures that ever trod French soil, and Michel 
Chrestien died for other doctrines than his own. His 
Federation scheme was more dangerous to the aristocracy 
of Europe than the Republican propaganda ; it was more 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 79 

feasible and less extravagant than the hideous doctrines 
of indefinite liberty proclaimed bj the jroung madcaps 
who assume the character of heirs of the Convention. 
All who knew the noble plebeian wept for him $ there is 
not <Mie of them but remembers, and often remembers, a 
great obscure politician. 

Esteem and friendship kept the peace between the 
extremes of hostile opinion and conviction represented 

.' in the brotherhood. Daniel d'Arthez came of a good 
family in Picardy. His belief in the Monarchy was 

' quite as strong as Michel Chrestien's faith in European 
Federation. Fulgence Ridal scoiFed at Leon 6iraud*s 
philosophical doctrines^ while Giraud himself prophesied 
for d'Arthez's benefit the approaching end of Christianity 
and the extinction of the institution of the family. 
Michel Chrestien, a believer in the religion of Christ, 
the divine lawgiver, who taught the equality of men, 
would defend the immortality of the soul from Bianchon's 
scalpel, for Horace Bianchon was before all things an 
ana^t. 

There was plenty of discussion, but no bickering. 
Vanity was not engaged, for the speakers were also the 
audience. They would ulk over their work among 
themselves and take counsel of each other with the 
delightful openness of youth. If the matter in hand 
was serious, the opponent would leave his own position 
to enter into his friend's point of view ; and being an 
impartial judge in a matter outside his own sphere, 
would prove the better helper ; envy, the hideous 
treasure of disappointment, abortive talent, failure, and 
mortified vanity, was quite unknown among them. All 
of them, moreover, were going their separate ways. 
For these reasons, Luden and others admitted to their 
society felt at their ease in it. Wherever you find real 
talent, you will find frank good fellowship and sincerity, 
and no sort of pretension, the wit that caresses the 
intellect and never is aimed at self-love. 



8o A Disdngmshed Proymdal at Paris 

When the first nervousness, caused by respect, wore 
off, it was umpesdcablj pleasant to make one of this elect 
company of youth. Familiarity did not exclude in each 
a consciousness of his own value, nor a profound esteem 
fer bis neighbour ; and, finally, as every member of the 
circle felt that he could afford to receive or to give, no 
one made a difficulty of accepting* Talk waa unflag- 
ging, fiiU of charm, and ranging over the most varied 
topics ; wotds light as arrows sped to the mark. There 
was a strange contrast between the dire material poverty 
in which die yanng men lived and the splendour of 
their intellectual wealth. They looked upon the prac- 
tical problems of existence simply as matter fer friendly 
jokes. The cold weather happened to set in early that 
year. Five of d'Arthez's friends appeared one (bv, each 
concealing firewood under his cloak ; the same idea had 
occurred to the five, as it sometimes happens that all the 
guests at a picnic are inspired with the notion of bring- 
ing a pie as their contribution. 

All of them were gifted with the moral beauty which 
reacts upon the physical form, and, no less than work 
and vigils, overh^ a youthful face with a shade of divine 
gold ; purity of life aind the fire of thought had brought 
refinement and regular!^ into features somewhat pinched 
and rugged. The poet's amplitude of brow was a strik- 
ing ci^ractertstic ccmimon to them all; the bright, 
sparkling eyes toM of cleanliness of life. The hardships 
of penury, when they were SAt at all, were borne so 
gaily and embraced with such enthusiasm, that they had 
left no trace to mar the serenity peculiar to the fiM>es of 
the young who have no gtave errors laid to their charge 
as yet, who have not stooped to any of the base caom* 
promises wrung from impatience of poverty by the 
strong desire to succeed. The temptation to use any 
means to this end is the greater since that men of letters 
are lenient with bad fEiith and extend an easy indulgence 
to treachery. 



A Distinguished Proytncial at Paris 8i 

There is ao eleooent in friendship which doubles its 
cbjirm and renders it iadissoluble^^^^a sense of certainty 
firbich is Is^^ldng in loire. These young men were sure 
9f themselyes and of each other ; the enemy of one 
was the enemy of all ; the most urgent personal eon- 
sidemtions would have been shattered if they had clashed 
with the sacred solidarity of their fellow^ip. All alike 
ino^pable of disloyalty, they could oppose a formidable 
No to any accusation brought against the absent and 
defend them with perfect confidence. With a like 
noWlity of nature and strength of feeling, it was possible 
to think aod speak freely on ail matters of inteHectuol or 
scientific interest ; hence the honesty of their friend- 
ships^ the ^iety of their talk, and with this intellectual 
freedom of the community there was no fear of 
being micamderstood ; they stood upon no ceremony 
with each other ; they shared their troubles and joys, and 
gave thought and sympathy from* full hearts. The 
disarming delicacy of feeling which makes the tale of 
DiU9f Jmif a treasury for great souls, wa^ the rule 
of their daily life* It nuiy be imagined, therefore, that 
their standard of requirements was not an easy one; 
they were too conscious of their worth, too well aware 
of their happiness, to care to trouble their life with the 
admixture of a new and unknown element. 

This federation of interests and atfiaetion lasted for 
twenty years without a collision or disappointment. 
Death aJone could thin the numbers of the noble 
Pleiades, taking first Louis Lambert, fciter Meyraux and 
Michel Chrestien. 

When Michel Chrestien fell in 1832 bis friends went, 
i^ spite of the perils of the step, to find his body at 
Saint-Merrii and Hgrace Bianchon, Daniel d'Arthes, 
lieotn Giraud, Josejdi Bridau, and Fulgence Ridal per^- 
formed the hit duties to the dead, between two political 
fir^^a* By night they buried their beloved in the 
CMietcry of Pere^Lacbaise $ Horace Bianchon, un- 

F 



i% A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

daunted by the difficulties, cleared them away one after 
another — ^it was he indeed who besought the authorities 
for permission to bury the &llen insurgent and confessed 
to his old friendship with the dead Federalist. The 
little group of friends present at the funeral with those 
five great men will never forget that touching scene. 

As you walk in the trim cemetery you will see a grave 
purchased in perpetuity, a grass-covered mound with a 
dark wooden cross above it, and the name in large red 
letters — Michel Chrestien. There is no other monu- 
ment Uke it. The friends thought to pay a tribute to 
the sternly simple nature of the man by the simplicity of 
the record of his death. 

So, in that chilly garret, the fairest dreams of friend- 
ship were realised. These men were brothers leading 
lives of intellectual effort, loyally helping each other, 
making no reservations, not even of their worst thoughts; 
men of vast acquirements, natures tried in the crucible 
of poverty* Once admitted as an equal among such 
elect souls, Lucien represented beauty and poetry. 
They admired the sonnets which he read to them ; 
they would ask him for a sonnet as he would ask 
Michel Chrestien for a song. And, in the desert of 
Paris, Lucien foimd an oasis in the Rue des Quatre- 
Vents. 

At the beginning of October, Lucien had spent the 
last of his money on a little firewood ; he was half-way 
through the task of recasting his work, the most 
strenuous of all toil, and he was penniless. As for 
Daniel d' Arthez, burning blocks of spent tan, and facing 
poverty like a hero, not a word of complaint came from 
him; he was as sober as any elderlv spinster, and 
methodical as a miser. This courage called out Lucien's 
courage ; he had only newly come into the circle, and 
shrank with invincible repugnance from speaking of his 
straits. One morning he went out, manuscript in hand, 
and reached the Rue du Coq ; he would sell The Archer 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 83 

of CharUs IX, to Doguereau; Iwt Doguercau was out. 
Lucien little kneir how indulgeot great natures tah be 
to the weaknesses of others. Every one of the friends 
kad thought of the peculiar troubles besetting the poetic 
temperament^ of the prostration which follows upon the 
stn^gle, when the soul has been overwrought by the 
contemjdation of that nature whicb it is the task of art 
to reproduce. And strong as they were to endure their 
own ills, they felt keenfy for Lucien*s distress; they 
guessed that his stock of money was filing j and after 
jdl the pleasant evenings spent in friendly talk and d^ep 
meditations, after the poetry, the confidences, the bold 
flights over the fields of thought or into the far future 
of the nations, vet another trait was to prove how little 
Liicicn.had unaerstood these new friends of his. 

'Lucien, dear fellow,' said Daniel, 'your did not dine 
at FUcoteaux's yesterday, and we know why.' 

Lucien could not keep back the overflowing tears. 

' You showed a want of confidence in us,' said Michel 
Chrestieni^'weshall chalk that up over the chimney, 
and when we have scored ten we will' ■ r ' 

'We have all of us found a bit of extra work,' said 
Bianchon ; ' totmj own part, I have been looking afi^^ a 
rich patient for Despiein; d'Arthez has written an 
article for the Revue EncycbpiiMqui \ Chrestien thot^ht 
of going out to sing in the Champs-l^lvsees of an 
evening with a pocket-bandkaxdiief and rour candles, 
but he found a pamphlet to write instead for a man who 
has a mind to go into politics, and gave his employer six 
hundred francs worth of Machiavelli; Leon Giraud 
borrowed fifty francs of his publisher ; Joseph sold one 
or two sketches; and Fulgence's piece was given on 
Sunday, and there was a full house.' 

' Here are two hundred francs,' said Daniel, ' and let 
us say no more about it.' 

' Why, if he is not going to bug us all as if we had 
done something extraordinary ! ' cried Chrestien. - 



84 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Lttcien^ meanvhile^ had written to the borne circle. 
His letter was a masterpiece of sensibilitj and goodwill, 
as well as a sharp crjr wrung from him bjr distress. The 
answers which he received the next day will give some 
idea of the delight that Lacien took in this living 
encyclopedia of angelic spirits, each one of whom bore 
the stamp of the art or science which he followed ;•«* 

David Sechard to Lucien. 

^ My dear LuciSK^^Eacloscd herewith is a bill at 
ninety days, payable to your order, for two hundred 
francs* x ou can draw on M. Metivier, paper merchant, 
our Paris correspondent in the Rue Serpente. My 
good Lucien, we have absolutely nothing. Eve has 
undertalcen the charge of the printing'^house, and works 
at her task with such devotion, patience, and industry, 
that I bless heaven for giving me such an angel for a 
Wife. She herself says that it is impossible to send you 
the least help. But I think, my friend, now that you 
are started in so promising a way, with such great and 
noble hearts far your oompanions, that you can hardly 
fail to reach the great ne s s to which you were bora, aided 
as you are by intelligence almost divine in Daniel 
d'Arthez and Michd Chresdeo and Leon Giraud, and 
counselled by Mevranx and Bianchon and Ridal, whom 
we have come to know through your dear letter. So I 
have drawn this bill without Eve^s knowledge, and I 
will contrive somehow to meet it when the time comes. 
Keep on your way, Lucien ; it is rough, but it will be 
glorious. I can bear anything but the thought of you 
sinking into the shnighs of Paris, of which I saw so 
much. Have sufficient strength of mind to do as you 
are dwog, and keep out of scrapes and bad company, 
wild young fellows and men of letters of a certain stamp, 
whom I learned to take at their just valuation when I 
lived in Paris* Be a worthy compeer of the divtne 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris $$ 

tpfrits wboni we have les^rned to lore throwh ymi. 
Your life will loon meet with its reward. Farewell, 
dearest brother ; you hare sent transports of joy to my 
heart* I did not expect such courage of you. 

* David.* 

£v0 Sichard to Lucien. 

^ DsAR, — Your letter made all of us cry. At for the 
noble hearts to whom your good uigel surely led you, 
tell them that a mother and a poor young wife will pray 
for them night and morning ; and if the most fervent 
prayers can reach the Throne of God, surely th^ will 
bring blessings upon you all. Their names are engraved 
upon my hem. Ah ! 9<mie day i shall see your friends ; 
I will go to FWis, if I have to walk the whole way, to 
thank them for their friendship for you, for to me the 
thought has been like balm to smarting wounds. We 
are working like day labourers here, dear. This husband 
of mine^ the unknown great man whom I love more and 
more everir day, as I discover moment by moment the 
wealth of m nature, leaves the printing-house more md 
more to me. Why, I guess. Our poverty, yours, and 
ours, and our mother's, is heartbreaking to him. Our 
adored David is a Prometheus gnawed bv a vulture, a 
haggard, sharp-beaked regret. As for nimself, noble 
fellow, he scarcely thinks of himself; he is hoping to 
make a fortune for us. He spends his whole time in 
experiments in paper^making ; he begged me to take his 
place and look after the business, and gives me as much 
help as his preoccupation allows. Alas ! I shall be a 
mother soon. That should have been a crowning joy $ 
but as things are, it saddens me. Poor mother ! she has 
grown young again ; she has found strength to go back 
to her tiring nursing. We should be happy if it were 
not for these money cares. Old Father Sichard will not 
give his son a farthing. David went over to see if he 



/ 



86 A Distii^ished Provincial at Paris 

could borrow a little for you^ for we were in despair oter 
TOtir letter. "I know Lucien," David said; "^he will 
lose bis bead and do something rasb."-^I gave him a 
good scolding. ^^My brother disappoint us in any 
way ! " I told him, ^' Lucien knows that I should die 
of sorrow." — Mother and I have pawned a few things ; 
David does not know about it, mother will redeem them 
as soon as she has made a little money. In this way we 
hitve ftuuiaged to put together a hundred franc3, which I 
am sending you by the coach. If I did not ^mswer your 
last, letter, do not remember it against me, dear ; we 
were working all night just then. I have been working 
like a man. Ob, I had no idea that I was so strong ! • 

* Mme« de Bargeton is a heartless woman ; she has no 
soul ; even if she cared for you no longer, she Qw«d it 
to herself to use her influence for you and to help yoa 
when she had torn you from us to plunge you into that 
dreadful sea of Paris. Only by the special blessing of 
Heaven could you have met with true friends there 
among thos9 cix>wds of men and innumerable interests. 
She is not worth a regret. I used to wish that ther^e 
mjgbt be some devoted woman always with yoiu, a 
second myself} but ik>w I know that your friends will 
take my place, and I am happy. Spread your win^s, 
my dear great genius, you will be our pride as well as 
our beloved. £v£.' 

* My darling,* the mother wrote, * I can only add my 
blessing to all that your sister says, and assure you that 
you are more in my thoughts and in my prayers (alas !) 
than those whom I see. daily } for some hearts, the absent 
are always in the right, and so it is with the heart of 
your mother.' 

So two days after the loan was offered so graciously, 
Lucien repaid it. Perhaps life had never seemed, so 
bright to him as at that moment i but the touch of self- 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 87 

love in his joj did not escape the delicate sensibility and 
searching eyes of his friends. 

^Any one might think that you were afraid to owe us 
anything,' exclaimed Fulgence. 

*Oh! the pleasure that he takes in returning the 
money is a very serious symptom to my mind, said 
Michel Chrestien. ^It confirms some observations of 
my own. There is a spice of vanity in Lucien.' 

* He is a poet,' said d'Arthez. 

^ But do you grudge me such a very natural feeling i ' 
asked Lucien. 

^ We should bear in mind that he did not hide it,' said 
Leon Giraud ; *he is still open with us ; but I am afraid 
that he mav come to feel shy of us.' 

< And wny ? ' Lucien asked. 

*We can read your thoughts,' answered Joseph 
Bridau. 

* There is a diabolical spirit in you that will seek to 
justify courses which are utterly contrary to our prin- 
ciples. Instead of being a sophist in theory, you will be 
a sophist in practice.' 

^ Ah I I am afraid of that,^ said d'Arthez. ^ You will 
carry on admirable debates in your own mind, Lucien, 
and take up a lofty position in theory, and end by blame- 
worthy actions. You will never be at one with yourself.' 

^ ^^at ground have you for these charges ? ' 

'Thy vanity, dear poet, is so great that it intrudes 
itself even into thy friendships ! ' cried Fulgence. ' All 
vanity of that sort is a symptom of shocking egoism, and 
egoism poisons friendship.' 

'Oh! dear,' said Lucien, 'you cannot know how 
much I love you all.' 

' If you loved us as we love you, would you have been 
in such a hurry to return the money which we had such 
pleasure in lending ? or have made so much of it ? ' 

'We don't lend here; we give,' said Joseph Bridau 
roughly. 



88 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

* Don't think us unkind^ dear boy/ said Mkbel 
Chrestien ; ^ we are looking forward. We are afraid 
lest some day yoo may prefer a petty revt^ge to the 
joys of pure friendship. Read Goethe's Tassoj the great 
master's greatest work^ and you will see how the poet- 
bero lov^ gorgeous stuffs and banquets and triumph 
and applause. Very well, be Ta$so without his folly. 
Perhaps the world and its pleasures tempt you f Stay 
with us. Carry all the cravingg of vanity Into the 
World of imagination* Transpose foUyv Kleep Yiftue 
for daily wear, and let imagination run riot, instead of 
doing, as d'Artbez says, thinking high thoughts and 
living beneath them.' 

Lucien hung his head* His friends were right* 

' I confess that you are Stronger than I,' he said, with 
a charming glance at them. ^ My back and shoulders 
are not made to bear the burden of Paris life ; I cannot 
struggle bravely* We are born with different tempera- 
ments and faculties, and you know better than I that 
faults and virtues have their reverse side. I am tired 
already, I confess.' 

^ We will stand by you,' said d'Artbez j * it is just in 
these Ways that a faithful friendship is of use.' 

^ The help that I have just received is precarious^ and 
every one of us is just as poor as another ; want will soon 
overtake me again. Chrestien^ at the service of the first 
that hires hiiti, can do nothing with the publfshets; 
Bianchon is qinte out of it ; lyArthee's booksellers 
Only deal in scientific and technical books^^they have 
no connection with publishers of new literature ; and 
as for Horace and Fulgence Rtdal and Bridau, their work 
lies miles away from the booksellers^ There is tio help 
for it I I must make up my mind one way or another.' 

^ Stick by us, and make up your mind to it,' said 
Bianchon. ' Bear up bravely, and trust in hard work.' 

^ But what is hardship for you is death for me,' Lucien 
put in quickly. 



A Distinguished Provtncisl at Paris S9 

^ Before the cock cr^ws thrice,' smiled Leon Giraud, 
*this man will betray the cause of work for an idle life 
and the viced of Paris.' 

^ Where has work bravght you 7' asked Lucien, 
laag^ing^ 

^ When you start Oiat from Paris for Italy^ you dttn't 
find Rome balf-^way,' said Joseph Bridaii. ^ You want 
your peas to grow ready buttered for yoa.' 

^They only grow Uke that far youag dukes,' said 
Michel Chrestien^ ^Biit the rest of at sow them and 
water thom, and like the flavour of them adl the 
better/ 

The conversation ended in a joke, and they cfaangtd 
the sabject« Lucien's friends^ with their perspicacity 
and delicacy of heart, tried to efface the memory of the 
little quarrel ; but Lucien knew thenceforward that it 
was no easy matter to decetvt them. He sodn fell into 
despair, which be was carefwl to hide from suck stem 
mentors as he imagined them to be ; and the Southern 
temfier that runs so easily through the whole gamut of 
mental dispositions^ set him taaldng the most conctfidie* 
tory resolution!* 

Again and again he talked of making the plunge into 
journalism ; and time after time did his friends reply with 
a^ * Mind you do nothing <yf the sort I ' 

*It would be the tomb of the beawtifid, gracious 
Lucien whom we love and know/ said d' Arthe& 

* You would not hold out for long between the two 
extremes of toil and pkasurt which make vp a jour- 
nalist's life, and resistance is the very foundation of 
virtue. You would be so de%hted to etereise your 
power of life and death over the ofispring of the bmin, 
that you would be an out'^nd-out journalist in two 
months' time. To be a jouraalist-^that is to turn 
Herod in the republic of letters. The man who will 
say anything wiU end by sticking at nothing. That 
was Napoleon's maxim, and it explains itself/ 



90 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

^ But you would be with me, would you' not ? ' asked 
Lucien. 

^Not by that time,' said Fulgence. ^If you were a 
journalist, you would no more think of us than the 
Opera girl in all her glory, with her adorers and her 
silk-lined carriage, thinks of the village at home and her 
cows and her sabots. You could never resist the tempta- 
tion to pen a witticism, though it should bring tears to 
a friend's eyes. I come across journalists in theatre 
lobbies ; it makes me shudder to see them. Journalism 
is an inferno, a bottomless pit of iniquity and treachery 
and lies ; no one can traverse it undenled, unless, like 
Dante, he is protected by Virgil's sacred laurel.' 

But the mcM-e the set of friends opposed the idea of 
journalism, the more Lucien's desire to know its perils 
grew and tempted him. He began to debate within his 
own mind ; was it not ridiculous to sdlow want to find 
him a second time defenceless ? He bethoueht him of 
the failure of his attempts to dispose of his first novel, 
and felt but little tempted to begin a second. How, 
besides, was he to live while he was writing another 
romance ? One month of privation had exhausted his 
stock of patience. Why should he not do nobly that 
which journalists did ignobly and without principle? 
His friends insulted him with their doubts ; he would 
convince them of his strength of mind. Some day, 
perhaps, he would be of use to them } he would be the 
herald of their fame ! 

'And what sort of a friendship is it which recoils 
from complicity ? ' demanded he one evening of Michel 
Chrestien ; Lucien and Leon Giraud were wsdking home 
with their fnend. 

'We shrink from nothing,' Michel ChrestieA made 
reply. ' If vou were so unlucky as to kill your mistress, 
I would help you to hide your crime, and could still 
respect you ; but if you were to turn spy, I should shun^ 
you with abhorrence, for a spy is systematically shame* 



A Distingmahed Provincial at Paris 91 

less and base* There you have joumalism summed up 
in a sentence* Friendship: can pardon error and the 
hasty impulse of passion 3 it is bound to be inexorable 
wh«i a man deliberately traffics in his own soul, and 
intellect, and ofiinions.' 

^ Why can I not turn journalist to sell my volume of 
poetry and the novel, and then give up at once ? * 

^Machiavelli might do so, but not Lucien de Ru- 
bempre,' said Leon Giraud. 

'Very well,' exclahned Luden; 'I will show you 
that I can do as much as Machiavdli.' 

' Oh ! ' cried Michel, grasping Leon's haiid, * you 
have done it, L6on» — ^Lucien,' he continued, ' you have 
three hundred francs in hand ; you can live comfertably 
for three months ; very well, then, work hard and write 
another romance. ErArthez and Fulgence will help 
yoii with the plot; you will improve, you will be a 
novelist. And I, meanwhile will enter one of these 
lupanars of thought; for three months I will be a 
journalist* I will sell your books to some bookseller or 
other by attacking his publications; I will write the 
articles myself^ I will get others for you. We will 
organise a success ; you shall be a great man, and still 
remain our Luckn/ 

^ You must despise me very much, if you think that I 
should perish while you escape,' said the poet. 

' O Lord, forgivie him ; it is a child ! ' cried Michd 
Chrestien. 

When Lucien's intellect had been stimulated by the 
evenings spent in d'Arthez's garret, he had made soiiie 
study of the jokes and articles in the smaller newspapers* 
He was at least the equal, he felt, of the wittiest con- 
tributors; in private he tried some mental gymnastics 
of the kind, and went out one morning with the 
triumphant idea of finding some colonel of such light 
skirmishers of the press and enlisting in their ranks. 



91 A Disdngmaiwd Prarindal at Pasis 

He drcated in fab best and eroe»ed the bridges^ tkinkaig 
U he went that authors, journalists, and men of lettera, 
tats figure comrades, in short, woold show him rather 
more kindness and disinterestedness than the twa spedes 
of booksellers who had so dashed Us hofies* He should 
meet with fellow-feelings and something of the kindly 
and grateful affection which he found in the dnacU of 
the Rue des Quatre-Vents. Tormented by emotion, 
consequent upon the presentiments to wUch men of 
imagination cUng so fondly, half believing, half battling 
with their belief in them, he arrived in die R«e Saint- 
Fiacre off the BcMilevard Montmaltre* Before a house, 
occupied by the offices of a small newspaper, he stopped, 
andat thesigbtof it his heart began to tiirob as heavily as 
t)w pukes of a youth upon the threshold of some evil haunt. 

Nevertheless, upstairs he went, and found the offices in 
the low entraol between the ground floor and the first 
story. The first room vras divided down the middle 
by a partition, the lower half of solid wood, the upper 
lattice work to the ceiling* In this apartment Lucien 
discovered a one-armed pensioner supporting several 
reams of paper on his head with his remaining hand, 
while between Us teeth he held the passbook winch 
the Inland Revenue Department requires every news- 
paper to pfoduoe with each issue* This ill-fiivouiicd indi- 
vidual, owner of a yellow countemuice covered with red 
excrescences, to wMch he owed his nickname of ^Colo- 
quinte,' indicated a personage behind the lattice as the 
Cerberus of the paper. This latter was an elderly 
officer with a medal on his chest and a bladt silk 
skull-cap en his head ; his nose was almost Udden by a 
pair of griazled moustaches, and his person was hidden as 
completely in an ample blue overcoat as the body of the 
titftle in its carapace* 

^From what date do you wish your subscription to 
commence, sir ? ' inquired the Emperor's officer* 

^I did not come about a subscription,' returned 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 93 

l/ttcien. Looking about Um, be ssw a placard iastensil 
on a door, corresponding to the one bv which he had 
entered, and read the wordfl**^£DiTOR s Office, and 
below, in smaller letters, No admittanci $pccept on husimss. 

^ A complaint, I expect ? ' replied the vecoraiu ^ Ah f 
yes ; we have been hard on Mariette. What would you 
have i I don't know the why and wherefore of it yet. — 
But if you want satisfaction, I am ready for you,' he 
added, glancing at a collection of small arms and foils 
stacked 'm a corner, the armoury of the modern warrior. 

^That was still further from my intendoo, sir. I 
have come to Speak to the editor/ 

^ Nobody is ever here before four o'clock.' 

^Look you here, Gtroudeau, old chap,' remarked a 
voice, ^ I make tt eleven columns; eleven columns at 
five fram^ apiece is fifty^five francs, and I have only been 
paid ioxtj ; so yon owe me another fifteen firancs, as I 
have been telling you*' 

These words proceeded firom a little weaeel-fiKse, pallid 
and semi-transparent as the half«-boUed white of an egg ( 
two slits of eyes looked out of it, mild blue ih tint^ l»it 
appalliag^y ixwignant in expression ; and the owner, an 
insignificant young man, was com^ctelv hidden by the 
veteran's opaque person. . It was a UoaiMtinUing voicei, 
a sound between the mewing of a cat and the wheezy 
cbokings of a hyena. 

' Yes, yes, my little militiaman,' retorted he of the 
medai, ^ but you are counting the headings and white 
lines. I have Finot's instructions to add up the totak of 
the lines, and to divide them by the proper mtmber for 
each column ; and after I performed that concentrating 
operation on your copy, there were three columns less.' 

< He doesn't psy for die blanks, the Jew ! He reckons 
them in though when he sends up the total of his work 
to his partner, and he gets paid for them ton* I will go 
and see £tienne Lousteau, Vemou-'**^' 

^I cannot go iM^yond my orders, my boy,' said the 



94 A. Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

veteran. ^ What ! do you cry out against your foster- 
mother for a matter of fifteen francs ? you that turn out 
an article as easily as I smoke ai cigar. Fifteen francs ! 
why, you will give a bowl of punch the less to vour 
friends, or win an extra game of billiards, and there's an 
end of it ! ' 

^Finot^s savings will cost him very dear,' said the 
contributor as he took his departure. 

^ Now, would not anybody think that he was Rousseau 
and Voltaire rolled in one?' the cashier remarked to 
himself as he glanced at Lucien. 

*I will come in again at four, sir,' said Lucien* 

While the argument proceeded, Lucien had been 
looking about him. He saw upon the walls the portraits 
of Benjamin Constant, General Foy, and the seventeen 
illustrious orators of the Left, interspersed with carica- 
tures at the expense of the Government ; but he looked 
more particularly at the door of the sanctuary where, no 
doubt, tkt paper was elaborated, the witty paper that 
amused him daily, and enjoyed the privilege of ridiculing 
kings and the most portentous events, of calling anything 
and everything in question with a jest. Then he 
sauntered along the boulevards. It was an entirely 
novel amusement ; and so agreeable did he find it, that, 
looking at the turret docks, he saw the hour hands were 
pointing to four, and only then remembered that he had 
not breaJcfasted. 

He went at once in the direction of the Rue Saint- 
Fiacre, climbed the stair, and opened the door. 

The veteran officer was absent j but the old pensioner, 
sitdngon a pile of stamped papers, was munching a crust 
and acting as sentinel resignedly. Coloquinte was as 
much accustomed to his work in the office as to the fatigue 
duty of former days, understanding as much or as little 
about it as of the why and wherefore of forced marches 
made bv the Emperor's orders. Lucien was inspired with 
the bold idea of deceiving that formidable functionary. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 95 

He settled his hat on his head, and walked into the 
editor's office as if he were quite at home. 

Looking eagerly about him, he beheld a round table 
covered with a ereen cloth, and half-a-dozen cherry- 
wood chairs, newly reseated with straw. The ccJoured 
brick floor had not been waxed, but it was clean ; so 
clean that the public, evidently, seldom entered the room. 
There was a mirror above the chimney-piece, and on the 
ledge below, amid a sprinkling of visiting-cards, stood a 
shopkeepers' clock, smothered with dust, and a couple of 
candlesticks with tallow dips thrust into their sockets. A 
few antique newspapers lay on the table beside an inkstand 
containing some black lacquer-like substance, and a col- 
lection of quill pens twisted into stars. Sundry dirty 
scraps of paper, covered with almost undecipherable 
hieroglyphs, proved to be manuscript articles torn across 
the top by the compositor to check oflF the sheets as they 
were set up. He admired a few rather clever caricatures, 
sketched on bits of brown paper by somebody who evi- 
dently had tried to kill time by killing something else 
to keep his hand in. 

Other works of art were pinned to the cheap sea-green 
wallpaper. These consisted of nine pen-and<»ink illustra- 
tions for Lt Solitaire. The work had attained to such 
an unheard-of European popularity, that journalists evi- 
dently were tired of it. — ^^The Solitary makes his first 
appearance in the provinces; sensation among the women. 
— The Solitary perused at a chateau. — ^Effect of the 
Solitary on domestic animals. — ^The Solitary explained 
to savage tribes, with the most brilliant results. — ^The 
Solitary translated into Chinese and presented by the 
author tcK the Emperor at Pekin. — The Mont Sauvage, 
Rape of Elodie.' — (Lucien thought this caricature very 
shocking, but he could not help laughing at it). — ^ The 
Solitary under a canopy conducted in triumphal pro- 
cession by the newspapers.— The Solitary breaks the 
press to splinters, and wounds the printers. — Read 



g$ A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

b^ckuFar^lstbe superior beauties of the Solitary produce a 
sensation at the Actdemie/^<-On a newspaper-wrapper 
Lucien laodced a sketch ^f a contributor holding out 
bis bat, and beneath it the words, ^ Finot ! mj hundred 
francs^' ^ni a namo^ since grown more notorious than 
famous. 

Between the window and the chhnnef-piece stood a 
writing'-table, a mahogany armchair, and a wastcpaper 
basket on a strip of be^rth'-rug ; the dust lay thick on 
all these objects. There were short curtains in the 
windows. About a score of new books ky on the 
writing-stable, deposited there apparently during the day, 
together with prints, music, sni^-hooces of the ^Charter* 
pattern, a copy of the ninth edition of Le Sslhaire (the 
great joke of the moment), and lome ten unopened 
letters. 

Lucien bad ^ken stock of this strange furniture, and 
ma4p reflfctioos of the most exhaustive kind upon it^ 
wban, the clock striking five, he returned to question 
the pensioner. Coloqninte had finished his crust, and 
was waiting with the patience of a conunissionaire, for 
tbe man of medals, ^ho perhaps was taking an airing on 
the boulevard. 

At thif conjuocture the nustle of a <lress sounded 
on the stair, and the light unmistakable footstep of a 
woman on the threshold. The newcomer was passably 
pretty. She addressed herself to Lumen. 

*Sir/ she said, >I know why you tay up Mile. 
Virginie's hats so much ; and I have come to put down 
my name for a year's subscription in the first place; but 
tell me your condition*—'--^* 

^ I am not connected with the paper, madam^' 

«Ohr 

^ A subscription dating from October i * inquired the 
pensioner. 

<What does the lady want to know I' asked the 
veteran, reappearing on the 



A Distinguished Frovindal at Paris 97 

The Mr miUiner and tke retired military man were 
soon deep in converse ; and when Luden, beginning to 
lose patience^ eante back to the first room^ he heard the 
Coficlitsion of the matter i. 

'Why, I shall be deUghted, quite delighted, sir. 
MUe. Florentine can come to my shop and choose any<^ 
thing she likes. Ribbons are in my department. So it. 
is all quite settled* You wiU say no more about 
Virginie, a botcher that cannot design a new shape, 
while I hiave ideas of my own, I have/ 

Lucien beard a sound as of coins dropping into a cash- 
box, and the veteran began to make up his books for 
the day. 

' I have been waiting here for an hour, sir/ Lucien 
began, koking not a little annoyed. 

*And "they**" have not come yet{* exclaimed 
Napoleon'a veteran, civilly feigning, concern. ' I am not 
surprised at that. It is some time since I have seen 
^* them" here. It is the middle of the month, you see. 
Those fine fellows only turn up on pay days-*— the 29th 
or the joth.' 

'AndM. Finot?^ asked Lucien, having caught the 
editor^s name. 

' He is in the Rue Feydeau, that's whore he lives. Colo- 
quinte, old chap, just take him everything that has come 
in to-day when you go with the paper to the printers.' 

^ Where is the newspaper put together ? ' Lucien said 
to himself. 

' The newspaper i ' repeated the officer, as he received 
the rest of the stamp monev from Coloquinte, ^the 
newspaper? — bfoum! broum !>-^Mind you are round 
at the printers by six o'clock to-morrow, old chap^ to 
send off the porters.) — 'The newspaper, sir, is written in 
the street, at the writers' houses, in the printing-office 
between eleven and twelve o'clock at night. In the: 
Emperor's time, sir, these shops for spoiled paper were 
not known. Oh ! he would have cleared them out with 



98 A Distinguished Proyincial at Paris 

four men and a corporal ; thev would not have come 
over him with their talk. But that is enough of 
prattling. If my nephew finds it worth his while, and 
so long as they write for the son of the Other (broum I 

broum !) after all, there is no harm in that. Ah ! 

by the way, subscribers don't seem to me to be advanc- 
ing in serried columns ; I shall leave my post.' 

^You seem to know all about the newspaper, sir,' 
Lucien began. 

^From a business point of view, broum ! broum I' 
coughed the soldier, clearing his throat. ^ From three 
to nve francs per column, according to ability. — Fifty 
lines to a column, forty letters to a line ; no blanks ; 
there you are ! As for the staff, they are queer fish, 
little youngsters whom I wouldn't take on for the 
commissariat; and because they make fly tracks on 
sheets of white paper, they look down, forsooth, on an 
old Captain of Dragoons of the Guard, that retired with 
a major's rank after entering every European capital 
with Napoleon.' 

The soldier of Napoleon brushed his coat, and made 
as if he would go out, but Lucien, swept to the door, had 
courage enough to make a stand. 

^ I came to be a contributor of the paper,' he said. * I 
am full of respect, I vow and declare, for a captain of the 
Imperial Guard, those men of bronze ' 

^ Well said, my little civilian, there are several kinds 
of contributors ; which kind do you wish to be ? ' replied 
the trooper, bearing down on Lucien, and descending 
the stairs. At the foot of the flight he stopped, but it 
was only to light a cigar at the porter's box. 

^ If any subscribers come, you see them and take note 
of them. Mother Choliet.— Simply subscribers, never 
know anything but subscribers,' he added, seeing that 
Lucien followed him. ' Finot is my nephew ; he is the 
only one of my family that has done anything to relieve 
me in my position. So when anybody comes to pick a 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 99 

quarrel with Finot, he finds old Giroudeau, Captain of 
the Dragoons of the Guard, that set out as a private in 
a cavahy regiment in the army of the Sambre-et-Meuse, 
and was fencing-master for five years to the ist Hussars, 
army of Italy ! One, two, and the man that had any 
complaints to make would be turned off into the dark,' 
he added, making a lunge. ^ Now writers, my boy, are 
in different corps ; there is the writer who writes and 
draws his pay ; there is the writer who writes and gets 
nothing (a volunteer we call him) ; and, lastly, there is 
the writer who writes nothing, and he is by no means 
the stupidest, for he makes no mistakes ; he gives him-^ 
self out for a literary man, he is on the paper, he treats 
us to dinners, he loafe about the theatres, he keeps an 
actress, he is very well off. What do you mean to be ? * 

^The man that does good work and gets good pay.' 

^You are like the recruits; they all want to be 
marshals of France. Take old Giroudeau's word for it, 
and turn right about, in double quick time, and go and 
pick up nails in the gutter like that good fellow yonder ; 
you can tell by the look of him that he has been in the 
army.—- Isn't it a shame that an old soldier who has 
walked into the jaws of death hundreds of times 
should be picking up old iron in the streets of Paris ? 
Ah ! God A'mighty ! 'twas a shabby trick to desert 
the Emperor. — Well, my boy, the individual you saw 
this morning has made his forty francs a month. Are 
you going to do better ? And, according to Finot, he 
the cleverest man on the staff.' 

^ When you enlisted in the Sambre-et-Meuse, did they 
talk about danger ? ' 

* Rather' 

*VeryweU?* 

^ Very well. Go and see my nephew Finot, a good 
fellow, as good a fellow as you will find, if you can find 
him that is, for he is like a fish, always on the move. 
In his way of business, there is no writing, you see, it is 



ICO A Distinguished Provincial at Fsan 

setting others to write* That sort like galKvanting 
about with actresses better than scribbling on sheets of 
paper, it seems. Oh ! they are queer customers, thejr 
are. Hope I may have the honour of seeing you again.' 

With that the cashier raised his formidable loaded 
cane, one of the defenders of Germanicus, and walked 
off, leaving Lucien in the street, as much bewildered by 
this picture of the newspaper world as he bad formerly 
been by the practical aspects of literatisre at Messrs. 
Vidal and Porchon's establishment. 

Ten several times did Lucien repair to the Rue 
Feydeau in search of Andocbe Finot, and ten times he 
failed to find that gentleman. He went the first thing 
in the morning, Finot had not come in. At noon, 
Finot had gone out ; he was breakfasting at such and 
such a cafe. At the cafe, in answer to inquiries of the 
waitress, made after surmounting unspeakable repugnance, 
Lucien heard that Finot had just left the place. Lucien, 
at length tired out, began to regard Finot as a mythical 
and fabulous character; it appeared simpler to way*' 
lay £tienne Lousteau at Flicoteaux's. That youthful 
journalist would, doubtless, explain the mysteries that 
enveloped the paper for which he wrote. 

Since the day, a hundred times blessed, when Lucien 
made the acquaintance of Daniel d^Arthez, he had taken 
another seat at Flicoteaux's. The two friends dined 
side by side, talking in lowered voices of the higher 
literature, of suggested subjects, and ways of presenting, 
opening up, and developing them. At the present time 
Daniel d'Arthez was correcting the manuscript of 
ITie Archer of Charles IX, He reconstructed whole 
chapters, and wrote the fine passages found therein, as 
well as the magnificent preface, which is, perhaps, the 
best thing in the book, and throws so much light on the 
work of the young school of literature. One day it so 
happened that Daniel had been waiting for Lucien, who 
now sat with bis fri^id's band in his own, when he saw 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris loi 

^tieniie Lousteau turn the door-handle* Lucien 
instantly dropped Daniel's hand, and told the waiter that 
he would dine at his old place by the counter* D' Arthez 
gave Lucien a glance of divine kindness, in which 
reproach was wrapped in forgiveness. The glance cut 
the poet to the quick; be took Daniel's halnd and 
grasped it anew. 

* It is an important question of business for me; I will 
tell you about it afterwards,' said he. 

Lucien was in his old place by the time that Lousteau 
reached the table; as the first comer, he greeted his 
acquaintance; thev soon struck up a conversation, 
which grew so lively that Lucien went off in search of 
the manuscript of the Marguerites^ while Lousteau 
finished his dinner. He had obtained leave to lay his 
sonnets before the journalist, and mistook the civility 
of the latter for willinraess to find him a publisher, or a 
place on the paper. When Lucien came hurrying back 
again, he saw d'Arthes resting an elbow on the table in 
a corner of the restaurant, and knew that his friend was 
vratcUng him with melancholy eyes, but he would not 
see d'Arthez just then; he felt the sharp fangs of poverty, 
the goadings of ambition, and followed Lousteau. 

In the late afternoon the journalist and the neophyte 
went to the Luxembourg, and sat down under the trees 
in that part of the ^rdens which lies between the broad 
Avenue de TObservatoire and the Rue de I'Ouest. 
The Rue de TOuest at that time was a long morass, 
bounded by planks and market-gardens ; the houses 
were all at the end nearest the Rue de Vaugirard ; and 
the walk through the gardens was so little frequented, that 
at the hour when Paris dines, two lovers might fall out and 
exchange the earnest of reconciliation without fear of 
intruders. The only possible spoil-sport was the pen- 
sioner on duty at the little iron gate on the Rue de 
FOuest, if that grey-headed veteran should take it into 
his head t(\ lengthen his monotonous beat. There, on a 



I02 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

bench beneath the lime-trees, ]£tienne Lousteau sat and 
listened to sample-sonnets from the Margueritis. 

Etienne Lousteau, after a two years' apprenticeship, 
was on the staff of a newspaper ; he had his foot in the 
stirrup ; he reckoned some of the celebrities of the day 
among his friends; altogether, he was an imposing person- 
age in Lucien's eyes. Wherefore, while Lucien untied 
the string about the Marguerites^ he judged it necessary 
to make some sort of preface. 

^ The sonnet, monsieur,' said he, * is one of the most 
difficult forms of poetry. It has feUen almost entirely 
into disuse. No Frenchman can hope to rival Petrarch $ 
for the language in which the Italian wrote, being so 
infinitely more pliant than French, lends itself to play 
of thought which our positivism (pardon the use of the 
expression) rejects. So it seemed to me that a volume 
of sonnets would be something quite new. Victor Hugo 
has appropriated the ode, Canalis writes lighter verse, 
Beranger has monopolised songs, Casimir Delavigne has 
taken tragedy, and Lamartine the poetry of meditation.' 

* Are you a " Classic " or a " Romantic " ? ' inquired 
Lousteau. 

Lucien's astonishment betrayed such complete ignor- 
ance of the state of affairs in the republic of letters, that 
Lousteau thought it necessary to enlighten him. 

' You have come up in the middle of a pitched battle, 
VKV dear fellow ; you mu$t make your decision at once» 
Literature is divided, in the first place, into several zones, 
but our great men are ranged in two hostile camps. The 
Royalists are '^ Romantics," the Liberak are ^^ Classics." 
The divergence of taste in matters literary and diver- 
gence of political opinion coincide ; and the result is a 
war with weapons of every sort, double-edged witticisms, 
subtle calumnies, and nicknames a outrancey between the 
rising and the waning glory, and ink is shed in torrents. 
The odd part of it is that the Rojralist-Romantics are 
all for liberty in literature, and for repealing laws and 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 103 

conventions; while the Liberal-Classics are for main- 
taining the unities, the Alexandrine, and the classical 
theme. So opinions in politics on either side are directly 
at variance with literary taste. If you are eclectic, you 
will have no one for you. Which side do you take i ' 

* Which is the winning side ? * 

^The Liberal newspapers have far more subscribers 
than the Royalist and Ministerial journals ; still, though 
Canalis is for Church and King, and patronised by the 
Court and the clergy^ he reaches other readers. — Pshaw ! 
sonnets date back to an epoch before Boileau's time,' 
said Etienne, seeing Lucien's dismay at the prospect of 
choosing between two banners. ' Be a Romantic. The 
Romantics are young men, and the Classics are pedants; 
the Romantics will gain the day.' 

The word ^pedant' was the latest epithet taken up by 
Romantic journalism to heap confusion on the Classical 
faction. 

Lucien began to read, choosing first of all the title- 
sonnets. 

EASTER DAISIES. 

The daisies in the meadows, not in vain> 
In red and white and gold before our eyes, 
Have written an idyll tor man's sympathies, 
And set his hearths desire in language plain. 

GoU stamens set in silver filigrane 
Reveal the treasures which we idolise ; 
And all the cost of struggle for the prize 
Is symboUed by a secret blood-red stain. 

Was it because your petals once uncurled 
When Jesus rose upon a fairer world, 
And from wings shaken for a heavenward flight 
Shed grace, that still as autumn reappears 
You bloom again to tell of dead delight, 
To bring us hack the flower of twenty years? 

Lucien felt piqued by Lousteau's complete indifference 



I04 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

during the reading of the sonnet ; he was un£uniiiar as 
jet with the disconcerting impassibih'ty of the profes- 
sional critic, wearied by much reading of poetry, firose, 
and plays. Lucien was accustomed to applause. He 
choked down hts disappointment and read another, a 
favourite with Mme. de Bargeton and rrith some of his 
iriends in the Rue des Quatre- Vents. 

^ This one, perhaps, will draw a word from faim,' he 
thought. 

THE MARGUERITE. 

I am the Mvzaente, fair and tall I grew 
In velvet meadows^ *mid the flowers a star. 
They sought me for my beauty near and farj 
My dawn, I thought^ should be for ever new. 

But now an all unwished-for gift I rue, 
A fatal ray of knowledge shed to mar 
My radiant star-crown grown oracular, 
For I must speak and give an answer true. 

An end of silence and of quiet days. 

The Lover with two words my counsel prays j 

And when my secret from my heart is reft, 

When all my silver petals scattered lie, 

I am the only flower neglected lefit. 

Cast down and trodden under foot to die. 

At the end, the poet looked up at his Aristarchus. 
Etienne Lousteau was gazing at the trees in the 
Pepiniere. 

'Well? 'asked Lucien. 

* Well, my dear fellow, go on ! I am listening to you, 
am I not ? That fact in itself is as good as praise in 
Paris.* 

* Have you had enough ? * Lucien inquired. 

* Gk) on,' the other answered abruptly enough. 
Lucien proceeded to read the following sonnet, but 

his heart was dead within him; Lousteau's inscrutable 
cQmpQ9urt froze his utterance. If he bad come a little 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 105 

further upon the road, he would have known that 
between writer and writer silence or abrupt speech, under 
such circumstances, is a betrayal of jealousy, and out- 
spoken admiration mea^is a sense of relief over the 
discovery chat the work is not above the average after all. 

THE CAMELLIA. 

In Nature^s book, if lightly understood. 
The rose means love, and red for beau^ glows $ 
A pure, sweet spirit in the violet blows. 
And bright the lily gleams in lowlihood. 

But this sti^ange bloom, by sun smd wind unwooed, 
Seems to expand and Uossom *mkl the snows, 
A lily sceptreless, a scentless mse. 
For dainty listlessness of maidenhood. 

Yet at the opera-house the Dettls traoe 

For modesty a fitting aureole $ 

An alabaster wreath to lay,, methought. 

In dusky hair o>r some fair woman*s face 

Which kindifes er'ti such kyye within i^e s^ 

As sculptured marble forms by Phidias wnought 

^What do you think of my poor sonnet ?' Lucira 
asked, coming straight to the point. 

* Do you want the truth ? * 

^I am young enough to like the truth, and so anxious 
to succeed thai: I can hesor it without taking offence, 
but not without despair,' replied Lucien. 

^ Well, my dear fellow, the first soiinet, from its in- 
volved style, was evidently written at Angouleme; it gav« 
you so much trouble, no doubt, that you cannot give it 
up. The .second and third soayack of Paris already ; but 
read us one more sonnet,' he added, with a gesture that 
seemed charming to the provincial. 

Encouraged by the request, Lucien read with more 
confidence, choosing a sonnet which d'Arthez and 
Bridau liked best, perhaps on account of itaoolottr. 



io6 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

THE TULIP. 

I am the Tulip from Batavia*s shore ; 
The thrifty Fleming for my beauty rare 
Pays a king*s ransom, when that I am fair, 
And tall, and straight, and pure my petal^s ooxe. 

And, like some Yolande of the days of yore, 
My long and amply folded skirts I wear, 
O^er-painted with the blazon that I bear 
— Gules, a fess azure ; purpure, fretty, or. 

The fingers of the Gardener divine 
Have woven for me my vesture fair and fine. 
Of threads of sunlight and of purple stain ; 
No flower so glorious in the ^uden bed. 
But Nature, woe is me, no fragrance shed 
Within my cup of Orient porcelain. 

^ Well ? ' asked Lucien after a pause, immeasurably 
long, as it seemed to him. 

' My dear fellow,' ]^tienne said, gravely surveying the 
tips of Lucien's boots (he had brought the pair from 
Angouleme, and was wearing them out). ^Mv dear 
fellow, I strongly recommend you to put your ink on 
your boots to save blacking, and to take your pens for 
toothpicks, so that when you come away from Flico- 
teaux's you can swagger along this picturesque alley 
looking as if you had dined. Get a situation of any 
sort or description. Run errands for a bailiff if you 
have a heart, be a shopman if your back is strong 
enough, enlist if you happen to have a taste for 
military music. You have the stufF of three poets in 
you ; but before you can reach your public, you will have 
time to die of starvation six times over, if you intend to 
live on the proceeds of your poetry, that is. And from 
your too unsophisticated discourse, it would seem to be 
your intention to coin money out of your inkstand. 

^ I say nothing as to your verses ; they are a good 
deal better than all the poetical wares that are cumber- 
ing the ground in booksellers' backshops just now. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 107 

Elegant ^nightingales" of that sort cost a little more 
than the others, because they are printed on hand-made 
paper, but they nearly all of them come down at last to 
the banks of the Seine. You may study their range of 
notes there any day if you care to make an instructive 
pilgrimage along the Quais from old Jerdme's stall bv 
the Pont Notre Dame to the Pont Royal. You will 
find them all there — all the Essays in Vtrse^ the Inspira^ 
tiensy the loftv flights, the hymns, and songs, and ballads, 
and odes ; all the nestfiils latched during the last seven 
years, in fiict. There lie their muses, thick with dust, 
bespattered bv every passing cab, at the mercy of every 
profane hana that turns them over to look at the 
vignette on the title-page. 

^ You know nobody ; you have access to no news- 
paper, so vour Marguerites will remain demurely folded 
as you hold them now. They will never open out to 
the sun of publicity in fair nelds with broad margins 
enamelled with the florets which Dauriat the illustrious, 
the king of the Wooden Galleries, scatters with a lavish 
hand for poets known to fiune. I came to Paris as you 
came, poor boy, with a plentiful stock of illusions, im-« 
pelled by irrepressible longings for glory — ^and I found 
the realities of the craft, the practicsu difficulties of the 
trade, the hard facts of poverty. In my enthusiasm (it 
is kept well under control now), my first ebullition of 
youthful spirits, I did not see the social machinery at 
work ; so I had to learn to see it by bumping against 
the wheels and bruising mjrself against the shafts, cover- 
ing myself with oil, hearing the clatter of fly-wheels and 
chains. Now you are about to learn, as I learned, that 
between you and all these fiiir dreamed-of things lies the 
strife of men, and passions, and necessities. 

* Willy-nilly, you must take part in a terrible 
battle; book against book, man against man, party 
against party; make war you must, and that systema- 
tically, or you will be abandoned by your own party. 



lo8 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

And they are mean contests ; struggles which leave you 
dbenchanted, and wearied, and depraved, and all in pure 
waste ; for it often happens that you put forth all your 
strength to win laurels for a man whom you despise, 
and maintain, in spite of yoursdf, that some second-Vate 
writer ts a genius. 

^ There is a world behind the scenes in the theatre 
of litsrature. The public in front -sees unexpected or 
well-dciserved success, and applauds; the public does mt 
see the preparations, ugly as they always are, the painted 
supers, the claquettrs hired to applaud, the stage car- 
penters, and all that lies behind the scenes. Ydu are 
still among the audience* Abdicate, there is still tune, 
before you set your foot on the lowest step of the throne 
for which so many ambitious^pirits are contending, and 
do not sell your honour, as I do, for a livelihood.' 
Etienne's eyes filled with tears as he spoke. 

*Do you know how I make a living } ' he continued 
passionately. < The little stock of money they gave me 
at home was soon eaten up. A piece of mine was 
accepted at the Theatre-Fran^ais just as I came to an 
end iji it. At the T9iekre-Fran^i^ the influence of a 
first gentleman of the bedchamber, or of a prince of the 
blood, woiild not be enough to secure a turn of hvoMx i 
the actors only make concessions to those who threaten 
their self-love. If it is in your power to spread a report 
tkaX tik^jeune premier has the asthma, the leading lady a 
fistula where you please, and the soubrette has foul 
breath, then your piece would be played to-morrow. I 
do not know whether, in two years' time, I who speak 
to you now, shall be in a position to exercise such power. 
You need so many to back you. And where and how 
am I to gain my bread meanwhile ? 

^I tried lots of things ; I wrote a novel, anonymously ; 
old Doguereau gave me two hundred francs for it, and 
he did not make very much out of it himself. Then it 
grew plain to me that journalism alone could give me a 



A Distinguished Provincial: 9t Paris 109 

living. The next thing was to find my w!ay into those 
shops. I will not teU you all the adrances I made^ nor 
how often I begged in vain. I will say nothing of the 
six months I spent as extra hand on a paper^ and was 
told that I scared sabscribers away^ when as a fact I 
attractedr tbem. Pass over the ijusuks I put up. with* 
At this monnent I am doing the > plays at ^e Boulevard 
theatres, almost gratis^ for a pafMsr belonging to Finot^ 
that stout young fellow wl^ break&sts two or three 
times a month, even now, at the Cafe Voltaire (but 
you don't go there). I live by selling tickets that 
managers give me to bribe a good word in the paf>er, and 
reviewers copies of books. In short, Finot oncesatisfied) 
I am allowed to write for and against various commercial 
articles^ and I traffic in tribute paid in kind by various 
tradesmen. A facetious notice of a Carminative Toilet 
Lotion, Pate des Smltants^ Cephalic Oil, or Brazifian 
Mixture brings me in twenty or thirty francs. : 

^I am obliged to dun the publishers when they don't 
send in a sufficient number of reviewers' copies $ Finot, 
as editor, appropriates two and sells them, and I must 
have two to sell. If a book of capital importance comes 
out, and the pufaliahcr is stingy with copies, his life is 
made a burden to him. The craft is vile, but I live by 
it, and so do scores of others. Do not imagine that 
things are any better in public life. There • is dornip- 
don everywhere in both regions ; every man is corrupt "" 
or corrupts others. If there is any publishing enterprise 
somewhat larser thaki usual afoot, t3ie trade will pay me 
something'to buy neutrality. The amount of iny income 
varies, thetefore^ directly with the prospectuses. When 
prospectuses break out like a rash, money pours into my 
pockets ; I stand treat all round. When trade is dull, 
I dine at Flicoteaux's. 

^ Actresses will pay you likewise for praise, but the 
wiser among them pay for criticism. To be passed over 
in silence is what they dread the most; and the very best 



i 



no A Distinguished Provindal at Paris 

thing of all, from their point of view, is criticism which 
draws down a reply ; it is far more effectual than bald 
praise, forgotten as soon as read, and it costs more in 
consequence. Celebrity, my dear fellow, is based upon 
controversy. I am a hired bravo ; I ply my trade among 
ideas and reputations, commercial, literary, and dramatic j 
I make some fifty crowns a month ; I can sell a novel for 
five hundred francs ; and I am beginning to be looked 
upon as a man to be feared. Some day, instead of living 
with Florine at the expense of a druggist who gives 
himself the airs of a lord, I shall be in a house of my 
own ; I shall be on the staff of a leading newspaper, I 
shall have zfeuiUeton ; and on that day, my dear fellow, 
Florine will become a great actress. As for me, I am 
not sure what I shall be when that time comes, a 
minister or an honest man — ^all things are still possible.' 

He raised his humiliated head, and looked out at the 
green leaves, with an expression of despairing self-con- 
demnation dreadful to see. 

^ And I had a great tragedy accepted ! ' he went on. 
^ And among my papers there is a poem, which will die. 
And I was a good fellow, and my heart was clean ! I 
used to dream lofty dreams of love for great ladies, 
queens in the great world ; and — my mistress is an 
actress at the Panorama^Dramatique. And lastlv, if 
a bookseller declines to send a copy of a boox to 
my paper, I will run down work which is good, as I 
know.* 

Lucien was moved to tears, and he grasped £tienne's 
hand in his. The journalist rose to his feet, and the 
pair went up and down the broad Avenue de TObser- 
vatoire, as if their lungs craved anu>ler breathing space. 

^ Outside the world of letters,' Etienne Lousteau con- 
tinued, * not a single creature suspects that every one 
who succeeds in that world — ^who has a certain vogue, 
that is to say, or comes into &shion, or gains reputation, 
or renown, or fame, or favour with the public (for by 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris iii 

these names we know the rungs of the ladder by which 
we climb to the higher heights above and beyond them), 
•—every one who comes even thus far is the hero of a 
dreadful Odyssey. Brilliant portents rise above the 
mental horizon through a combination of a thousand 
accidents ; conditions change so swiftly that no two men 
have been known to reach success bv the same road. 
Canalis and Nathan are two dissimilar cases; things 
never fall out in the same way twice. There is d'Arthez, 
who knocks himself to pieces with work — he will make 
a famous name by some other chance. 

'This so much desired reputation is nearly always 
crowned prostitution. Yes ; the poorest kind of litera- 
ture is the hapless creature rreezing at a street corner ; 
second-rate literature is the kept-mistress picked out of 
the brothels of journalism, and I am her bully ; lastly, 
there is lucky literature, the flaunting, insolent courtesan 
who has a house of her own and pays taxes, who receives 
great lords, treating or ill-treating them as she pleases, 
who has liveried servants and a carriage, and can afford 
to keep greedy creditors waiting. Ah ! and for yet 
others, for me not so very lone ago, for you to-day — 
she is a white-robed angel with many-coloured wings, 
bearing a green palm branch in the one hand, and in the 
other a flaming sword. An angel, something akin to 
the mythological abstraction which lives at the bottom 
a well, and to the poor and honest girl who lives a life 
of exile in the outskirts of the great city, earning every 
penny with a noble fortitude and in the full light of 
virtue, returning to heaven inviolate of body and soul ; 
unless, indeed, she come to lie at the last, soiled, 
despoiled, polluted, and forgotten, on a pauper's bier. 
As for the men whose brains are encompassed with 
bronze, whose hearts are still warm under the snows 
of experience, they are found but seldom in the country 
that lies at our feet,' he added, pointing to the great city 
seething in the late afternoon light. 



lid A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

A viMon of d'Arthez and his friends flashed upon 
Lucien's sight, and made appeal to him for a moment ; 
but Lousteau's appalling lamentation carried him away. 

^They are very few and fiur between in that great 
fermenting vat; rare as love in love-making, rare as 
fortunes honestly made in business^ rare as the journalist 
whose hands are clean. The experience of the first man 
who told me all that I am telling you was thrown away 
upon me, and mine no doubt will be wasted upon you. 
It is always the same old story year after year ; the same 
eager rush to Paris from the provinces ; the same^ not to 
say a growing, number of beardless, ambitious boys, who 
advance, head erect, and the heart beating high in them, 
to storm the citadel of the Fashion — that Princess Towv* 
andocte of the Mille et un Jours-^^-e^dx one of them fain 
to be her Prince Calaf. But never a one of them reads 
the riddle. One by one they drop, some into the trench 
where failures lie, some into the mire of journalism, some 
again into the quagmires of the book-trade. 

^They pick up a living, these beggars, what with 
biographical notices, penny-a-lining, and scraps of news 
far the papers. They become booksellers' hacks for the 
clear-headed dealers in printed paper, who would sooner 
take the rubbish that goes oiFin a fortnight than a master* 
piece which requires rime to sell. The life is crushed out 
of the grubs before they reach the butterfly stage. They 
live by shame and dishonour. They are ready to write 
down. a rising genius or to praise him to the skies at a 
word from the pacha of the Gmstitutionnely tbc^^idumniy 
or the DeiatSy at a sign from a publisher, at me request 
of a jealous comrade, or (as not seldom happens) simply 
for a dinner. Some surmount the obstacles, and these 
forget the misery of their early days. I, who am telling 
you this, have been putting the best that is in me into 
newspaper articles for six months past for a Uackguard 
who gives them out as his own and has secured zfeuilUum 
in another paper on the strength of them. He has not 



A Disdngui^ed Provincial at Paias iij 

taken me on as his collaborator, fae has not given me so 
mvLck as a five-franc piece, but I hold out a hand to 
grasp his when we meet ; I cannot help myself.' 

' And why ? ' Lucien asked indignantly. 

^ I may want to put a dozen lines into his fntiUeton 
some day,' Lousteau answered coolly. ^ In short, my dear 
fellow, in literature you will not make money by hard y 
work, that is not the secret of success ; the point is to y 
exploit the work of somebody else. A newspaper 
proprietor is a contractor, we are the bricklayers. The 
more mediocre the man, the better his chance of getting 
on among mediocrities ; he can play the toad-eater, put up 
with any treatment, and flatter all the little base-passions 
of the sultans of literature. There is Hector Merlin, 
who came from Limoges a -short time ago ; he is writing 
political articles already for a Right Centre daily, and he 
is at work on our litue paper as well. I have seen an 
editor drop his hat and Merlin pick it up. The fellow 
was careful never to give offence, and slipped into the 
thick of the fight between rival ambitions. I am sorry 
for you. It is as if I saw in you the self that I used to 
be, and sure am I that in one or two years'time you will 
be what I am now. — You will think that there is sonte 
lurking jealousy or personal motive in this bitter counsel, 
but it is prompted by the despair of a damned soul that 
can never leave hell. — No one ventures to utter such 
things as these. You hear the groans of anguish fi'om a 
man wounded to the heart, crving like a second Job from 
the ashes, *^ Behold my sores ! " 

^But whether I fight upon this field or elsewhere, 
fight I must,' said Lucien. 

' Then, be sure of this,' returned Lousteau, * if you 
have anything in you, the war will know no truce, the 
best chance of success lies in an empty head. The aus- 
terity of your conscience, dear as yet, will relax when 
you see that a man holds your future in his two hands, 
when a word from such a man means life to you, and. he 

M 



114 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

will not say that word. For, believe me, the most 
brutal bookseller in the trade is not so insolent, so hard- 
hearted to a newcomer as the celebrity of the day. The 
bookseller sees a possible loss of money, while the writer 
of books dreads a possible rival ; the first shows you the 
door, the second crushes the life out of you. To do 
really good work, my boy, means that you will draw 
out the energy, sap, and tenderness of your nature at 
every dip of the pen in the ink, to set it forth for the 
world in passion and sentiment and phrases. Yes ; in- 
stead of acting, you will write; you will sing songs 
V instead of fighting ; you will love and hate and live in 
your books; and then, after all, when you shall have 
reserved your riches for your style, your gold and purple 
for your characters, and you yourself are walking the 
streets of Paris in rags, rejoicing in that, rivalling the 
State Register, you have authorised the existence of a 
being styled Adolphe, Corinne or Clarissa, Rene or 
Manon ; when you shall have spoiled your life and your 
digestion to give life to that creation, then you shall see 
it slandered, betrayed, sold, swept away into the back 
waters of oblivion by journalists, and buried out of sight 
by your best friends. How can you aiFord to wait 
until the day when your creation shall rise kgain, raised 
from the dead — how ? when ? and by whom ? Take a 
magnificent book, the pianto of unbelief; Obermann is a 
soHtary wanderer in the desert places of booksellers' 
warehouses, he has been a ^^nightingale," ironically 
so called, from the very beginning: when will his Easter 
come ? Who knows ? Try, to begin with, to find 
somebody bold enough to print the Marguerites; not to 
pay for them, but simply to print them ; and you will see 
some queer things.' 

The fierce tirade, delivered in every tone of the pas- 
sionate feeling which it expressed, fell upon Lucien's 
spirit like an avalanche, and left a sense of glacial cold. 
For one moment he stood silent ; then, as he felt the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 115 

terrible stimulating charm of difficulty beginning to 
work upon him, his courage blazed up. He grasped 
Lousteau's hand. 

^ I will triumph ! he cried aloud. 

^Good!' said the other, ^ one more Christian given 
over to the wild beasts in the arena. — ^There is a fifst- 
night performance at the Panorama-Dramatique, 917 
dear fellow ; it doesn't begin till eight, so you can change 

four coat, come properly dressed in &ct, and call for me. 
am living on the fourth floor above the Cafe Servel, 
Rue de la Harpe. We will go to Dauriat's first of all. 
You still mean to go on, do you not ? Very well, I will 
introduce you to one of the kings of the trade to-night, 
and to one or two journalists. We will sup with my 
mistress and several friends after the play, for you can- 
not count that dinner as a meal. Finot will be there, 
editor and proprietor of my paper. As Minette says in 
the Vaudeville (do you remember ? ), **Time is a great 
lean creature." Well, for the like of us. Chance js a 
great lean creature, and must be tempted.' 

^ I shall remember this day as long as I live,'- said 
Lucien. 

^ Bring your manuscript with you, and be careful of 
your dress, not on Florine's account, but for the book- 
sellers' benefit.' 

The comrade's good-nature, following upon the poet's 
passionate outcry, as he described the war of letters, 
moved Lucien quite as deeply as d'Arthez's grave and 
earnest words on a former occasion. The prospect of 
entering at once upon the strife with men warned him. 
In his youth and inexperience he had no si^picion how 
real were the moral evils denounced by the journalist« 
Nor did he know that he was standing at the parting of 
two distinct ways, between two systems, represented by 
the brotherhood upon one hand, and journalism upon the 
other. The first way was long, honourable, and sure ; 
the second beset with hidden dangers, a perilous path, 



Ii6 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

among muddy channels where conscience is ineritably be- 
spattered. The bent of Lucien's character determined for 
the shorter way, and the apparently pleasanter way, and to 
snatch at the quickest and promptest means. At this 
moment he saw no difference between d'Arthez's noble 
friendship and Lousteau's easy camaraderie ; his incon- 
stant mind discerned a new weapon in journalism ; he 
felt that he could wield it, so he wished to take it. 

He was dazzled by the offers of this new friend, who 
had struck a hand in his in an easy way, which charmed 
Lucien. How should he know that while every man in 
the army of the press needs friends, every leader needs 
men. Lousteau, seeing that Lucien was resolute^ 
enlisted him as a recruit, and hoped to attach him to 
himsdf. The relative positions of the two were similar — 
one hoped to become a corporal, the other to enter the 
ranks. 

Lucien went back gaily to his lodgings. He was 
as careful over his toilet as on that former unlucky- 
occasion when he occupied the Marquise d'£spard*s 
box ; but he had learned by this time how to wear his 
clothes with a better grace. They looked as though they 
belonged to him. He wore his best tightly-fitting, 
light-coloured trousers, and a dress-coat. His boots, a 
very elegant pair adorned with tassels, had cost him 
for^ francs. His thick, fine, golden hair was scented 
and crimped into bright, rippling curls. Self-confidence 
and belief in his future lighted up his forehead. He paid 
careful attention to his almost feminine hands, the filbert 
nails were a spotless rose pink, and the white contours of 
his chin were dazzling by contrast with a black satim 
stock. Never did a more beautiful youth come downi 
from the hills of the Latin Quarter. 

Glorious as a Greek god, Lucien took a cab, and' 
reached the Cafe Servel at a quarter to seven. There the 
portress gave him some tolerably complicated directions^ 
for the ascent of four pair of stairs. Provided with these 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 117 

instructions, he discovered^ not without difficulty, an 
open door at the end of a long, dark passage, and in 
another moment made the acquaintance of the traditional 
room of the Latin Quarter. 

A young man's poverty follows him wherever he goes 
^nto the Rue de la Harpe as into the Rue de Cluny, 
into d'Arthez's room, into Chrestien's lodging; yet 
everywhere no less the poverty has its own peculiar 
characteristics, due to the idiosyncrasies of the sufferer. 
Poverty in this case wore a sinister look. 

A shabby, cheap carpet lay in wrinkles at the foot of 
a curtainless walnut-wood bedstead ; dingy curtains, 
begrimed with cigar smoke and fumes from a smoky 
chimnev, hung in the windows; a Carcel lamp, 
Florine s gift, on the chimney-piece, had so far escaped 
the pawnbroker. Add a forlorn-looking chest of 
drawers, and a table littered with papers and dishevelled 
quill pens, and the list of furniture is almost complete. 
All the books had evidently arrived in the course of the 
last twenty-four hours; and there was not a single 
object of any value in the room. In one corner you 
beheld a collection of crushed and flattened cigars, soiled 
pocket-handkerchiefs, shirts which had been turned to do 
double duty, and cravats that had reached a third edition; 
while a sordid array of old boots stood gaping in another 
angle of the room among aged socks worn into lace. 

The room, in short, was a journalist's bivouac, filled 
with odds and ends of no value, and the most curiously 
bare apartment imaginable. A scarlet tinder-box glowed 
among a pile of books on the nightstand. A brace of 
pistols, a box of cigars, and a stray razor lay upon the 
mantel-shelf; a pair of foils, crossed under a wire mask, 
hung against a paneL Three chairs and a couple of 
armchairs, scarcely fit for the shabbiest k)dging-house in 
the street, completed the inventory. 

The dirty, cheerless room told a tale of a restless life 
and a want of self-respect ; some one came hither to< 



Ii8 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

sleep and work at high pressure, staying no longer than 
he could help, longing, while he remained, to be out and 
away. What a difference between this cynical disorder and 
d'Arthez's neat and self-respecting poverty ! A warning 
came with the thought of d'Arthez ; but Lucien would 
not heed it, for Etienne made a joking remark to cover 
the nakedness of a reckless life. 

^ This is my kennel ; I appear in state in the Rue de 
Bondy,in the newapartments which our druggist has taken 
for Florinc ; we hold the house-warming this evening.' 

Etienne Lousteau wore black trousers and beautifully- 
varnished boots ; his coat was buttoned up to the chin ; 
he probably meant to change his linen at Florine's house, 
for his shirt collar was hidden by a velvet stock. He 
was trying to renovate his hat by an application of the 
brush. 

^ Let us go,' said Lucien. 

* Not yet. I am waiting for a bookseller to bring me 
some money ; I have not a farthing ; there will be play, 
perhaps, and in any case I must have gloves.' 

As he spoke, the two new friends heard a man's step 
in the passage outside. 

* There he is,' said Lousteau. 'Now you will see, 
my dear fellow, the shape that Providence takes when 
he manifests himself to poets. You are going to behold 
Dauriat, the fashionable bookseller, in all his glory ; but 
first you shall see the bookseller of the Quai des Augus- 
tins, the pawnbroker, the marine store dealer of the trade, 
the Norman ex-greengrocer. — Come along, old Tartar ! ' 
shouted Lousteau. 

^ Here am I,' said a voice like a cracked bell. 

* Brought the money with you ? ' 

* Money? There is no money now in the trade,' 
retorted the other, a young man who eyed Lucien 
curiously. 

* Imprimis^ vou owe me fifty francs/ Lousteau con- 
tinued. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 119 

* There are two copies of Travels in Egypt here, a 
marvel, so they say, swarming with woodcuts, sure to 
sell. Finot has been paid for two reviews that I am to 
write for him. Item two works, just out by Victor 
Ducange, a novelist highly thought of in the Marais. 
Item a couple of copies of a second work by Paul de 
Kock, a beginner in the same style. Item two copies of 
ITseult of DoUy a charming provincial work. Total, 
one hundred francs nett. Wherefore you owe me one 
hundred francs, my little Barbet.' 

Barbet made a close survey of edges and binding. 

^ Oh ! they are in perfect condition,' cried Lousteau* 
*The Travels are uncut, so is the Paul de Kock, so is 
the Ducange, so is that other thing on the chimney- 
piece, Constderatims on Symbolism. I will throw that in ; 
myths weary me to that degree that I will let you have 
the thing to spare myself the sight of the swarms of 
mites coming out of it.' 

^But,' asked Lucien, ^how are you going to write 
your reviews?' 

Barbet, in profound astonishment, stared at Lucien j 
then he looked at Etienne and chuckled. 

* One can see that the gentleman has not the misfor- 
tune to be a literary man,' said he. 

^ No, Barbet — ^no. He is a poet, a great poet ; he is 
going to cut out Canalis, and Beranger, and Delavigne. 
He will go a long way if he does not throw himself into 
the river, and even so he will get as far as the drag-nets 
at Saint-Cloud.' 

^ If I had any advice to give the gentleman,' remarked 
Barbet, * it would be to give up poetry and take to prose. 
Poetry is not wanted on the Quais Just now.' 

Barbet's shabby overcoat was fastened by a single 
button ; his collar was greasy ; he kept his hat on his 
head as he spoke ; he wore low shoes, an open waistcoat 
gave glimpses of a homely shirt of coarse linen. Good- 
nature was not wanting in the round countenance, with 



MO A Distinguished Provincial at Pans 

its. two slits of covetous eyes ; but there was likewise the 
vague uneasiness habitual to those who have money to 
spend and hear constant applications for it. Yet, to all 
appearance, he was plain-dealing and easy-natured, his 
business shrewdness was so well wadded round with fat. 
He had been an assistant until he took a wretched little 
shop on the Quai des Augustins two years since, and 
issued thence on his rounds among journalists, authors, 
and printers, buying up free copies cheaply, making in 
such ways some ten or twenty francs daily. Now, he 
had money saved; he knew instinctively where every 
onn was pressed ; he had a keen eye for business. If an 
author was in difficulties, he would discount a bill given 
by a publisher at fifteen or twenty per cent. ; then the 
next day he would go to the publisher, haggle over the 
price of some work in demand, and pay him with his 
own bills instead of cash. Barbet was something of a 
scholar ; he had had just enough education to make him 
careful to steer clear of modern poetry and modern 
romances. He had a liking for small speculations, for 
books of a popular kind which mighit be bought outright 
for a thousand francs and exploited at pleasure, such as 
the QhikTs History of Franco^ Book-keeping in Twenty 
Lessons^ and Botany for Toung Ladies. Two or three 
times already he had allowed a good book to slip through 
his fingers ; the authors had come and gone a score of 
times while he hesitated, and could not make up his 
nrind- to buy the manuscript. When reproached for 
his pusillanimity, he was wont to produce the account of 
a notorious trial taken from the newspapers ; it cost him 
nothing, and had brought him in two or three thousand 
francs. 

Barbet was the type of bookseUer that goes in fear and 
trembling ; lives on bread and walnuts ; rarely puts his 
name to a bill ; filches little profits on invoices ; makes 
deductions, and hawks his books about himself; heaven 
only knows' where they go, but he sells them somehow. 



A Distinguished ProvinciaJ at Paris %ii 

and gets paid for them. Barbet was the terror of printers^ 
who coidd not tell what to make of him ; he paid cash 
and tock off the discount ; he nibbled at their invoices 
whenever he thought thej were pressed for money ; and 
when he had fleeced a man once, he never went back to 
him — he feared to be caught in his turn. 

^Well,' said Lousteau, ^ shall we go on with our 
business t ' 

^ £h ! my boy/ returned Barbet in a feiifiliar tone ; ^ I 
have six thousand volumes of stock on hand at my place, 
and paper is not g<M, as the old book^Uer said. Trade 
is dull.' 

^If you went into his shop, my dear Lucien,' said 
^tienne, turning to his friend, ^you would see an oak 
counter from some b^krupt wine merchant's sale, and a 
tallow dip, never snuffed for fear it should burn too 
quickly, making darkness visiUe. By that anomalous 
light vou descry rows of empty shelves with some 
difficulty. An urchin in a blue blouse mounts guard 
over the emptiness^ and blows his fingers, and diuffles his 
feet, and slaps his chest, like a cabman on the b<». Just 
look about you ! there are no more books there than I 
have here. Nobody could guess what kind of shop 
he keeps.' 

* Here is a bill at three months for a hundred francs,* 
said Barbet, and he could not help smiling as he drew if 
out of his pocket ; *I will take your old books off your 
handsw I can't pay cash Mty longer, you see ; sales are 
too slow. I thought that you w^d be wanting me ; I 
had not a penny, and I made out a bill sim^iy to oblige 
you, for I am not fond of giving my signature.* 

^So you want my thanks and esteem into the bargain, 
do you ? • 

^ Bills are not met with sentiment,' responded Barbet; 
*but I will accept your esteem, all the same/ 

^But I want gloves, and ihe perfumers will be base 
enough to deeline your paper,* said Lousteau. ^Stop, 



laa A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

there is a superb engraving in the top drawer in the 
chest there, worth eighty francs, proof before letters and 
after letterpress, for I have written a pretty droll article 
upon it. There was something to lay Jhtold of in 
HippocraUs refusing the Presents of Artaxerxes. A fine 
engraving, eh ? Just the thing to suit all the doctors, 
who are refusing the extravagant gifts of Parisian satraps. 
You will find two or three dozen novels underneath it. 
Come, now, take the lot and give me forty francs.' 

' Forty francs ! ' exclaimed the bookseller, emitting a 
cry like the squall of a frightened fowl. * Twenty at 
the very most ! And then I may never see the money 
again,' he added. 

' Where are your twenty francs ? ' asked Lousteau. 

^My word, I don't know that I have them,' said 
Barbet, frimbling in his pockets. ^Here they are. 
You are plundering me ; you have an ascendency over 
me ' 

^ Come, let us be off,' said Lousteau, and taking up 
Lucien's manuscript, he drew a line upon it in ink under 
the string. 

^ Have you anything else ? ' asked Barbet. 

* Nothing, you yoimg Shylock. I am going to put 
you in the way of a bit of verv good business,' £tienne 
continued (^ in which you shall lose a thousand crowns, 
to teach you to rob me in this fashion '), he added for 
Lucien's ear. 

* But how about your reviews ? ' said Lucien, as they 
rolled away to the Palais Royal. 

^ Pooh ! you do not know how reviews are knocked 
oiF. As for the Traveb in Egypty I looked into the book 
here and there (without cutting the pages), and I found 
eleven slips in grammar. I shsJl say that the writer may 
have mastered the dicky-bird language on the flints that 
they call ^^ obelisks " out there in Egypt, but he cannot 
write in his own, as I will prove to him in a column and 
a half. I shall say that instead of giving us natural 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 123 

history and archaeology, he ought to have interested 
himself in the future of Egypt, in the progress of civili- 
sation, and the best method of strengthening the bond 
between Egypt and France. France has won and lost 
Egypt, but she may yet attach the country to her 
interests by gaining a moral ascendency over it. Then 
some patriotic penny-a-lining, interlarded with diatribes 
on Msuseilles, the Levant, and our trade.* 

'But suppose that he had taken that view, what 
would you do ? ' 

' Oh well, I should say that instead of boring us with 
politics, he should have written about art, and described 
the picturesque aspects of the country and the local 
colour. Then the critic bewails himself. Politics are 
intruded everywhere ; we are weary of politics — politics 
on all sides. I should regret those charming books of 
travel that dwelt upon the di£Eiculties of navigation, the 
fascination of steering between two rocks, the delights 
of crossing the line, and all the things that those who never 
will travel ought to know. Mingle this approval with 
scoffing at the travellers who hail the appearance of a 
bird or a flying-fish as a great event, who dilate upon fish- 
ing, and make transcripts from the log. Where, you ask, 
is that perfectly imintelligible scientific information, 
fascinating, like all that is profound, mysterious, and in- 
comprehensible. The reader laughs, that is all that he 
wants. As for novels, Florine is the greatest novel 
reader alive; she gives me a synopsis, and I take her 
opinion and put a review together. When a novelist 
bores her with '^ author's stuflF," as she calls it, I treat the 
work respectfully, and ask the publisher for another copv, 
which he sends forthwith, delighted to have a favourable 
review.' 

^ Goodness ! and what of criticism, the critic's sacred 
office?' cried Lucien, remembering the ideas instilled 
into him by the brotherhood. 

' My dear fellow,' said Lousteau, ' criticism is a kind 



124 ^ Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

of brush which must not be used upon iimsy stufl^ or it 
carries it all away with it. That is enough of the crafty 
now listen! Do you see that mark?' he continued^ 
pointing to the manuscript of the Marguerites. ^ I have 
put ink on the string and paper* If Dauriat reads your 
manuscript, he certainly could not tie the string and 
leave it just as it was before. So your book is sealed, so 
to speak. This is not useless to you for the experiment 
that you psopose to make. And another thing : please 
to observe that you are not arriving quite alone and 
without a sponsor in the place, like the youngsters who 
make the round of half-a-score of publishers before they 
find one that will offer them a chair.' 

Luciea's experience confirmed the truth of this parti- 
cular. Lousteau paid the cabman, giving him three 
francs — a piece of prodigality following upon such 
impecumosity astonishing Lucien more than a little* 
Then the two friends entered the Wooden Galleries, 
where fashionable literature, as it is called, used to reign 
in state.. 



A Distinguished Provinctal at Paras 125 



PART II 

The Wooden Galleries of the Palais Ro3ral used to be 
one of the most famous sights of Paris. Some descrip- 
tion of the squalid bazaar will not be out of place ; for 
there are few men of forty who will not take an interest 
in recollections of a state of things which will seem 
incrediUe to a younger generation. 

The great dreary, spacious Galerie d'Orleans, that 
flowerless hothouse, as yet was not; the space upon which 
it now stands was covered with booths ; or, to be .more 
precise, with small, wooden dens, pervious to the weather, 
:and dimly illuminated on the side of the court and the 
Igarden by borrowed lights styled windows by courtesy, 
ibtft more like the filthiest arrangements for obscuring 
•daylight to be found in little wineshops in the suburbs. 

The Galleries, parallel passages about twelve feet in 
height, were formed by a triple row of shops. The 
centre row, giving back and front upon the Galleries, 
was filled with the fetid atmosphere of the place, and 
<lerived a dubious daylight through the invariably dirty 
windows of the roof ; but so thronged were these hives, 
that rents were excessively high, and as much as a 
thousand crowns was paid for a space scarce six feet by 
eight. The outer rows gave respectively upon the 
garden and the court, and were covered on that side by 
a slight trellis-work painted green, to protect the crazy 
plastered walls from continual friction with the passers- 
by. In a few square feet of earth at the back of the 
shops, strange freaks of vegetable life unknown to 
science grew amid the products of various no less flourish- 
ing industries* You bctbcld a rosebush capped with 



126 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

printed paper in such a sort that the flowers of rhetoric 
were perfumed by the cankered blossoms of that ill-kept, 
ill-smelling garden. Handbills and ribbon streamers of 
every hue flaunted gaily among the leaves ; natural 
flowers competed unsuccessfully for an existence with 
odds and ends of millinery. You discovered a knot of 
ribbon adorning a green tuft ; the dahlia admired afar 
proved on a nearer view to be a satin rosette. 

The Palais seen from the court or from the garden 
was a fantastic sight, a grotesque combination of walls of 
plaster patchwork which had once been whitewashed, of 
blistered paint, heterogeneous placards, and all the most 
unaccountable freaks of Parisian squalor; the green 
trellises were prodigiously the dingier for constant con- 
tact with a Parisian public. So, upon either side, the 
fetid, disreputable approaches might have been there for 
the express purpose of warning away fastidious people ; 
but fastidious folk no more recoiled before these horrors 
than the prince in the fairy stories turns tail at sight of 
the dragon or of the other obstacles put between him and 
the princess by the wicked fairy. 

There was a passage through the centre of the 
Galleries then as now ; and, as at the present day, you 
entered them through the two peristyles begun before 
the Revolution, and left unfinished for lack of funds ; 
but in place of the handsome modern arcade leading to 
the Theatre-Francais, you passed along a narrow, dis- 
proportionately lofty passage, so ill-roofed that the rain 
came through on wet days. All the roofs of the hovels 
indeed were in very bad repair, and covered here and 
again with a double thickness of tarpaulin. A famous silk 
mercer once brought an action against the Orleans fomily 
for damages done in the course of a night to bis stock of 
shawls and stuffs, and gained the day and a considerable 
sum. It was in this last-named passage, called ^ The Glass 
Gallery ' to distinguish it from the Wooden Galleries, 
that Chevet laid the foundations of his fortunes. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris i%y 

Here, in the Palais, you trod the natural soil of Paris, 
augmented by importations brought in upon the boots 
of foot passengers ; here, at all seasons, you stumbled 
among hills and hollows of dried mud swept daily by the 
shopman's besom, and only after some practice could you 
walk at your ease. The treacherous mud-heaps, the 
window-panes incrusted with deposits of dust and rain, 
the mean-looking hovels covered with ragged placards, 
the grimy unfinished walls, the general air of a com- 
promise between a gipsy camp, the booths of a countrv 
fair, and the temporary structures which we in Pans 
build round about public monuments that remain un- 
built ; the grotesque aspect of the mart as a whole was 
in keeping with the seething traffic of various kinds 
carried on within it ; for here in this shameless, un- 
blushing haunt, amid wild mirth and a babel of taUc, an 
immense amount of business was transacted between 
the Revolution of 1789 and the Revolution of 1830. 

For twenty years the Bourse stood just opposite, on 
the ground floor of the Palais. Public opinion was 
manufactured, and reputations made and ruined here, 
just as political and financial jobs were arranged. People 
made appointments to meet in the Galleries before ch* 
after 'Change ; on showery days the Palais Royal was 
often crowded with weather-bound capitalists and men 
of business. The structure which had grown up, no 
one knew how, about this point was strangely resonant, 
laughter was multiplied; if two men quarrelled, the 
whole place rang from one end to the other with 
the dispute. In the daytime milliners and booksellers 
enjoyed a monopoly of the place ; towards nightfall it was 
filled with women of the town. Here dwelt poetry, 
politics, and prose, new books and classics, the glories of 
ancient and modern literature side by side with political 
intrigue and the tricks of the bookseller's trade. Here 
all the very latest and newest literature were sold to a 
public which resolutely decline to buy elsewhere. Some- 



laS A Distinguidbed Provincial at Patjs 

times several thousand copies of such and such a pam- 
phlet by Paul-Louis Courier would be sold in a single 
evening ; and people crowded thither to buy Les oven" 
tuns de la fiUe (Fun Rot — that first shot fired by the 
Orleanists at The Charter promulgated by Louis xviu. 

When Lucien made his first appearance in the 
Wooden Galleries, some few of the shops boasted proper 
fronts and handsome windows, but these in every case 
looked upon the court or the garden. As for the centre 
row, until the day when the whole strange colony 
perished under the hammer of Fontaine the architect, 
every shop was open back and front like a booth in a 
country ^r, so that from within you could look out 
upon either side through gaps among the goods dis*- 
played or through the glass doors. As it was obviously 
impossible to kindle a fire, the tradesmen were fiiin to 
use charcoal chafing-dishes, and formed a sort of brigade 
for the prevention of fires among themselves; and, 
indeed, a little carelessness might have set the whole 
quarter blazing in fifteen minutes, for the plank-built 
republic, dried by che heat of the sun, and haunted by 
too inflammable human material, was bedizened with 
muslin and paper and gauze, and ventilated at times by 
a thorough draught. 

The milliners^ windows were full of impossible hats 
and bonnets, displayed apparently for advertisement 
rather than for sale, each on a separate iron spit with a 
knob at the top. The galleries were decked out in all 
the colours of the rainbow. On what heads would 
those dusty bonnets end their careers ?•— for a score of 
years the problem had puzzled frequenters of the 
ralais. Saleswomen, usually plain-featured, but viva- 
cious, waylaid the feminine foot passenger with cun- 
ning importunities, after the fashion of market-women, 
and using much the same language; a shop-girl, who 
made free use of her eyes and tongue, sat outside on a 
stool and harangued the public with *Buy a pretty 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 129 

bonnet, madame ? ' — Do let me sell you something ! ' — 
varying a rich and picturesque vocabulary with inflexions 
of the voice, with glances, and remarks upon the passers- 
by. Booksellers and milliners lived on terms of mutual 
good understanding. 

But it was in the passage known by the pompous 
title of the ' Glass Gallery ' that the oddest trades were 
carried on. Here were ventriloquists and charlatans of 
every sort, and sights of every description, from the kind 
where there is nothing to see to panoramas of the globe. 
One man who has since made seven or eight hundred 
thousand francs by travelling from fair to fair began 
here by hanging out a signboard, a revolving sun in a 
blackboard, and the inscription in red letters — *Here 
Man may see what God can never see. Admittance, 
two sous.' The showman at the door never admitted 
one person alone, nor more than two at a time. Once 
inside, you confronted a great looking-glass j and a voice, 
which might have terrified Hoffmann of Berlin, suddenly 
spoke as if some spring had been touched, ^ You see here, 
gentlemen, something that God can never see through 
all eternity, that is to say, your like. God has not His 
like.' And out you went, too shamefaced to confess to 
your stupidity. 

Voices issued from every narrow doorway, crjring up 
the merits of Cosmoramas, views of Constantinople, 
marionettes,automatic chess-players, and performing dogs 
who would pick you out the prettiest woman in the 
company. The ventriloquist Fitz-James flourished 
here in the Cafe Borel before he went to fight and 6ei11 
at Montmartre with the young lads from the Ecole 
poly technique. Here, too, there were fruit and flower 
shops, and a famous tailor whose gold-laced uniforms 
shone like the sun when the shops were lighted at night. 

Of a morning the galleries were empty, dark, and 
deserted; the shopkeepers chatted among themselves. 
Towards two o'clock in the afternoon the Palais began 

I 



130 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

to fill ; at three, men came in from the Bourse, and Paris, 
generally speaking, crowded the place. Impecunious 
youth, hungering after literature, took the opportunity 
of turning over the pages of the books exposed for sale 
on the stalls outside the booksellers' shops ; the men in 
charge charitably allowed a poor student to pursue his 
course of free studies; and in this way a duodecimo 
volume of some two hundred pages, such as Smarra or 
Pierre Schlemihl^ or yean Sbogar or yockoj might be 
devoured in a couple of afternoons. There was some- 
thing very French in this alms ^iven to the young, 
hungry, starved intellect. Circulating libraries were 
not as yet; if you wished to read a book, you were 
obliged to buy it, for which reason novels of the early 
part of the century were sold in numbers which now 
seem well nigh fabulous to us. 

But the poetry of this terrible mart appeared in all its 
splendour at the close of the day. Women of the town, 
flocking in and out from the neighbouring streets, were 
allowed to make a promenade of the Wooden Galleries. 
Thither came prostitutes from every quarter of Paris 
to *do the Palais.' The Stone Galleries belonged to 
privileged houses, which paid for the right of exposing 
women dressed like princesses under such and such an 
arch, or in the corresponding space of garden ; but the 
Wooden Galleries were the common ground of women 
of the streets. This was the Palais, a word which used 
to signify the temple of prostitution. A woman might 
come and go, taking away her prey whithersoever 
seemed good to her. So great was the crowd attracted 
thither at night by the women, that it was impossible to 
move except at a slow pace, as in a procession or at a 
masked ball. Nobody objected to the slowness; it 
facilitated examination. The women dressed in a way 
that is never seen nowadays. The bodices cut 
extremely low both back and front ; the fantastical 
head-dresses, designed to attract notice; Here a cap from 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 131 

the Pays de Caux, and there a Spanish mantilla ; the hair 
crimped and curled like a poodle's, or smoothed down 
in bandeaux over the forehead ; the close-fitting white 
stockings and limbs, revealed it would not be easy to say 
how, but always at the right moment — all this poetry 
of vice has fled. The license of question and reply, the 
public cynicism in keeping with the haunt, is now 
unknown even at masquerades or the famous public 
balls* It was an appalling, gay scene. The dazzling 
white flesh of the womeivs necks and shoulders stood 
out in magnificent contrast against the men's almost 
invariably sombre costumes. The murmur of voices, 
the hum of the crowd, could be heard even in the middle 
of the garden as a sort of droning bass, interspersed with 
fioriture of shrill laughter or clamour of some rare 
dispute. You saw gentlemen and celebrities cheek 
by jowl with gallows-birds. There was something 
indescribably piquant about the anomalous assemblage ; 
the most insensible of men felt its charm, so much so, 
that, until the very last moment, Paris came hither to 
walk up and down on the wooden planks laid over the 
cellars where men were at work on the new build- 
ings; and when the squalid wooden erections were 
finally taken down, great and unanimous regret was 
felt. 

Ladvocat the bookseller had opened a shop but a few 
days since in the angle formed by the central passage 
which crossed the galleries; and immediately opposite 
another bookseller, now forgotten, Dauriat, a bold and 
youthful pioneer, who opened up the paths in which his 
rival was to shine. Dauriat's shop stood in the row 
which gave upon the garden ; Ladvocat's, on the opposite 
side, looked out upon the court* Dauriat's establishment 
was divided into two parts ; his shop was simply a great 
trade warehouse, and the second room was his private 
ofEce. 

Lucien, on this first visit to the Wooden Galleries, 



132 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

was bewildered by a sight which no novice can resist. 
He soon lost the guide who befriended him. 

' If you were as goodlooking as yonder young fellow, 
I would give you your money's worth/ a woman said, 
pointing out Lucien to an old man. 

Lucien slunk through the crowd like a blind man's 
dog, following the stream in a state of stupe&ction and 
excitement difficult to describe. Importuned by glances 
and white-rounded contours, dazzled by the audacious 
display of bared throat and bosom, he gripped his roll of 
manuscript tightly lest somebody should steal it — 
innocent that he was ! 

^ Well, what is it, sir ! ' he exclaimed, thinking, when 
some one caught him by the arm, that his poetry had 
proved too great a temptation for some author's honesty, 
and turning, he recognised Lousteau. 

^ I felt sure that you would find your way here at 
last,' said his friend. 

The poet was standing in the doorway of a shop 
crowded with persons waiting; for an audience with the 
sultan of the publishing trade. Printers, paper-dealers, 
and designers were catechising Dauriat's assistants as to 
present or future business. 

Lousteau drew Lucien into the shop. * There ! 
that is Finot who edits my paper,' he said j ^ he is 
talking with Felicien Vernou, who has abilities, but the 
little wretch is as dangerous as a hidden disease.' 

* Well, old boy, there is a first night for you,' said Finot, 
coming up with Vernou. ^I have disposed of the box.' 

«Solditto Braulard?' 

* Well, and. if I did, what then ? You will get a seat. 
What do you want with Dauriat ? Oh, it is agreed 
that we are to push Paul de Kock, Dauriat has taken 
two hundred copies, and Victor Ducange is refusing to 
give him his next. Dauriat wants to set up another 
man in the same line, he says. You must rate Paul de 
Kock above Ducange.' 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 133 

* But I have a piece on with Ducange at the Gaite, 
said Lousteau. 

* Very well, tell him that I wrote the article. It can 
be supposed that I wrote a slashing review, and you 
toned it down ; and he will owe you thanks.' 

' Couldn't you get Dauriat's cashier to discount this 
bit of a bill for a hundred francs ? ' asked Etienne 
Lousteau. *Wc are celebrating Florine's house- 
warming with a supper to-night, you know.* 

^ Ah ! yes, you are treating us all/ said Finot, with 
an apparent effort of memory. ' Here, Gabusson,' he 
added, handing Barbet's bill to the cashier, ^let me have 
ninety francs for this individual. — Fill in your name, 
old man.' 

Lousteau signed his name while the cashier counted 
out the money ; and Lucien, all eyes and ears, lost not 
a syllable of the conversation.' 

* That is not all, my friend,' feticnnc continued ; * I 
don't thank you, we have sworn an eternal friendship. 
I have taken it upon myself to introduce this gentleman 
to Dauriat, and you must incline his ear to listen 
to us.' 

* What is on foot ? ' asked Finot. 

^ A volume of poetry,' said Lucien. 

^ Oh I ' said Finot, with a shrug of the shoulders. 

^Your acquaintance cannot have had much to do 
with publishers, or he would have hidden his manuscript 
in the loneliest spot in his dwelling,' remarked Vernou, 
looking at Lucien as he spoke. 

Just at that moment a good-looking young man came 
into the shop, gave a hand to Finot and Lousteau, 
and nodded slightly to Vernou. The newcomer was 
£mile Blondet, who had made his first appearance in the 
yournal des DebatSy with articles revealing capacities of 
the very highest order. 

'Come and have supper with us at midnight, at 
Florine's,' said Lousteau. 



134 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

' Very good,' said the newcomer. * But who is going 
to be there ? ' 

' Oh, Florine and Matifat the druggist,* said Lousteau, 
^ and du Bruel, the author who gave Florine the part in 
which she is to make her first appearance, a little old 
fogey named Cardot, and his son-in-law Camusot, and 
Finot, and ' 

* Does your druggist do things properly ? ' 

^ He will not give us doctored wine,' said Lucien. 

*You are very witty, monsieur,' Blondet returned 
gravely. ^ Is he coming, Lousteau I ' 

*Yes.' 

' Then we shall have some fun.' 

Lucien had flushed red to the tips of his ears. Blondet 
tapped on the window above Dauriat's desk. 

^Is your business likely to keep you long, Dauriat ? ' 

^ I am at your service, my friend.' 

^ That 's right,' said Lousteau, addressing his protege. 
^ That young fellow is hardly any older than you are, and 
he is on the Debats ! He is one of the princes of criticism. 
They are afraid of him, Dauriat will fawn upon him, 
and then we can put in a word about our business with 
the pasha of vignettes and type. Otherwise we might 
have waited till eleven o'clock, and our turn would not 
have come. The crowd of people waiting to speak with 
Dauriat is growing bigger every moment.' 

Lucien and Lousteau followed Blondet, Finot, and 
Vernou, and stood in a knot at the back of the shop. 

* What is he doing ? ' asked Blondet of the head-clerk, 
who rose to bid him good-evening. 

* He is buying a weekly newspaper. He wants to put 
new life into it, and set up a rival to the Minerve and the 
Cmservateur ; Eymery has rather too much of his own 
way in the Minerve^ and the Conservateur is too blindly 
Romantic' 

* Is he going to pay well ? ' 

^ Only too much — as usual,' said the cashier. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 135 

Just as he spoke another young man entered j this 
was the writer of a magnificent novel which had sold 
very rapidly and met with the greatest possible success. 
Dauriat was bringing out a second edition. The appear- 
ance of this odd and extraordinary looking being, so 
unmistakably an artist, made a deep impression on 
Lucien's mind. 

^ That is Nathan,' Lousteau said in his ear. 

Nathan, then in the prime of his youth, came up to 
the group of journalists, hat in hand ; and in spite of his 
look of fierce pride he was almost humble to Blonde t, 
whom as yet he only knew by sight. Blondet did not 
remove his hat, neither did Finot. 

^Monsieur, I am delighted to avail myself of an 
opportunity yielded by chance * 

(^ He is so nervous that he is committing a pleonasm,' 
said Felicien in an aside to Lousteau.) 

* to give expression to my gratitude for the 

splendid review which you were so good as to give me 
in the Journal des Debats. Half the success of my book 
is owing to you.' 

* No, my dear fellow, no,' said Blondet, with an air of 
patronage scarcely masked by good-nature. ^ You have 
talent, the deuce you have, and I 'm delighted to make 
your acquaintance.' 

* Now that your review has appeared, I shall not seem 
to be courting power ; we can feel at ease. Will you do me 
the honour and the pleasure of dining with me to-morrow ? 
Finot is comine. — Lousteau, old man, you will not refuse 
me, will you ? ' added Nathan, shaking ^tienne by the 
hand. — ^Ah, you are on the way to a great future, 
monsieur,' he added, turning again to Blondet ; ' you 
will carry on the line of Dussaults, Fievees, and 
GeofFrois! Hoffmann was talking about you to a 
friend of mine, Claud Vignon, his pupil ; he said that 
he could die in peace, the Journal des Debats would live 
for ever. They ought to pay you tremendously well.' 



136 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

^ A hundred francs a column,' said Blondet. ^ Poor 
pay when one is obliged to read the books, and read a 
hundred before you find one worth interesting yourself 
in, like yours. Your work gave me pleasure, upon my 
word.' 

^ And brought him in fifteen hundred francs,' said 
Lousteau for Lucien's benefit. 

^ But you write political articles, don't you ? ' asked 
Nathan. 

' Yes ; now and again.' 

Lucien felt like an embryo among these men ; he had 
admired Nathan's book, he had reverenced the author as 
an immortal ; Nathan's abject attitude before this critic, 
whose name and importance were both unknown to 
him, stupefied Lucien. 

' How if I should come to behave as he does ? ' he 
thought. 'Is a man obliged to part with his self-respect ? — 
Pray put on your hat again, Nathan ; you have written a 
great book, and the critic hasonly written a review of it.' 

These thoughts set the blood tingling in his veins. 
Scarce a minute passed but some young author, poverty* 
stricken and shy, came in, asked to speak with Dauriat, 
looked round the crowded shop despairingly, and went 
out saying, 'I will come back again;' Two or three 
politicians were chatting over the convocation of the 
Chambers and public business with a group of well- 
known public men. The weekly newspaper for which 
Dauriat was in treaty was licensed to treat of matters 
political, and the number of newspapers suffered to exist 
was growing smaller and smaller, till a paper was a piece 
of property as much in demand as a theatre. One of 
the largest shareholders in the Constitutionnel W3,s standing 
in the midst of the knot of political celebrities. Lousteau 
performed the part of cicerone to admiration ; with every 
sentence he uttered Dauriat rose higher in Lucien's 
opinion. Politics and literature seemed to converge in 
Dauriat's shop. He had seen a great poet prostituting 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 137 

his muse to journalism, humiliating Art, as woman was 
humiliated and prostituted in those shameless galleries 
without, and the provincial took a terrible.Iesson to heart. 
Money ! That was the key to every enigma. Lucien 
realised the fact that he was unknown and alone, and 
that the fragile clue of an uncertain friendship was his 
sole guide to success and fortune. He blamed the kind 
and loyal little circle for painting the world for him in 
false colours, for preventing him from plunging into the 
arena, pen in hand. ^I should be a Blondet at this 
moment ! ' he exclaimed within himself. 

Only a little while ago they had sat looking out over 
Paris from the Gardens of the Luxembourg, and Lousteau 
had uttered the cry of a wounded es^le ; then Lousteau 
had been a great man in Lucien's eyes, and now he 
had shrunk to scarce visible proportions. The really 
important man for him at this moment was the fashion- 
able bookseller, by whom all these men lived ; and the 
poet, manuscript in hand, felt a nervous tremor that was 
almost like fear. He noticed a group of busts mounted 
on wooden pedestals, painted to resemble marble $ Byron 
stood there, and Goethe and M. de Canalis. Dauriat 
was hoping to publish a volume by the last-named poet, 
who might see, on his entrance into the shop, the 
estimation in which he was held by the trade. Un- 
consciously Lucien's own self-esteem began to shrink, 
and his courage ebbed. He began to see how large a 
part this Dauriat would play in his destinies, and waited 
impatiently for him to appear. 

^ Well, children,' said a voice, and a short, stout man 
appeared, with a puffy face that suggested a Roman pro- 
consul's visage, mellowed by an air of good-nature which 
deceived superficial observers. ' Well, children, here am 
I, the proprietor of the only weekly paper in the market, 
a paper with two thousand subscribers ! ' 

^ Old joker ! The registered number is seven hundred, 
and that is over the mark,' said Blondet. 



138 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

^ Twelve hundred, on my most sacred word of honour, 

— I said two thousand for the benefit of the printers and 

. paper-dealers yonder,' he added, lowering his voice, then 

raising it agam. ^I thought you had more tact, my 

boy,' he added. 

^ Are you going to take any partners ? ' inquired Finot. 

^ That depends,' said Dauriat. ^ Will you take a third 
at forty thousand francs ? ' 

^ It 's a bargain, if you will take Emile Blondet here on 
the staff, and Claud Vignon, Scribe, Theodore Leclercq, 
Felicien Vernou, Jay, Jouy, Lousteau, and ' 

^ And why not Lucien de Rubempre ? ' the provincial 
poet put in boldly. 



-and Nathan,' concluded Finot. 



' Why not the people out there in the street ? ' asked 
Dauriat, scowling at the author of the Marguerites. — 
To whom have I the honour of speaking ? ' he added, 
with an insolent glance. 

^One moment, Dauriat,' said Lousteau. ^I have 
brought this gentleman to you. Listen to me, while 
Finot is thinking over your proposals.' 

Lucien watched this Dauriat, who addressed Finot 
with the ^miliar /», which even Finot did not permit 
himself to use in reply; who called the redoubtable 
Blondet *my boy,' and extended a hand royally to 
Nathan with a friendly nod. The provincial poet 
felt his shirt wet with perspiration when the formid- 
able sultan looked indifferent and ill pleased. 

^ Another piece of business, my boy ! ' exclaimed 
Daiu-iat. ^Why, I have eleven hundred manuscripts 
on hand, as you know ! Yes, gentlemen, I have eleven 
hundred manuscripts submitted to me at this moment ; 
ask Gabusson. I shall soon be obliged to start a depart- 
ment to keep account of the stock of manuscripts, and a 
special office for reading them, and a committee to vote 
on their merits, with numbered counters for those who 
attend, and a permanent secretary to draw up the minutes 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 139 

for me. It will be a kind of local branch of the Acadetnie, 
and the Academiciens will be better paid in the Wooden 
Galleries than at the Institut.' 

^ 'Tis an idea,' said Blondet. 

^ A bad idea,' returned Dauriat. ' It is not my busi- 
ness to take stock of the lucubrations of those among 
you who take to literature because they cannot be 
capitalists, and there is no opening for them as boot- 
makerS) nor corporals, nor domestic servants, nor 
officials, nor bailiffs. Nobody comes here until he has 
made a name for himself ! Make a name for yourself, 
and you will find gold in torrents. I have made three 
great men in the last two years ; and lo and behold three 
examples of ingratitude ! Here is Nathan talking of 
six thousand francs for the second edition of his book, 
which cost me three thousand francs in reviews, and has 
not brought in a thousand yet. I paid a thousand francs 
for Blondet's two articles, besides a dinner, which cost 
me five hundred ' 

* But if all booksellers talked as you do, sir, how could 
a man publish his first book at all?' asked Lucien. 
Blondet had gone down tremendously in his opinion 
since he had heard the amount given by Dauriat for the 
articles in the Debats. 

^ That is not my affair,' said Dauriat, looking daggers 
at this handsome young fellow, who was smiling plea- 
santly at him. ^ I do not publish books for amusement, 
nor risk two thousand francs for the sake of seeing my 
money back again. I speculate in literature, and pub- 
lish forty volumes of ten thousand copies each. Just as 
Panckouke does and the Baudoins. With my influence 
and the articles which I secure, I can push a "business of 
a hundred thousand crowns, instead of a single volume 
involving a couple of thousand francs. It is just as 
much trouble to bring out a new name and to induce the 
public to take up an author and his book, as to make a 
success with the Theatres etrangerSj Victoires et ConqueteSy 



140 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

or Memoir es mr la Revolution^ books that bring in a 
fortune. I am not here as a stepping-stone to future 
fame, but to make money, and to find it for men veith 
distinguished names. The manuscripts for which I 
give a hundred thousand francs pay me better than work 
by an unknown author who asks six hundred. If I am 
not exactly a Maecenas, I deserve the gratitude of litera- 
ture ; I have doubled the prices of manuscripts. I am 
E'ving you this explanation because you are a friend of 
ousteau's, my boy,' added Dauriat, clapping Lucien on 
the shoulder with odious familiarity. ^ If I were to talk 
to all the authors who have a mind that I should be their 
publisher, I should have to shut up shop; I should 
pass my time very agreeably no doubt, but the conver- 
sations would cost too much. I am not rich enough yet 
to listen to all the monologues of self-conceit. Nobody 
does, except in classical tragedies on the stage.' 

The terrible Dauriat's gorgeous raiment seemed in 
the provincial poet's eyes to add force to the man's 
remorseless logic. 

^ What is it about i ' he continued, addressing Lucien's 
protector. 

'It is a volume of magnificent poetry.' 

At that word, Dauriat turned to Gabusson with a 
gesture worthy of Talma. 

'Gabusson, my friend,' he said, 'from this day for- 
ward, when anybody begins to talk of works in manu- 
script here. — Do you hear that, all of you ? ' he broke 
in upon himself; and three assistants at once emerged 
from among the piles of books at the sound of their 
employer's wrathful voice. 'If anybody comes here 
with manuscripts,' he continued, looking at the finger- 
nails of a well-kept hand, ' ask him whether it is poetry or 
prose ; and if he says poetry, show him the door at once. 
Verses mean reverses in the book-trade.' 

' Bravo ! well put, Dauriat,' cried the chorus of jour- 
nalists. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 141 

* It is true ! ' cried the bookseller, striding about his 
shop with Lucien's manuscript in his hand. ^ You have 
no idea, gentlemen, of the amount of harm that Byron, 
Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Casimir Delayigne, Canalis, 
and Beranger have done by their success. The fame of 
them has brought down an invasion of barbarians upon 
us. I know this ; there are a thousand volumes of 
manuscript poetry going the round of the publishers at 
this moment, things that nobody can make head nor 
tail of, stories in verse that begin in the middle, like 
The Corsair and Lara. They set up to be original, for- 
sooth, and indulge in stanzas that nobody can under- 
stand, and descriptive poetry after the pattern of the 
younger men who discovered Delille, and imagine that 
they are doing something new. Poets have been 
swarming like cockchafers for two years past. I have 
lost twenty thousand francs through poetry in the last 
twelvemonth. You ask Gabusson ! Tnerc may be 
immortal poets somewhere in the world ; I know of some 
that are blooming and rosy, and have no beards on their 
chins as yet,' he continued, looking at Lucien ; ' but in 
the trade, young man, there are only four poets — 
Beranger, Casimir Delavigne, Lamartine, and Victor 
Hugo ; as for Canalis — he is a poet made by sheer force 
of writing him up.* 

Lucien felt that he lacked the courage to hold up his 
head and show his spirit before all these influential per- 
sons, who were laughing with all their might. He knew 
very well that he should look hopelessly ridiculous, and 
yet he felt consumed by a fierce desire to catch the 
bookseller by the throat, to ruflle the insolent composure 
of his cravat, to break the gold chain that glittered on the 
man's chest, trample his watch under his feet, and tear him 
in pieces. Mortified vanity opened the door to thoughts 
of vengeance, and inwardly he swore eternal enmity to 
that bookseller. But he smiled amiably. 

* Poetry is like the sun,' said Blondet, giving life alike 



142 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

to primeval forests and to ants and gnats and mosquitos. 
There is no virtue but has a vice to match, and litera- 
ture breeds the publisher.' 

^ And the journalist,' said Lousteau. 

Dauriat burst out laughing. 

^ What is this after all ? ° he asked, holding up the 
manuscript. 

^ A volume of sonnets that will put Petrarch to the 
blush,' said Lousteau. 

* What do you mean ? ' 

'Just what I say,' answered Lousteau, seeing the 
knowing smile that went round the group. Lucien 
could not take offence, but he chafed inwardly. 

' Very well, I will read them,' said Dauriat, with a 
regal gesture that marked the full extent of the con- 
cession. ' If these sonnets of yours are up to the level 
of the nineteenth century, I will make a great poet of 
you, my boy.' 

' If he has brains to equal his good looks, you will run 
no great risks,' remarked one of the greatest public 
speakers of the day, a deputy who was chatting with 
the editor of the Minervey and a writer for the &»- 
stitutionneL 

^ Fame means twelve thousand francs in reviews, and 
a thousand more for dinners. General,' said Dauriat. 
' If M. Benjamin de Constant means to write a paper on 
this young poet, it will not be long before I make a 
bargain with him.' 

At the title of General, and the distinguished name of 
Benjamin Constant, the bookseller's shop took the pro- 
portions of Olympus for the provincial great man. 

' Lousteau, I want a word with you,' said Finot ; ' but 
I shall see you again later, at the theatre. — Dauriat, I 
will take your offer, but on conditions. Let us step 
into your office.' 

'Come in, my boy,' answered Dauriat, allowing Finot 
to pass before him. Then, intimating to some ten 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 143 

persons still waiting for him that he was engaged, he 
likewise was about to disappear when Lucien impatiently 
stopped him. 

^ ifou are keeping my manuscript. When . shall I 
have an answer ? ' 

* Oh, come back in three or four days, my little poet, 
and we will sec.* 

Lousteau hurried Lucien away ; he had not time to 
take leave of Vernou and Blond^t and Raoul Nathan, 
nor to salute General Foy nor Benjamin Constant, 
whose book on the Hundred Days was just about to 
appear. Lucien scarcely caught a glimpse of fair hair, a 
refined oval-shaped &ce, keen eyes, and the pleasant-look- 
ing mouth belonging to the man who had played the part 
of a Potemkin to Mme. de Stael for twenty years, and 
now was at war with the Bourbons, as he had been at 
war with Napoleon. He was destined to win his cause 
and to die stricken to earth by his victory. 

^ What a shop ! ' exclaimed Lucien, as he took his 
place in the cab beside Lousteau. 

^ To the Panorama-Dramatique ; look sharp, and you 
shall have thirty sous,' Etienne Lousteau called to the cab- 
man. — ^ Dauriat is a rascal who sells books to the amount 
of fifteen or sixteen hundred thousand francs every year. 
He is a kind of Minister of Literature,' Lousteau con- 
tinued. His self-conceit had been pleasantly tickled, and 
he was showing off before Lucien. ^ Dauriat is just as 
grasping as Barbet, but it is on a wholesale scale. 
Dauriat can be civil, and he is generous, but he has a 
great opinion of himself j as for his wit, it consists in a 
&culty for picking up all that he hears, and his shop is 
a capital place to frequent. You meet all the best men 
at Dauriat's. A young fellow learns more there in an 
hour than by poring over books for half-a-score of years. 
People talk over articles and concoct subjects ; you make 
the acquaintance of great or influential people who may 
be useAil to you. You must know people if you mean 



( 



144 ^ Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

to get on nowadays. — It is all luck, you see. And 
as for sitting by yourself in a corner alone with your 
intellect, it is the most dangerous thing of all.' 

' But what insolence ! ' said Lucien. 

^ Pshaw ! we all of us laugh at Dauriat,' said Etienne. 
^ If you are in need of him, he tramples upon you ; if he 
has need of the Journal des DebatSy £mile Blondet sets 
him spinning like a top. Oh, if you take to literature, 
you will see a good many queer things. Well, what 
was I telling you, eh ? * 

* Yes, you were right,' said Lucien. ' My experience 
in that shop was even more painful than 1 expected, 
after your programme.' 

' Why do you choose to suffer ? You find your sub- 
ject, you wear out your wits over it with toiling at night, 
you throw your very life into it; and after all your 
journeyings in the fields of thought, the monument 
reared with your life-blood is simply a good or a bad 
speculation for a publisher. Your work will sell or it will 
not sell ; and therein, for them, lies the whole question. 
A book means so much capital to risk, and the better 
the book, the less likely it is to sell. A man of talent 
rises above the level of ordinary heads ; his success varies 
in direct ratio with the time required for his work to 
be appreciated. And no publisher wants to wait. To- 
day's book must be sold by to-morrow. Acting on this 
system, publishers and booksellers do not care to take 
real literature, books that call for the high praise that 
comes slowly.' 

* D'Arthez was right,' exclaimed Lucien. 

* Do you know d' Arthez ? ' asked Lousteau. * I know 
of no more dangerous company than solitary spirits like 
that fellow yonder, who fancy that they can draw the 
world after them. All of us begin by thinking that we 
are capable of great things ; and when once a youthful 
imagination is heated by this superstition, the candidate 
for posthumous honours makes no attempt to move the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 145 

world while such moving of the world is both possible 
and profitable; he lets the time go by. I am for 
Mahomet's system-^if the mountain does not come to 
me, I am for going to the mountain.' 

The commonsense do trenchantly put in this sally left 
Lucien halting between the resignation preached by the 
brotherhood and Lousteau's militant doctrine. He said 
not a word till they reached the Boulevard du Temple. 

The Panorama-Dfamatique no longer exists. A 
dwelling-house stands on the site of the once charming 
theatre in the Boulevard du Temple, where two suc- 
cessive managements collapsed without making a single 
hit J and yet Vignol, who has since fallen heir to some of 
Potier's popularity, rttitde his debut there; and Florine, five 
years later a celebrated actress, made her first appearance 
in the theatre opposite the Rue Chariot. Play-houses, 
like men, have their vids8it?ades. The Panorama-Drama- 
\tique suffered from cJompetition. The machinations 
of its rivals, the AmWgu, the Gait6, the Porte Saint- 
Martin, and the Vaudeville, together with a plethora of 
restrictions and a scarcity of good plays, combined to 
bring about the downfall of the house. No dramatic 
author cared to quarrel with a prosperous theatre for the 
sake of the Panorama- Drscmatique, whose existence was, 
to say the least, problematical^ The management at this 
moment, however, was counting on the success of a new 
melodramatic comedy by M« du Bfuel, a young author 
who, after working ifl collaboration with divers cele- 
brities, had now produced a piece professedly entirely his 
own. It had been specially composed for the leading 
lady, a young actress who began her stage career as a 
supernumerary at the Gaite, and had been promoted to 
small parts for the last twelvemonth. But though Mile. 
Florine's acting had attracted some attention, she obtained 
no engagement, and the Panorama accordingly had carried 
her off. Coralie, another actress, was to make her debki 
at the same time. 



146 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Lucien was amazed at the power wielded by the press. 
*This gentleman is with me/ said Etienne Lousteau, 
and the box-office clerks bowed before him as one man. 

* You will find it no easy matter to get seats,' said the 
head-clerk. ' There is nothing left now but the stage 
box.' 

A certain amount of time was wasted in controversies 
with the box-keepers in the lobbies, when Etienne said, 
^Let us go behind the scenes; we will speak to the 
manager, he will take us into the stage-box; and 
besides, I will introduce you to Florine, the heroine of 
the evening.' 

At a sign from Etienne Lousteau, the doorkeeper of the 
orchestra took out a little key and unlocked a door in the 
thickness of the wall. Lucien, following his friend, went 
suddenly out of the lighted corridor into the black darkness 
of the passage between the house and the wings. A short 
flight of damp steps surmounted, one of the strangest 
of all spectacles opened out before the provincial poet's 
eyes. The height of the roof, the slenderness of the 
props, the ladders hung with Argand lamps, the atrocious 
ugliness of scenery beheld at close quarters, the thick 
paint on the actors' feces, and their outlandish costumes, 
made of such coarse materials, the stage carpenters in 
greasy jackets, the firemen, the stage manager strutting 
about with his hat on his head, the supernumeraries 
sitting among the hanging back-scenes, the ropes and 
pulleys, the heterogeneous collection of absurdities, 
shabby, dirty, hideous, and gaudy, was something so 
altogether different from the stage seen over the foot- 
lights, that Lucien's astonishment knew no bounds. 
The curtain was just about to fall on a good old-fashioned 
melodrama entitled Bertram^ 2l play adapted from a 
tragedy by Maturin which Charles Nodier, together 
with Byron and Sir Walter Scott, held in the highest 
esteem, though the play was a failure on the stage in 
Paris. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 147 

^ Keep a tight hold of my arm, unless you have a mind 
to fall through a trap-door, or bring down a forest on 
your head ; you will pull down a milace, or carry ofF a 
cottage, if you are not careful,' said Etienne. — ^Is Florine 
in her dressing-room, my pet ? ' he added, addressing an 
actress who stood waiting for her cue. 

^ Yes, love. Thank you for the things you said 
about me. You are much nicer since Florine has come 
here.' 

' Come, don't spoil your entry, little one. Quick with 
you, look sharp, and say, '^ Stop, wretched man ! " nicely, 
for there are two thousand francs of takings.' 

Lucien was struck with amazement when the girl's 
whole face suddenly changed, and she shrieked, ^ Stop, 
wretched man! ' a cry that froze the blood in your veins. 
She was no longer the same creature. 

' So this is the stage,' he said to Lousteau. 

^It is like the bookseller's shoo in the Wooden 
Galleries, or a literary paper,' said Etienne Lousteau; 
^ it is a kitchen, neither more nor less.' 

Nathan appeared at this moment. 

' What brings you here ? ' inquired Lousteau. 

^ Why, I am doing the minor theatres for the Gazette 
until something better turns up.' 

^ Oh ! come to supper with us this evening ; speak 
well of Florine, and I will do as much for you.' 

' Very much at your service,' returned Nathan. 

^ You know; she is living in the Rue du Bondy now. 

' Lousteau, dear boy, who is the handsome young man 
that you have brought with you?' asked the actress, 
now returned to the wings. 

^ A great poet, dear, that will have a famous name 
one of these days. — M. Nathan, I must introduce M. 
Lucien de Rubempre to you, as you are to meet again 
at supper.' 

^ You have a good name, monsieur,' said Nathan. 

* Lucien, M. Raoul Nathan,* continued Etienne. 



148 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

^I read yoar book two days ago; and, upon my 
word, I cannot understand how you, who have written 
such a bbok, and such poetry, can be so humble to a 
journalist/ 

< Wait till your first book comes out,' said Nathan, 
and a shrewd smile flitted over his face. 

^ I say ! I say ! here are Ultras and Liberals actually 
shaking hands ! * cried Vernou, spying the trio. 

' In the morning I hold the views of my paper,' said 
Nathan, * in the evening I think as I please; all journalists 
see double at night.' 

Felicien Vernou turned to Lousteau. 

^Finot is looking for you, Etiennc; he came with me, 
and — here he is ! ' 

^ Ah, by the bye, there is not a place in the bouse, is 
there ? ' asked Finot. 

^ You will always find a place in our hearts,' said the 
actress, with the sweetest smile imaginable. 

* I say, my little FlorviUe, are you cured already of 
your fancy ? They told me that a Russian prince had 
carried you off.' 

* Who carries ofF women in these days ? ' said FlorviUe 
(she who had cried, * Stop, wretched man ! '). * We 
stayed at Saint-Mande for ten days, and my prince got 
off with paying the forfeit-money to the management. 
The manager will go down on his knees to pray for 
some more Russian princes,' FlorviUe continued, laughing; 
'the forfeit-money was so much clear gain.' 

* And as for you, child,' said Finot, turning to a pretty 
girl in a peasant's costume, * where did you steal these 
diamond ear-drops ? Have you hooked an Indian 
prince ? ' 

^ No, a blacking manufacturer, an Englishman, who 
has gone off already. It is not everybody who can find 
miUionaire shopkeepers, tired of domestic life, whenever 
they like, as Florine does and Coralie. Aren't they just 
lucky?' 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 149 

^Florvtlle, you will make a bad entry,' said Lousteauj 
' the blacking has gone to your head ! ' 

^If you want a success,' said Nathan, Mnstead of 
screaming, ^^ He is saved ! " like a Fury, walk on quite 
quietly, go to the staircase, and say, ^^ He is saved," in 
a chest voice, like Pasta's ** O patriae* in Tancredi.-^ 
There, go along ! ' and he pushed her towards the stage* 

*It is too late,' said Vernou, * the effect has hung fire.' 

' What did she do i the house is applauding like mad,' 
asked Lousteau. 

^ Went down on her knees and showed her bosom ; 
that ts her great resource,' said the blacking-maker's 
widow, 

' The manager is giving up the stage-box to us ; you 
will find me there when you come,' said Finot, as 
Lousteau walked off with Lucien, 

At the back of the stage, through a labyrinth of 
scenery and corridors, the pair climbed several flights of 
stairs and reached a little room on a third floor, Nathan 
and Fclicien Vernou following them. 

* Good-day or good«-night, gentlemen,' said Florine. 
Then, turning to a short, stout man standing in a corner, 
' These gentlemen are the rulers of my destiny,' she said, 
^ my future is in their hands ; but they will be under our 
table to-morrow morning, I hope, if M. Lousteau has 
forgotten nothing ' 

* Forgotten \ You are going to have Blondet of the 
Debats^* said Etienne, *the genuine Blondet, the very 
Blondet — Blondet himself, in short.' 

' Oh ! Lousteau, you dear boy ! stop, I must give you 
a kiss,' and she flung her arms about the journalist's 
neck. Matifat, the stout person in the corner, looked 
serious at this. 

Florine was thin ; her beauty, like a bud, gave pro- 
mise of the flower to come ; the girl of sixteen could only 
delight the eyes of artists who prefer the sketch to the 
picture. All the quick subtlety of her character was 



150 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

visible in the features of the charming actress, who at 
that time might have sat for Goethe's Mignon. Mati- 
hty a wealthy druggist of the Rue des Lombards, had 
imagined that a little Boulevard actress would have no 
very expensive tastes, but in eleven months Florine had 
cost him sixty thousand francs. Nothings seemed more 
extraordinary to Lucien than the sight of an honest 
and worthy merchant standing like a statue of the god 
Terminus in the actress's narrow dressing-room, a tiny 
place some ten feet square, hung with a pretty wallpaper, 
and adorned with a full-length mirror, a sofa, and two 
chairs. There was a fireplace in the dressing-closet, a 
carpet on the floor, and cupboards all round the room. 
A dresser was putting the finishing touches to a 
Spanish costume ; for Florine was to take the part of a 
countess in an imbroglio. 

^That girl will be the handsomest actress in Paris 
in five years' time,' said Nathan, turning to Felicien 
Vernou. 

' By the bye, darlings, you will take care of me to- 
morrow, won't you ? ' said Florine, turning to the three 
journalists. ' I have engaged cabs for to-night, for I am 
ffoing to send you home as tipsy as Shrove Tuesday. 
Matifat has sent in wines — oh ! wines worthy of Louis 
XVIII., and engaged the Prussian ambassador's cook.' 

^ We expect something enormous from the look of the 
gentleman,' remarked Nathan. 

^ And he is quite aware that he is treating the most 
dangerous men in Paris,' added Florine. 

Matifat was looking uneasily at Lucien; he felt 
jealous of the young man's good looks. 

^ But here is some one that I do not know,' Florine 
continued, confronting Lucien. * Which of you has 
imported the Apollo Belvedere from Florence ? He is 
as charming as one of Girodet's figures.' 

^ He is a poet, mademoiselle, from the provinces. I 
forgot to present him to you ; you are so beautiful to- 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 151 

night that you put the Complete Guide to Etiquette out of 

a man's head ' 

^ Is he so rich that he can afford to write poetry ? ' asked 
Florine. 

* Poor as Job,' said Lucien. 

* It is a great temptation for some of us,' said the actress. 
Just then the author of the play suddenly entered, and 

Lucien beheld M. du Bruel, a short, attenuated young 
man in an overcoat, a composite human blend of the 
jack-in-office, the owner of house-property, and the 
stockbroker. 

* Florine, child,' said this personage, * are you sure of 
your part, eh i No slips of memory, you know. And 
mind that scene in the second act, make the irony tell, 
bring out that subtle touch ; say, ^^ I do not love you," 
just as we agreed.' 

* Why do you take parts in which you have to say 
such things ? asked Matifat. 

The druggist's remark was received with a general 
shout of laughter. 

* What does it matter to you,' said Florine, * so long 
as I don't say such things to you, great stupid ? — Oh ! 
his stupidity is the pleasure of my life,' she continued, 
glancing at the journalists. ' Upon my word, I would 
pay him so much for every blunder, if it would not be 
the ruin of me.' 

* Yes, but you will look at me when you say it, as you 
do when you are rehearsing, and it gives me a turn,' 
remonstrated the druggist. 

' Very well, then, I will look at my friend Lousteau 
here.' 

A bell rang outside in the passage. 

' Go out, all of you ! ' cried Florine ; * let me read my 
part over again and try to understand it.' 

Lucien and Lousteau were the last to go. Lousteau 
set a kiss on Florine's shoulder, and Lucien heard her 
say, ^Not to-night. Impossible. That stupid old 



151 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

animal told his wife that he was going out into the 
country.' 

^ Isn't she charming ? ' said "Ethcnrv^ aa tbejr came 
away. 

* But — but that Matifet, my dear fellow * 

^ Ob ! you know nothing of Pari»an life, my boy. 
Some things cannot be helped* Suppose that you fell in 
love with a married woman, it comes to the same thing. 
It all depends on the way that you look at it.' 

Etienne and Lucien entered the stage-box, and found 
the manager there with Finot. Matifat was in the 
ground-floor box exactly opposite with a friend of his,- 
a silk-mercer named Camusot (Coralie's protector), and 
a worthy little old soul, his father-in-law. All three of 
these city men were polishiAg their opera-glasses, and 
anxiously scanning the house ; certain symptoms in the 
pit appeared to disturb them. The ususu heterogeneous 
first-night elements filled the boxes — journalists and their 
mistresses, lorettes and their lovers, a sprinkling of the 
determined plavgoers who never miss a first night if 
they can help it, and a very few people of fashion who 
care for this sort of sensation. The first box was 
occupied by the head of a department, to whom du 
Bruel, maker of vaudevilles, owed a snug little sinecure 
in the Treasury. 

Lucien had gone from surprise to surprise since the 
dinner at Flicoteaux's. For two months Literature had 
meant a life of poverty and want ; in Lousteau's room 
he had seen it at its cynical worst; in the Wooden 
Galleries he had met Literature abject and Literature 
insolent. The sharp contrasts of heights and depths \ of 
compromise with conscience; of supreme power and 
want of principle ; of treachery and pleasure > of mental 
elevation and bondage — all this made his head swim, he 
seemed to be watching some strange unheard-of drama. 

Finot was talking with the manager. ^ Do you think 
du Bruel's piece will pay ? ' he asked. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 153 

* Du Bruel has tried to do something in Beaumarchais's 
style. Boulevard audieaces don't care for that kind of 
thing i they like harrowing sensations ; wit is not much 
appreciated here. Everything depends on Florine and 
Coralie to-night ^ they are bewitchingly pretty and 
graceful, wear very short skirts, and dance a Spanish 
dance, and possibly they may carry off the piooe with 
the public. The whole affair is a gambling speculation. 
A few clever notices in the papers, and I may make a 
hundred thousand crowns, if the play takes.' 

^ Oh ! come, it will only be a moderate success, I can 
see^* said Finot. 

* Three of the theatres have got up a plot,' continued 
the managers $ ^ they will even hiss the piece, but I have 
made arrangements to defeat their kind intentions. I 
have squared the men in their pay j they will make a 
muddle of it. A couple of city men yonder have taken 
a hundred tickets apiece to secure a triumph for Florine 
and Coralie, and given them to acquaintances aUe and 
ready to act as chuckers out. The fellows, having been 
paid twice, will go quietly, and a scene of that sort 
always makes a good impression on the house.^ 

^ Two hundred tickets ! What invaluable men ! ' 
exclaimed Finot. 

^ Yes. With two more actresses as handsomely kept 
as Florine and Coralie, J should make something out of 
the business.' 

For the past two hours the word monqy had been 
sounding in Lucien's ears as the solution of every 
difficulty. In the theatre as in the publishing trade, 
and in the publishing trade as in the newspaper-office 
— it was everywhere the same ; there was not a word of 
art or of glory. The steady beat of the great pendulum, 
Money, seemed to fall like hammer-strokes on his heart 
and brain. And yet while the orchestra played the 
overture, while the pit was fiill of noisy tumult of 
applause and hisses, unconsciously he drew a comparison 



154 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

between this scene and others that came up in his mind. 
Visions arose before him of David and the printing-office, 
of the poetry that he came to know in that atmosphere 
of pure peace, when together they beheld the wonders of 
Art, the high successes of genius, and visions of glory 
borne on stainless wings. He thought of the evenings 
spent with d'Arthez and his friends, and tears glittered 
in his eyes. 

^What is the matter with you?' asked ^tienne 
Lousteau. 

* I see poetry fallen into the mire.' 

^ Ah ! you have still some illusions left, my dear 
fellow.' 

^ Is there nothing for it but to cringe and submit to 
thick-heads like Matifat and Camusot, as actresses bow 
down to journalists, and we ourselves to the booksellers ? ' 

* My boy, do you see that dull-brained fellow ? ' said 
Etienne, lowering his voice, and glancing at Finot. ^ He 
has neither genius nor cleverness, but he is covetous ; he 
means to make a fortune at all costs, and he is a keen 
man of business. Didn't you see how he made forty per 
cent, out of me at Dauriat's, and talked as if he were 
doing me a fevour ? — Well, he gets letters from not a 
few unknown men of genius who go down on their 
knees to him for a hundred francs.' 

The words recalled the pen-and-ink sketch that lay 
on the table in the editor's office and the words, * Finot, 
my hundred francs ! ' Lucien's inmost soul shrank from 
the man in disgust. 

* I would sooner die,* he said. 

* Sooner live,' retorted Etienne. 

The curtain rose, and the stage-manager ;went ofF to 
the wings to give orders. Finot turned to Etienne. 

^ My dear fellow, Dauriat has passed his word ; I am 
proprietor of one-third of his weekly paper. I have 
agreed to give thirty thousand francs in cash, on con- 
dition that I am to be editor and director. 'Tis a 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 155 

splendid thing. Blondet told me that the Government 
intends to take restrictive measures against the press; 
there will be no new papers allowed ; in six months' 
time it will cost a million francs to start a new journal, 
so I struck the bargain though I have only ten thousand 
francs in hand. Listen to me. If you can sell one-half 
of my share, that is one-sixth of the paper, to Matifat 
for thirty thousand francs, you shall be editor of my 
little paper with a salary of two himdred and fifty francs 
per month. I want in any case to have the control of my 
old paper, and to keep my hold upon it ; but nobody need 
know that, and your name will appear as editor. You 
will be paid at the rate of five francs per column ; you 
. need not pay contributors more than three francs, and 
you keep the difference. That means another four 
hundred and fifty francs per month. But, at the same 
time, I reserve the right to use the paper to attack or 
defend men or causes, as I please ; and you may indulge 
your own likes and dislikes so long as you do not inter- 
fere with my schemes. Perhaps I may be a Ministerialist, 
perhaps Ultra, I do not know yet ; but I mean to keep 
up my connection with the Liberal party (below the 
surface). I can speak out with you; you are a good 
fellow. I might, perhaps, give you the Chambers to do 
for another paper on which I work ; I am afraid I can 
scarcely keep on with it now. So let Florine do this 
bit of jockeying; tell her to put the screw on her 
druggist. If I can't find the money within forty-eight 
hours, I must cry off my bargain. Dauriat sold another 
third to his printer and paper-dealer for thirty thousand 
francs ; so he has his own third gratis^ and ten thousand 
francs to the good, for he only gave fifty thousand for 
the whole affair. And in another year's time the magazine 
will be worth two hundred thousand francs, if the Court 
buys it up ; if the Court has the good sense to suppress 
newpapers, as they say.' 

^ You are lucky,' said Lousteau. 



1^6 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

^If you had gone tbrougk all that I have endured, 
ytm would not say that of me. I bad my fill of misery 
in those days, you see, and there was no help for it. My 
father is a hatter ; he still keeps a shop in the Rue du 
Coq. Nothing but millions of money or a social cata- 
clysm can open out the way to my goal; and of the 
two alternatives, I don't know now that the revolution 
is not the easier. If I bore your friend's name, I should 
have a chance to get on. Hush, here eomes the manager. 
Good-bye,' and Finot rose to his feet, * I am going to 
the Opera. I shall very likely have a duel on my hands 
to-morrow, for I have put my initials to a terrific attack 
on a couple of dancers under the protection of two 
Generals. I am giving it them hot and strong at the 
Opera.' 

^ Aha ? ' said the manager. 

* Yes. They are stingy with me,* returned Finot, 
^ now cutting ofF a box, aiKl now decUmng to take fifty 
subscriptions. I have sent in my ukimatum ; I mean to 
have a hundred subscriptions out of them and a box four 
times a month. If they take my terms, I shall have eight 
hundred readers and a thousand paying subscribers ; and 
I know a way of getting another two hundred sub- 
scribers, so we shall have twelve hundred with the 
New Year.' 

^ You will end by ruining us,' said the manager. 
' Tou are not much hurt with your ten subscriptions. 
I had two good notices put into the ComstitutionmL* 

* Oh ! I am not complaining of you,' cried the 
manager. 

* Good-bye till to-morrow evening, Lousteau,' said 
Finot. * You can give me your answer at the Fran^ais ; 
there is a new piece on there ; and as I shall not be able 
to write the notice, you can take my box. I will give 
you the preference 5 you have worked yourself to death 
for me, and I am grateful. Felicien Vernou offered 
twenty thousand francs for a third share of my little 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 157 

paper, and to work without salary for a twelvemonth ; 
but I want to be absolute master. Good-bye' 

'He IS not named Finot' {finaud^ slyboots) *for 
nothing/ said Lucien. 

* He is a gallows-bird that will get on in the world,* 
said Etienne, careless whether the wily schemer over- 
heard the remark or no, as he shut the door of the box. 

^ He!'* said the manager. ' He will be a millionaire ; 
he will enjoy the respect of all who know him ; he may 
perhaps have friends some day ' 

' Good heavens I what a den ! ' said Lucien. * And 
are you going to drag that exquisite creature into such 
a business ? ' he continued, looking at Fk>rine, who gave 
them side glances from the stage. 

'She will carry it through too. You do not know 
the devotion and the wiles of these beloved beings,' said 
Lousteau. 

' They redeem their failings and expiate all their sins 
by boundless love, when they love,' said the manager. 
^ A great love is all the grander in an lectress by reason 
of its violent contrast widi her surroundings.' 

' And he who finds it, finds a diamond worthy of the 
proudest crown lying in the mud,' returned Lousteau. 

' But Coralie is not attending to her part,' remarked 
the manager. 'Coraiie is sfhitten with onr friend here, 
all unsuspicious of his conquest, and Coralie will make 
a fiasco \ she is missing her cues, this is the second 
time she has not heard the prompter. Pray go into the 
corner, monsieur,' he continued. * If Coralie is smitten 
with you, I will go and tell her that you have left the 
house.' 

' No ! no ! ' cried Lousteau ; * tdl Coralie that this 
gentleman is coming to supper, and that she can do as 
she likes with him, and she wiU play like Mile. Mars.' 

The manager went, and Lucien turned to ]£tienne. 
'What! do you mean to say that f6u wSl ask that 
druggist, through Mile. Florine, to pay thirty thousand 



( 



158 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

francs for one-half a share, when Finot gave no more 
for the whole of it ? And ask without the slightest 
scruple ? ' 

Lousteau interrupted Lucien before he had time to 
finish his expostulation. ' My dear boy, what country 
can you come from ? The druggist is not a man ; he 
is a strong box delivered into our hands by his &ncy for 
an actress.' 

' How about your conscience ? ' 

' Conscience, my dear fellow, is a stick which every 
one takes up to beat his neighbour and not for applica- 
tion to his own back. Come, now ! who the devil are 
you angry with? In one day chance has worked a 
miracle for you, a miracle for which I have been waiting 
these two years, and you must needs amuse yourself by 
finding fault with the means ? What ! you appear to 
me to possess intelligence ; you seem to be in a fair way 
to reach that freedom from prejudice which is a first 
necessity to intellectual adventurers in the world we live 
in ; and are you wallowing in scruples worthy of a nun 
who accuses herself of eating an egg with concupis- 
cence ? ... If Florine succeeds, I shall be editor of a 
newspaper with a fixed salary of two hundred and fifty 
francs per month ; I shall take the important plavs and 
leave the vaudevilles to Vernou, and you can taice my 
place and do the Boulevard theatres, and so get a foot in 
the stirrup. You will make three francs per column 
and write a column a day — thirty columns a month 
means ninety francs ; you will have some sixty francs' 
worth of books to sell to Barbet ; and lastly, you can 
demand ten tickets a month of each of your theatres — 
that is, forty tickets in all — and sell them for forty francs 
to a Barbet who deals in them (I will introduce you to 
the man), so you will have two hundred francs coming 
in every month. Then if you make yourself useful to 
Finot, you might get a hundred francs for an article in 
this new weekly review of his, in which case you should 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 159 

show uncommon talent, for all the articles are signed, 
and you cannot put in slipshod work as you can on a 
small paper. In that case you would be making a 
hundred crowns a month. Now, my dear boy, there are 
men of ability, like that poor d'Arthez, who dines at 
Flicoteaux's every day, who may wait for ten years 
before they will make a hundred crowns ; and you will 
be making four thousand francs a year by your pen, to 
say nothing of the books you will write for the trade, if 
you do work of that kind. 

* Now, a sub-prefect's salary only amounts to a thou- 
sand crowns, and there he stops in his arrondissement, 
wearing away time like the rung of a chair. I say 
nothing of the pleasure of going to the theatre without 
paving for your seat, for that is a delight which quickly 
palls ; but you can go behind the scenes in four theatres. 
Be hard and sarcastic for a month or two, and you will 
be simply overwhelmed with invitations from actresses, 
and their adorers will pay court to you ; you will only 
dine at Flicoteaux's when you happen to have less than 
thirty sous in your pocket and no dinner engagement. 
At tne Luxembourg, at five o'clock, you did not know 
which way to turn ; now, you are on the eve of enter- 
ing a privileged class, you will be one of the hundred 
persons who tell France what to think. In three 
days' time, if all goes well, you can, if you choose, make 
a man's life a curse to him by putting thirty jokes at his 
expense in print at the rate of three a day ; you can, if 
you choose, draw a revenue of pleasure from the actresses 
at your theatres ; you can wreck a good play and send 
all Paris running after a bad one. If Dauriat declines to 
pay you for your Marguerites^ you can make him come 
to you, and meekly and humbly implore you to take two 
thousand francs for them. If you have the ability, and 
knock off two or three articles that threaten to spoil some 
of Dauriat's speculations, or to ruin a book on which he 
counts, you will see him come climbing up your stairs 



( 



i6o A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

like a clematis, and always at the door of your dwelling. 
As for your novel, the booksellers who would show you 
more or less politely to the door at this moment, will be 
standing outside your attic in a string, afid the value of 
the manuscript, which old Doguereau valued at four 
hundred francs, will rise to four thousand. These are 
the advantages of the journalist's profession. So let us 
do our best to keep all newcomers out of it. It needs 
an immense amount of brains to make your way, and a 
still greater amount of luck. Arid here are you quibbling 
over your good fortune ! If we had not met to-day, 
you see, at Flicoteaux's, you might have danced attend- 
ance on the booksellers for another three years, or 
starved like d'Arthez in a garret. By the time that 
d'Arthez is as learned as Bayle and as great a writer of 
prose as Rousseau, we shall have made our fortunes, you 
and I, and we shall hold his in our hands — ^wealth and 
fame to give or to hold. Finot will be a deputy and 
proprietor of a great newspaper, and we shall be whatever 
we meant to be — peers of France, or prisoner for debt 
in Sainte-Pelagie.* 

'So Finot will sell his paper to the highest bidder 
among the Ministers, just as he sells favourable notices 
to Mme. Bastienne and runs down Mile. Virginie, saying 
that Mme. Bastienne's bonnets are superior to the 
millinery which they praised at first ! * said Lucien, 
recollecting that scene in the office. 

' My dear fellow, you are a simpleton,' Lousteau 
remarked drily. * Three years ago Finot was walking 
on the uppers of his boots, dining for eighteen sous at 
Tabar's, and knocking off a tradesman's prospectus 
(when he could get it) for ten francs. His clothes hung 
together by some miracle as mysterious as the Immacu- 
late Conception. Noiv^ Finot has a paper of his own, 
worth about a hundred thousand francs. What with 
subscribers who pay and take no copies, genuine sub- 
scriptions, and indirect taxes levied by his uncle, he is 



h) 



A Distinguished Provkciad at Fku-is x6i 

making twenty thousand &an6d li year* He dines most 
sumptuously every day ; he has set up a cabriolet within 
the last month ; and now, at last, behold him the editor 
of a weekly review with a sixth share, for which he will 
not pay one penny, a salary of five hundred francs per 
month, and another thousand francs for supplying matter 
which costs him nothing, and for which the firm pays. 
You Yourself) to begin with^ if Finot consents to pay 
ou nfty francs per sheet, will be only too gkd to let 
im have two or three articles for nothing. When you 
are in his position, you can judge Finot ; a man can 
only be tried by his peers. And for you, is there not an 
immense future opening out before you, if you will 
blindly minister to his enmity, attack at Finot's bidding, 
and praise when he gives the word ? Suppose that you 
yourself wish to be revenged upon somebody, you can 
break a foe or friend on the wheel. You have only to 
say to me, ^^ Lousteau^ let us put an end to So-and-so/' 
and we will kill him by a phrase put in the paper morn- 
ing by morning ; and afterwards you can slay the slain 
with a solemn article in Finot's weekly. Indeed, if it is 
a matter of capital importance to you, Finot would 
allow you to bludgeon your man in a big paper with ten 
or twelve thousand subscribers, if you make yourself 
indispensable to Fim>t«' 

^Then are you sure that Florin^ can bring her 
druggist to make the bargain i ' asked Lucien, daezkd 
by these prospects. 

' Quite sure.' Now comes the interval, I will go and 
tell her everything at once in a word or two ', it will be 
settled to-night. If Florine once has her lelson by 
heart, she will have all my wit aild her own besides.' 

^ And there sits that honest tradesman, gaping with 
open-mouthed admiration at Florine, little suspecting 
that you are about to get thirty thousand fnatcs out of 
him [ • 

^ More twaddle ! Anybody might think that the man 



1 62 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

was going to be robbed ! ' cried Lousteau. ^ Why, my 
dear boy, if the minister buys the newspaper, the 
druggist may make twenty thousand francs in six 
months on an investment of thirty thousand. Matifat 
is not looking at the newspaper, but at Florine's prospects. 
As soon as it is known that Alatifat and Camusot— (for 
they will go shares) — that Matifat and Camusot are 
proprietors of a review, the newspapers will be fiill of 
friendly notices of Florine and Coralie. Florine's name 
will be made ; she will perhaps obtain an engagement in 
another theatre with a salary of twelve thousand francs. 
In fact, Matifat will save a thousand francs every month 
in dinners and presents to journalists. You know 
nothing of men, nor of the way things are managed.' 

^ Poor man ! ' said Lucien, *■ he is looking forward to 
an evening's pleasure.' 

'And he will be sawn in two with arguments until 
Florine sees Finot's receipt for a sixth share of the 
paper. And to-morrow I shall be editor of Finot's 
paper, and making a thousand francs a month. The 
end of my troubles is in sight ! ' cried Florine's 
lover. 

Lousteau went out, and Lucien sat like one be- 
wildered, lost in the infinite of thought, sparing above 
this everyday world. In the Wooden Galleries he had 
seen the wires by which the trade in books is moved ; he 
had seen something of the kitchen where great reputa- 
tions are made ; he had been behind the scenes j he had 
seen the seamy side of life, the consciences of men 
involved in the machinery of Paris, the mechanism of it 
all. As he watched Florine on the stage he almost 
envied Lousteau his good fortime ; already, for a few 
moments, he had forgotten Matifat in the background. 
He was not left alone for long, perhaps for not more 
than five minutes, but those minutes seemed an 
eternity. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 163 

Thoughts rose within him that set his soul on fire, as 
the spectacle on the stage had heated his senses. He 
looked at the women with their wanton eyes, all the 
brighter for the red paint on their cheeks, at the gleam- 
ing bare necks, the luxuriant forms outlined by the las- 
civious folds of the basquina, the very short skirts, that 
displayed as much as possible of limbs encased in scarlet 
stockings with green clocks to them — a, disquieting 
vision for the pit. 

A double process of corruption was working within 
him in parallel lines, like two channels that will spread 
sooner or later in flood time and make one. That 
corruption was eating into Lucien's soul, as he leaned 
back in his corner, staring vacantly at the curtain, one 
arm resting on the crimson velvet cushion, and his hand 
drooping over the edge. He felc the fascination of the 
life that was offered to him, of the gleams of light among 
its clouds ; and this so much the more keenly because 
it shone out like a blaze of fireworks against the blank 
darkness of his own obscure, monotonous days of toil. 

Suddenly his listless eyes became aware of a biu-ning 
glance that reached him through a rent in the curtain, 
and roused him from his lethargy. Those were Coralie's 
eyes that glowed upon him. He lowered his bead and 
looked across at Camusot, who just then entered the 
opposite box. 

That amateur was a worthy silk-mercer of the Rue 
des Bourdonnais, stout and substantial, a judge in the 
commercial court, a father of four children, and the 
husband of a second wife. At the age of fifty-six, with 
a cap of grey hair on his head, he had the smug appear- 
ance of a man who has his eighty thousand francs 
of income ; and having been forced to put up with a 
good deal that he did not like in the way of business, 
has fully made up his mind to enjoy the rest of life, and 
not to quit this earth until he has had his share of cakes 
and ale. A brow the colour of fresh butter and florid 



164 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

cheeks like a monk's jowl seemed scarcely biff enough to 
contain his exuberant jubilation. Camusot had left his 
wife at home, and they were applauding Coralie to the 
skies ! All the rich man's citizen*vanity was summed 
up and gratified in Coralie ; in Coralie's lodging he gave 
himself the airs of a great lord of a bygone day ; now, 
at this moment, he felt that half of her success was his ; 
the knowledge that he had paid for it confirmed him 
in this idea. Camusot's conduct was sanctioned by 
the presence of his father-in4aw, a little old fogey 
with powdered hair and leering eyes, highly respected 
nevertheless. 

Again Lucien felt disgust rising within him. He 
thought of the year when he loved Mme. de Bargeton 
with an exalted and disinterested love; and at that 
thought love, as a poet understands it, spread its white 
wings about him ; countless memories drew a circle of 
distant blue horizon about the great man of Angouleme, 
and again he fell to dreaming. 

Up went the curtain, and there stood CSoralie and 
Florine upon the stage. 

^ He is thinking about as much of you as of the 
Grand Turk, my dear girl,' Florine said tn an aside 
while Coralie was finishing her speech. 

Lucien could not help laughing. He looked at 
Coralie. She was one of the most charming and capti- 
vating actresses in Paris, rivalling Mme. Perrin and 
Mile. Fleuriet, and destined likewise to share their 
fate. Coralie was a woman of a type that exerts at 
will a power of fascination over men. With an oval 
face of deep ivory tint, a mouth red as a pomegranate, 
and a chin subtly delicate in its contour as the edge 
of a porcelain cup, Coralie was a Jewess of the sub- 
lime type. The jet black eyes behind their curving 
lashes seemed to scorch her eyelids; you could guess 
how soft they might grow, or how sparks of the heat 
of the desert might flash from them in response to 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 165 

a summons from within. The circles of olive shadow 
about them were bounded by thick arching lines of eye- 
brow. Magnificent mental power, well nigh amounting 
to genius, seemed to dwell in the swarthv forehead 
beneath the double curve of ebony hair that lay upon it 
like a crown, and gleamed in the light like a varnished 
surface ; but like many another actress, Coralie had little 
wit in spite of her aptness at greenroom repartee, and 
scarcely any education in spite of her boudoir experience* 
Her brain was prompted by her senses, her kindness was 
the impulsive warm-heartedness of girls of her class. 
But who could trouble over Coralie's psychology when 
his eyes were dazzled by those smooth, round arms of 
hers, the spindle-shaped fingers, the fair white shoulders, 
and breast celebrated in the Song of Songs, the flexible 
curving lines of throat, the graciously moulded outlines 
beneath the scarlet silk stockings? And this beauty, 
worthy of an Eastern poet, was brought into relief by 
the conventional Spanidi costume of the stage. Coralie 
was the delight of the pit ; all eyes dwelt on the outlines 
moulded by the clinging folds of her bodice, and lingered 
over the Andalusian contour of the hips from which her 
skirt hung, fluttering wantonly with everv movement. 
To Lucien, watching this creature, who played for him 
alone, caring no more for Camusot than a street-boy in 
the gallery cares for an apple-paring, there came a 
moment when he set desire above love, and enjoyment 
above desire, and the demon of Lust stirred strange 
thoughts in him. 

^I know nothing of the love that wallows in luxury 
and wine and sensual pleasure,' he said within himself. 
'I have lived more with ideas than with realities. 
You must pass through all experience if you mean to C-^' 
render all experience. This will be my first great 
supper, my first orgie in a new and strange world ; why 
should I not know, for once, the delights which the 
great lords of the eighteenth century sought so eagerly 



1 66 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

of wantons of the Opera ? Must one not first learn of 
courtesans and actresses the delights, the perfections, the 
transports, the resources, the subtleties of love, if only 
to translate them afterwards into the regions of a higher 
love than this ? And what is all this, after all, but the 
poetry of the senses ? Two months ago these women 
seemed to me to be goddesses guarded by dragons that 
no one dared approach ; I was envying Lousteau just 
now, but here is another handsomer than Florine ; why 
should I not profit by her fancy, when the greatest nobles 
buy a night with such women with their richest trea- 
sures ? When ambassadors set foot in these depths, they 
fling aside all thought of yesterday or to-morrow. I 
should be a fool to be more squeamish than princes, especi- 
ally as I love no one as yet.' 

Lucieh had quite forgotten Camusot. To Lousteau 
he had expressed the utmost disgust for this most hate- 
ful of all partitions, and now he himself had sunk to the 
same level, and, carried away by the casuistry of his 
vehement desire, had given the reins to his fancy. 

^ Coralie is raving about you,'* said Lousteau as he 
came in. *Your countenance, worthy of the greatest 
Greek sculptors, has worked unutterable havoc behind 
the scenes. You are in luck, my dear boy. Coralie is 
eighteen years old, and in a few days' time she may be 
making sixty thousand francs a year by her beauty. She 
is an honest girl still. Since her mother sold her three 
years ago for sixty thousand francs, she has tried to find 
happiness, and found nothing but annoyance. She took 
to the stage in a desperate mood ; she has a horror of her 
first purchaser, de Marsay ; and when she came out of 
the galleys, for the king of dandies soon dropped her, 
she picked up old Camusot. She does not care much 
about him, but he is like a father to her, and she endures 
him and his love. Several times already she has refused 
the handsomest proposals ; she is faithful to Camusot, who 
lets her live in peace. So you are her first love. The 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 167 

first sight of you went to her heart like a pistol-shot, 
Florine has gone to her dressing-room to bring the girl 
to reason, ohe is crying over your cruelty ; she has for- 
gotten her part, the play will go to pieces, and good-day 
to the engagement at the Gymnase which Camusot had 
planned for her.' 

* Pooh ! . . . Poor thing ! ' said Lucien. Every 
instinct of vanity was tickled by the words ; he felt his 
heart swell high with self-conceit. * More adventures 
have befallen me in this one evening, my dear fellow, 
than in all the first eighteen years of my life.' And 
Lucien related the history of his love affairs with Mme. 
de Bargeton, and of the cordial hatred he bore the Baron 
du Chsltelet. 

' Stay though ! the newspaper wants a bite noire ; we 
will take him up. The Baron is a buck of the Empire 
and a Ministerialist ; he is the man for us ; I have seen 
him many a time at the Openu I can see your great 
lady as I sit here ; she is often in the Marquise d'Espard's 
box. The Baron is paying court to your lady love, a 
cuttlefish bone that she is. Wait ! Finot has just sent 
a special messenger round to say that they are short of copy 
at the office. Young Hector Merlin has left them in the 
lurch because they did not pay for white lines. Finot, in 
despair, is knocking off an article against the Opera. 
Well now, my dear fellow, you can do this play ; listen 
to it and think it over, and I will go to the manager's 
office and think out three columns about your man and 
your disdainful fair one. They will be in no pleasant 
predicament to-morrow.' 

^So this is how a newspaper is written?' said 
Lucien. 

' It is always like this,' answered Lousteau. ^ These 
ten months that I have been a journalist, they have 
always run short of copy at eight o'clock in the 
evening.' 

Manuscript sent to the printer is spoken of as ^ copy/ 



1 68 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

doubtless because the writers are supposed to send in a 
lair copy of their work ; or possibly the word i^ ironically 
derived from the Latin word copiay for copy is invariably 
scarce. 

^ We always mean to have a few numbers ready in 
advance, a grand idea that will never be realised,' con- 
tinued Lousteau. ^ It is ten o'clock, you see, and not a 
Une has been written. I shall ask Vemou and Nathan 
for a score of epigrams on deputies, or on ^' Chancellor 
Cruzoe," or on the Ministry, or on friends of ours if it 
needs must be. A man in this pass would slaughter his 
parent, just as a privateer will load his guns with silver 
pieces taken out of the booty sooner than perish. Write 
a brilliant article, and you will make brilliant progress 
in Finot's estimation % for Finot has a lively sense of 
benefits to come, and that sort of gratitude is better than 
any kind of pledge, pawntickets always excepted, for 
they invariably represenc something solid.' 

^ What kind of men can journalists be ? Are. you to 
sit down at a table and be witty to order ? ' 

^Just «cactly as a lamp begins to burn when you 
apply a match — so long as there is any oil in it.' 

Lousteau's hand was on the lock when du Bruel came 
in with the manager. 

' Permit me, monsieur, to take a message to Coralie ; 
allow me to tell her that vou will go home with her 
after supper, or my play will be ruined. The wretched 
girl does not know what she is doing or saying ; she 
will cry when she ought to laugh, and laugh when she 
ought to cry. She has been hissed once already. You 
can still save the piece, and, after all, pleasure is not a 
misfortune.' 

^ I am not accustomed to rivals, sir,' Lucien answered. 

' Pray don't tell her that ! ' cried the manager. 
^ Coralie is just the giri to fling Camusot overboard and 
ruin herself in good earnest. The proprietor of the 
G^Uim dcom^ worthy man, allows her two thousand 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 169 

francs a months and pays for all her dresses and h^f 
claqueurs^ ^ 

^ As your promise pledges me to nothing, save your 
play/ said Lucien, with a sultan's airs. 

* But don't look as if you meant to snub that eharming 
creature,' pleaded du BrueL 

^ Dear me ! am I to write the notice of your play and 
smile on your heroine as well ? ' exclaimed the poet. 

The author vanished with a signal to Coralie, who 
began to act forthwith in a marvellous way. Vignol, 
who played the part of the alcalde, and revealed for the 
first time his genius as an actor of old men, came 
forward amid a storm of applause to make an announce- 
ment to the house. 

< The piece which we have the honour of pbg^iiig for 
you this evening, gentlemen, is the work of MM. 
Raoul and de Cursy.' 

< Why, Nathan is partly responsible,' said Lousteau* 
^ I don't wonder that he looked in.' 

^Coralie! Coralie!^ shouted the enraptured house* 
^Floride, tool' roared a voice of thunder from the 
opposite box, and other voices took up the cry, ^Florine 
and Coralie ! ' 

The curtain rose, Vignol reappeared between the two 
actresses ; Matifat and Camusot flung wreaths on the 
stage, and Coralie stooped for her flowers and held them 
out to Lucien« 

For him those two hours spent in the theatre seemed 
to be a dream. The spell that held him had begun to 
work when he went behind the scenes ; and, in spite of 
its horrors, the atmosphere of the place, its sensualitv 
and dissolute morals had aflected the poet's still 
untainted nature. A sort of malaria that infects the 
soul seems to lurk among those dark, filthy passages 
filled with machinery, and lit with smoky, greasy lamps. 
The solemnity and reality of life disappear, the most 
sacred things are matter for a jest, the most impossible 



( 



170 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

things seem to be true. Lucien felt as if he had taken 
some narcotic, and Coralie had completed > the work. 
He plunged into this joyous intoxication. 

The lights in the great chandelier were extinguished ; 
there was no one left in the house except the boxkeepers, 
busy taking away footstools and shutting doors, the 
noises echoing strangely through the empty theatre. 
The footlights, blown out as one candle, sent up a 
fetid reek of smoke. The curtain rose again, a lantern 
was lowered from the ceiling, and firemen and stage 
carpenters departed on their rounds. The fairy scenes 
of the stage, the rows of fair faces in the boxes, the 
dazzling lights, the magical illusion of new scenery and 
costume had all disappeared, and di»nal darkness, 
emptiness^ and cold reigned in their stead. It was 
hideous. Lucien sat on in bewilderment. 

* Well ! are you coming, my boy ? * Lousteau's voice 
called from the stage. ^ Jump down.' 

Lucien sprang over. He scarcely recognised Florine 
and Coralie in their ordinary quilted paletots and cloaks, 
with their faces hidden by hats and thick black veils. 
Two butterflies returned to the chrysalis stage could not 
be more completely transformed. 

* Will you honour me by giving me your arm ? * 
Coralie asked tremulously. 

<With pleasure,' said Lucien. He could feel the 
beating of her heart throbbing against his like some 
snared bird as she nestled closely to his side, with some- 
thing of the delight of a cat that rubs herself against her 
master with eager silken caresses. 

* So we are supping together ! ' she said. 

The party of four found two cabs waiting for them 
at the door in the Rue des Fosses-du-Temple. Coralie 
drew Lucien to one of the two, in which Camusot and 
his father-in-law old Cardot were seated already. She 
offered du Bruel a fifth place, and the manager drove 
off with Florine, Matifat^ and Lousteau. 



£ 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 171 

^ These hackney cabs are abominable things,' ^id 
Coralie. 

* Why don*t you have a carriage ? ' returned du Bniel. 
*^Ajf?' she asked pettishly. <I do not like to tell 

ou before M. Car dot's face ; for he trained his son-in- 
iw, no doubt. Would you believe it, little and old as he 
is, M. Cardot only gives Florentine five hundred fiuncs 
a month, just about enough to pay for her rent and her 
grub and her clothes. The old Marquis de Rochegude 
offered me a brougham two months ago, and he has six 
hundred thousand francs a year, but I am an artist and 
not a common hussy.' 

* You shall have a carriage the day after to-morrow, 
miss,' said Cardot benignly ; ^ you never asked me for 
one.' 

^As if one asked for such a thing as that? What I 
you love a woman and let her paddle about in the mud 
at the risk of breaking her legs ? Nobody but a knight 
of the yardstick likes to see a draggled skirt hem.' 

As she uttered the sharp words that cut Camusot to 
the quick, she groped for Lucien's knee, and pressed it 
between her own, and clasped her fingers tightly upon 
his hand. She was silent. All her power to feel seemed 
to be concentrated upon the ineffable joy of a moment 
which brings compensation for the whole wretched past 
of a life such as these poor creatures lead, and developes 
within their souls a poetry of which other women, 
happily ignorant of these violent revulsions, know 
nothing. 

^ You played like Mile. Mars herself towards the end,' 
said du Bruel. 

^ Yes,' said Camusot, 'something put her out at the 
beginning ; but from the middle of the second act to 
the very end, she was enough to drive you wild with 
admiration. Half of the success of your play was due 
to her.' 

' And half of her success is due to me,' said du BrueL 



( 



lyz A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

^Tlm is all much ado about nothing,' said Coralie in 
an unfamiliar voice. And, seizing an opportunity in the 
darkness, she carrfed Lucien's hand to her lips and 
kissed it and drenched it with tears. Lucien felt thrilled 
through and through by that touch, for in the humility 
of the courtesan^ love there is a magnificence which 
might set an example to angels. 

* Are you writing the dramatic criticism, monsieur ? ' 
said du Bruel, addressing Lucien; ^you can write a 
charming paragraph about our dear Coralie.' 

^ Oh \ do us that little service ! ' pleaded Camusot, 
down on his knees, metaphorically speaking, before the 
critic. ^ You will always find me ready to do you a good 
turn at any time/ 

^ Do leave him his independence,' Coralie exclaimed 
angrily ; ^ he will write what he pleases. Papa Camusot, 
buy carriages for me instead of praises.' 

^You shall have them on very easy terms^' Lucien 
answered politely. ^I have never written for newspapers 
before^ so I am not accustomed to thdr wajrs, my maiden 
pen is at your disposal ' 

^ That is fimny,' said du Bruel. 

'Here we are in the Rue de Bondy,' said Cardot. 
Coralie's sally had quite crushed the little old man. 

'If you are giving me the firstfruits of your pen, the 
first love that has sprung up in my heart shall be yours,' 
whispered Coralie in the brief instant that they remained 
alone together in the cab ; then she went up to Florine's 
bedroom to change her dress for a toilette previously sent. 

Lucien had no idea how lavishly a prosperous merchant 
will spend money upon an actress or a mistress when he 
means to enjoy a life of pleasure. Matifat was not 
nearly so rich a man as his friend Camusot, and he had 
done his part rather shabbily, yet the sight of the dining- 
room took Lucien by surprise. The walls were hung 
with green cloth with a border of gilded nails, the whole 
room was artistically decorated, nghted by handsome 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 175 

lamps, stands full of flowers stood in every direction. 
The drawing-room was resplendent with the furniture 
in &shion in those days-^-a Thomire chandelier) a carpet 
of Eastern design, and yellow silken hangings relieved 
by a brown border. The candlesticks, fire-irons, and 
clock #efe all in good taste ; for Matifat had left every- 
thing to Grindot) a rising architect, who was building a 
house for him, and the young man had taken great pains 
with the rooms when he knew that Florine was to 
occupy them. 

Matifat, a tradesman to the backbond, went about 
carefully, afraid to touch the new furniture ; he seemed 
to have the totals of the bills always before his eyes, and 
to look upon the splendours about him as so much 
jewellery imprudently withdrawn from the case. 

*And I shall be obliged to do as much for Florentine!' 
old Cardot's eyes seemed to say« 

Lucien at once began to understand Lousteau's in-> 
difference to the state of his garret, ixitnmt was 
the real king of these festivals; Etienne enjoyed the 
use of all these fine things. He was standing just now 
on the hearthrug with his back to the fire, as if he wtre 
the master of the house, chatting with the manager, who 
was congratulating du Bruel. 

^ Copy, copy ! ' called Finot, coming into the room. 
^ There is nothing in the box ; the printers are setting 
up my article, and they will «>on have finished.' 

* We will manage,' said Etienne. ' There is a fire 
burning in Florine's boudoir ; there is a table there ; and 
if M. Matifiit will find us paper and ink, we will 
knock ofi^ the newspaper while Florine and Coralie are 
dressing.' 

Cardot, Camusot, and Matifat disappeared in search 
of quills, penknives, and everything necessary. Suddenly 
the door was flung open, and TuUia, one of the fattiest 
opera^ancers of the day, dashed into the room. 

* They agree to take the hundred copies, dear boy ! * 



i 



174 ^ Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

she cried, addressing Finot; 'they won't cost the 
management anything, for the chorus and the orchestra 
and the corps de ballet are to take them whether they like 
it or not; but your paper is so clever that nobody 
will grumble. And you are going to have your boxes. 
Here is the subscription for the first quarter/ she con- 
tinued, holding out a couple of banknotes; 'so don't 
cut me up ! ' 

' It is all over with me ! ' groaned Finot ; ' I must 
suppress my abominable diatribe, and I haven't another 
notion in my head.' 

' What a happy inspiration, divine Lais ! ' exclaimed 
Blondet, who had followed the lady upstairs and brought 
Nathan, Vernou and Claude Vignon with him. ^ Stop 
to supper, there is a dear, or I will crush thee, butterfly 
as thou art. There will be no professional jedousies, as 
you are a dancer ; and as to beauty, you have all of you 
too much sense to show jealousy in public' 

' Oh dear ! ' cried Finot, ' Nathan Blondet, du Bruel, 
help, friends ! I want five columns.' 

' I can make two of the play,' said Lucien. 

' I have enough for one,' added Lousteau. 

' Very well ; Nathan, Vernou and du Bruel will make 
the jokes at the end ; and Blondet, good fellow, surely 
will vouchsafe a couple of short columns for the' first 
sheet. I will run round to the printer. It is lucky 
that you brought your carriage, TuUia.' 

* Yes, but the Duke is waiting below in it, and he has 
a German Minister with him.' 

^ Ask the Duke and the Minister to come up,' said 
Nathan. 

* A German ? They are the ones to drink, and they 
listen too ; he shall hear some astonishing things to send 
home to his Government,* cried Blondet. 

^ Is there any sufficiently serious personage to go down 
to speak to him ? ' asked Finot. ^ Here, du Bruel, you 
are an official ; bring up the Due de Rhetore and the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 175 

Minister, and give your arm to TuUia. Dear me I 
Tullia, how handsome you are to-night ! ' 

^ We shall be thirteen at table ! ' exclaimed Matifat, 
paling visibly. 

^No, fourteen/ said a voice in the doorway, and 
Florentine appeared. ^I have come to look after 
^^ milord Cardot," ' she added, speaking with a burlesque 
English accent, 

*• And besides/ said Lousteau, ^ Claude Vignon came 
with Blondet.' 

^I brought him here to drink,' returned Blondet, 
taking up an inkstand. ^Look here, all of you, you 
must use all your wit before those fifty-six bottles of 
wine drive it out. And, of all things, stir up du Bruel ; 
he is a vaudevilliste, he is capable of making bad jokes 
if you get him to concert pitch.' 

And Lucien wrote his first newspaper article at the 
round table in Florine's boudoir, by the light of the pink 
candles lighted by Mati£it; before such a remarkable 
audience he was eager to show what he could do. 

The Panorama-Dramatique. 

First performance of the Alcalde in a Fix^ an imbroglio in three 
acts. — ^First appearance of Mademoiselle Florine. — Mademoiselle 
Coialte. — ^VignoL 

People are coming and going, walking and talking, 
everybody is looking for something, nobody finds 
anything. General hubbub. The Alcalde has lost 
his daughter and found his cap, but the cap does 
not fit; it must belong to some thief. Where is the 
thief? People walk and talk, and come and go more 
than ever. Finally, the Alcalde finds a man without his 
daughter, and his daughter without the man, which is 
satisfiictory for the magistrate, but not for the audience. 
Quiet being restored, the Alcalde tries to examine the 



176 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

man. Behold a venerable Alcalde, sitting in an Alcalde's 
great armchair, arranging the sleeves of his Alcalde's 
gown. Only in Spain do Alcaldes cling to their enormous 
sleeves and wear plaited lawn ruffles about the magisterial 
throat, a good half of an Alcalde's business on the 
stage in Paris. This particular Alcalde, wheezing and 
waddline about like an asthmatic old man^ is Vignol^ on 
whom rotier's mantle has fallen; a young act6r who 
personates old age sd admirably that the oldest men in 
the audience cannot help laughing. With that quaver* 
ing voice of his, that bdd forehead, and those Spindle 
shanks trembling under the weight of a senile frame, he 
may look forward to a long career of decrepitude. 
There is something alarming about the young actor's 
old 8^e I he is so very old ; you feel nervous lest senility 
shouU be infectious. And what an admirable Alcalde 
he makes! What a delightful, uneasy smile! what 
pompous stupidity I what wooden dignity! what judicial 
hesitation ! How well the man knows that black may 
be white, or white black ! How eminently well he is 
fitted to be Minister to a constitutional monarch ! The 
stranger answers every one of his inquiries by a question; 
Vignol retorts in such a fashion, that the person under 
examination elicits all the truth from the Alcalde. This 
piece of pure comedy, with a breath of Moliere through- 
out, put the house in good humour. The people on the 
stage all seemed to understand what they were about, but I 
am quite unable to clear up the mystery, or to say wherein 
it lay ; for the Alcalde's daughter was there, personified 
by a living, breathing Andalusian, a Spaniard with a 
Spaniard's eyes, a Spaniard's complexion, a Spaniard's 
gait and figure, a Spaniard from top to toe, with her 
poniardt n her garter, love in her heart, and a cross on the 
ribbon about her neck. When the act was over, and 
somebody asked me how the piece was going, I answered, 
* She wears scarlet stockings with green clocks to them ; 
she has a little foot^ no larger than that^ in her patent 



A Distingmshed Provincial at Paris 177 

leather shoes, and the prettiest pair of ankles in Andalusia ! ' 
Ob ! that Alcalde's daughter brings your heart into your 
mouth ; she tantalises you so horribly, that you long to 
spring upon the stage and offer her your thatched hovel 
and your heart, or thirtv thousand livres per annum and 
your pen. The Andalusian is the loveliest actress in 
raris. Coralie, for she must be called by her real name, 
can be a countess or a grisette^ and in which part she 
would be more charming one cannot telL She can be 
anything that she chooses $ she is bom to achieve all 
possibilities ; can more be said of a boulevard actress i 

With the second act, a Parisian Spaniard appeared 
upon the scene, with her features cut like a cameo and 
faer dangerous eyes. * Where does she come from ? ' I 
asked in my turn, and was told that she came from the 
greenroom, and that she was Mademoisdle Florine ; but, 
upon my word, I could not believe a qrllabie of it, such 
spirit was there in her gestures, such frenzy in her love. 
She is the rival of the Alcalde's daughter, and nuwried to 
a grandee cut out to wear an Almaviva's cloak, with stuff 
sufficient in it for a hundred boulevard noblemen. Mile. 
Florine wore neither scarlet stockings with green docks, 
nor patent leather shoes, but she appeared in a mantiUa, 
a veil which she put to admirable uses, like the great 
bdy that she is! She showed to admiration that the 
tigress can be a cat. I began to understand, from the 
sparkling talk between the two, that some drama of 
jealousy was going on; and just as evervthing was 
put right, the Alcalde^s stupidity embroileo everybody 
again. Torchbearers, rich men, footmen, Figaros, 
grandees, alcaldes, dames, and damsels — the whole 
company on the stage began to eddy about, and come 
and go, and look for one another. The plot thickened, 
again I left it to thicken ; for Florine the jealous and 
the happy Coralie had entangled me once more in the 
folds of mantilla and basquina, and their little feet 
were twinkling in my eyes. 

u 



178 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

I managed, however, to reach the third act without 
any mishap. The commissary of police was not com- 
pelled to interfere, and I did nothing to scandalise the 
house, wherefore I begin to believe in the influence of 
that 'public and religious morality,' about which the 
Chamber of Deputies is so anxious, that any one might 
think there was no morality left in France. I even 
contrived to gather that a man was in love with two 
women who &iled to return his affection, or else that 
two women were in love with a man who loved neither 
of them; the man did not love the Alcalde, or the 
Alcalde had no love for the man, who was nevertheless 
a gallant gentleman, and in love with somebody, with 
himself, perhaps, or with heaven, if the worst came to 
the worst, for he becomes a monk. And if you want to 
know any more, you can go to the Panorama-Dramatique. 
You are hereby given fair warning— you must go once 
to accustom yourself to those irresistible scarlet stockings 
with the green clocks, to little feet full of promises, to 
eyes with a ray of sunlight shining through them, to the 
subtle charm of a Parisienne disguised as an Andalusian 
girl, and of an Andalusian masquerading as a Parisienne. 
I ou must go a second time to enjoy the play, to shed 
tears over the love-distracted grandee, and die ot laughing 
at the old Alcalde. The play is twice a success. The 
author, who writes, it is said, in collaboration with one 
of the great poets of the day, was called before the 
curtain, and appeared with a love-distraught damsel on 
each arm, and fairly brought down the excited house. 
The two dancers seemed to have more wit in their legs 
than the author himself; but when once the fair rivals left 
the stage, the dialogue seemed witty at once, a triumphant 
proof of the excellence of the piece. The applause and 
calls for the author caused the architect some anxiety ; 
but M: de Cursy, the author, being accustomed to 
the volcanic eruptions of the reeling Vesuvius beneath 
the chandelier, felt no tremor. As for the actresses^ 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 179 

they danced the famous bolero of Seville, which once 
found favour in the sight of a council of reverend Others, 
and escaped ecclesiastical censure in spite of its wanton 
dangerous grace. The bolero in itself would be enough 
to attract old age while there is any lingering heat of 
youth in the veins, and out of charity I warn these 
persons to keep the lenses of their opera-glasses well 
polished. 

While Lucien was writing a column which was to 
set a new fashion in journalism and reveal a fresh and 
original gift, Lousteau indited an article of the kind 
described as mceurs — a sketch of contemporary manners, 
entitled The Elderh Beau. 

*The buck of the Empire,' he wrote, *is invariably 
long, slender, and well preserved. He wears a corset 
and the Cross of the Legion of Honour. His name was 
originally Potelet, or something very like it; but to 
stand well with the Court, he conferred a du upon 
himself, and du Potelet he is until another revolution. 
A baron of the Empire, a man of two ends, as his name ^ 
implies, he is paying his court to the Faubourg Saint- 
Germain, after a youth gloriously and usefully spent as 
the agreeable trainbearer of a sister of the man whom 
decency forbids me to mention by name. Du Potelet 
has forgotten that he was once in waiting upon Her 
Imperial Highness ; but he still sings the songs composed 
for the benefactress who took such a tender interest in 
his career,' and so forth and so forth, it was a tissue of 
personalities, silly enough for the most part, such as they 
used to write in those days. Other papers, and notably 
the Figaroy have brought the art to a curious perfection 
:since. Lousteau compared the Baron to a heron, and 
introduced Mme. de Bargeton, to whom he was paying 
his court, as a cuttlefish bone, a burlesque absurdity 
which amused readers who knew neither of the person- 

^ FtUiet^ a pott. 



i8o A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

ages. The tale of the loves of the Heron, who tried in 
vain to swallow the Cuttlefish bone, which broke into 
three pieces when he dropped it, was irresistibly ludi-^ 
crous. Everybody remembers the sensation which the 
pleasantry made in the Faubourg Saint-German ; it was 
the first of a series of similar articles, and was one of the 
thousand and one causes which provoked the rigorous 
press legislation of Charles x. 

An hour bter, Blondet, Lousteau, and Lucien came 
back to the drawing-room, where the other guests were 
chatting. The Duke was there and the Minister, the 
four women, the three merchants, the manager, and 
Finot. A printer's devil, with a paper cap on his head, 
was waiting even then for copy. 

< The men are just going off, if I have nothing to 
take them,' he said. 

* Stay a bit, here are ten francs, and tell them to wait,' 
said Fiifot. 

*If I give them the money, sir, they would take to 
tipple-ography, and good-night to the newspaper.' 

^ That boy's commcmsense is appalling to me,' remarked 
Finot ; and the Minister was in the middle of a prediction 
of a brilliant future for the urchin, when the three came 
in. Blondet read aloud an extremely clever article 
against the Romantics; Lousteau's paragraph drew 
laughter, and by the Due de Rhetore's advice an 
indirect eulogium of Mme. d'Espard was slipped in, lest 
the whole Faubourg Saint-Germain should take offence. 

* What have you written ? ' asked Finot, turning to 
Lucien. 

And Lucien read, quaking for fear, but the room rang 
with applause when he finished ; the actresses embraced 
the neophyte; and the two merchants, following suit, 
half choked the breath out of him. There were tears in 
du Bruel's eyes as he grasped his critic's hand, and the 
manager invited him to dinner. 

^ There are no children nowadajps,' said Blondet. ' Since 



A Distinguished Provincial at Pbris iSi 

M. de Chateaubriand called Victor Hugo a ^^ sublime 
child/' I can only tell you quite simply that you have 
spirit and taste, and write like a gentleman.' 
^ He is on the newspaper/ said Finot, as he thanked 
Etienne, and gave him a shrewd glance. 

^ What jokes have you made i ' inquired Lousteau, 
turning to Blondet and du BrueL 

* Here are du BrueFs,' said Nathan. 

*,f* * Now that M. le Vicomte d'A is attracting 

so much attention, they will perhaps let me alone,' M. le 
Vicomte Demosthenes was heard to say yesterday. 

•^* An Ultra, condemning M. Pasquier's speech, 
said his programme was only a continuation of Decaze's 
policy. * Yes,' said a lady, * but he stands on a Monarchi- 
cal basis, he has just the kind of leg for a Court suit.' 

* With such a beginning, I don't ask more of you,' 
said Finot ; ^it will be all right. — Run round with this,' 
he added, turning to the boy ; * the paper is not exactly a 
genuine article, but it is our best number yet,' and he 
turned to the group of writers. Abrcady Lucien's 
colleagues were privately taking his measure. 

^ That fellow has brains,' said Blondet. 

' His article is well written,' said Claud Vignon. 

^Supper! ' cried Matiiat. 

The Duke gave his arm to Florine, Coralie went 
across to Lucien, and Tullia went in to supper between 
£)mile Blondet and the German Minister. 

^I cannot understand why you are making an on-- 
slaught on Mme. de Bargeton and the Baron du Chatelet ; 
they sav that he is prefect-designate of the Charente, 
and will be Master of Requests some dav.' 

^ Mme. de Bargeton showed Lucien tne door as if he 
had been an impostor,' said Lousteau. 

^ Such a fine young fellow ! ' exclaimed the Minister. 

Supper, served with new plate, Sevres porcelain^ and 



1 82 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

white damask, was redolent of opulence. The dishes 
were from Chevet^ the wines from a celebrated 
merchant on the Quai Saint- Bernard, a personal friend 
oT Matifat's. For the first time Lucien beheld the 
luxury of Paris displayed; he went from surprise to 
surprise, but he kept his astonishment to himself, like a 
man who had spirit and taste and wrote like a gentleman, 
as Blondet had said. 

As they crossed the drawing-room, Coralie bent to 
Florine, * Make Camusot so drunk that he will be com- 
pelled to stop here all night,' she whispered. 

* So you have hooked your journalist, have you ? ' 
returned Florine, using the idiom of women of her class. 

^No, dear; I love him,' said Coralie, with an adorable 
little shrug of the shoulders. 

Those words rang in Lucien's ears, borne to them by 
the fifth deadly sin. Coralie was perfectly dressed. 
Every woman possesses some personal charm in perfec- 
tion, and Coralie's toilette brought her characteristic 
beauty into prominence. Her dress, moreover, like 
Florine's, was of some exquisite stuff, unknown as yet 
to the public, a mousseline de soie^ with which Camusot 
had been supplied a few days before the rest of the world ; 
for, as owner of the Golden Cocoon^ he was a kind of 
Providence in Paris to the Lyons silk- weavers. 

Love and the toilet are like colour and perfume for a 
woman, and Coralie in her happiness looked lovelier than 
ever. A looked-for delight which cannot elude the 
grasp possesses an immense charm for youth ; perhaps 
in their eyes the secret of the attraction of a house of 
pleasure lies in the certainty of gratification ; perhaps 
many a long fidelity is attributable to the same cause. 
Love for love's sake, first love indeed, had blent with 
one of the strange violent fancies which sometimes 
possess these poor creatures ; and love and admiration oi 
Lucien's great beauty taught Coralie to express the 
thoughts in her heart. 



A Distinguished Provincial at. Paris 183 

^I should love you if you were ill and ugly,' she 
whispered as they sat down. 

What a saying for a poet ! Camusot utterly vanished, 
Lucien had forgotten his existence, he saw Coralie, and 
had eyes for nothing else. How should he draw back — 
this creature, all sensation, all enjoyment of life, tired of 
the monotony of existence in a country town, weary of 
poverty, harassed by enforced continence, impatient of 
the cbustral life of the Rue de Cluny, of toiling without 
reward ? The fascination of the under world of Paris 
was upon him; how should he rise and leave this brilliant 
gathering? Lucien stood with one foot in Coralie's 
chamber and the other in the quicksands of Journalism. 
After so much vain search, and climbing of so many 
stairs, after standing about and waiting in the Rue de 
Sentier, he had found Journalism a jolly boon companion, 
joyous over the wine. His wrongs had just been 
avenged. There were two for whom he had vainly striven 
to fill the cup of humiliation and pain which he had 
been made to drink to the dregs, and now to-morrow 
they should receive a stab in their very hearts. ^ Here is 
a real friend ! * he thought, as he looked at Lousteau. 
It never crossed his mind that Lousteau already regarded 
him as a dangerous rival. He had made a blunder ; he 
had done his very best when a colourless article would 
have served him admirably well. Blondet's remark to 
Finot that it would be better to come to terms with a 
man of that calibre, had counteracted Lousteau's gnawing 
jealousy. He reflected that it would be prudent to keep 
on good terms with Lucien, and, at the same time, to 
arrange with Finot to exploit this formidable newcomer 
—he must be kept in poverty. The decision was made 
in a moment, and the bargain made in a few whispered 
words. 

' He has talent.' 

' He will want the more/ 

«A|i?' 



184 A Distinguished Provincial at Pans 

<Good!' 

* A supper among French journalists always fills me 
with dread,' said the German diplomatist, with serene 
urbanity ; he looked as he spoke at Blondet, whom he 
had met at the Comtesse de Montcornet's. ^ It is laid 
upon vou, gentlemen, to fulfil a prophecy of Bliicher's.' 

* What prophecy ? * asked Nathan. 

* When Bliicher and Sacken arrived on the heights of 
Montmartre in 18 14 (pardon me, gentlemen, for recall- 
ing a day unfortunate for France), Sacken (a rough brute), 
remarked, ** Now we wilT set Paris alight ! "— ** Take 
very good care that you don*t," said Bliicher. ** France 
will die of thatj nothing else can kill her," and he waved 
his hand over the glowing, seething city, that lay like a 
huge canker in the valley of the Seine. — There are no 
journalists in our country, thank Heaven ! ' continued 
the Minister after a pause. ^ I have not yet recovered 
firom the fright that little fellow gave me, a boy of ten, 
in a paper cap, with the sense of an old diplomatist. 
And to*night I feel as if I were supping with lions and 
panthers, who graciously sheathe their claws in my 
honour.' 

' It is clear,' said Blondet, ^ that we are at liberty to 
inform Europe that a serpent dropped from your Excel- 
lency's lips this evening, and that the venomous creature 
failed to inoculate Mile. TuUia, the prettiest dancer in 
Paris i and to follow up the story with a commentary on 
Eve, and the Scriptures, and the first and last transgres- 
sion* But have no fear, you are oiu- guest.' 

^It would be funny,' said Finot. 

<We would begin with a scientific treatise on all the 
serpents found in the human heart and human body, and 
so proceed to the corps diplomatique^ said Loosteau. 

' And we could exhibit one in spirits, in a bottle of 
brandied cherries,' said Vernou. 

^ Till you yourself would end by believing in the story,' 
added Vignon, looking at the diplomatist. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 185 

^Gentlemen/ cried the Due de Rhetore, ^let sleqnng 
claws lie/ 

^The influence and power of the press is onljr dawn- 
ing/ said Finot. 'Journalism is in its in&ncy ; it will 
grow. In ten years' time, everything will be brought 
into publicity. The light of thought wHl be turned on 
all subjects, and—' 

^ The blight of thought will be over it all,' corrected 
Biondet. 

' Here is an apophthegm,' cried Claude Vignon. 

' Thought will make kingsf said Lousteau. 

* And undo monarchs,' said the German. 

'And therefore,' said Blondet, 'if the press did not 
exist, it would be necessary to invent it forthwith. But 
here we have it, and live by it.' 

'You will die of it,' returned the German diplomatist. 
^Can you not see thsit if you enlighten the masses, and 
raise them in the politicad scale, you make it all the 
harder for the individual to rise above their level ? Can 
you not see that if you sow the seeds of reasoning among 
the working-classes, you will reap revolt, and be the first 
to fall victims ? What do they smash in Paris when a 
riot begins ? ' 

'The street-lamps 1 ' said Nathan; ^but wc are too 
modest to fear for ourselves, we only run the risk of 
cracks.' 

' As a nation, you have too much mental activity to 
allow any government to run its course without inter- 
ference. But for that, you would make the conquest of 
Europe a second time, and win with the pen all that you 
fiiiled to keep with the sword.' 

'Journalism is an evil,' said Claude Vignon. 'The 
evil may have its uses, but the present Government is 
resolved to put it down. There will be a battle over it. 
Who will give way ? That is the question.' 

^The Government will eive way,' said Blondet. 'I 
keep telling people that with all my might ! Intellectual 



1 86 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

power is the great power in France ; and the press has 
more wit than all men of intellect put together^ and the 
hypocrisy of Tartufe besides.' 

' Blondet ! Blondet ! you are going too far ! ' called 
Finot. ' Subscribers are present.' 

* You are the proprietor of one of these poison shops j 
you have reason to be afraid ; but I can laugh at the 
whole business, even if I live by it.' 

* Blondet is right,' said Claude Vignon. ^Journalism, 
so far from being in the hands of a priesthood, came to 
be first a party weapon, and then a commercial specula- 
tion, carried on without conscience or scruple, like other 
commercial speculations. Every newspaper, as Blondet 
says, is a shop to which people come for opinions of the 
right shade. If there were a paper for hunchbacks, it 
would set forth plainly, morning and evening, in its 
columns, the beauty, the utility, and necessity of defor- 
mity. A newspaper is not supposed to enlighten its 
readers, but to supply them with congenial opinions. 
Give an^ newspaper time enough, and it will be base, 
hypocritical, shameless, and treacherous $ the periodical 
press will be the death of ideas, systems, and individuals ; 
nay, it will flourish upon their decay. It will take the 
credit of all creations of the brain ; the harm that it does 
is done anonymously. We, for instance — I, Claude 
Vignon; you, Blondet; you, Lousteau; and you, 
Finot — we are all Platos, Aristides, and Catos, Plutarch's 
men, in short ; we are all immaculate ; we may wash 
our hands of all iniquity. Napoleon's sublime aphorism, 
suggested by his study of the Convention, ^^No one 
individual is responsible for a crime committed collec- 
tively," sums up the whole significance of a phenomenon, 
moral or immoral, whichever you please. However 
shamefully a newspaper may behave ; the disgrace attaches 
to no one person.' 

^ The authorities will resort to repressive legislation,' 
interposed du Bruel. * A law is going to be passed^ in fact^^ 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 187 

^Pooh!* retorted Nathan. <What is the law in 
France against the spirit in which it is received, the most 
subtle of all solvents ? ' 

'Ideas and opinions can only be counteracted by 
opinions and ideas/ Vignon continued. 'By sheer 
terror and despotism, and by no other means, can you 
extinguish the genius of the French nation ; for the 
language lends itself admirably to allusion and ambiguity. 
Epigram breaks out the more for repressive legislation ; 
it is like steam in an engine without a safety-valve. — 
The King, for example, does right; if a newspaper 
is against him, the Minister gets all the credit of the 
measure, and vice versa. A newspaper invents a scan- 
dalous libel-^it has been misinformed. If the victim 
complains, the paper gets off with an apology for taking 
so great a freedom. If the case is taken into court, the 
editor complains that nobody asked him to rectify the 
mistake ; but ask for redress, and he will laugh in your 
face and treat his offence as a mere trifle. The paper 
scofis if the victim gains the day ; and if heavy damages 
are awarded, the puiintiff is held up as an impatriotic 
obscurantist and a menace to the liberties of the country. 
In the course of an article purporting to explain that 
Monsieur So-and-so is as honest a man as you will find 
in the kingdom, you are informed that he is no better 
than a common thief. The sins of the press i Pooh f 
mere trifles ; the curtailers of its liberties are monsters ; 
and give him time enough, the constant reader is 
persuaded to believe anything you please. Everjrthing 
which does not suit the newspaper will be unpatriotic, 
and the press will be infallible. One religion will be 
played off against another, and the Charter against the 
King. The press will hold up the magistracy to scorn 
for meting out rigorous justice to the press, and applaud 
its action when it serves the cause of party hatred. The 
most sensational fictions will be invented to increase the 
pirculation^ Journalisio will descend to mountebanl^' 



1 88 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

tricks worthy of Bobeche ; Journalism would s^ve up 
its father with the Attic salt of its own wit sooner than 
fail to interest or amuse the public; Journalism will 
outdo the actor who put his son's ashes into the urn to 
draw real tears from his eyes, or the mistress who sacri- 
fices everything to her lover/ 

^Journalism is, in £eict, the People in folio form/ 
interrupted Blondet. 

^Tfae people with hypocrisy added and generosity 
lacking,' said Vignon. ^ All real ability will be driven 
out from the ranks of Journalism, as Aristides was driven 
into exile by the Athenians. We shall see newspapers 
started in the first instance by men of honour, falling 
sooner or later into the hands of men of abilities even 
lower than the average, but endowed with the resistance 
and flexibility of indiarubber, qualities denied to noble 
genius; nay, perhaps the future newspaper proprietor 
will be the tradesman with capital sufficient to buy venal 
pens. We see such things already indeed, but in ten 
years' time every little youngster that has left school 
will take himself for a great man, slash his predecessors 
from the lofty height of a newspaper column, drag 
them down by the kct, and take their place. 

' Napoleon did wisely when he muzzled the press. 1 
would wager that the Opposition papers would batter 
down a government of their own setting up, just as they 
are battering the present government, if any demand was 
refused. The more they have, the more they will want 
in the way of concessions. The parvenu journalist will 
be succeeded by the starveling hack. There is no salve 
for this sore. It is a kind of corruption which grows 
more and more obtrusive and malignant ; the wider it 
spreads, the more patiently it will be endured, until the 
day comes when newspapers shall so increase and multi^ 
ply in the earth that confusion will be the result — a 
second Babel. We, all of us, such as we are, have 
reason to know that crowned kings are less ungrateful 



A Distinguished Provincial at Pkris 189 

than kings of our profession ; that the most sordid man 
of business is not so mercenary nor so keen in specula- 
tion ; that our brains are consumed to furnish their 
daily supply of poisonous trash. And yet we, all of us, 
shall continue to write, like men who work in quick- 
silver mines, knowing that they are doomed to die of 
their trade. 

^Look there,' he continued, ^at that young man 
sitting beside Coralie — what is his name? Lucien! 
He has a beautiful face ; he is a poet ; and what is more, 
he is witty — so much the better for him. WeU, he will 
cross the threshold of one of those dens where a man's 
intellect is prostituted; he will put all his best and 
finest thought into his work ; he will blunt his intellect 
and sully his soul; he will be guilty of anonjrmous 
meannesses which take the place of stratagem, pillage, 
and ratting to the enemy in the warfiire ot cmdMieru 
And when, like hundreds more, he has squandered his 
genius in the service of others who find the capital and 
do no work, those dealers in poisons will leave him to 
starve if he is thirsty, and to die of thirst if he is 
starving.' 

* Thanks,' said Finot. 

* But, dear me,' continued Claude Vignon, ' / knew 
all this, yet here am I in the galleys, and the arrival of 
another convict gives me pleasure. We are cleverer, 
Blondet and I, than Messieurs This and That, who 
speculate in our abilities, yet neyefthdess we are always 
exploited by them. We have a heart somewhere beneath 
the intellect ; we have not the grim qualities of the man 
who makes others work for bmu We are indolent, we 
like to look on at the game, we are meditative, and we 
are fastidious ; they will sweat our brains and blame us 
for improvidence.' 

^ I thought you would be more amusing than this ! ' 
said Florine. 
^ Florine is right,' said Blondet 1 ^ let 11s leave the cure 



190 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

of public evils to those quacks the statesmen* As 
Charlet says, " Quarrel with my own bread and butter ? 
Never!''' 

* Do you know what Vignon puts mc in mind of ? ' 
said Lousteau. ^ Of one of those fat women in the Rue 
du Pelican telling a schoolboy, **My boy, you are too 
young to come here."* 

A Durst of laughter followed the sally, but it pleased 
Coralie. The merchants meanwhile ate and drank and 
listened* 

^ What a nation this is ! You see so much good in it 
and so much evil,' said the Minister, addressing the Due 
de Rhetore. — * You are prodigals who cannot ruin your* 
selves, gentlemen.' 

And so, by the blessing of chance, Lucien, standing 
on the brink of the precipice over which he was destined 
to &11, heard warnings on all sides. D'Arthez had set 
him on the right road, had shown him the noble method 
of work, and aroused in him the spirit before which all 
obstacles disappear. Lousteau himself (partly from 
selfish motives) had tried to warn him away by describ- 
ing Journalism and Literature in their practical aspects. 
Lucien had refused to believe that there could be so 
much hidden corruption ; but now he had heard the 
journalists themselves crying woe for their hurt, he had 
seen them at their work, had watched them tearing their 
foster-mother's heart to read auguries of the future. 

That evening he had seen things as they are. He 
beheld the very heart's core of corruption of that Paris 
which Bliicher so aptly described ; and so far front 
shuddering at the sight, he was intoxicated with enjoy* 
ment of the intellectually stimulating society in which 
he found himself. 

These extraordinary men, clad in armour damascened 
by their vices, these intellects environed by cold and 
brilliant analysis, seemed so far greater in his eyes than 
the grave and earnest members of the brotherhood. And 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 191 

besides all this, he was revelling in his first taste of 
luxury ; he had fallen under the spell. His capricious 
instincts awoke ; for the first time in his life he drank y' 
exquisite wines, this was his first experience of cookery 
carried to the pitch of a fine art. A minister, a duke, and 
an opera-dancer had joined the party of journalists, and 
wondered at their sinister power. Lucien felt a horriUe 
craving to reign over these kings, and he thought that 
he had power to win his kingdom. Finally, there was 
this Coralie, made happy by a few words of his. By 
the bright light of the wax-candles, through the steam 
of the dishes and the fiimes of win^, she looked sublimely 
beautiful to his eyes, so fair had she erown with love. 
She was the loveliest, the most beautiful actress in Paris. 
The brotherhood, the heaven of noble thoughts^ fiided 
away before a temptation that appealed to every fibre of 
his nature. How could it have been otherwise? 
Lucien's author's vanity had just been gratified by the 
praises of those who know ; by the appreciation of his 
future rivals ; the success of his articles and his conquest 
of Coralie might have turned an older head than his. 

During the discussion, moreover, every one at table 
had made a remarkably good supper, and such wines are 
not met with eycry day. Lousteau, sitting beside 
Camusot, furtively poured cherry-brandy several times 
into his neighbour's wineglass, and challenged him to 
drink. And Camusot drank, all unsuspicious, for he 
thought himself, in his own way, a match for a 
journalist. The jokes became more personal when 
dessert appeared and the wine began to circulate. 
The German Minister, a keen-witted man of the world^ 
made a sign to the Duke and TuUia, and the three dis- 
appeared with the first symptoms of vociferous nonsense 
which precede the grotesque scenes of an orgie in its 
final stage. Coralie and Lucien had been behaving like 
children all the evening ; as soon as the wine was upper- 
most in Camusot's head, they made good their escape down 



192 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

the staircase and sprang into a cab. Camusot subsided 
under the table; Matifat, looking round fc»-hiin, thought 
that he had gone home with Coralie, left his guests to 
smoke, laugh, and argue, and followed Florine to her 
room. Daylight surprised the party, or more accurately, 
the first dawn of light discovered one man still able to 
speak, and Biondet, that intrepid champion, was proposing 
to the assembled sleepers a health to Aur(M^ the rosy- 
fingered. 

Lucien was unaccustomed to orgies of this kind. His 
head was very tolerably clear as he came down the stair- 
case, but the fre^ atr was too much for him ; he was 
horribty drunk. When they reached the handsome 
house in the Rue de Vend6me, where the actress lived, 
Coralie and her waiting-woman were obliged to assist 
the poet to climb to the first floor. Lucien was 
ignominiouslj sick, and very nearly fainted on the 
staircase. 

* Quick, Berenice, soxtoe tea ! Make some tea,' cried 
Coralie. 

^ It is nothing ; it is the air,' Lucien got out, ^ and I 
have never taken so much before in my life,' 

^ Poor boy ! He is as innocent as a kmb,' said 
Berenice, a stalwart Norman peasant woman as ugly as 
Coralie was pretty. Lucien, half imconscious, vi^as laid 
at last in bed. Coralie, with Berenice's assistance, 
undressed the poet with all a mother's tender care. 

^ It is nothing,' he murmured again and again. ^ It 
is the air. Thank you, mamma.' 

* How charmingly he says ** mamma," ' cried Coralie, 
putting a kiss on his hair. 

^ What happiness to love such an angel, mademoiselle ! 
Where did you pick him up ? I did not think a man 
could be as beautiful as you are,' said Berenice, when 
Lucien lay in bed. He was very drowsy ; he knew 
nothing and saw nothing ; Coralie made him swallow 
several cups of tea, and left him to sleep. y 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 193 

^Did the porter see us? Was there any one else 
aix>ut i ' 8^ asked. 

^ No ; I was sitting up for you/ 

^ Does Victoire know anything ? ' 

* Rather not ! * returned Berenice. 

Ten bows lat?er Lvcien awoke to meet Coralie*s ejes. 
She had watched br him as he slept ; he knew tt, poet 
that he was. It was almost no(m, but she still wore the 
delicate <lress, abomitiably ^stained, which 5he meant to 
lay up as a relic. Lucien* undostood all the self- 
sacrifice and 'delica^Ty of love, fain of its reward. He 
looked into CoraHC'S eyes. In a moment she had flung 
offherdothing and ^pped like a serpent to Lucien's 
fide. 

At five o'clock in the afternoon Lucien was still 
sleeping, cradled in this voluptuous paradise. He had 
caught glimpses of Coralie^ chaiK^er, an exquisite 
cresftioa of luxury, a wotfld of rose-colour and white. 
He had admired Florine^ apartments, but this surpassed 
them in its dainty refinement. 

Coraiie had already risen ; for if she was to play her 
part as the Andalustan, she mu«t be at the theatre by 
seven o'clock. Yet she had retisrned to gaze at the 
unconscious poet, luUed to deep in bliss ; she could not 
drink too deejdy of this love that rose to rapture, draw- 
ing jdose the bond between the heart and the senses, to 
steep both ki ecstasy. For in lint apotheosis of human 
passion, which of those that were twain on earth that 
they imight know bliss to Hhe fkU oreaites one soul to 
rise to love in heaven, fay Coralte's justification. Who, 
moreover, would not have 'found excuse in Lucien's 
move than human beauty I To the actress kneeling by 
the bedside, happy in the love vrithin her, it «eemed 
that she had received love's oonsecration* Berenice 
broke in upon Coralie's rapture. 

^ Here comes Camusot i ' cried the maid. ^ And he 
knows thaibyou are here.' 

N 



( 



194 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Lucien sprang up at once. Innate generosity suggested 
that he was doing Coralie an injury. Berenice drew 
aside a curtain, and he fled into a dainty dressing-room, 
whither Coralie and the maid brought his clothes with 
magical speed. 

Camusot appeared, and only then did G>ralie's eyes 
alight on Lucien's boots, warming in the fender. Bere- 
nice had privately varnished them, and put them before 
the fire to dry ; and both mistress and maid alike forgot 
that tell-tale witness. Berenice left the room with a 
scared glance at Coralie. Coralie flung herself into the 
depths of a settee, and bade Camusot seat himself in the 
gofubley a round-backed chair that stood opposite. But 
Coralie's adorer, honest soul, dared not look his mistress 
in. the face ; he could not take his eyes ofi^ the pair of 
boots. 

* Ought I to make a scene and leave Coralie ? ' he 
pondered. ^ Is it worth while to make a fuss about a 
trifle? There is a pair of boots wherever you go. 
These would be more in place in a shop window or 
taking a walk on the boulevard on somebody's feet ; here, 
however, without a pair of feet in them, they tell a 
pretty plain tale. I am fifty years old, and that is the 
truth ; I ought to be as blind as Cupid himself.' 

There was no excuse for this mean-spirited monologue. 
The boots were not the high-lows at present in vogue, 
which an unobservant man may be allowed to disregard 
up to a certain point. They were the unmistakable, 
uncompromising hessians then prescribed by fashion, a 
pair of extremdy elegant betasseled boots, which shone 
in glistening contrast against tight-fitting trousers invari- 
ably of some light colour, and reflected their surroundings 
like a mirror. The boots stared the honest silk-mercer 
out of countenance, and, it must be added, they pained 
his heart. 

^ What is it ? ' asked Coralie. 

* Nothing.* 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 195 

* Ring the bell,' said Coralie, smiling to herself at 
Camusot's want of spirit. — ^ Berenice,' she said, when 
the Norioan handmaid appeared, ^just bring me a 
button-hook, for I must put on these confounded boots 
again. Don't forget to bring them to my dresstng<-room 
to-night.' 

^ What ? • . . your boots ? ' • • • faltered out Camusot, 
breathing more freely. 

^ And whose should they be ? ' she demanded haughtily. 
* Were you beginning to believe ? — ^great stupid ! Oh ! 
and he would believe it too,' she went on, addressing 
Berenice. — 'I have a man's part in What's-his-oiame's 
piece, and I have never worn a man's clothes in my life 
before. The bootmaker for the theatre brought me 
these things to try if I could walk in them, until a pair 
can be made to measure. He put them on, but they 
hurt me so much that I have taken them off, and after 
all I must wear them.' 

^ Don't put them on again if they are uncomfortable,' 
said Camusot. (The b«>ts had made him feel so very 
uncomfortable himself.) 

^ Mademoiselle would do better to have a pair made of 
very thin morocco, sir, instead of torturing herself as she 
did just now ; but the management is so stingy. She 
was cryine, sir ; if I was a man and loved a woman, 1 
wouldn't let her shed a tear, I know. You ought to 
order a pair for her ' 

^ Yes, yes,' said Camusot. ' Are you just getting up, 
'Coralie?' 

^Just this moment; I only came in at six o'clock 
after looking for you everywhere. I was obliged to keep 
the cab for seven hours. So much for your care of me ; 
you forfi;et me for a wine-bottle. I ought to take care 
of myself now when I am to play every night so long as 
the AUaldi draws. I don't want to &11 off after that 
young man's notice of me.' 

^ That is a handsome boy,' said Camusot. 



196 A Distinguished Provincial at Parts 

^ Do you think so ? I don't admire men of tiist «)rt ; 
they are too much like women ; and they do not widei^ 
staM how to love like jrou stupid oM bimiess men. 
You are so bored with your own Mciety.' 

^Is monieur dining widi madamej' inquired Beee- 
nice. 

^ No, my moHth is clammy.' 

* You were nicely screwed yesterday. Ah ! Papa 
Camusot, I don^ like men wlio drink, i tell you at 
once * 

^ You will give that young man a present, I suppose f ' 
tnterrttpted Camusot. 

' Oh ! yes. I would rather do that than pay as Florme 
does. There, go away with ytoii, good-for-nothing 
that one loves ; or give me a carriage to save time in 
future.' 

'^ You shall go m your own carriage to-morrow to your 
manager's dinner at the Rocher de Cancaie. The new 
piece will not 4>e given next Sunday.' 

^Gome, I am just going to dine,' said Coralie, hurrying 
Camusot out of the room. 

An hour l^Btar B^r6nice came to release Lucien. 
Berenice, 0»ralie's companion since her cbHdhood, had a 
keen and subtle brain in her unwieldy frame. 

*Stay here,' she said. ^ Coralie is coming back alone ; 
she own talked of getting rid of Camusot if he is in your 
way ; but you are too much of an angel to ruin ber, her 
heart's daiiing as tou -are. She wants to clear out of 
this, she says ; to leave this paradise and go and 'Kve in 
your gairet. Oh ! there are those that are jealous and 
envious of you, and they have told her that you haven^ a 
brass farthing, and live in tffae Latin Quarter ; and I 
should go, too, you see, to do the house-'work. — But I 
have just been conrfbrttng her, poor child ! I have been 
telling her that you were too clever to do anything so silly. 
I was rieht, wasn't I, sir ? Oh 1 3^ou will see tiiat you 
arc her darling, her love, the god to whom Ae gives her 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris t^ 

soul i yonder oU fiiel has nothing but the body. — If yoo 
only knew ham nice she is when I hear her say her part 
over ! hfy Coradie, my little pet, she is ! She deserred 
that God in heaven should send her one of His angels. 
She was sick of the life. — She was so unhappy with her 
modier that used to beat hei^ and sold hen Yes, sir, 
sold ber own dnld ! If I had a daughter, I would wak 
on her hand and foot as I wait on Condie ; she is like my 
own child to nie.-*-The8e are the first good times she 
has seen since I have been with her ; the first time that 
she has been mOj a^lauded.^ Yoa have written some- 
thing, it seems, and they have got up a famous clofm 
far the second performance. Bramkird has been going 
tfaftougfa the play with her while you were a^ep.' 

'Who i Braulard ? ' asked Laden i it seemed to Un 
that he had heacd thff name befiare. 

^He is the head of the ciaqtumrsj and she w» arrang- 
tag with him the places wheie she wished him to lods 
after her. Florine might try to play her some shabbji 
trick, and take all for herself, for aU Ac calls herself her 
fnend. There is such a talk about your article on the 
Boulevards.-*-Isn't it a bed fit for a prince,' she said, 
smoothing the lace bed^spreadi 

She lighted the wax-candles, and to Lucien's be- 
wildered fancy, the boiise seemed to be some palace in 
the CMmet dis Fees. Camusot had chosen the ikhest 
stuffs from the Golden C&co&n for the hangings and 
window-curtains. A carpet fit for a king's palace was 
spread upon the floor. The carving of the rosewood 
furniture caught and impcisoned the light that rippled 
over its sar^ce. Priceless trifles glonned from the 
white narUe chimney-pieoe. The rug beside the bed 
was of swan^ skins bordered with ssd)le. A pair of 
Uttle, bbck velvet ^pers lined with purple silk told of 
happiness awaiting the poet of The Marguerites. A 
dainty bmp bung from the ceiling draped with srlk. 
The room was full of flowering plants, delicate white 



198 A Distingaished Provincial at Paris 

heaths and scentless camellias, in stands marvellously 
wrought. Everything called up associations of inno- 
cence» How was it possible in these rooms to see the life 
that Coralie led in its true colours ? Berenice noticed 
Lucien's bewildered expression. 

^ Isn't it nice ? ' she said coaxingly. ^ You would be 
more comfortable here, wouldn't you, than in a garret ? 
— You won't let her do anything rash I ' she continued, 
setting a costly stand before him, covered with dishes 
abstracted from her mistress's dinner-table, lest the 
cook should suspect that her mistress had a lover in the 
house. 

Lucien made a good dinner. Berenice waited on 
him, the dishes were of wrought silver, the painted 
porcelain plates had cost a louis d'or apiece. The 
luxury was producing exactly the same effect upon him 
that the sight of a girl walking the pavement, with bare 
flaunting throat and neat ankles, produces upon a school- 
boy. 

^ How lucky Camusot is ! ' cried he. 

^ Lucky?' repeated Berenice. ^He wouM willingly 
give all that he is worth to be in your place ; he would 
be glad to barter his grey hair for your golden head.' 

She gave Lucien the richest wine that Bordeaux 
keeps for the wealthiest English purchaser, and persuaded 
Lucien to go to bed to take a preliminary nap; and 
Lucien, in truth, was quite willing to sleep on the couch 
that he had been admiring. Berenice had read his wish, 
and felt glad for her mistress. 

At half-past ten that night Lucien awoke to look 
into eyes brimming over with love. There stood 
Coralie in most luxurious night attire. Lucien had 
been sleeping; Lucien was intoxicated with love, and 
not with wine. Berenice left the room with the 
inquiry, ' What time to-morrow morning ? ' 

^ At eleven o'clock. We will have breakfast in bed. 
I am not at home to anybody before two o'clock.' 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 199 

At two o'clock in the afternoon Coralie and her lover 
were sitting together. The poet to all appearance had 
come to pay a call. Lucien had been bathed and combed 
and dressed. Coralie had sent to CoUiau's for a dozen 
fine shirts, a dozen cravats, and a dozen pocket-handker- 
chiefs for him, as well as twelve pairs of gloves in a 
cedar-wood box. When a carriage stopped at the door 
they both rushed to the window, and watched Camusot 
alight from a handsome coupe. 

^I would not have believed that one could so hate a 
man and luxury ' 

^ I am too poor to allow you to ruin yourself for me,* 
he replied. And thus Lucien passed under the Caudine 
Forks. 

* Poor pet,' said Coralie, holding him tightly to her, 
do you love me so much ? — ^I persuaded this gentleman 
to call on me this morning,* she continued, indicating 
Lucien to Camusot, who entered the room. ^I thought 
that we mi^ht take a drive in the Champs Elysees to 
try the carnage.' 

* Go without me,' said Camusot in a melancholy voice ; 
* I shall not dine with you. It is my wife's birthday, 
I had forgotten that.* 

^Poor Musot, how badly bored you will be!' she 
said, putting her arms about his neck. 

She was wild with joy at the thought that she and 
Lucien would handsel this gift together; she would 
drive with him in the new carriage ; and in her happi- 
ness, she seemed to love Camusot, she lavished caresses 
upon him. 

^ If only I could give you a carriage every day !* said 
the poor fellow. 

^Now, sir, it is two o'clock,* she said, turning to 
Lucien, who stood in distress and confusion, but she 
comforted him with an adorable gesture. 

Down the stairs she went, several steps at a time, 
drawing Lucien after her ; the elderly merchant following 



200 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

in tbeir wake like a seal on land, and quite iMable to 
catch them up. 

Lucien enjajred the most int(»dcating of pleasures i 
happiness had increased Coralie's loveliness to the higbest 
possible degree ; she appeared before all eyes an exquisite 
vision in her dainty tcNlette* All Paris in the Champs 
Elysees beheld the loverSb 

In an avenue of the Bois de Bouloene they met a 
caleche ; Mme. d'Espard and Mme» de Bargeton looked 
in surprise at Lucien, and met a scor4iful gbnce ftom 
the poet. He saw glimpses of a great futtfl-e before 
him, and was about to make hi^ power fielt. He could 
fling them back in a ^nce same of the revengi^l 
thoughts which had gnawed his heart ever since they 
planted them there. That moment was one of the 
sweetest in his life^ and perhaps decided Im &t«» Once 
a^ain the Furies seized on Lucien at the biddiaig of 
^ide. He would reappear in the world of Paris j he 
would taioe a signal revenge ;> all the social pettiness 
hitherto trodden under foot by the worker^ the member 
of the brotherhood, sprane up agsun afresh in his soaL 

Now he understood aU that Louateau^s attack had 
meant. Lousteau had served his passions; while the 
brotherhood^ that collective mentor^ had seemed to 
mortify them in the interests of tiresome virtues and 
work which be|^n to look useless and hopeless in 
Lucien's eyes. Work ! What is it but death to an 
* eagier pleaaure^loving nature ? An4 how easy it is for 
the man of letters to slide into aySir hUmU existence of 
self-indulgence, into the luxurious ways of actresses and 
women of easy virtues I Lucien felt an overmastering 
desire to continue the reckless life of the last two days. 
, The dinner at the Rocher di QmciUe was exquisite. 
AU Florine's supper guests were there except the 
Minister, the Duke, and the dancer ; Camusot, too, was 
absent ^ but these gaps were filled by two famous actors 
ajod Hector Merlin and his mistress. This charoung 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 201 

WMBan, wha chose to be known as Mine, du Val-Noble» 
was the handsomest and most fitshionable of the dass of 
women now euphemistically styled krettts. 

Ludea had spent the forty-eight hours stnoe the 
success of his article in paradise* He was feted and 
enmdi, he gained self-possession; his talk sparkled; he 
was the brilliant Lucien de Rubeaopre who shone for 
a few months in the world of letters aad art. Finot^ 
with his iafUlible instinct for discovering ability, 
sceatins it a^r as an ogre ought scent human iesb^ 
cajoled Lucien, and did his best to secure a recmit for 
the squadnoA under his command* An4 Coralio watched 
the mancB«i¥res of this purv^or of brains^ saw that 
Lucien was mbbliag at tha bait^and tried to put Urn or 
his guard. 

^ Don't make any enf^gement, dear boy ^ wsti t. Th^ 
want to e3q>l(Mt you \ we will talk of it to-night.' 

' Fshaw I ' said Lucien*. * I am sure I am ^fake as 
sharp and shrewd as th^ can be*' 

Fiaot ttid Hectof Merlin evidently had not fattsn out 
over that affair of the white lines and spaces in the 
columns, for it was Finot who introduced Lucjen %m the 
journalist. Coralie and Mme* du Val-*Noble were 
overwhelmingly amiable and polite to each other^and 
Mme. du Vaf^rfoble asked Lucien and CoraKe to dine 
with her* 

Hector Merlin, sbort and thin, with lips alwi^ 
tightly compressed, was the most dangerous journalist 
present. Unbounded ambttioa and jealousy smouldered 
within him ; he took pleasure in the pain ot others^ and 
fomented strife to turn it to his own accounts His 
abihties weitr but slender^ and he had little focce of 
character; but the natural instinct which draws: the 
upstart towards money and power served him as weU as 
fixity of purpose. Lucien and Merlin at once took, a 
dislike to one another, for reaaans not far to seek» 
Merlin, unfortunately, prodaimed abud the thoughts 



202 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

that Lucien kept to himself. By the time the dessert 
was put on the table, the most touching friendship 
appeared to prevail among the men, each one of whom 
in his heart thought himself a cleverer fellow than the 
rest ; and Lucien as the newcomer was made much of 
by them all. They chatted frankly and unrestrainedly. 
Hect<M- Merlin, alone, did not join in the laughter. 
Lucien askied the reason of his reserve. 

' You arc just entering the world of letters,* I can 
see,' he said ; ^you are a journalist with all your illusions 
left. You believe in friendship. Here we are friends 
or foes, as it happens ; we strike down a friend with the 
weapon which by rights should only be turned against 
an enemy. You will find out, before very long, that 
fine sentiments will do nothing for you. If vou are 
naturally kindly, learn to be ill-natured, to oe con- 
sistently spiteful. If you have never heard this golden 
rule before, I give it you now in confidence, and it is 
no small secret. If you have a mind to be loved, never 
leave your mistress until you have made her shed a tear 
or two ; and if you mean to make your way in literature, 
let other people continually feel your teeth ; make no 
exception even of your friends; wound their suscepti- 
bilities, and everybody will fawn upon you.* 

Hector Merlin watched Lucien as he spoke, saw that 
his words went to the neophyte's heart like a stab, and 
Hector Merlin was glad, rlay followed, Lucien lost 
all his money, and Coralie brought him away ; and he 
forgot for a while, in the delights of love, the fierce 
excitement of the gambler, which was to gain so strong 
a hold upon him. 

When he left Coralie in the morning and returned to 
die Latin Quarter, he took out his purse and found the 
money he had lost. At first he felt miserable over the 
discovery, and thought of going back at once to return 
a gift which humiliated him ; but — he had already come 
as far as ^he Rue de la Harpe ; he would not return now 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 263 

that he had almost reached the H6tel de Cluny. He 
pondered over CoraUe's forethought as he went, till he 
saw in it a proof of the maternal love which is blended 
with passion in women of her stamp. For Coralie 
and her like, passion includes every human affection. 
Lucien went from thought to thought, and argued 
himself into accepting the gift» * I love her/ be said ^ 
^we shall live tosjethtf as husband and vriky I wiU 
never forsake her f* 

What mortal, diort of a Diogenes, could fail to under- 
stand Lucien's feelings as he climbed the dirty fetid 
staircase to his lodging, turned the key that grated in 
the lock, and entered and looked round at the unswept 
brick floor, at the cheerless grate, at the ugly poverty 
and bareness of the room. 

A package of manuscript was Iving on the table. It 
was his novel ; a note from Daniel d' Arthes lay beside it : — 

^Our friends are almost satisfied with your work, dear 
poet,' d'Arthez wrote. ^You will be able to present 
it with more confidence now, they say, to friends 
and enemies. We saw your charming article on the 
Panorama-Dramatique ; you are sure to excite as much 
jealousy in the profession as regret among your friends 
here. Danisl.' 

* Regrets ! * What does he mean ? ' exclaimed Lucien* 
The polite tone of the note astonished him. Was he to 
be henceforth a stranger to the brotherhood { He had 
learned to set a higher value on the good opinion and 
the friendship of the circle in the Rue des Quatre Vents 
since he had tasted of the delicious fruits offered to him 
by the Eve of the theatrical underworld. For some 
moments he stood in deep thought ; he saw his present 
in the garret, and foresaw his future in Coralie's rooms. 
Honourable resolution struggled with temptation and 
swayed him now this way^ now that. He sat down and 



204 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

began to look tfaroagh his mamiscripty to see in what 
osndltton hW frieiids had returned it to bint* What was 
his aoKUEement^ as he read chapter after chapter, to find 
his poverty transmuted into ridies by die auBung of 
the pen,, and the devotion of the unknown great men,, 
his friends of the brotherhood. Dialogiie, cbmjr packed, 
nervous^ pragnant, terse^nd full of t^spirit of the age^ 
seplaced his con tosaticttSy which seemed poor and point- 
less praitle in comparison. . His characterB, a litdc 
uncettiitn in the drawin^^ now stood out in. vigorous 
contrast of colour and relief; phjrsiologtcal ofaservatioiss^ 
due no doubt to Horace Bianchon, suppfied- Unks of 
interpretation between human; character and the curious 
pbenooaena of human ltfe^-«ubde touches which made 
his men and women live. His wordy passagesof descitp- 
tion were condensed and vivid. The mtsthapen, iU- 
clad child of hb brain had returned to Um a»a lovely 
maiden, with white robes and rosy-hued girdle and 
scarf— «tt entrancing cneatini. Ni^ht fell and ttx>k 
him by surprise^ reading through rising tean, stricfceiK 
tocardi by such creatness of aoul^ fcding the worth of 
such a lesson, nranriag die altBisation% which taught 
hifls more of fiteratuse and art than all hit four years' 
apprenticeship of study and reading and comparison. A 
master's GSrrection of a line made upon the study always 
teaches more than all the theories and criticisms in the 
worUL 

^What friends are these! What hearts I How 
fbrmnate I am!' he cried, grasping hia flnanuscript 
tightly. 

With the quick impulsiveness of a poetic and mobile 
tempcniment, he rushed off to Daaiei's lodging. As he 
dha^d the stairs, and thoi^t of these friends, who 
refused to leave the path of honour, he felt conscious 
that he was less wortlqr of them than before. A voice 

Ske within him, telUng him that if d'Arthex had bved 
ralie, he woeld have hod her break with CSanmsot. 



A DistingQulied Proyincud at Bans toj 

And, berides this, lie kncm tlwt the krotherbood htikl 
journalism in utter abhorrence, and that he himself was 
ab'Mdy, to some saudl extent, a journatiM* All of 
them, except Meyraux, who had just gone out, were in 
d'Arthez's roon wten lie entered k, and smt tfaftt all 
their faces 'were full of Mrvow mad ieijpmt. 

'What tskr he cried. 

* We have just heard news of a dvetdful catastrophe ; 
the greatest thinker of the age, our most bved frvend, 
who was like a light among ub for twoyesn * 

'Louis Lambert f 

' Has fdlen a victim to catalepsy. Titers is <no hope 
for him,' said Bianchon. 

' He witt die, his soal wandering sn the skies, his body 
unco Bs c faws an earA,'aaid hfichel OhveBtien saiemidy. 

' He will die as be lived,' said ^Arthea. 

' Love fell 4ihe a firebrand in the vast ea^>ire of Ms 
brain and burned him away,'aatd Lean Giravd. 

'Yes,' said Joseph Bridau,^be has <«ached a height 
that we camMit so vnuch as see.' 

' R^ are to be pieied, not Louis,' and Fulgence RidaL 

' Perhaps he will recover,' exclaimed Lucien. 

^Fnm what Meytaux has been idling us, recovery 
seems impoasible,' answered Biaapchon. * Modioine h» 
no power «nrer tlie change that is working in his 
brain.' 

' Yet there zrc physical means,' said d'Arthea. 

'Yes,' «aid Bianchon ; ^we might produce imbecility 
instead of catalepsy.' 

' Is thefte no wa^ ^offering another head io the spirit 
of evil i I woufM give mine to san^e him I ' cried Michel 
C%restien. 

'And what would become of European federation ?* 
ariced d'Arthez. 

' Ah ! true,' replied Michel Cbrestien. *Our duty to 
Hamanfty comes ^t ; ao 'one man aifterwards.' 

^ I came here with a 'heart full of gratilnNle to yoo all,* 



2o6 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

said Lucien* ^ You have changed my alloy into golden 
coin/ 

^Giratitude! For what do you take us?* asked 
Bianchon. 

^ We had the pleasure^' added Fulgence. 

^ Well ; so you are a journalist, are you ? ' asked Leon 
Giraud. 'The fame of your first appearance has reached 
even the Latin Quarter.* 

' I am not a journalist yet,' returned Lucien. 

* Aha ! So much the better,' said Michel Chrestien. 

' I told you so ! ' said d'Arthez. * Lucien knows the 
value of a dean conscience. When you can say to 

Jourself as you lay your head on the pillow at night, '* I 
ave not sat in judgment oii another man's work; I have 
given pain to no one ; I have not used the edge of my 
wit to deal a stab to some harmless jsoul; I have sacrificed 
no one's success to a jest; I have not even troubled 
the happiness of imbecility; I have not added to the 
burdens of genius ; I have scorned the easy triumphs of 
epigram; in short, I have not acted against my con- 
victions," is not this a viaticum that gives one daily 
strength ? ' 

* But one can sa^ all this, surely, and yet work on a 
new^Mper,' said Lucien. ^ If I had absolutely no other 
way of earning a living, I should certainly come to this.' 

* Oh ! oh ! oh ! ' cried Fulgence, his voice rising a 
note each time ; ' we are capitulating, are we ? ' 

' He will turn journalist,' Lepn Giraud said gravely. 
' Oh, Lucien, if you would only stay and work with 
us ! We are about to bring out a periodical in which 
justice and truth shall never be violated; we will 
spread doctrines that, perhaps, will be of real service to 
mankind ' 

* You win not have a single subscriber,' Lucien broke 
in with Machiavellian wisdom.' 

^ There will be five hundred of them,' asserted Michel 
Chrestien, ' but they will be worth five hundred thou- 
sand.' 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 207 

' You wiU need a lot of capiti&l/ continued Lucien. 

* No, only devotion/ said d'Arthez. 

* Anybody might ta^e him 6x a perfumer's assistant,' 
burst out Michel Chrestien, looking at Lucien's head, 
and sniffing comically. ^ You were seen driving about 
in a very smart turnout with a pair of thoroughbreds, 
and a mistress for a prince, Coralie herself/ 

* Well, and is there any harm in it ? * 

^ You would not say that if you thought that there 
was no harm in it,' said Bianchon. 

' I could have wished Lucien a Beatrice,' said d'Arthez, 
* a noble woman, who would have been a help to him in 
life ' 

^ But, Daniel,' asked Lucien, ^ love is love wherever 
you find it, is it not ? ' 

' Ah ! ' said the republican member, ^ on that one 
point I am an aristocrat. I could not bring myself to 
love a woman who must rub shoulders with all sorts of 
people in the greenroom ; whom an actor kisses on the 
stage i she must lower herself before the public, smile on 
every one, lift her skirt as she dances, and dress like a man, 
that all the world may see what none should see save I 
alone. Or if I loved such a woman, she should leave 
the stage, and my love should cleanse her from the stain 
of it.' 

* And if she would not leave the stage ? ' 

* I should die of mortification, jealousy, and all sorts 
of pain. You cannot pluck love out of your heart as you 
draw a tooth.' 

Lucien's face grew dark and thoughtful. 

^ When they find out that I am tolerating Camusot, 
how they will despise me,' he thought. 

^ Look here,' said the fierce republican, with humor- 
ous fierceness, ^ you can be a great writer, but a little 
play-actor you shall never be,' and he took up his hat and 
went out. 

^ He is hard, is Michel Chrestien,' commented Lucien. 



ftoS A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

< Shod aad nhitxry, like the deatisl^ pmcei^' said 
Bianchon. ' Michel foresees ytmr Aitore; perhaps in the 
street, at this moment, he is thinking of you with tears 
in his eyes.' 

D*Arthez was kind, and talked ooMfortingly, and 
tried to cheer Lncien. The poet spent an hour with his 
friends, then be went, but his conscience treated him 
hardly, crying to him, ^ Yov wUl be a journalist — ^a 
joaenalist r as the wiscfa cried to Macbeth that he should 
be king hereafter ! 

Out in thestnet, he looked up at d'Artfaea^s windows, 
and saw a hint light shining in diem, and his heart 
sank. A dim forebxling told him that he had bidden 
his Aicnds good-bye £>r die kst time. 

As he turned out of the Place de la Sorbonne into the 
Rue de Chmy, he saw a carriage at the door of his 
lodging. CocaUe had driven all the way from the Boale* 
varS dii Temple ibr the sake of a moment with her lover 
and a ^geod-night.* Lucien fibund her sobbing in his 
garret. She woidd be as wretchedly poor as her poet, 
she wept, as she anmoged his shirts and giaves and Imnd- 
kercUeftin thecrasyohestof^wets. Her distress was 
so leal and so great, that Lucien, bat even now chtdden 
for his caonnection witk an actress, sawGoraitc as a saint 
ready to assume the hair-shirt of poverty. The adorable 
atrl's excuse for her vtsst was an announceaaent thart the 
am of Gamusot, Coralie, and Ludcn meant to invite 
Mattfiit, Floribe, and iJousteau (the second trio) to 
supper ; had Lucien any invitations to issae to people , 
who might he vseM to him? Luden said that he 
would take oounsel of Lousfteau. 

A few moments weve spent together, and Coralie 
hurried away. She spared Lucien tSie knowledge that 
Camusot was waiting An* her below. 

Next aaerning, aS eight o'clock, Lucien went to 
Etienne Lousteau's room, found it empty, and hurried 
away to Fisiine. Lousseau and l^lorine, settled into 



A*' Difetfegtti^hed Pfotrintial at PaHrf 269^ 

possesiion of their jteWquak'tefS likfc' i mat-Hfed' rduplc^ ' 
received theif firicftd irt^the prfettj^fced^i^to; 4iid'^^^ three 

breakfasted" BUfAptUoilsiy togctft'ri?. - V ' ' ' ;' 

' Why, I shtfhld ^h^y6%mfhofiio tpiriifeWM me 
to see^ l^lideft Vetiibu,'' said Louh^au^ wHen'th^y sat u^' 
tabk, and'^Lucten h^' mentioned! CoraHe'& projected^'' 
stuppert *'ask hkii tob^t bF tlife ^rty, atltliecei>ycll with'* 
him, if you can keep well with such a rasi^il; Felidcp ' 
Vi^hou'iiimPkfMikion'Tdfti^Vmi^} paper j he might 
perhjit»$ intfbdnce'you, and you cbuld blossom out into^^^ 
Icidcff irt'tt'^t your eafee. It is a Libcrii paper, like 
ours; you will be a Liberal, that is the popular party j ' 
and besideij WyoiP mean to' go over to the Ministerialists^ I 
you would do better for yourself if they had reason^ to be 
afmidsof'yk>ilL^ Thtih th<^rd ?rf^ Hiectd^ M^/Iiii'ancl'his. 
Mmc. du Val-Nohlej yota inti^t gWsft ' |fe8^]e at^ife^^ 
houseu^ufee*' fend' dawdies and miliiofriaft'eS^; 'didb'^ ificr 
ask'you smd Coralie to dine with ^hcm P'*^''^ ' ^' ' ' ' ^ 

* YeSj* replied Lucien ^ * yoti ^fe gding' tod, arid so is '" 
FlorineJ Luden and Eticnric' wfsrt^'iiottK'oii familfar\'| 
terms after Friday's debdiich m9 tftfe dWhe* iiVhe Jtschr 
dmGmcaf^. ' ' ■ ■ ^ >^i^ '^r ■ ■'' '• r ' 

'Very well, Merlin iron tHfci paficTi'^fe! shkircN^ 
across him^jwefty bMh ; be is the chap mfolTo^ fefbi/e on . 
Finot's hmhi You would do well to py'hfbi'attentroni-, 
ask him and^Mme. du Val-tNbble' to'iifpper. He njky^ 
be useful to you before long^; for rihcoroii^ people arp * 
aJ^rays in need of others,arid he'qaiy do ytou a gdod turn 
if he can reckon on your pen,' \ 

' Your beginning Hasniade'feMdiigh'iiiSssriR&iMtlosiiJCM 



yoywliy^,^«art^<F^bl^ift;«^MvSH^!a5 otft it 6bi^;br 

YOWmm0OM^4omX^? <'''' •^«>^ yioin ^noL t)/.fl U>u 

f The) bargiMj itli^> mtv'^ fimi»kkH ' MiiWi^J'^ 

witbiaiisahif^ of nij^iht^tidrdl f^ih^ t^^'intihf!h;'aiid own^r ' 
of I b^i^tb^liAft,' fbr' Whi^fi^'^ai^ hdt pzii bhcT' 'peniiy:' "^ 



2IO. A XMstinguished Provincial at Paris 

And I, mf dear feUom. am iiow editor of our littlepaper* 
E^^erjthfpg ^e|it, off^aaj apfpete4 r Floiiae maa^^ 
superbly,' toe cbuld give pointt to TaliejFffaad iuaaaelfj 

^ We hav^ f l^oUl jon men through t)ieir pleMuie^' 
said Florine, ^ while a diplomatist onljr, works on their 
setF-love. . A d^lomatist sees a man made ud for tht 
ocquiion ; we know him in Us momenttof foUjp, so our 
power .is^|;reater.' 

* And when the thing was fettled, Matifiit made the 
firsk and last joke of his whole dru^st'a career,' put in 
Lousteay. < He said, ^ This affiur is quite, in my linei I 
am supplying drugs to the public'" 

* I iu$pect that Florine put him up to it^' cried 
Lucien« 

'And by these means^ my little deaf, your foot^is in 
the stirrup/ continued I^usteau.. 

^ You were bom with a silver >spoon in your mouth,' 
remarked Florine. ^ What lots of young, follows wait 
for years, wait till they are sick-of waitiag, for a chance 
to^^et an article into a faperf You will do like Emik* 
Bloudet. In six months' tuojie jou will be gf^ng your- 
seff liii^h and mighty airs,' she added, with a mocking 
smil^ m the language of her class. 

^Haven't I been in PariS' for three . yean i * said 
Loi^steau, ^ and only yesterday Finot.begain to pay me a 
iiied monthly salarv of three hundred fiancs, and a 
hundred francs per sneet for his paper.' 

^^ Well ; you are saying nothing I ' erdaimed floiine, 
wiw iktr eyes turned on Lucienr 

^i We shall, see,' said Lucieiu 

^My dear, boy, if you had been my brotheif, I couU 
not have done more for you,' retorted .Lausteau, somof- 
what nettled^ ^ but I won t answer for Finot. Scores of 
sl^p fellows will besiege Finot for the next Pm» days 
with offers to. work for low ftif. I hare protaited tor 
yofu^butyou can draw back if you l^ce. — You little 
know how, lucky you are,' he added after a fause^i . * All 



A Distingntshcd Provmdal atPkHsr m. 

tho6<hini«l»il||Plbc«i«kbiiiCbit9 jMudcran;enMwaiiinraBkiiiSk 
p^?m$ w41<inluep«li£Othflr a r he^iiie Jnnd/att ttiammtJ. 
' Leim M ii|vtaM£mf|riaccr«> ^r^lkite Vctmu^! jwH 

to^:yiri¥Ni''fcib9UitjW aMMUd^ftfiiir up «L aUe^iniititt 
RilAtMsinAir. > To Liwimfargreat att^niriuBca^the hanl^ 
fafiidioiMi «i4(i(nmc/crki6fi summiilings iiMie vulgtr 
toiftlifi hH dq;nm» Aoauurbi6d|npei^.Glitap aiul aludri^ 
with a «iraQifidb»ip9jttMk rc|Nal)ad jtt/vregdardintcfvaki; 

decorated the apartment, where Vernou ijttiat tahle^witk^. 
a |iM|a9iiM|>UMb2ttefc.ab^'<^^ 
mbtrel^ )#f(.tiienbMaci^:andr two varjrrvaaD childveaiij 
porchedKMi highifihiil:s 5Mikii:a. Iteiiaifi^ to{>inreirt 
the infants from tumbling outi Felicieb^.Veritoa^miiau' 
comvu^^tAikp'gomii)cmitn^^rAmt io£ thia rdmaiasiof 

thii invattov-. . .. -u i i ..: 

a ^Injf fbfiXflMeiK: ' > '.:> 

< We have iust Itk Fhomm ^y^ hiviai^beaibibteaUni; . 
inft.w»|hKbfr«i. Su...' 

Lucien could not ^ke his ef^oStiMsoB^ Vemou. 
She looked.iUkei-a/stoiii^lmncljjewJB^.i^ 
fak c«9pl<0iioni but mBiawnjda» to ;thei Jast i degree. 
The ladytwon^ a bamdtfiia jticd iw€tt\iit9r nia{ht»€aipi the 
stringa of th«.hitieE.4ur^Nok oEiiresinlHMgr'ticaslv/ ^htly 
under tbe «)|in thait hwimffjpeHeakft stand ontiim eithei^> 
side*i A) ^bap^esa^i belfeks* pMnmn^i fiMtraeit. b^r « 
single \^txpH, ^ tba .Ibroity .«Q¥daped bar fromdhaaA 
to foot in such a fashiogj thit aieciinpiriioil <ta ajmilbi . 
stG^ift; al^iiwi<e^ •uggettad&^tpd&i. Hm beabshrleft no 
room for hope; bnr ch^s/weM ftbiMMtipiiirpk^ bcf<* 
fingMTS; kwlwd libft sansagca*. . In. a iliMMntik *diimed 
upon Lucien how it was iMfc-Veraott was alimjiaiMf ill . 



( 



a 12' A Distinguished FEbvivdal 'at I^uis 

at^iow iivit9oi0t]P; ihcet^mm AcP4Mftg>e«yl4mtllftP'^ ' 
bis iiUbMdir%bn adDiQfeHif HuMaite^idiihl^ltf bring'' 
hifeMcIfiitm iab6i«kni4ils <irife£lii|i*i&My{ii to Anl^^^t 
suSiaientHiiiibe »dstbBitMipeiQio'n#«r tUfttilMallyf iMm^ ^ 
their presence ; Vernou wafrWqflkR«^^ti^^fif#i1tduAlM^ 
neiv«n(toe^Nwdbni<tlieaiMQdes»a9f,4iibAtPj tMfO ^ m m d^o 
chaitiiai disMnMitibeisttftebtae:wt^ never^edntMViwMli 
hifllnUl . Lwicnri bcgtfvi t^xirideiMUii < Ae • wtifl^ Uook> 
wkschwoMd CQ(:flMitoithe Utidc txymMlbii^^ Mr^^Mi 
V|DPMNi!t liM f]<UDapofiiiiy>of itheie^grMaii«4tl»i«rbi(^ 
his<: coorersadw^^iivtti bMMiy i «to>* joanBttttst^f «ri«n|eHtv< 

you to supper to-night at her house to ineee<dM'tttif#i'^ 
coipaaiyr ^b^kefci^ arJaorim^ aii««t|Mr<fattMr beiU^ 
—Hector Merlin and Mme. du Val-N^iUti-kAd skmM - 

^ But we are engaged to Mme. Mahoudeau itds^^^dMi 
ing^fdany pnefti'Stb'wUe? ''■''' '-•-' ^-•^i *'-'*^ '^^ - ' 

^Wfad(>iiaesri|fa«tiiimer?*M(u«Ml^\i^r»idli^ ^ ' i 

<Shr>kittitkl0siioiifem^Sf w<efdm'0>gb^>atirtl7««i:^rv: 
vertigiad>ef itpr wh^n^^rcm kave«ibttt«6 disutwt/i'cl 

^ Tnis wsfeboftniiiie^rnif^de^ b^iMUi^M^erriMocoide' 
tot iiidentaiid' thM^'ar>2s«(lpertiwgng{biii€itt^^ fljr')f^6l^ 
o'doffb dfafiiiMi>r|Mnt ycni lhMk('^i|i|g to^ atv dtenin|^> 
palM.that'iJDiim ko<{aJt) «tid 'M ekv«i; JSht^^te^^liKi^'- 
wkttrMff wfailelivr^ifei^ be added. « t^^*^ ^ -- '-'' • • 

<SfYot)ibahi ad dnMi iB(lkgliiatidli4 * s^id^iMtiei^ a»4^- 
thtfdbje lii^deria tfiCfflU eitttmy <lf'¥triMMl. - > < '^ '(^ 

^W^ia/ ttontimwdt Loalteauj ^ywf at^icbaAnr^; bur 
thM i»^iM«<afli' My de ftttbemiMPe ii'tibour t6 be mk of 



fAHDbtiaginaliediPniMiH^di^^iP^b >J^i3 



vSm iDdvv^^hali wakidinf »ituun^lMn l)^niel([H}n?1Mkar 
.tmai^soMkt Ujcah {Miittlit km a9iM»t(>l^>or'fl#ta4e8 

:dtadb«f!£)ltfnt0HDlgli^'npikdlliiieia^ ^nlfifnidr) 

ni^(Vdqnmlb<»4gMM>fe tiBiiK>8Uomilv«(I«hf>4loyi^Hfaiid 

SSMh^iiuyvar Wok *dedUinrfi>u<4ir vn£q jmO oH 
f>fiTh* (tap^ionrfiiEparisirs «l i»l wd^ hM IT^bu 



(>AffieiviUigH^p^^siooBii/lk(kl)IhNftMMD^ kbinse 



:otUfejspo€iis nddfljaeiiBil tbefapMn estth^otfami UmiP 
' IfiTMlr 301^ U>9rr"» H£wbtt%0i iwlib i^^ tanbbiiMlMllty 

StH woric 4rMtil«iK>e ift oDntn^piiii^iisMftfNimj' ^d 

forgive us for his wife. He ought to be MilkddoolF^r 
irintUb intBMitBJof>idK*,fridiIic>(aiii) Ip ^^i^*. tif:iUood- 

thirsty reviews and stinging sarcasms against' difcftiMlbl 
^ttcnrofieviEky sertwouU be'»Mr8c&:>9Vb>M^9o»le^ome 

tif a mab iifiilh such »> wife •^flfadl^tlMtfli pair ofHabani^iftible 

bnits r >i ttareiirra ateiidMMMdm/ iap Piotr A^ jf^ JIMfe» 
.. imLaimffivrJtidm>km€ii> ^nUt^Wai Ri^Mln. ViffMu 

iwilLfliitiiikt ImknifyrbuptihoiTmUfimi Mifri^-Jgh^ ; 
KfaeitaMddigitfaanmie^piitid«t Wcii mjm ini^tlMr'taad 

of^ic bittifriaid htrlias/ Yii^ariy mm* bUi u0tii|piUie 
J boriHctt^rfl^h^aiUmftr <»£«|Kppiii^tme^#eibifeiag)«^r 
>evBi7fpiic's^iniArtuiiM^>8M^aaB {•iiUm, mfctvirtir- 

qwieS) Mtdnobks, because •Ji&'kitti6dtfi»«<cMiifi(M«r; 

ffcarilttift«ha:it0ikto^ sanamed liatftilireMiMi he^AMiboth 

bn fti^wifti aad efsrfaminglj'' preaching anorriii^, fhe 



<4i4 A'DiidiigwilihedtBnvii^ 



„^)(9f#f4^|»estic life, md themlifttkftr<^;lk0 cMboi.. In 

nfli(|rmlii# vfi^ iMnd.ffcitic willmpihwv iMl#iie/uiQt evien 

i^fimti *o{(.H)»ler age. Hdilimf iaotU iRneo^MMdar 

with a wife who might be the MawMmmM of the 

Bmrgmsi nwiliVfapii and a ti^«plan«friitadfe>VehioU8 as 

Mftly^iMO* Ho ttiias to meer « tfcar fwifaourg Saint- 

(knnain, where he: iMU serer lot' feat; aschbukksi his 

dttChenes talk like his wife. Thit)itth^8Qrtiof nan to 

raise a howl at the : Jesuit%instik: the. Couit, and credit 

the Court party Wtththe idasign of trestoring tfeodal 

ngbta and 4ie>fighll ef fdm^kkAkmt^ym^tiMi bne to 

preach a crusade for £qualit7, lie that think»WiBSelf the 

equal of noone. If hewereabfiiftheic^^thewDttUgdinto 

society ; if he were in a feir way to-he a Rn^alist'poet 

'With i>oensioii«Rdith^CrassioCpthe.Leg^hrof -iHtoour, 

he wouM be an optindst, ahd^joiitiialisitioofiwi staMne- 

|KNatS:b|r. thor humfaed. . JowraaliBBrf ib aaghiit oahlapiUt 

selittflri»tiio»lwpigiBT.hatrsda. ilfavejnrapanyiwishto 

nv»jr 4Acr this? V!moiiihas:tiolief>nf;!tdKqmik.x>f 

ahuiosn- kindness iff him, k^is^ froed' toxyHfiand he 

)ii» fjiphatiorilyi the I Jottfiudist, a'tigermiith tww Hands 

'diat^teais HerpUhg tovaeQeBi'>as.if his pem had the 

A7d«o|ihobfa»' - 1^ 

< It is a aM> of tawoidiofain.' >sbid Locieni ' 'ilas he 

r ^He is #ilty, he ii a-iwriteif bfiartiGles. 'He>iiiciibates 
articles I <ho>d<i6ai than sdllas Ufe^andiiothing dse. The 

'Htmt doiMd itndiiatry'WQttId >fidl. to grafts book on his 

•wase. ^iWlk^M iarfihcMpaMedf^csAosii^g'irworkona 
Iwryf tadi^de£ baoadioffeots, of Cttbig cftaibotershar- 
flsonioiisly- ia^o idot which develops. rtHl; it t^reaahesi a 

-tUflMOc* iHd has Mms^iMt he liat no iknawled^ •t>r 
A(Sta; 'kisrt>hcmesi;>i9e. titapiaii i c> e atM te es» rtpMoagphi<aJ 
OTiUbMl JMtibns aMigiisrading, Heiis^atipofais to 
write an original ^tyfey but his inflated periods would 
oolb^psoet a pio^ck< fifiim a critk ;i«nd theiofere he goes 
jn temir of roriewS) Itket everyone dse who can only 



fA IKstingni^ed' Proyincikl ' at *Paris 21 5 

Jieep hit hcMid'akoife -water with the ^bladders q( new»- 
fiycnpafik* /'^'^ 

* What an article you are nuddng out 6f htoi i ^'-^ " ^ 
^Tlnt partltidttr kind, mj' bojr; must be %^keii^.^d 



^ Ym aira turning editor/ nld Lticien. ' ' 

« Wliaieibill I put Tou down ? * 

•AitCewdtt^t.* ..:' 

^Ahlweare tilfiltttatd/ sud Loustdtu. ^t^at a 
miittkc \ Do m I db^th Florme, let Colrilie be your 
bausdkeeper, and tate jrbur" fling/ 

^You frottU aend^ a saint to perdition/ lai^hed 
Locien. 

^WcH, there it no damning a devil,* retorted Ldiur 



The flippant cone, the brilliant talk of this new frtend, 
his views of life, his paradoxes^ the axioms of Parisian 
BAadUaveli&o^ — alJ these things impressed Luden una- 
wares. Theoretically the poet knew that such thoughts 
were perilous ; but he believed them practically useful. 

Arnved in the Boulevard du Temple, the friends 
amed to meet at the office between four and five 
oxlock. Hector Merlin would douhtlen he there. 
: Lewieau WM right. The i nf a tua tio n of ^re was m^ 
Luden ; for the courtesan whdP loves kniiws hofW 'fo 
mppk her lover to her bjr evorir weaknessiii his n^iiie^ 
SnUiMiing hetsdf with incredihiefleiibilit^ to his evqj 
wish, eacovragins the tcrft^ effroaSlhate habits #}iich 
strengthen her hoM. Lucieii 'wta 'thirst^ig dre^ for 
enjoyment ; he was in love #fth the tttty, luxi^ridus, 
m* expensive lifewhiek<the«t^ess led. 

He found CoraUe and CamusotfftozicatiM wit^' j<>y. 
The Gyimiase oftred Coraiie an digagemetlt after 
Easter on eerais for which she had neverl^red t6' hojp^ 

«And this great success is owinlj^^ to ^^^ Md 
Camnsot. ' ''^ 

« Yes, surely, Thg JkaUf would liave fidlen 4at %ut 



7a6 a E^st^wisMl ?WHH«^rtj^tiPlMi9 
should nave been m for another six years'afiil|eifl((M^e- 

vardt^?t|r^A,,^ ..ri.;..r ^iu. n ,/ ^biJlfi nt ir>fl77 ' 

h,*;.^'^^o^^''^^'*iJfRg^/^'^ 4Wl«A«I«»i round 

' nim, putting an indescnbable silken softnf^WiJIiw <wneatncss 

into her cnthi^ij^Sjp.i {J^^JM^-fr^pVi^Qwalk *And 

Camusot i his eyes leff^^^^gl^i^j^dplf Arit^cfU Wont 

of mankind in moments of sharp painc^J^liMOtb^^eam 

r ?frM^^'^'R^^''^5tf^P ^PP jr^^}lilH»aA»si4byffcliebest 
booti^kf^jrs of ^tjpt,,^^ iuipistfq|ig2iGiifiras<!flttliliiithe 
gRstening leather. eXJ^pfCq^qmr ^i^«|iK;»}Mbti«p^d 

b-^fe^'^^^i^"^^^^ Wl*cr»twi iwtVhim- 
sm, as Be sought to explain the presence of a mfsloiiaus 

-uB*r fPfti^^^^a P^:?slfc»ilci^ 3Hl4ir0i6«bered 
now that he had seen the name of ^Gay, Ru€uatt^la 

J Mic^odijere/ printed in black Utters on the ^ofr khite 

* kid lining- , , . ' /-ri 
^'"^^ * Vou havea h^nclsopiepfMr^i^otV^^/'be wiiAbT/i 

.'* Like everything ,cl*eab^9ut hija,'saidiCor^lie. jik v 
**":;^flsho,uld be very glad' of ypuf baotaiaker'i addrtss/ 
, * Oh, how like the Rue des Boyrdpnnais ito.ask/for a 
^ tradesman's address/ , criecj^^ poraldfs . * Doi^m - i ntjandito 
''_^atronjse a .young ii^^s b(;K»tip^eri j/ti nico yiteog 
[' man you wovii ijn^kcl,, Do keep to ypur finfKnitopMjnois; 
^ |hcy arc the kiai|t>r ^ ,stea4y-going man wtith a wiEudkd 

* ^family ,aud a mistress/ -q^i^ 
'^ 'Indited, if yea would fake off one of yiHir bnali^siir, 

I Sihquld be very much obljgqd,' persisted Camusoc^^'iw 
VI could not get it o/^ /|g^ iwitby^ut it:button!^ho«k,* 

kid Lucien, pushing upu . .^^f ,,. .^;w ^ri ; tr: - / )?!r. 
'Berenice will fetch you one^rv&^adofritbaoae 

^ liK^iw fc ,C<9aiiftnl«ijciag.iii^^:JirtUi 

cnicls;9priv/fr^i5<^^li^fisjW¥»g^^ 
J (^oiiic,, j^pc^ Q^l, » x>u ^^ipik^ tiit lilhijidgeiltlAnan's 

boots are very Tike mine, do vou not ? — I forhid^QriiUite 
.Hf^c ipff ywr -.hwts^' .*» w<?4, t;uiviing to- X^ucicn,— 



laenticu pair, and this gentleman was hidiogfMuiiy 
•r^«?«M-ffft'^i« tl|fetwi^«|dti»gBfcOt^«54 aaCHehad 
Ai¥^fm |))&9!^ ^"^^ vTJ>Ali«a^Mhak jwiftwen dnik- 

• 3WW>HV)Vi^'^^f«*'"^«*»*8«**''»' lAadUfilramii! Wo 
S'WWWjI sft^lte<>ln*Asl»li9§a«Mtoot.*BsLTO«n. 

was wrong • ' ,.)/ mo. •' *>'il 

. 7, * l-*** e'^t^y ^tD l llm i i ^gtCftttfMtdyadafen a 

Me |;djl7,|t^j|?||!^e #|i^m 

long lor. And whichever way it isjij^bflnuiiDlaMre 
. m^ Q^$alaMn(/(»iiUtf>^iAl)r Mi^,2«ri|ib«.q«cealf ifckure 
(^i*^yi'W\Py|ifiy f' WWl< w -i-iiy^d aril ic uov sJM i!' ^^ 1 

'Is it really true ? * he asked, seeing fh>in '^mfvtues 
,.t^^»^fl^ ^mn9t0^i»»Mii8BO»t<bk(ti4K«tMdu<;J 
dV te?««»4BP9|!BHfc; fe»0ien,«t««li6ufc f. ^ ^/ ^rt 

»AfP^fNWMi*M»<***^*W***' aii*i««lll«b«it.Wm, 
( #-»fHiV8 |ftNj'W#yfc-8»rpiiMf*'ifctt>»Ji44i* htar)liie 

" * »oii^i4Bik 

:>7«tH»}iA>r 

.qpbfoiJlMdiildltet^ t«uti ifi>r 

-illfJ^^rlT^ «fM4Air4^ flMjtodiiitbf^iilfcdUnribare 

, JL^ijBpffSfA, s^,|intoi» lwW'wd»ii{jtfATU* faoeubltis 
hands, and said not a wor.4* -. .- -nw 'f: 'n v ' . Ai 

>'}Kfl^^^'JqnljJ^ft4l»^q<lnrtlnly?.^»hfe!a^to^A. There 
..was^r4otq,4i^iQtr9city^in.hfibvoioeiiii«hiob mo ita0d» oftn 

..4eswbf. , . 




(fti 8 A i DhtinguislMd' Provindal Ht ' Rnis 

/Gold cUfenur^diMm LttderiV' spine ;'lke^M^^ 
himaelf bnrilemd with t 'weman^ an sttreii^ and a 
r^iMieboU* 

^Sbrr here, Oofdie } keep it idV the old Mdetman 

: said at jait, in a Aint, unsteady voice that taiiie iboni his 

ihoart.; * I don't 'MM aofAing back. There is die irdtth 

:of sikt^tfaouBwd fimncs^htK in the^furniture; bat I 

could not bear to diink of mj QoiMt in ^ivant. . Afaid 

Myet^ it will inos^ hmr beAireTou 'come to want. How- 

eveTwigieat this fienoemaA^s talent may be, he caii*t 

afford to keep you. We <Jd li^kiws must eaq>ect this sort 

' >of thii^. OonUe, kt me come and see:yoa skunetimes ; 

I:flMybe4if useto you. And-^Icemfess it; i dmnot 

live without you.' 

. eXbe^fMr 'imam's |gentftottes% sUHpped air 'he was 

rof his happiness just as happiness had tithed its 

tteight, teaUied Luciea dee|dy. Oorafie was quite 

'• unsoltenedvy it. 

^jQome as often as you ^Iridi, poor 'Musot,'die said; 
<I shall like yaa all the better when I doii't pretend to 
imcyiM* 

Caninsot seeiMd^ t0' be lesignedto his 'late So loi}g as 

he was not idrivon out^ ^f the earthly paridise, in which 

hk life could not hkw been^l jw ;^ hie tntted to the 

chances of life in PlMS and to die teinptations that 

woidd inset LudenVfMidi ; he would wait a wUk^ and 

all that had^been his should'be his again. So^^^er or 

>later^thowhttiw wi^ tradesman, diis handsopie young 

i4klkyir woidd be unfeithfel ; he woidd keep a^tch on 

1 Um f i and dM better to* do thn and use^his opportunity 

'With Condiey he would be their friend. The persistent 

passion that could consent to such huteilcadon terrified 

hruden. G[ibitai4t!s< proposal of a dinner at Y^ry^js in 

the Palais Royal was accepted. 



^What j<nr ! ' cried Cciralie, as soon as Gamusot had 

1. ^ You> will not go back now to your garret in 

the Latin Quarter; you will live here. We sluul always 



(depansed. 



A Dittil%iflthed Pk*ovf iitbil ^t PiGris h\g 

She began to dance her Spanish dance^with ali%SN4llbd 
Lgf*fiiMPtfa<ri«|wMa^ her 

month,' Lucien said. ' «^ ^ ^' ' '^^ ^'^ ■ 

f c(^iAnd^3l)tdaiii3iMke^as "^iKi^ i^lilh^^ 
n«ridMM< ooutiMf' «Mas; Gamittot ' Witt ptoV ^ AJi? Ihy 
dresses as-tefeMiii Ablivfelid^ iM! iWi)ckMl BV^lIke 

^ ^;Andiithe Ju>Mvf <4dMflhtf iiodehnttui ?^riftf^ii!he'%^ 
man ?* inquired B6'6nice. '' ■' ^^ '^* 

41<«ri»get iiiioxdeU,'>«MCMiato. And dftMiegan 

itedawoe.witblAiden.' ' - ' *^ - '■ ''^ -> '' '"•• ' 
<I must dose with Fiwi'^dtai^ tMl^^ l/ii^tti ^sx- 

taohiianU ■•' - ■ ''-^ ' • *>* '■ '•' - 

^Thml^ flddCandif^^I^iMlt^Miil idid taM^ito 

))mip4ffGe. I wilt writ OQtside iiv ^ ftoilkvattf <or J^u 
WithitheoBirisM.^ » .•'.- • •^''' -^ - • ''- ;■ '^' 

> uLudtmiayi uswy ooo sInn tatk- and^^ttude some very 
sober reflections as he . fww th tril CMllltf at^i^f toiiet. It 

^^ukhlUMilMBf 'Wiser w>1diveJ<MraKe''ft«fe than to 
stdrt aB «t«iMb frith iiidiraar esttMiHifteAt ;' butCoraUe 
was there bdiM«'tis<afCB,^«fld'C#MM#^wk-sO'kf¥e so 

. gvacefiil, aoi IJMiAtMigyl ttas ^ the ^ tMrt' ^tiMettfit 
aipeetaoftehaBiiarWtitf^it^^eirideMes Md'htf^iAig'down 
thegaunder)i0:1bi«uite< 

Berenice was ordTe^ad^to^M^ieiviMMd^Lueleii'Si'fettief^ 
abd>iaRyhition|:4Md^'(i)0iaB^tr}«nbp^ and 

happ7, carried off her love, her poet, and must needs go 
oU'^nrer Paris tM(th«iwirfl0'lii» RbeqSaiM-Piacre. 
Luden nprang li^dy up the seilrene^ and eimred the 

* otEcewwdi an>adf>»f^'liehig ^jfoite at hoitle. Coloquinte 
was therewith the stamiped-fMiperstiU on his head; and 
old GiroudtauaolMiiaiagainjirfpocrifitdlf eih^^l^that 
no one had yet come in* 



where* prv.MJ^^ ^^fl^vMgM^m:JiKM^4k^ 
riting of the paper/ CHud the -^ ' - 



writing of the paper/ nud the Emperor's captain, 
^ iMuMs {pfm » t^ ^»fi:iiiMldfi9f l>^iHrai^pm klft his 

eternal brwml brmm! .I'uv" ivm'.vA '^H • ' ^i» 

nt^^ ^|uf]p7H9fitiyilil$kiPrf 2FFMltMhcliiHibecl t4icAme in 

At Ijlll^t ^vyllMmMllfiM Jnnimi^ 
>iNl4m lH4jQilVudeMiiM«^<ftl<0<rfr Jik xnMMi^^^ < ^.^ ih 

' No shillyriibiUgr «irj|)ii^ik>«wlk«MVil»^ i*jm^the 
.i»#>^fRu|»kad4Adnft»:Jli%i^ teMfil,Jii}hb#sftped 

Lttcien by the hand. .- '^' ^.. . ' ji j,iii ' ^. .irjn 

o4(P^i iftiAe Q«li^MJ|MP«i'^'^t)tecWin«^Qi«oik)eau, 

much surpri»Dd at this friendIines$4!r)bWklM^)9Wkl*^><"^^ 

^1 want to make things snug for you tiVB^iJest 
ojEtk^Mii^aiM bwihoMkjr<»i;9f«M(^l»iMi Flm^iaoking 

three francs per column all round, indMitegsthtitrfbiV 

>^ / YR«l>bs9^i)^v»fi#akim suits om OMiiPhiitrindidbre,' 
/lpaid;Gi(9i|4f^9^%|miAgUi'qm. • i i. .^o-. -jfiai i3do> 

. r':^d^i^tt;«^^illbfQwr aol4enidklb«M-eUiioSee 
sfA^t ji9MyifiAml(9ibtotb9«»»ctn4 Am dbn^oislMsishjyre 
(,pf .ti^f|t$^vfrtmUjt<bit«B,;9Pi^2^ dnre 

^fi^,mi$ t^j^Wr^MUroi^Vho aiMM^MHlniog tOtlMsl^i- 
'•^lAMidic^i.agMfe^9tOi9W9ite.iJhfii4r^ 

articles of two columns each, foi:-.&fi^(frafictj|iaiUAQiitfa, 

\i9f^i9mj^mi^. j.PM»itet^tby<mr : .•,•;.• ■•.-• w 
' ^ YiC^. ) 9aid I#ii9Hui< ) ,£Snsiulisl8ACf»i (had lioned^ilvs 

,f Qc«]v Rpotln i|gneeimeiit^v«iQQif, «»dM:4Kritt>vngiUiit 

M^M^^^bpis tb^gftn$kgi«ift>P t}Ai9Uir«diGi««uilf3Mv^«^ 

: 1 1< M. JU^if nu4e .Rtthnmrne^ wJh0rMiMQjih«:'iMrtioIe.on 
ThtAUaldt: ^ .o 



A Diitii^ttisliied PVoviiv^Tat PiiHs/ iM ^ 

oia<soldkl^ ^^g •&«deaioti limfSottlBaaLij^M amflMtw 

Utmrnty^m/Uii, bdt II^iead()tb9tdi|«lidiribf f¥ouH^liii<k4>v 

:fib jujiragpotoMi irifli LaM«0M4MilrfKNit^tipda|iliao^ 
cate and ready to sign ? ^fldKdk<Fte<lf^ 0|flHlMli^ asktefi <''> . 

'Then ante-date this gentlMnqite •gietlB«R4l^^4^ 
dsiy^ewitkaii LoiiiiKwiidltbr><)aMMi W^MprmlAh 

ContnqO :ii*^i 'jrl L;- -.• "• r.i u 1 t- > \*^:i ivrr^i'' 
fpntqtoBfelik te#riooiitriiMitdf%ittia witir«tM<9Mil^ 
ness that charmed Lycien, and drew hiut^'Oui^iAi^Acn^' 

^YmaifbiAimimlmuitifm wuJ>^Is«ritt>iHtQ0<Jlc«Ml»^r 
toTfl9[>fMflF,«Mien( Mlotb:iigte>tMJtdNii«i(il>tfft ifNM*vi 
withi#ip4b ifli9iti^ofes0 wVdficaiiiaifafe««ii^^ 
fi%iiUncvl)>fli^nmtotliiikn(UNl2Sltl^^ of .•llkioMri€hi< 
LoMwK m>qm Miioi:)iIsdfiM]i io^teqis iMMt irfihn%]t»pi 
ThoragveilMittii gMdge^inhiiir oifoawir )ii t&i^^fihg ^ 
hisr-tendDiMii ifitrw fsifi aw)coUalrii(0i3^^tatf Q^otfohaw ' 

the whims of the editor. You might let me^teW^ani. 

pap)rbMt«orKuMM^fidnAi^jiVfai«4ste «: 

dooft hitaipMJt Miaiybodjr^lMqiii^iiriifuM^beilMiQ*^ ^ > 
tovOeaptoofibreff <i>iMqwhoieH|;Mii^ ' 

yofvl^gow^orttuMP ' WHt0^lbiirnMMeii)^4H^yMP'.t^ 
sho«tB,«f||iv>tw» witli^yo«ri>w« 'uM^ituid i«ii#ii9wMi % <« 
ps€uMttymi td tHae^owibaf not 'teeiiit^ibefiHkiiig^tilNr^ 
bretdroikti o6vaAy*KH^ielHrsii«ieuth.-iViitfii«We fewt ' 
pomiiiiu«iflkMldet MdiViMii^/i*^ tMnkMikat^f<^<^ 
haf«vai Mareibefet^fjriMiL'i Sd>4M^iPMtf^fiiMnif|ei^:iciil^ 
above ilbtidnBffbe>Mii]fi«iir)>g«|Mi)alNayh^^ 
As for US| we shalbalwi^ %etfMi«vWtoi(echei^7oa*'iyd 
I. Hmkp mel and^iwAi'Mpiy^u;' Ymi) have 'ibhy 



2%aL* A Di^tifiguidied Pirovincud at Pafis^ 

bmf»*iflmn)ndii%mkMii ^ckemito atUywiiiixMr Louies 
WMkbrl^f booklbitOi MftlBttt riotA^lBtllL -L Wt|)b thftfetand 
YcM) wqffk iflatrthtio|»per^i)roiiBwiU ita 






fraAjBA at fioi»%ii««>0g itbfi(|iiiUMheit>;l>tli^ Witt jiayi Jpavii 
fog(Ityifiqws?aiid>:pwigpaetiiaM,i Bvtt jmmiwm udgm^ ^trt 
you nob} . Icaiiii)oii^Mp0*«ik 

Lucien squeezed Finot's hand in transports ofcjoy 
wUch^ffp mmtoi can cdqum^. 

M)w^ Itiianf ioMD<teod tfaa*/ anjrthiiig liaajpM8^.i 
between us,' said Finot in his ear, and he flung apuDMy.. 
docirof araom ifl riMi;r#jgjat theaenAgf adoiig.jpitiier 
oibAeififtkjflofiriri >-.'.>: s.-h ' : .. . h«.j - 

A table covered with a p;reen doth was-dfmn)Up^i»)ai. 
blwiiSDfilN^jMdiiMitediM.' lidolnfchaiflfciaiKlqkMiget 
LtM». dif<iMmMl^lMiitea%i£didflfc ybMHuifltdbMro^ 
MJsrii% al^ijtWO'jQiboriiiiiiikn^wn^tefiUta^iUc^ 
ornsmolMc.io A ^cqal inksiaidy&dLiofrrinfec^ittulii^ 
stQ«id mkifm tMHt aniMgia gneat Jitter rof pajM» ;(^ariiife. 
a Qdl9etiflii pf ptn%difi wiNtefoojttH) buTb^iJUjiQmcto 
al4i&^^ joiioridiitt^iildb^ the£nmt WiuMilmitatiwerj 

apariPWMlt*;^.: .. ^ v :i . • k • 

f Ge«tlMaq%':>Mid Finoft^i^tbodhjectof iUaigatlKrii|go 
is ^tlieiiiiatiUk^^iat'of ^unifrieod.I^itticattu^ 
as («liMBi<if j^thtoiBMrspaper. wUobvInan ^conpeUed to 
rel^ttisfcft, 'ButjakhfWightjmjrvopinionSdwiU'ntixfB^ 
utiMfg^'mtrwmfQrnMiQmwAeB)! Precept; itht>ttditoghip( 
of la nQView<.of iwhifdblbe politioiarerlKfiown toi^nnv mjr 
£onm€tkm remgia^tiiftaaiiu^ aoii>we7shaU;befrienda.aa' 
befev^ Ivaniitqiiite.atiiymir^tenriicc^ akid^you liiMwiW' 
witti^ifflady tOi do (tnTthMici &r. Aew GkmmtaniDca 
chp^ ^ jpmHith»:MerWitd/r: Pjtiiicipleiv#re>theipiv«ti 
on.ifi^iisht tjM hands foftlterfpolittoalharameM 
Theijff>w?S)ai»>instaiitvshmtoflattduteti;: >> 
^Who pul thatfintQiyour miouthi* asked LousteMi^ 



A Distu^uished Provincial at Paris 2a3 

<BloiMfet!'8aiil£iMt* 

* Wiadj, flhaMr]r» storaiTy tatckd'iyr/ ftiid Mterlin^l 
^ we will all row in die same boat.' 

,^Iliiikntty' oaiitianedi£1no% ^not^^*mttd4te our wib 
with metaplioni utfcu^who liaa an artick or two for 
nie)iwtt ahvajrt find Fiiioc^--Tlii» gcndenan^^ tinpfiiiiff 
toLiidM^ ^mallht.camatjmL/^ have ammged^itn 

Every one ccMigntnbtted Finot on his advance and 
new prospects. 

*So thmyonare^aoanted oniourshoiiMerSy'^ said a 
contribttlor/ whom. Ludea did not kMWr ' Yoir will be- 
the Tanus.of Joumid-*~~' 

*So Joogias he isn't the Janot^' put in Vernoiu 

* Are you gosng^so aUowins to make attacks on our- 
UtisnmruV ! . ^ ." ' 

^ Any one jrott like.' / 

^Ah,yesr said LoastM»(^^bttt the ps^er must keep 
on itslinea. NL Chikht^k veiy wroth i we ^alt^ot 
let him oflF for a week yet.' 
« What has bppned}! asked Lucftnw > i' 

^He came here to ask*, fori an eipiin arioh/'^^ 
Vernoift*. ^Thelosperial^ buckisund oM Givoodfilliuc at 
home ^ and old Giroudean told him, with all thetrMlmss 
in tlie worldy.that Philq^ie BMdan^ wrote the> article. 
Philippe;asked the Baron to mentjon thetited and^the 
weapons^Mid there it-ended.^ <We are -engaged 'at'thts 
moment in offering excuses to die ^Baron in to*morrow^i 
issue. Every phcmeisastabiftirhifls.' 

^Keep your teeth in hhn and he wiU com^^undto 
mV Mid Finoti fand it will look-as if I were obligiiig 
him by appeasing you. He can say a word to tlile 
MiflisUy} and we* can get eometUng or other out ^ of 
him — an assistant schoolmaster^splaee^or a tobacconist's 
license. It is a lucky ^ thine for us that we- flicked 
him on the raw. Does anybody here care to take a 
serious article on Nathan ibr myv new paper i ^ 



2^4v A'Dbtit^uished Protiticial'at Paris 

«Give it to Lucien/ said LMitdiliji' ^IMtort^nd 
Vq^llQUf wiUi<vrf|^.«uttkifite iftfthtom jptspsm^H ^ih^^ibkAe 
trmc' '.i-.i (J jt.i." -'.'i .ir ^ui III. liiw > .. 

tq^Qft^TBafbhVwriiWiwMaw^ '^J" 

that they could be sure of him. < Lucien WaMfu^ ,^d 

tqi?Wi9'^.lNKly>ilt|liieJ^»4i£tlfeinpfi^^ y^''^ 
^ Coralie is going on at the Gyninase/ sai4tbM|0taMt ^ > 

ment in your papers, and say 8ombtbui|fiflhmi\t iief uaMn^/* - 
Credit theogpm%«fiifiM| VfotH QtiAtmofkUbliWkQl&id 

^Yesy say intelligence,' said Merlin; ^F^^dM^b*^^'^ 
something of Scribe V '. ' . rjoy^iio yciA * 

n^PiJi^: 3Wl^ OwwW^fs 

thfs.ffon^t! pfiQ^p^fMil^ ^ iir4i^iikld)oft^ei»lfiifa«Mii« 
ness^'said Vernou. '.^3^ : »-?/.' k loVfit^ rr sH i.) 

'Look here ! <bNifi..i»iter^)rdiiii>iHr«Miii onl Ndtd&h 
urflijj.wt J^m^rMlflA tpignnitidaiitandiiig^fiydVisliailltUa^ 
^^yvi^M^m^ IwMtolmid «IWer|MkWtbyo4Wll«:J ' 
thu»gil^:PM)4(V^rM<|ifllAll i)iIiiKiebiiiQre)Ub»>tW0sbt))^ 
to hn^ <mr-9^iy^nMhiMso»np^ llheii 

po))^er.oC tfa#riP»mgfla(^««iu>«U maUi hUn iiP^^Ma<ykMti' 
di^f^ia:tt^99(9:^m>]Mdl8f'/i(nd. wbnwill maldbhBMf«f>4»i9'^ 
sow:^fi^:,{^rg^^m^/h^1^^^ ^^iinoife#hi'Od«i- 

ballads, and reveries;.iwri aB^tftct&Dmmtioipa^nvy^ 

,^J%,ff^iM,^ i^N^t thing, if iilfesbiitioe^v«ilMffn9i^«(ba 
aft^|9^!,said ;yerriciu^«r-»P(WUi«vdd ^im ^qUKittiifltMAk W" 
youJjSQiyicjtS-X'U^iciki'in.^ t)'' / ^j..: ^.jm ..; /(! r • 

f, y»i)^Ml<fl<Jt7ou. Aifdbtrf thum J *. askedl^iMie (^^iMsf 
tw4»tVf^)oii»KJ^cj^,4^ik^t>lanaivui'- •• -- Mv i-^ ^'^n >..•.- '" ■ 

:* 7^% af %al).jrigt^ gfrttlemiBh 5 vL ^e lyott dfy vMif 

said liOUSt|i;^U^t, . >, d vii'-n -n - •' -mi ^U ,w. rr • 

^ Very well,<tbat will ^for me,' said AretSkOk»V ^ I ^iU 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 2%^ 

heave your book at the f>oets of the sacristy s . I am tiped 
of them.* 

^If Dauriat declines to take the Mi^rguirites this 
evening) we will attack him by pitching into Nathan. 

* But what will Nathan say ? ' cried Lucicn. 
His five colleagues burst out laughing. 

* Oh ! he will be delighted,* said Vernou. ' You will 
see how we manage these things.' 

^So he is one of us ? ' said one of the two journalists. 

* Yes, yes, Frederic ; no tricks. — We are all working 
for you, Lucien, you see \ you must stand i>y us when 
your turn comes. We are all friends of Nathan's, and 
we are attacking him. Now, let us divide Alexander's 
empire. — ^Frederic, will you take the Francais and the 
Odeon?' 

* If these gentlemen are willing,' returned the person 
addressed as Frederic. The others nodded assent, but 
Lucien saw a gleam of jealousy here and there. . 

*I am keeping the Opera, the Italiens,and the Opera* 
Comique,' put in Vernou. 

^ And how about me ? Am I to have no theatres at 
all ? ' asked the second stranger. 

^ Oh well. Hector can let you have the Varietes, and 
Lucien can spare you the Porte Saint-Martin.-— rLet 
him have the Porte Saint-Martin, Lucien, he is wild 
about Fanny Beaupre; and you can take the Cirque- 
Olympique in exchange. I shall have Bobino and the 
Funambules and Madame Saqui. Now, what have we 
for to-morrow ? ' 

* Nothing.' 

« Nothing?* 

* Nothing.' . 

'Gentlemen, be brilliant for my first number. The 
Baron du Chatelet and his cuttlefish bone will pot last 
for a week, and the. writer of Le Solitaire is worn out.,' 

'And '' Sosthenes-Demosthenes " is stale too,' said 
Vernou ; 'everybody has taken it up.' 



126 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

^The fact is, we want a new set of ninepins,' said 
Frederic. 

^Suppose that we take the virtuous representatives of 
the Right ? ' suggested Louisteau. * We might say that 
M. de Bonald has sweaty feet/ 

' Let us begin a series of sketches of Ministerialist 
orators,' suggested Hector Merlin. 

^ You do that, youngster ; you know them $ they are 
vour own party,' said Lousteau ; 'you could indulge any 
Uttle private grudges of your own. Pitch into Beugnot 
and Syrieys de Mayrinhac and the rest. You might 
have the sketches ready in advstnce, and we shall have 
something to fall back upon.' 

^How if we invented one or two cases of refusal 
of burial with aggravating circumstances?' asked 
Hector. 

^ Do not follow in the tracks of the big Constitutional 
papers; they have pigeon-holes full of ecclesiastical 
canardi^ retorted Vernou. 

* Canards f ' repeated Lucien. 

*That is our word for a scrap of fiction told for true, 
put in to enliven the column of morning news when it 
is flat. We owe the discovery to Benjamin FrankKn, 
the inventor of the lightning conductor and the republic. 
That journalist completely deceived the Encydopsedists 
by his transatlantic canards. Ra)mal gives two of them 
for facts in his Histrire philosophique dis Indes* 

* I did not know that,' said Vernou. * What were the 
stories ? ' 

' One was a tale about an Englishman and a negress 
who helped him to escape ; he sold the woman for a 
slave after getting her with child himself to enhance her 
value. The other was the eloquent defence of a young 
woman brought before the authorities for bearing a 
child out of wedlock. Franklin owned to the fraud in 
Necker's house when he came to Paris, much to 
the confusion of French philosophism. Behold how 



A Distinguished Provindal at Paris 227 

the New World twice set a baA example to die 
01dl» . 

'In journalism/ smI* Lousteau^ ^ereiytking that iii 
probabk is true. That .» to axiom/ 

'Ccimipal procedure is based on the same ruie^'' said 
Vcrnou. 

^ Verjr wcll^ we >meet here at nine o'clock,* and #ith 
that they rose, and the sitting broke up with the most 
affecting demonstrations of intimacy and goodwill.' 

'What have you done to Finot, Lucien, that he 
should make a special arrangement with you ? You are 
the only one that he has bound to himself/ said Eti^me 
Lousteau^ as they canie' downstairs. 

'I ? Nothing. It was his own proposal,' said Lucieil. 

' As a matter of fact, if you should make your own 
terms with him^ I should be delighted ; we should, both 
of ui, be the better for it.' 

On the ground floor they ibund Finot. He stepped 
across; tt> Lousteau mai- asked him into the $o*caIkd 
private office. Oiroudeau iitimediately put a couple of 
stamped agreements before Lucien^ 

^Siga your agreement,' he said, 'and the new editor 
will think the whole thing was arranged yesterday.' 

Lucien, reading the document overheard fragments 
of a tolerably warm dispute within as to the line of 
conduct and profits of the pap^r. £tienne Lousteau 
wanted his share of the hkoktfiail lericd by Giroudeau ; 
and, .in all probability, the matter was coinpr<Mnised, 
for the pair came out perfectly good friends. 

'We will, meet at Dauriat s, Lucien, in the Wooden 
Galleries at eight o'clock,' said Eti^nne Lousteau. 

A young man appeared, meanwhile, in search of 
employment) wearing the same nervous shy look with 
which Lucien himself had come to the office so short 
a while ago ; and in his secret soul Lucien felt amused as 
he watched Giroudeau playing off the same tactics with 
which the old campaigner 1^ previously foiled hitn. 



2i8 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Self-interest opened his eyes to the necessity of the 
manceuvres which raised well-nigh insurmountable 
barriers between beginners and the upper room where 
the elect were gathered together. 

* Contributors don't get very much as it is,' he said, 
addressing Giroudeau. 

^ If there were more of you, there would be so much 
less,' retorted the captain. 'So there ! ' 

The old campaigner swung his loaded cane, and went 
down, coughing as usual. Out in the street he was 
amazed to see a handsome carriage waiting on the 
boulevard for Lucien. 

' Tim are the army nowadays,' he said, ' and we are 
the civilians.' 

' Upon my word,' said Lucien, as he drove away with 
Coralie, ' these young writers seem to me to be the best 
fellows alive. ' Here am I a journalist, sure of making 
six hundred francs a month if I work like a horse. But 
I shall find a publisher for my two books, and I will 
write others ; for my friends will ensure a success. And 
so Coralie, " vogue la gaUre / " as you say.' 

' You will make your way, dear boy ; but you must 
not be as good-natured as you are good'*looking ; it 
would be the ruin of you. Be illwiatured, that is the 
proper thing.' 

Condie and Luden. drove in the Bois de Boulogne, 
and again they met the Marquise d'Espard, Mme. de 
Bargeton, and the Baron du Chatelet. Mme. de 
Bargeton gave Lucien a languishing glance which might 
be taken as a greeting. Camusot had ordered the ^t 
possible dinner ; and Coralie, feeling that she was rid of 
her adorer, was more charming to the poor silk-mercer 
than she had ever been in the fourteen months during 
which their connection lasted ; he had never seen her so 
kindly, so enchantingly lovely. 

' Come,' he thought, ' let us keep near her anyhow ! ' 

In consequence, Camusot made secret overtures. He 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 229 

promised Coralie an income of six thousand liyres ; he 
would transfer the stock in the funds into her name (his 
wife knew nothing about the investment) if only she 
would consent to be his mistress still. He would shut 
his eyes to her lover. 

^ And betray such an angel ? • . . Why, just look at 
him, you old fossil, and look at yourself! and her eyes 
turned to her poet. Camasot haa pressed Lucien to drink 
till the poet's head was rather cloudy. 

There was no help for it ; Camusot made up his 
mind to wait till sheer want should give him this woman 
a second time. 

'Then I can only be your friend,' he said, as he kissed 
her on the forehead. 

Lucien went from Coralie and Camusot to the 
Wooden Galleries. What a change had been wrought 
in his mind by his initiation into Journalism ! He 
mixed fearlessly now with the crowd which surged to 
and fro in the buildings; he even swaggered a little 
because be had a mistress; and he walked into Dauriat's 
shop in am <^Fhand manner becarase he was a journalist. 

He found himself among distinguished men ; gave a 
hand to Blondet and Nathan and Finot, and to all the 
coterie with whom he had been fraternising for a week. 
He was a personage, he thought, and he flattered himself 
that he surpassed his comrades. That little flick of the 
wine did him admirable service ; he was witty, he showed 
that he could ' howl with the wolves.' 

And yet, the tacit approval, the pmsts spoken and 
unspoken on which he had counted, were not forth- 
coming. He noticed the first stirrings of jealousy 
among a group, less curious, perhaps, than anxious to 
know the place which this newcomer might take, and 
the exact porticm of the sum-^otal of profits which he 
would probably secure and swallow. Lucien only saw 
smiles on two faces — Finot, who r^arded him as a mine 
to be exploited, and Lousteiu, who ccmsidercd that he 



9'jo A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

had proprietary rights in the poet, looked glad to see 
him. Lousteau lud begun aheady to assume the airs 
of an editor ; he tapped sharply on the window*panes of 
Dauriat's private office. 

^ One moment, my friend,' cried a voice within as the 
publisher's face appeared above Che green curtains. 

The moment lasted an hour, and finally Lucien and 
£tienne were admitted into the sanctunu 

* Wdl, have you thought over our friend's propotol? ' 
asked £tienne Lousteau, now an editor^ 
.^To beisurs,' said Dauriat^ lolling like a sul^min his 
chair. ^ I have read the volume. And I submitted it 
to a man of taste, ai good judge i for I don't pr^end to 
understand these things myself. I myself, my friend, 
buy reputations ready-^made, as. the Englishman bought 
bis love affairs.-^ You are as great as a poet as you af e 
handsome as a man, my boy,' pronounced L)auriat« 
^ Upon my word and honour (I don't tell you that as a 
publisher, mind), your sonnets. are magnificent; no sign 
of effort about them^ as is natural when a man writes 
with inspiration and fferve. You know jrour craft, in 
fiict, one of the good points of the new school. Your 
volume of Marguirites is a fine book^ but there is no 
business in it, and it is not worth my while to meddle 
with anything but a very big affair. In conscience, I 
won^t tsdce your sonnets. It would be impossible to push 
them; there is not enough in the thing to pay the 
expenses of a big success. You will not keep to poetry 
besides $ this book of yours will be your first and .last 
attempt of the kind. You are young; you brtbg ine 
the everlasting volume of early verse which every man of 
letters writes when he leaves school, he thinks a lot of it 
at the time, and laughs at it later om Lousteau, your 
friend^ has a poem put away somewhere among tus old 
socks, I'll warrant. Haven't you a poem that you 
thought a good deal of once, Lousteau?' inquired 
Dauriat, wira a knowing glance at the other. 



A Distingiushed Provincial at Paris 231 

* How should I be writing prose otherwise, eh ? ' 
asked Lousteau. 

^ There, you see ! He has never said a word to me 
about it, for our friend understands business and the 
trade,' continued Dauriat* ^ For me the question is not 
whether you are a great poet, I know, that,' he added, 
stroking down Lucien's pride ; ^ you have a great deal, a 
very great deal of merit ; if I were only just starting in 
business, I should make the mistake of publishing your 
book« But in the first place, my sleeping partners and 
those at the back of me are cutting oflF my supplies ; I 
dropped twenty thousand francs over poetry last year, and 
that is enough for them ; they will not hear of any more 
just now, and they are my masters. Nevertheless, that 
is not the question. I admit that you may be a great 
poet, but will you be a prolific writer ? Will you hatch 
sonnets regularly ? Will you run into ten volumes ? 
Is there business in it ? Of course not. You will be a 
delightful p#ose writer ; you have too much sense to spoil 
your style with tagging rhymes together. You have a 
chance to make thirty thousand francs per annum by 
writing for the papers, and you will not exchange that 
chance for three thousand francs made with difficulty 
by your hemistiches and strophes and tomfoolery—*— ' 

^ You know that he is on the paper, Dauriat r ' put in 
Lousteau. 

^Yes,' Dauriat answered. ^Yes, I saw his article, 
and in his own interests I decline the Marguerites. 
Yes, sir, in six months' time I shall have paid you more 
money for the articles that I shall ask you to write 
than for your poetry that will not sell.' 

^ And fiune ? ' said Lucien. 

Dauriat and Lousteau laughed. 

^ Oh dear ! ' said Lousteau, ' there be illusions left.* 

^Fame means ten years of sticking to work, and a 
hundred thousand francs lost or made in the publishing 
trade. If you find anybody mad enough to print your 



232 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

poetry for you, you will feel some respect for me in 
another twelvemonth, when you have had time to see 
the outcome of the transaction.' 

^Have you the manuscript here?' Lucien asked 
coldly. 

^ Here it is, my friend,' said Dauriat. The publisher's 
manner towards Lucien had sweetened singularly. 

Lucien took up the roll without looking at the string, 
so sure he felt that Dauriat had read his Marguerites. 
He went out with Lousteau, seemingly neither discon- 
certed nor dissatisfied. Dauriat went with them into 
the shop, talking of his newspaper and Lousteau's daily, 
while Lucien played with the manuscript of the Mar^ 
guerites, 

^Do you suppose that Dauriat has raid your sonnets 
or sent them to any one eke i ' Etienne Lousteau 
snatched an opportunity to whisper. 

* Yes,' said Lucien. 

^Look at the string.' Lucien looked down at the 
blot of ink, and saw that the mark on the string still 
coincided ; he turned white with rage. 

^ Which of the sonnets was it that you particularly 
liked i ' he asked, turning to the publisher. 

^ They are all of them remarkable, my friend ; but the 
sonnet on the Marguerite is delightful, the closing 
thought is fine, and exquisitely expressed. I felt sure 
from that sonnet that your prose woric would command 
a success, and I spoke to Fi not about you at once. 
Write articles for us, and we will pay you well for them. 
Fame is a very fine things you see, but don't forget the 
practical and solid, and take every chance that turns up. 
When you have made money, you can write poetry.' 

The poet dashed out of the shop to avoid an explosion. 
He was furious. Lousteau followed. 

* Well, my boy, pray keep cool. Take men as 
they are — for means to an end. Do you wish for 
revenge ? ' 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 233 

^ At any price,' muttered the poet. 

* Here is a copy of Nathan's book. Dauriat has just 
given it to me. The second edition is coming out 
to-morrow ; read the book a^in, and knock off an 
article demolishing it. Fdiden Vemou cannot endure 
Nathan, for he thinks that Nathan's success will injure 
his own forthcoming book. It is a craze with these 
little minds to fiuicy that there is not room for two 
successes under the sun ; so he will see that your article 
finds a place in the big paper for which he writes.' 

^ But what is there to be said against the book ; it is 
good work ? ' cried Lucien. 

* Oh, I say ! you must learn your trade,' said Lousteau, 
laughing. * Given that the book were a masterpiece, 
under the stroke of your pen it must turn to dull trash, 
dangerous and unwholesome stuff.' 

'But how?' 

' You turn all the good points into bad ones.' 

* I am incapable of such a juggler's feat.' 

' My dear boy, a journalist is a juggler ; a man must 
make up his mind to the drawbacl^ of the calling. 
Look here ! I am not a bad fellow ; this is the way / 
should set to work myself. Attention ! You might 
begin by praising the book, and amuse yourself a while by 
saying what you really think. ^ Good," says the reader, 
''this critic is not jealous; he will be impartial, no 
doubt," and from that point your public will think that 
your criticism is a piece of conscientious work. Then, 
when you have won your reader's confidence, you will 
regret that you must blame the tendency and influence 
of such work upon French literature. ''Does not 
France," you will say, "sway the whole intellectual 
world ? French writers have kept Europe in the path 
of analysis and philosophical criticism from age to age 
by their powerful style and the original turn given by 
them to ideas." Here, for the benefit of the philistine, in- 
sert a panegyric on Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Montes- 



234 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

quieu, and BufFon. Hold forth upon the inexorable 
French language ; show how it spreads a varnish, as it 
were, over thought. Let fall a few aphortsms, such as — 
^ A great writer in France is invariably a great man ; 
he writes in a language which compels him to think ; it 
is otherwise in other countries " — and so on, and so on. 
Then, to prove your case, draw a comparison between 
Rabener, the German satirical moralist, and La Bruyere, 
Nothing gives a critic such an air as an apparent 
familiarity with foreign literature. Kant is Cousin's 
pedestal. 

^ Once on that ground you bring out a word which 
sums up the French men of genius of the eighteenth 
century for the benefit of simpletons — ^you call that 
literature the '^ literature of ideas." Armed with this 
expression, you fling all the mighty dead at the heads of 
the illustrious living. You explain that in the present 
day a new form of literature has sprung up ; that dialogue 
(the easiest form of writing) is overdone, and description 
dispenses with any need for thinking on the part of the 
audior or reader. You bring up the fiction of Voltaire, 
Diderot, Sterne, and Le Sage, so trenchant, so compact 
of the stuff of life ; andt.turn from them to the modern 
novel, composed of scenery and word^pictures and meta- 
phor and the dramatic situations, of which Scott is full. 
Invention may be dispbiyed in such work, but there is 
no room for anything else. ^'The romance after the 
msnaer of Scott is a mere passing fashion in literature,'' 
you will say, and fulminate against the fatal way in 
which ideas are diluted and beaten thin ; cry out against 
a style within the reach of any intellect, for any one can 
commence avthor at small expense in a way of literature, 
which you can nickname the ^^ literature of imagery." 

^Then you fiiU upon Nathan with your argument, 
and establish it beyond cavil that he is a mere imitator 
with an appearance of genius. The concise grand style 
of the eighteenth century is lacking ; you show that the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 235 

author substitutes events for sentiments. Action and 
stir is not life ; he gives you pictures, but no ideas. 

^ Come out with such phrases, and people will take 
them up.i-M.In spite of the merits of the work, it seems 
to you to be a dangerous, nay, a &tal precedent. It 
throws open the gates of the temple of Fame to the 
crowd ; and in* the distance you descry a legion of petty 
authors hastening to imitate this novel and easy style of 
writing; 

^Here you launch out into resounding lamentations 
over tko decadence and, decline of taste, and slip in 
eulogies of Messieurs Etienne Jouy, Tissot, Gosse, 
Duval, Jav, Benjamin Constant, Aighan, Baour-^Lor* 
mian, Villemain, and the whole Liberal-Bonapartist 
chorus who patronise Vernou's paper. Next you draw 
a picture of that glorious phalanx of writers repelling the 
invasion of the Romantics i 'these are the upholders of ideas 
and style as agaliist metaphor and balderdpsb ; the modern 
representatives of the school of Voltaire as opposed to 
the English and German tsdiools, even as^tbe seventeen 
heroic deputies of the Left fought the battle for the 
nation Against the Ultras of the Right. 

^And then, under cover of names respected by the 
immense majority of Frenchmen (who will always be 
against the Government), you ean crush 'Nathan ; for 
although his work is far above the average, it confirms 
the bourgeois taste for literature without ideas. And 
after that, you understand, it is no longer a question of 
Nathan and his book, but of France and the glory of 
France. It is the duty of all honest and courageous 
pens to make strenuous opposition to these foreign 
importations. And with that you flatter your readers. 
Shrewd French mother-wit is not easily caught napping. 
If publishers, by ways which you do not choose to 
specify, have stolen a success, the reading public vety 
soon judges for itself, and cbrrects the mistakes made by 
some five hundred fools, who always rush to the fore. 



236 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

< Say that the publisher who sold a first edition of the 
book is audacious indeed to issue a second, and express 
regret that so clever a man does not know the taste of 
the country better. There is the gist of it. Just a 
sprinkle of the salt of wit and a dash of vinegar to bring 
out the flavour, and Dauriat will be done to a turn. 
But mind that you end with seeming to pity Nathan for 
a mistake, and speak of him as of a man from whom con- 
temporary literature may look for great things if he 
renounces these ways.' 

Lucien was amazed at this talk from Loustean. As 
the journalist spoke, the scales fell from his eyes; he 
beheld new truths of which he had never before caught 
so much as a glimpse. 

^But all this that you are saying is quite true and 
just,' cried he. 

^ If it were not, how could you make it tell against 
Nathan's bookf asked Lousteau« ^That is the first 
manner of demolishing a book, my boy ; it is the pick- 
axe style of criticism. But there are plen^ of other 
ways. Your education will complete itself in time. 
When you are absolutely obliged to speak of a man 
whom you do not like, for proprietors and editors are 
sometimes under compulsion, you bring out a neutral 
special article. You put the title of the book at the 
head of it, and begin with general remarks, on the 
Greeks and the Romans if you like, and wind up with — 
**and this brings us to Mr. So-and-so's book, which will 
form the subject of a second article." The second article 
never appears, and in this way you snuff out the book 
between two promises. But in this case you are writing 
down, not Nathan, but Dauriat $ he needs the pickaxe 
style. If the book is really good, the pickaxe does no 
hsirm ; but it goes to the core of it if it is bad. In the 
first case, no one but the publisher is any the worse } in 
the second, you do the public a service. Both methods, 
moreover, are equally serviceable in political criticism.' 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 237 

£tienne Lousteau's cruel lesson opened up possibilities 
for Lucien's imagination. He understood this craft to 
admiration. 

' Let us go to the office,' said Lousteau $ ^ we shall 
find our friends there, and we will agree among ourselves 
to charge at Nathan ; they will laugh, you will see/ 

Arrived in the Rue Saint-Fiacre, they went up to the 
room in the roof where the paper was made up, and 
Lucien was surprised and gratified no less to see the 
alacrity with which his comrades proceeded to demolish 
Nathan's book. Hector Merlin took up a piece of paper 
and wrote a few lines for his own newspaper : — 

^ A second edition of M. Nathan's book is announced. 
We had intended to keep silence with regard to that 
work, but its apparent success obliges us to publish an 
article, not so much upon the book itself as upon certain 
tendencies of the new school of literature.' 

At the head of the ^ Facetiae ' in the morning's paper, 
Lousteau inserted the following note : — 

' M. Dauriat is bringing out a second edition of M. 
Nathan's book. Evidently he does not know the legal 
maxim, Nm Us in idem. All honour to rash courage. 

Lousteau's words had been like a torch for burning ^ 
Lucien's hot desire to be revenged on Dauriat took the 
place of conscience and inspiration. For three days he 
never left Coralie's room ; he sat at work by the fire, 
waited upon by Berenice ; petted, in moments of weari- 
ness, by the silent and attentive Coralie ; till, at the end 
of that time, he had made a fair copy of about three 
columns of criticism, and an astonishingly good piece of 
work. 

It was nine o'clock in the evening when he ran round 
to the office, found his associates, and read over his work 



138 A Distinguished Prorinciftl at Plrid 

to an attentive audience. Felicien said not a syHatfle. 
He took up tiie manuscript^ and made off with i« pell- 
mell down the staircase. 

^ What has come to him ? 'cried Lucien. 

^He has taken your article straight to theprintltr/ 
said Hector Merlin. ^ *Tis a masterpiece ; not a line to 
add, nor a word to take out/ 

^ There was no need to do more than show you the 
way/ said Lousteau. 

^ I should like to see Nathan's fiice when he reads this 
to-morrow/ said another contributor, beaming with 
gentle satisfaction, 

^It is as well to have you for a friend/ remarked 
Hector Merlin. 

< Then it will do ? ' Lucien asked quickly. 

^ Blondet and Vignon will feel bad,' said Lousteau. 

^ Here is a short article which I have knocked together 
for you,' began Lucten 5 * if it takes, I could write you 
a series.' 

^ Read it over,' said Lousteau, and Lucien read the 
first of the delightful short papers which made the for- 
tune of the little newspaper; a series of sketches of 
Paris life, a portrait, a type, an ordinary event, or some 
of the oddities of the great city. This specimen^-^^ The 
Man in the Street '-^was written in a way that was 
fresh and original ; the thoughts were struck out by the 
shock of the words, the sounding ring of the adverbs 
and adjectives caught the reader's ear. The paper was 
as different from the serious and • profound article on 
Nathan as the Lettres persanes from the Esprit dts bis. 

^ You are a born journalist,' said Lousteau. ^ It shall 
go in to-morrow. Do as much of this sort of thing as 
you like.' 

^ Ah, by the bye,' said Merlin, ^ Daurmt is furious about 
those two bombshells hurled into his magazine. I have 
just cotfie from him. He was hurling imprecations, and 
in such a rage with Finot, who told him that he had sold 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 239 

his paper to jcf\i. As for me^ I took bim aside and just 
said a word in his ear. '^ The Marguerites will cost you 
dear/' I told him. **A man of talent comes to you, 
you turn the cold shoulder on him, and send him into 
the arms of the newspapers." * 

^Dauriat vrill be dumbfounded by the article on 
Nathan/ said Lousteau. *Do you see now what 
journalism is, Lucien ? Your revenge is beginning to 
tell. The Baron Chatelet came here this morning for 
your address. There was a cutting article upon him in 
this morning's issue ; he is a weakling, that buck of the 
Empire, ano he has lost his head. Have you seen the 
paper ? It is a funny article. Look, " Funeral of the 
Heron, and the Cuttlefish-bone's lament." Mme. de 
Bargeton is called the Cuttlefish-bone now, and no 
mistake, and Chatelet is known everywhere as Baron 
Heron.* 

Lucien took up the paper, and could not hdp laughing 
at Vernou's extremely cleVtt- skit* 

* They will capitidate soon,' said Hector Merlin. 

Lucien merrily assisted at the manufacture of epigrams 
and jokes at the end of die paper; and the associates 
smoked and chatted over the day's adventures, over the 
foibles of some among their number, or some new bit 
of personal gossip. From their witty, malicious, banter- 
ing talk, Lucien gained a knowledge of the inner life of 
literature, and of the manners and customs of the craft. 

^ While they are setting up the paper, I will go round 
with you and introduce you to the managers of your 
theatres, and take you behind the scenes,' said Lousteau. 
'And then we will go to the Panorama-Dramatique, and 
have a frolic in their dressing-rooms.' 

Arm«-in-arm, they went from theatre to theatre. 
Lucien was introduced to this one and that, and en- 
throned as a dramatic critic. Managers complimented 
him, actresses flung him side glances ; for every one of 
them knew that this was the critic who, by a single 



240 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

article, had gained an engagement at the Gymnase, with 
twelve thousand francs a year, for Coralie, and another 
for Florine at the Panorama-Dramatique with eight 
thousand francs* Lucien was a n^an of importance. 
The little ovations raised Lucien in his own eyes, and 
taught him to know his power. At eleven o'clock 
the pair arrived at the Panorama-Dramatique ; Lucien 
with a careless air that worked wonders. Nathan 
was there. Nathan held out a hand, which Lucien 
squeezed. 

^ Ah ! my masters, so you have a mind to floor me^ 
have you ? ' said Nathan, looking from one to the other. 

^Just you wait till to-morrow, my dear fellow, and 
you shall see how Lucien has taken you in hand. 
Upon my word, you will be pleased. A piece of serious 
criticism like that is sure to do a book good.' 

Lucien reddened with confusion. 

* Is it severe ? ' inquired Nathan. 

' It is serious,' said Lousteau. 

^Then there is no harm done,' Nathan rejoined. 
^Hector Merlin in the greenroom of the Vaudeville 
was saying that I had been cut up.' 

'Let him talk, and wait,' cried Lucien, and took 
refuge in Coralie's dressing-room. Coralie, in her 
alluring costume, had just come off the stage. 

Next morning, as Lucien and Coralie sat at break&st, 
a carriage drove along the Rue du Vendome. The 
street was quiet enough, so that they could hear the 
light sound made by an elegant cabriolet ; and there was 
that in the pace of the horse, and the manner of pulling 
up at the door, which tells unmistakably of a thorough- 
bred. Lucien went to the window, and there, in fact, 
beheld a splendid English horse, and no less a person 
than Dauriat flinging the reins to his man as he stepped 
down. 

"Tis the publisher, Coralie,' said Lucien. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 241 

^Let him wait, Berenice/ Coralie said at once. 

Lucien smiled at her presence of mind, and kissed her 
with a great rush of tenderness. This mere girl had 
made his interests hers in a wonderful way; she was 
quick-witted where he was concerned. The apparition 
of the insolent publisher, the sudden and complete 
collapse of that prince of charlatans, was due to circum- 
stances almost entirely forgotten, so utterly has the book 
trade changed during the last fifteen years. 

From 18 16 to 1827, when the newspaper reading- 
rooms were only just beginning to lend new books, 
the fiscal law pressed more heavily than ever upon 
periodical publications, and necessity created the inven- 
tion of advertisements. Paragraphs and articles in the 
newspapers were the only means of advertisement known 
in those days ; and French newspapers before the year 
1822 were so small, that the largest sheet of those times 
was not so large as the smallest daily paper of ours. 
Dauriat and Ladvocat, the first publishers to make a 
stand against the tvranny of journalists, were ako the 
first to use the placards which caught the attention 
of Paris by strange type, striking colours, vignettes, and 
(at a later time) by lithograph illustrations, till a placard 
became a fairy-tale for the eyes, and not unfrequentlv a 
snare for the purse of the amateur. So much originality 
indeed was expended on placards in Paris, that one of that 
peculiar kind of maniacs, known as a collector, possesses 
a complete series. 

At first the placard was confined to the shop-windows 
and stalls upon the Boulevards in Paris ; afterwards it 
spread all over France, till it was supplanted to some 
extent by a return to advertisements in the newspapers. 
But the placard, nevertheless, which continues to strike 
the eye, after the advertisement and the book which is 
advertised are both forgotten, will alwavs be among us ; 
it took a new lease of life when walls were plastered 
with posters. 



14^ A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Newspaper advertising, the offspring of heavy stamp 
duties, a high rate of postage, and the heavy deposits of 
caution-money required by the Government as security 
for good behaviour, is within the reach of all who care 
to pay for it, and has turned the fourth page of every 
journal into a harvest field aUke for the speculator and 
the Inland Revenue Department. The press restric- 
tions were invented in the time of M. de Villele, who 
had a chance, if he had but known it, of destroying the 
power of journalism by allowing newspapers to multiply 
till no one took any notice of them ; but he missed his 
opportunity, and a sort of privilege was created, as it were, 
by the almost insuperable difficulties put in the way of 
starting a new venture. So, in 1821, the periodical 
press might be said to have power of life and death over 
the creations of the brain and the publishing trade. A 
few lines among the items of news cost a fearful 
amount* Intrigues were multiplied in newspaper offices ; 
and of a night when the columns were divided up, and 
this or that article was put in or left out to suit the 
space,^ the prindng^room became a sort of battlefield ; 
so much so, that the largest publishing firms had writers 
intheir pay to insert short articles in which many ideas 
are- put in litife space. Obscure journalists of this stamp 
were only paid after the insertion of the items, and not 
unfrequefttly spent the night in the printing-office to 
make sure that their contributkxns were not omitted ; 
sometimes putting in a long article, obtained heaven 
knows how, sometimes a few lines of a pufiF. 

The manners and customs of journalism and of the 
publishing houses have since changed so much) that 
many people nowadays will not believe what immense 
efforts were made by writers and publishers of books to 
secure a newspaper 'ffoff; the martyrs of glory, and all 
those who are condemned to the penal servitude of a life- 
long success^ were reduced to such shifts, and stooped to 
depths of bribery and corruption as seem fabulous to-4ay* 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 243 

Every kind of persuasion was brought to bear on jour- 
nalists — dinners, flattery, and presents. The following 
story will throw more light on the close connection 
between the critic and the publisher than any quantity 
of flat assertions. 

There was once upon a time an editor of an important 
paper, a clever writer with a prospect of becoming a 
statesman; he was young in those days, and fond of 
pleasure, and he became the favourite of a well-known 
publishing bouse. One Sunday the wealthy head of the 
firm was entertaining several of the foremost journalists 
of the time in the country, and the mistress of the 
house, then a young and pretty woman, went to walk 
in her park with the illustrious visitor. The head-clerk 
of the firm, a cool, steady, methodical German with 
nothing but business in his head, was discussing a project 
with one of the journalists, and as they chatted they 
walked on into the woods beyond the park. In among 
the thickets the German thought he caught a glimpse 
of his hostess, put up his eyeglass, made a sign to bis 
young companion to be silent, and turned back, stepping 
softly. — *What did you sec?* asked the journalist. — 
^Nothing particular,' said the clerk. ^Uur afllair of 
the long article is settled. To-morrow we shall have at 
least three columns in the Dihats^ 

Another anecdote will show the influence of a single 
article. 

A book of M. de Chateaubriand'^ on the last of the 
Stuarts was for some time a * nightingale ' on the book- 
sellerls shelves. A single article in the Joutnal dts 
Debats^ sold the work in a week. In those days, when 
there were no lending libraries, a publisher Would sellan 
edition of ten thousand copies of a book by a Liberalif 
if was well reviewed by the Oppodi^n papers; but 
then the Belgian pirated editions were not as yet. 

The prepaiatory attacks made by Lucien's "fri^ikb, 
followed up by his article on Nathan, proved efficacious \ 



244 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

they stopped the sale of his book. Nathan escaped with 
the mortification ; he had been paid ; he had nothing to 
lose; but Dauriat was like to lose thirty thousand 
francs. The trade in new books may, in fact, be 
summed up much on this wise. A ream of blank paper 
costs fifteen francs, a ream of printed paper is worth any- 
thing between a hundred sous and a hundred crowns, 
according to its success ; a favourable or unfavourable 
review at a critical time often decides the question ; 
and Dauriat, having five hundred reams of printed paper 
on hand, hurried to make terms with Lucien. The 
sultan was now the slave. 

After waiting for some time, fidgeting and making as 
much noise as he could while parleying with Berenice, 
he at last obtained speech of Lucien ; and, arrc^ant pub- 
lisher though he was, he came in with the radiant air of 
a courtier in the roy^ presence, mingled, however, with 
a certain self-suffici^icy and easy good hiunour. 

^ Don't disturb yourselves, my little dears! How 
nice they look, just like a pair of turtle-doves ! Who 
would think now, mademoiselle, that he, with that 
girl's face of his, could be a tiger with claws of steel, 
ready to tear a reputation to rags, just as he tears your 
wrs^ppers, I 'U be bound, wl^n you are not quick enough 
to unfasten them,' and he laughed before he. had finished 
his jest. 

'My dear boy ' he began, sitting down beside 

Lucien. — ' Mademoiselle, I am Dauriat,' he said, inter- 
rupting himself. He judged it expedient to fire his 
name at her like a pistol shot, for he considered that 
Coralie was less cordial than she should havie been. 

' Have you breakfasted, monsieur ; will you keep us 
company i ' asked Coralie. 

' Why, yes ; it is easier to talk at table,' said Dauriat. 
'Besides, by accepting your invitation! shall have a 
right to expect you to dine with my fiiend Lucien here, 
for we must be close friends now, lumd and glove ! ' 



A Distinguiahed Provincial at Paris 245 

^ Berenice ! Bring oysters, lemons, fresh butter, and 
champagne/ said Coralie. 

^ You are too clever not to know what has brought 
me here,' said Dauriat, fixing his eyes on Lucien. 

* You have come to buy my sonnets.' 

^Precisely. First of all, let us lay down our arms on 
both sides/ As he spoke he took out a neat pocket- 
book, drew from it three bills for a thousand francs each, 
and laid them before Lucien with a suppliant's air. * Is 
monsieur content ? ' asked he. 

^ Yes,' said the poet. A sense of beatitude, for which 
no words exist, flooded his soul at the sight of that un- 
hoped wealth. He controlled himself, but he longed to 
sing aloud, to jump for joy ; he was ready to believe in 
Aladdin's lamp and in enchantment ; he believed in his 
own genius, in short. 

^ Then the Marguerites are mine,' continued Dauriat ; 
^ but you will undertake not to attack my publications, 
won't you ? ' 

* The Marguerites are yours, but I cannot pledge my 
pen ; it is at the service (^ my friends, as theirs are mine.' 

* But you are one of my authors now. All my authors 
are my friends. So you won't spoil my business without 
warning me beforehand, so that I am prepared, will you ? ' 

^I agree to that.' 

^ To your iame ! ' and Dauriat nused bis glass. 

* I see that you have read the MargueritH^ said Lucien. 
Dauriat was not disconcerted. 

^My boy, a publisher cannot pay a greater compli- 
ment than by buying your Marguerites unread. In six 
months' time you wiU be a great poet. You will be 
written up; people are afraid of you; I shall have no 
difficulty in selling your book. I am the same man of 
business that I was four days ago. It is not I who have 
changed ; it is you. Last week your sonnets were so 
many cabbage leaves for me ; to-day your position has 
ranked them beside Delavigne.* 



^46 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

^ Ah well,' said Lucien, ' if you have not read my 
sonnets, you have read my article.* ^ With the. sultan's 
pleasure of possessing a fair mistress, and the certainty of 
success^ he had grown satirical and adorably impertinent 
of late. 

^ Yes, my friend ; do you think I should have come 
here in such a hurry but for that ? That terrible article 
of yours is very well written, worse luck. Oh ! you 
have a very great gift, my boy* Take my advice and 
make the most of your vogue,' he added, with good 
humour, which masked the extreme insolence of the 
speech. ^ But have you yourself a copy of the paper ? 
Have you seen your article in print ? ' 

'Not yet,' said Lucien, ^though this is the first long 
piece of prose which I have published ; but Hector will 
have sent a copy to my address in the Rue Chariot.' 

'Here^ — read I' • • t cried Dauriat, copying Talma's 
gesture in Afanlius^ 

Lucien took the paper, but Coralie snatched it from 
him. 

'The firstfruits of your pen belong to me, as you 
well know,' she laughed. 

Dauriat was unwontedly caurtier4ike and complimen- 
tary. He was afraid of Lucien, and therefore he asked 
him to a great dinner which he was givingi to a party of 
journalists towards the end of the week, and Coralie was 
included in the. invitation. He took the Marguerites 
2LW«y with him when he Wfnt, asking hi$ poet to look in 
when he pleased in the Wooden Galleries, and the 
agreement should be ready for his signature. Dauri«t 
never forgot the rovalairs with which he endeavoured to 
overawe superficial observers, and to impress them with 
the notion that he was a Maecenas rather than a pub- 
lisher ; .at this moment he left the three thousand francs, 
waving away in lordly fashion the receipt which Lucien 
o£Fered, kissed Coralie's hand, and took bis departure. 

* Well, dear love, would you have seen many of these 



A Distinguished Provincial at Faris ^7 

biu of paper if you had stopped in your hole in the Rue 
de Cluny, prowling about among tht musty old books in 
thd Bibliothdque de Sainte^Genevieve ? ' asked Goralie, 
for she knew the whole story of Luden's life by this 
time. * Those little friends of yours in the Rue des 
Quatre- Vents are great ninnies, it seems to me.* 

His brothers of the cinaclel And Lucien could hear 
the verdict and laugh. 

He had seen himself in print ; he had just experienced 
the ineffable joy of the audior, that first pleasurable thrill 
of gratified vanity which comes but once. The full 
import and bearing of his article became apparent to him 
as he read and re-read it. Tlie garb>of print is to manu- 
script as the stage is to women ; it brings beauties and 
defects to light, killing and giving life ; the fine thoughts 
and the faults alike stare you in the face. 

Lucien, in his excitement and rapture, gave not 
another thought to Nathan* Nathan was a stepping- 
stone for him — that was all ; and Jbe (Lucien) was hs^py 
exceedingly*-*-he thought himself .rich. The money 
brought by Dauriat was: a very Potosi for the lad who 
used to go about unnoticed through the streets of 
Angouleme and down the steep path into L'Houmeau to 
Postel's garret, where his whole fiimily had lived upon an 
income of twelve hundred francs. The pleasures of his 
life in Paris must inevitably dim the memoriestof those 
days ; but so keen were they, that, as yet, he seemed to be 
back again in the Place du Murter. He thmight of Eve, 
his beautiful, noble sister, of David his firiend, and of 
his poor mother, and he sent Berenice out to chsuige one 
of the notes. While she went he wrote a few lines to 
his fiimily, and on the maid's return he sent her to the 
coach-office with a packet of five hundred fiancs ad- 
dressed to his mother^ He could not trust himself; he 
wanted to send the money at once ; later he might not 
be able to do it. Both Lucien and Coralie looked upon 
this restitution as a meritorious action. Coralie put her 



24^ A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

arms about her lover and kissed him, and thought him a 
model son and brother ; she could not make enoueh of 
him, for generosity is a trait of character which delights 
these kindly creatures, who always carry their hearts in 
their hands. 

* We have a dinner now every day for a week,' she 
said i * we will make a little carnival ; you have worked 
quite hard enough.' 

Coralie, fain to delieht in the beauty of a man whom 
all other women should envy her, took Lucien back to 
Staub. He was not dressed finely enough for hen 
Thence the lovers went to drive in the Bois de Boulogne, 
and came back to dine at Mme. du Val-Noble's. KaS" 
tignac, Bixiou, des Lupeaulx, Finot, Blondet, Vignon, 
the Baron de Nucingen, Beaudenord, Philippe Bridau, 
Conti, the great musician, all the artists and speculators, 
all the men who seek for violent sensations as a relief 
from immense labours, gave Luden a welcome among 
them. And Lucien had gained confidence; he gave 
himself out in talk as though he had not to live by his 
wit, and was pronounced to be a ^ clever fellow ' in the 
slang of the coterie of semi-comrades. 

* Oh ! we must wait and see what he has in him,' said 
Theodore Gaillard, a poet patronised by the Court, who 
thought of starting a Royalist paper to be entitled the 
Reviil at a later day. 

After dinner. Merlin and Lucien, Coralie and Mme. 
du Val-Noble, went to the Opera, where Merlin had a 
box. The whole party adjourned thither, and Lucien 
triumphant reappeared upon the scene of his first serious 
check. 

He walked in the lobby, arm in arm with Merlin and 
Blondet, looking the dandies who had once made merry 
at his expense between 'the eyes. Chdtelet was under 
his feet. He clashed glances with de Marsay, Van- 
denesse, and Manerville, the bucks of that day. And 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 149 

indeed Lucten, beautiful and elegantly arrayed, had caused 
a discussion in the Marquise d Espard's box ; Rastignac 
had paid a long visit, and the ^^quise and Mme. de 
Bargeton put up their opera-glasses at Coralie. Did the 
sight of Lucien send a pang of regret through Mme. de 
Bareeton's heart ? This thought was uppermost in the 
poers mind. The longing for revenge aroused in him 
by the sight of the Corinne of Angouleme was as fierce 
as on that day wheii the lady and her cousin had cut 
him in the Champ»-£lysees. 

*Did you bring an amulet with you from the pro- 
vinces ? '-—It was Blondet who made this inquiry sohm 
few days later, when he called at eleven o'clock in the 
morning and found that Lucien was not yet risen. — 
^His good looks are making ravages fi'om cellar to 
garret, high and low,' continued Blondet, kissing Coralie 
on the f^ehead. ^I have come to enlist you, dear 
fellow,' he continued, grasping Lucien by the hand. 
* Yesterday, at the Italiens, the Comtesse de Montcomet 
asked me to bring you to her house. You will not give 
a refusal to a charming woman ? You meet people of 
the first £ishion there.' 

^If Lucien is nice, he will not go to see your 
Countess,' put in Coralie. * What call is there for him 
to show his face in fine society ? He would only be 
bored there.' 

^ Have you a vested interest in him ? Are you jealous 
of fine ladies?' 

* Yes,' cried Coralie. *They are worse than we are.' 

^ How do you know that, my pet ? ' asked Blondet. 

' From their husbands,' retorted she. ^ You are for- 
getting that I once had six months of de Marsay.' 

' Do you suppose, child, that / am particularly anxious 
to take such a handsome fellow as your poet to Mme. de 
Montcornet's house ? If you object, let us consider that 
nothing has been said. But I don't fimcy that the 
women arc so much in the question as a poor devil that 



ft^o A IXstinguished Provincial at Paris 

Lucien piibried in his newspaper; he is begging for 
mercy and peace. The fiaron du Chatelet is imbecile 
enough to take the thing seriously^ The Marquise 
d'Espardy Mme. de Bargeton, and Mme. de Montcornet's 
set have taken up the Heron's cause ; and I have under- 
taken to reconcile Petrarch and his Laura — Mme. de 
Bargetx>n and Lucien. 

^ Aha J ' cried Lucien, the glow of the intoxication 
of revenge throbbing full-pulsed through everj vein. 
'Aha! so my foot is on their necks! You nudce me 
adore my pen, worship my friends, bow down to the 
fate-dispensing power of the press. I have not written 
a single sentence as yet upon the Heron and the Cuttle- 
fish-&me. — I will go with you, my boy,' he cried, 
catching Blondet by the waist; 'yes, I will go; but 
first, the couple shall feel the weight of tkisj for so light 
as it is.' He flourished the pen which had written the 
article upon Nathan. 

^To^morrow,' he cried, 'I will« hurl, a couple of 
oolunms at their heads. Then, we will see. . Don't be 
frightened, Coralie, it is not love but revenge; revenge! 
And I will have it to the full ! ' 

'What a man it is!' said Blondet. 'If you but 
knew, Luden, how rare such explosions are in this jaded 
Paris, you might appreciate yourself. You wiU be a 
precious scamp' (the actual expression was n trifle 
stronger) ; ' you are in a £Mr way to be a power in the 
land.' 

' He will get on,' said Coralie. 

' Well, he has come a good way already in six weeks.' 

'And if he should climb so high that he can reach a 
sceptre by treading over a corpse, he shall have Coralie's 
body for a stepping-stone,' said the girl. 

' You are a pair of lovers of the Golden Age,' said 
Blondet. — ' I congratulate you on your big article,' he 
added, turning to Lucien. ' There were a lot of new 
things in it* You are past master ! ' 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 251 

Lottsteau called with Hector Merlin and Verkiou. 
Lucien was immensely flattered by this attention. 
Felicien Vernou brought a hundred francs for Lucien's 
article ; it was felt that such a contributor must be well 
paid to attach him to the paper. 

CoraUe, looking round at the chapter of journalist8| 
ordered in a breakfast from the Gadran bleuy the nearest 
restaurant, and asked her visitors to adjourn to her hand- 
somely furnished dining-room when Berenice announced 
that the meal was ready. In the middle of the repast, 
when the champagne had gone to all heads, the motive 
of the visit came out. 

^ You do not mean to make an enemy of Nathan, do 
you ? ' asked Lousteau. ^ Nathan is a journalist, and be 
has friends ; he might play you an ugly trick with your 
first book. You have your Archer 9f Charles ix. to 
sell, have you not? We went roundf to Nathan this 
morning ; he is in a terrible way. But you will set 
about another article^ and pufF praise in his face.' 

^ What I After mv article against his book, would 
you have me sa y began Lucien. 

The whole party cut him short with a shout of 
hittghter* 

^ Did vou ask him to supper here the day after to* 
morrow?' asked Blondet. 

^Your article was not signed/ added Lousteau. 
^ Felicien, not being quite such a new hand as you are, 
was careful to put an initial C at the. bottoin. You can 
do that now with all your articles .in his paper, which 
is pure unadulterated Left. We aive all of us in the 
Opposition. Feliden was tactful enough not to com- 
promise your future opinions* Hector's shop is Right 
Centre ; you might sign your work on it with an L. If 
you cut a man up, you do it anonymously ; if you praise 
him, it is just as well to put your name to your 
article.' 

^It is not the signatures that trouble me,' returned 



2^2 A Distinguished Provincitl at Paris 

Lucien, ^ but I cannot see anything to be said in favour 
of the book.' 

^Then did you really think as you wrote?* asked Hector. 

*Yes/ 

* Oh ! I thought you were cleverer than that, 
youngster,' said Blondet. ^ No. Upon my word, as I 
looked at that forehead of yours, I credited you with the 
omnipotence of the great mind — the power of seeing 
both sides of everything. In literature, my boy, every 
idea is reversible, and no man can take upon himself to 
decide which is the right or wrong side. Everything is 
bi-lateral in the domain of thought. Ideas are binary. 
Janus is a fable signifying Criticism and the symbol of 
Genius. The Almiehty alone is triform. What raises 
MoHere and Corneille above the rest of us but the faculty 
of saying one thing with an Alceste or an Ocuve, and 
another with a Philinte or a Cinna ? Rousseau wrote a 
letter against duelling in the Nwvelle Heltiseyznd another 
in favour of it. Which of the two represented his own 
opinion ? will you venture to take it upon yourself to 
decide ? Which of us could give judgment for Clarissa 
or Lovelace, Hector or AchiUes ? Who was Homer's 
hero ? What did Richardson himself think ? It is the 
function of criticism to look at a man's work in all its 
aspects. We draw up our case, in short.' 

^ Do you really stick to your written opinions ? ' asked 
Vernou, with a satirical expression. ^Why, we are 
reuilers of phrases ; that is bow we make a livelihood. 
When you try to do a good piece of work*— to write a 
book, in short — ^you can put your thoughts, yourself 
into it, and cling to it, and fight for it ; but as for news- 
paper articles, read to-day and forgotten to-morrow, they 
are worth nothing in my eyes but the money that is 
paid for them. If you attach any importance to such 
drivel, you might as well make the sign of the Cross and 
invoke heaven when you sit down to write a tradesman's 
circular/ 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 253 

Every one apparently was astonished at Lucien's 
scruples. The last rags of the boyish conscience were 
torn away, and he was invested with the toga virilis of 
journalism. 

^ Do you know what Nathan said by way of comfort- 
ing himself after your criticism ? ' asked Lousteau. 

^ How should I know i * 

*' Nathan exclaimed, ^* Paragraphs pass away ; but a 
great work lives ! '' He will be here to supper in two 
days, and he will be sure to &11 flat at your feet, and 
kiss your claws, and swear that you are a great man.' 

'That would be a funny thing,' was Lucien's 
comment. 

* Funny ! ' repeated Blondet. * He can't help himself.' 

'I am quite willing, my friends,' said Lucien, on 
whom the wine had begun to take effect. ' But what 
am I to say ? ' 

' Oh well, refute yourself in three good columns in 
Merlin's paper. We have been enjoying the sight of 
Nathan's wrath ; we have just been telling him that 
he owes us no little gratitude for getting up a hot 
controversy that will sell his second edition in a week. 
In his eyes at this present moment you are a spy, a 
scoundrel, a caitiff wretch; the day after to-morrow 
you will be a genius, am uncommonly clever fellow, one 
of Plutarch's men. Nathan wiU bug you and call you 
his best friend. Dauriat has been to see ycHi ; you have 
your three thousand francs ; you have worked the trick I 
Now you want Nathan's respect and esteem. Nobody 
ought to be let in except the publisher. We must not 
immolate anv one but an enemy. We should not talk 
Uke this if it were a question of some outsider, some 
inconvenient person who had made a name fior himself 
without us and was not wanted ; but Nathan is one of 
us. Blondet got some one to attack him in the 
Mircurt for the pleasure of replying in the Dihau*. For 
which reason the first edition went off at once.' 



2 §4 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

^My friends, upon my word and honour, I cannot 
write two words in praise of that boo k ' 

' You will hare another hundred francs,' interrupted 
Merlin. ^Nathan will have brought you in ten louis 
d'or, to say nothing of an article that you might put in 
Finot's paper; you would get a hundred francs for 
writing that, and another hundred francs from Dauriat 
— total, twenty louis.' 

* But what am I to say ? ' 

* Here is your way out of the difEculty,' said Blondet, 
after some thought. ^ Say that the envy that fastens on 
all good work, like wasps on ripe fruit, has attempted to 
set its fangs in this production. The captious cridc, 
trying his best to find fault, has been obliged to invent 
theories for that purpose, and has drawn a distinction 
between two kinds of literature — " the literature of ideas 
and the literature of imagery," as he calls them. On the 
heads of that, youngster, say that to give expression to 
ideas through imagery is the highest form of art. Try 
to show that all poetry is summed up in that, and lament 
that there is so little poetry in French ; quote foreign 
criticisms on the uiumaginative precision of our style^ 
and then extol M. de Canalis and Nathan for the 
services they have done France by infusing a less prosaic 
spirit into the language. Knock your previous au^gument 
to pieces by calling aitteiitton to the fact that we have 
made progress since the eighteenth century. (Discover 
the ^ progress," a beautiful word to mystify the bourgeois 
public.) Say that the new methods in literature 
concmtrate all styles, comedy and tragedy, description, 
character-drawing and diadc^ues, in a series of pictures 
set in the brilliant frame of a plot which holds the 
reader's interest. The Novel, which demands sentiment, 
stylc^ and imagery, is the greatest creation of modern 
days ; it is the successor of st^e comedy grown obsolete 
with its restrictions. Facts and ideas are all withua the 
province of fiction. The intellect of an incisive moralist, 



A Distingiiished Provincial at Paris 255 

like La Bruyere, the power of treating character as 
Moliere could treat it, the grand machinery of a 
Shakespeare, together with the portrayal of the most 
subtle shades of passion (the one treasury left untouched 
by our predecessors) — for all this the modern novel 
affords free scope. How far superior in all this to the 
cut-*and-dried logic-chopping, the cold analysis to the 
eighteenth century !—" The Novel," say sententiously, 
is the Epic grown amusing." Instance Corinnej bring 
Mme. de Stael up to support your argument. The 
eighteenth century called ail things in question ; it is 
the task of the nineteenth to conclude and speak the 
last word ; and the last word of the nineteenth century 
has been for realities — ^realities which live however and 
move. Passion, in short, an element unknown in 
Voltaire's philosophy, has been brought into play. 
Here a diatribe against Voltaire, and as for Rousseau, 
his characters are polemics and systems masquerading. 
Julie and Claire are entelechies-^informing spirit 
awaiting flesh and bones. 

^ You might slip ofF on a side issue at this, and say 
that we owe a new and original literature to the Peace 
and the Restoration of the Bourbons, for you are writing 
for a Right Centre paper. 

^ Scoff at Founders of Systems. And cry with a glow 
of fine enthusiasm, *'Here are errors and misleading 
statements in abundance in our contemporary's work, 
and to what end? To depreciate a fine work, to 
deceive the public, and to arrive at this conclusion — 
*A book that sells, does not sell.'" Proh pudor! 
(Mind you put Proh pudor! 'tis a harmless expletive 
that stimulates the reader's interest.) Foresee the 
approaching decadence of criticism, in fiu:t. Moral — 
^^ There is but one kind of literature, the literature 
which ain»8 to please. Nathan has started up<»i a new 
way; he understands his epoch and ful&k the require- 
ments of his age^^the demand for drama, the natur^ 



256 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

demand of a century in which the political stage has 
become a permanent puppet show. Have we not 
seen four dramas in a score of years — the Revolution, 
the Directory, the Empire, and the Restoration?*' 
With that, wallow in dithyramb and eulogy, and the 
second edition shall vanish like smoke. This is the way 
to do it. Next Saturday put a review in our magazine, 
and sign it ^^ de Rubempre," out in full. 

^In that final article say that ^^fine work always 
brings about abundant controversy. This week such 
and such a paper contained such and such an article 
on Nathan's book, and such another paper made a 
vigorous reply." Then you criticise the critics "C" 
and ^ L " ; pay me a passing compliment on the first 
article in the Debats^ and end by averring that Nathan's 
work is the great book of the epoch ; which is all as if 
you said nothing at all ; they say the same of everything 
that comes out. 

'And so,' continued Blondet, 'you will have made 
four hundred francs in a week, to say nothing of the 
pleasure of now and again saying what you really think. 
A discerning public will maintain that either C or L 
or Rubempre is in the right of it, or mayhap all the 
three. Mythology, beyond doubt one of the grandest 
inventions of the human brain, places Truth at the 
bottom of a well; and what are we to do without 
buckets i You will have supplied the public with three 
for one. There you are, my boy. Go ahead ! ' 

Lucien's head was swimming with bewilderment. 
Blondet kissed him on both cheeks. 

'I am going to my shop,' said he. And every man 
likewise (kparted to his shop. For these ^ htanmes fartSj 
a newspaper office was iK>thing but a shop. 

They were to meet again in the evening in the 
Wooden Galleries, and Luden would sign his treaty of 
peace with Dauriat. Florine and Lousteau, Luden and 
Coralie, Blondet and Finot, were to dine in the Palais- 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 257 

Royal; du Bruel was giving the manager of the 
Panorama-Dramatique a dinner. 

* They are right,' exclaimed Lucien, when he was 
alone with Coralie. ^ Men are made to be tools in the 
hands of stronger spirits. Four hundred francs for three 
articles ! Doguereau would scarcely give me as much 
for a book which cost me two years of work.' 

^ Write criticism,' said Corsuie, ^have a good time! 
Look at me, I am an Andalusian girl to-night, to- 
morrow I may be a gipsy, and a man the night after. 
Do as I do, give them grimaces for their money, and 
let us live happily.' 

Lucien, smitten with love of Paradox, set himself to 
mount and ride that unruly hybrid product of Pegasus 
and Balaam's ass; started out at a gallop over the 
fields of thought while he took a turn in the Bois, and 
discovered new possibilities in Blondet's outline. 

He dined as happy people dine, and signed away all 
his rights in the Marguerites. It never occurred to him 
that any trouble might arise from that transaction in the 
future. He took a turn of work at the office, wrote off 
a couple of columns, and came back to the Rue de 
Vendome. Next morning he found that the germs of 
yesterday's ideas had sprung up and developed in his 
brain, as ideas develop while the intellect is yet unjaded 
and the sap is rising ; and thoroughly did he enjoy the 
projection of this new article. He threw himself into it 
with enthusiasm. At the summons of the spirit of con- 
tradiction, new charms met beneath his pen. He was 
witty and satirical, he rose to yet new views of senti- 
ment, of ideas and imagery in literature. With subtle 
ingenuity, he went back to his own first impressions of 
Nathan's work, when he read it in the newsroom of the 
Cour du Commerce ; and the ruthless, bloodthirsty critic, 
the lively mocker, became a poet in the final phrases 
which rose and fell with majestic rhythm like the sway- 
ing censer before the altar. 

R 



258 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

' One hundred francs, Coralie ! ' cried he, holding up 
eight sheets of paper covered with writing while she 
dressed. 

The mood was upon him ; he went on to indite, stroke 
by stroke, the promised terrible article on Chatelet and 
Mme. de Bargeton. That morning he experienced one 
of the keenest personal pleasures of journalism ; he knew 
what it was to forge the epigram, to whet and polish the 
cold blade to be sheathed in a victim's heart, to make of 
the hilt a cunning piece of workmanship for the reader 
to admire. For the public admires the handle, the 
delicate work of the brain, while the cruelty is not 
apparent ; how should the public know that the steel of 
the epigram, tempered in the fire of revenge, has been 
plunged deftly, to rankle in the very quick of a victim's 
vanity, and is reeking from wounds mnumerable which 
it has inflicted ? It is a hideous joy, that grim, solitary 
pleasure, relished without witnesses ; it is like a duel with 
an absent enemy, slain at a distance by a quill ; a jour- 
nalist might really possess the magical power of talismans 
in Eastern tales. Epigram is distilled rancour, the 
quintessence of a hate derived from all the worst passions 
of man, even as love concentrates all that is best in human 
nature. The man does not exist who cannot be witty 
to avenge himself; and, by the same rule, there is not 
one to whom love does not bring delight. • Cheap and 
easy as this kind of wit may be in France, it is always 
relished. Lucien's article was destined to raise the 
previous reputation of the paper for venomous spite 
and evil-speaking. His article probed two hearts to 
the depths ; it dealt a erievous wound to ' Mme. de 
Bargeton, his Laura of old days, as well as to his rival, 
the Baron du Chatelet. 

* Well, let us go for a drive in the Bois,' said Coralie, 
'the horses are fidgeting. There is no need to kill 
jroursfelf/ 

*We will take the article on Nathan to Hector. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 259 

Journalism is really very much like Achilles' lance, it 
salves the wounds that it makes,' said Lucien, correct*- 
ing a phrase here and there. 

The lovers started forth in splendour to show them- 
selves to the Paris which had but lately given Lucien 
the cold shoulder, and now was beginning to talk about 
him. To have Paris talking of you I and this after you 
have learned how large the great city is, how hard it is 
to be anybody there — ^it was this thought that turned 
Lucien's head with exultation. 

^ Let us go by way of your tailor's, dear boy, and tell 
him to be quick with your clothes, or try them on if they 
are ready. If you are going to your fine ladies' houses, 
you shall eclipse that monster of a de Marsay andyoung 
Rastignac and any Ajuda-Pinto or Maxime de Trailles 
or Vandenesse of them all. Remember that your mis- 
tress is Coralie ! But you will not play me any tricks, 
eh?' 

Two days afterwards, on the eve of the supper-party 
at Coralie's house, there was a new play at the Ambigu, 
and it fell to Lucien to write the dramatic criticism. 
Lucien and Coralie walked together after dinner from 
the Rue de Vendome to the Panorama-Dramatique, 
going along the Cafe Turc side of the Boulevard du 
Temple, a lounge much frequented at that time. People 
wondered at his luck, and praised Coralie's beauty. 
Chance remarks reached his ears; some said that 
Coralie was the finest woman in Paris, others that 
Lucien was a match for her. The romantic youth felt 
that he was in his atmosphere. This was the life for 
him. The brotherhood was so far away that it was 
almost out of sight. Only two months ago, how he 
had looked up to those lofty great natures ; now he asked 
himself if they were not just a trifle ridiculous with their 
notions and their Puritanism. Coralie's careless words 
had lodged in Lucien's mind, and begim already to bear 
fruit. He took Coralie to her dressing-room, and strolled 



26o A Distingmshed Provincial at Paris 

about like a sultan behind the scenes ; the actresses gave 
him burning glances and flattering speeches. 

* I must go to the Ambigu and attend to business,' 
said he. 

At the Ambigu the house was full ; there was not a 
seat left for him. Indignant complaints behind the 
scenes brought no redress ; the box office-keeper, who 
did not know him as yet, said that they had sent orders 
for two boxes to his paper, and sent him about his busi- 
ness. 

^ I shall speak of the play as I find it,' said Lucien, 
nettled at this. 

^ What a dunce you are ! ' said the leading lady, 
addressing the box office-keeper, ^that is Coralie's 
adorer.' 

The box office-keeper turned round immediately at 
this. ^I will speak to the manager at once, sir,' he said. 

In all these small details Lucien saw the immense 
power wielded by the press. His vanity was gratified. 
The manager appeared to say that the Due de Khetore 
and Tullia the opera-dancer were in the stage-box, and 
they had consented to allow Lucien to join them. 

^ You have driven two people to distraction,' remarked 
the youn^ Duke, mentioning the names of the Baron 
du Chatekt and Mme. de Bargeton. 

' Distraction ? What will it be to-morrow ? ' said 
Lucien. ^ So far, my friends have been mere skirmishers, 
but I have given them red-hot shot to-night. To- 
morrow you will know why we are making game of 
" Potelet." The article is called <« Potelet from 1811 to 
1 821." Chatelet will be a byword, a name for the 
type of courtier who deny their bene&ctor and rally to 
the Bourbons. When I have done with him, I am going 
to Mme. de Montcornet's.' 

Lucien's talk was sparkling. He wa« eager that this 
great personage should see how gross a mistake Mes- 
dames d'Espard and de Bargeton had made when they 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 261 

slighted Lucien de Rubempre. But he showed the tip 
of his ear when he asserted his right to bear the name 
of Rubempre, the Due de Rhetore having purposely 
addressed him as Chardon. 

* You should go over to the Royalists,' said the Duke. 
* You have proved yourself a man of ability j now show 
your good sense. The one way of obtaining a patent of 
nobility and the right to bear the title of your mother's 
family, is by asking for it in return for services to be 
rendered to the Court. The Liberals will never make a 
count of you. The Restoration will get the better of 
the press, you see, in the long run, and the press is the 
only formidable power. They have borne with it too 
long as it is; the press is sure to be muzzled. Take 
advantage of the last moments of liberty to make your- 
self formidable, and you will have everything — intellect, 
nobility, and good looks ; nothing will be out of your 
reach. So if you are a Liberal, let it be simply for the 
moment, so that you can make a better bargain for your 
Rovalism.' 

With that the Duke intreated Lucien to accept an 
invitation to dinner, which the German Minister (of 
Florine's supper-party) was about to send. Lucien fell 
under the charm of the noble peer's arguments; the 
salons from which he had been exiled for ever, as he 
thought, but a few months ago, would shortly open their 
doors for him ! He was delighted. He marvelled at 
the power of the press ; Intellect and the Press, these 
then were the real powers in society. Another thought 
shaped itself in his mind — Was Etienne Lousteau sorry 
that he had opened the ^te of the temple to a new- 
comer ? Even now he (Lucien) felt on his own account 
that it was strongly advisable to put difficulties in the 
way of eager and ambitious recruits from the provinces. 
If a poet should come to him as he had flung himself 
into ^tienne's arms, he dared not think of the reception 
that he would give him. 



i 



262 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

The youthful Duke meanwhile saw that Lucien was 
deep in thought, and made a pretty good guess at, the 
matter of his meditations. He himself had opened out 
wide horizons of public life before an ambitious poet^ 
;^^ with a vacillating will, it is true, but not without aspira- 
tions 3 and the journalists had already shown the neophyte, 
from a pinnacle of the temple, all the kingdoms of the 
world of letters and its riches. 

Lucien himself had no suspicion of a little plot that 
was being woven, nor did he imagine that M. de Rhetore 
had a hand in it. M. de Rhetore had spoken of Lucien's 
cleverness, and Mme. d'Espard's set had taken alarm. 
Mme. de Bargeton had commissioned the Duke to 
sound Lucien, and with that oUect in view, the noble 
youth had come to the Ambigu-Comique. 

Do not believe in stories of elaborate treachery. 
Neither the great world nor the world of journalists 
laid any deep schemes ; definite plans are not made by 
either ; their machiavelism lives from hand to mouth, so 
to speak, and consists, for the most part, in being always 
on the spot, always on the alert to tiirn everything to 
account, always on the watch for the moment when a 
man's ruling passion shall deliver him into the hands of 
his enemies. The young Duke had seen through Lucien 
at Florine's supper-party ; he had just touched his 
vain susceptibilities; and now he was trying his first 
efforts in diplomacy upon the living subject. 

Lucien hurried to the Rue Saint-Fiacre after the play 
to write his article. It was a piece of savage and bitter 
criticism, written in pure wantonness ; he was amusing 
himself bv trying his power. The melodrama, as a 
matter of feet, was a better piece than the Alcalde ; 
biit Lucien wished to see whether he could damn a 
, ^ good play and send everybody to see a bad one, as his 
associates had said. 

He unfolded the sheet at breakfast next morning, 
telling Coralie as he did so that he had cut up the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 263 

Ambigu-Comique ; and not a little astonished was he to 
find below his paper on Mme. de Bargeton and Chatelet 
a notice of the Ambigu, so mellowed and softened in 
the course of the night, that although the witty analysis 
was still preserved, the judgment was favourable. The 
article was more likely to nil the house than to empty 
it. No words can describe his wrath. He determined 
to have a word or two with Lousteau, He had begun 
already to think himself an indispensable man, and he 
vowed that he would not submit to be tyrannised over 
and treated like a fool. To establish his power beyond 
cavil, he wrote the article for Dauriat's review, summing 
up and weighing all the various opinions concerning 
Nathan's book; and while he was in the humour, he 
hit off another of his short sketches for Lousteau's news- 
paper. Inexperienced journalists, in the first effervescence 
of youth, make a labour of love of ephemeral work, and 
lavish their best thought unthriftily thereon. 

The manager of the Panorama-Dramatique gave a 
first performance of a vaudeville that night, so that 
Florine and Coralic might be free for the evening. 
There were to be cards before supper. Lousteau came 
for the short notice of the vaudeville; it had been written 
beforehand after the general rehearsal, for j&tienne 
wished to have the paper off his mind. Lucien read 
over one of the charming sketches of Parisian whimsi- 
calities which made the fortune of the paper, and 
Lousteau kissed him on both eyelids, and called him the 
providence of journalism. 

^ Then why do you amuse yourself by turning my 
article inside out ? ' asked Lucien. He had written his 
brilliant sketch simply and solely to give emphasis to his 
grievance. 

* /?' exclaimed Lousteau. 

* Well, who else can have altered my article ? ' 
^You do not know all the ins and outs yet, dear 

fellow. The Ambigu pays for thirty copies, and only 



264 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

takes nine for the manager and box office-keeper and 
their mistresses, and for the three lessees of the theatre. 
Every one of the Boulevard theatres pays eight hundred 
francs in this way to the paper ; and there is quite as 
much again in boxes and orders for Finot, to say nothing 
of the contributions of the company. And if the minor 
theatres do this, you may imagine what the big ones do! 
Now you understand ? We are bound to show a good 
deal of indulgence.' 

' I understand this, that I am not at liberty to write as 
I think * 

* Eh ! what does that matter, so long as you turn an 
honest penny?' cried Lousteau. ^Besides, my boy, 
what grudge had you against the theatre ? You must 
have had some reason for it, or you would not have cut 
up the play as you did. If you slash for the sake of 
slashing, the paper will get into trouble, and when there 
is good reason for hitting hard it will not telL Did the 
manager leave you out in the cold i * 

^ He had not kept a place for me.' 

' Good,' said Lousteau. ^ I shall let him see your 
article, and tell him that I softened it down ; you will 
find it serve you better than if it had appeared m print. 
Go and ask him for tickets to-morrow, and he will sign 
forty blank orders every month. I know a man who 
can get rid of them for you ; I will introduce you to him, 
and he will buy them all up at half-price. There is a 
trade done in theatre tickets, just as Barbet trades in 
reviewers' copies. This is another Barbet, the leader of 
the claque. He lives near by ; come and see him, there 
is time enough.' 

^But, my dear fellow, it is a scandalous thing that 
Finot should levy blackmail in matters intellectual. 
Sooner or later ' 

^ Really ! ' cried Lousteau, ^ where do you come from ? 
For what do you take Finot ? Beneath his pretence of 
good-nature, his ignorance and stupidity, and those 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 265 

Turcaret's airs of his, there is all the cunning of his 
father the hatter. Did you notice an old soldier of the 
Empire in the den at the office ? That is Finot's uncle. 
The uncle is not only one of the right sort, he has the 
luck to be taken for a fool i and he takes all that kind of 
business upon his shoulders. An ambitious man in Paris 
is well off indeed if he has a willing scapegoat at hand. 
In public life, as in journalism, there are hosts of emer- 
gencies in which the chiefs cannot afford to appear. If 
Finot should enter on a political career, his uncle would 
be his secretary, and receive all the contributions levied 
in his department on big affairs. Anybody would take 
Giroudeau for a fool at first sight, but he has just enough 
shrewdness to be an inscrutable old file. He is on picket 
duty; he sees that we are not pestered with hubbub, 
beginners wanting a job, or advertisements. No other 
paper has his equal, I think.' 

^ He plays his part well,' said Lucien ; ^ I saw him at 
work.' 

Etienne and Lucien reached a handsome house in the 
Rue du Faubourg-du-Temple. 

^ Is M. Braulard in ? ' Etienne asked of the porter. 

* Monsieur t ' said Lucien. * Then, is the leader of the 
claque " Monsieur " ? ' 

^ My dear boy, Braulard has twenty thousand francs of 
income. All the dramatic authors of the Boulevards are 
in his clutches, and have a standing account with him as 
if he were a banker. Orders and complimentary tickets 
are sold here. Braulard knows where to get rid of such 
merchandise. Now for a turn at statistics, a useful 
science enough in its way. At the rate of fifty compli- 
mentary tickets every evening for each theatre, you 
have two hundred and fifty tickets daily. Suppose, 
taking one with another, that they are worth a couple 
of francs apiece, Braulard pays a hundred and twenty- 
five francs daily for them, and takes his chance of making 
cent, per cent. In this way authors' tickets alone bring 



266 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

him in about four thousand francs every month, or 
forty-eight thousand francs per annum. Allow twenty 
thousand francs for loss, for he cannot always place all 
his tickets ' 

'Whvnot?' 

'Oh ! the people who pay at the door go in with the 
holders of complimentary tickets for unreserved seats, 
and the theatre reserves the right of admitting those who 
pay. There are fine warm evenings to be reckoned 
with besides, and poor plays. Braulard makes, perhaps, 
thirty thousand francs every year in this way, and he has 
his claqueurs besides, another industry.. Florine and 
Coralie pay tribute to him ; if they did not, there would 
be no applause when they come on or go off!.' 

Lousteau gave this explanation in a low voice as they 
went up the stair. 

' Paris is a queer place,' said Lucieti ; it seemed to him 
that he saw self-interest squatting in every corner. 

A smart maidservant opened the door. At the sight 
of £tienne Lousteau, the dealer in orders and tickets rose 
from a study chair before a large cyclinder desk, and 
Lucien beheld the leader of the claque^ Braulard himself, 
dressed in a grey moUeton jacket, footed trousers, and 
red slippers ; for all the world like a doctor or a solicitor. 
He was a typical self-made man, Lucien thought — a 
vulgar-looking face with a pair of exceedingly cunning 
grey eyes, hands made for hired applause, a complexion 
over which hard living had passed like rain over a roof, 
grizzled hair, and a somewhat husky voice. 

' You have come from Mile. Florine, no doubt, sir, 
and this gentleman for Mile. Coralie,' said Braulard ; ' I 
know you very well by sight. Don't you trouble your- 
self, sir/ he continued, addressing Lucien ; ' I am buying 
the Gymnase connection, I will look after your lady, 
and I will give her notice of any tricks they may try to 
play on her.' 

' That is not an offer to be refused, my dear Braulard, 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 267 

but wc have come about the press orders for the Boule- 
vard theatres — I as editor, and this gentleman as dramatic 
critic* 

^ Oh ! — ah, yes ! Finot has sold his paper. I heard 
about it. He is getting on, is Finot. I have asked him 
to dine with me at the end of the week ; if jrou will do 
me the honour and pleasure of coming, you may bring 
your ladies, and there will be a grand jollification, 
Adele Dupuis is coming, and Ducange, and Frederic du 
Petit-Mere, and MUe. Millot, my mistress. We shall 
have good Am and better liquor.' 

^Ducange must be in difficulties. He has lost his 
lawsuit.' 

^ I have lent him ten thousand francs i if Calas %ucr 
ceeds, it will repay the loan, so I have been organising a 
success. Ducange is a clever man ; he has brains ' 

Lucien fancied that he must be dreaming when he 
heard a claqueur appraising a writer's value. 

^ Coralie has improved,' continued Braulard, with the 
air of a competent critic. ^If she is a good girl, I will 
take her part, for they have got up a cabS against her at 
the Gymnase. This is how I mean to do it. I will 
have a few well-dressed men in the balconies to smile 
and make little murmurs, and the applause will follow. 
That is a dodge which makes a position for an actress. 
I have a liking for Coralie, and you ought to be satisfied, 
for she has feeling. Aha ! I can hiss any one on the 
stage if I like.' 

' But let us settle this business about the tickets,' put 
in Lousteau. 

' Very well, I will come to this gentleman's lodging 
for them at the beginning of the month. He is a friend 
of yours, and I will treat him as I do you. You have 
five theatres; you will get thirty tickets — that will be 
something like seventy-five francs a month. Perhaps 

!rou will be wanting an advance?' added Braulard, 
ifting a ca»h-box full of coin out of his desk. 



^68 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

*No, no/ said Lousteau ; *we will keep that shift 
against a rainy day.* 

^ I will work with Coralie, sir, and we will come to an 
understanding/ said Braulard, addressing Lucien, who 
was looking about him, not without profound astonish- 
ment. There was a bookcase in Braulard's study, there 
were framed engravings and good furniture; and as 
they passed through the drawing-room, he noticed that 
the fittings were neither too luxurious nor yet mean. 
The dining-room seemed to be the best-ordered room, 
he remarked on this jokingly. 

*But Braulard is an epicure,* said Lousteau; *his 
dinners are famous in dramatic literature, and they are 
what you might expect from his cash-box.* 

* I have good wine,* Braulard replied modestly. — * Ah ! 
here are my lamplighters,' he added, as a sound of hoarse 
voices and strange footsteps came up from the staircase. 

Lucien on his way down saw a march past of claqueurs 
and retailers of tickets. It was an ill-smelling squad, 
attired in caps, seedy trousers, and threadbare overcoats ; 
a flock of gallows-birds with blueish and greenish tints 
in their faces, neglected beards, and a strange mixture of 
savagery and subservience in their eyes. A horrible 
population lives and swarms upon the Paris boulevards ; 
selling watch guards and brass jewellery in the streets by 
day, applauding under the chandeliers of the theatre at 
night, and ready to lend themselves to any dirty business 
in the great city. 

^ Behold the Romans ! * laughed Lousteau ; * behold 
hmt incarnate for actresses and dramatic authors. It is 
no prettier than our own when you come to look at it 
close.* 

. " ^It is diflicult to keep illusions on any subject in 
Paris,' answered Lucien as they turned in at his door. 
* There is a tax upon everything — everything has its 
price, and anything can be made to order — even success.' 

Thirty guests were assembled that evening in Coralie's 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 269 

rooms ; her dining-room would not hold more. Lucien 
had asked Dauriat and the manager of the Panorama- 
Dramatique, Matifat and Florine, Camusot, Lousteau, 
Finot, Nathan, Hector Merlin and Mme. du Val- 
Noble, Felicien Vernou, Blondet, Vignon, Philippe 
Bridau, Mariette, Giroude'ui, Cardot and Florentine, 
and Bixiou* He had also askeu ^^ his friends of the Rue 
des Quatre-Vents. TuUia the dancer, who was not 
unkind, said gossip, to du Bruel, had come without her 
duke. The proprietors of the newspapers, for whom 
most of the journalists wrote, were also of the party. 

At eight o'clock, when the light of the candles in 
the chandeliers shone over the furniture, the hangings, 
and the flowers, the rooms wore the festal air that gives 
to Parisian luxury the appearance of a dream; and 
Lucien felt indefinable stirrings of hope and gratified 
vanity and pleasure at the thought that he was the 
master of the house. But how and by whom the magic 
wand had been waved he no longer sought to remember. 
Florine and Coralie, dressed with the fanciful extrava- 
gance and magnificent artistic effect of the stage, 
smiled on the poet like two fairies at the gates of the 
Palace of Dreams. And Lucien was almost in a dream. 

His life had been changed so suddenly during the last 
few months j he had gone to swiftly from the depths of 
penury to the last extreme of luxury, that at moments he 
felt as uncomfortable as a dreaming man who knows that 
he is asleep. And vet, he looked round at the fair 
reality about him with a confidence to which envious 
minds might have given the name of fatuity. 

Lucien himself had changed. He had grown paler 
during these days of continual enjoyment ; languor had 
lent a humid look to his eyes ; in short, to use Mme. 
d'Espard's expression, he looked like a man who is loved. 
He was the handsomer for it. Consciousness of his 
powers and his strength was visible in his face, enlight- 
ened as it was by love and experience. Looking out over 



ayo A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

the world of letters and of men, it seemed to him that 
he might go to and fro as lord of it all. Sober reflection 
never entered his romantic head unless it was driven in by 
the pressure of adversity, and just now the present held 
not a care for him. The breath of praise swelled the 
sails of his skifF; all the instruments of success lay there 
to his hand ; he had an establishment, a mistress whom 
all Paris envied him, a carriage, and untold wealth in his 
inkstand. Heart and soul and brain were alike trans- 
formed within him ; why should he care to be over nice 
about the means, when the great results were visibly 
there before his eyes. 

As such a style of living will seem, and with good 
reason, to be anything but secure to economists who 
have any experience of Paris, it will not be superfluous 
to give a glance to the foundation, uncertain as it was^ 
upon which the prosperity of the pair was based. 

Camusot had given Coralie's tradesmen instructions 
to grant her credit for three months at least, and this had 
been done without her knowledge. During those three 
months, therefore, horses and servants, like everything 
else, waited as if by enchantment at the bidding of two 
children^ eager for enjoyment, and enjoying to their 
hearts' content. 

Coralie had taken Lucien's hand and given him a 
glimpse of the transformation scene in the dining-room, 
of the splendidly appointed table, of chandeliers, each 
fitted with forty wax-lights, of the royally luxurious 
dessert, and a menu of Chevet's. Lucien kissed her on 
the forehead and held her closely to his heart. 

^I shall succeed, child,' he said, ^and then I will 
reps^ you for such love and devotion/ 

^ rshaw ! ' said Coralie. ^ Are you satisfied ? ' 

^ I should be very hard to please if I were not.' 

^ Very well, then, that smile of yours pays for every- 
thing,' she said, and with a serpentine movement she 
raised her head and laid her lips against his. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 271 

When they went back to the others, Florinc, 
Lousteau, Matifat, and Camusot were setting out the 
card-tables. Lucien's friends began to arrive, for already 
these folk began to call themselves * Lucien's friends ' ; 
and they sat over the cards from nine o'clock till 
midnight. Lucien was unacquainted with a single 
game, but Lousteau lost a thousand francs, and Lucien 
could not refuse to lend him the money when he asked 
for it. 

Michel, Fulgence, and Joseph appeared about ten 
o'clock ; and Lucien, chatting with them in a corner, 
saw that they looked sober and serious enough, not to 
say ill at ease. D'Arthez could not come, he was 
finishing his book; Leon Giraud was busy with the 
first number of his review; so the brotherhood had 
sent the three artists among their number, thinking 
that they would feel less out of their element in an 
uproarious supper party than the rest. 

^Well, my dear fellows,' said Lucien, assuming a 
slightly patronising tone, *the "comical fellow" may 
become a great public character yet, you see.' 

^ I wish I may be mistaken; I don't ask better,'* said 
Michel. 

^Are you living with Coralie until you can do 
better ? ' asked Fulgence. 

'Yes,' said Lucien, trying to look unconscious. 
'Coralie had an elderly adorer, a merchant, and she 
showed him the door, poor fellow. I am better off than 
your brother Philippe,' he added, addressing Joseph 
Bridau ; ' he does not know how to manage Mariette.' 

' You are a man like another now ; in short, you will 
make your way,' said Fulgence. 

' A man that will always be the same for you, under 
all circumstances,' returned Lucien. 

Michel and Fulgence exchanged incredulous scornful 
smiles at this. Lucien saw the absurdity of his remark. 

'Coralie is wonderfully beautiful,' exclaimed Joseph 



( 



27^ A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

BridatL ^What a magnificent portrait she would 
make!' 

^ Beautiful and good/ said Lucien; ^she is an angel, 
upon my word. And you shall paint her portrait ; she 
shall sit to you if you like for your Venetian lady 
brought by the old woman to the senator.' 

'All women who love are angelic,' said Michel 
Chrestien. Just at that moment Raoul Nathan flew 
upon Lucien, and grasped both bis hands and shook 
them in a sudden access of violent friendship. 

' Oh, my good friend, you are something more than 
a great man, you have a heart,' cried he, ' a much rarer 
thing than genius in these days. You are a devoted 
friend. I am yours, in short, through thick and thin ; 
I shall never forget all that you have done for me this 
week.* 

Lucien's joy had reached the highest point; to be 
thus caressed by a man of whom every one was talking ! 
He looked at his three friends of the brotherhood with 
something like a superior air. Nathan's appearance 
upon the scene was the result of an overture from 
Merlin, who sent him a proof of the favourable review 
to appear in to-morrow's issue. 

'I only consented to write the attack on condition 
that I should be allowed to reply to it myself,' Lucien 
said in Nathan's ear. * I am one of you.' This incident 
was opportune; it justified the remark which amused 
Fulgence. Lucien was radiant. 

* When d'Arthez's book comes out,' he said, turning 
to the three, ' I am in a position to be useful to him. 
That thought in itself would induce me to remain a 
journalist.' 

' Can you do as you like ? ' Michel asked quickly. 

'So hr as one can when one is indispensable,' said 
Lucien modestly. 

It was almost midnight when they sat down to 
supper, and the fun grew ^st and furious. Talk was 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 273 

less restrained in Lucien's house than at Mati fat's, for no 
one suspected that the representatives of the brotherhood 
and the newspaper writers held divergent opinions. 
Young intellects, depraved by arguing for either side, 
now came into conflict with each other, and fearful 
axioms of the journalistic jurisprudence, then in its 
infancy, hurtled to and fro. Claude Vignon, upholding 
the dignity of criticism, inveighed against the tendency 
of the smaller newspapers, saying that the writers of 
personalities lowered themselves in the end. Lousteau, 
Merlin, and Finot took up the cudgels for the system 
known by the name of blague \ puffery, gossip, and 
humbug, said they, was the test of talent, and set the 
hall-mark, as it were, upon it. ^ Any man who can stand 
that test has real power,' said Lousteau. 

' Besides,' cried Merlin, ^ when a great man receives 
ovations, there ought to be a chorus of insults to balance, 
as in a. Roman triumph.' 

* Oho ! ' put in Lucien ; * then every one held up to 
ridicule in print will £uicy that be has made a success.' 

^Any one would think that the question interested 
you,' exclaimed Finot. 

^ And how about our sonnets,' said Michel Chrestien ; 
^ is that the way they will win us the fame of a second 
Petrarch ? ' 

' Laura aVeady counts for something in his feme,' said 
Dauriat, a pun ^ received with acclamations. 

* Faciamus experimtntum in anima vili^ retorted Lucien 
with a smile. 

^And woe unto him whom reviewers shall spare, 
flinging him crowns at his first appearance, for he 
shaU be shelved like the saints in their shrines, and 
no man shall pay him the slightest attention,' said 
Vernou. 

* People will say, *^ Look elsewhere, simpleton ; you 
have had your due already," as Champcenetz said to the 

^ Lanre (IW). 

S 



274 A Distinguished Proviiicial at Paris 

Marquis de Genlis, who was looking too fondly at his 
wife,' added Blondet. 

'Success is the ruin of a man m France,' said Finot. 
' Wc are so jealous of one another that we try to fcwrget, 
and to make others forget, the triumphs of yester- 
day.* 

'Contradiction is the life of literature, in hctj* said 
Claude Vignon. 

'In art as in nature, there are two principles every- 
where at strife,' exclaimed Fulgence; 'and victory for 
either means death/ 

' So it is with politics,' added Michel Chrestien. 

' We have a case in point,' said Liousteau. ' Dauriat 
will sell a couple of thoussuid copies of Nathan's book in 
the coming week. And why ? Because the book that 
was cleverly attacked will be ably defended.' 

Merlin took up the proof of to-morrow's paper. 
' How can such an article fail to sell an edition ? ' he 
asked. 

' Read the article,' said Dauriat. ' I am a publisher 
wherever I am, even at supper. 

Merlin read Lucien's triumphant refutation aloud, and 
the whole party applauded. 

' How could that article have been written unless the 
attack had preceded it ? ' asked Lousteau. 

Dauriat drew the proof of the third article from his 
pocket and read it over, Finot listening closely ; for it 
was to appear in the second number of his own review, 
and as editor he exaggerated his enthusiasm. 

'Gentlemen,' said he, 'so and not otherwise would 
Bossuet have written if he had lived in our day.' 

' I am sure of it,' said Merlin. ' Bossuet would have 
been a journalist to-day.' 

'To Bossuet the Second ! ' cried Claude Vignon, rais- 
ing his glass with an ironical bow. 

' To my Christopher Columbus ! ' returned Lucien, 
drinking a health to Dauriat. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 275 

* Bravo ! ' cried Nathan. 

^Isit a nickname?' Merlin inquired, looking mali- 
ciously from Finot to Lucien. 

^ If you go on at this pace, you will be quite beyond 
us,* said Dauriat ; ^ these gentlemen ' (indicating Camusot 
and Matifat) ^ cannot folbw you as it is. A joke is like 
a bit of th^ead ; if it is spun too fine, it breaks, as Bona- 
parte said.' 

^Gentlemen,' said Lousteau, ^we have been eyewit- 
nesses of a strange, portentous, unheard-of, and truly 
surprising phenomenon. Admire the rapidity with 
which our friend here has been transformed from a pro- 
vincial into a journalist ! ' 

^ He is a born journalist,' said Dauriat. 

^Children ! ' called Finot, rising to hts feet, 'all of us 
here present have encouraged and protected our amphi- 
tryon in his entrance upon a career in which he has 
already surpassed our hopes. In two months he has 
shown us what he can do in a series of excellent articles 
known to us alL I propose to baptize him in form as a 
journalist.' 

^ A crown of roses ! to signalise a double conquest,' 
cried Bixiou, glancing at Coralie. 

Coralie made a sign to Berenice. That portly handmaid 
went to Coralie's dressing-room and brought back a box 
of tumbled a? tificial flowers. The more incapable mem- 
bers of the party were grotesquely tricked out in these 
blossoms, and a crown of roses was soon woven. Finot, 
as high priest, sprinkled a few drops of champagne on 
Lucien's golden curls, pronoimcing with delicious 

fravity the words — *In the name of the Government 
tamp, the Caution-money, and the Fine, I baptize thee, 
Journalist. May thy articles sit lightly on thee ! ' 

* And may they be paid for, including white lines ! ' 
cried Merlin. 

Just at that moment Lucien caught sight of three 
melancholy faces. Michel Chrestten^ Josepb Bridau, 



276 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

and Fulgence Ridal took up their hats and went out 
amid a storm of invective. 

^ Queer customers ! ' said Merlin. 

^ Fulgence used to be a good fellow,' added Lousteau, 
^ before they perverted his morals.' 

* Who are " thejr " ? * asked Claude Vignou. 

' Some very senous young men,' said filondet, ' who 
meet at a philosophico-religious symposium in the Rue 
des Quatre-Vents, and worry themselves about the 
miming of human life ' 

<Ohloh!' 

* They are trying to find out whether it goes round in 
a circle, or makes some progress,' continued Blondet. 
*They were very hard put to it between the straight 
line and the curve ; the triangle, warranted by scripture, 
seemed to them to be nonsense, when, lo ! there arose 
among them some prophet or other who declared for 
the spiral.' 

^Men might meet to invent more dangerous non- 
sense than that ! ' exclaimed Lucien, making a faint 
attempt to champion the brotherhood. 

^ You take theories of that sort for idle words,' said 
Felicien Vernou ; ^ but a time comes when the argu- 
ments take the form of gunshot and the guillotine.' 

' They have not come to that yet,' said Bixiou j * they^ 
have only come as far as the designs of Providence in the 
invention of champagne, the humanitarian significance 
of breeches, and the blind deity who keeps the world 
going. They pick up fallen great men like Vico, Saint-- 
Simon, and Fourier. I am much afraid that they will 
turn poor Joseph Bridau's head among them.' 

^Bianchon, my old schoolfellow, gives me the cold 
shoulder now,* said Lousteau j * it is all their doing '' 

^Do they eive lectures on orthopedy and intellectual 
gymnastics ? asked Merlin. 

' Very likely,' answered Finot, ' if Bianchon has any 
hand in their theories,' 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 277 

* Pshaw ! ' said Lousteau ; * he will be a great physician 
anyhow.* 

^ Isn't d'Arthez their visible head ? ' asked Nathan, 
^a little youngster that is ^ing to swallow all of us up.' 
^ He is a genius ! ' cried Lucien. 

* GeniuS) is he ! Well, give me a glass of sherry ! * 
said Claude Vignon, smiling. 

Every one, thereupon, began to explain his character 
for the benefit of his neighbour ; and when a clever man 
feels a pressing need of explaining himself, and of 
unlocking his heart, it is pretty clear that wine has got 
the upper hand. An hour later, all the men in the com- 
pany were the best friends in the world, addressing each 
other as great men and bold spirits, who held the 
future in their hands. Lucien, in his quality of host, 
was sufficiently clearheaded to apprehend the meaning of 
the sophistries which impressed him and completed his 
demoralisation. 

* The Liberal party,* announced Finot, * is compelled 
to stir up discussion somehow. There is no fault to 
find with the action of the Government, and you may 
imagine what a fix the Opposition is in. Which of you 
now cares to write a pamphlet in favour of the system of 
primogeniture, and raise a cry against the secret designs 
of the Court? The pamphlet will be paid for hand- 
somely.' 

* I will write it,* said Hector Merlin. * It is my own 
point of view.* 

* Your party will complain that you are compromising 
them,* said Finot. ^ Felicien, you must undertake it ; 
Dauriat will bring it out, and we will keep the secret.* 

' How much shall I get ? * 

*Six hundred francs. Sign it **Le Comte C, three 
stars.*** 

* It 's a bargain,* said Felicien Vernou. 

^So you are introducing the canard to the political 
world,* remarked Lousteau. 



2y9 A Distinguished Provindal at Paris 

* It is simply the Chabot affair carried into the region 
of abstract ideas,' said Finot. ^ Fasten intentions on the 
Government, and then let loose public opinion.' 

^ How a Government can leave the control of ideas to 
such a pack of scamps as we are, is matter for perpetual 
and profound astonishment to me,' said Claude Vignon. 

^ If the Ministry blunders so far as to come down into 
the arena, we can give them a drubbing. If they are 
nettled by it, the thing will rankle in people's minds, 
and the Government will lose its hold on the masses. 
The newspaper risks nothings and the authorities have 
everything to lose.' 

' r ranee will be a cipher until newspapers are abolished 
by law,' said Claude Vignon. ' You are making progress 
hourly,' he added, addressing Finot. ^ You are a modern 
order of Jesuits, lacking the creed, the fixed idea, the 
discipline, and the union.' 

They went back to the card-tables ; and before long 
the light of the candles grew feeble in the dawn. 

^ Lucien, your friends from the Rue des Quatres- Vent 
looked as dismal as criminals going to be hanged,' said 
Coralie. 

' They were the judges, not the criminals,' replied her 
poet. 

'Judges are more amusing than thaty* said Madam 
Coralie. 

For a month Lucien's whole time was taken up with 
supper parties, dinner engagements, breakfasts, and even- 
ing parties i he was swept away by an irresistible current 
into a vortex of dissipation and easy work. He no longer 
thought of the future. The power of calculation amid 
the complications of life is the sign of a strong will 
which poets, weaklings, and men who live a purely 
intellectual life can never counterfeit. Lucien was 
living from hand to mouth, spending his money as fast as 
he made it, like many another journalist ; nor did he give 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 279 

so much as a thought to those periodically recurrent 
days of reckoning which chequer the life of the bohemian 
in Paris so sadly. 

In dress and figure he was a rival for the great dandies 
of the day* Coralie, like all zealots, loved to adorn her 
idol. She ruined herself to give her beloved poet the 
accoutrements which had so stirred his envy in the 
Garden of the Tuileries. Lucien had wonderful canes, 
and a charming eyeglass; he had diamond studs, and 
scarf-rings, and signet»rings, besides an assortment of 
waistcoats marvellous to behold, and in sufficient num- 
ber to match every colour in a variety of costumes. 
His transition to the estate of dandy swiftly followed. 
When he went to the German Minister's dinner, all the 
young men regarded him with suppressed envy ; yet de 
Marsay, Vandenesse, Ajuda-^Pinto, Maxime de Trailles, 
Rastignac, Beaudenord, Manerville, and the Due de 
Maufrigneuse gave place to none in the kingdom of 
fashion. Men of fashion are as jealous among themselves 
as women, and in the same way. Lucien was placed 
between Mme. de Montcornet and Mme. d'Espard, in 
whose honour the dinner was given ; both ladies over-> 
whelmed him with flatteries. 

' Why did you turn your back on society when you 
would have been so well received ? ' asked the Marqjiise. 
^ Every one was prepared to make much of you. And I 
have a quarrel with you too. You owed me a call — I 
am still waiting to receive it. I saw you at the Opera 
the other day, and you would not deign to come to 
see me nor to take any notice of me.' 

'Your cousin, madame,so unmistakably dismissed me—^' 

* Oh ! you do not know women,' the Marquise 
d'Espard broke in upon him. ' You have wounded the 
most angelic heart, the noblest nature that I know. 
You do not know all that Louise was trying to do for 
you, nor how tactfully she laid her plans for you. — Oh ! 
and she would have succeeded,' the Marquise continued. 



28o A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

replying to Lucien's mute incredulity. *Her husband 
is dead now ; died, as he was bound to die, of an indiges- 
tion 'y could you doubt that she would be free sooner or 
later ? And can you suppose that she would like to be 
Madame Chardon ? It was worth while to take some 
trouble to gain the title of Comtesse de Rubempre. 
Love, you see, is a great vanity, which requires the lesser 
vanities to be in harmony with itself — especially in 
marriage. I might love you to madness — ^which is to 
say, sufficiently to marry you — ^and yet I should find it 
very unpleasant to be called Mme. Chardon. You can 
see that. And now that you understand the difficulties 
of Paris life, you will know how many roundabout ways 
you must take to reach your end ; very well, then, you 
must admit that Louise was aspiring to an all but 
impossible piece of Court favour; she was quite unknown, 
she is not rich, and therefore she could not afibrd to 
neglect any means of success. 

* You are clever,' the Marquise d'E^pard continued j 
* but we women, when we love, are cleverer than the 
cleverest man. My cousin tried to make that absurd 
Chitelet useful — Oh ! ' she broke ofi^, ^ I owe not a little 
amusement to you ; your articles on Chatelet made me 
laugh heartily.' 

Lucien knew not what to think of all this. Of the 
treachery and bad faith of journalism he had had some 
experience ; but in spite of his perspicacity, he scarcely 
expected to find bad feith or treachery in society. There 
were some sharp lessons in store for him. 

^ But, madame,' he objected, for her words aroused a 
lively curiosity, Ms not the Heron under your pro- 
tection ? ' 

* One is obliged to be civil to one's worst enemies in 
society,' protested she ; ^ one may be bored, but one must 
look as if the talk was amusing, and not seldom one 
seems to sacrifice friends the better to serve them. Are 
you still a novice ? You mean to write, and yet you 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 281 

know nothing of current deceit ? My cousin apparently 
sacrificed you to the Heron, but how could she dispense 
with his influence for you ? Our friend stands well with 
the present ministry ; and we have made him see that 
your attacks will do him service — ^up to a certain point, 
for we want you to make it up again some of these days. 
Chatelet has received compensations for his troubles ; for, 
as des Lupeaulx said, ^ While the newspapers are making 
Chatelet ridiculous, they will leave the Ministry in 
peace.*' ' 

There was a pause ; the Marquise left Lucien to his 
own reflections. 

* M. Blondet led me to hope that I should have the 
pleasure of seeing you in my house,' said theComtesse de 
Montcornet. ' You will meet a few artists and men of 
letters, and some one else who has the keenest desire to 
become acquainted with you — Mile, des Touches, the 
owner of talents rare among our sex. You will go to 
her house, no doubt. Mile, des Touches (or Camille 
Maupin, if you prefer it) is prodigiously rich, and pre- 
sides over one of the most remarkable salons in Paris. 
She has heard that you are as handsome as you are clever, 
and is dying to meet you.' 

Lucien could only pour out incoherent thanks and 
glance enviously at Emile Blondet. There was as ereat 
a diflFerence between a great lady like Mme. de Mont- 
cornet and Coralie as between Coralie and a girl out of 
the streets. The Countess was young and witty and 
beautiful, with the very white fairness of women of the 
North. Her mother was the Princess Scherbellof, and 
the Minister before dinner had paid her the most 
respectful attention. 

By this time the Marquise had made an end of trifling 
disdainfully with the wing of a chicken. 

* My poor Louise felt so much aflection for you,' she 
said. ^She took me into her confidence; I knew her 
dreams of a great career for you. She would have borne 



282 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

a great deal, but what scorn you showed her when you 
sent back her letters ! Cruehy we can forgive ; those 
who hurt us must have still some faith in us ; but indif- 
ference I Indifference is like polar snows, it extinguishes 
all life. So, you must see that you have lost a precious 
affection through your own fault. Why break with 
her ? Even if she had scorned you, you had your way 
to make, had you not ? — your name to win back I 
Louise thought of all that.' 

* Then why was she silent ? ' 

^ Eh I mm Dieu ! ' cried the Marquise, ^ it was I my- 
self who advised her not to take you into her confidence. 
Between ourselves, you know, you seemed so little used 
to the ways of the world, that I took alarm. I was 
afraid that your inexperience and rash ardour might 
wreck our carefully-made schemes. Can you recollect 
yourself as you were then ? You must admit that if you 
could see your double to-day, you would say the same 
yourself. You are not like the same man. That was 
our one mistake. But would one man in a thousand 
combine such intellectual gifts with such a wonderful 
aptitude for taking the tone of society? I did not think 
that you would be such an astonishing exception. You 
were transformed so quickly, you acquired the nuuiner 
of Paris so easily, that I did not recognise you in the Bois 
de Boulogne a month ago.' 

Lucien heard the great lady with inexpressible pleasure ; 
the flatteries were spoken with such a petulant, child- 
like, confiding air, and she seemed to take such a deep 
intorest in him, that he thought of his first evening at 
the Panorama-Dramatique, and began to fancy that some 
such miracle was about to take place a second time. 
Everything had smiled upon him since that happy 
evening ; his youth, he thought, was the talisman that 
worked this change. He would prove this great lady ; 
she should not take him at unawares. 

^ Then, what were these schemes which have turned 
to chimeras, madame ? ' asked he 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 283 

^ Louise meant to obtain a royal patent permitting you 
to bear the name and title of Rubempre. She wished to 
put Chardon out of sight. Your opinions have put that 
out of the question now, but then it would not have 
been so bard to manage, and a title would mean a fortune 
for you. 

^ You will look on these things as trifles and visionary 
ideas,' she continued \ ^ but we know something of life, 
and we know, too, all the solid advantages of a Count's 
title when it is borne by a fashionable and extremely 
charming young man. Announce ^^ M. Chardon '' and 
^^M. le Comte de Rubempre" before heiresses or 
English girls with a million to their fortune, and note 
the difference of the effect. The Count might be in 
debt, but he would find open hearts; his good looks, 
brought into relief by his title, would be like a diamond 
in a rich setting ; M. Chardon would not be so much as 
noticed. We have not invented these notions ; they are 
everywhere in the world, even among the bourgeois. 
You are turning your back on fortune at this minute. 
Do you see that good-looking young man, he is the 
Vicomte Felix de Vandenesse, one of the King's private 
secretaries. The King is fond enough of young men of 
talent, and Vandenesse came from the provinces with 
baggage nearly as light as yours. You are a thousand 
times cleverer than he; but do you belong to a great 
family, have you a name ? You know des Lupeaulx ; 
his name is very much like yours, for he was born a 
Chardin; well, he would not sell his little farm of 
Lupeaulx for a million, he will be Comte des Lupeaulx 
some day, and perhaps his grandson may be a duke. — 
You have made a false start; and if you continue in that 
way, it will be all over with you. See how much wiser 
M. Emile Blondet has been ! He is engaged on a 
Government newspaper ; he is well looked on by those 
in authority; he can afford to mix with Liberals, for 
he holds sound opinions; and sooner or later he will 
succeed. 



J 

284 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

But then he understood how to choose his opinions and 
his protectors. 

* Your charming neighbour ' (Mme. d'Espard glanced 
at Mme. de Montcornet) * was a TroisviUe ; there are 
two peers of France in the femily and two deputies. 
She made a wealthy marriage with her name ; she sees a 
great deal of society at her house ; she has influence, she 
will move the political world for young M. Blondet. 
Where will a Coralie take you ? In a few years' time 
you will be hopelessly in debt and weary of pleasure. 
You have chosen badly in love, and you are arrang- 
ing your life ill. The woman whom you delight to 
wound was at the Opera the other night, and this was 
how she spoke of you. She deplored the way in which 
you were throwing away your talent and the prime of 
youth ; she was thinking of you, and not of herself, all 
the while.* 

' Ah ! if only you were telling me truth, madame I ' 
cried Lucien. 

' What object should I have in telling lies ? * returned 
the Marquise, with a glance of cold disdain which 
annihilated him. He was so dashed by it, that the 
conversation dropped, for the Marquise was offended, 
and said no more. 

Lucien was nettled by her silence, but he felt that it 
was due to his own clumsiness, and promised himself 
that he would repair his error. He turned to Mme. de 
Montcornet and talked to her of Blondet, extolling that 
young writer for her benefit. The Countess was 
gracious to him, and asked him (at a sign from Mme. 
d'Espard) to spend an evening at her house. It was to 
be a small and quiet gathering to which only friends 
were invited — Mme. de Bargeton would be there in 
spite of her mourning ; Lucien would be pleased, she 
was sure, to meet Mme. de Bargeton. 

^Mme. la Marquise says that all the wrong is on 
my side,* said Lucien; *so surely it rests with her 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 285 

cousin, does it not^ to decide whether she will meet 
me?' 

^ Put an end to those ridiculous attacks, which only 
couple her name with the name of a man for whom she 
does not care at all, and you will soon sign a treaty of 
peace. You thought that she had used you ill, I am 
told, but I myself have seen her in sadness because you 
had forsaken her. Is it true that she left the provinces 
on your account ? ' 

I^ucien smiled ; he did not venture to make any other 
reply. 

^ Oh ! how could you doubt the woman who made 
such sacrifices for you? Beautiful and intellectual as 
she is, she deserves besides to be loved for her own sake ; 
and Mme. de Bargeton cared less for you than for your 
talents. Believe me, women value intellect more than 

food looks,' added the Countess, stealing a glance at 
Imile Blondet. 

In the Minister's hotel Lucien could see the differ- 
ences between the great world and that other world 
beyond the pale in which he had lately been living. 
There was no sort of resemblance between the two 
kinds of splendour, no single point in common. The 
loftiness and disposition of the rooms in one of the 
handsomest houses in the Faubourg Saint-Germain, the 
ancient gilding, the breadth of decorative style, the 
subdued richness of the accessories, all this was strange 
and new to him ; but Lucien had learned very quickly to 
take luxury for granted, and he showed no surprise. 
His behaviour was as fiir removed from assurance or 
fatuity on the one hand as from complacency ^nd ser- 
vility upon the other. His manner was good ; he found 
favour m the eyes pf all who were not prepared to be 
hostile, like the younger men, who resented his sudden 
intrusion into the great world, and felt jealous of his 
good looks and his success. 

When they rose from table, he offered his arm to 



286 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Mme. d'Espard, and was not refused. Rastignac, watch- 
ing him, saw that the Marquise was gracious to Lucien, 
and came in the character of a fellow-countryman to 
remind the poet that they had met once before at Mme. 
du Val- Noble's. The young patrician seemed anxious 
to find an ally in the great man from his own province, 
asked Lucien to breakfast with him some morning, and 
offered to introduce him to some young men of fashion. 
Lucien was nothing loth. 

^The dear Blondet is coming/ said Rastignac. 

The two were standing near the Marquis de Ronque- 
rolles, the Due de Rhetore, de Marsay, and General 
Montriveau. The Minister came across to join the 
group. 

^ Well,' said he, addresang Lucien with the bluff 
German heartiness that concealed his dangerous subtlety ; 
^well, so you have made vour peace with Mme. 
d'Espard ; she is delighted with you, and we all know/ 
he added, looking roimd the group, ^how difficult it is 
to please her.' 

^ Yes, but she adores intellect,' said Rastignac, ^ and 
my illustrious fellow-countryman has wit enough to 
sell* 

^ He will soon find out that he is not doing well for 
himself,' Blondet pat in briskly. ^ He will come over ; 
he will soon be one of us.' 

Those who stood about Lucien rang the changes on 
this theme; the older and responsible men laid down 
the law with one or two profound remarks ; the younger 
ones made merry at the expense of the Liberals. 

^ He simply tossed up head or tails for Right or 
Left, I am sure,' remarked Blondet, ^ but now he will 
choose for himself.' 

Lucien burst out laughing ; he thought of his talk 
with Lousteau that evening in the Luxembourg 
Gardens. 

* He has taken on a bear-leader,' continued Blondet, 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 287 

^one Etienne Lousteau, a newspaper hack who sees a 
(ive-franc piece in a column. Lousteau's politics con- 
sist in a belief that Napoleon will return, and (and this 
seems to me to be still more simple) in a confidence in 
the gratitude and patriotism of their worships the 
gentlemen of the Left. As a Rubempre, Lucien's 
sympathies should lean towards the aristocracy ; as a 
journalist, he ought to be for authority, or he will never 
be either Rubempre or a secretary-general.' 

The Minister now asked Lucien to take a hand at 
whist ; but, to the great astonishment of those present, 
he declared that he aid not know the game. 

^ Come early to me on the day of that breakfast affair,' 
Rascignac whispered, *and I will teach you to play. 
You are a discredit to the royal city of Angouleme^ and, 
to repeat M. de Talleyrand's saving, you are laying up 
an unhappy old age for yourself. 

Des Lupeaulx was announced. He remembered 
Lucien, whom he had met at Mme. du VaUNoble's, 
and bowed with a semblance of friendliness which the 
poet could not doubt. Des Lupeaulx was in favour, he 
was a Master of Requests, and did the Ministry secret 
services ; he was, moreover, cunning and ambitious, 
slipping himself in everywhere; he was everybody's 
fnend, for he never knew whom he might need. He 
saw plainly that this was a young journalist whose social 
success would probably equal his success in literature ; 
saw, too, that the poet was ambitious, and over- 
whelmed him with protestations and expressions of 
friendship and interest, till Lucien felt as if they were 
old friends already, and took his promises and speeches 
for more than their worth. Des Lupeaulx made a point 
of knowing a man thoroughly well if he wanted to get 
rid of him or feared him as a rival. So, to all appear- 
ance, Lucien was well received. He knew that much of 
his success was owing to the Due de Rhetore, the 
Minister, Mme. d'Espard, and Mme. de Montcornct, 



v^ 



288 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

and went to spend a few moments with the two ladies 
before taking leave, and talked his very best for them. 

^What a coxcomb!' said des Lupeaulx, turning to 
the Marquise when he had gone. 

^ He will be rotten before he is ripe,' de Marsay added, 
smiling. ^ You must have private reasons of your own, 
madame, for turning his head in this way.' 

When Lucien stepped into the carriage in the court- 
yard, he found Coralie waiting for him. She had come 
to fetch him. The little attention touched him; he 
told her the history of his evening ; and, to his no small 
astonishment, the new notions which even now were 
running in his head met with Coralie's approval. She 
strongly advised him to enlist under the ministerial 
banner. 

' You have nothing to expect from the Liberals but 
hard knocks,' she said. ' They plot and conspire ; they 
murdered the Due de Berri. Will they upset the 
Government ? Never ! You will never come to any- 
thing through them, while you will be the G>mte de 
Rubempre if you throw in your lot with the other side. 
You might render services to the State, and be a peer of 
France, and marry an heiress. Be an Ultra. It is the 
proper thing besides,' she added, this being the last 
word with her on all subjects. ^ I dined with the Val- 
Noble; she told me that Th^dore Gaillard is really 
going to start his little Royalist Re%me^ so as to reply to 
your witticisms and the jokes in the Miroir. To hear 
them talk, M. Villele's party will be in office before the 
year is out. Try to turn the change to ac^unt before 
they come to power ; and say nothing to Etienne and 
your friends, for they are quite equd to playing you 
some ill turn.' 

A week later, Lucien went to Mme. de Montcornet's 

/ house, and saw the woman whom he had so loved, whom 

later he had stabbed to the heart with a jest. He felt 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 289 

the most violent agitation at the sight of her, for Louise 
also had undergone a transformation. She was the 
Louise that she would always have been but for her 
detention in the provinces — she was a great lady. Theve 
was a grace and refinement in her mourning dress 
which told that she was a happy widow ; Lucien fancied 
that this coquetry was aimed in some degree at him, and 
he was right ; but, like an ogre^ he bad tasted flesh, and 
all that evening he vacillated between Coralie's warm, 
voluptuous beauty and the dried-up, haughty, cruel 
Louise. He could not make up his mind to sacrifice the 
actress to the great lady ; and Mme. de Bargeton^-^ll 
the old feeling reviving in her at the sight of Lucien,' 
Lucien's beauty, Lucien's cleverness--^was waiting and 
expecting that sacrifice all evening; and after all 
her insinuating speeches and her fascinations, she had 
her trouble for her pains. She left the room with a fixed 
determination to be revenged. 

^ Well, dear Lucien,' she had said, and in her kindness 
there was both genero»ty and Parisian grace; ^well, 
dear Lucien, so you, that were to have been my pride, 
took me for your first victim ; and I forgave you, my 
dear, for I felt that in such a revenge there was a trace 
of love still left.' 

With that speech, and the queenly way in which it 
was uttered, Mme. de Bargeton recovered her position. 
Lucien, convinced that he was a thousand times in the 
right, felt that he had been put in the wrong. Not one 
word of the causes of the rupture ! not one syllable of 
the terrible &rewell letter ! A woman of the world has 
a wonderful genius for diminishing her faults by laugh- 
ing at them ; she can obliterate them all with a smile or 
a question of feigned surprise, and she knows this. She 
remembers nothing, she can explain everything; she 
is amazed, asks questions, comments, amplifies, and 
quarrels with you, till in the end her sins disappear like 
stains on the application of a little soap and water; 



2 go A Distingmshed Provincial at Parii 

black as ink you knew them to be ; and lo I in a moment, 
you behold immaculate white innocence, and lucky are 
you if you do not find that you yourself have sinned in 
some way beyond redemption. 

In a moment old illusions regained their power over 
Lucien and Louise ; they talked like friends, as before ; 
but when the lady, with a hesitating sigh, put the ques- 
tion, ^ Are you happy ? ' Lucien was not ready with a 
prompt, decided answer; he was intoxicated with 
gratified vanity; Coralie, who (let us admit it) had made 
life easy for him, had turned his head. A melancholy 
' No ' would have made his fortune, but he must needs 
begin to explain his position with regard to Coralie. 
He said that he was loved for his own sake ; he said a 
good many foolish things that a man will say when he 
is smitten with a tender passion, and thought the while 
that he was doing a clever thing. 

Mme. de Bargeton bit her lips. There was no more 
to be said. Mme. d'Espard brought Mme. de Mont- 
cornet to her cousin, and Lucien became the hero of the 
evening, so to spesik. He was flattered, petted, and 
made much of by the three women ; he was entangled 
with art which no words can describe. His social 
success in this fine and brilliant circle was at least as 
great as his triumphs in journalism. Beautiful Mile, 
des Touches, so well known as ^ Camille Maupin,' asked 
him to one of her Wednesday dinners ; his beauty, now 
so justly famous, seemed to have made an impression 
upon her. Lucien exerted himself to show that his wit 
equalled his good looks, and Mile, des Touches expressed 
her admiration with a playful outspokenness and a pretty 
fervour of friendship which deceives those who do not 
know life in Paris to its depths, nor suspect how con- 
tinual enjoyment whets the appetite for novelty. 

^ If she should like me as much as I like her,*we might 
abridge the romance,' said Lucien, addressing de Marsay 
and Rastignac. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 191 

^ You both of you write romances too well to care to 
live them,' returned Rastignac. ^ Can men and women 
who write ever fall in love with each other ? A time is 
sure to come when they begin to make little cutting 
remarks.' 

^ It would not be a bad dream for you,' laughed de 
Marsay. ^The charming young lady is thirtv years 
old, it is true, but she has an income of eighty thousand 
livres. She is adorably capricious, and her style of 
beauty wears well. Coralie is a silly little fool, my dear 
boy, well enough for a start, for a young spark must 
have a mistress ; but unless you make some great con- 
quest in the great world, an actress will do you harm in the 
long run* Now, my boy, go and cut out Conti. Here 
he is, just about to sing with Camille Maupin. Poetry 
has taken precedence of music ever since time began.' 

But when Lucien heard Mile, des Touches's voice 
blending with Conti's, his hopes fled. 

* Conti sings loo well,' he told des Lupeaulx ; and 
he went back to Mme. de Bargeton, who carried him off 
to Mme. d' Espard in another room. 

^ Well, will you not interest yourself in him ? ' asked 
Mme. de Bargeton. 

The Marquise spoke with an air half kindly, half 
insolent. * Let M. Chardon first put himself in such a 
position that he will not compromise those who take an 
interest in him,' she said. 'If he wishes to drop his 
patronymic and to bear his mother's name, he should at 
any rate be on the right side, should he not ? ' 

' In less than two months I will arrange everything,' 
said Lucien. 

* Very well,' returned Mme. d'Espard. * I will speak 
to my father and uncle ; they are in waiting, they will 
speak to the ChanceUor for you.' 

The diplomatist and the two women had very soon 
discovered Lucien's weak side. The poet's head was 
turned by the glory of the aristocracy ; every man who 



39^ A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

entered the rooms bore a sounding name mounted in a 
glittering title, and he himself was plain Chardon. Un^ 
speakable mortification filled him at the sound of it. 
Wherever he had been during the last few days, that pang 
had been constantly present with him. He felt, moreover, 
a sensation quite as unpleasant when he went back to 
his desk after an evening spent in the great w.orld, in 
which he made a tolerable figure, thanks to CbraUe's 
carriage and Coralie's servants. 

He learned to ride, in order to escort Mme. d'Espard, 
Mile, des Touches, and the Comtesse de Montcornet 
when they drove in the Bois, a privilege which he had 
envied other young men so greatly when he first came to 
Paris. Finot was delighted to give his right-hand man 
an order for the Opera, so Lucien wasted many an 
evening there, and thenceforward he was one among 
the exquisites of the day. 

The poet asked Rastignac and his new associates to a 
breakfast, and made the blunder of giving it in Coralie's 
rooms in the Rue de Vendome ; he was too young, too 
much of a poet, too self-confident, to discern certain 
shades and distinctions in conduct ; and how should an 
actress, a good-hearted but uneducated girl, teach him life? 
His guests were anything but charitably disposed towards 
him ; it was clearly proven to their minds that Lucien 
the critic and the actress were in collusion for their 
mutual interests, and all of the young men were jealous 
of an arrangement which all of them stigmatised. The 
most pitiless of those who laughed that evening at 
Lucien's expense was Rastignac himself. Rastignac had 
made and held his position by very similar means ; but so 
careful had he been of appearances, that he could afford 
to treat scandal as slander. 

Lucien proved an apt pupil at whist. Play became a 
passion with him ; and so hr from disapproving, Cooalie 
encouraged his extravagance with the peculiar short- 
sightedness of an all-absorbing love, which sees nbtlitng 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 293 

beyond the moment, and is ready to sacrifice anything, 
even the future, to the present enjoyment. Coralie 
looked on cards as a safeguard against rivals. A great 
love has much in con^jption with childhood-^-a child's 
heedless, careless, spendthrift ways, a child's laughter 
and tears. 

In those days there lived and flourished a set of young 
men, some of them rich, some poor, and all of them idle, 
called * free-livers ' (viveurs); and, indeed, they lived with 
incredible inscdence — ^unabashed and unproductive con- 
sumers, and yet more intrepid drinkers. These spend- 
thrifts mingled the roughest practical jokes with a life 
not so much reckless as suicidal ; they drew back from 
no impossibility, and gloried in pranks which, neverthe- 
less, were confined within certain limits; and as they 
showed the most original wit in their escapades, it was 
impossible not to pardon them. 

No sign of the times more plainly discovered the 
hdotism to which the Restoration had condemned the 
young manhood of th^ epoch. The younger men, 
being at a loss to know what to do with themselves, 
were compelled to find other outlets for their super- 
abundant energy besides journalism, or conspiracy, or 
art, or letters. They squandered their strength in the 
wildest excesses, such sap and luxuriant power was there 
in young France. The hard workers among these 
gilded youths wanted power and pleasure; the artists 
wished for money ; the idle sought to stimulate their 
appetites or wished for excitement ; one and all of them 
wanted a place, and one and all were shut out from 
politics and public life. Nearly all the * free-livers ' were 
men of unusual mental powers ; some held out against 
the enervating life, others were ruined by it. The most 
celebrated and the cleverest among them was Eugene 
Rastignac, who entered, with de Marsay's help, upon a 
political career, in which he has since distinguished 
himself. The practical jdces, in which the set indulged 



294 -^ Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

became so famous, that not a few vaudevilles have been 
founded upon them. 

Blondet introduced Lucien to this society of prodigals, 
of which he became a brilliant ornament, ranking next 
to Bixiou, one of the most mischievous and untiring 
scoffing wits of his time. All through that winter 
Lucien's life was one long fit of intoxication, with 
intervals of easy work. He continued his series of 
sketches of contemporary life, and very occasionally 
made great efforts to write a few pages of serious criti- 
cism, on which he brought his utmost power of thought 
to bear. But study was the exception, not the rule, and 
only undertaken at the bidding of necessity ; dinners and 
breakfasts, parties of pleasure and play, took up most of 
his time, and Coralie absorbed all that was left. He 
would not think of the morrow. He saw besides that 
his so-called friends were leading the same life, earning 
money easily by writing publishers' prospectuses and 
articles paid for by speculators ; all of th^m lived beyond 
their incomes, none of them thought seriously of the 
future. 

Lucien had been admitted into the ranks of journalism 
and of literature on terms of equality -, he foresaw 
immense difficulties in the way if he should try to rise 
above the rest. Every one was willing to look upon him 
as an equal; no one would have him for a superior. 
Unconsciously he gave up the idea of winning fame in 
literature, for it seemed easier to gain success in politics. 

^Intrigue raises less opposition than talent,' du Chatelet 
had said one day (for Lucien and the Baron had made 
up their quarrel) ; * a plot below the surface rouses no 
one's attention. Intrigue, moreover, is superior to 
talent, for it makes something out of nothing ; while, 
for the most part, the immense resources of talent only 
injure a man.' 

So Lucien never lost sight of his principal idea ; and 
though to-morrowy following close upon the heels of 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 295 

to-day in the midst of an orgie, never found the pro- 
mised work accomplished^ Lucien was assiduous in 
society. He paid court to Mme. de Bargeton, the 
Marquise d'Espard, and the Comtesse de Montcornet ; 
he never missed a single party given by Mile, des 
Touches, appearing in society after a dinner given by 
authors or publishers, and leaving the salons for a supper 
given in consequence of a bet. The demands of con- 
versation and the excitement of play absorbed all the 
ideas and energy left by excess. The poet had lost the 
lucidity of judgment and coolness of head which must 
be preserved if a man is to see all that is going on 
around him, and never to lose the exquisite tact which 
the parvenu needs at every moment. How should he 
know how many a time, Mme. de Bargeton left him 
with wounded susceptibilities, bow often she forgave 
him or added one more condemnation to the rest ? 

Chatelet saw that his rival had still a chance left, so 
he became Lucien's friend. He encouraged the poet 
in dissipation that wasted his energies. Rastignac, 
jealous of his fellow-countryman, and thinking, besides, 
that Chatelet would be a surer and more useftil ally than 
Lucien, had taken up the Baron's cause. So, some few 
days after the meeting of the Petrarch and Laura of 
Angouleme, Rastignac brought about a reconciliation 
between the poet and the elderly beau at a sumptuous 
supper given at the Rocher de Cancale. Lucien never 
returned home till morning, and rose in the middle of the 
day i Coralie was always at his side, he could not forgo 
a single pleasure. Sometimes he saw his real position, 
and made good resolutions, but they came to nothing in 
his idle, easy life ; and the mainspring of will grew slack, 
and only responded to the heaviest pressure of necessity. 

Coralie had been glad that Lucien should amuse 
himself; she had encouraged him in this reckless expen- 
diture, because she thought that the cravings which she 
fostered would bind her lover to her } he could not lead 



296 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

his present life without her. But tender-hearted and 
loving as she was, she found courage to advise Lucien 
not to forget his work, and once or twice was obliged to 
remind him that he had earned very little during the 
month. Their debts were growing frightfully fast. 
The fifteen hundred francs which remained from the 
purchase-money of the Margumus had been swallowed 
up at once, together with Xucien's first five hundred 
livres. In three months he had only made a thousand 
francs, yet he felt as though he had been working tre- 
mendously hard. But by this time Lucien had adopted 
the * free-liver's * pleasant theory of debts. 

Debts are becoming to a young man, but after the 
age of five-and-^twenty they are ineatcusable. It should 
be observed that there are certain natures in which a 
really poetic temper is united with a weakened will ; and 
these while absorbed in feeling, that they may trans- 
mute personal experience, sensation, or impression into 
some permanent fonn, are essentially deficient in the 
morzl sense which should accompany all observation. 
Poets prefer rather to receive their own impressions 
than to enter into the souls of others to study the 
mechanism of their feelings and thoughts. So Lucien 
neither asked his associates what became of those who 
disappeared from among them, nor looked into the futures 
of his so-called friends. Some of them were heirs to 
property, others had definite expectations ; yet others 
either possessed names that were known in the world, or 
a most robust belief in their destiny and a fixed resolu- 
tion to circumvent the law. Lucien, too, believed in his 
future on the strength of various profound axiomatic 
sayings of Blondet's : ^ Everything comes out all right 
at last — If a man has nothing, his affairs cannot be 
embarrassed — We have nothing to lose but the fortune 
that we seek — Swim with the stream ; it will take you 
somewhere — A ckver man with a footing in society 
can make a fortune whenever he pleases/ 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 197 

That winter, filled as it was with so many pleasures 
and dissipations^ was a necessary interval empk>yed in 
finding capital for the new Royalist paper ; Theodore 
Gaillard and Hector Merlin only brought out the first 
number of the Reveil in March 1822. The alSair had 
been settled at Mme. du Val^Noble's house* Mme. du 
Val--Noble exercised a certain influence over the great 
personages. Royalist writers, and bankers who met in 
her splendid rooms — * fit for a tale out of the Arabian 
Nights/ as the elegant and clever courtesan herself used 
to say — to transact business which could not well be 
arranged elsewhere. The editorship had been pron^sed 
to Hector Merlin. Lucien, Merlin's intimate, was 
pret^ certain to be his right-hand man, and a feuiUeton 
in a Ministerial paper had been promised to him besides. 
All through the dissipations of that winter Lucien had 
been secretly making ready for this change of front. 
Child as he was, he fancied that he was a deep politician 
because he concealed the preparation for the approaching 
transformation-scene, while he was counting upon 
Ministerial largesses to extricate himself from embarrass- 
ment and to lighten Coralie's secret cares^ Coralie said 
nothing of her distress ; she smiled tiow, as always ; but 
Berenice was bolder, she kept Lucien informed of their 
difficulties ; and the budding great man, moved, after the 
fashion of poets, by the tale of disasters, would vow that 
he would begin to work in earnest, and then forget his 
resolution, and drown his fleeting cares in excess. One 
day Coralie saw the poetic brow overcast, and scolded 
Berenice, and told her lover that everything would be 
settled. 

Mme d'Espard and Mme. de Bargeton were waiting 
for Lucien's profession of his new creed, so they said, 
before applying through Chatelet for the patent which 
should permit Lucien to bear the so-much desired name. 
Lucien had proposed to dedicate the Adarguerites to 
Mme. d'Espard^ and the Marquise seemed to be not a 



298 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

little flattered by a compliment which authors have been 
somewhat chary of paying since they became a power in 
the land ; but when Lucien went to Dauriat and asked 
after his book, that worthy publisher met him with 
excellent reasons for the delay in its appearance. 
Dauriat had this and that in hand, which took up all his 
time ; a new volume by Canalis was coming out, and he 
did not want the two books to clash ; AI. de Lamartine's 
second series of Meditations was in the press, and two 
important collections of poetry ought not to appear 
together. 

By this time, however, Lucien's needs were so pressing 
that he had recourse to Finot, and received an advance 
on his work. When, at a supper-party that evening, the 
poet journalist explained his position to his friends in the 
hst set, they drowned his scruples in champagne, iced 
with pleasantries. Debts ! There was never yet a man 
of any power without debts ! Debts represented satisfied 
cravings, clamorous vices. A man only success under 
the pressure of the iron hand of necessity. Debts 
forsooth ! 

^ Why, the one pledge of which a great man can be 
sure,is given him by his friend the pawnbroker,' cried 
Blondet. 

*If you want everything, you must owe for every- 
thing,' called Bixiou. 

' No,' corrected des Lupeaulx, * if you owe for every- 
thing, you have had everything.' 

The party contrived to convince the novice that his 
debts were a golden spur to urge on the horses of the 
chariot of his fortunes. There is always the stock 
example of Julius Caesar with his debt of forty millions, 
and Friedrich 11. on an allowance of one ducat a month, 
and a host of other great men whose filings are held up 
for the corruption of youth, while not a word is said of 
their wide-reaching ideas, their courage equal to all 
odds. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 299 

Creditors seized Coralie's horses, carriage, and furni- 
ture at last, for an amount of four thousand francs. 
Lucien went to Lousteau and asked his friend to meet 
his bill for the thousand francs lent to pay gaming debts ; 
but Lousteau showed him certain pieces of stamped 
paper, which proved that Florine was in much the same 
case. Lousteau was grateful, however, and offered to 
take the necessary steps for the sale of Lucien's Archer 
of Char Us IX. 

^How came Florine to be in this plight?' asked 
Lucien. 

^ The Matifat took alarm,' said Lousteau. ' We have 
lost him ; but if Florine chooses, she can make him pay 
dear for his treachery. I will tell you all about it.' 

Three days after this bootless errand, Lucien and 
Coralie were breakfasting in melancholy spirits beside 
the fire in their pretty bedroom. Berenice had cooked 
a dish of eggs for them over the grate ; for the cook 
had gone, and the coachman and servants had taken 
leave. They could not sell the furniture, for it had 
been attached ; there was not a single object of any 
value in the house ; a goodly collection of pawntickets, 
forming a very instructive octavo volume, represented 
all the gold, silver, and jewellery. Berenice had kept 
back a couple of spoons and forks, that was all. 

Lousteau's newspaper was of service now to G^ralie 
and Lucien, little as they suspected it ; for the tailor, 
dressmaker, and milliner were afraid to meddle with a 
journalist who was quite capable of writing down their 
establishments. 

Etienne Lousteau broke in upon their breakfast with 
a shout of * Hurrah! Long live The Archer of 
Charles IX. ! And I have converted a hundred francs 
worth of books into cash, children. We will go 
halves.' 

He handed fifty francs to Coralie, and sent Berenice 
out in quest of a more substantial breakfast. 



500 A Distinguished Provincial at Para 

* Hector Merlin and I went to a booksellers' trade 
dinner yesterday, and prepared the way for your romance 
with cunning insinuarions. Dauriat is in treaty, but 
Dauriat is haggling over it ; he won't give more than 
four thousand francs for two thousand copies, and you 
want six thousand francs. We made you out twice as 
great as Sir Walter Scott I Oh ! you have such novels 
as never were in the inwards of you. It is not a mere 
book for sale, it is a big business ; you are not simply 
the writer of one more or less ingenious novel, you are 
going to write a whole series. That word ^^ series" did 
it ! So^ mind you, don't forget that you have a great 
historical series on hand — La Grande Alademoise&j or 
The France o^Leuis ^uatarxe; Cotilltm Z, or The Early 
Days ef Louis ^inxe ; The ^ueen and the Cardinal, or 
Paris and the Fronde i The Son rf the Concinij or 
Richelieu*s Intrigue. These novels will be announced 
on the wrapper of the book. We call this manceuvre 
^ giving a success a toss in the coverlet," for the titles 
are all to appear on the cover, till you will be better known 
for the books that you have not written than for the 
work you have done. And **In the Press" is a way of 
gaining credit in advance for work that you will do. 
Come now^ let us have a little fon ! Here comes the 
champagne^ You can understand, Lucien, that our 
men opened eyes as big as saucers. By the bye, I see 
that you have saucers still left.' 

' They are attached,' explained Coralie. 

^ I understand, and I resume. Show a publisher one 
manuscript volume and he will believe in all the rest. 
A publisher asks to see your manuscript, and gives you 
to understand that he is going to read it. Why disturb 
his harmless vanity. They never read a manuscript ; 
they would not publish so many if they did. Well, 
Hector and I allowed it to leak out that you might 
consider an ofFer of five thousand francs for three 
thousand copies, in two editions. Let me have your 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 301 

Archer; the day after to-morrow we. are to hreak£ut 
with the publishers, and we will get the upper hand of 
them.' 

' Who are they \ ' asked Lucien. 

^Two partners named Pendant and Cavalier; they are 
two good fellows, pretty straigbcforward in business. One 
of them used to be with Vidal and Porchon, the other is 
the cleverest hand on the Quai des Augustins. They 
only started in business last year, and have lost a little 
on translations of English novels; so now my gentle-> 
men have a mind to exploit the native product. There 
is a rumour current that these dealers in spoiled white 
paper are trading on other people's capital ; but I don't 
think it matters very much to you who finds the money, 
so long as you are paid.' 

Two days later, the pair went to a breakfitst in 
the Rue Serpente, in Luciea's old quarter of Paris. 
Lousteau still kept his room in the Rue de la Harpe; 
and it was in the same state as before, but this time 
Lucien felt no surprise ; he had been initiated into the life 
of journalism; he knew all its ups and downs* Since that 
evening of his introduction to the Wooden Galleries, he 
had been paid for many an article, and gambled away the 
money along with the desire to write. He had filled 
columns, not once but many times, in the ingenious 
ways described by Lousteau on that memorable evening 
as they went to the Palais Ro3ral. He was. dependent 
upon Bar bet and Braulard ; he trafficked in books and 
theatre-tickets; he shrank no longer from any attack, 
from writing any panegyric; and at this moment he was 
in some sort rejoicing to make all that he could out of 
Lousteau before turning his back on the Liberals. His 
intimate knowledge of the party would stand him in 
good stead in future. And Lousteau, on his side, was 
privately receiving five hundred francs of the purchase- 
money) under the name of commission, from FendaAt 
and Cavalier for introducing the future Sir Walter 



302 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Scott to two enterprising tradesmen in searchof a French 
Author of * Waverley/ 

The firm of Fendant and Cavalier had started in 
business without any capital whatsoever. A great many 
publishing houses were established at that time in the 
same way, and are likely to be established so long as 
papermakers and printers will give credit for the time 
required to play some seven or eight of the games of 
chance called ^ new publications.' At that time, as at pre- 
sent, the author's copyright was paid for in bills at six, 
nine, and twelve months — a method of payment deter- 
mined by the custom of the trade, for booksellers settle 
accounts between themselves by bills at even longer 
dates. Papermakers and printers are paid in the same 
way, so that in practice the publisher-bookseller has a 
dozen or a score of works on sale for a twelvemonth before 
he pays for them. Even if only two or three of these 
hit the public taste, the profitable speculations pay for 
the bad, and the publisher pays his way by grafting, as 
it were, one book upon another. But if all of them turn 
out badly ; or if, for his misfortune, the publisher-book- 
seller happens to bring out some really good literature 
which stays on hand until the right public discovers and 
appreciates it ; or if it costs too much to discount the 
paper that he receives, then, resignedly, he files his 
schedule, and becomes a bankrupt with an untroubled 
mind. He was prepared all along for something of the 
kind. So, all the chances being in favour ot the 
publishers, they staked other people's money, not their 
own, upon the gaming-table of business speculation. 

This was the case with Fendant and Cavalier. 
Cavalier brought his experience, Fendant his industry ; 
the capital was a joint-stock aflFair, and very accurately 
described by that word, for it consisted in a few thousand 
fiancs scraped together with difiiculty by the mistresses 
of the pair. Out of this fiind they allowed each other 
a fiiirly handsome salary, and scrupulously spent it all in 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 303 

dinners to journalists and authors, or at the theatre, where 
their business was transacted, as they said. This ques- 
tionably honest couple were both supposed to be clever 
men of business, but Fendant was more slippery than 
Cavalier. Cavalier, true to his name, travelled about, 
Fendant looked after business in Paris. A partnership 
between two publishers is always more or less of a duel, 
and so it was with Fendant and Cavalier. 

They had brought out plenty of romances already, 
such as the Tour du Nord^ Li Marchand de BenareSy La 
Fontaine du Sepulcre^ and Tekiliy translations of the works 
of Gait, an English novelist who never attained much 
popularity in France. The success of translations of 
Scott had called the attention of the trade to English 
novels. The race of publishers, all agog for a second 
Norman Conquest, were seeking industriously for a 
second Scott, just as at a rather later day every one must 
needs look for asphalte in stony soil, or bitumen in marshes, 
and speculate in projected railways. The stupidity of 
the Paris commercial world is conspicuous in these 
attempts to do the same thin^ twice, for success lies in 
contraries ; and in Paris, of all places in the world, success 
spoils success. So beneath the title of StrelitZy or Russia 
a Hundred Tears AgOy Fendant and Cavalier rashly added 
in big letters the words, * In the style of Scott.' 

Fendant and Cavalier were in great need of a success. 
A single good book might float their sunken bales, they 
thought ; and there was the alluring prospect besides of 
articles in the newspapers, the great way of promoting 
sales in those days. A book is very seldom bought and 
sold for its just value, and purchases are determined by 
considerations quite other than the merits of the work. 
So Fendant and Cavalier thought of Lucien as a 
journalist, and of his book as a saleable article, which 
would help them to tide over their monthly settlement. 

The partners occupied the ground floor of one of the 
great old-&shioned houses in the Rue Serpente; their 



304 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

private office had been contrived at the further end of 
a suite of large drawine-rooms, now converted into 
warehouses for books. Lucien and Etienne found the 
publishers in their office, the agreement drawn up, 
and the bills ready. Lucien wondered at such prompt 
action. . 

Pendant was short and thin, and by no means reassur- 
ing of aspect. With his low, narrow forehead, sunken 
nose, and hard mouth, he looked like a Kalmuck Tartar; 
a pair of small, wide-awake black eyes, the crabbed 
irregular outline of his countenance, a voice like a 
cracked bell — the man's whole appearance, in fact, 
combined to give the impression that this was a con- 
summate rascal. A honeyed tongue compensated for 
these disadvantages, and he gained his ends by talk. 
Cavalier, a stout, thick-set young fellow, looked more like 
the driver of a n^l coach than a publisher ; he had hair 
of a sandv colour, a fiery red countenance, and the heavy 
build ana untiring tongue of a commercial traveller. 

^ There is no need to discuss this affair,' said Fendant, 
addressing Lucien and Lousteau. ^I have read the 
work, it is very literary, and so exactly the kind of thing 
we want, that I have sent it off* as it is to the printer. 
The agreement is drawn on the lines laid down, and 
besides, we always make the same stipulations in all 
cases. The bills £dl due in six, nine, and twelve months 
respectively; you will meet with no difficulty in dis- 
counting them, and we will refund you the discount. We 
have reserved the right of giving a new title to the book. 
We don't care for The Archer 7f Charles IX. ; it doesn't 
tickle the reader^s curiosity sufficiently; there were 
several kings of that name, you see, and there were so 
many archers in the Middle Ages. If you had only 
called it the Soldier of Napoleon^ now ! But Tlu Archer 
of Charles ixj — why^ Cavalier would have to give a 
course of history lessons before be could place a copy 
anywhere in the provinces.' 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris ^o^ 

* If yon but knew the class of people that we have to 
do with ! * exckimed Cavalier. 

^ Saint Barthtomiw would suit better/ continued 
Fcndant. 

^Catherine d/ Medici^ or frame under Charles /X, 
would sound more like one of Scott's nbvels,' added 
Cavalier. 

' W^ will settle it when the work is printed,* said 
Pendant. 

*Do as you please, so long as I approve jrour title,' 
said Lucien. 

The agreement was read over, signed in duplicate, and 
each of the contracting parties took their copy. Lucien 
put the bills in his pocket with unequalled satisfaction, 
and the four repaired to Pendant's abode, where they 
breakfasted on beefeteaks and oysters, kidneys in cham- 
pagne, and Brie cheese ; but if the fare was something of 
the homeliest, the wines were exquisite ; Cavalier had an 
acquaintance a traveller m the wine trade. Just as they 
sat down to table the printer appeared, to Lucien's sur- 
prise, with the first two proof-sheets. 

* We want to get on with it,' Pendant said 5 * we are 
counting on your book ; we want a success confoundedly 
badhr.' 

The breakfast, begun at noon, lasted till five o'clock. 

•Where shall we get cash for these things?* asked 
Lucien as they came away, somewhat heated and flushed 
with the wine. 

' We might try Barbet,' suggested Etienne, and they 
turned down to the Quai des Augustins. 

•Coralie is astonished to the highest degree over 
Plorine's loss. Plorine only told her about it yesterday ; 
she seemed to lay the blame of it on you, and was so 
vexed, that she was ready to throw you over.' 

* That's true,* said Lousteau. Wine had got the 
better of prudence, and he unbosomed himself to Lucien, 
ending up with : * My friend — for you are my friend, 

u 



3o6 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Lucien ; you lent me a thousand francs, and you have 
only once asked me for the money — shun play ! If I 
had never touched a card, I should be a happy man. I 
owe money all round. At this moment I have the 
bailiffs at my heels ; indeed, when I go to the Palais 
ROTal, I have dangerous capes to double/ 

In the language of the fast set, doubling a cape, meant 
dodging a creditor, or keeping out of his way. Lucien 
had not heard the expression before, but he was familiar 
with the practice by this time. 

* Are your debts so heavy ? * 

^ A mere trifle,' said Lousteau. ^ A thousand crowns 
would pull me through. I have resolved to turn steady 
and give up play, and I have done a little ^^ chantage " to 
pay my debts.' 

* What is *' chantage " ? ' asked Lucien. 

^It is an English invention recently imported. A 
^^ chanteur " is a man who can manage to put a para- 
graph in the papers — ^never an editor nor a responsible 
man, for they are not supposed to know anything about 
it, and there is always a Giroudeau or a Philippe Bridau 
to be found. A bravo of this stamp finds up somebody 
who has his own reasons for not wanting to be talked 
about. Plenty of people have a few peccadilloes, or 
some more or less original sin, upon their consciences ; 
there are plenty of fortunes made in ways that would 
not bear looking into ; sometimes a man has kept the 
letter of the law, and sometimes he has not ; and in either 
case, there is a titbit of tattle for the inquirer, as, for 
instance, that tale of Fouche's police surrounding the 
spies of the Prefect of Police, who, not being in the 
secret of the fabrication of forged English banknotes, 
were just about to pounce on the clandestine printers 
employed by the Minister, or there is the story of Prince 
Galathionne's diamonds, the Maubreuil affair, or the 
Pombreton will case. The ** chanteur " gets possession 
of some compromising letter, asks for an interview ; and if 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 307 

the man that made the money does not buy silence, the 
" chanteur ** draws a picture of the press ready to take 
the matter up and unravel his private affairs. The rich 
man is frightened, he comes down with the money, and 
the trick succeeds. 

^You are committed to some risky venture, which 
might easily be written down in a series of articles ; a 
*' chanteur " waits upon you, and oflFers to withdraw the 
articles — for a consideration. ^^ Chanteurs " are sent to 
men in office, who will bargain that their acts and not 
their private characters are to be attacked, or they are 
heedless of their characters, and anxious only to shield 
the woman they love. One of your acquaintances, that 
charming Master of Requests des Lupeaulx, is a kind of 
agent for affairs of this sort. The rascal has made a 
position for himself in the most marvellous way in the 
very centre of power ; he is the middle-man of the press 
and the ambassador of the Ministers ; he works upon a 
man's self-love ; he bribes newspapers to pass over a loan 
in silence, or to make no comment on a contract which 
was never put up for public tender, and the jackals of 
Liberal bankers get a share out of it. That was a bit of 
^ chantage " that you did with Dauriat ; he gave you a 
thousand crowns to let Nathan alone. In the eighteenth 
century, when journalism was still in its infancy, this 
kind of blackmail was levied by pamphleteers in the pay 
of favourites and great lords. The original inventor was 
Pietro Aretino, a great Italian. Kings went in fear of 
him, as stage-players go in fear of a newspaper to-day.' 

^ What did you do to the Matijat to make the thou- 
sand crowns i ' 

^ I attacked Florine in half a dozen papers. Florine 
complained to Matifat. Matifat went to Braulard 
to find out what the attacks meant. I did my 
^* chantage " for Finot's benefit, and Finot put Braulard 
on the wrong scent ; Braulard told the man of drugs 
that you were demolishing Florine in Coralie's interest. 



^8 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Then Giroudeau went round to Matifat and told him (in 
confidence) that the whole business could be accom- 
modated if he (Mati&t) would consent to sell his sixth 
share of Finot's review for ten thousand francs, Finot 
was to give me a thousand crowns if the dodge suc- 
ceeded. Well, Mad&t wasonly too glad to get bock ten 
thousand francs out of the thirty- thousand invested in a 
risky speculation, as he thought, for Florine had been 
telling him for several days past that Finot's review was 
doing badly ; and, instead of paying a dividend, something 
was said of calling up more capital. So Matifat was just 
about to close with the offer, when the manager of the 
Psnorama-Dramatique comes to him with some accom- 
modation bills that he wanted to negotiate before filing 
his schedule. To induce Mati&t to take them of him, 
he let out a word of Finot's trick. Matifat, being a 
shrewd man of business, took the hint, held tight to his 
sixth, and is laughing in his sleeve at us. Finot and I 
are howling with despair. We have been so misguided as 
to attack a msm who has no affection for his mistress, a 
heartless, soulless wretch. Unluckily, too, for us, Mati- 
fet's business is not amenable to the jurisdiction of the 
press, and he cannot be made to smart for it through his 
interests. A druggist is not like a hatter or a miHiner, 
or a theatre or a work of art ; he is above criticism ; you 
can't run down his opium and dye woods, nor cocoa beans, 
paint, and pepper. Florine is at her wits' end ; the Pano- 
rama closes to-morrow, and what will become of her she 
does not know.' 

^Coralie's en^gement at the Gymnase begins in a 
few days,' said Lucien ; ^ she might do something for 
Florine.' 

^ Not she' ! ' said Lousteau. ^ Coralie is not clever, but 
she is not quite simple enough to help herself to a rival. 
We are ih a mess with a vengeance. And Finot is in 
such a hurry to buy back his sixth ' 

*Wliy?» 



A Distinguished Proviiicisd ^t F^ri^ 309 

^ It is a capital bit of business, my dear fellow. There 
is a chance of selling the paper for three hundred thou- 
sand francs ; Finot would have one-third, and his partners 
besides are going to pay him a commission, which he 
will share with des Lupeaulx. So I propose to do another 
turn of '* chantage." ' 

^^^ Chantage" seems to mean your money or your 
life?' 

^It is better than that,' said Lousteau; ^it is your 
money or your character. A short time ago the pro* 
prietor of a minor newspaper was refused credit. The 
day before yesterday it was announced in his columns 
that a gold repeater set with diamonds belonging to a 
certain notability had found its way in a^curious fashion 
into the hands of a private soldier in the Guards ; the 
story promised to the readers might have come from the 
Arabian Nights. The notability lost no time in asking 
that editor to dine with him ; the editor was distinctly a 
eainer by the transaction, and contemporary history has 
lost an anecdote. Whenever the press makes vehement 
onslaughts upon some one in power, you may be sure 
that there is some refusal to do a service behind it. 
Blackmailing with regard to private life is the terror 
of the richest Englishman, and a great source of wealth 
to the press in England, which is infinitely more corrupt 
than ours. We are children in comparison ! In Eng- 
land they will pay five or six thousand francs for a com* 
promising letter to sell again.' 

^Then how can you lay hold of Matifat?' asked 
Lucien. 

^ My dear boy, that low tradesman wrote the queerest 
letters to Florine ; the spelling, style, and matter of them 
is ludicrous to the last degree. We can strike him in 
the very midst of his Lares and Penates, where he feels 
himself safest, without so much as mentioning his name ; 
and he cannot complain, for he lives in fear and terror 
of his wife. Imagine his wrath when he sees the first 



i 



3IO A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

number of a little serial entitled the Amours of a Druggist^ 
and is given fair warning that his love-letters have fallen 
into the hands of certain journalists. He talks about 
the ^ little god Cupid," he tells Florine that she enables 
him to cross the desert of life (which looks as if he took 
her for a camel), and spells " never " with two v*s. There 
is enough in that immensely fiinny correspondence to 
bring an influx of subscribers for a fortnight. He will 
shake in his shoes lest an anonymous letter should supply 
his wife with a key to the riddle. The question is 
whether Florine will consent to appear to persecute 
Matifat. She has some principles, which is to say, some 
hopes, still left. Perhaps she means to keep the letters 
and to make soipething for herself out of them. She is 
cunning, as befits my pupil. But as soon as she finds 
out that a bailiff is no laughing matter, or Finot gives her 
a suitable present or hopes of an engagement, she will 

five me the letters, and I will seU them to Finot. 
inot will put the correspondence in his uncle's hands, 
and Giroudeau will bring Matifat to terms.' 

These confidences sobered Lucien. His first thought 
was that he had some extremely dangerous friends ; his 
second, that it would be impolitic to break with them ; 
for if Mme. d'Espard, Mme. de Bargeton, and Chitelet 
should fail to keep their word with him, he might need 
their terrible power yet. By this time Etienne and 
Lucien had , reached Barbet's miserable bookshop on 
the Quai. Etienne addressed Barbet — 

^ We have five thousand francs' worth of bills at six, 
nine, and twelve months, given by Fendant and Cavalier. 
Are you willing to discount them for us ? ' 

' I will give you three thousand francs for them,' said 
Barbet with imperturbable coolness. 

* Three thousand francs ! ' echoed Lucien. 

* Nobody else will give you as much,' rejoined the 
bookseller. The firm will go bankrupt before three 
months are out ; but I happen to know that they have 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 311 

some good books that are hanging on hand ; they cannot 
afFord to wait, so I shall buy their stock for cash and 
pay them with their own bills, and get the books at 
a reduction of two thousand francs. That 's how 
it is.* 

^Do you mind losing a couple of thousand francs, 
Lucien ? ' asked Lousteau. 

' Yes ! ' Lucien answered vehemently. He was dis- 
mayed by this first rebuff. 

' You are making a mistake,' said Etienne. 

* You won't find any one that will take their paper,' 
said Barbet. ^ Your book is their last stake, sir. The 
printer will not trust them ; they are obliged to leave the 
copies in pawn with him. If they make a hit now, it 
will only stave off bankruptcy for another six months, 
sooner or later they will have to go. They are cleverer 
at tippling than at bookselling. In my own case, their 
bills mean business; and that being so, I can afford 
to give more than a professional discounter who simply 
looks at the signatures. It is a bill-discounter's business 
to know whether three names on a bill are each good for 
thirty per cent, in case of bankruptcy. And here at the 
outset you only offer two signatures, and neither of them 
worth ten per cent.' 

The two journalists exchanged glances in surprise. 
Here was a little scrub of a bookseller putting the 
essence of the art and mystery of bill-discounting in 
these few words. 

*That will do, Barbet,* said Lousteau. *Can you 
tell us of a bill-broker that will look at us ? ' 

^ There is Daddy Chaboisseau, on the Quai Saint- 
Michel, you know. He tided Fendant over his last 
monthly settlement. If you won't listen to my offer, 
you might go and see what he says to you ; but yoi| 
would only come back to me, and then I shall offer you 
two thousand francs instead of three.' 

j£tienne and Lucien betook themselves to the Quai 



31? A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Saint-Michfil^ and found Chaboisseaiii in a litd^ house 
with a passage entry. Chaboisseau, a bill-discouiM;er, 
whose dealings were principally with the book-trade, 
lived in a second-ilopr lodging furnished in the most 
eccentric manner. A brevet-rank banker and million- 
aire to boot, he ha4 a taste for the classical style. 
The cornice was in the classical style ; the bedsti^d, in 
the purest classical taste, dated from the time of the 
Empire, when such things were in fashion ; the purple 
hangings fell over the wall like the classic draperies in 
th^ background of one of David's picture9f Chairs 
and tables, lamps and sconces, and every least detail had 
e^vidently been sought with patient care in furniture 
warehouses. There was the elegance of antiquity about 
the classic revival as well as its fragile and somewhat 
arid grace. The man himself, like his manner of lifc^ 
was in grotesque contrast with the airy mythological 
Ipok of his roopis ; and it nji^y be remarked that the 
most eccentric character^ are foutii among men who 
give their whole energies to money-making. 

Men of this stamp are, in a certain se^se, inteUect^al 
libertines. Everything is within their reach, conse- 
quently their hncy is jaded, and they will make 
immense efforts to shake off their indifference. The 
student of human nature can always discover some 
hobby, $ome accessible weakness and seifsitive spot in 
tljieir hearts. Chaboisseau might have intrenched himself 
in antiquity as in an impregnable camp. 

^The matn will be an antique to match, no doubt,' 
said Etienne, smiling. 

Chaboisseau, a little old person with powdered hair, 
wore a greenish coat and snuff-brown waistcoat ; he was 
tricked out besides in blapk small-clothes, ribbed stock- 
ings and shoes that creaked as he icame forward to take 
the bills. After a short scrutiny, he returned them to 
Lucien with a serious countenance. 

^MHf Fendant and Cavalier are delightful young 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 313 

fellows; they have plenty of ineelligence; but, I have no 
money,' he said blandly* 

'My friend here would be willing to meet you in the 
matter of discount-—-^' Etienne began. 

<I would not take the bilk on any consideration/ 
returned the little brokw. The words slid down upon 
Lottsteau's suggestion like the blade of the guillotine on 
a man's neck. 

The two friends withdrew $ but as Chaboisseau went 
prudently out with them across the ante-chambo*, Lucien 
noticed a pile of seconcUhand books. Chaboisseau had 
been in the trade, and this was a recent purchase. 
Shining conspicuous among them, he noticed a copy of 
a work by the architect Ducerceau, which gives exceed- 
inghr accurate plans of various royal palaces and cfa&teaux 
ip"Francc. 

' Could you let me have that book i ' he asked. 
I ^ Yes,' said Chaboisseau, transfixmed into a bookseller. 

^ How much ? ' 

* Fifty francs.' 

^ It is dear, but I want it. And I can only^ pay you 
with one of the bills which you refuse to take.' 

' You have a bill there for five hundred francs at six 
months; I will take that one of you,' said Chabois- 
seau. 

Apparently at the last stafem«it of accounts, there 
had faeen a balance of five hundred francs in favour of 
Pendant and Cavalier. 

They went back to the classical apartment. Chabois- 
seau made out a little memorandum, interest so much 
and commission so much, total deduction thirty francs, 
then he subtracted fifty francs for Ducerceau's book ; 
finally, from a cash-*box full of coin, he took four hundred 
and twenty francs. 

'Look here, though, M. Chaboisseau, the bills are 
either all of them good, or all bad alike ; why don't you 
take the rest f 



I 



314 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

. .' This is not discounting ; I am paying myself for 
a sale,' said the old man. 

£tienne and Lucien were still laughing at Chaboisseau, 
without understanding him, when they reached Dauriat's 
shop, and Etienne suked Gabusson to give them the 
name of a bill-broken Gabusson thus appealed to gave 
them a letter of introduction to a broker in the Boule- 
vard Poissonniere, telling them at the same time that this 
was the ^oddest and queerest party' (to use his own 
expression) that he, Gabusson, had come across. The 
friends took a cab by the hour^ and went to the address. 

^ If Samanon won't take your bills,' Gabusson had said, 
* nobody else will look at them.' 

A second-hand bookseller on the ground floor, a 
second-hand clothes^ealer on the first story, and a 
seller of indecent prints on the second, Samanon carried 
on a fourth business — he was a money-lender into the 
bargain. No character in Hoffmann's romances, no 
sinister-brooding miser of Scott's, can compare with this 
freak of human and Parisian nature (always admitting 
that Samanon was human). In spite of himself, Lucien 
shuddered at the sight of the dried-up littie old creature, 
whose bones seemed to be cutting a leather skin, spotted 
with all sorts of little green and yellow patdiqs, like a 
portrait by Titian or Veronese when you look at it 
closely. One of Samanon's eyes was fixed and glassy, the 
other lively and bright ; he seemed to keep that dead eye 
for the bill-discounting part of his profession, and the 
other for the trade in the pornographic curiosities up- 
stairs. A few stray white hairs escaping fi-om under a 
small, sleek, rusty black wig, stood erect above a sallow 
forehead with a suggestion of menace about it ; a hollow 
trench in either cheek defined the oudine of the jaws ; 
while a set of projecting teeth, still white, seemed to 
stretch the skin of the lips with the effect of an equine 
yawn. The contrast between the ill-assorted eyes and 
grinning mouth gave Sanunon a passably ferocious air i 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 315 

and the very bristles on the man's chin looked stiflF and 
sharp as pins. 

Nor was there the slightest sign about him of any 
desire to redeem a sinister appearance by attention to 
the toilet ; his threadbare jacket was all but dropping to 
pieces; a cravat, which had once been black, was frayed 
by contact with a stubble chin, and left on exhibition a 
throat as wrinkled as a turkey-gobbler's. 

This was the individual whom Etienne and Lucien 
discovered in his filthy counting-house, busily affixing 
tickets to the backs of a parcel of books from a recent 
sale. In a glance, the friends exchanged the innumer- 
able questions raised by the existence of such a creature ; 
then they presented Gabusson's introduction and 
Fendant and Cavalier's bills. Samanon was still reading 
the note when a third comer entered, the wearer of a 
short jacket, which seemed in the dimly-lighted shop to 
be cut out of a piece of zinc roofing, so solid was it by 
reason of alloy with all kinds of foreign matter. Oddlv 
attired as he was, the man was an artist of no small 
intellectual power, and ten years later he was destined 
to assist in the inauguration of the great but ill-founded 
Saint-Simonian system. 

^ I want my coat, my black trousers, and satin waist-* 
coat,' said this person, pressing a numbered ticket on 
Samanon's attention. Samanon touched the brass button 
of a bell-pull, and a woman came down from some upper 
region, a Normande apparently, to judge by her rich, 
fresh complexion. 

^ Let the gentleman have his clothes,' said Samanon, 
holding out a hand to the newcomer. ^ It's a pleasure 
to do business with you, sir ; but that youngster whom 
one of your friends introduced to me took me in most 
abominably.' 

^Tooknimin ! ' chuckled the newcomer, pointing out 
Samanon to the two journalists with an extremely 
comical gesture. The great man dropped thirty sous 



ji6 A Diatlnguished Provincial at Pam 

into the money-lender's yellow, wrinkled hand ; like the 
Neapolitan lazzaronij he was taking his best clothes 
out of pawn for a state occasion. The coins dropped 
jingling into the till. 

^ What queer business are you up to?' asked Lousteau 
of the artist, an opium-eater who dwelt among visions 
of enchanted palaces till he either could not or would 
not create. 

^ He lends you a good deal more than an ordinary 
pawnbroker on anything you pledge ; and besides,^ he is 
so awfully charitable, he allows you to take your dothes 
out when you must have something to wear. I am 
going to dine with the Kellers and my mistress to-night/ 
he continued $ ^ and to me it is easier to find thirty sous 
than two hundred francs, so I keep my wardrobe here. 
It has brought the charitable usurer a hundred francs in 
the last six months. Samanon has devoured my library 
already, volume by volume ' {livre a livre). 

^ And sou by sou,' Lousteau said with a laugh. 
. ^I will let you have fifteen hundred francs,' said 
Samanon, looking up. 

Lucien started, as if the bill-broker had thrust a red- 
hot skewer through his heart. Samanon was subjecting 
the bills and their dates to a close scrutiny. 

' And even then,' he added, ' I must see Fendant first. 
He ought to deposit some books with me. You aren't 
worth much ' (turning to Lucien); ' you are living with 
Coralie, and your fiirniture has been attached.' 

Lousteau, watching Lucien, saw him take up his bills, 
and dash out into the street. ^ He is the devil himself!' 
exclaimed the poet For several seconds he stood out- 
side gazing at the shop front. The whole place was so 
pitifiil, that a passer-by could not see it without smiling 
at the sight, and wondering what kind of business a man 
could do among those mean, dirty shelves of ticketed 
hooks. 

A few moments later, the great man, in incognito, 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 317 

came out, very well dressed, smiled at the friends, and 
turned to go with them in the direction of the Passage 
des Panoramas, where he. meant to complete his toilet by 
the polishing of his boots* 

^ If you see Samanon in a boDksdler^ shop, or calling 
on a paper-merchant or a printer, you may know that it 
is all over with that man,^ said the artist* ^ Samanon is 
the undertaker come to take the measurements for a 
coffin.' 

^ You won't discount your bills now, Lucfen,' said 
Ettenne. 

' If Samanon will not take them, nobody else will ; he 
is the ultima ratio^^ said the stranger* ^ He is ofRt of 
Gigonnet's lambs, a spy for Palma, Werbrust, Gobseck, 
and the rest of those crocodiles who swim in the Paris 
money-market. Every man with a fortune to make, of 
unmake, is sure to come across one of them sooner or 
later.* 

^ If you cannot discount your bilb at fifty per cent.,* 
remarked Lousteau, * you must exchange them for hard 
cash.' 

'How?' 

'Give them to Coralie; Camusot will cash them for 
her. — You are disgusted,' added Lousteau, as Lucien 
cut him short with a start. ' What nonsense ! How 
can you allow such a silly scruple to turn the scale, when 
your future is in the balance ? ' 

' I shall take this money to Coralie in any case,' began 
Lucien. 

' Here i*- more folly ! ' cried Lousteau. ' You will not 
keep your creditors quiet with four hundred francs wbeil 
you must have four thousand. Let us keep a little 
and get drunk on it, if we lose the rest at roi^e ef tfrir* 

' That is sound advice,' said the great man. 

Those words, spoken not four paces from Frascati's, 
were magnetic in their effect. The friends dismissed 
their eahand went up tathe gaming-ts4)Ie« 



; 



3i8 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

At the outset they won three thousand francs, then 
they lost and fell to nve hundred ; again they won three 
thousand seven hundred francs, and again they lost all 
but a five-franc piece. After another turn of luck they 
staked two thousand francs on an even number to double 
the stake at a stroke ; an even number had not turned up 
.for five times in succession, and this was the sixth time. 
They punted the whole sum, and an odd number turned 
up once more. 

After two hours of all-absorbing, frenzied excitement, 
the two dashed down the staircase with the hundred 
francs kept back for the dinner. Upon the steps, be- 
tween the two pillars which support the little sheet-iron 
verandah to which so many eyes have been upturned in 
longing or despair, Lousteau stopped and looked into 
Lucien's flushed, excited face. 

^ Let us just try fifty francs,' he said. 

And up the stairs again they went. An hour later 
they owned a thousand crowns. Black had turned up 
for the fifth consecutive time ; they trusted that their 
previous luck would not repeat itself, and put the whole 
sum on the red — black turned up for the sixth time. 
They had lost. It was now six o'clock. 

^ Let us just try twenty-five francs,' said Lucien. 

The new venture was soon made — and lost. The 
twenty-five francs went in five stakes. Then Lucien, 
in a frenzy, flung down his last twenty-five francs on 
the number of his age, and won* No words can describe 
how his hands trembled as he raked in the coins which 
the bank paid him one by one. He handed ten louis to 
Lousteau. 

< Fly ! ' he cried j * take it to Very's.' 

Lousteau took the hint and went to order dinner* 
Lucien, left alone, laid his thirty louis on the red and 
won. Emboldened by the inner voice which a gambler 
always hears, he staked the whole again on the red, and 
again he won. He felt as if there were a furnace within 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 319 

him. Without heeding the voice, he laid a hundred and 
twenty louis on the black and lost. Then to the tor- 
turing excitement of suspense succeeded the delicious 
feeling of relief known to the gambler who has nothing 
left to lose, and must perforce leave the palace of fire in 
which his dreams melt and vanish. 

He found Lousteau at Verv's, and flung himself upon 
the cookery (to make use of Lafontaine's expression), and 
drowned his cares in wine. By nine o'clock his ideas 
were so confused that he could not imagine why the 
portress in the Rue de Vendome persisted in sending 
him to the Rue de la Lune. 

^ MUe. Coralie has gone,' said the woman. ^ She has 
taken lodgings elsewhere. She left her address with me 
on this scrap of paper.' 

Lucien was too far gone to be surprised at anything* 
He went back to the cab which had brought him, and 
was driven to the Rue de la Lune, making puns to him- 
self on the name of the street as he went. 

The news of the failure of the Panorama-Dramatique 
had come like a thunder-clap. Coralie, taking alarm^ 
made haste to sell her furniture (with the consent of her 
creditors) to little, old Cardot, who installed Florentine 
in the rooms at once. The tradition of the house 
remained unbroken. Coralie paid her creditors and 
satisfied the landlord, proceeding with her ^washing-day,' 
as she called it, while Berenice bought the absolutely 
indispensable necessaries to furnish a fourth-floor lodging 
in the Rue de la Lune, a few doors from the Gynmase» 
Here Coralie was waiting for Lucien's return. She had 
brought her love unsullied out of the shipwreck and 
twelve hundred francs. 

Lucien, more than half intoxicated, poured out his 
woes to Coralie and Berenice. 

^ You did quite right, my angel,' said Coralie, with 
her arms about his neck. ' Berenice can easily negotiate 
your bills with Braulard.' 



yao A Distinguished Provincial at PSurfe 

The next morning Lucien awoke to an enchanted 
world of happiness made about him by Coralie. She 
wad more loving and tender in these ^ys than she bad 
ever been ; perhaps she thought that the wealth of love 
in her heart should make him amends for the poverty of 
their lodging. She looked bewitchingly charming', with 
the loose hair straying from under the crushed white silk 
handkerchief about her head ; there was soft laughter in 
her eyes ; her words were as bright as the first rays of 
sunrise that shone in through the windows, pouring a 
So6d of gold upon such charming poverty. 

Not that the room was squalid. The walls were covered 
with a sea-green paper, bordered with red ; there t^as one 
mirror over the chihtney-piece, and a second above the 
chest of drawers. The bare boards were covered with a 
cheap carpet, which Berenice had bought in spite of 
CoraUe's orders, and paid for out of her own little store. 
A* wardrobe, with a glass door and a chest, held the 
lovers' clothing, the mahogany chairs were covered 
with blue cotton stufF, and Berenice had manttged t6> save 
a clock and a couple of china vases from the catastrophe, 
as well as four spoons and forks and half-a*dozen little 
spoons. The bedroom was entered from the dining- 
room, which might have belonged to a clerk with an 
income of twelve hundred francs. The kitchen was 
next the landing, and Berenice slept above in an attic. 
The rent was not more than a hundred crowns. 

The dismal house boasted a sham carriage entrance, 
the porter's box being contrived behind one of the useless 
leaves of the gate, and lighted by a peephole through 
which that personage watched the comings and goings 
of seventeen families, for this hive was a ^good-paying 
property,' in auctioneer's phrase. 

Lucien, looking round the room, discovered a desk, 
an easy-chair, paper, pens, and ink. The sight of 
Berenice in high spirits (she was building hopes on 
Coralie's debut at the Gymnase), and of Coralte herself 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 321 

conning her part with a knot of blue ribbon tied about it, 
drove all cares and anxieties from the sobered poet'^s 
mind. 

^So long ios nobody in society bears -of this sudden 
come-down, we shall pull through,' he said. ^ After all, 
we have four thousand five hundred francs before us« I 
will turn my new position in Royalist journalism tx> 
account. To-morrow we shall start the Reveil\ lam 
an old hand now, and I will make something out*' 

And Goralie, seeing nothing but love in the words, 
kissed the lips that uttered them. By this, time Berenice 
had set the table near the fire and served a modest 
break&st of scrambled eggs, a couple of cutlets, coffee^ 
and cream. Just then there came a knock at the door, 
and Lucicn, to his astonishment, beheld three of the 
loyal friends of old day^-^^d'Arthee, Leon Giraud, and 
Michel Chrestien. He was deeply touched, and asked 
them to share the breakfast. 

^No; we have come on more serious business than 
condolence,' said d'Arthe^ % ^ we know the wholes story, 
we have just come from the Rue de<Vend6me. You 
know my opinions, Lucien. Under any other circum- 
stances 1 should be glad to hear that yoa had adopted my 
political convictions ; but situated as you are with regard 
to the Liberal press^ it is impossible for you to go over 
to the Ultras* You life will be sullied, your c^racter 
blighted for ever. We have come to entreat you- in the 
name of our friendship,' weakened though it may be, not 
to soil yourself m thid way. Yoa have been prominent 
in attacking the Romantics, the Right, and the Govern- 
ment ; you cannot now declare for the Government, the 
Right, and the Romantics.' 

' My reasons for the change are based on lofty grounds \ 
the end will justify the means,' said Lucien. 

* Perhaps you do not fully comprehend our position 
on the side of the Government,' said Leon Giraud. 
^The Government, the Court, the Bourbons, the Ahso- 

X 



322 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

lutist Party, or to sum up in a general expression^ 
the whok system opposed to the constitutional sjrstem, 
may be divided upon the question of the best 
means of extinguishing the Revoluticm, is unanimous 
as to the advisability of extinguishing the newspapers. 
The Riviilj the Fwdrey and the Drapeam Slanc have all 
been founded for the express purpose of replying to the 
slander, gibes, and railing of the Liberal press, icannot 
approve them, for it is precisely this £ulure to recognise 
the grandeur of our priesthood that has led us to bring 
out a serious and self-respecting paper ; which perhaps/ 
he added parenthetically, ^may exercise a worthy in- 
fluence before very long, and win respect, and carry 
weight ; but this Royalist artillery is destined for a first 
attempt at reprisals, the Liberals are to be paid back in 
their own coin — shift for shaft, wound for wound. 

^ What can come of it, Luden ? The majority of 
newspaper readers incline for the Left ; and in the press, 
as in warfare, the victory is with the big battalions. 
You will be blackguards, liars, enemies of the people ; 
the other side will he defenders of their country, martyrs, 
men to be held in honour, though they may be even 
more hypocritical and slippery than their opponents. 
In these ways the pernicious influence of the press will 
be increased, while the most odious form of journalism 
will receive sanction. Insult and personalities will 
become a recognised privilege of the press ; newspapers 
have taken this tone in the subscribers' interests ; and 
when both sides have recourse to the same weapons, the 
standard is set and the general tone of journalism taken 
for granted. When the evil is developed to its fullest 
extent, restrictive laws will be followed by prohibitions ; 
there will be a return of the censorship of the press 
imposed after the assassination of the Due de Berri, and 
repealed since the opening of the Chambers. And do 
you know what the nation will conclude ftom the 
debate I The people will believe the insinuations of the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 323 

Liberal press ; they will think that the Bourbons mean 
to attack the rights of property acquired by the Revolu- 
tion, and some fine day they will rise and shake ofF the 
Bourbons. You are not only soiling your life, Lucien, 
you are going over to the losing side. You are too 
young, too lately a journalist, too Uttle initiated into the 
secret springs of motive and the tricks of the craft, you 
have aroused too much jealousy, not to fall a victim to 
the general hue and cry that will be raised against you 
in the Liberal newspapers. You will be drawn into the 
fray by party spirit now still at fever-heat ; though the 
fever, which spent itself in violence in 18 1 5 and 18 16, 
now appears in debates in the Chambes and polemics in 
the papers.' 

*I am not quite a featherhead, my friends,' said 
Lucien, ^ though you may choose to see a poet in me. 
Whatever may happen, I shall gain one solid advantage 
which no Liberal victory cw give me. By the time 
your victory is won, I shall have gained my end.^ 

* We will cut off — your hair,' said Michel Chrestien, 
with a laugh. 

^I diall have children by that time,' said Lucien; ^and 
if you cut off my head, it will not matter.' 

The three could make nothing of Lucien. Inter- 
course with the great world had developed in him the 
pride of caste, the vanities of the aristocrat. The poet 
thought, and not without reason, that there was a 
fortune in his good looks and intellect, accompanied by 
the name and title of Rubempre. Mme. d'Espard and 
Mme. de Bargeton held him fast by this clue, as a child 
holds a cockchafer by a string. Lucien's flight was 
circumscribed. The words, 'He is one of us, he is 
sound,' accidentally overheard but three days ago in 
Mile, des Touches's salon, had turned his head. The 
Due de Lenoncourt, the Due de Navarreins, the Due de 
Grandlieu, Rastignac, Blondet, the lovely Duchesse de 
Maufrigneuse, the Comte d'Escrignon, and des Lupeaulx, 



324 A Distii^uished Provincial at Paris 

all the most influential people at Court in fact, had con- 
gratulated him on his conversion, and completed his 
intoxicaticHi. 

'Then there is no more to be said,*d*Arthez rejoined. 
' You, of all men, will find it hard to keep dean hands 
and self-respect. I know you, Lucien ; you will feel it 
acutely when you are despised by the very men to whom 
you offer yourself.* 

The three took leave, and not one of them gave him 
a friendly handshake. Lucien was thoughtful and sad 
for a few minutes. 

' Oh ! never mind those ninnies,' cried Coralie, 
springing upon his knee and putting her beautiful 
arms about his neck. ' They take life seriously^ and life 
is a joke. Besides, you are going to be Cbunt Lucien 
de Rubempre. I will wheedle the OianceUerie if there 
is no other way. I know how to come round that rake 
of a des Lupeaulx, who will sign vour patent. Did I 
not tell you, Lucien, that at the last you should have 
Coralie's dead body for a stepping-stone r * 

Next day Lucien allowed his name to appear in the 
list of contributors to the Reveil. His name was 
announced in the prospectus with a fldurish of trumpets, 
and the Ministry took care that a hundred thousand 
copies should be scattered abroad far and wide. There 
was a dinner at Robert's, two doors away from Frascati's, 
to celebrate the inauguration, and the whole band of 
Royalist writers for the press were present. Martain- 
ville was there, and Auger and Destains, and a host of 
others, still living, who ' did Monarchy and religion/ to 
use the ^miliar expression coined for them. Nathan 
had also enlisted under the banner, for he was thinking 
of starting a theatre, and not unreasonably held that it 
was better to have the licensing authorities for him than 
against him. 

* We will pay the Liberals out,' cried Merlin. 

^Gentlemen,' said Nathan, ^if we are for war, let us 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 325 

have war in earnest ; we must not carry it on with 
pop-guns. Let us fall upon all Classicals and Liberals 
without distinction of age or sex, and put them all to the 
sword with ridicule. There must he no quarter.' 

' We must act honourably ; there must t^ no bribing 
with copies of books or presents ; no taking money of 
publishers. We must inaugurate a Restoration of 
Journalism.' 

'Good !' said Martainville. ^Justum et tenacem pro- 
positi virumi Let us be implacable and virulent. I 
will give out La Fayette for the prince of harlequins 
that he is ! ' 

' And I will undertake the heroes of the Constitutionnel^ 
added Lucien ; ' Sergeant Mercier, M« Jouy's Complete 
Works, and ** the illustrious orators of the Left." * 

A war of extermination was Tmanimouslv resolved 
upon, and by one o'clock in the morning all shades of 
opinion were merged and drowncdi together with every 
glimmer of sense, in a flaming bowl of punch. 

' We have had a fine Monarchical and Religious jollifi- 
cation,' remarked an illustrious reveller in the doorway 
as he went. 

That comment appeared in the next day's issue of the 
Afiroir through the good offices of a publisher among 
the guests, and became historic. Lucien was supposed 
to be the traitor who blabbed. His defection gave the 
signal for a terrific hubbub in the Liberal camp ; Lucien 
was the butt of the Opposition newspapers, and ridiculed 
unmercifully. The whole history of his Sonnets was 

E'ven to the public. Dauriat was said to prefer a first 
ss of a thousand crowns to the risk of publishing the 
verses ; Lucien was called ' the Poet sans Sonnets ' ; and 
one morning, in that very .paper in which he had so 
brilliant a beginning, he read the fdlowing lines, signifi- 
cant enough for htm, but barely inlelligible to other 
readers : — 

%* If M. Dauriat persistently withholds the Sonnets of 



326 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

the future Petrarch from publication, we will act like 
generous foes. We will open our own columns to his 
poems, which must be piquant indeed, to judge bv the 
following specimen obligingly communicated by a friend 
of the author/ 

And close upon that ominous preface followed a sonnet 
entitled « The Thistle ' {U Chardon) :— 

A chanoe-oome seedlingy springiiiKap one day 
Among the flowers in a nuden £ur, 
Made boast that splendid colours bright and rare 
Its claims to lofty lineage should display. 

So for a while they suffered it to f^\ 
But with such insolence it flourished there, 
That, out of patience with its braggart^s air. 
They bade it prove its claims without delay. 

It bloomed forthwith ; but ne*er was blundering clown 
Upon the boards more promptly hooted down $ 
Tne sister flowers began to jeer and lau£^ 

The owner flung it out. At close of day 
A solitary jackass came to bray — 
A common Thistle^s fitting epitaph. 

Lucien read the words through scalding tears. 

Vernou touched elsewhere on Lucien's gambling pro- 
pensities, and spoke of the forthcoming ^^A^ of Charles 
IX, as * anti-national' in its tendency, the writer sid- 
ing with Catholic cut-throats against their Calvinist 
rictims. 

Another week found the quarrel embittmd. Lucien 
had counted upon his friend Etienne; Etienne owed 
him a thousand francs, and there had been brides a 
private understanding between them ; but Etienne 
Lousteau during the interval became his sworn foe, and 
this was the manner of it. 

For the past three months Nathan had been smitten 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 327 

with Florine's charms, and much at a loss how to rid 
himself of Loustcau his rival, who was in fact dependent 
upon the actress. And now came Nathan's opportunity, 
when Florine was frantic with distress over the failure of 
the Panorama-Dramatique, which left her without an 
engagement, he went as Lucien's colleague to beg Coralie 
to ask for a part for Florine in a play of his which was 
about to be produced at the Gymnase. Then Nathan 
went to Florine and made capital with her out of the 
service done by the promise of a conditional engagement. 
Ambition had turned Florine's head ; she did not hesi- 
tate. She had had time to gauge Lousteau pretty 
thoroughly. Lousteau's courses were weakening his 
will, and here was Nathan with his ambitions in politics 
and literature, and energies strong as his cravings. 
Florine proposed to reappear on the stage with renewed 
eclat^ so she handed over Matifat's correspondence to 
Nathan. Nathan drove a bargain for them with Matifat, 
and took the sixth share of Finot's review in exchange 
for the compromising billets. After this, Florine was 
installed in sumptuously furnished apartments in the Rue 
Hauteville, where she took Nathan for her protector in 
the &ce of the theatrical and journalistic world. 

Lousteau was terribly overcome. He wept (towards 
the close of a dinner given by his friends to console him 
in his affliction). In the course of that banquet it was 
decided that Nathan had not acted unfairly; several 
writers present — Finot and Vernou, for instance, — ^knew 
of Florine's fervid admiration for dramatic literature ; but 
they all agree that Lucien had behaved very ill when he 
arranged that business at the Gymnase ; he had indeed 
broken the most sacred laws of friendship. Party-spirit 
and zeal to serve his new friends had led the Royalist 
poet on to sin beyond forgiveness. 

'Nathan was carried away by passion,' pronounced 
Bixiou, ' while this ^ distinguished provincial," as Blon- 
det calls him, is simply scheming for his own selfish ends,' 



328 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

And so it came to pass that deep plots were laid by all 
parties alike to rid themselves of this little upstart 
intruder of a poet who wanted to eat everybody up, 
Vernou bore Lucien a personal grudge, and undertook to 
keep a tight hand on him; and Finot declared that 
Lucien had betrayed the secret of the combination 
against Matifat, and thereby swindled him (Finot) out 
of fifty thousand francs. Nathan, acting on Florine's 
advice, gained Finot's support by (Selling him the sixth 
share fm fifteen thousand francs^ and Lousteau conse- 
quently lost his commission. His thousand crowns had 
vanished away; he could not forgive Lucien for this 
treacherous 1)tow {as he supposed it) dealt to his interests. 
The wpunds of vanity refuse to heal if oxide of silver 
gets into them. 

No words, no amount of description, can depict the 
wrath of an author in a paroxysm of mortiiiod vanity, 
nor the energy which he discovers when stung by the 
poisohed darts of sarcasm ; but, on the other hand, the 
man that is roused to fighting-fury by a personal attack 
usually subsides very promptly. The more phlegmatic 
race, who take these things Quietly, lay their account 
with the oblivion Kvhicfa speedily overtakes the spiteful 
article. These are- the truly cours^eous men of 
lettetB ; and if the w^kliiigs sisem at first to be the 
strong men, they eannot hold out for any length of 
tittle* 

During that first fortnight, while the fury was upon 
him, Lucien poured a perfect hailstorm of articles into 
the Royalist papers, in which he shared the responsi* 
bilitieft of cticictsm with Hector Merlin. He was 
always in the breach, pounding away with all his might 
in the Rh}eily backed up by Martainville, the only one 
among his associates who stood by him without an after-^ 
thought. Martainville was not in the secret of certain 
understandings made and ratified amid after-dinner jokes, 
or at Dauriat's in the Wooden Galleries, or behind the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 329 

scenes at the Vaudeville, when journalists of either side 
met on neutral ground. 

When Lucien went to the greenroom of the Vaude- 
ville, he met with no welcome ; the men of his own party 
held out a hand to shake, the others cut him ; and all the 
while Hector Merlin and Theodore Gaillard fraternised 
unblushingly with Finot, Lousteau,and Vernou, and the 
rest of the journalists who were known for 'good 
fellows.' 

The greenroom of the Vaudeville in those days 
was a hotbed of gossip, as well as a neutral ground 
where men of every shade of opinion could meet ; so 
much so that the President of a court of law, after 
reproving a learned brother in a certain council chamber 
for ' sweeping the greenroom with his gown,' met the 
subject of his strictures, gown to gown, in the green- 
room of the Vaudeville. Lousteau, in time, shook 
hands again with Nathan ; Finot came thither almost 
every evening ; and Lucien, whenever he could spare the 
time, went to the Vaudeville to watch the enemies, who 
showed no sign of relenting towards the unfortunate 
boy. 

In the time of the Restoration party hatred was far 
more bitter than in our day. Intensity of feeling is 
diminished in our high-pressure age. The critic cuts a 
book to pieces and shakes hands with the author after- 
wards, and the victim must keep on good terms with his 
slaughterer, or run the gauntlet of innumerable jokes at 
his expense. If he refuses, he is unsociable, eaten up 
with self-love, he is sulky and rancorous, he bears 
malice, he is a bad bed-fellow. To-day let an author 
receive a treacherous stab in the back, let him avoid the 
snares set for him with base hypocrisy, and endure the 
most unhandsome treatment, he must still exchange 
greetings with his assassin, who, for that matter, claims 
the esteem and friendship of his victim. Everything can 
be excused and justified in an age which has transformed 



330 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

vice into virtue and virtue into vice. Good-fellowship 
has come to be the most sacred of our liberties; the 
representatives of the most opposite opinions courteously 
blunt the edge of their words, and fence with buttoned 
foils. But in those almost forgotten days the same 
theatre could scarcely hold certain Royalist and Liberal 
journalists ; the most malignant provocation was offered, 
glances were like pistol-shots, the least spark produced 
an explosion of quarrel. Who has not heard his neigh- 
bour's half-smothered oath on the entrance of some man 
in the forefront of the battle on the opposing side ? 
There were but the two parties — Royalists and Liberals, 
Classics and Romantics. You found the same hatred 
masquerading in either form, and no longer wondered at 
the scaffolds of the Convention. 

Lucien had been a Liberal and a hot Voltairean ; now 
he was a rabid Rojralist and a Romantic. Martainville, 
the only one among his colleagues who really liked him 
and stood by him loyally, was more hated by the 
Liberals than any man on the Royalist side, and this 
fact drew down all the hate of the Liberals on Lucien's 
head. Martainville's staunch friendship injured Lucien. 
Political parties show scanty gratitude to outpost 
sentinels, and leave leaders of forlorn hopes to their fate ; 
'tis a rule of warfare which holds equally good in matters 
political, to keep with the main body of the army if you 
mean to succeed. The spite of the small Liberal 
papers fastened at once on the opportunity of coupling 
the two names, and flung them into each other's arms. 
Their friendship, real or imaginary, brought down upon 
them both a series of articles written by pens dipped 
in gall. Felicien Vemou was furious with jealousy of 
Lucien's social success ; and believed, like all his old 
associates, in the poet's approaching elevation. 

The fiction of Lucien's treason was embellished with 
every kind of aggravating circumstance ; he was called 
Judas the Less, Martainville being Judas the Great, fof 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 331 

Martainville was supposed (rightly or wrongly) to have 
given up the Bridge of Pecq to the foreign invaders. 
Lucien said jestingly to des Lupeaulx that he himself, 
surely, had eiven up the Asses' Bridge. 

Lucien's luxurious life, hollow though it was, and 
founded on expectations, had estranged his friends. 
They could not forgive him for the carriage which he 
had put down — for them he was still rolling about in 
it — nor yet for the splendours of the Rue de Vendome 
which he had left. All of them felt instinctively that 
nothing was beyond the reach of this young and hand- 
some poet, with intellect enough and to spare; they 
themselves had trained him in corruption ; and, there- 
fore, they left no stone unturned to ruin him. 

Some few days before Coralie's first appearance at the 
Gymnase, Lucien and Hector Merlin went arm-in-arm 
to the Vaudeville. Merlin was scolding his friend for 
giving a helping hand to Nathan in Florine's affair. 

^ You then and there made two mortal enemies of 
Lousteau and Nathan,' he said. ^I gave you good 
advice, and you took no notice of it. You gave praise, 
you did them a good turn — ^you will be well punished 
for your kindness, Florine and Coralie will never live 
in peace on the same stage ; both will wish to be first. 
You can only defend Coralie in our papers; and 
Nathan not only has a pull as a dramatic author, he can 
control the dramatic criticism in the Liberal newspapers. 
He has been a journalist a little longer than you ! ' 

The words responded to Lucien's inward misgivings. 
Neither Nathan nor Gaillard was treating him with 
the frankness which he had a right to expect, but so 
new a convert could hardly complain. Gaillard utterly 
confounded Lucien by saying roundly that newcomers 
must give proo6 of their sincerity for some time before 
their party could trust them. There was more jealousy 
than he had imagined in the inner circles of Royalist 
and Ministerial journalism. The jealousy of curs 



33^ A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

fighting for a bone is apt to appear in the human species 
when there is a loaf to divide; there is the same 
growling and showing of teeth, the same characteristics 
come out. 

In every possible way these writers of articles tried to 
injure each other with those in power ; they brought 
reciprocal accusations of lukewarm zeal ; they invented 
the most treacherous ways of getting rid of a rival. 
There had been none of this internecine warfare among 
the Liberals ; they were too far from power, too hope- 
lessly out of £ivour; and Lucten, amid the inextricable 
tangle of ambitions, had neither the courage to draw 
sword and cut the knot, nor the patience to unravd it. 
He could not be the Beaumarchais, the Aretino, the 
Freron of his epoch ; he was not made of such stuff; he 
thought of nothing but his one desire, the patent of 
nobility; for he saw clearly that for him such a 
restoration meant a wealthy marriage, and, the title 
once secured, chance and his good looks would do the 
rest. This was all his plan ; and Etienne Lousteau, who 
had confided so much to htm, knew his secret, knew 
how to deal a deathblow to the poet of Angouleme. 
That very nighty as Lucien and Merlin went to the 
Vaudeville, £tienne had laid a terriUe trap, into which 
an inexperienced boy could not but fall. 

^ Here is our handsome Lucien,' said Finot, drawing 
des Lupeaulx in the direction of the poet, and shaking 
hands with feline amiability. ^I cannot think of 
another example of such rapid success,' continued Finot, 
looking from des Lupeaulx to Lucien. ^ There are two 
sorts of success in Paris : there is a fortune in solid cash, 
which any one can amass, and there is the intangible 
fortune of connections, position, or a footing in certain 
circles inaccessible for certain persons, however rich 
they may be. Now my friend he re ■ * 

*Our friend,' interposed des Lupeaulx, smiling 
blandly. 



A Distingmshed Provincial at Paris 333 

^ Our friend,' repeated Finot, patting Lucien's hand, 
^ has made a brilliant success from this point of view. 
Truth to tell, Lucien has more in him, more gift, more 
wit than the rest of us that envy him, and he is 
enchantingly handsome besides ; his old friends cannot 
forgive him for his success — ^they call it luck.' 

^Luck of that sort never comes to fools or incap* 
ables,' said des Lupeaulx. ^Can you call Bonaparte's 
fcMTtune luck, eh ? There were a score of applicants for 
the command of the army of Italy, just as there are a 
hundred young men at this moment who would like to 
have an entrance to Mile, des Touches's house ; people are 
coupling her name with yours already in society, my dear 
boy,' said des Lupeaulx, clapping Lucien on the shoulder. 
^ Ah ! you are in high favour. Mme. d'Espard, Mme. 
de Bargeton, and Mme. de Montcornet are wild about 
you. You are going to Mme. Firmiani's party to-night, 
are you not, uid to the Duchesse de Grandlieu's rout 
to-morrow ? * 

* Yes,' said Lucien. 

^ Allow me to introduce a young banker to you, 
a M. du Tillet; you ought to be acquainted, he 
has contrived to make a great fortune in a short 
time.' 

Lucien and du Tillet bowed, and entered into con- 
versation, and the banker asked Lucien to dinner. 
Finot and des Lupeaulx, a well-matched pair, knew 
each other well enough to keep upon good terms ; they 
turned away to continue their chat on one of the sofas 
in the greenroom, and left Lucien with du Tillet, 
Merlin, and Nathan. 

* By the way, my friend,* said Finot, * tell me how 
things stand. Is there really somebody behind Lucien i 
For he is the bete noire of my staff; and before allowing 
them to plot against him, I thought I should like to 
know whether, in your opinion, it would be better to 
baffle them and keep well with him.' 



334 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

The Master of Requests and Finot looked at each 
other very closely for a moment or two. 

' My dear fellow,' said des Lupeaulx, ^ how can you 
imagine that the Marquise d'Espard, or Chatelet, or 
Mme. de Bargeton — who has procured the Baron's 
nomination to the prefecture and the title of Count, 
so as to return in triumph to Angouleme — how can you 
suppose that any of them will forgive Lucien for his 
attacks on them? They dropped him down in the 
Royalist ranks to crush him out of existence. At this 
moment they are looking round for any excuse for not 
fulfilling the promises they made to that boy. Help 
them to some ; you will do the greatest possible service 
to the two women, and some day or other they will 
remember it. I am in their secrets ^ I was surprised 
to find how much they hated the little fellow. This 
Lucien might have rid himself of his bitterest enemy 
(Mme. de Bargeton) by desisting from his attacks on 
terms which a woman loves to grant — do you take me ? 
He is young and handsome, he should have drowned her 
hate in torrents of love, he would be Comte de 
Rubempre by this time ; the Cuttlefbh-bone would 
have obtained some sinecure for him, some post in the 
Royal Household. Lucien would have made a very 
pretty reader to Louis xviii. ; he might have been 
librarian somewhere or other, Master of Requests for a 
joke. Master of the Revels, what you please. The 
young fool has missed his chance, rerhaps that is his 
unpardonable sin. Instead of imposing his conditions, 
he has accepted them. When Lucien was caught with 
the bait of the patent of nobility, the Baron Chatelet 
made a great step. Coralie has been the ruin of that 
boy. If he had not had the actress for his mistress, he 
would have turned again to the Cuttlefish-bone ; and he 
would have had her too.' 

* Then we can knock him over ? ' 

< How ? ' des Lupeaulx asked carelessly. He saw a 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 335 

way of gaining credit with the Marquise d'Espard for 
this service. 

' He is under contract to write for Lousteau*s paper, 
and we can the better hold him to his agreement because 
he has not a sou. If we tickle up the Keeper of the 
Seals with a fiicetious article, and prove that Lucien 
wrote it, he will consider that Lucien is unworthy of 
the King's favour. We have a plot on hand besides. 
Coralie will be ruined, and our distinguished provincial 
will lose his head when his mistress is hissed off the 
stage and left without an engagement. When once the 
patent is suspended, we will laugh at the victim's aristo- 
cratic pretensions, and allude to his mother the nurse 
and his father the apothecary. Lucien's courage is only 
skin-deep, he will collapse ; we will send him back to 
his provinces. Nathan made Florine sell me Matifat's 
sixth share of the review, I was able to buy ; Dauriat 
and I are the only proprietors now ; we might come to 
an understanding, you and I, and the review might be 
taken over for the benefit of the Court. I stipulated 
for the restitution of my sixth before I undertook to pro- 
tect Nathan and Florine ; they let me have it, and I 
must help them; but I wished to know first how 
Lucien stood ' 

^You deserve your name,' said des Lupeaulx. ^I like 
a man of your sort ' 

' Very well. Then can you arrange a definite engage- 
ment for Florine ? ' asked Finot. 

^ Yes, but rid us of Lucien, for Rastignac and de 
Marsay never wish to hear of him again.' 

' Sleep in peace,' returned Finot. ^ Nathan and Merlin 
will always have articles ready for Gaillard, who will 
promise to take them ; Lucien will never get a line into 
the paper. We will cut off his supplies. There is onlv 
Martainville's paper left him in which to defend himself 
and Coralie; what can a single paper do against so 
many?' 



336 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

^ I will let you know the weak points of the Ministry $ 
but get Lucien to write that article and hand over the 
manuscript,' said des Lupeaulz, who refrained carefully 
from informing Finot that • Lucien's promised patent 
was nothing but a joke. 

When des Lupeaulx had gone, Finot went to Lucien, 
and taking the good-natured tone which deceives so 
many victims, he explained that he could not possibly 
afford to lose his contributor, and. at the same time he 
shrank from taking proceedings which might ruin him 
with his friends of the other side. Finot hittiself liked 
a man who was strong enough to change his opinions. 
They were pretty sure to come across one another, he 
and Lucien, and might be mutually helpful in a thousand 
little ways. Lucien, besides, needed a sure man in the 
Liberal party to attack the Ultras and men in office 
who might refuse to help^ him. 

^ Suppose that they play you felse, what will you da ? ' 
Finot ended. ^ Suppose that some Minister &ncies that 
hC' has you fast by the halter of your apostasy, and turns 
the cold shoulder on you i You will be glad to set on 
a few dogs to snap at his legs, will you not ? Very well. 
But you have made a deadly enemy of Lousteau ; he is 
thirsting for your blood. You and Felicien are not on 
speaking terms. I only remain to you. It is a rule of 
the craft to keep a good understanding with every man 
of real ability. In the world which you are about to 
enter you can do me services in return for mine with 
the press. But business first. Let me have purely 
literary articles ^ they will not compromise you, and we 
shall have executed our agreement.' 

Lucien saw nothing but good-fellowship and a shrewd 
eye to business in Finot's offer ; Finot and des Lupeaulx 
had flattered him, and he was in a good humour. He 
actually thanked Finot ! 

Ambitious men, like all those who can (xily make 
their way by the help of others and of circumstances, are 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 337 

bound to lay their plans very carefully and to adhere 
very closely to the course of conduct on which tbey 
determine ; it is a cruel moment in the lives of such 
aspirants when some unknown power brings the fabric 
of their fortunes to some severe test and everything gives 
way at once; threads are snapped or entangled, and mis- 
fortune appears on every side. Let a man lose his head 
in the confusion, it is all over with him; but if he can re* 
sist this first revolt of circumstance, if he can stand erect 
until the tempest passes over, or make a supreme eiFort 
and reach the serene sphere about the storm — then he is 
really strong. To every man^ unless he is born rich, 
there comes sooner or later ^ his fatal week,' as it must 
be called. For Napoleon, for instance, that week was 
the Retreat from Moscow. It had begun now for 
Luden. 

Social and literary success had come to him too easily $ 
he had had such iuck that he was bound to know 
reverses and to see men and circumstances turn against 
him. 

The first blow was the heaviest and the most keenjv 
felt, for it touched Lucien where he thought himself 
invulnerable — in his heart and his love. Coralie might 
not be clever, but hers was a noble nature, and she 
possessed the great actress's faculty of suddenly standing 
aloof from self. This strange phenomenon is subject, 
until it degenerates into a btbit with long practice, to 
the caprices of character, and not seldom to an admirable 
delicacy of feeling in actresses who are still young. 
Coralie, to all appearance bold and wanton) as her part 
required, was in reality girlish and timid, and love bad 
wrought in her a revu^ion of her woman's heart against 
the comedian's mask. Art, the supreme art of feigning 
passion and feeling, had not yet triumphed over nature 
in her; she shrank before a great audience from the 
utterance that belongs to Love alone; and Coralie 
suffered besides from another true woman's weakness — 



338 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

she needed success, born stage queen though she was. 
She could not confront an audience with which she was 
out of sympathy ; she was nervous when she appeared on 
the stage, a cold reception paralysed her. Each new 
part gave her the terrible sensations of a first appearance. 
Applause produced a sort of intoxication which gave her 
encouragement without flattering her vanity; at a 
murmur of dissatisfaction or before a silent house, she 
flagged; but a great audience following attentively, 
admiringly, willing to be pleased, electrified Coralie. 
She felt at once in communication with the nobler 
qualities of all those listeners ; she felt that she possessed 
the power of stirring their souls and carrying them with 
her. But if this action and reaction of the audience 
upon the actress reveals the nervous organisation 
of genius, it shows no less clearly the poor child's 
sensitiveness and delicacy. Lucien had discovered the 
treasures of her nature ; had learned in the past months 
that this woman who loved him was still so much of a 
girl. And Coralie was unskilled in the wiles of an 
actress — she could not fight her own battles nor protect 
herself against the machinations of jealousy behind the 
scenes. Florine was jealous of her, and Florine was as 
dangerous and depraved as Coralie was simple and 
generous. R61es must come to find Coralie ; she was 
too proud to implore authors or to submit to dishonour- 
ing conditions ; she would not give herself to the first 
journalist who persecuted her with his advances and 
threatened her with his pen. Genius is rare enough in 
the extraordinary art of the stage ; but genius is only 
one condition of success among many, and is positively 
hurtful unless it is accompanied by a genius for intrigue 
in which Coralie was utterly lackin?. 

Lucien knew how much his friend would suffer on her 
first appearance at the Gymnase, and was anxious at all 
costs to obtain a success for her; but all the monev 
remaining from the sale of the furniture and all 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 339 

Lucien's earnings had been sunk in costumes, in the 
furniture of a dressing-room, and the expenses of a first 
appearance. 

A few dajrs later, Lucien made up his mind to a 
humiliating step for love's sake. He took Pendant and 
Cavalier's bills, and went to the Golden Cocoon in the Rue 
des Bourdonnais. He would ask Camusot to discount 
them. The poet had not fallen so low that he could 
make this attempt quite coolly. There had been many 
a sharp struggle first, and the way to that decision had 
been paved with many dreadful thoughts. Nevertheless, 
he arrived at last in the dark, cheerless little private 
office that looked out upon a yard, and found Camusot 
seated gravely there ; this was not Coralie's infatuated 
adorer, not the easy-natured, indolent, incredulous liber- 
tine whom he had known hitherto as Camusot, but a 
heavy fiather of a family, a merchant grown old in shrewd 
expedients of business and respectable virtues, wearing 
a magistrate's mask of judicial prudery ; this Camusot 
was the cool, business-like head of the firm surrounded 
by clerks, green cardboard boxes, pigeonholes, invoices, 
and samples, and fortified by the presence of a wife and 
a plainly-dressed daughter. Lucien trembled from head 
to foot as he approached ; for the worthy merchant, like 
the money-lenders, turned cool, indifferent eyes upon 
him. 

^Here are two or three bills, monsieur,' he said, 
standing beside the merchant, who did not rise from his 
desk. ^ If you will take them of me, you will oblige me 
extremely.' 

^You have taken something of mej monsieur,' said 
Camusot ; ' I do not forget it.' 

On this, Lucien explained Coralie's predicament* 
He spoke in a low voice, bending to murmur his 
explanation, so that Camusot could hear the heavy 
throbbing of the humiliated poet's heart. It was no 
part of Camusot's plans that Coralie should suffer a check* 



340 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

He listened, »niling to himself over the signatures on 
the bills (for, as a judge at the Tribunal of Commerce, 
he knew how the booksellers stood), but in the end he 
gave Lucien four thousand five hundred francs for them, 
stipulating that he should add the formula ^ For value 
received in silks.* 

Lucien went straight to Braulard, and made arrange- 
ments for a good reception. Braulard promised to come 
to the dress-rehearsal, to determine on the points where 
his ^ Romans ' should work their fleshy clappers to bring 
down the house in applause. Lucien gave the rest of 
the monev to Coralie (he did not tell her how he had 
come by it), and allayed her anxieties and the fears of 
Berenice, who was sorely troubled over their daily 
expenses. 

Martainville came several times to hear Coralie 
rehearse, and he knew more of the stage than most men 
of his time; several Royalist writers had promised 
fiivourable articles ; Lucien had not a suspicion of the 
impending disaster. 

A fiital event occurred on the evening before Coraiie's 
dibut. D'Arthez's book had af^ared ; and the editor of 
Merlin's paper, considering Lucien to be the best qualified 
man on the staff, gave him the book to review. He 
owed his unlucky reputation to those articles on Nathan's 
work. There were several men in the office at the time, 
for all the staff had been summoned ; Martainville was 
explaining that the party warfare with the Liberals must 
be waged on certain lines. Nathan, Meriin, all the 
contributors in fact, were talking of Leon Giraud's 
paper, and remarking that its influence was the more 
pernicious because the language was guarded, cool, 
moderate. People were beginning to speak of the circle 
in the Rue des Quatre-Vents as a second Convention. 
It had been decided that the Royalist papers were to 
wage a systematic war of extermination against these 
dangerous opponents, who, indeed, at a later day, were 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 341 

destined to sow the doctrines that drove the BoucboHs 
into exile ; but that was only after the most brilliant of 
Royalist writers had joined them for the sake of a mean 
revenge. 

D'Arthez's absolutist opinions were not known; it 
was taken for granted that he shared the views of his 
clique, he fell under the same anathema, and he was to 
be the first victim. His book was to be honoured with 
^a slashing article,' to use the consecrated formula. 
Lucien refused to wr^te the article. Great was the 
commotion among the leading Royalist writers thus met 
in conclave. Lucien was told plainly tiat a renegade 
could not do as he pleased ; if it did not suit his views to 
take the side of the Monarchy and Religion, he could go 
back to the other camp. Merlin and Martainvtlle took 
him aside and begged him, as his friends, to remember 
that he would simply hand Coralie over to the tender 
mercies of the Liberal papers, for she would find no 
champions on the Royalist and Ministerial side. Her 
acting' was certain to provoke a hot battld, and the kind 
of discussion which every actress longs to arouse. 

* You don't understand it in the least,' said Martain- 
ville ; ^if she plays for three months amid a cross fire of 
criticism, she will make thirty tbousaoijl francs when she 
goes on tour in the provinces at the end of the season ; 
and here are you about to saoifice Coralie and your own 
future, and to quarrel with your own bread and butter, 
all for a scruple that will always stand in your way, and 
ought to be got rid of at once.' 

Lucien was forced to choose between d'Arthez and 
Coralie. His mistress would be ruined unless he dealt 
his friend a death-blow in the Reveil and the great news- 
paper. Poor poet ! He went home with death in his 
soul ; and by the fireside he sat and read that finest pro- 
duction of modern literature. Tears fell fast over it as 
the pages turned. For a long while he hesitated, but at 
last he took op the pen and wrote a sarcastic article of 



J4^ A IKsdngmshed Provincial at Paris 

the kiiid that be understood so well, taking the book as 
children mieht take some bright bird to strip it of its 
plumage and torture it. His sardonic jests were sure to 
telL Again he turned to the book, and as he read it 
over a second time, his better self awoke. In the dead of 
night he hurried across Pkris, and stood outside d'Arthez's 
house. He kxJml up at the windows and saw the faint 
pure fleMa of Kglit in the panes, as he had so often seen 
it, widi a feduif of admiratioii for the noble steadfastness 
of thit tndhr ^ttat ntwe. For some moments he stood 
inusa h ni <«i iIk OMhuo n t ; he had not courage to go 
^m^KT ^ Vift liii littti ai^ urged him on. He tapped 
M ^ilie ^MT sp^i iffn^ and found d'Arthez sitting 

''X^^lM l«* 4M|mMiir^ asked d'Arthez, for news of 
IMHe 4h(%d% i^ "«» waUe in Luden's ehastly face. 

^ Ymi^ >n4l 1$^ inrtiiiit^ dTArthez,' said Lucien, with 
>fi«K ^ >*K>r'|i!i,'^«>* Aw tore ordered me to write an 

. t>^ Vf» ^H^ H!^ *■! th^ give yott » hard 



^ s-,1 sj«v ^ >h»^ toiiws fceep my visit a secret and 
r^,., ♦H V nr Vk, 4^ ^ke «5C«pMions of the damned. 
T>.\.v^^> ^ ^ i KV w > » «> <«•« tt> success until the 

v^^v K ^«%v^ ^t^ >oifVHfs ^ ^••'y «<»t sensitive ^»t.' 
' >v ^wjr ir^'**^^^: ' vi^^i i^Arthez, 
< -y. .VN> fV.>i ♦♦^ ^ ^^i^ poltroon ? No, d'Arthez ; 
-r \ >sN> V^^^^^i^»f€l with love,' and he toJd his 






.>\ 



. v\s\ M ^ article,' said d'Arthez, touched by 
^ * ^ >^ CVvalie. 

> ^v tWniaiittscript; d'Arthez read, and 

h^\ >M»|^ tf intellect ! ' he began. But 
^V^ A^.^ w^nNViMM with grief in the opposite 

l%Vv \^ w^t^ iM 10 correct? I will let 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 343 

you have it again to-morrow/ he went on. ^ Flippancy 
depreciates a work ; serious and conscientious criticism 
is sometimes praise in itself. I know the way to make 
your article more honourable both for yourself and for 
me. Besides, I know my faults well enough.' 

^When you climb a hot, shadowless hillside, you 
sometimes find fruit to quench your torturing thirst; 
and I have found it here and now/ said Lucien, as he 
sprang sobbing to d'Arthez's arms and kissed his friend 
on the forehead. * It seems to me that I am leaving my 
conscience in your keeping j some day I will come to 
you and ask for it again.' 

^ I look upon a periodical repentance as great hypocrisy,' 
d'Arthez said solemnly ; ^ repentance becomes a sort of 
indemnity for wrongdoing. Repentance is virginity of 
soul, which we must keep for God ; a man who repents 
twice is a horrible sycophant. I am afraid that you 
re^rd repentance as absolution.' 

Lucien went slowly back to the Rue de la Lune, 
stricken dumb by those words. 

Next morning d'Arthez sent back his article, recast 
throughout, and Lucien sent it in to the review ; but 
from that day melancholy preyed upon him, and he 
could not alwajrs disguise his mood. That evening, 
when the theatre was frdl, he experienced for the first 
time the paroxysm of nervous terror caused by a debut ; 
terror aggravated in his case by all the strength of his 
love. Vanity of every kind was involved. He looked 
over the rows of &ces as a criminal eyes the judges and 
the jury on whom his life depends. A murmur would 
have set him quivering ; any slight incident upon the 
stage, Coralie's exits and entrances, the slightest modula- 
tion of the tones of her voice, would perturb him beyond 
all reason. 

The play in which Coralie made her first appearance 
at the Gymnase was a piece of the kind which sometimes 
fiills flat at first, and afterwards has immense success. It 



34^ A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

the kind that he understood so well, taking the book as 
children mi^ht take some bright bird to strip it of its 
plumage and torture it. His sardonic jests were sure to 
tell. Again he turned to the book, and as he read it 
over a second time, his better self awoke. In the dead of 
night he hurried across Paris, and stood outside d' Arthez's 
house. He looked up at the windows and saw the faint 
pure gleam of light in the panes, as he had so often seen 
it, with a feeling of admiration for the noble Steadfastness 
of that truly great nature. For some moments he stood 
irresolute on the curbstone ; he had not courage to go 
iFurther ; but his good angel lu-ged him on. He tapped 
at the door and opened, and found d'Arthes sitting 
reading in a fireless room. 

^ What has happened ? ' asked d' Arthez, for news of 
some dreadful kind was visible in Lucien's ghastly face. 

^ Your book is sublime, d'Arthez,' said Xucien, with 
tears in his eyes, ' and they have ordered me to write an 
attack upon it.' 

^Poor boy! the bread that they give you is hard 
indeed ! ' said d'Arthez. 

^ I only ask for one favour, keep my visit a secret and 
leave me to my hell, to the occupations of the damned. 
Perhaps it is impossible to attain to success until the 
heart is seared and callous in every most sensitive spot.' 

* The same as ever ! ' cried d'Arthez. 

^ Do you think me a base poltroon ? No, d'Arthez ; 
no, I am a boy half crazed with love,' and he told his 
story. 

^ Let us look at the article,' said d'Arthez, touched by 
all that Lucien said of Coralie. 

Lucten held out the manuscript ; d'Arthez read, and 
could not help smiling. 

'Oh, what a fatal waste of intellect ! ' he began. But 
at the sight of Lucien overcome with grief in the opposite 
armchair, he checked himself. 

* Will you leave it with me to correct ? I will let 



A I^stinguished Provincial at Paris 347 

you have it again to-morrow,' he went on. ^ Flippancy 
depreciates a work ; serious and conscientious criticism 
is sometimes praise in itself. I know the way to make 
your article more honourable both for yourself and for 
me. Besides, I know my faults well enough.' 

^When you climb a hot, shadowless hillside, you 
sometimes fand fruit to quench your torturing thirst; 
and I have found it here and now,' said Lucien, as he 
sprang sobbing to d'Arthez's arms and kissed his friend 
on the forehead. ^ It seems to me that I am leaving my 
conscience in your keeping 1 some day I will come to 
you and ask for it again.' 

* I look upon a periodical repentance as great hypocrisy,' 
d'Arthez said solemnly ; ^ repentance becomes a sort of 
indemnity for wrongdoing. Repentance is virginity of 
soul, which we must keep for God ; a man who repents 
twice is a horrible sycophant. I am afraid that you 
regard repentance as absolution.' 

Lucien went slowly back to the Rue de la Lune, 
stricken dumb by those words. 

Next morning d'Arthez sent back his article, recast 
throughout, and Lucien sent it in to the review ; but 
from that day melancholy preyed upon him, and he 
could not always disguise his mood. That evening, 
when the theatre was full, he experienced for the first 
time the paroxysm of nervous terror caused by a debut ; 
terror aggravated in his case by all the strength of his 
love^ Vanity of every kind was involved. He looked 
over the rows of faces as a criminal eyes the judges and 
the jury on whom his life depends. A murmur would 
have set him quivering ; any slight incident upon the 
stage, Coralie's exits and entrances, the slightest modula- 
tion of the tones of her voice, would perturb him beyond 
all reason. 

The play in which Coralie made her first appearance 
at the Gymnase was a piece of the kind which sometimes 
falls flat at first, and afterwards has immense success. It 



344 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

fell flat that night. Coralie was not applatiifed when she 
came on, and the chilly reception ttnctei upon her. 
The only applause came from Cainiisot's box, and irarioiis 
persons posted in the balcony and ^leries silenced 
Camusot with repeated cries of ' HushT' The galleries 
even silenced the claqueurs when they led off with 
exaggerated salvoes. Martainville applauded faravely; 
Nathan, Merlin, and the treacherous Florine followed 
his example ; but it was clear that the piece was a 
failure. A crowd ^thered in Coralie's dressing-room 
arid consoled her, tiH she had no courage left. She 
went home in despair, less for her oWif sake than for 
Lucien*s. 

* Braulard has betrayed us,* Lucien said. 

Coralie was heartstricken. The next day found her 
in a high fcvctj utterly unfit to play, fece to ftice with 
the thought that she had been cut short in her career. 
Lucien hid the papers from her, and looked them over 
in the dining-room. The reviewers one and all attri- 
buted the failure of the piece to Coralie ; she had over- 
estimated her strength ; she might be the delight of a 
boulevard audience, but she was out of her element at 
the Gymnase; she had been inspired by a laudable 
ambition, but she has not taken her powers into 
account ; she had chosen a part to which she Was quite 
unequal. Lucien read on through a pile of penny-^- 
lining, put together on the same system as his attack 
upon Nathan. Milo of Crotona^ when he found his hands 
&st in the oak which he himsdf had cleft, was not more 
furious than Lucien. He gfew haggard with rage. 
His friends gave Coralie the most treacherous advice, in 
the language of kindly counsel and friendly interest. 
She should play (according to these authorities) all 
kinds of roles, which the treacherous writers of these 
unblushing feuilUtons knew to be utterly unsuited to her 
genius. And these were the Royalist papers, led off by 
Nathan. As for the Liberal press, all the weapons 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 345 

which Lucien had used were now turned against 
him. 

Coralie heard a sob, followed by another and another. 
She sprang out of bed to find Lucien, aind saw the papers* 
Nothing would satisfy her but she must read th^ all ; 
and when she had read them, she went back to bed, and 
lay there in silence. 

Florine was in the plot; she had foresetn the out- 
come; she had studied Coralie's part, and was ready 
to take her place. The management, unwilling to give 
up the piece, was ready to take Florine in Cdralie's 
stead. When the manager came, he found poor Coralie 
sobbing and Exhausted on her bed ; but when he began 
to say, in Lucien's pre^nce, that Florine knew the part, 
and that the play must be given that ev'etiiiig, Coralie 
sprang up at once. 

• I will play ! * she cried, and sank fainting on the floor. 

So Florine took the part, and made her reputation in 
it ; for the piece succeeded, the newspapers all sang hef 
praises, and from that time forth Florine Was the great 
actress whom we all know. Flortno's success exasperated 
Lucien to the highest degree. 

^ A wretched girl, whom you helped to earn her bread f 
If the Oymnase prefers to do s6, let the management 
pay you to cancel your engagement. I shall be the 
Comte de Rubempre ; I will make my fortune, and you 
shall be my wife.' 

^ What nonsense f ' said Coralie, looking at him with 
wan eyes. 

^ Nonsense ! * repeated he. * Very well, wait a few 
days, and you shall live in a fine house, you shall have si 
carriage, and I will write a part for you f ' 

He took two thousand francs, and hurtied to Frascati'!^^ 
For seven hours the unhappy victim of the Furies 
watched his varying luck, and outwardly seemed cool and 
self-contained. He experienced both extremes of fortune 
during that day and part of the night that followed ; at 



346 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

one time he possessed as much as thirty thousand francs, 
and he came out at last without a sou. In the Rue de 
la Lune he found Finot waiting for him with a request 
for one of his short articles. Lucien so far forgot him- 
self, that he complained. 

' Oh, it is not all rosy,' returned Finot. ^ You made 
your right-about-face in such a way that you were bound 
to lose the support of the Liberal press, and the Liberals 
are hx stronger in print than all the Ministerialist and 
Royalist papers put together. A man should never leave 
one camp for another until he has made a comfortable berth 
for himself, by way of consolation for the losses that he 
must expect ; and in any case, a prudent politician will 
see his friends first, and give them his reasons for going 
over, and take their opinions. You can still act together; 
they sympathise with you, and you agree to give mutual 
help. Nathan and Merlin did that before they went 
over. Hawks don't pike out hawks' eyes. You were 
as innocent as a lamb ; you will be forced to show your 
teeth to your new party to make anything out of them. 
You have been necessarily sacrificed to Nathan. I 
cannot conceal from you that your article on d'Arthez 
has roused a terrific hubbub. Marat is a saint compared 
with you. You will be attacked, and your book will 
be a failure. How far have things gone with your 
romance ? ' 

' These are the last proof-sheets.* 

^AU the anonymous articles against that young 
d'Arthez in the Ministerialist and Ultra papers are set 
down to you. The Riveil is poking fun at the set in 
the Rue des Quatre-Vents, and the hits are the more 
telling because they are funny. There is a whole serious 
political coterie at the back of Leon Giraud's paper; they 
will come into power too, sooner or later. 

' I have not written a line in the Reveil this week 
past.' 

* Very well. Keep my $h<wrt articles in mind. Write 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 347 

fifty of them straight oflF, and I will pay you for them in 
a lump ; but they must be of the same colour as the 
paper/ And Finot, with seeming carelessness, gave 
Lucien an edifying anecdote of the Keeper of the Seals, 
a piece of current gossip, he said, for the subject of one 
of the papers. 

Eager to retrieve his losses at play, Lucien shook off 
his dejection, summoned up his energy and youthful 
force, and wrote thirty articles of two columns each. 
These finished, he went to Dauriat's, partly because he 
felt sure of meeting Finot there, and he wished to give 
the articles to Finot in person ; partly because he wi3ied 
for an explanation of the non-appearance of the Mar- 
guerites. He found the bookseller's shop full of his 
enemies. All the talk immediately ceased as he entered. 
Put under the ban of journalism, his courage rose, and 
once more he said to himself, as he had said in the alley 
at the Luxembourg, ^ I will triumph.' 

Dauriatwas neither amiable nor inclined to patronise; 
he was sarcastic in tone, and determined not to bate an 
inch of his rights. The Marguerites should appear 
when it suited his purpose ; he should wait until Lucien 
was in a position to secure the success of the book ; it 
was his, he had bought it outright. When Lucien 
asserted that Dauriat was bound to publish the Mar- 
guerites by the very nature of the contract, and the 
relative positions of the parties to the agreement, 
Dauriat flatly contradicted him, said that no publisher 
could be compelled by law to publish at a loss, and 
that he himself was the best judge of the expediency 
of producing the book. There was, besides, a remedy 
open to Lucien, as anv court of law would admit — 
the poet was quite welcome to take his verses to a 
Royalist publisher upon the repayment of the thousand 
crowns. 

Lucien went away. Dauriat's moderate tone had 
exasperated him even more than his previous arrogance 



348 A Distinguished Pro\dncial at Paris 

at their first into-view. So the Marpterites would not 
appear until Lucien had found a host of formidable 
supporters, or grown formidable himself! He walked 
home slowly, so oppressed and out of heart that he felt 
Mady for suicide. Coralie lay in bed, looking white 
and ill. 

^ She must have a part, or she will die,' ssdd Berenice, 
as Lucien dressed for a great evening party at Mile. 
des Touches's house in the Rue du N£>nt Blanc. Des 
Lupeaubc and Vienon and Blondet were to be there, 
as well as Mme. d Espard and Mme. dc Bargeton. 

The party was given in honour of Conti, the great 
composer, owner likewise of one of the most famous 
voices ofF the stage, Cinti, Pasta, Garcia, Levasseur, and 
two or three celebrated amateurs in society not excepted. 
Lucien saw the Marquise, her cousin, and Mme. de 
Montcornet sitting together, and made one of the party. 
The unhappy young fellow to all appearance was light- 
hearted, happy, and content; he jested, he was the 
Lucteri de Rubempre of his days of splendour, he would 
not seeni to need help from any one. He dwelt on his 
servicds to the Royalist party, and cited the hue and cry 
raised after him by the Liberal press as a proof of his 
eeaL 

'And you iriH be well rewarded, my friend,' said 
Mme..de3argQton, with a gracious'smile^ ^Go to the 
Chancellerie the day after to-morrow* with ^^the 
Heron" and des Lupeaulx, and you win find your 
patent signed by His Majesty. The Keeper of the 
Seab will take it to-morrow to the Tuileries, but there 
is to be a meeting of the Council, and he will not come 
back till late, otill, if I hear the result to-morrow 
evening, I will let you know. Where are you living ? * 

^ I will come to you,' said Lucien, ashamed to confess 
that he was living in the Rue de la Lune. 

• The Due de Lenoncourt and the Due de Navarreins 
have made mention of you to the King,' added the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 349 

Marquise ; ^ they praised your absolute and entire devo- 
tion, and said that some distinction ought to avenge 
your treatment on the Liberal press. The name 
and title of Rubempre, to which you have a claim 
through your mother, would become illustrious through 
you, they said. The King gave his lorddiip instructions 
that evening to prepare a patent authorising the Sieur 
Lucien Chardon to bear the arms and title of the 
Comtes de Rubempre, as grandson of the last Count bv 
the mother's side. ^^Let us fevour the songsters 
(chardonnerets) "of Pindus,*' said His Majesty, aftCT 
reading your sonnet on the Lily, which my cousin 
luckily remembered to give the Duke. — ^"Especially 
when the King can work miracles, and change the 
song-bird into an eagle," M. de Navarreins replied.' 

Lucien's expanMon of feeling would have softened 
the heart of any woman less deeply wounded than 
Louise d'Espard de Negrepelisse ; but her thirst for 
vengeance was only increased by Lucien'^ graciousness^ 
Des Lupeaulx was right ; Lucien was wanting in tact. 
It never crossed his mind that this history of the patent 
was one of the mystifications at which Mme. d'Espard 
was an adept. Emboldened with success and the 
flattering distinction shown to him by Mile, des 
Touches, he stayed till two o'clock in the morning for a 
word in private with his hostess. Lucien had learned 
in Royalist newspaper offices that Mile, des Touches 
was the author of a play in which La petite Fay^ the 
marvel of the moment, was about to appear. As the 
rooms emptied, he drew Mile, des Touches to a sofa in 
the boudoir, and told the story of CoraKe's misfortune 
and his own so touchingly, that Mile, des Touches 
promised to give the heroine's part to his friend. 

That promise put new life into Coralie. But the 
next day, as they breakfasted together, Lucien opened 
Lousteau's newspaper, and found that unlucky anecdote 
of the Keeper or the Seals and his wife. The 9Cory was 



350 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

fuU of the blackest malice lurking in the most caustic 
wit. Louis xvni. was brought into the story in a 
masterly fashion, and held up to ridicule in such a way 
that prosecution was impossible. Here is the substance 
of a fiction for which the Liberal party attempted to 
win credence, though they only succeeded in adding 
one more to the tale of their ingenious calumnies. 

The King's passion for pink-scented notes and a 
correspondence ftill of madrigals and sparkling wit was 
declared to be the last phase of the tender passion ; love 
had reached the Doctrinaire stage; or had passed, in 
other words, from the concrete to the abstract. The 
illustrious lady, so cruelly ridiculed under the name of 
Octavie by Beranger, had conceived (so it was said) the ' 
gravest fears. The correspondence was languishing. 
The more Octavie displayed her wit, the cooler grew 
the royal lover. At last Octavie discovered the cause 
of her decline; her power was threatened by the 
novelty and piquancy of a correspondence between the 
august scribe and the wife of his Keeper of the Seals. 
That excellent woman was believed to be incapable of 
writing a note ; she was simply and solely godmother to 
the CTOrts of audacious ambition. Who could be hidden 
behind her petticoats? Octavie decided, after making 
observations of her own, that the King was corresponding 
with his Minister. 

She laid her plans. With the help of a faithful friend, 
she arranged that a stormy debate should detain the 
Minister at the Chamber ; then she contrived to secure 
a tete-a-tetey and to convince outraged Majesty of the 
fraud. Louis xviii. flew into a royal and truly Bourbon 
passion, but the tempest broke on Octavie's head. He 
would not believe her. Octavie offered immediate 
proof, begging the King to write a note which must be 
answered at once. The unlucky wife of the Keeper of 
the Seals sent to the Chamber for her husband ; but 
precautions had been taken, and at that moment the 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 351 

Minister was on his legs addressing the Chamber. The 
lady racked her brains and replied to the note with such 
intellect as she could improvise. 

* Your Chancellor will supply the rest,* cried Octavie, 
laughing at the King's chagrin. 

There was not a word of truth in the story ; but it 
struck home to three persons — the Keeper of the Seals, 
his wife, and the King. It was said that des Lupeaulx 
had invented the tale, but Finot always kept his counsel. 
The article was caustic and clever, the Liberal papers 
and the Orleanists were delighted with it, and Lucien 
himself laughed, and thought of it merely as a very 
amusing canard. 

He called next day for des Lupeaulx and the Baron 
du Ch&telet. The Baron had just been to thank his 
lordship. The Sieur Chatelet, newly appointed Coun- 
cillor Extraordinary, was now Comte du* Chatelet, with 
a promise of the prefecture of the Charente so soon as 
the present prefect should have completed the term of 
office necessary to receive the maximum retiring 
pension. The Comte du Chatelet (for the du had been 
inserted in the patent) drove with Lucien to the 
Chancellerie, and treated his companion as an equal. 
But for Lucien's articles, he said, his patent would not 
have been granted so soon; Liberal persecution had 
been a stepping-stone to advancement. Des Lupeaulx 
was waiting for them in the Secretary-General's office. 
That functionary started with surprise when Lucien 
appeared and looked at des Lupeaulx. 

^ What ! ' he exclaimed, to Lucien's utter bewilder- 
ment. ^ Do you dare to come here, sir ? Your patent 
was made out, but his lordship has torn it up. Here 
it is ! ' (the Secretary-General caught up the first torn 
sheet that came to hand). ^The Minister wished to 
discover the author of yesterday's atrocious article, and 
here is the manuscript,' added the speaker, holding out 
the sheets of Lucien's article. ^You call yourself a 



35^ A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Royalist, sir, and you are on the staff of that detestable 
paper which turns the Minister's hair grey, harasses the 
Centre, and is dragging the country headlong to ruin ? 
You break£ist on the Corsaire^ the Miroirj the Con- 
stituttonnelj and the Courier ; you dine on the ^mtidienne 
and the Riveil^ and then sup with Martaunville, the 
worst enemy of the Government ! Martainville urges 
the Government on to Absolutist measures ; he is more 
likely to bring on another Revolution than if he had 
gone over to the extreme Left. You are a very clever 

Sirnalist, but you will never make a politician. The 
inister denounced you to die King, and the King was 
so angry that he scolded M. le Due de Navarreins, bis 
first Gentleman of the Bedchamber. Your enemies 
will be all the m(M*e formidable because they have 
hitherto been your friends. Conduct that one expects 
£noiii an enemy is atrocious in a friend.' 

^ Why really^ my dear fellow, are you a child i ' said 
des Lupeaulx. ^You have compromised me. Mme. 
d'Espard, Mme. de Bargeton, and Mme. de Montcornet, 
who were responsible for you, must be furious. The 
Duke is sure to have handed on his annoyance to the 
Marquise, and the Marquise will have scx>lded her cousin. 
Keep away from them and wait/ 

^Here comes his lordshjp'*-^go I ' said the Secretary- 
General. 

. Lucien went out into the Place Venddme; he was 
stunned by this bludgeon blow. He walked home along 
the Boulevards trying to think over his position. He 
saw himself a plaything in the hands of envy, treachery, 
and greed. What was he in this world of contending 
ambitions? A child sacrificing everything to the 
pursuit of pleasure and the gratification of vanity ; a 
poet whose thoughts never went beyond the moment, 
a moth flitting firom one bright gleaming object to 
another* He had no definite aim ; he was the slave of 
circumstanoe* — meaning well^ doing ill. Conscieace 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 353 

tortured him remorselessly. And to crown it all, he was 
penniless and exhausted with work and emotion. His 
articles could not compare with Meslin's or Nathan's 
work. 

He walked on at random, absorbed in these thoughts. 
As he passed some of the reading-rooms which were 
already lending books as well as newspapers, a placard 
caught his eyes. It was an advertisement of a book 
with a grotesque title, but beneath the announcement 
he saw his name in brilliant letters — ' By Lucien Char- 
don de Rubempre.' So his book had come out, and he 
had heard nothing of it ! All the newspapers were 
silent. He stood motionless before the placard, his arms 
hanging at his sides. He did not notice a little knot of 
acquaintances — Rastignac and de Marsay and some other 
fashionable young men; nor did he see that Michel 
Chrestien and Leon Giraud were coming towards him. 

^ Are you M. Chardon ? ' It was Michel who spoke, 
and there was that in the soimd of his voice that set 
Lucien's heartstrings vibrating. 

* Do you not know me ? * he asked, turning very pale. 

Michel spat in his face. 

^Take that as your wages for your article against 
d' Arthez. If everybody would do as I do on his own or 
his friend's behalf, the press would be as it ought to be — 
a self-respecting and respected priesthood.' 

Lucien staggered back and caught hold of Rastignac. 

'Gentlemen,' he said, addressing Rastignac and de 
Marsay, ' you will not refuse to act as mv seconds. But 
first, I wish to make matters even and apology impossible.' 

He struck Michel a sudden, unexpected blow in the 
&ce. The rest rushed in between the Republican and 
Royalist, to prevent a street brawl. Rastignac dragged 
Lucien ofF to the Rue Taitbout, only a few steps away 
from the Boulevard de Gand, where this scene took 
place. It was the hour of dinner, or a crowd would 
have assembled at once. De Marsay came to find 

z 



354 ^ Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

Lucien, and the pair insisted that he should dine with 
them at the Cafe Anglais, where they drank and made 
merry. 

*• Are you a good swordsman ? ' inquired de Marsay, 

* I have never had a foil in my hands.' 

* A good shot ? * 

^ Never fired a pistol in my life.' 

'Then you have luck on your side. You are a 
formidable antagonist to stand up to ; you may kill your 
man/ said de Marsay. 

Fortunatelv, Lucien found Coralie in bed and asleep. 

She had played without rehearsal in a one-act play, 
and taken her revenge. She had met with genuine 
applause. Her enemies had not been prepared for this 
step on her part, and her success had determined the 
manager to give her the heroine's part in Camille 
Maupin's play. He had discovered the cause of her 
apparent failure, and was indignant with Florine and 
Nathan. Coralie should have the protection of the 
management. 

At five o'clock that morning, Rastignac came for 
Lucien. 

* The name of your street, my dear fellow, is particu- 
larly appropriate for your lodgings ; you are up in the 
sky,' he said, by way of greeting. ' Let us be first upon 
the ground on the road to Clignancourt $ it is good form, 
and we ought to set them an example.' 

' Here is the programme,' said de Marsay, as the cab 
rattled through the Faubourg Saint-Denis : ' You stand 
up at twenty-five paces, coming nearer, till you are only 
fifteen apart. You have, each of you, five paces to take 
and three shots to fire — no more. Whatever happens, 
that must be the end of it. We load for your antagonist, 
and his seconds load for you. The weapons were chosen 
by the four seconds at a gunmaker's. We helped you to 
a chance, I will promise you ; horse-pistols are to be the 
weapons.' 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 355 

For Lucien, life had become a bad dream. He did 
not care whether he lived or died. The courage of 
suicide helped him in some sort to carry things off with 
a dash of bravado before the spectators. He stood in his 
place ; he would not take a step, a piece of recklessness 
which the others took for deliberate calculation. They 
thought the poet an uncommonly cool hand. Michel 
Chrestien came as far as his limit ; both fired twice and 
at the same time, for either party was considered to be 
equally insulted. Michel's first bullet grazed Lucien's 
chin ; Lucien's passed ten feet above Chrestien's head. 
The second shot hit Lucien's coat collar, but the buck- 
ram lining fortunately saved its wearer. The third 
bullet struck him in the chest, and he dropped. 

^ Is he dead ? * asked Michel Chrestien. 

^No,' said the surgeon, ^he will pull through.' 

^ So much the worse,' answered Michel. 

^ Yes ; so much the worse,' said Lucien, as his tears 
fell fast. 

By noon the unhappy boy lay in bed in his own 
room. With untold pains they had managed to remove 
him, but it had taken five hours to bring him to the 
Rue de la Lune. His condition was not £ingerous, but 
precautions were necessary lest fever should set in and 
bring about troublesome complications. Coralie choked 
down her grief and anguish. She sat up with him at 
night through the anxious weeks of his illness, studying 
her parts by his bedside. Lucien was in danger for two 
long months; and often at the theatre Coralie acted 
her frivolous role with one thought in her heart, * Perhaps 
he is dying at this moment.' 

Lucien owed his life to the skill and devotion of a 
fi-iend whom he had grievously hurt. Bianchon had 
come to tend him after hearing the story of the attack 
from d'Arthez, who told it in confidence, and excused 
the unhappy poet. Bianchon suspected diat d'Arthez 
was generously trying to screen the renegade ; but on 



356 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

questioning Lucien during a lucid interval in the 
dangerous nervous fever, he learned that his patient was 
only responsible for the one serious article in Hector 
Merlin's paper. 

Before the first month was out, the firm of Fendant 
and Cavalier filed their schedule. Bianchon told Coralie 
that Lucien must on no account hear the news. The 
famous Archer of Charles IT., brought out with an absurd 
title, had been a complete failure. Fendant, being 
anxious to realise a little ready money before going into 
bankruptcy, had sold the whole edition (without Cava- 
lier's knowledge) to dealers in printed paper. These, in 
their turn, had disposed of it at a cheap rate to hawkers, 
and Lucien's book at that moment was adorning the 
bookstalls along the Quays. The booksellers on the 
Quai des Augustins, who had previously taken a quantity 
of copies, now discovered that after this sudden reduction 
of the price they were like to lose heavily on their 
purchases ; the four duodecimo volumes, for which they 
had paid four francs fifty centimes, were being given 
away for fifty sous. Great was the outcry in the trade ^ 
but the newspapers preserved a profound silence. Barbet 
had not foreseen this ^ clearance ' ; he had a belief in 
Lucien's abilities ; for once he had broken his rule and 
taken two hundred copies. The prospect of a loss drove 
him frantic ; the things he said of Lucien were fearful to 
hear. Then Barbet took a heroic resolution. He 
stocked his copies in a corner of his shop, with the 
obstinacy of greed, and left his competitors to sell their 
wares at a loss. Two years afterwards, when d'Arthez's 
fine preface, the merits of the book, and one or two 
articles by Leon Giraud had raised the value of the book, 
Barbet sold his copies, one by one, at ten francs each. 

Lucien knew nothing of all this, but Berenice and 
Coralie could not refuse to allow Hector Merlin to see 
his dying comrade, and Hector Merlin made him drink, 
drop by drop, the whole of the bitter djraught brewed by 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 357 

the failure of Fendant and Cavalier, made bankrupts 
by his first ill-fated book. Martainville, the one friend 
who stood by Lucien through thick and thin, had written 
a magnificent article on his work ; but so great was the 
general exasperation against the editor of UAristarque^ 
UOriflamme^ and Le T>rapeau Blanc^ that his cham- 
pionship only injured Lucien. In vain did the athlete 
return the Liberal insults tenfold, not a newspaper took 
up the challenge in spite of all his attacks. 

Coralie, Berenice, and Bianchon might shut the door 
on Lucien's so-called friends, who raised a great outcry, 
but it was impossible to keep out creditors and writs. 
After the failure of Fendant and Cavalier, their bills were 
taken into the bankruptcy according to that provision of 
the Code of Commerce most inimical to the claims 
of third parties, who in this way lose the benefit of 
delay. 

Lucien discovered that Camusot was proceeding 
against him with great energy. When Coralie heard 
the name, and for the first time learned the dreadful and 
humiliating step which her poet had taken for her sake, 
the angelic creature loved him ten times more than 
before, and would not approach Camusot. The bailiff 
bringing the warrant of arrest shrank from the idea of 
dragging his prisoner out of bed, and went back to 
Camusot before applying to the President of the 
Tribunal of Commerce for an order to remove the 
debtor to a private hospital. Camusot hurried at once 
to the Rue de la Lune, and Coralie went down to him. 

When she came up again she held the warrants, in 
which Lucien was described as a tradesman, in her hand. 
How had she obtained those papers from Camusot ? 
What promise had she given ? Coralie kept a sad, gloomy 
silence, but when she returned she looked as if all the 
life had gone out of her. She played in Camille Maupin's 
play, and contributed not a little to the success of that 
illustrious literary hermaphrodite; but the creation of 



358 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

thi$ characrer wa$ the kst flicker of a bright, dying 
lamp. On the twentieth night, when Lucien had so far 
recovered that he had regained his appetite and could 
walk abroad, and talked of getting to work again, Coralie 
broke down ; a secret trouble was weighing upon her. 
Berenice always believed that she had promised to go 
back to Camusot to save Lucien. 

Another mortification followed. Coralie was obliged 
to see her part given to Florine. Nathan had theatened 
the Gynmase with war if the management refused to 
give the vacant place to Coralie's rival. Coralie had 
persisted till she could play no longer, knowing that 
Florine was waiting to step into her place. She had 
overtasked her strength. The Gymnase had advanced 
sums during Lucien's illness, she had no money to draw ; 
Lucien, eager to work though he was, was not yet 
strong enough to write, and he helped besides to nurse 
Coralie and to relieve Berenice. From poverty they 
had come to utter distress ; but in Bianchon they found 
a skilful and devoted doctor, who obtained credit for them 
of the druggist. The landlord of the house and the trades- 
people knew by this time how matters stood. The 
furniture was attached. The tailor and dressmaker no 
longer stood in awe of the journalist, and proceeded to 
extremes ; and at last no one, with the exception of the 
pork-butcher and the druggist, gave the two unlucky 
children credit. For a week or more all three of them — 
Lucien, Berenice, and the invalid — were obliged to live 
on the various ingenious preparations sold by the pork- 
butcher ; the inflammatory diet was little suited to the 
sick girl, and Coralie grew worse. Sheer want com- 
pelled Lucien to ask Lousteau for a return of the loan of 
a thousand francs lost at play by the friend who had 
deserted him in his hour of need. Perhaps, amid all his 
troubles, this step cost him most cruel suffering. 

Lousteau was not to be found in the Rue de la Harpe. 
Hunted down like a hare, he was lodging now with this 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 359 

friend, now with that. Lucien found him at last at 
Flicoteaux's } he was sitting at the very table at which 
Lucien had found him that evening when, for his mis- 
fortune, he forsook d'Arthez for journalism. Lousteau 
offered him dinner, and Lucien accepted the offer. 

As they came out of Flicoteaux's with Claude Vignon 
(who happened to be dining there that day) and the 

treat man in obscurity, who kept his wardrobe at 
amanon's, the four among them could not produce 
enough specie to pay for a cup of coffee at the Cafe 
Voltaire. They lounged about the Luxembourg in the 
hope of meeting with a publisher ; and, as it fell out, they 
met with one of the most famous printers of the day. 
Lousteau borrowed forty francs of him, and divided the 
money into four equal parts. 

Misery had brought down Lucien's pride and extin- 
guished sentiment ; he shed tears as he told the story of 
his troubles, but each one of his comrades had a tale as 
cruel as his own ; and when the three versions had been 
given, it seemed to the poet that he was the least unfor- 
tunate among the four. All of them craved a respite 
from remembrance and thoughts which made trouble 
doubly hard to bear. 

Lousteau hurried to the Palais Royal to gamble with 
his remaining nine francs. The great man unknown to 
fame, though he had a divine mistress, must needs hie 
him to a low haunt of vice to wallow in perilous 
pleasure. Vignon betook himself to the Rocher de Cancale 
to drown memory and thought in a couple of bottles of 
Bordeaux ; Lucien parted company with him on the 
threshold, declining to share that supper. When he 
shook hands with the one journalist who had not been 
hostile to him, it was with a cruel pang in his heart. 

' What shall I do ? ' he asked aloud. 

^One must do as one can,' the great critic said. 
* Your book is good, but it excited jealousy, and your 
struggle will be hard and long. Genius is a cruel 



360 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

disease. Every writer carries a canker in his hearty a 
devouring monster, like the tapeworm in the stomach, 
which destroys all feeling as it arises in him. Which 
is the stronger ? The man or the disease ? One had 
need be a great man, truly,, to keep the balance between 
genius and character. The talent grows, the heart 
withers. Unless a man is a giant, unless he has the 
thews of a Hercules, he must be content either to lose 
his gift or to live without a heart. You are slender and 
fragile, you will give way,' he added, as he turned into 
the restaurant. 

Lucien returned home, thinking over that terrible 
verdict. He beheld the life of literature by the light of 
the profound truths uttered by Vignon. 

* Money ! money ! * a voice cried in his ears. 

Then he drew three bills of a thousand francs each, 
due respectively in one, two, and three months, imitating 
the handwriting of his brother-in-law, David Sechard, 
with admirable skill. He endorsed the bills, and took 
them next morning to Metivier, the paper-dealer in the 
RueSerpente, who made no difEculty about taking them. 
Lucien wrote a few lines to give his brother-in-law notice 
of this assault upon his cash-box, promising, as usual in 
such cases, to be ready to meet the bills as they fell due. 

When all debts, his own and Coralie's, were paid, he 
put the three hundred francs which remained into 
Berenice's hands, bidding her to refuse him money if he 
asked her for it. He was afraid of a return of the 
gambler's frenzy. Lucien worked away gloomily 
in a sort of cold, speechless fury, putting forth all his 
powers into witty articles, written by the light of the 
lamp at Coralie's bedside. Whenever he looked up in 
search of ideas, his eyes fell on that beloved face, white 
as porcelain, fair with the beauty that belongs to the 
dying, and he saw a smile on her pale lips, and her eyes, 
grown bright with a more consuming pain than physical 
suffering, always turned on his face. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 361 

Lucien sent in his work, but he could not leave the 
house to wony editors, and his articles did not appear. 
When he at last made up his mind to go to the office, 
he met with a cool reception from Theodore Gaillard, 
who had advanced him money, and turned his literary 
diamonds to good account afterwards. 

* Take care, my dear fellow, you are felling off,' he 
said. ^ You must not let yourself down, your work wants 
inspiration I ' 

^ That little Lucien has written himself out with his 
romance and his first articles,' cried Felicien Vernou, 
Merlin, and the whole chorus of his enemies, whenever 
his name came up at Dauriat's or the Vaudeville. ^ The 
work he is sending us is pitiable.' 

^To have written oneself out' (in the slang of 
journalism), is a verdict very hard to live down. It 
passed everywhere from mouth to mouth, ruining Lucien, 
all unsuspicious as he was. And, indeed, his burdens 
were too heavy for his strength. In the midst of a heavy 
strain of work, he was sued for the bills which he had 
drawn in David Sechard's name. He had recourse to 
Camusot's experience, and Coralie's sometime adorer was 
generous enough to assist the man she loved. The 
intolerable situation lasted for two whole months ; the 
days being diversified by stamped papers in abundance, 
which Lucien (acting on Camusot's advice) handed 
over to Desroches, a friend of Bixiou, Blondet, and des 
Lupeaulx. 

Early in August, Bianchon told them that Coralie's 
condition was hopeless — she had only a few days to live. 
Those days were spent in tears by Berenice and Lucien; 
they could not hide their grief from the dying girl, and 
she was broken-hearted for Lucien's sake. 

Some strange change was working in Coralie. She 
would have Lucien bring a priest ; she must be recon- 
ciled to the Church and die in peace. Coralie died as a 
Christian ; her repentance was sincere. Her agony and 



^62 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

death took all energy and heart out of Lucien. He sank 
into a low chair at the foot of the bed, and never took 
his eyes ofF her till Death brought the end of her 
suffering. It was five o'clock in the morning. Some 
singing-bird lighting upon a flower-pot on the window- 
sill, twittered a few notes. Berenice, kneeling by the 
bedside, was covering a hand £»t growing cold with 
kisses and tears. On the chimney-piece there lay 
eleven sous. 

Lucien went out. Despair bade him beg for money 
to lay Coralie in her grave. He had wild thoughts of 
flinging himself at the Marquise d'Espard's feet, of 
entreating the G>mte du Chatelet, Mme. de Bargeton, 
Mile, des Touches, nay, that terrible dandy of a de 
Marsay. All his pride had gone with his strength. He 
would have enlisted as a common soldier at that moment 
for money. He walked on with the slouching, feverish 
gait known to all the unhappy, reached Camille 
Maupin's house, entered, careless of his disordered dress, 
and sent in a message. He entreated Mile, des Touches 
to see him for a moment. 

* Mademoiselle only went to bed at three o'clock this 
morning,' said the servant, 'and no one would dare to 
disturb her until she rings.' 

* When does she rine ? ' 

* Never before ten o clock.' 

Then Lucien wrote one of those harrowing appeals 
in which the well-dressed beggar flings all pride and self- 
respect to the winds. One evening, not so very long 
ago, when Lousteau had told him of the abject begging- 
letters which Finot received, Lucien had thought it 
impossible that any creature should sink so low; and 
now, carried away by his pen, he had gone further, it 
may be, than other unlucky wretches upon the same 
road. He did not suspect, in his fever and imbecility, 
that he had just written a masterpiece of pathos. On 
his way home along the Boulevards, he met Barbet. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 363 

^Barbet!' he begged, holding out his hand. ^Five 
hundred francs ! ' 

*' No. Two hundred,' returned the other, 

^ Ah ! then you have a heart.' 

^ Yes ; but I am a man of business as well. I have 
lost a lot of money through you,' he concluded, after 
giving the history of the failure of Fendant and Cavalier, 
^ will you put me in the way of making some ? ' 

Lucien quivered. 

^ You are a poet. You ought to understand all kinds 
of poetry,' continued the little publisher. * I vjrant a few 
rollicking songs at this moment to put along with some 
more by different authors, or they will be down upon 
me over the copyright. I want to have a good collection 
to sell on the streets at ten sous. If you care to let me 
have ten good drinking-songs by to-morrow morning, or 
something spicy, you know the sort of thing, eh ? I 
will pay you two hundred francs.' 

When Lucien returned home, he found Coralie 
stretched out straight and stiff on a pallet-bed ; Berenice, 
with many tears, had wrapped her in a coarse linen 
sheet, and put lighted candles at the four corners of the 
bed. Coralie's hce had taken that strange, delicate beauty 
of death which so vividly impresses the living with the 
idea of absolute calm ; she looked like some white girl in 
a decline ; it seemed as if those pale, crimson lips must 
open and murmur the name which had blended with the 
name of God in the last words that she uttered before 
she died. 

Lucien told Berenice to order a funeral which should 
not cost more than two hundred francs, including the 
service at the shabby little church of the Bonne-Nouvelle. 
As soon as she had gone out, he sat down to a table, and 
beside the dead body of his love he composed the ten 
rollicking songs to fit popular airs. The effort cost him 
untold anguish, but at last the brain began to work at 
the bidding of Necessity, as if suffering were not ; and 



364 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

already Luden had learned to put Claude Vignon's 
terrible maxims in practice, and to raise a barrier between 
heart and brain. What a night the poor boy spent over 
those drinking-songs, writing by the light of the tall 
wax candles while the priest recited the prayers for the 
dead ! 

Morning broke before the last song was finished. 
Lucien tried it over to a street-song of the day, to the 
consternation of Berenice and the priest, who thought 
that he was mad : — 



* Ladsy *tis tedious waste of time 
To mingle song and reason | 
Folly calls for laughing rhyme. 
Sense is out of season. 
Let Apollo be forgot 

When Bacchus fills the drinking-ciq» ) 
Any catch is good, I wot, 
If good fellows take it up. 
Let philosophers protest. 
Let us laugh, 
And quaiFy 
And a fig for the rest ! 

As Hippocrates has said. 

Every jolly fellow. 
When a centiuy has sped. 
Still is fit and mellow. 
No more following of a lass 

With the palsy in your legs ?— 
While your hand can hold a glass, 
You can drain it to the dregs, 
With an undiminished zest. 
Let us laugh. 
And quaff. 
And a fig tor the rest I 

Whence we come we know full well 

Whither are we going ? 
Ne'er a one of us can tell, 

*Tis a thing past knowing. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 365 

Futh 1 what does it signifyy 

Take the eood that Heaven sends; 
It is certain Aat we die. 
Certain that we live, my friends. 
Life is nothincf but a jest. 
Let us laugh. 
And Guaff, 
And a fig for the rest 1 * 

He was shouting the reckless refrain when d'Arthez 
and Bianchon arrived, to find him in a paroxysm of 
despair and exhaustion, utterly unable to make a £&ir 
copy of his verses. A torrent of tears followed; and 
when, amid his sobs, he had told his story, he saw the 
tears standing in his friends' eyes. 

^ This wipes out many sins,' said d'Arthez. 

^ Happy are they who suffer for their sins in this 
world,' the priest said solemnly. 

At the sight of the fair, dead face smiling at Eternity, 
while Coralie's lover wrote tavern-catches to buy a grave 
for her, and Barbet paid for the coffin — of the four candles 
lighted about the dead body of her who had thrilled a great 
audience as she stood behind the footlights in her Spanish 
basquina and scarlet green-clocked stockings ; while be- 
yond, in the doorway, stood the priest who had recon- 
ciled the dying actress with God, now about to return to 
the church to say a mass for the soul of her who had 
^ loved much,' — ^all the grandeur and the sordid aspects 
of the scene, all that sorrow crushed under by Necessity, 
froze the blood of the great writer and the great doctor. 
They sat down ; neither of them could utter a word. 

Just at that moment a servant in livery announced 
Mile, des Touches. That beautiful and noble woman 
understood everything at once. She stepped quickly 
across the room to Lucien, and slipped two thousand- 
franc notes into his hand as she grasped it. 

^ It is too late,' he said, looking up at her with dull, 
hopeless eyes. 



366 A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 

The three stayed with Lucien, trying to soothe his 
despair with comforting words ; but every spring 
seemed to be broken. At noon all the brotherhood, 
with the exception of Michel Chrestien (who, however, 
had learned the truth as to Lucien's treachery), was 
assembled in the poor little church of the Bonne-Nou- 
velle ; Mile, des Touches was present, and Berenice and 
Coralie's dresser from the theatre, with a couple of 
supernumeraries and the disconsolate Camusot. All 
the men accompanied the actress to her last resting- 
place in Pere Lachaise. Camusot, shedding hot tears, 
had solemnly promised Lucien to buy the grave in 
perpetuity, and to put a headstone above it with the 
words :— 

CORALIE 

Aged Nineteen Years 

August, 1822. 

Lucien stayed there, on the sloping ground that looks 
out over Paris, until the sun had set. 

* Who will love me now ? * he thought. • My truest 
friends despise me. Whatever I might have done, she 
who lies here would have thought me wholly noble and 
good. I have no one left to me now but my sister and 
mother and David. And what do they think of me at 
home ? * 

Poor distinguished provincial ! He went back to the 
Rue de la Lune ; but the sight of the rooms was so 
acutely painful, that he could not stay in them, and he 
took a cheap lodging elsewhere in the same street. 
Mile, des Touches's two thousand francs and the sale of 
the furniture paid the debts. 

Berenice had two hundred francs left, on which they 
lived for two months. Lucien was prostrate ; he could 
neither write nor think ; he gave way to morbid grief. 
Berenice took pity upon him. 



A Distinguished Provincial at Paris 367 

^Suppose that you were to go back to your own 
country, how are you to get there ? ' she asked one day, 
by way of reply to an exclamation of Lucien's. 

« On foot/ 

^ But even so, you must live and sleep on the way. 
Even if you walk twelve leagues a day, you will want 
twenty francs at least/ 

* I will get them together,' he said. 

He took his clothes and his best linen, keeping nothing 
but strict necessaries, and went to Samanon, who offered 
fifty francs for his entire wardrobe. In vain he begged 
the moneylender to let him have enough to pay his hrc 
by the coach ; Samanon was inexorable. In a paroxysm 
of fury, Lucien rushed to Frascati's, staked the proceeds 
of the sale, and lost every farthing. Back once more in 
the wretched room in the Rue de la Lune, he asked 
Berenice for Coralie's shawl. The good girl looked at 
him, and knew in a moment what he meant to do. He 
had confessed to his loss at the gaming-table; and now 
he was going to hang himself. 

^ Are you mad, sir ? Go out for a walk, and come 
back again at midnight. I will get the money for you ; 
but keep to the Boulevards, do not so towards the Quais.' 

Lucien paced up and down the Boulevards. He was 
stupid with grief. He watched the passers-by and the 
stream of trafEc, and felt that he was alone, and a very 
small atom in this seething whirlpool of Paris, churned 
by the strife of innumerable interests. His thoughts 
went back to the banks of his Charente ; a craving for 
happiness and home awoke in him; and with the craving, 
came one of the sudden febrile bursts of energy which 
half-feminine natures like his mistake for strength. He 
would not give up until he had poured out his heart to 
David Sechard, and taken counsel of the three good 
angels still left to him on earth. 

As he lounged along, he caught sight of Berenice — 
Berenice in her Sunday clothes, speaking to a stranger 



368 A Distinguished Provinciul at Paris 

at the corner of the Rue de la Lune and the filthy 
Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle, where she had taken her 
stand. 

* What are you doing ? ' asked Lucien, dismayed by a 
sudden suspicion. 

^ Here are your twenty francs,' said the girl, slipping four 
five-franc pieces into the poet's hand. ^ They may cost 
dear vet; but you can go,' and she had fled before Lucien 
coula see the way she went ; for, in justice to him, it must 
be said that the money burned his hand, he wanted to 
return it, but he was forced to keep it as the final brand 
set upon him by life in Paris, 



Printed by T. and A. Constable, Prmters to Her Majesty, 
at the Ediaborgh University Press. 



''^^^^^'^i^^^Kiwisibei Provb